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Gisborne Wine Region

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The city of Gisborne lies on the east coast of the North Island at the top of Poverty Bay. It is about a three hour drive north from Napier at Hawke's Bay. Situated away from the main trans-island travel routes, Gisborne is the most easterly of New Zealand's small cities and wine regions.

From a slow start with one winery in 1960, Gisborne became the largest producing region in New Zealand by the end of the 70's. This was due to large producers such as Montana and Corbans moving to the area to take advantage of the warm climate and fertile terrain for prodigious output from the vines. Chardonnay, Muller Thurgau and Muscat were widely planted and the wines were sold as blended white box wines.

While high output vines are ideal for making inexpensive jug wines, gold medal wines come from vines that suffer hardship and concentrate their flavors in low yields. As the market matured and re-calibrated to varietal table wines, the growth areas became Hawke's Bay and Marlborough. Gisborne has moved down the scale on percentage of total production although the area under cultivation remains about the same.

For quality wine, Gisborne is still known for its Chardonnay. Montana Brancott's Gisborne Chardonnay draws good reviews and is a good value. There are about a dozen other producers in the area with Chardonnay as the principle bottling. Millton Vineyard is one of the top labels and is also highly regarded for their Chenin Blanc and Riesling.

Here is the list of wineries: