Wineries report record tourist season

By Roger Moroney

4 comments
FEET UP: The Clearview crew chill out before another big day ahead - Helma van den Berg (left), Sabina Faes, Kirsty Paddick, Pete Hallgarth, Jascha Oldham-Selak and Tim Turvey.
PHOTO/WARREN BUCKLAND
FEET UP: The Clearview crew chill out before another big day ahead - Helma van den Berg (left), Sabina Faes, Kirsty Paddick, Pete Hallgarth, Jascha Oldham-Selak and Tim Turvey. PHOTO/WARREN BUCKLAND

The long and mainly sun-blessed Hawke's Bay summer has seen winemakers smiling at the prospect of another fine vintage, and winery staff in general celebrating a hugely successful tourist-driven season.

At Clearview Winery in Te Awanga the numbers of guests who called to wine and dine were "record breaking", function, events and restaurant manager Kristy Paddick said.
"It's been absolutely pumping," she said.

"We had the full sign out in the driveway by about 10am most days over the holiday period."

It had been the busiest season on record for entertaining diners, she said.

Among the visitors were a growing number of overseas guests, including couples, along with family and friends, from Norway, Australia and even Iceland who had chosen the Bay, and Clearview, as the venue for their wedding.

Wedding events were up, with several wineries reporting they were booked out during summer weekends.

There had also been an increase in the number of visitors arriving on cruise ships who chose to enjoy a Hawke's Bay wine experience by taking a bus tour.

Ms Paddick said during the Christmas and New Year period extra staff had to be taken on to cope, and additional seasonal staff still had to be taken on as the university students they traditionally employed returned to their studies.

She said bookings from cruise ship visitors averaged between 40 and 80 people.

Mission Estate Winery chief executive officer Peter Holley described the summer season as "absolutely fabulous" and new visitor heights had been reached.
"We have seen a record number of patrons enjoying both our cellar door and restaurant facilities," Mr Holley said.

The only offset to the lift in visitor numbers had been the postponement of the 2015 Mission Concert, which Mr Holley said was "a work in progress".

Wineries across the region had also become part of the national culinary tour schedule of events.

Celebrity chef, chanteuse and bon vivant Peta Matthias incorporated Clearview Estate as part of her New Zealand culinary tour.

She arrived with guests from Oregon in the United States for a wining and dining tour last month.

- Hawkes Bay Today

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