Canterbury wines very well received at CAUTHE conference

April 3, 2013 0 Comments

In mid-February, Lincoln University hosted the largest tourism and hospitality conference in the Southern Hemisphere, and the largest conference held in Christchurch since the February 2011 earthquakes.

During the week-long event, 200 delegates attended from 17 countries.  While the majority of delegates came from New Zealand and Australia (81 each), there was a good contingent of delegates from the UK (14 in total).  Delegates came also from South Africa, Hong Kong, Thailand, and a number of other European countries.

In advance of this conference, the Organising Committee agreed that Canterbury wineries and their wines would be showcased at the social events for the conference. To this end, a ‘Wine Committee’ was established to research and select appropriate wines, lead by Dr Jo Fountain, senior lecturer in tourism and wine tourism researcher.  Canterbury wineries were invited to offer their wines for the conference, and then site visits were arranged, where possible, to taste and select wines, including a day spent in the Waipara region and other winery visits around the Canterbury Plains.  These visits provided a wonderful opportunity to get to know the region, the wineries and their products better.

In the end, twenty wineries and more than forty local wines were able to be showcased during the conference.  The wines of Canterbury and Waipara were a prominent feature of the three main social events; a welcome BBQ, a wine and cheese event, and a formal dinner, hosted in the grounds of Riccarton House.  The wine and cheese event, held alongside academic poster presentations, was an opportunity to showcase the wines from the local Canterbury area.  Dr Glen Creasy spoke briefly to delegates about the characteristics of the wines of the Canterbury region.  The other two events included both Canterbury and Waipara wines. Throughout the conference, marketing collateral promoting the wines and wine regions was available to delegates.

 Without question, the availability and quality of these wines were one of the highlights of the conference for many delegates. In the post-conference survey there are many comments about the quality of the wine and the conviviality this created as a highlight of the conference.  Many New Zealand delegates expressed their surprise at the diversity and quality of locally-produced wines available, while local and international delegates alike praised the wine’s exceptional quality. As an example of the feedback we received, on the night of the conference dinner, a Professor of Hospitality from Australia told Jo Fountain that, without doubt, the range and quality of wines on offer were the best she had ever experienced in more than twenty years of conference attendance… High praise indeed!

Overall, we are very proud of our local wines and wineries, and are delighted that we have been able to showcase them to our academic colleagues.  We would like to warmly thank the wineries involved for their generosity in giving their time, expertise and discounts on their wines.  We do hope that this can be the first of many collaborations between the staff of the Tourism programme at Lincoln University and our fine local wineries.


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