Fine wines and fine walks

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Those making their annual visit to Gibbston for this Saturday’s wine festival will soon have excuses to go more often. 

Most of the 8.5km Gibbston River Trail will be open from May, including a loop track from the Kawarau bungy bridge carpark to Camp Creek. 

A 1.5km section is already open from the Waitiri Creek Wines end. 

The track will directly access Peregrine Wines as well as Winehouse and Kitchen and Waitiri Creek Wines. 

Susan Stevens, the Gibbston Community Association chairman who spearheaded the project’s $1.4 million fundraising campaign, tells Mountain Scene: “Department of Conservation expects this track to be the most popular trail in the district.” 

It won’t have any steps so will be wheel-friendly – whether you’re pushing a pram, riding a bike or in a wheelchair, Stevens notes. 

Further down the track, as it were, she expects there’ll be a trail network on the other side of the state highway, giving access to back road wineries like Mt Rosa, Brennan and Coal Pit. 

There could also be a highway underpass around Gibbston Valley Wines, Stevens understands. 

Meanwhile, it’s not just the Gibbston Harvest festival putting the place on the map. 

A Gibbston cellar door map was launched this week. The A4 sheet shows the location of each cellar door on one side, and details about each on the other side. 

It’s put together by Mt Rosa, Brennan and Waitiri Creek wineries. 

“We came up with the brainwave about 10 days ago when we were on the booze,” Mt Rosa’s Jeremy Railton says. 

Fourteen cellar doors, including Lake Hayes’ Amisfield Winery, are on the map as is Gibbston Valley Cheese Company. Four of the wineries included open by appointment only. As other features like the Gibbston River 

Trail come on stream, they’ll be added to future maps, Railton says. 

Map pads are being distributed through Queens­town hotels and information centres.

Swirl and spit 

What: Gibbston Harvest Festival
Where: Gibbston Valley Station, 2km past Gibbston Valley Wines off Resta Rd
When: Saturday, 11am-4pm
Cost: $15 for a tasting glass, gold coin donation for children; gate proceeds to Arrowtown Cubs and Scouts Group
Transport: 11am and 12.30pm Snag Bus from Queenstown’s Pig and Whistle, return 4.30pm; $10 return fare donated to Arrowtown Cubs and Scouts
On offer: 16 wineries, 10 food stalls, wine tasting and food appreciation master classes, barrel rolling, bouncy castle, face painting