Thousands of fans with a thirst for rugby will flood into New Zealand in the next six weeks and the wine industry’s hoping to broaden their tastes beyond just ball sports.
The $1.1 billion export industry is one of 18 sectors being promoted to Rugby World Cup visitors as part of the Real New Zealand Showcase.
New Zealand Winegrowers represents about 650 wineries and more than 1000 grapegrowers from around the country.
Its global marketing director Chris Yorke says the 20 nations competing in the Rugby World Cup are New Zealand’s top wine export markets, with the United States, Australia, Canada and the United Kingdom together making up 90% of wine exports.
And while rugby may be more traditionally associated with beer, Mr Yorke is confident there will be plenty of wine drinkers amongst the 90,000 international visitors making the trip to New Zealand.
In Nelson, wineries have arranged a first 15 wine competition, which will pit the best local wines against those from the United States and Italy.
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