To market a wine as being from the Gimblett Gravels Winegrowing District a producer must:
- Be a member of the Association;
- Prove that the grapes come from a vineyard with 95% of the soils defined in the designation of the district;
- Prove that the wine has at least 95% of its grapes sourced from the Gimblett Gravels Winegrowing District;
- Agree to have these requirements confirmed by random audit;
- Agree to use the branding platform of the GIMBLETT GRAVELS brand.
Members who break these rules can have all their rights of membership and brand use revoked indefinitely.
No other controls over viticultural or winemaking methods are prescribed or indeed needed. Internal peer pressure and a natural competitive spirit along with the appropriate legislative controls will ensure basic quality standards are met and indeed advanced.
GIMBLETT GRAVELS is the registered trademark of the Gimblett Gravels Winegrowers Association. The Association and registered brand were developed to define and then name a winegrowing district using principles that are not catered for within New Zealand's proposed Geographic Indications Act legislation. These principles however clearly define the important environmental factors responsible for wine quality and character in the area, notably soil type and its interaction with mesoclimatic conditions. In the views of the members it was these factors that determined our approach, and not the restrictions of legislation.
The Association and designation of the area was formed at a relatively early stage in its winegrowing life to ensure that the purity and integrity of its designation was not compromised by political issues outside its control. The Association wished to protect the integrity of its members wines by ensuring that when and if vineyards are developed adjacent to their vineyards but away from the designated soil types, or climatic influences, the designation GIMBLETT GRAVELS could not be used.
The macro-designation of the Gimblett Gravels Winegrowing District follows a recognised boundary of roads and rivers that covers the extent of the meso-climatic terroir factors. The designation then imposes a further qualification that to be able to become a member of the Association an applicant must own vineyard land within the defined locality and that vineyard must have 95% of the area of the vineyard with soil types scientifically characterised as from either the Omahu (1), Flaxmere (2) or Omarunui (4) series. All these soils are recent soils and part of the old bed of the Ngaruroro River.
The designation therefore avoids the significant area of soils resting on Taupo pumice sands, which has significantly different textural, structural and nutritional profile to the gravel sub-soils of the Gimblett Gravels Winegrowing District . As the gravel soils get entirely planted it is likely that new plantings are extended to the pumice soils, which in the view of the members will not offer the same winegrowing benefits of the Gimblett Gravels Winegrowing District.
To the best of our knowledge this is the first viticultural appellation in the New World where its ultimate boundary is defined by a distinct soil type boundary, no compromises, no politics.
The approach taken has determined that a carefully planned and professional branding program was required to promote the Gimblett Gravels Winegrowing District as a viable sub-region within the Hawke's Bay region. The lack of any legal Geographic Indication status for Gimblett Gravels Winegrowing District has determined this approach. The branding program has developed a strong logo and branding platform that controls the use of the name “GIMBLETT GRAVELS” and “Gimblett Gravels Winegrowing District”.