Not many of the world’s vino-producing regions can stack up against the sophistication, serenity and soul of the Central Otago wine region.
As the world’s southernmost wine destination, Central Otago produces a vast variety of exquisite wines, all skilfully crafted from the sun-soaked vineyards nestled within its raw and rugged landscape.
But what is it that makes the wine so vibrant, complex and balanced? It’s all in the terroir, a French concept which encapsulates the soil, topography, environment, climate and conditions that all work in harmony to create the perfect grape and an even better drop.
Arguably the most elegant of all wines, pinot noir is what the Central Otago wine region is most famed for, with 78% of vines dedicated to its production. The soils here are categorised as “semi-arid” due to the hot summers and dry climate with less than 400mm of rainfall a year.
Pinot is a notoriously tough grape to grow – perhaps that’s why it’s nicknamed the “heartbreak grape” – but the talented and dedicated winemakers of Central Otago have nailed it, accumulating a series of international accolades along the way. Most recently, six wineries in the region won gold medals at the 2019 Decanter World Wine Awards, one of the most prestigious wine competitions in the world.
Although red reigns supreme amongst the golden cliffs of the Central Otago high country, the white is just as wonderful. This is the place to visit if you’re after a fruity aromatic, a classic chardonnay (sorry, Hawke’s Bay), a lively glass of Methode Traditionelle or even a superb sauvignon blanc (up there with Marlborough’s).
It wouldn’t be a true epicurean experience without the addition of first-class food and, luckily, the Central Otago wine region also delivers the goods in that department (think handcrafted cheeses, tapas and charcuterie boards) and creative cuisine (long, sumptuous winery lunches in the summer sun).
Strategically placed in between the vineyards of the Central Otago wine region and along the Rail Trail are a series of noteworthy snack stops, from the freshet-possible stone fruit straight from the orchard to French pastries, Italian cheeses, organic fruit ice cream, expert-barista-made coffee and date scones like Nana used to make.
The Central Otago region is a delight for the senses and we can’t wait to bring you the best of our homegrown, award-winning wines and delectable food – as well as an epic entertainment lineup featuring the Jordan Luck Band and Nadia Lim – at the first-ever Ripe Festival to be held in Wanaka on Sunday, March 21, 2021.