Central Otago Wine – part 2· Blog
Sep 3rd, 2012 | By Jayson Bryant | Category: Blog
Central Otago Wine – part 2
When arriving in Queenstown why not hire a car, or book a professional tour, and discover the wineries. Take the road heading to Cromwell. The road guides you gently through to Arrowtown and then onto Gibbston Valley.
It’s here that you’ll find, the aptly named, Gibbston Valley winery. The winery also doubles as a fromagerie. It makes Edam through to goats cheese, and all of very high quality. The winery also hosts a restaurant, serving some of the regions finest cuisine.
Just along the valley from Gibbston winery is Peregrine. This architecturally designed winery is sure to stop you in your tracks. The cellar door experience is fun and the service great. Here they will take you through all of their wines that they have open at the time, and best of all it’s free.
Wineries to visit:
Gibbston Valley Winery
1820 State Highway 6,
Tel +64 3 442 6910,
2127 Kawarau Gorge Road
Tel +64 3 442 4000Drive on for a few more kilometres and you’ll come across the small working town of Cromwell. It’s from here that you’ll discover the wine regions of Bannockburn, Pisa, Lowburn, and Bendigo. Base yourself here for at least a couple of days whilst you familiarise yourself with the stunning wines that the region produces. You can find accommodation here.
The first wine-grapes were planted in Central Otago in 1864. Despite the district’s potential as a wine growing area being recognised by French and Australian viticulturists from the1860′s onwards, wine-grapes were not commercially grown again in Central Otago for more than a century. Modern day wine growing began with a trial wine-grape vineyard that was planted at the Department of Scientific and Industrial Research (DSIR) Orchard near Alexandra in 1972 and shortly followed in 1975 with experimental plantings at Rippon Vineyard, Lake Wanaka. The first commercial release of a Pinot noir from Central Otago was the 1987 vintage from pioneer Alan Brady at Gibbston Valley winery.
You get the feeling that all of the wineries are finding it very tough. There are quite a few for sale signs dotted along the road from Cromwell to Wanaka. Quite a few vineyards seem as though they are now a burden, where once they would’ve been someones pride and joy.
This region, along with many in NZ, has seen tough times. There are however some wineries that are doing well. The new Misha’s Vineyard is a case in point. Seek out these wines and taste the new face of Central Otago.
Wineries to visit:
Mount Difficulty: The Cellar Door at Mt Difficulty is open daily for wine tastings between 10.30am and 4.30pm. The restaurant is open for bookings from 12-3pm.
Mt Difficulty Wines
73 Felton Road
Tel +64 3 445 3445
Carrick Wines247 Cairnmuir Road
Central Otago 9384
Wooing Tree Wines
7 Westmoreland Place
cnr Mc Nulty Rd and Gair Ave,
Tel +64 3 445 0555
The smallest of the Central Otago sub-regions. There are only two notable wineries close to Wanaka town. The most famous and respected of all of the Central Otago wineries is Rippon. Stuck on the edge of lake Wanaka, Rippon has one of the most photographed vineyards in the world. This is a must visit vineyard for all wine enthusiasts. The other winery of note is Maude. Just a short drive from Wanaka town centre, on the Wanaka to Lake Hawea road in the Maungawera Valley. They now have their offices in Wanaka.
246 Mt Aspiring Rd,
Tel +64 3 443 8084
9 Connell Terrace
Central Otago 9343
Tel +64 3 443 2959
Car Rental: Hiring is a car is the way to go. There’s not much public transport around New Zealand, and especially Central Otago. There are however a couple of wine tour companies that will take you around selected vineyards.
Wine tour companies:
Appellation Central are a reputable company, offering catered wine tours around the region. They cater for just 11 people on any one tour. Click here for more details.
Car rental companies: