From it's snow capped mountains that flow into glacial lakes, to deep valleys and arid landscapes, the Central Otago wine region is a land of extremes.
We may be very biased, because Central Otago is our home, but we believe that we might just have the very best wine region in all of New Zealand, and quite possibly the world. Central Otago is New Zealand's southern most wine region and New Zealand's only continental climate with no influence from the sea. With it's sub-regions divided by epic mountain ranges that create a tapestry of micro-climates.
The Southern Alps play an important role in Central Otago, acting as a barrier to the wet westerly weather. This results in low rainfall and summer temperatures regularly above 30ºC (86ºF). This makes our region very dry; perfect for organic and biodynamic viticulture. 23% of our vineyards (435Ha) are either in conversion or fully certified organic, much higher than the national average of 5%.
Our latitude means daylight hours are long, and our continental climate means high diurnal range (that’s the temperature difference between day and night). You’ll be surprised by how much the temperature drops; always bring a jacket with you when you go to an Otago BBQ! This effect helps to prolong the growing season; slowing down ripening, preserving the acidity inside the grapes whilst the sugars and flavours develop.
For such a young region (starting in the 1980’s) we already have an astounding international reputation, most notably with our Pinot Noir (70% of our production). Many critics would argue our best Pinot Noir's rival the best of Burgundy. Central Otago actually has the highest percentage of Pinot Noir plantings anywhere in the world! The praise shouldn’t solely be placed on one grape however, we also produce excellent wine from other cool climate grape varieties, like Riesling, and Pinot Gris.