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Groundwork has begun on a multimillion-dollar boutique lodge and cottages complex at Gibbston Valley Winery near Queenstown.
The long-planned project will consist of a central lodge with a basement wine cellar, spa and 24 guest cottages.
Gibbston Valley Winery chief executive Greg Hunt said a start to construction was ``imminent'', with the aim of completing the complex by November next year and opening for the 2020 summer.
Designed by Queenstown architects Wyatt + Gray and built by Rilean Construction, it would have a Central Otago-inspired exterior with schist rock and plaster.
Mr Hunt said the winery had been working on various iterations of the project for nearly a decade.
Because it had not been ``locked into a commitment with banks'', it had been able to take the time to consider its market positioning and get the timing right.
The complex's design had been scaled back from earlier versions, which had a larger, two-storey lodge and more than 30 cottages.
It was now firmly aimed at the ``winery tourism'' market.
``Ideally they'll come and stay here for three nights, take a spa experience, go biking on a trail, do a wine experience one day, play golf, spend a day in Queenstown,'' Mr Hunt said.
``It's more of a resort experience we're aiming it at, as opposed to a hotel room.''
To coincide with the complex's opening, the winery's restaurant would begin offering evening as well as lunch dining.
An underpass under State Highway 6 would be built next winter.
As part of the ground clearance work, wilding pines on the hill behind the winery had been felled, and natives would be planted in their place.
Mr Hunt said a 2008 consent for a much larger ``Gibbston Valley Station resort'' remained valid until 2022, and the project was still very much alive.
``We're re-evaluating what the station resort will offer, and what I'm looking at there now is tying it in with a paddock-to-plate concept.
``We're looking at the concept of a culinary and vinology school, and putting in more vineyards or orchards.''
Plans included 150 guest units, some residential units and a ``Vintner's Village'' consisting of a cellar door for smaller Gibbston wineries, a farmers' market and artisan shops.
Plans for an 18-hole golf course had been shelved.
``I want to get the lodge and cottages completed and successful before we launch into construction of the resort,'' he said.
``But I am working on the planning and the designs for the resort so we're ready to move on to that one.''