A working bee of winemakers cleared scrub, gorse and driftwood over an area of lakeshore by Cornish Point last week.
Felton Road Wines winemaker Blair Walter said the company owned the Cornish Point vineyard next door to Crown property administered by Land Information New Zealand (Linz).
Felton Road Wines made an application to Linz in December last year to undertake restoration of about 3ha of land along the waterfront between the entrance to the Cromwell gorge and the confluence of the Clutha and Kawarau rivers, Mr Walter said.
‘‘We’ve got official permission to undertake restoration and native planting.’’
Prior to last year it was a stretch of land that was not generally visited, but the construction of the Lake Dunstan Cycle Trail meant visitors would now be travelling through the area.
‘‘It is an absolutely beautiful part of the cycle trail, coming round the historic Cornish Point.
‘‘We felt a duty to undertake restoration of it,’’ Mr Walter said.
There were many groups and even private individuals doing lakeshore clean-ups and restoring areas, and this was an opportunity for winemakers to make a contribution, he said.
About 30 workers from wineries including Mt Difficulty, Felton Road, Akarua, Carrick and Monte Christo took part in the afternoon working bee.
‘‘It is a team bonding exercise for winery workers,’’ Mr Walter said.
Work required in the 3ha area included clearing briar and gorse, cutting willow trees and clearing driftwood from the foreshore.
‘‘Just opening it up, letting the light come in, letting the views of the lake come in.’’
This would make the foreshore more accessible, and allow people travelling the cycle trail to have access to the lakeshore, Mr Walter said.
‘‘Prior to our work you just couldn’t even pull up a boat here, because it was just full of driftwood and lake weeds.’’
During the clearing of the area Mr Walter was surprised to see there were already a number of native species growing, ‘‘but being incredibly choked by the gorse, the willows and briar’’.
Mr Walter is chairman of the Mokihi Reforestation Trust.
Later in the year in winter and spring the group would return to do some native planting, he said.