Image: Rippon Vineyard, Wanaka

The southernmost wine region in the world

As the most southern wine region in the world you’d expect Central Otago to have an extreme environment, but nothing prepares you for how unforgiving the landscape actually is. From its origins in the goldrush, to experiments in the early 1980’s, Central Otago has, in just three short decades, transformed itself into a powerhouse of New Zealand’s pinot noir production.

All of the main winegrowing sub-regions lie within close reach, with the distinctive mountainous terrain providing each with a unique climate, aspect and altitude. The extreme climate rewards careful site selection with wines of great intensity and finesse, and encourages an increased focus on sub-regional expression.

Pockets of Pinot perfection

Pinot Noir flourishes in the Central Otago, with a variety of stunning expressions being crafted in the numerous sub-regions of Bannockburn, Bendigo, Alexandra, Gibbston, Pisa, Lowburn and Wanaka – all pockets of Pinot perfection. Its reputation increases as the region and its vines mature, with fragrant, lush fruit underpinned by taut structure, silky texture and true intensity.

Getting there (and what to do while you’re there):

Easily accessible through Queenstown International Airport, any season is a good time to visit Central Otago. Cozy up to the fire with a glass of Pinot Noir after hitting the slopes in the winter, or cycle to the wineries for some earned indulgence in the summer. Exceptional dining options are endless in Queenstown and Central Otago, and the winery restaurants are setting the precedent in fine dining.

Each of the six sub-regions of Central Otago have unique and compelling wine tours and cellar doors, providing much to be discovered in this part of the South Island. Check out Queenstown NZ for more information.