Central Otago pinot noir New Zealand
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Central Otago pinot noir wines
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Gibbston-Wakatipu Basin

For many it was wine made in the Gibbston Valley that put Central Otago wines on the map. Alan Brady planted some of the first grape vines in the region in the Gibbston Valley in 1981 and 1982. (Earlier plantings had been made by Ann Pinkney near Arrowtown five years earlier). The first commercial vintage of Gibbston Valley Wine was bottled in 1987, and since then the winery has consistently produced award-winning wines including several vintages of Reserve Pinot Noir which have taken international medals and trophies. Gibbston Valley Winery, with its associated restaurant and retail shop, is one of New Zealandís most visited wineries, being located close to Queenstown.

Rob and Greg Hay planted vines at Chard Farm a few years later, and wines produced there have also been consistently well received.

More recently Greg Hay moved into his own ventures, establishing Peregrine Winery and Wentworth Estate; the vineyards spreading along the Gibbston Flats (as well as in other parts of the region). Other vineyards on the flats include Waitiri Creek, Nevis Bluff, and tucked away around the back road, Sam Neillís Two Paddocks, Valli Vineyards, Mount Edward (Alan Bradyís new venture), Sleeping Dogs. Closer to Queenstown, around Lake Hayes, are located the Amisfield Winery, and Taramea Wines near Arrowtown.

The Gibbston Valley subregion tends to be cooler and wetter than other subregions in Central Otago, vines ripen later and harvest dates can be a month later at Gibbston than at Bannockburn. Slow ripening of the vines can enhance the build-up of colour and flavour, but for insurance against a poor vintage, some of the vineyards in the subregion are selecting other sites in the Cromwell Basin or around Alexandra to provide some of the grapes for blending with their fruit.

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