Central Otago in a bottle

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International award-winning local winemaker Grant Taylor says: “I just want to put Central Otago in a bottle.” Viv Milsom’s now put Central Otago vineyards into a book. Philip Chandler distills some of her writings on Gibbston winegrowing.

A new book uncorks the development of Central Otago’s young but world-class wine industry – particularly focusing on its challenging-to-produce pinot noir.

The Vineyards of Central Otago: A Passion for Winemaking on the Edge, written by Viv Milsom and splendidly illustrated by Mike Wilkinson, both of Wanaka, covers 21 vineyards across six sub-regions including Queenstown’s Gibbston.

Milsom celebrates the pioneers who were often advised grapes wouldn’t grow this far south.

“Banks told them that vineyards and skifields could not exist together – it was a dangerous idea,” she writes in the chapter on Gibbston’s Chard Farm.

Appropriately, ‘godfather’ Alan Brady is credited as the founder of not only Gibbston Valley Wines but the whole Central Otago industry.

In 1979, his then wife Denise, after her first baby, met local Karitane nurse Ann Pinckney, who’d planted the area’s first grapes at Speargrass Flat three years earlier.

“With Ann’s help and advice the first Gibbston Valley grapes were planted in 1981,” Milsom writes.

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