Our Region is home to big mountains, pristine lakes, and dramatic skies. Easily accessible from either Queenstown or Dunedin, any season is a good time to visit Central Otago.
Cosy 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.
45.2828° S, 169.6568° E
Exceptional dining options are endless in Queenstown and Central Otago, and the winery restaurants are setting the precedent in fine dining.
Each of the sub-regions of Central Otago offer unique and compelling wine experiences including wine tours and cellar doors. There is much to be discovered in this beautiful part of the world.
Queenstown was carved out of the land by glaciers, rivers and lakes. Visitors are drawn year round to the spectacular landscapes and activities that the region offers. Famous for adrenaline pumping adventure sports, the region also offers more leisurely activities including hiking, cycling, golf, skiing, beautiful art galleries and fantastic wine experiences.
Situated east of Queenstown the Gibbston wine region follows the dramatic Kawarau Gorge. Gibbston is home to the first commercial bottling of Central Otago wine in 1987. Gibbston is the highest sub-region, its cooler climate and north-facing hillside vines ripen later than neighbouring sub-regions producing lighter though still intense wines.
The Alexandra area was the first subregion to be explored and planted. Feraud’s 1864 plantings were in this area, and his stone winery still stands. The most southerly sub-region incorporates vineyards in and around Clyde, Earnscleugh and Alexandra. The climate is dry and runs to extremes in both summer and winter. Spectacular schist outcrops dominate the arid landscape and the wide air temperature diurnal variation produces vividly varietal, aromatic and finely structured wines.
Bannockburn is situated on the southern banks of Lake Dunstan. The vineyards occupy one of the warmest, driest sites in the Central Otago wine growing region. The region has always been prosperous, initially with the region’s rich goldfields and now with flourishing vineyards. Harvest can be up to a month ahead of other sub-regions, and the wines produced are known to be highly distinctive and complex.
Cromwell is at the southern end of a large basin, filled by Lake Dunstan and surrounded on three sides by spectacular mountains providing exquisite vistas. A number of vineyards and Cellar Doors are within walking distance to the town. A large amount of soil variability and micro-climates between vineyards in this area are a draw card for the wine enthusiast showing different styles and characteristics in the wines.
The winegrowing area of Pisa and Queensberry stretches north from Cromwell along the western side of Lake Dunstan towards Wanaka. The majority of plantings are situated on the lower terraces and valley floor, running parallel to the snow-capped Pisa mountain range, producing silky seductive wines.
Bendigo is one of the warmest sub-regions in Central Otago. The Bendigo winegrowing area is situated on a northwest facing ridge at the junction of the Cromwell and Lindis Valleys, with more gentle slopes fanning out to the valley below. Vineyards planted on stony soils, capture the extreme climate’s hot summer sun and cold clear nights producing intensely flavoured, well-structured wines.
Wanaka is the most northerly and, due to its two large lakes and proximity to the Main Divide, also the most temperate of the Central Otago sub-regions. Wanaka is believed to be named from the South Island form of wananga, meaning sacred knowledge or a place of learning. Today, Wanaka remains a place where people come to for recreation, relaxation and learning. Its moderate climate produces delicate, precise and detailed wines.