Wineries keen for cellar door charge

Published date29 September 2022
Publication titleCentral Otago News
The Sale and Supply of Alcohol (Cellar Door Tasting) Amendment Bill, proposed by National Party MP Stuart Smith, was drawn from the Member’s Bill Ballot last week

Winery cellar doors are an important part of wine tourism, yet the current legislation does not permit wineries holding an off-licence to charge for tastings.

Central Otago Winegrowers Association general manager Jake Tipler said many cellar doors were being financially penalised by people treating wine tasting as a social occasion as opposed to a tasting with the view of buying wines.

Wine growers were unable to charge for wine tastings unless they were serving food, and most of them ran at a loss.

‘‘For some small winemakers it is crippling them ... now they can get people to pay a minimal amount for wine tasting and that will cover costs,’’ he said.

He said the cost of staff to have a cellar door open daily was a big part of the running costs of a winery.

Central Otago had more than 60 cellar doors and they varied in size and importance to winemakers.

A business such as Gibbston Valley Winery sold 80% of its wine through its cellar door, while some smaller vineyards sold virtually none.

Wine tasting was set up to attract people to try wines with a view to buying bottles, but to many it had become about binge drinking.

Mr Tipler said the charges would be minimal, about $10-$15 a person.

New Zealand was the odd one out, as every other wine-producing country set charges for people to visit cellar doors.

Mr Tipler went to the United...

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