Show to promote region's wines

Jim Jerram
Jim Jerram
Waitaki Valley wines are going on the road, buoyed by two major recent successes at international wine shows.

Eight winemakers, almost all of those in the small region, have combined for the first "Waitaki Wine Week", a travelling show aimed at taking Waitaki wines to the public, trade and media in five New Zealand centres.

Waitaki Valley Winegrowers chairman and Ostler Vineyard director Jim Jerram said the wine week, which would become an annual event, was "significant and a coming of age" for the Waitaki Valley.

"We are touring the country to make sure everyone has a chance to meet the winemakers and try some of the most exciting wines being produced from one of the remotest wine-growing regions in New Zealand."

It also followed international success. Two pinot noirs from the Waitaki Valley have won top pinot wine awards - Forrest Estate at the London International Wine Challenge, for its Waitaki 2009, and Ostler Vineyard's Caroline's 2010, at the Shanghai International Wine Challenge.

Mr Jerram said those two awards, along with other successes and accolades for Waitaki Valley wines, prompted the region's wine-makers to organise the show.

The region was New Zealand's smallest and most climatically risky, and the challenge for winemakers great, but the potential was huge for wines of the highest calibre.

"They felt it was time to put Waitaki wines before the public, trade and media," Mr Jerram said.

Waitaki Wine Week - also dubbed "Cool Climate Viticulture on the Edge" - starts in Auckland on July 30, followed by Wellington on July 31, Christchurch on August 1 and Queenstown on August 2. Dunedin gets the show on September 15, when the All Blacks play their first test at Forsyth Barr Stadium, against South Africa.

The show would have sessions for the public, media and trade, Mr Jerram said.

Taking part are Ostler, Forrest Estate, Black Stilt, Earth Keepers, Lone Hill, Otiake Estate, Pasquale, Valli and Waitaki Braids wine-makers.

- david.bruce@odt.co.nz