Central Otago is New Zealand’s most scenic wine region. If you only have time to visit one New Zealand wine region make it Central Otago, and allow yourself at least three days to enjoy it.
Central Otago is the world’s southernmost wine producing region and New Zealand’s only true “continental” region with greater extremes of daily and seasonal temperatures than those found in any of the country’s maritime regions. The summers are hot and dry, and the winters crisp and snowy. Soil structures are very different to those of New Zealand’s other regions with heavy mineral deposits in silt loams.
Some of New Zealand’s very best Pinot Noir wines are produced in this region. Leading British wine writer Jancis Robinson MW named Central Otago in Decanter wine magazine, alongside Napa Valley, Margaret River, Stellenbosch and Willamette, as one of the top five New World wine producing regions.
Central Otago wine region is New Zealand’s seventh largest. Pinot Noir is the dominant grape variety with most plantings in Cromwell around Lake Dunstan. Chardonnay comes in at number two with Sauvignon Blanc and Riesling taking up distant third and fourth places.
On the regions fringe is Queenstown – New Zealand’s premier tourist destination and voted the world’s friendliest foreign city by readers of Conde Nast Traveller. Situated on the shores of Lake Wakatipu, and surrounded by the snow-capped Southern Alps, Queenstown offers a wide range of exciting activities including bungy jumping, paraponting, base jumping, jet boating and white water rafting.
It also has world class ski fields, and for those just wanting to relax there is golf, trout fishing, garden tours, fine dining, excellent shopping and plenty of world class wine.
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