With local family and tourism connections dating back three generations, a Kiwi couple are looking to make their mark on the booming Queenstown wine tourism industry.
Husband-and-wife to be Emma Chisholm and Lee Saunders have launched Alpine Wine Tours, a new wine experience offering unique, personalised and ‘adult-only’ experiences for every wine-lover.
Central Otago’s wine tourism industry is heading into a boom period, following research by Tourism New Zealand and New Zealand winegrowers showing that around 25% of international tourists seek out a wine experience, (increasing to 42% for those who visit to cycle or play golf).
Wineries around the country are ramping up their tourism offerings as part of a strategy expected to see wine exports reach $2 billion annually by 2020, and Alpine Wine Tours says there’s never been a more exciting time to launch a new wine experience.
Alpine Wine Tours offers memorable group, private and custom wine and distillery tours from Queenstown, showcasing the unique wine and spirits of the region.
Co-owner Emma Chisholm is thrilled with how well received their new tours have been by locals and tourists.
“It’s been a huge success,” she says. “We saw a gap in the market for unique and personalised wine experiences in Queenstown and people’s initial reactions have been incredible.
“Our guests have nothing but positive things to say. We pride ourselves on providing good old-fashioned authentic Kiwi hospitality and I think that really resonates with people.
Emma and Lee are no strangers to the Queenstown tourism scene, as they also run successful tour company Alpine Adventures.
Emma is the third generation of the Chisholm family to work in Queenstown’s tourism industry. Her parents famed ‘flying pub crawl’ tour of the 1980s propelled her passion for creating some truly unforgettable adventures.
“It was called Henry’s Backcountry Flying Pub Crawl, and the name pretty much sums it up. It was fun, it was rowdy, and it was unique,” she says.
“Like Mum and Dad, we try to make every tour memorable. We’ve built great friendships with the winery owners and businesses we work with, and as a result, our guests leave Queenstown feeling like locals.”
Setting themselves apart from the rest, the local family-owned and operated business has created three adult-only group experiences, while those with children can enjoy a private tour.
Director and Tour Guide Lee Saunders said their adults only tours are already receiving rave reviews.
“People love it! There’s over 15 wine tour companies in Queenstown and almost all of them allow kids on their group tours,” he says.
“We wanted to give adults a chance to kick back and completely relax. We love kids, we have one of our own, but we all know that sometimes you just want a day to yourself.”
Alpine Wine Tours offers half and full-day tour options, taking visitors through the stunning Gibbston sub-region and into the beautiful Cardrona Valley in the comfort of their impressive fleet of luxury European vehicles.
Recognised with Tourism New Zealand’s Qualmark silver rating, the company prides itself on employing local and knowledgeable guides.
“All our guides are certified, passionate and just all-round fun,” says Lee. “We love to go the extra mile with the little touches like giving personalised water bottles and wine sleeves as gifts, to sharing our family history and local knowledge.
“Because we specialise in wine tours only our guides are super knowledgeable. They’re not your average sightseeing guide, they’re real wine experts.”
Alpine Wine Tours operates daily group, personal and customisable experiences from Queenstown. For more information see their website.