Trinity Hill cellar door manager Olivia Walding-Karaitiana says the winery is seeing a hike in visitors. She chats to Mark Story a week after the winery took out best cellar door at the recent Hawke's Bay A&P Bayleys Wine Awards.

What months is your cellar door open and how many visitors do you have through each year?
Open every month of the year! This winter we decided to stay open seven days over the "quiet season" which proved to be not so quiet.
On average throughout the year we can get up to 18,000 visitors through our cellar door and it seems to be getting busier every month.

Can you give us a breakdown of domestic v international visitors? Of the overseas tourists, where are the majority from?
Visitors are largely Kiwis, with domestic tourism growing and flights getting cheaper, Hawke's Bay has become much more accessible, leading to more visitors from Christchurch, Wellington and Auckland.
International tourists also make up a large portion of the visitors we get through the cellar door, mainly from the US, UK and Australia.

How do the domestic and international visitors' palates differ?
We find that international visitors are willing to try new things, a lot of them are really interested in what the region has to offer so we tend to look to chardonnay, syrah and Bordeaux blends, Gimblett Gravels specifically.
Domestic visitors generally know what they like and we always manage to find something that caters to their palate.

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There's obviously key differences between a cellar door and a bar - to you, what should these be?
Visiting a cellar door is all about the experience, we offer wines that aren't necessarily available elsewhere. The special thing about cellar doors, specifically Trinity Hill is that from start to finish everything is produced on site. You don't get that at a bar.
Cellar doors allow us to give our visitors a personal experience. People come to us to learn about wine and we have the ability to cater to different people and want they want. Some want to learn about the history of the vineyard, some about the making of wine and some are quite happy to just chat about their travels.
We want our visitors to leave having learnt something new, had an experience they want to tell all their friends about and that will generally include a bottle or two!

It's whitebait season. If you had to suggest a wine match, what would it be and why?
Chardonnay! There are some amazing producers of chardonnay in Hawke's Bay but the Trinity Hill Gimblett Gravels Chardonnay is always a winner.