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Clocktower.Tuesday 10 April 2018 10:10am

White wine image
An MoU was recently signed between the University of Otago and the Women in Wine – Central Otago group from Ata Mara vineyard. Photo: Creative Commons.

The University of Otago is partnering with Central Otago vineyards to improve business practices in the sector.

A memorandum of understanding was recently signed between the University and Women in Wine – Central Otago.

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Business School Dean, Professor Robin Gauld.

Business School Dean, Professor Robin Gauld says the University is looking forward to working with the group by providing research, education, and training opportunities in every aspect of the wine industry.

“This new and exciting collaboration will foster multi-disciplinary initiatives across the University of Otago, in particular by developing staff and student research and workshops led by the Business School's Department of Tourism, recently recognised by the World Leisure Organization as a 'World Leisure Center of Excellence'.”

Women in Wine – Central Otago founder, of Ata Mara Vineyard, Janiene Bayliss describes it as an “important partnership” as it will “determine the way we do business”.

It would also allow the University to “delve deeply into an exciting industry, right on its doorstep, for the purposes of excellent research and active student participation”.

“The very first thing we will be undertaking is identifying research areas and topics key to our members, for example, wine tourism, wine-making technology, wine waste and wine bioactives.

“We hope that before the next tourist season begins we will be undertaking some data analysis to give us meaningful trends,” she says.

Despite being made up of many small vineyards, the Central Otago wine industry is one of the region's largest generators of revenue, creating more than $300 million in value, and investing more than $50 million into the region in the way of machinery, costs and labour.

Ms Bayliss says the wine industry now operates as part of the tourism experience providing a range of vineyard experiences, including food, accommodation, tastings and tours.

“To leverage that properly, and make the very best business decisions, we need much better trend information and usage of the data from a number of contact points. The University of Otago partnership is the perfect tool to enable us to move forward and do some exciting thinking pieces together.

“Insights gained through expert advice from the University together with our own knowledge will allow us to plan better and make informed decisions.”

A list of Otago experts available for media comment is available elsewhere on this website.

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