Seventeen native trees were planted at the 45th Parallel landmark near Cromwell by 17 of the world’s leading sommeliers, wine media, restaurateurs and others in the wine trade last Wednesday.
The 17 were hosted by the Central Otago Winegrowers Association (Cowga) and were in the region from July 28 to 31.
Cowga president Nick Paulin said they came from the United Kingdom, United States, Australia and New Zealand as part of the organisation’s annual E’Sensual Pinot Noir event.
The visitors spent four days visiting vineyards and wineries and attended master classes on the region and its wines, and tastings and dinners which featured local wines.
“It is part of our regional marketing event we run every year,” Mr Paulin said.
About 20 of the region’s wineries were involved in the event, and although the visitors did not visit all of them, they tasted wines from each during master classes, the lunches and dinners and the grand tasting.
Wineries provided at least three wines of different vintages and representatives were able to talk to the visitors about their product.
“We tried to show off the regions as much as we can,” he said.
In addition to funding from Central Otago wineries towards the cost of the event, several businesses provided sponsorship, including Air New Zealand for flights.
The visitors planted the locally grown native trees at the 45th Parallel landmark on Wednesday afternoon.
The trees were supplied by the Mokihi Trust, of Cromwell, and Cowga paid for them.
Mr Paulin said many Central Otago vineyards already did revegetation work in their own properties, but with many of the guests travelling long distances, it was fitting to have the guests involved in the community’s efforts in a public area.
“The feedback has been good, and they loved it and they are more aware of the region ,” he said.
By showcasing the region and its wines to some of the most influential people in the wine trade during the E’Sensual Pinot Noir event, he said it was more effective than individual winery representatives travelling to the various restaurants around the world.
“By bringing them to Central Otago so they can see what is going on, it makes a big difference to us and the interest in the region and we don’t have to travel to see them.
“It is a regional promotion and that is what we do it for, to show off the region as much as we can.”
He said the value and impact for the region was “priceless”.