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Great Wine Capitals to Meet in Christchurch, New Zealand

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New Zealand, the newest member of the Great Wine Capitals Global Network, is to host international wine industry movers and shakers in November with representatives from the Great Wine Capitals of Bordeaux, France and Napa Valley in the USA attending the Global Network’s international conference in Christchurch.

Christchurch organisers have integrated the conference into a broader event called Wine Discovery New Zealand 2010 - designed to tell the story of New Zealand’s premium wines and wine regions, against the background of the developing international wine tourism industry.

The conference programme will include regional tours, business and science symposia and a comparative international tasting.

The Great Wine Capitals Global Network was founded in Bordeaux, France 10 years ago with the idea of bringing together the world’s most prestigious wine regions to enhance their economic, education and tourism projects.

Members include Bilbao / Rioja, Spain; Bordeaux France; Cape Town, South Africa; Florence, Italy; Mainz, Germany; Mendoza, Argentina; Porto, Portugal and San Francisco / Napa Valley, USA.

In November 2009, following an evaluation process and visit by a network jury, New Zealand's southern wine regions of Canterbury, Waipara Valley, Marlborough, Nelson and Central Otago - coordinated by Christchurch - were accepted as the network's ninth member.

The Global Network’s conference in Christchurch from 31 October to 4 November will include an international wine tasting event where visiting members of the Great Wine Capitals network bring samples of their region’s premium wines to showcase. Members of the public can attend the event.

The conference will also include an international wine research symposium and a presentation dealing with sustainable grape growing and wine making practices.

The Global Network’s 'Best of Wine Tourism' awards will be announced during the conference with Christchurch and the South Island represented in the finalists.

Rather than staying in one spot, conference organisers have developed events and itineraries that will take delegates on a journey through the five South Island wine regions so they can see, first-hand, the secrets behind the country’s premium wines.

Pre and post-conference tours have also been arranged and may include some North Island wine regions.

"It will bring many influential wine writers and wine industry leaders to New Zealand," said Christchurch Mayor, Bob Parker. "The conference will also highlight Christchurch as the gateway to a diverse and dramatic range of wine tourism destinations."

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