Gisborne

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

Kirkpatrick Estate

This relatively remote area 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 New Zealand's third largest wine region and is home to a mix of large producers, boutique wineries, and entrepreneurial growers, who are continuously exploring new varieties and vineyard sites.
Chardonnay is the dominant variety and enjoys great success.

Delightfully bright Pinot Gris is the region's second largest wine variety, with emerging varieties being trialed with great success.

Rich in history, Gisborne claims Captain Cook’s first landfall, as well as being the first place in New Zealand to see the sunrise.

Gisborne subregions

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 1800s. 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, planting & production information

Gisborne region major plantings & styles

Chardonnay 

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

Aromatics 

Gewürztraminer a highlight with well-textured, strongly aromatic, spicy wines; some excellent perfumed Riesling and Chenin Blanc; promising Pinot Gris and Viognier.

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.

Sauvignon Blanc

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

Other

Sparkling wines successful (home to Lindauer cellars); Semillon does well. Pinot Noir, Pinotage, fortified and dessert styles also stand out amongst an eclectic selection.

Gisborne production statistics
 

Climate & soil

Gisborne regional climate

Climate

High sunshine hours and a warm climate (regularly recording the highest sunshine hours and temperatures in the country) see Gisborne’s grapes often the first to be harvested in New Zealand. Late summer/autumn rainfall can test producers, but recent advances in viticultural techniques and site selection have made this less of an issue. The surrounding ranges provide inland shelter, with cool sea breezes benefitting coastal sites.

Soil

The youthful, very hilly landscape fans out into the lush lowland flood plains of the Waipaoa River. This diversity provides a mix of clay and silt loams, along with fine silt river loams (ideal for aromatic wines) and heavier clay soils on the plains (suiting fleshier wine styles). Site selection has moved away from the highly fertile flood loams towards higher, free-draining sections of the plains and foothills.

Find Gisborne wine near you

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