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Gibbston Valley Winery Celebrates 25th Anniversary Vintage

Gibbston Valley Winery Celebrates 25th Anniversary Vintage as ‘One of the Best Yet’
 
A dream run of summer and autumn weather producing high quality fruit has pioneering wine company Gibbston Valley Winery predicting an outstanding 2012 vintage.
 
This year the winery is celebrating the 25th anniversary of the first commercial harvest of grapes in New Zealand’s Central Otago after picking 300 tonnes of intensely flavoured fruit.
 
Defying critics who described the land as “too cold and too far South”, founder Alan Brady was the first to plant and commercially produce wines in Gibbston Valley, harvesting pinot noir, pinot gris and a ‘dry white’ blend in 1987.
 
Twenty-five years later, he returned to the multi-award-winning and world-renowned winery to help harvest grapes in the original block he planted.
 
“In those early days we experimented by planting everything under the sun, and pinot noir chose us, we didn’t choose it,” he said.
 
“It ripened more consistently than any other variety, and from that moment on we were in on the ground floor of what became the pinot noir phenomenon, what’s now the second-largest variety in New Zealand to sauvignon blanc.
 
“Over the years we attracted some of the best winemakers in New Zealand to come and work with pinot noir, known as the ‘heartbreak grape’ because it’s difficult to do and winemakers love the challenge.
 
“Twenty-five years later I’m still looking ahead because we’re producing wines of such outstanding quality that fully reflect the uniqueness of Central Otago, its climate and soils.”
 
Gibbston Valley Winery winemaker Christopher Keys, who has been with the company for the past six years, said he was delighted with the 2012 vintage. 
 
“In Central Otago we enjoyed a long warm summer, which makes such a difference to the quality of the pinot noir.  Although in February and early March there were cool patches, the long dry autumn and great weather through March and April meant we picked really lovely fruit, with really balanced sugar levels, great flavour, and good acid levels. 
 
“We’re very happy with 2012’s quality, smaller bunches have given welcome intensity, and flavours are excellent.”
 
Mr Keys described this year's pinot noir as having "sweet fruit, excellent balance and ripeness," while the pinot gris, chardonnay and riesling were as good as he'd seen.  "What is setting them apart is their amazing clarity and fresh intensity. They will give great drinking for years," he said.

Mr Keys said Gibbston Valley Winery was blessed to have had such a lovely harvest, when conditions had not been so easy around the rest of the country.
 
The reds are currently being pressed and put to barrel, while the whites are finishing their fermentation process.
 
Mr Keys said the strength of Gibbston Valley Winery was in the quality of its eight distinct vineyard sites. Bringing together grapes from the pioneer Home Block vineyard in Gibbston to the heights of School House in Bendigo, he said each gave different Central Otago characteristics to the wine.
 
“We’re committed to crafting wines that reflect who we are, the proud owners of some of the oldest vineyards in the region,” he said.
 
“Each and every glass of a Gibbston Valley Winery pinot noir from the Single Vineyard range tells a story of where this vineyard is, how high it is, what its soils are like, what the climate is like, and when it ripens.
 
“Add to that the story of the land, who planted it and what they were dreaming – as with Alan Brady’s Le Maitre pinot noir – and you have something very uniquely different.
 
“Knowing that each vineyard has a character, identity and uniqueness makes preserving their array of flavours in the bottle a genuine ongoing delight.”
 
Over the years, Gibbston Valley Winery has won over 300 national and international awards, helping put the Central Otago wine region on the map. 
 
Thanks to the pioneering spirit of those such as Gibbston Valley Winery founder Alan Brady, the Central Otago region now has approximately 2000 hectares of vines and over 100 producers, and this year’s total harvest is expected to be about 7000 tonnes.
 
Gibbston Valley Winery is also home to a stunning winery restaurant, a cellar door wine tasting facility, New Zealand’s largest and innovative wine cave, available for wine tours, private functions, weddings and special occasions, the new Barrel Room for C&I functions and weddings, and a retail outlet.
 
ENDS

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