Gisborne

For many years, Gisborne was New Zealand's equivillant to Australia's Riverland. It was NZ’s ‘fruit bowl' producing millions of litres of cheap wine every year. Today, they produce less cheap, cask wine and have become ‘Chardonnay central'. Half the vineyards are planted to the varietal, and Gisborne Chardonnay is used as a component in many NZ Chardonnays. Red wine accounts for only 10% of Gisborne’s production. Located on the most easterly tip of the North Island, Gisborne is on the same parallel as Malaga in Spain and Melbourne and is one of the closest points to the International dateline. It has six distinct areas for grape growing: Patutahi, Waipaoa, Golden Slopes, Central Valley, Manutuke and Ormond. The soils are moderately fertile silt or clay loams over volcanic or sandy subsoils, and the climate is described as warm, temperate with shelter from the mountain ranges to the West. Furthermore, Gisborne receives a high rate of sunshine hours and the vines are the first to see the sun in NZ. Gisborne is best known for Chardonnay and aromatic whites; such as Gewurztraminer, Viognier, Chenin Blanc and Pinot Gris. However, it also produces decent sparkling styles along with Merlot and Malbec. The white wine styles tend to be intensely fruity in the spicy, tropical melon vein, and are very approachable when young.