Tim Harris

Publication: WEEKEND HERALD – CANVAS (New Zealand)
Date: 29 Jan 2005
Written by: Tim Harris
Article: Branching Out
Wine: Vinoptima Gewurztraminer 2003


Smooth and spicy, with the delicate scent of rosewater…



“Nick Nobilo, the second son of Nikola, winemaker of Huapai, succeeded his father as the family winemaker in the 70s. The Nobilo brand is now owned by Constellation Brands Inc, the world’s biggest company wine, and Nick has formed a company called Vinoptima, in Gisborne, to produce New Zealand’s best gewürztraminer.


In a sheltered corner at Ormond, close to where broad alluvial plains meet hillsides, Nick Nobilo has planted gewürztraminer vines from stock selected from vineyards of the area. Clones have been kept separate in the vineyard so their wine can be processed and assessed separately. He has built a computer-controlled winery, with batteries of refrigerated tanks of graded sizes connected by stainless steel pipes. Temperature control and prevention of oxidation are two fundamentals of producing sound, well-expressed wine, and both have been catered for to an extraordinary degree of precision.


The first Vinoptima Gewurztraminer is the 2003 vintage. It is smooth and spicy, with the delicate scent of rosewater and the tang of gewurztraminer, backed by sufficient sweetness to emphasise its rich, sweet, tropical flavours of lychee and mango. The great promise of Vinoptima is to protect and promote a variety that has shown huge potential in New Zealand, particularly in Gisborne, but which has been restricted in development because it crops unreliably