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edited by Sue Courtney
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Gisborne - Chardonnay country
copyright Sue Courtney
Updated 19 February 2008

Gisborne, New Zealand - Wine sub-regions. Although the missionaries dabbled with grape growing in Gisborne in the mid-1800's, the region did not produce wine commercially until the arrival of Frederick Wohnsiedler from Germany after the World War I. The vineyard and winery he set up in the Waihirere Valley near Ormond thrived long after his death in 1956. Montana bought the business some years later and the wines from this area are amongst the regions best.

In 2006 there was approximately 1900 hectares of producing vineyard land in Gisborne with Chardonnay by far the most popular grape variety, producing 10 times more than any other grape variety in the region. And with its Chardonnay tonnage the highest in the country, Gisborne prides itself as the "Chardonnay Capital of New Zealand". Gisborne also hosts the International Chardonnay Challenge every October, to focus on the region's main varietal and the diversity of styles it can produce, inviting wineries throughout the world to enter.

Merlot and Gewurztraminer are the second and third most popular grape varieties grown, followed by Semillon and Pinot Noir (for both sparkling and table wine). Pinot Gris and Viognier are also making inroads. Once recognised as a bulk wine producing region, today Gisborne is focussed on producing premium varietals. It is also the home of Lindauer, New Zealand's most popular sparkling wine.

There are several sub-regions in the Gisborne district with the main concentration of grape growing on the Gisborne Plains around Ormond, the Central Valley and Patutahi. Many other wine producers, especially the Auckland-based wineries utilise Gisborne grapes.

While many producers throughout New Zealand utilise Gisborne grapes, this list of wineries includes only the wineries based in the Gisborne region itself - and information was correct at the time of writing.

All member wineries of 'Wines of Gisborne' are also on the 'Wines of Gisborne' website - www.gisbornewine.co.nz.

Amor-Bendall Wines
24 Moana Road, Wainui Beach
Established by Alison Bendall and Noel Amor in 1998. First vintage in 1999.
Cellar door tasting and sales available daily from 10am to 6pm.
Wines include Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Gris, Gewurztraminer, Pinotage and a Rose.
With the beach right across the road, this is a very popular stop in the summer.
Phone: (06) 868 0928.
Web: www.amor-bendall.co.nz

Brunton Road Wines
44 Brunton Road, RD2, Gisborne
Philip & Margot Searle along with their eldest son Richard and his wife Kirsten, grow grapes in the Upper Patutahi sub-region, launching their label in 2004. The grape portfolio includes Merlot, Chardonnay and Gewürztraminer with Pinot Gris and Viognier being planted in 2006. Grapes are transported to Marlborough where they are made into wine by Sam Smail. No tasting facilities at this stage. Ph. (06) 862 7876
Web: www.bruntonroad.co.nz

Bushmere Estate Wines
166 Main Road, Makaraka, Gisborne.
Situated on SH2, long time growers David and Shona Egan launched their label in December 2005. They did in in style with a tasting facility and cafe as well.
Open Friday, Saturday and Sunday for tastings, sales and platters.
Ph. (06) 862 7979
Web: www.bushmere.com

Gisborne Wine Company & Longbush Wines
60 The Esplanade, Gisborne
Winemaker John Thorpe produces wines for his own label, Longbush, at his winery behind 'The Works' cafe as well as making wines under contract for Goldenvines, Repongaere, Revington, Tiritiri and Tologa Bay Vineyards.
For tastings, see Goldenvines Estate, but outside of those times, contact John Thorpe. Ph. (06) 863 2794
Web: www.gisbornewinecompany.co.nz

Golden Slope Ltd (TW)
Back Ormond Road
Geordie and Caroline Witters 15-hectare vineyard and Paul and Jenny Tietjen's 24-hectare vineyard produce the chardonnay grapes for the Golden Slope label as well as providing a source for many other companies.
Vineyard tastings and tours are by arrangement.
Phone: (06) 868 9142 or (06) 868 6499
Web: www.twwines.co.nz

Goldenvines Estate
The Works, Kaiti Beach Road, Gisborne
Tony Taylor, who sources grapes from the family vineyard in the Golden Slope sub region, has leased 'The Works' cafe from John Thorpe, who makes the Chardonnay, while the Merlot and Sauvignon Blanc are made elsewhere.
Tastings of the Goldenvines Estate wines, as well as a range of House of Gisborne Wines, are available at 'The Works' from 10-11am and 3-4pm daily. For $10 you get a choice of 8 samples and a small cheeseboard to accompany the wines.
Ph. (06) 863 1285.

Hihi Wines
53 Bond Road, Gisborne.
Former Tairawhiti student, Andy Nimmo, is producing some very good Pinotage and chardonnay under his Hihi label, with some interesting alternative varieties soon to be added. There is no cellar door or tasting faciltiies yet.
Ph: (06) 862 5077.
Email: andy_nimmo@xtra.co.nz

KEW - Kirkpatrick Estate Winery
Wharekopae Road, Patutahi
Owned by Simon and Karen Kirkpatrick since 2004, this terraced vineyard was previously known as Shalimar Estate. Today, with the skilful hand of winemaker Anita Ewart-Croy, KEW produces Chardonnay, Gewurztraminer, Merlot, Malbec and a delicious Rosé from a flat part of the vineyard dedicated to this wine style. Viognier and Syrah are planned for the future.
Cellar Door now open for wine tasting.
* Winter: 12-4pm Sat/Sun
* Aut/Spr: 11am-5pm Fri thru to Monday
* Summer: 11am-5pm 7 days
You can also partake in a delicious KEW antipasto platter or take a vineyard tour to the viewing platform at the top of the hill overlooking the Patutahi subregion, with views to Young Nicks Head.
Ph: (06) 862 7722
Web: www.kew.co.nz

Knights Road
Knight Road, Patutahi, Gisborne.
David Ladd and Chris Wallace have both been involved with wine growing for a number of years. Now they have established their own label to produce Chardonnay, Semillon and a Rose made from Merlot. There are no tasting facilities at this stage.
Ph: 0508 564 4487.
Web: www.knightsroad.co.nz

Lindauer Cellars
Lytton Road, Gisborne
Under the ownership of Pernod Ricard New Zealand (formerly Allied Domecq Wines (NZ Ltd) and prior to that Montana Wines), this is the largest producing winery in the Gisborne area, and hence they have the most comprehensive cellar door facility consisting of a tasting area and wine shop, restaurant, private tasting room, shaded courtyard, petanque court and winery museum.
Chardonnay is the focus of the operation, however delicious Gewurztraminer, Viognier, Pinot Gris, Semillon and Merlot, are also produced from the region.
Tehre is no cellar door. Unfortunately, due to low visitor numbers, it closed for business on 15th February 2008. Ph: (06) 868 2757
Web: www.pernod-ricard-nz.com

Matawhero Wines
The Colosseum
Riverpoint Road, Matawhero
Established by Denis Irwin in the mid-70's, he quickly gained a reputation for his distinctive Alsace-style gewurztraminers. Also produced is a Chenin Blanc, Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Pinot Noir.
Open for tastings Monday - Saturday.
Ph: (06) 868 8366.
Email: matawhero@gisborne.co.nz.

Repongaere Estate
30 Repongaere Road, Patutahi
Boutique vineyard, olive grove and luxury accommodation. No casual wine tasting facilities on site.
Ph: (06) 8627515
Web: www.www.repongaere.co.nz

Revington Vineyard
Ormond Valley
Ross and Mary-Jane Revington's 4.5-hectare vineyard was established in the Ormond Valley in 1987. It is planted solely in Chardonnay and Gewurztraminer. NO cellar door facilites but wines may be available for tasting at 'The Works'.
Ph: (06)8673058
Web: www.revington.co.nz

Stone Bridge Wines
166 Main Road, Makaraka, Gisborne.
David and Mairead Hart launched their own label after growing grapes for 15 years on their 12 ha property on the banks of the Tahuheru River in the Ormond subregion. They grow Chardonnay, Gewurztraminer, Merlot with Pinot Gris and Viognier.
They have teamed up with Bushmere Estate to share the tasting room and cellar door (see above), open Friday, Saturday and Sunday for tastings, sales and platters.
Ph. (06) 862 7979
Web: www.stonebridge.co.nz

The Millton Vineyard
119 Papatu Road, Manutuke
James and Annie Millton established their winery on the banks of the Te Arai River near Manutuke in 1984. Vineyards are situated here with with additional vineyards around Manutuke and nearby Matawhero. The famous Opou Vineyard was originally established by Annie's father two decades before. Varieties grown include Chenin Blanc, Chardonnay, Riesling, Viognier, Malbec and Pinot Noir and are grown used organic methods. Tastings by appointment only.
Freephone: 0800 464 558 - NZ Only
Web: www.millton.co.nz

Tiritiri Vineyard
Waimata Valley Road
Ph: (06) 867-0372
At 0.67 acres this is one of New Zealand's smallest commercial vineyards. Duncan and Judy Smith's tiny organic vineyard produces only Chardonnay and the first vintage was in 1998. Wines available at 'The Works'. Vineyard tours, sales and tastings by appointment only.
Web: www.tiritiriestate.co.nz

Vinoptima
138 Ngakoroa Road, Ormond, Gisborne.
Gewurztraminer, and only Gewurztraminer, is the focus of this vineyard, the long-time dream of Nick Nobilo (formerly of Nobilo Wines). Not open to the public, but worth driving down the road to see the stunning winery from the gate.
Ph: (06) 862 5220
Web: www.vinoptima.co.nz

Waimata Vineyard
P.O. Box 640, Gisborne
Phone (06) 867 2010
Waimata is the commercial arm of the Gisborne's Tairawhiti Polytech. While students make their own wine, Waimata is made by winemaker and principal tutor, James Hillard. Producing two style of Chardonnay, Merlot and Rose with Syrah from 2006, the grapes are sourced from the Waimata Vineyard on the banks of the Waimata River, inland and east of the city.
Web: www.waimata.ac.nz

Wrights Wines
202 Wainui Road, Gisborne
Phone (06) 868 0967
Winemaker and Viticulturist Geoffrey Wright produces NZ's first certified vegan friendly wine. The GW range is also produced from organically grown grapes. His Methode Traditionnelle is produced under his Entity label. The wines are available nationally at a number of retail outlets, and they can be purchased online.
No cellar door facilities at this stage.
Web: www.wrightswines.co.nz

Gisborne Grape Variety tonnages harvested from the 2002, 2003 & 2004 vintages
In 2002 there was 1725 hectares of vine producing land in Gisborne. It is expected to grow to 1860 hectares by 2004.

Variety

2002*

2003*

2004*

Chardonnay

14,302

6,577

14,149

Chasselas

259

15

0

Chenin Blanc

397

205

471

Gewurztraminer

395

245

520

Muller Thurgau

2,585

1,384

2,395

Muscat Varieties

2,291

1,157

1,407

Palamino

103

64

0

Pinot Gris

143

66

134

Reichensteiner

1,184

644

1,140

Riesling

53

41

63

Sauvignon Blanc

618

409

638

Semillon

1,239

1,364

1,721

Other White Vinifera

452

181

253

Cabernet Franc

116

125

71

Cabernet Sauvignon

11

0

1

Malbec

20

18

27

Merlot

705

850

799

Pinot Noir

1,277

740

1,300

Pinotage

210

188

167

Other Red Vinifera

105

77

90

Hybrids

2

0

0

Total

26,467

14,350

25,346

* Figures are rounded and may not add to the total as supplied by New Zealand Winegrowers.

The information on this page was researched by Sue Courtney and normal copyright applies, including the html code.


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