Two major changes are in store for an iconic Marlborough event.
Organisers of the long-running Graperide announced a new naming rights sponsor and a different start/finish location on Monday.
Whitehaven Wine Company is to take up the naming rights to the event, previously sponsored by Forrest Wines, while the event will next year begin and end at The Vines Village complex.
Whitehaven Wines, who will celebrate 25 years in business this year, view the Graperide partnership as a continuation of its advocacy of Marlborough and commitment to the region.
“Being a family-owned and operated business means that creating positive impacts on our community is vitally important to us” says Whitehaven co-founder and managing director Sue White.
“We see the Whitehaven Graperide as a way to promote inclusivity of communities, sustainable choices and a focus on health and keeping active.”
Sue says she is looking forward to the opportunity of giving the event a fresh focus.
“While we want to retain the core of what has made the Graperide such a nationally and globally renowned cycling event, we look forward to adding our unique stamp to it,” she says.
Founding sponsors Brigid and John Forrest said “the event has become an integral part of our brand over the last 15 years. Our staff and family have grown up with the Graperide as part of their lives and we’re thrilled to be passing the baton to another wine brand who is equally focused on community and sustainability, and who also happen to be our close neighbours at Whitehaven”.
Graperide event director Duncan Mackenzie said “right from the beginning Pete Halligan (event founder) and I had a focus on the rider experience.
“Whitehaven have that same focus and together I’m sure we’ll be adding to the enjoyment and memories riders take away.”
The event will relocate from Forrest Wines to a start/finish location at The Vines Village on Rapaura Rd.
Jeff Fulton of The Vines Village said, “as a unique indoor/outdoor events venue in Marlborough we’re looking forward to adding our special touches to the event.
“Cycling has always been a major focus for us and the opportunity to play a significant role in delivering one of the region’s premier events fits well with our event-focussed ethos.”
The first Whitehaven Graperide is scheduled for Saturday March 28, 2020 with entries opening online shortly.