Bill to support NZ wine tourism passes first reading

Villa Maria. Image courtesy New Zealand Wine

New Zealand Winegrowers is delighted with the news that the Sale and Supply of Alcohol (Cellar Door Tasting) Amendment Bill, proposed by Stuart Smith MP, has passed its first reading with broad support from across parliament.

New Zealand Winegrowers has had longstanding concerns about aspects of the Sale and Supply of Alcohol Act as they apply to winery cellar doors. This bill would help to address some of their key concerns for wineries, which are in the lowest risk category under the regulations.

Philip Gregan, CEO of New Zealand Winegrowers, congratulated Smith on his bill reaching this next step. As the Member of Parliament for New Zealand’s largest wine region, Smith understands first-hand the importance of this proposal and Gregan is grateful for his support of the industry.

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. “The current legislation is out of date,” said Gregan. “It either forces wineries to give wine away for free, or forces them to go through significant cost and time to acquire and maintain a separate on-licence.”

“We welcome the opportunity to explain and explore our views and the views of the community at the Select Committee. We will be inviting our members to submit directly, and to tell the Committee how these changes would affect them.”

This regulatory change would ensure that winery cellar doors can provide exemplary tasting services to both domestic and international tourists, without the unnecessary extra red-tape. This will be particularly valued by winery cellar doors in Hawke’s Bay and Gisborne who have been affected by Cyclone Gabrielle.

With over 600 small wineries in New Zealand, this will make a big difference, and will encourage more winery cellar doors to open for the enjoyment of returning international wine tourists.

Wineries will still be bound be existing host responsibility provisions, while the Bill also introduces a maximum pour size of 40 ml for each tasting sample.

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