Emma Chisholm is continuing a strong tradition as the third generation of her family to forge a career in the Southern Lakes tourism industry – and she inherited her parents’ knack for thinking outside the square.
Having bought tour company Alpine Adventures last year, Emma and fiancé Lee Saunders recently launched Alpine Wine Tours. It’s a natural progression for Emma, who admits that tourism and hospitality are in her blood. After arriving in Queenstown in 1966, her grandmother Lorna became Skyline Gondola’s café manager and in the 1970s her father Adrian was hotel manager of Rydges Lakeland Resort Queenstown. In the 1980s Emma’s parents set up a quirky local business called Henry’s Backcountry Flying Pub Crawl, using small planes to transport customers to country pubs in the middle of nowhere.
Tourism and hospitality are in her blood
That entrepreneurial flair rubbed off on Emma, who has introduced a few points of difference to separate their business from the competition. As a result Alpine Wine Tours offers group tours exclusively for adults (children are welcome on private or custom tours). It also offers brewery and distillery tours for those interested in how beer and spirits are made.
There’s no doubt the Central Otago wine tourism industry is flourishing, with research by Tourism New Zealand and winegrowers revealing that around 25 percent of international tourists seek out a wine experience. Emma and Lee are looking forward to seizing the opportunity to make their mark. “Wine tourism has huge growth potential, especially when teamed with Queenstown’s future growth,” Emma says. “It’s definitely exciting times ahead.”