Gibbston Valley Wines is a step closer to launching its multi-million-dollar boutique lodge and cottages plan.
Early last month, the concrete was poured on the foundations of the prominent viticulture and tourist operation’s new two-storeyed administration building - which frees up its existing offices for group dining and a new cellar door.
The new building is the last piece in the puzzle, after moving its winemaking facilities from the heart of its site, before launching into its accommodation plan, including an underpass to a new carpark across State Highway 6.
Gibbston Valley boss Greg Hunt says it has drafted in top local architect Michael Wyatt to design the lodge and 30 cottages.
The development has a price tag in the “tens of millions” of dollars, he says.
Gibbston Valley’s last resort plan, on the old Gibbston Valley Station and including a golf course, was scuppered by the global financial crisis.
Hunt says this time the winery, owned by American Phil Griffith, wanted to wait until it was ready to develop - but also for when it knew the wider economy was ready.
“With the airport, the increased flights coming in, the fact that we’re running at 70-80 per cent occupancy, with January-February-March fairly full, we know the timing’s right to build now.”
He’d like to lodge consent for the accommodation project soon - “possibly by Christmas” - with the goal of having consents in place, a tender awarded and construction started by July 1 next year.
“That will be at least a 12-month build.”
In a sense it’ll be a mini-Millbrook, with people staying for two or three nights attracted for the winery, biking and walking in Gibbston.
Hunt compares Gibbston to the likes of Australia’s Hunter Valley or California’s Napa Valley.
“This wine region of Gibbston, because it is such a succinct little valley, it is definitely going to be a tourist destination.
“There’s a certain percentage of people who want to stay amongst the vines or they want to stay in this sort of environment.”