Yealands scoops tourism innovation award for winery tour app

Yealands’ app that allows visitors to take a self-guided vineyard tour has taken out the top honours at the Drinks International Awards. The app, launched last year, lets visitors explore sustainable features of the winery by car.

The app won the Most Innovative Tourism Experience category at Drinks International Awards.

The app offers a 40 minute, 7.5 kilometre tour for visitors around the company's vineyard in Marlborough and shows Yealands’ efforts to become the most sustainable winery in the world.  

Prior to the app’s invention, the tour was done by a printed map.

However, upgrading to an app-based guide means the tour is available in seven different languages with the click of a button, catering for Yealands’ international visitors.

Founder Peter Yealands said at the time of the launch that the app allowed visitors to go at their own pace around the winery and focus on what catches their interest.

“We want visitors to leave having truly lived and breathed our philosophy and seen first-hand what Yealands is all about.”

The app offers GPS-based alerts to users based where they are on the tour and a detail explanation of ten of the weird and wonderful carbon-zero features of the winery.

These include New Zealand’s largest solar panel installation and Music in the Vines, where solar-powered classical music such as Mozart is projected over some of the vines to improve their health.

There’s also a visit to the Kunekune pigs and babydoll sheep, who help keep the grass under control and reduce fuel consumption from tractors mowing around the vines.

Yealands says it’s the only vineyard in New Zealand that lets let visitors travel around by car unattended, which distinguishes it from its competitors.

“Our self-drive vineyard tour sets us apart from the other cellar doors in New Zealand,” Yealands says.

“The White Road tour has proved very popular with guests visiting the vineyard as it provides a chance to see ‘behind the scenes’ of what most wineries keep private.”

This isn’t the first time Yealands has been recognised for its tourism and sustainability efforts.

It was awarded a Trip Advisor Certificate of Excellence in 2016, as well as becoming the first winery in the world to become carboNZero accredited.

The Drinks International Wine Tourism Challenge recognises innovation in the wine-producing industry worldwide.

Yealands is one of the largest wine companies in New Zealand, with a global output of more than 85 international markets. Over 10,000 visitors visit the vineyard yearly.