Winemaker sets up shop in the heart of Dunedin

(Dave Goosselink/Newshub.)
(Dave Goosselink/Newshub.)

Dunedin already has a few breweries, now an urban winery has popped up in the city's heritage precinct.

A Cromwell winemaker has moved his equipment into the former Gresham Hotel; his aim is to produce Central Otago wine from the central city.

Brendan Seal is an experienced winemaker, having produced top quality vintages both in New Zealand and overseas.

Pinot Noir is his favourite variety, and he decided the time was right for a hands-on winery in central Dunedin.

"It's one of my loves, making Pinot from Central Otago. And the other one of my loves is Dunedin City. So to be able to combine them both is fantastic," says Mr Seal.

Dunedin city doesn't really have the space -- or the climate -- to host large vineyards.

So Brendan's bringing in three tonnes of grapes grown in Central Otago to his temporary site in the former hotel building.

Urban wineries are a popular concept overseas, having their roots in Europe where winemakers would transport grapes to town squares.

"There's only logistics around moving fruit, and that's not hard. People move fruit from Central Otago all across the country," says Mr Seal.

It's a largely manual process; the grapes go through a de-stemmer, before the fruit is transferred to a tank to start fermenting.

The limited run will produce about six barrels -- or 130 cases -- of Pinot Noir.

And while 'Urban Vino' is a pop-up operation, the team is keen for something long-term.

"Certainly I do want to be here permanently, I think it'd be great. It'd be wonderful to have an urban winery where people could come and have a look at what's going on. Maybe have a restaurant or a cafe attached to it," says Mr Seal.

But southerners will have to be patient for their first taste of the Dunedin drop -- the wine won't be released for another year.