Sustainability at the Heart of New Gibbston Valley Lodge & Spa

Central Otago’s new luxury lodge will have sustainability at its heart when it opens its door later this year.

Located amongst the vines of Central Otago’s founding winery, the Gibbston Valley Lodge & Spa will offer the ultimate in relaxed luxury, fine wine, culinary excellence and 5-star personal service.

Every element of its operation has been put under the microscope so it ‘walks the talk’ on initiatives that do far more than pay lip service to sustainability. And it has high standards to live up to, being set amongst a BioGro certified organic vineyard, and BioGro certified organic winery.

Gibbston Valley Lodge & Spa sustainability practices cover everything from in-room recycling bins to refillable glass milk bottles and breakfast spreads served in ramekins and refillable jars. Villa bathrooms will have bamboo toothbrushes, and still and sparkling water will be ‘on tap’ in the Lodge with reusable bottles supplied.

Nitty-gritty detail extends to even the smallest supplies. Guests won’t find straws, sugar packets, tea bags or individually-wrapped mints anywhere.

Support for the local artisan economy comes from using the Queenstown Soap Company for in-room soaps, and liquid soaps and lotions are from Healthpak’s Forest and Bird range, where a percentage of profits go to conservation group Forest and Bird.

Pillows, mattress toppers and duvets made with recycled plastic come from Kiwi company Vendella, which plants thousands of native trees throughout the country each year.

EcoWise environmentally conscious cleaning products will do all the dirty work required, while NZ social enterprise company For The Better Good provides bottles made from plants and plants native seedlings for each villa room turnover.

Also forging ahead with a range of sustainability initiatives is Executive Chef Anthony Gradiska and his team. They already raise their own seeds in an onsite glasshouse and have established gardens near the winery kitchen, but are now taking sustainability to the next level.

A new fruit orchard has been planted in a sheltered spot renowned for its microclimate, where fig and feijoa trees will thrive alongside a new berry grove.

Watercress will grow in waterways running between the Lodge’s 24 guest villas, and composting, developing worm farms and giving waste products to the farmer next door for his pigs have become part-and-parcel of how the kitchen team operates.

Chef Gradiska put blood, sweat and tears into building the new gardens, constructing terraces from recycled pallets with the assistance of restaurant employee Cristian Astudillo.

Astudillo, with a background in agricultural engineering, biodynamics and organics, designed the terraces to ensure soil nutrients were retained.

The driving force behind the new Lodge & Spa’s sustainability focus is Gibbston Valley Operations Manager, Donna Gradiska, who has been with the company for just over two years.

With a 20-year-plus background in the tourism and hospitality industry, including managerial roles at five-star resorts and hotels and luxury super-yachts, she is “thrilled” to see her visions realised.

“Sustainability has been my entire life,” she says. “The Lodge & Spa is not only going to be sustainable in its product offerings, but in streamlining how we work as a team across the winery and lodge,” she says.

Gibbston Valley Lodge & Spa will open with a stunning architecturally-designed central lodge, complete with striking feature fireplace, soaring ceiling, sun-filled conservatory, al fresco dining area, an exclusive restaurant and Lodge Cellar overflowing with historic vintages.

World-class luxury accommodation in 24 sumptuously comfortable and modern villas oozes with sophistication, sleek interior and exterior design, accompanied by lush landscaping and peaceful water features.

The on-site spa will be a luxurious retreat for health, beauty and wellbeing, and guests will be encouraged to connect with the land and the winery experience, indulge in outstanding food and wine and enjoy a range of customized packages.

Gibbston Valley Lodge & Spa is set on 1000-acres of privately-owned land, dotted with many kilometres of exclusive biking and walking trails. Luxury experience packages available at Gibbston Valley Lodge & Spa include the Wine Immersion, Food & Wine Indulgence, Relax & Revive, Romantic Escape and Ride the Vines.

Rates start at $825NZD per villa. For further information and bookings go to www.gibbstonvalleylodgeandspa.com

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Masterwood Joinery win prestigious international design award

In true Kiwi fashion, small-town company – Cromwell’s Masterwood Joinery – staffers were elated and somewhat surprised when announced as winners of a prestigious, international design award in London.

The Society of British and International Interior Design’s (SBID) International Design Awards named Masterwood Joinery’s kitchen the winner in the KBB Design category (kitchen, bedroom, bathroom) on Friday (October 25, 2019).

Masterwood Joinery’s General Manager Jim Cleveland, who attended the high-end ceremony at JW Marriott Grosvenor House, said being proud was an understatement.

“The quality of our competitors was very high and to be honest we thought we would be outclassed, albeit extremely happy just to be finalists,” Jim says.

“When they announced Masterwood as the winner it was a feeling of elation unlike any I’d felt before – we are world champions in the design sector!”

The kitchen in a Lake Hayes home near Queenstown fuses Oriental and commercial chic to create a beautiful, cohesive space, which flawlessly interpreted the design brief of the owners.

“Apparently we were the most excited winners of the night and were crowd and organiser favourites,” Jim says.

“I think the small town joinery shop from a small country beating the big guns from all around the world was the catalyst for that feeling.”

SBID Founder and CEO, Dr Vanessa Brady OBE says the awards continue to grow from strength to strength.

“With a sell-out ceremony and more countries represented this year than any other, it truly is held as the premier interior design awards by the global industry and SBID is proud to present it each year.”

Finalists were chosen by a technical panel of judges which accounted for 70% of marks, while the remaining 30% was via public vote.

Masterwood’s inhouse designer Stefan Sonntag, who also attended the awards, designed the kitchen alongside Stuart Bateman of SB Design, who did the preliminary design and brief.

This is not the first time this kitchen has been in the limelight having has also claimed five major awards at the National Kitchen & Bathroom Association Awards in Melbourne earlier this year.

About the kitchen

Clean, straight lines, natural materials and earthy tones set the scene for the stunning kitchen. Heavy-duty powder coated steel box section legs support two islands, with an unapologetically commercial stainless-steel kitchen extractor suspended above the chef’s island.

At one end of the chef’s island is a cantilevered teppanyaki grill mounted in Ceasarstone, an engineered stone that is also the island’s work surface.

A favourite place in the kitchen for the lucky owners is the self-contained coffee-making area with sweeping views that include The Remarkables mountain range.

While many functional elements are hidden behind six-coat Ameron-lacquered soft close doors and panels, the owners were very definite about having as a ‘feature wall’ – in this case an impressive six door glass-fronted display cabinet.

This effectively distracts the eye from two pantry areas, one being a plumbed and fully equipped butler’s pantry. True to the Oriental theme, form and function are in perfect harmony in these pantries.

About the Awards

The SBID International Design Awards are awarded purely on the quality of the design, innovation, aesthetic and value-added to the project.

Each entry undergoes an exhaustive two-tier judging process by panels of leading industry experts for both technical content and aesthetic creativity. evaluating essential elements such as compliance with the brief, budget, health and safety and fit-for-purpose design.

The Public Vote is the final tier of scoring.

Masterwood’s Queenstown kitchen was a finalist in one of 14 categories from across 48 countries.

All winners for each category received a bespoke crystal trophy crafted by Sans Souci glass deco. Winners are also been featured in the SBID Global Interior Design 2019 coffee table book, which is available to purchase online at www.sbidawards.com

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Go Orange appoints new Kayak Experience Manager Courtney Quintrell

A love of the great outdoors and a quest for adventure are behind the appointment of a new Go Orange Kayak Experience Manager.

Courtney Quintrell has over 20 years’ experience working in tourism and hospitality, six of those in stunning Fiordland National Park.

And now she’s living her “dream job” enabling visitors to discover the serenity and beauty of Doubtful and Milford sounds on sea kayaking adventures in this remote part of the world, and kayak trips in the heart of Queenstown.

Born and raised in the US, Courtney says she loves to travel “anywhere and everywhere”, which ultimately brought her to New Zealand.

Her first New Zealand role saw her learning the ropes as a guide, driver and 2IC for a Milford Sound kayak company, interspersed with time in Alaska as a river guide and lodge guest services manager.

Joining Go Orange in November last year, she managed the daily operations of a full-service café on its newly-renovated scenic cruise boat the Milford Haven, catering for 500-plus guests each day.

And as the 2019/20 summer season cranks into gear she’s thrilled to take up her new role as Kayak Experience Manager.

“I have paddled a few places in the world, but nothing competes with kayaking in Fiordland!” she says. “The landscape is awe-inspiring, and the weather makes it even better. You haven’t really seen the place at it’s best until you’ve paddled in proper Fiordland rain. It’s incredible!

“It’s hugely rewarding to be in a position to have fun with our guests while working in such an exciting industry in the most beautiful place in the world.

“I am excited to work with our amazing kayaking team who deliver an outstanding experience, day in, day out.”

Go Orange is thrilled to welcome Courtney to her new role.

“We’re looking forward to working with her, especially knowing the level of experience and fun she’ll bring to the kayaking team,” says Go Orange Head of Experience Russell Thomas.

When she’s not busy working, Courtney’s renowned for the five years of time and energy she’s put into coordinating the Milford Sound Wild Foods and Brews Festival, the largest community event in the Sound.

And in what’s left of her ‘spare’ time she’s into tramping, camping, hunting, motorbike riding, fishing, skydiving, rock climbing, mountain biking, paddle boarding, rafting and snowboarding.

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Canyon Brewing makes its mark in beer awards

New Zealand’s most scenic brewery made its mark on the beer scene with a haul of medals in the country’s most prestigious awards, less than 18 months after opening.

Canyon Brewing, which crafts its award-winning beer alongside the iconic Shotover River, was up against stiff competition in the Brewers Guild of New Zealand annual awards.

There were a record number of 955 entries across beer and cider categories for this year’s competition, just over half of them from small breweries like Canyon.

That didn’t stop the brewery from bringing home a silver medal for its Red IPA, and bronze accolades for its NZ Ale, Pale Ale, Haven XPA, and its Sour Cherry Ale in the fruit and flavoured category.

The awards, in their 13th year, have a huge reputation across the globe as one of the most prestigious accolades a brewer can win.

All Canyon’s beer is handcrafted on site in the ‘on-display’ microbrewery, which also serves up fresh, flavoursome food in its restaurant, open seven days a week.

Head brewer Jono Kauri and his team are delighted with the awards wins, which reflect the brewery’s mantra to deliver well-constructed, balanced and clean beers that while approachable, are also memorable.

“It’s about letting the raw materials and ingredients shine through into the finished beer,” says Product Development Manager Justin Koen.

“We pay close attention to detail throughout the brewing process, from paddock to pint, to ensure our brews are of outstanding quality, and the awards are testament to that.

“We’re thrilled to have shown that the beer we produce down here in Queenstown more than stacks up against many larger and more established breweries. It shows it shows the standard of success a small dedicated team can have.”

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