Central Otago

Located in the South Island of New Zealand, Central Otago is very well known for its spectacular vineyards and premium quality wines.

The primary grapes grown in the region are Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Pinot Gris, Riesling, Gewürztraminer and Sauvignon Blanc.

Although Pinot Noir is the dominant grape in Central Otago, warmer sub-regions, such as Bannockburn, Bendigo and the Cromwell Basin typically produce wines that are often described as ‘classically Central Otago’; with strong, sweet plum and cherry flavours, together with a seasoning of thyme character in some cases. Gibbstown and Wanaka tend to make cooler, edgier wines with red cherry, fresh herb, spice and often a pronounced mineral character.

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The first vines were planted in 1864 by a French man called Jean Desiree Feraud, who went to in 1862 to make his fortune during the Dunstan gold rush. Coming from a French winemaking family, he bought 100 acres of land and planted vines. Ten years later he had more than 1000 vines producing fruit, and was locally selling the wines he produced in the winery at Monte Christo. Since then the region has been known for his wines.

The region has a total of 1932 hectares, and average yield is 10.5 tonnes per year, which represents 2.4% of New Zealand wine production.

Central Otago benefits from a semi-continental climate, with hot summers, cold winters and long dry autumns – experiencing weather conditions from one extreme to another.

The soil can vary considerably within each sub-region though a stone-free draining base is most common. The landscape, soil, climate and aspect make ideal conditions for growing grapes, to produce top quality wines.