Winning on the Walking Wine Trail

The 4 Barrels Walking Wine Trail, a scenic route connecting four of Central Otago’s cellar doors, has proven to be a winner for not only those visiting the Central Otago region but also for local residents.

In the three years since the launch, thousands of people have taken to the 4 Barrels Walking Wine Trail making it one of the region’s most popular activities. The picturesque trail, which connects the cellar doors of Misha’s Vineyard, Aurum Wines, Scott Base and Wooing Tree Wines, provides walkers with some unexpected benefits as one local resident just discovered!

Wendy van Lieshout was the most recent winner of a prize draw that’s held every three months for all walkers completing the trail. She said her complimentary case of wine came “as a lovely surprise” after what she described as a very challenging year running her inbound tourism business.

“You’ll be pleased to know that it was our first time on the trail as we’ve been local for just eighteen months, and we also brought out-of-town friends with us,” said Wendy. “It was a glorious day - one of our best Otago memories so far, and we’ve told heaps of friends about the experience.”

There’s now a further incentive to walk the trail this summer with the chance to ‘Scan and Win’ the ultimate wine escape to any wine region of choice. The prize, which includes return flights on Air New Zealand for 2 adults and 2 nights accommodation, is worth a total value of $3,500!

The promotion is part of the national Visit the Vines tourism campaign and visitors to all participating cellar doors, winery restaurants or vineyard accommodation can enter the competition up to 31st January 2021. The 4 Barrels Walking Wine Trail gives walkers a total of four opportunities to enter this competition simply by scanning and completing an online entry at each of the cellar doors on the trail.

Since the launch of 4 Barrels Walking Wine Trail in September 2017, there have been some changes which have enhanced the overall experience. With the opening of large sections of the Lake Dunstan Cycling and Walking Trail, 4 Barrels walkers can now join this scenic track for a segment of the walk. Also, all four of the cellar doors now offer snacks or light lunch options so there is always a place to stop and replenish along the way.

The Gate tourist complex has opened the Forage Information Centre and Café, situated just down from Cromwell’s famous 13 metre ‘Big Fruit’ sculpture. This now serves as the ideal central place to pick up a 4 Barrels Walking Wine Trail map and start the walk.

The original idea for the 4 Barrels Walking Wine Trail came about due to the number of tasting rooms that opened in close proximity to the Cromwell town centre as well as an increase in tourism across the region. With the impact of Covid-19 over the past year and the extended closure of New Zealand’s borders, there was a concern as to whether there would be enough domestic tourists to keep the cellar doors and the wine trail operating.

“Recent data indicates Central Otago did in fact grow its visitor market by one percent between August and November 2020 and to see any growth when international visitors traditionally comprise 25 percent of our visitor market, is excellent news,” commented General Manager of Tourism Central Otago, Dylan Rushbrook.

“From personal experience, I’ve seen plenty of people enjoying the wineries and their wonderful hospitality with the 4 Barrels Walking Wine Trail providing a great way to do this.”

“We have been delighted with the support from our domestic tourists this year,” noted Misha Wilkinson, Director of Misha’s Vineyard. “There’s been this incredible feeling of camaraderie in our tasting rooms which we’ve all enjoyed and certainly hope it will continue.”