Central Otago

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The first thing to be said about Central Otago is that it's outrageously beautiful. New Zealand boasts some spectacular landscapes, but this is arguably the most dramatic. Ancient mountains, vast terrain, fields of alpine herbs, fast flowing rivers, crystal clear lakes and deep gorges make Central Otago one of a kind.

At 46° S, Central Otago is the world's most southern wine making region. The beauty in the wines from Central Otago come from each of it’s six subregions, each with its own unique expression. The summers are hot and dry, and the winters crisp and snowy. Soil structures here are much different to other parts of the South Island, formed over ice ages as the glaciers ground schist rocks to a fine flour. The result is a low-vigour soil high in mineral richness.

The Wine

  • Central Otago is home to some of the best Pinot Noir in the world with hallmarks of fragrant, lush fruit underpinned by taut structure, silky texture and true intensity.
  • The region also produces excellent aromatics. Riesling is a stand out; as well as very memorable Pinot Gris and Gewürztraminer. 
  • Chardonnays are sophisticated and full of citrus and mineral characters. Tightly structured and fine-bodied, they can be reserved when young but develop complexity and elegance with time.
  • A Central Sauv Blanc is full of mineral and gunflint with herbaceousness overlain with pineapple and passionfruit with crisp linear structure, refreshing acidity and dry, stony finishes.
  • Discover perfumed, pretty Rosé, often made by the saignée method and Méthode Traditionelle worthy of critical recognitione.

Visiting Central Otago


In the 1860s it was gold that attracted folk to Central Otago. Today, Central's 'gold' is its wine, however you can still pan for the real stuff amongst the miners' old trails, stone cottages and relics of mine machinery.

The area is known for its cycle trails. The 150km Otago Central Rail Trail follows the route of the old railway – cycle from station to station staying in places little touched by the hustle and bustle of modern life.

Queenstown, the world’s friendliest city (as voted by Conde Nast Traveller), is found on the region’s fringe. On the shores of Lake Wakatipu, surrounded by the snowcapped Southern Alps, Queenstown is NZ’s premier tourist destination.

Awaken the adventurous spirit within you and enjoy bungy jumping, paraponting, base jumping , jet boating and white water rafting. For the indoorsy type, take advantage of the great fine dining and luxury shops….and, of course, the glorious wines!

Wineries of Central Otago
Wines of Central Otago