An entrepreneurial Central Otago wine company is eyeing international markets for its distinctive mulled wine syrup, The Changer, which it believes has global potential.
Owners of Gibbston’s Mt Rosa, Ann and Guy Boanas, have been providing pre-mix mulled wine to bars and cafés in the area for ten years, inspired to produce their own distinctive brand after a series of winters skiing holidays in Europe.
“We felt that the mulled wine in New Zealand was not as good as it could be, certainly not by European standards, “says Ann, “so we decided to make our own. We came up with the idea for a natural, preservative free syrup which is the key ingredient and ready to be mixed with our Rosé wine.”
A year ago, they re-branded the syrup asThe Changer, the name re ecting its role in creating mulled wine, and began to focus on promoting the distinctive product locally through the Mt Rosa tasting room, nationally and now internationally.
More recently Ann and Guy have produced a Sangria syrup under The Changer umbrella, offering a summer option in the series, which they say is now starting to gain traction.
“These are exciting products and we are committed to going down the international track,” says Guy. “We are currently working with a marketing company to help us achieve this goal and see a lot more opportunity for selling our syrups offshore than selling wine overseas which is a tough business.”
The syrups are made on site at Mt Rosa but there are plans to set up a more extensive commercial kitchen away from the winery.
However, the Mt Rosa tasting room provides the ideal background for people to taste and buy the innovatively branded syrups, which they can sample mixed with the company’s Rosé wine.
“There’s certainly a lot of interest, particularly if people like a sweet drink, because there is very little sweet wine available in Central Otago,” says Guy. “Visitors from places like Canada the US and Australia are keen to purchase The Changer products to take home to use in their winter or summer seasons.”
Mt Rosa proposes to expand its tasting room in response to the growing demand, particularly due to the increase in wine tours in the region.
“We are very upbeat about the possibilities for both the mulled wine and sangria syrups on the wider market,” says Ann. “As to the future we’re always thinking about growing the ‘family’ and there’s definitely other ideas simmering.”