Good old-fashioned hospitality

Gibbston Valley Winery's newest addition, The General Store, features Central Otago beehives and...
Gibbston Valley Winery's newest addition, The General Store, features Central Otago beehives and weathered and worn wood, some of which came from chicken coops at the Gibbston Valley Homestead. Photos supplied.
A Queenstown winery had a busy build-up to Christmas, opening a new wine-tasting store in Arrowtown and its own ''General Store'', which harks back to the gold mining era, with rustic and recycled furniture, - at Gibbston.

Gibbston Valley Winery opened its ''old style'' store last week, featuring a rough-sawn kahikatea floor, a solid timber main shop counter, resting on top of old Gibbston Valley Winery barrels, and multicoloured beehives - a distinctive feature in the Central Otago landscape.

The General Store, selling a mix of products displayed on a collection of original kitchen and farm homestead tables, occupies a 45sq m space in a building next to the Gibbston Cheesery.

Cupboard fronts on shelving units were fashioned from weathered and worn Gibbston Valley Homestead chicken coops.

Gibbston Valley Winery chief executive Greg Hunt said the store, featuring interior design under the direction of Terrence Vallelunga, aimed to be an attraction in its own right.

The exterior of the historic building housing the new ''A Tasting of Gibbston Valley Winery''...
The exterior of the historic building housing the new ''A Tasting of Gibbston Valley Winery'' store in the main street of Arrowtown.
''We want to provide a retail experience that is inviting and relaxing, and imbues southern hospitality.

''We really wanted to have it open in time for the busy summer period, in order to give people a reason to linger longer at Gibbston Valley Winery, with a place where they can browse in comfort.''

The General Store was selling a wide range of artisan and homeware products, from preserves, jams, herb rubs and other treats from the kitchen of Gibbston Valley Winery chef Mark Sage, to confectionery, Kiwiana wine products, books, clothing and kitchenware.

''As with the old-style stores, it will feature a really eclectic mix of goods,'' Mr Hunt said.

The winery had also launched a tasting room in Arrowtown, next to the historic BNZ building on Buckingham St. Based in the old bank building, A Tasting of Gibbston Valley Winery has been introduced to complement Arrowtown's food and drink outlets.

''It will be very simple, with a lean-to bar inside where you can taste the full range of Gibbston Valley Wines, enjoy a chat with our cellar door staff and learn about the winery,'' Mr Hay said.

Aside from the wine tastings, people could buy concert tickets from the building and book lunch at the winery.

''It is a cute little building with wood floors and is classified as an historic building. The intent of this outlet will be to promote Gibbston Valley Winery.''

Architect Ed Elliott and Mr Vallelunga have kept in the past, keeping the wooden floors and counter.

Images of the vineyards and the Gibbston winery are displayed in the small building, so people can get an idea of the area without travelling there.

Mr Hunt said he would like to promote bike rides through the winery from the new tasting rooms as well as work alongside bike operators in the area.

The tasting room will have on and an off licences, so people can drink on site or take a bottle away.

''There are no other tasting rooms in Arrowtown and so I think we will add to the richness offered to the visitor.''

The opening of the two additions to the Gibbston Valley Winery capped off a successful year for the company, in which it celebrated the 25th anniversary of its first commercial wine harvest.

Last week, the winery also launched a ''Vintner's Kitchen'' experience, aimed at those who do not have time to stay for lunch and want to combine wine tasting with a small plate of matching food. It was expected to prove popular with cyclists, who, since the opening of the Queenstown Trail in October, had been visiting the winery all through the day.

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