Mt Rosa co-owner Jeremy Railton samples the 2010 Mt Rosa
reserve pinot noir beside vineyards which soon will be
ready for harvesting and before his winery and the
neighbouring Brennan Wines host the Gibbston Wine and Food
Festival tomorrow. Photo by James Beech.
The new-look Gibbston Wine and Food Festival tomorrow
will usher in a good grape harvest in the Gibbston valley in
the next few weeks after the long, hot, dry summer, winemakers
The popular event, formerly known as the Gibbston Harvest
Festival, will be hosted by neighbouring valley wineries Mt
Rosa and Brennan Wines and include stalls run by a dozen
Gibbston and Central Otago wineries and a dozen gourmet
eating establishments from 11am.
''It should be good. It's a good low-cost family day and lets
people meet people in the wine game,'' Mt Rosa co-owner
Jeremy Railton said. Almost 40ha of grapes were likely to be
harvested in six weeks, with up to 50 people hired in the
About 60% of the harvest would be for pinot noir production
and 40% for riesling, pinot gris, pinot blanc, Sauvignon
Blanc and Gewurztraminer.
Mr Railton said the consistent summer season had benefited
his crop as ''we can add water, we can't take it away'' and
made up for the frosty start to spring.
''It'll be good to end on a good note,'' he said.
Gibbston Valley Winery, at the other end of the Gibbston
Highway and the first and largest producer in the Central
Otago sub-region, predicted the start of its harvest in about
a week's time, also due to a cool start to the spring.
However, the summer had bolstered growth and caused an even
flowering and the winery was pleased with the expected yield,
which was likely to be on a par with last year's.
''We're cautiously happy at this point and hope the warm and
dry spell continues,'' Gibbston Valley Wines winemaker
Christopher Keys said yesterday.
''Even if it does rain now, it'd probably be more helpful
''It's a nice sized season that's ripening at the right
Mr Keys said he thought a harvest of the fruit for sparkling
wine might begin in the last week of March. Red production
for pinot noir might begin after the first week of April.
A picking team of 40 to 50 people, plus an extra three or
four staff, in addition to the three staff in the winery,
would be hired for the harvest across the winery's 60ha.
Vintage 2013 would be ''one to remember'' if the grapes
already harvested in northern regions were any indication,
New Zealand Winegrowers chief executive Philip Gregan, of
Auckland, said this week.
''We understand the pain the current drought is causing in
the pastoral sector, but the warm, dry summer of 2013 has
been absolutely perfect for growing and ripening grapes.
''As we move into autumn, still with warm days and now
slightly cooler nights prevailing, the prospect is for an
outstanding vintage in all our grapegrowing regions.''