Gisborne Wine Region

Gisborne rewards those who take a trip east with a diverse range of wines, from full-flavoured and fruit-driven, to critically acclaimed biodynamic classics.

Gisborne is home to a mix of large producers, boutique wineries, and entrepreneurial growers, who are continuously exploring new varieties and vineyard sites. A dynamic food and wine scene completes the picture.
Rich in history, Gisborne claims Captain Cook’s first landfall, as well as being the first place in New Zealand to see the sunrise.
Chardonnay is the dominant variety and enjoys great success, though a very wide range of red and white varieties are successfully established and new varieties are always trialled. Hillside land is being explored and matched with new varieties and clones; Gisborne’s renaissance is fully underway.

The mix of high sunshine, verdant landscapes, fascinating history and the exciting range of wine styles makes Gisborne a beguiling wine destination.

Gisborne wine subregions

Regional Maps 2020, Gisborne

Regularly recording some of the highest sunshine and temperatures in New Zealand sees Gisborne frequently the country’s first to be harvested. 

A. Ormond

North of the city, where the river valley narrows into the Raukumara Ranges the site of Gisborne’s original plantings (and some of today’s best vineyards and wines) produces numerous single-vineyard wines. This area is also home to ‘The Golden Slope’, a 10km gently-sloping, free-draining escarpment with limestone-influenced topsoil, which produces some of Gisborne’s best Chardonnay.

B. Patutahi

Around one-third of region’s vines are found on this warmer inland site, to the west of the city. With low rainfall and well-draining, sloping clay and silt soils this area produces excellent, rich Gewürztraminer, along with other varieties, with good texture and body.

C. Manutuke

In this coastal area, south of the city, vines were first established in the late 1890s. Chardonnay is the main variety grown in well-drained and sandy soils, with silty and heavier Kaiti clay soils found in sites to the hillier west. Nearer to the river, soil and climatic conditions can produce delightful botrytised wines and finely-textured aromatics.

Winestyles and planting information

Wine Region Plantings 2020, Gisborne

 

Chardonnay 

Highly aromatic, with rich, lush palates bursting with fruit. Delicious simple early-drinking styles a speciality, though the top, most intense wines have real longevity.

Pinot Gris

Styles vary in sweetness and fruit intesity, with strong melon and spice aromatics, and rich mouth feel.

Sauvignon Blanc

Very tropical, ripe and bold styles with broad palates though early picked styles can be lighter, herbaceous and zesty.

Gewürztraminer

Distincly aromatic and spicy, Gisborne Gewürztraminer is a distinct marker of the region.

Merlot

Can be challenging in the climate but drier years give fleshy, flavoursome reds. Other heavier red varieties e.g. Malbec enjoy success in carefully chosen sites.
 

Visit Gisborne

Visiting Gisborne

Gisborne’s high amount of sunshine not only attributes to robust growing conditions, but also makes this region a stellar place to visit. The award-winning wineries of this region are close neighbours, both in proximity and community, and can all be reached within 15 minutes from city center or Gisborne Airport.  This accessibility allows visitors to take their time, relax, and savour the region’s highly acclaimed wines.

This cool little surf town is chock full of cafes, shops and galleries, and also has an abundance of options for nature lovers including trekking, fishing, surfing, and cycling. For more information on visiting Gisborne, see www.tairawhitigisborne.co.nz.

Find Gisborne wine near you

Learn more about Gisborne wine

New Zealand Wine Textbook
Back to top