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An historic Canterbury vicarage nestled among vineyards and a Marlborough winery committed to environmental sustainability were among the winners of the inaugural Christchurch | South Island Best of Wine Tourism Awards.

The awards honour outstanding wineries and other tourism related businesses in the Great Wine Capitals Global Network’s member cities and regions. 

gwc.pngChristchurch | South Island, which includes the Waipara Valley, Canterbury, Marlborough, Nelson and Central Otago wine regions of New Zealand, was welcomed as the newest member of the Network in November 2009.

Announcing the winners of the awards in Christchurch on September 24, the judges said they stood out because they all shared a passion for wine and a commitment to providing their customers with the highestlevel of service and a complete experience.

Their enthusiasm and knowledge about wine-making made them great ambassadors for the wine producing regions of the South Island.

The Old Glenmark Vicarage, set in the heart of Canterbury’s Waipara wine valley, was chosen as the winner of the accommodation award.

The-Old-Glenmark-BuildingBuilt in 1907, the historic vicarage overlooks a boutique winery and offers its guests beautiful accommodation and an enticing insight into the world of wine-making.

Judges said they chose the Old Glenmark Vicarage (www.glenmarkvicarage.co.nz) as the winner because of its unique and memorable offering and its close proximity and networks with cellar doors and restaurants within the area meant they felt it was a place they could strongly recommend as a base for those seeking a wine tourism experience in the region.

Owners Janette Rosanowski and Damian McFarlane say they strive to give their guests a memorable experience and a taste and feel of the New Zealand lifestyle and the excellent food, wines and attractions of the Waipara region.

“The judges seem toappreciate that we enjoy what we have here and the hospitality and wines we offer. The Vicarage is sited in the heart of the Waipara wine region and105 years ago the Glenmark Vicarage was one of the hubs of the community. Times have changes and we have changed to keep up with the new Waipara, continuing to offer a good connection with the local community, wineries and restaurants,’’ the couple say.

Best of Wine Tourism yealands awardYealands Estate Wines, in Marlborough, won the award for Sustainable Wine Tourism Practises. This award looks at the impact ofthe services offered by wineries and the contribution they make to tourism andthe economy of the region.

The judging criteria centers on the implementation of sustainable initiatives and the integration of the sustainability message into each winery’s wine tourism activities

Yealands Estate (www.yealands.com) is regarded as New Zealand’s leading environmentally sustainable winery and was developed by entrepreneur Peter Yealands. The privately owned winery features advanced green technologyin every aspect of design and function and has pioneered several world-leading environmental initiatives.

Yealands Estate was applauded for their original ‘sustainability tours’.  The sustainability tours include a short film in the Yealands Estate Cellar Door theatre, a full winery tour, complimentary tasting and an optional outdoor vineyard tour which allows visitors to make the most of the picturesque views across the vineyard and Cook Strait.

“We wanted to create a unique experience which showcases our passion for making quality wine and our innovative sustainable practices,’’ says Yealands Estate’s cellar door manager Brydie Morrison.

The judges also commented on the winery’s passion for innovation and their ongoing commitment to educating tourists on the importance of sustainable practices in the wine industry.

Wollaston Estates (www.wollaston.co.nz) winery in Nelson was highly commended in the same category. Thewinery’s three estate-owned vineyard are currently in conversion to organic certification under BioGro New Zealand.

Winery Restaurant awardAllan Scott Family Winemakers (www.allanscott.co.nz) won the wine tourism award for its Twelve Trees restaurant. The Marlborough restaurant offers superb indoor/outdoor dining, with food that is created in a provincial vineyard style to compliment the estate’s wines.

Central Otago’s specialist wine tours company, Appellation Central Wine Tours,won the award for wine services. Judges singled out Appellation (www.appellationcentral.co.nz) for its exception level of service and the highly engaging experience it offers its clients. 

About Great Wine Capitals Global Network

Founded in 1999, the GreatWine Capitals Global Network is an alliance of nine internationally renowned wine regions – Bordeaux, France; Cape Town, South Africa; Christchurch-South Island, New Zealand; Florence,Italy; Mainz-Rheinhessen, Germany; Mendoza, Argentina; Porto, Portugal; Bilbao-Rioja, Spain and San Francisco-Napa Valley, USA. The international Best Of Wine Tourism awards serveas an industry benchmark for excellence and recognize leading wineries and wine-tourism related businesses within each Great Wine Capital that have distinguished themselves in areas such as innovation, service and sustainable practices. For more information visit http://www.greatwinecapitals.com.

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