Gibbston Valley Winery continues to innovate, expand

One of Queenstown’s most popular visitor destinations, Gibbston Valley Winery, is to open a bike resort on Gibbston Valley Station (April 27 2013), at the culmination of what has been a hugely successful year for the multi-award-winning business.

Over the last year, the winery has opened a raft of new recreation, retail and food/wine outlets designed to cater for a wide range of visitors and supportive locals.

As well as the new Rabbit Ridge Bike Resort opening, Gibbston Valley Winery has also opened a Gift Store, Vintner’s Kitchen and Chef’s Pantry at its renowned winery site, as well as the Tasting Room in nearby Arrowtown.

The Tasting Room has proved such a success there are already plans underway to expand its offering to encompass all elements of ‘good living’ - from award winning wines to Mediterranean and artisan-style food and products in a retail space. A café and a delicatessen will serve the freshest of local produce and ‘treats’ direct from the kitchen of winery chef Mark Sage.

Within the past year Gibbston Valley Winery has also joined forces with Alpine Entertainment to form Greenstone Entertainment, with the aim of bringing high profile entertainers from around the world to perform concerts throughout New Zealand, in some of the most breathtaking locations.

This year’s Summer Concert Series attracted record crowds to four locations around New Zealand, including Gibbston Valley, and there are plans to expand the number and range of concerts on offer in the future.

Gibbston Valley Wines last year celebrated the 25th anniversary of its first commercial grape harvest, during which time it has won more than 300 national and international wine awards.

In late 2012 two of Gibbston Valley Winery’s Pinot Noirs received coveted 5-star ratings in the prestigious Cuisine magazine Pinot Noir awards, and the Gibbston Valley Central Otago Pinot Noir 2010 won a Pure Elite Gold at the 2011 Air New Zealand Wine Awards and a Blue Gold at the Sydney International Wine Competition. The same wine also received five stars in a tasting by Dish magazine.

Gibbston Valley Winery CEO Greg Hunt said the latest development, the bike resort, was an exceptionally exciting innovation for the winery.

"We’re thrilled to expand the business so significantly with what we feel is a highly complementary venture," said Mr Hunt.

The winery has worked with local bike tour operator Around the Basin to create the dedicated bike resort. Located on Gibbston Valley Station’s 400 hectares of land, Rabbit Ridge Bike Resort will be developed in stages, and will ultimately feature 30km of tracks suitable for all levels of riders and a new bike trail linking the bike resort with Gibbston Valley Winery.

The resort will open in stages with limited riding available over the coming winter months through packages, locals days and events to allow the trails to be ‘bedded in’.

"This new project has developed very quickly as a result of the explosion in popularity of mountain biking in the region," said Mr Hunt. "This will be the areas only year-round dedicated and serviced bike resort and will help put Queenstown on the map with biking enthusiasts everywhere."

Future Gibbston Valley Winery plans also include a golf course and hotel on nearby station land, with construction expected to get underway in 2014.

Mr Hunt said the combination of wine and food innovations as well as other associated developments were all complementary in one way or another with the core wine business.

"Food, biking and of course retail are becoming part of winery ‘destination’ experiences all over New Zealand and around the world," he said. "Our goal is to offer the widest possible range of potential visitors an experience that offers literally something for everyone -- fantastic wine and food, a stunning natural environment and outdoor pursuits, and great music."

Gibbston Valley Winery is home to New Zealand’s largest and innovative wine cave, available for wine tours, private functions, weddings and special occasions and the Barrel Room for C&I functions and weddings.

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