At a first glance, you might not recognise the similarities between Gisborne, New Zealand and the tropical Cook Islands. However, when you take a closer look you will start to notice subtle parallels; long stretches of white sand beaches, a delectable sunny climate, stunning mountain ranges, and to top it all off, friendly locals who always do their utmost to ensure an experience you won’t forget in a hurry.
On the East Coast of New Zealand’s North Island, Gisborne is the country’s fourth largest wine growing region; home to blend of large wine producers, boutique wineries, and entrepreneurial growers. It is here you will find the award winning Longbush vineyard and winery, a family owned and operated company specialising in fine wines.
In July, 2018, Longbush joined forces with the award winning Pacific Resort Hotel Group (PRHG), to produce an exclusive range of wines for distribution at its Cook Islands properties. Owner of Longbush, John Thorp, says “there are always new developments in the business, different weather patterns effecting harvest and new markets to explore”.
PRHG and Longbush relish their natural alliance. Gisborne’s mountain ranges to the north and northeast shelter the region, while the dry climate is simultaneously cooled in summer by the north easterly breezes from over the Pacific Ocean. Gisborne’s fertile sedimentary soils benefit favourably from these harmonious weather conditions and the result is an ideal environment for growing and producing world-class wines.
With over 25 years’ experience in the industry, Thorp brings a wealth of experience and knowledge to producing quality wines. Thorp’s team of winemakers harnessed the strengths of the Gisborne region to produce the range that includes a Merlot-Rosé, Pinot Gris, and Merlot for PRHG guests to savour.
PRHG and Longbush are deeply rooted in their respective communities and a sense of family is integral to both boutique operators. It seemed only fitting to name the wines around a concept of community; Māua, Nōku, and Tā’au. Māua, translated from Cook Islands Maori means belonging to us, is a vibrant and wonderfully framed Merlot-Rosé; Nōku, belonging to me, is an impressive and well balanced Pinot Gris, while Tā’au, belonging to you, is a young, sweet and cheeky medium bodied Merlot.
The range is now available in the little paradise of the Cook Islands and is being enjoyed by guests at the PRHG properties.