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Zorks, corks, screwcaps roadshow with a difference

Zorks, corks, screwcaps…a wine roadshow with a difference

Discovering the relative attributes of various wine bottle closures will be among the highlights of an innovative roadshow to be mounted in late August by one of New Zealand’s major wine distributors.

Tastings, discussions with winemakers and the chance to win both bottles of Louis Roederer Champagne and a trip for two to the Gold Coast are among the highlights of what is expected to be one of the most effective trade presentations for many years.

Vintage Wines & Spirits, which markets and distributes a wide range of New Zealand and imported wine brands, will be presenting wines under almost every type of premium closure during the roadshow which takes in Christchurch, Wellington, Tauranga and Auckland.

These include the widening use of screwcaps, a new hybrid cork introduced by Nelson’s Tasman Bay brand and the revolutionary Zork from Australia, introduced with some fanfare on the Red Knot family of wines.

“We’ve decided to take our wines directly to the trade this year, rather than exhibit at Wine New Zealand,” said Nick Hern, managing director of Vintage Wines & Spirits.

“Wine New Zealand is a fine venue and we’ve supported it heavily in the past. But it is restricted to New Zealand wines and, while we are intensely proud of the many New Zealand ranges in our portfolio, we are also a big player in Australian and other imported wines.”

Organising a roadshow was the best bet for trade customers, said Hern. “And also the public who will be better served by a wider variety of wine choices and by the enhanced information the trade will be able to share with them.”

Vintage’s portfolio features several Australian wineries, including those in the McGuigan group, as well as brands from France, Chile, Germany, Italy and Portugal.

“Another reason for going on the road was that we could bring winemakers and other key brand principals to the trade in regional markets, rather than expect them to come to Auckland,” said Hern. “Many buyers find it difficult to get away from their bar, pub, store or restaurant to spend a few days in Auckland.”

The dedicated shows mean that buyers can talk directly with the people making the wine in a more relaxed setting, Hern explained.

A special feature of the shows will be tastings of wines not usually available in New Zealand. These can be indented, giving buyers the point of difference which is becoming so vital in an increasingly competitive market.

As trade buyers circulate around the show stands, they will have a “passport” to be stamped. “This is a bit of fun, encouraging people to taste and talk,” said Hern.

All completed passports will go into a draw at each show for a bottle of Louis Roederer’s famous Cristal Champagne. At the end of the roadshow, all passports will be entered in another draw, giving one buyer a trip for two to Queensland’s Gold Coast.

Spirits tastings will also be offered.

And Kapiti Cheeses will be supporting the venture with cheese platters to match the many wine styles on offer.

“We are confident this will be one of the most memorable and successful wine roadshows ever staged in New Zealand,” said Hern.

The show series starts in Christchurch at Chateau in the Park on Tuesday August 23, followed by Wellington (The Boat Shed) on Wednesday August 24 and Tauranga (Tauranga Yacht & Powerboat Club) on Tuesday August 30. The final event will be at the Ellerslie Racecourse in Auckland on Wednesday August 31.

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