Wine regions: Gisborne

Appears in

Oxford Companion to Wine

Oxford Companion to Wine

By Jancis Robinson

Published 2006

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Total plantings in this east coast North Island region peaked in 2009, not least because of its dependence on once-popular Chardonnay when Pernod Ricard NZ decided that the future lay in Sauvignon Blanc. Gisborne Chardonnay is certainly the country’s most distinctive regional example of the variety, with soft and charming fruit flavours that often resemble ripe peach, pineapple, and melon. Gewürztraminer is Gisborne’s other claim to vinous fame. Pernod Ricard NZ sold off its large Gisborne winery and cancelled grape contracts there. Most Gisborne grapes are grown by farmers who sell them to wineries under long-term contract, or to the highest bidder. Several Auckland wineries buy Gisborne grapes and ship juice or wine to avoid extraction of unwanted phenolics that might result from shipping grapes.