Pair mull prospect of winery

Photo by Andrew Ashton.
Photo by Andrew Ashton.
The historic Victorian-era precinct of Oamaru could soon have a new tourist attraction after it was earmarked by a pair of Oamaru wine lovers as the possible location for a new "urban" winery.

Oamaru businessman Matt Haywood set up the Birdlands Wine Company just 18 months ago, in partnership with local winemaker Craig Lory, and although Mr Haywood said it had always been their plan to make and process their own wine, fate meant that would happen sooner than they had planned.

"We did our first harvest in April, 2011, so last year we made our own wine at the Waimate Point Bush Estates and this year they have no room for us."

Mr Haywood said the pair would now try to establish a winery in the same premises as the wine company's wine bar on Harbour St, a move supported by both the Waitaki District Council and the building's owner Whitestone Civic Trust, who had been "very helpful".

It would also be a dream come true for Mr Lory, he said.

"He has 12 years' experience and was trained in France, so our wine has a lot more of a traditional stamp. This is Craig's dream."

Mr Haywood, originally from Birmingham in the UK, said the winery's grapes, grown in the Waitaki Valley, were due for harvest again this year within the next two weeks, and the possibility of processing them in Oamaru could improve the company's wine products.

It could also provide the town with an extra tourist attraction, he said.

"We will be bringing all our grapes back here and they will be processed so people can see the process going on. So it will be a bit of a local attraction, as well.

"The grapes are grown between Duntroon and Kurow, but the less distance they travel after harvest, the better. It could be up to about six tonne this harvest.

"We would look to double production each year, as funds allow.

"We have got plenty of capacity to get up to 20 tonne, although we won't be doing any more than 10 for the next few years."



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