Winemakers want to rename Blenheim 'Marlborough City'

Marlborough City, or Blenheim (Getty)
Marlborough City, or Blenheim (Getty)

Tired of the association with 'Blenheimer' boxed wine, vintners in Marlborough want to change the name of the region's biggest town.

Their suggestion? Marlborough City, to capitalise on the region's international reputation for producing quality grog.

"We've got a number of people throughout the wine industry and the hospitality sector who have quite openly realised that when you travel internationally the recognition is definitely with Marlborough, it's certainly not with the name Blenheim," says Allan Scott Family Estate general sales manager Mitchell Gardiner.

"When someone comes from the other side of the world, they might know what Marlborough is or particularly why they want to visit Marlborough, but they can easily drive through Marlborough without even realising they've been here."

He got the idea to change Blenheim's name after attending a show by comedian Dai Henwood, who mercilessly mocked the town.

Josh Scott, founder of the Moa Brewing Company, says it's a great idea.

"Marlborough is such a great marketing opportunity, and it's just a way that we can jump on board and help promote the whole region -- not just the wine industry but also the Sounds, we've got some great walks and mountain bike parks."

Mayor Alistair Sowman is sitting on the fence, calling it an interesting idea, but unsure whether locals would back it, or if Blenheim -- population 30,000 -- is big enough to call itself a city.

Blenheim's not the first New Zealand city to try on a new name to boost its standing -- Hamilton has in the past toyed with 'Waikato City' and 'Fountain City'. Both ideas were widely ridiculed, with unofficial nickname 'The Tron' having more staying power.

Both Mr Scott and Mr Gardiner aren't afraid of the rest of the country mocking Marlborough City though.

"The worst thing is people say 'no' and we stay as Blenheim. But we'll still be Marlborough," says Mr Gardiner.

Mr Scott says it will at least end the town's association with Blenheimer.

"That's a pretty horrible wine -- sorry to anyone who makes it."