Gibbston Valley Lodge & Spa opens later this month, offering guests relaxed luxury, fine wine, culinary excellence, and 5-star personal service.

The lodge’s Essential Wine Experience provides the opportunity for guests to get up close to what the winery team does. “At the winery everything is hand-tendered and made, from vine to fruit to wine,” said winemaker Christopher Keys.

“By the time each bottle makes it to the table, there are endless stories encapsulated in every glass.  People, place and seasons are captured in our wines, so the Essential Wine Experience is a fantastic way to unravel this, bringing our wines, our people, land and story to life.”

The half-day educational experience, exclusive to lodge guests, winds through the working core of Gibbston Valley for a behind-the-scenes view of its operation. Leaving the sunlight behind to enter New Zealand’s largest wine cave, Keys described a “sensory change” as guests pass into its depths.

“There’s nothing else like it,” he said. “The atmosphere is peaceful and contemplative – just you and hundreds of barrels of Pinot Noir lining the walls.”

Guests then enjoy a cinema experience with the showing of Bud to Bottle – a short film of the winegrowing process – in the lodge’s private wine education theatre.

“It’s a visually spectacular piece that perfectly captures the annual cycle of winemaking,” said Keys. “Our idea is to satisfy those who are curious about the essence of winemaking.”

The film is followed by a tasting session of Gibbston Valley’s premium and Single Vineyard releases, led by an experienced winemaker.

The experience ends with food, wine, and conversation at the Lodge Restaurant. Executive chef Anthony Gradiska and his team prepare a lunch featuring seasonal produce from the winery’s organic gardens, paired with wines.

The Lodge Concierge will be available to advise guests on additional customised experiences, such as a guided helicopter trip to understand the ‘ins and outs’ of making Gibbston Valley wines from above. The helicopter experience will stop at all the winery’s major vineyards, as well as additional spots to catch some spectacular views.