The 4 Barrels Walking Wine Trail has been unveiled providing an easy way for tourists and locals to navigate around four of Central Otago’s premium wine producers by foot. The self-paced eight-kilometre loop trail includes Misha’s Vineyard, Aurum Wines, Scott Base and Wooing Tree Vineyard, as well as capturing some wonderful scenery through orchards and around Lake Dunstan.

The total walking time on the trail is approximately 90 minutes and can be completed in 3.5 hours assuming 30-minute stops at each tasting room. The trail time may be extended if including a lunch break along the way. At three of the tasting rooms there are lunch and/or platters available or there is the option of bringing one’s own picnic and finding a scenic spot.

“Together we offer an incredibly diverse range of wines which really showcases the depth and diversity of this amazing winegrowing region” said Misha Wilkinson, director of Misha’s Vineyard. As well as being able to taste Central Otago’s famous pinot noir, wine selections include pinot gris, rosé, chardonnay, sauvignon blanc, gewürztraminer, Riesling, sparkling and dessert style wines, port, and even a beer option at one of the Tasting Rooms.

The 4 Barrels Walking Wine Trail brochure includes a uniquely illustrated trail map designed by South American artists Marcelilla Pilla and Leandro Baud, who now live in New Zealand. Having successfully won the map design competition, sponsored by the four participating wineries and promoted on social media, the skills of the two artists so impressed the wineries that they were then commissioned to produce the entire brochure. Walkers are encouraged to visit all four tasting rooms to gain a stamp on the brochure’s passport page in order to enter the quarterly draw to win a mixed case of wine from the participating wineries.

The initiative for this walking wine trail was prompted by the increase in the number of tasting rooms that have opened in close proximity to Cromwell’s town centre as well as the rise in tourism across the region. The Monthly Regional Tourism Estimates from the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE), show that the Central Otago region was up 9 percent to $190 million in visitor spending for the year ending June 2017. According to Tourism New Zealand, 24 percent of tourists arriving in the country take part in a wine experience, up from 13 percent in 2014, and wine tourists stay longer and spend more than the average visitor. NZ Winegrowers, the national industry body has partnered with Tourism New Zealand to further promote wine tourism experiences as international visitor data show how important wine experiences are to visitors.

The 4 Barrels Walking Wine Trail is free. The only costs that may be incurred are wine tasting fees (depending on the policy of the tasting rooms) which are redeemable on a purchase, as well as optional food purchases. Brochures are now available at the Cromwell I-Site, Cromwell accommodation providers and at each of the participating tasting rooms.