A Drop of Wine
Gisborne is New Zealand’s second-largest producer of chardonnay grapes (after Marlborough), growing over a third of the national crop. The area also produces significant quantities of award-winning Riesling and a wide range of other varieties. Pick up the Winery Guide at the visitor center, fix yourself a picnic, and head out to explore. Note: Not all wineries are open to the public all the time, so it pays to phone ahead for hours. You’ll find additional information at www.gisbornewine.co.nz.
The Millton Vineyard, 119 Papatu Rd., Manutuke (tel. 06/862-8680; www.millton.co.nz), was established in 1984 as New Zealand’s first commercial, fully certified organic winery. It’s known for its Riesling, chenin blanc, and late-harvest dessert wines. It’s set in a superb garden with a picnic area and is open daily from 10am to 5pm in summer, or by appointment year-round. Montana Wines, Lytton Road, Gisborne (tel. 06/867-9819; www.montana.co.nz), was established in 1934 and is New Zealand’s leading winemaker and wine exporter. The company has wineries in Auckland, Marlborough, Hawke’s Bay, and Gisborne. The Gisborne winery produces the Ormond Estate, Patutahi Estate, Saints, and Montana labels—some of the country’s best chardonnay. And check out the newest addition, the Lindauer Cellars, Solander Street (tel. 06/868-2757; www.montana.co.nz), which is open daily December through February, and Tuesday through Saturday from March to November.
The Works & Longbush Wines, the Works, Esplanade, Inner Harbour, Gisborne (tel. 06/863-1285; www.longbush.com), is where the Thorpe family has worked its vineyards for more than 35 years and now produces three ranges of Gisborne-made wines under the Woodlands, Longbush, and Nick’s Head labels. It focuses on chardonnay and merlot. You can taste the production at the Works, a restaurant and wine bar, from 10am to 6pm daily.
In addition to the above, you can also visit Waiohika Estate, 75 Waimata Valley Rd. (tel. 06/867-4670), for wine tastings and garden visits; Amor-Bendall, 24 Moana Rd., Wainui Beach (tel. 021/859-435; www.amor-bendall.co.nz), for chardonnay and pinot gris; and TW Chardonnay, Back Ormond Road (tel. 021/864-818; call for an appointment; www.twwines.co.nz), for very good vineyard tours and tastings. If you’d like to learn the secrets of cider making, visit the Cidery, 91 Customhouse St. (tel. 06/868-8300), home to New Zealand’s leading cider producer, Bulmer Harvest. It’s open weekdays 9am to 5pm, weekends 10am until 3pm.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.