Rotorua's viticulture industry is growing with Volcanic Hills Winery planting its first local vineyard this week.

The vines have been planted adjacent to the bottom terminal at Skyline Rotorua, where the winery is based.

Co-owner Brent Park said it would be a first for Rotorua.

"We are the only local grape winery. We don't know how it will go, and that's the big question when you are making something here for the first time."


There was no region with similar geography to Rotorua anywhere in the world where wine growers had tried to establish vineyards, Mr Park said.

"The area is north-facing so receives a lot of sunlight but there is low wind run on here which means we get quite a bit of frost. This makes it hard to grow. We'll see how it comes out."

Mr Park and Sean Beer set up Volcanic Hills in 2009. They used grapes grown in Marlborough, Central Otago, Martinborough and Hawkes Bay.

The vines they planted this week would yield grapes for a wine that was 100 per cent Rotorua, he said.

Mr Park said they chose Rotorua because of local ties, as well as a market gap.

"New Zealand wine exports have massive growth. We can add another string to the bow of what Rotorua offers. We want to support local tourism. We are trying to bring something to Rotorua that isn't here," he said.

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"Largely, we don't sell our own brand, we sell New Zealand wine, but now we can show varieties, say this is a Marlborough pinot noir or this is a Canterbury merlot, we can show people these varieties when they are on holiday in Rotorua."