New Zealand’s Hawke Bay crowned 12th Great Wine Capital of the World

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The region celebrates recognition as a world-class wine destination.

  • Hawke’s Bay, New Zealand’s oldest wine growing region, joins global heavyweights such as Bordeaux (France), Bilbao (Spain) and Napa Valley (USA), as the newest Great Wine Capital of the world
  • Hawke’s Bay’s selection is a welcome boost for the wine industry as it recovers from the impact of Cyclone Gabrielle. It has already allowed Hawke’s Bay to leverage international expertise, resources, and support from the best of the global wine industry.
  • The accolade reflects the quality of the wine destination and the experience on offer to visitors, whether that be Art Deco heritage, long vineyard lunches or cellar door bike tours.
  • The honour is expected to be a significant advantage to the region’s $620 million tourism sector.

Hawke’s Bay was today named a Great Wine Capital of the world, setting it alongside eleven other prestigious wine regions such as Bordeaux (France), Napa Valley (USA), Bilbao (Spain) and Adelaide (Australia).

The bid was led by Hawke’s Bay Tourism, on behalf of a working group that also included Hawke’s Bay Wine Growers, Hastings District Council, Napier City Council, Hawke’s Bay Airport and EIT/Te Pūkenga.

Admission to the Great Wine Capitals programme, as the 12th Capital worldwide, comes after a stringent selection process that looks at a region’s winegrowing industry, its history, its wine tourism, educational opportunities, business, and travel, as well as the cities and region itself.

In announcing the news, Hawke’s Bay Tourism CEO, Hamish Saxton said the significance of being named a Great Wine Capital of the world is a remarkable milestone for the region.

Hawke’s Bay’s inclusion as one of just 12 Great Wine Capitals of the world is of regional and national significance. It is recognition that Hawke’s Bay wines are among the world’s best, and that our nation’s wine growing industry, while still young, offers quality to rival the world’s oldest. We have long known that Hawke’s Bay, as New Zealand’s Food and Wine Country, stood out for its winemaking. This new achievement gives Hawke’s Bay a unique positioning in New Zealand and the world. The climate, unique soils and the innovation of so many talented individuals, have come together to deliver an accolade the region wholeheartedly deserves.

It is a true legacy for the region and will continue to deliver benefits to industry, education, business and tourism for the years to come. Becoming a Great Wine Capital will also give a significant boost to the region’s post-cyclone recovery, particularly with the wine industry already generating an estimated $300 million direct revenue to the Hawke’s Bay economy and contributing $156m to GDP. The accolade will further increase Hawke’s Bay’s global recognition and will give it access to additional expertise, resources, and support from the best of the global wine and tourism industries.”

Hamish Saxton, Chief Executive of Hawke’s Bay Tourism said: “Cyclone Gabrielle may have dealt us a blow, but this recognition shows that Hawke’s Bay is still the top-quality wine destination it always was. The Great Wine Capitals Global Network is already providing fantastic support and information to those wineries impacted by the cyclone. Most of our wineries and cellar doors are now back open and keen to welcome manuhiri. So, whether you’re a wine buff or just like a nice glass with your meal, Hawke’s Bay is the spot for you.”

Jo Collins, President of the Adelaide, South Australia Great Wine Capitals Steering Committee said: “To be a member of the Great Wine Capitals Global Network requires a Capital to possess something truly ‘great’. Above average. Excellent in a global context. We are thrilled to welcome Hawke’s Bay and the twin cities of Napier and Hastings to our esteemed network. The quality of the wines from this region, their international recognition and unwavering commitment to excellence in grape and wine production, sustainable tourism and education was evident and saw them unanimously voted in by our existing 11 network members. 

A key strength of the network is that members do not see themselves as competitors, but rather working together with a spirit of cooperation to support and learn from each other through common challenges and opportunities. And importantly continuing to lift the bar in terms of the global wine and tourism offering.

The arrival of this beautiful region of New Zealand will further enhance the quality and excellence of our network, and open new areas of cooperation. As the representative of Adelaide, South Australia to the network, I eagerly anticipate the opportunity to work together with Hawke’s Bay to seize opportunities and address challenges within our respective wine sectors. I have personally witnessed the incredible outcomes that arise from the exchange of knowledge, ideas, and experiences, and I am excited about the potential for mutual growth and success. Becoming a Great Wine Capital is also a welcome recognition for the people who work in the industry.”

Hawke’s Bay Wine Chair Sally Duncan said: “The passion and persistence of our wine community and this special place at the bottom of the world has propelled Hawke’s Bay to sit alongside the best in the world.”

Blessed with some of the best wine-growing soils and climates in the country, Hawke’s Bay produces top quality wines that can stand tall with the greatest wine regions in the world, producing more than 40,000 tonnes of grapes and with more than 200 vineyards, 125 wine producers and more than 30 cellar doors.

The region also offers a wonderful tourism experience for those with a passion for the grape. Whether it’s the allure of long vineyard lunches, bike tours between cellar doors or a chance to stock up your wine collection, Hawke’s Bay has become a go to destination for domestic and international visitors alike.