Winery dusts off lodge plans


Another Queenstown tourism heavyweight is pushing the button on expansion plans.

Last week, Mountain Scene revealed how Skyline wants to redevelop its famous gondola attraction.

Now, Gibbston Valley Wines is dusting off plans for a multi-million dollar boutique lodge development.

Gibbston Valley boss Greg Hunt confirms it intends to build 30 cottages and a central lodge building next year at its winery, about 1km from AJ Hackett’s bungy bridge operation.

Hunt says: “You know what’s going on with accommodation in Queenstown - and this will be a unique product.

“There’s not an existing winery - certainly south of Marlborough I would say - that will be offering this sort of accommodation on the winery property.”

In 2012, the winery got the official nod to build a 50-unit hotel - 26 units behind vines clustered close to the state highway and 24 more in two two-storeyed buildings against the hillside.

Work was expected to start in 2013, at the earliest.

Now, Hunt says: “We’ve got confidence in the market we’re ready to take that next stage of development.”

The latest iteration will comprise separate cottages behind the vineyard, adjacent to the winery.

A two-storeyed central building will house a guest lounge, kitchen and media room on the bottom floor, while upstairs there will be a spa facility.

It’ll be pitched at the upper end of the market, Hunt says - a four-and-a-half star minimum.

“We’re doing the concept designs right now.”

Ideally, he says work will start after the next harvest - from next winter, then. The company will seek a variation of an existing consent rather than a fresh application. He’s coy on ball-park construction costs.

“Yes it will certainly have a good price figure to it. But this is a long-term investment for the company.”

Its cottages will appeal to the likes of wine-lovers, cyclists and summer concert-goers.

It’s also somewhere for its wine club members to stay - and will possibly attract small conferences and weddings.

The winery’s American owner Phil Griffith is “most definitely” excited by the plans, Hunt says.

The wine-growing area’s first major accommodation complex, Kinross Cottages, opened late last year. The developers - on the 15-hectare former Anthem Vineyard site - were cashed-up New Zealand Home Loans co-founder John Erkkila and his wife Christine, of Hamilton.