International acclaim is growing for the Waitaki Valley's wines with its cool climate, with warm summers and long, usually dry, autumn seasons and its complex geological origins with limestone, alluvial greywacke and schist rock.
Experts are enjoying the distinctive minerality and complexity of fruit flavours resulting from a combination of the long slow fruit ripening and the substrata beneath the loess-based soil.
Central Otago, and four hours south of North Canterbury, the Waitaki’s wines are distinctly different from its neighbouring regions.
Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris, Riesling and Gewürtztraminer are the main varieties grown and the vineyards are mostly small though some of New Zealand's Well known producers also source fruit from the Waitaki.
Two outlets around and close to the town of Kurow offer the opportunity to taste these distinctive wines that are quietly building an international fan base.
The Vintner's Drop is owned by Jim Jerram of Ostler wines - their own vintages are show cased alongside the Valley's other local growers for tasting.
The Kurow Winery offers two brands - Pasquale Wines and Kurow Village, a cellar door prepares food to accompany tasting.
The atmosphere of the Waitaki Valley where All Black Captain Riche McCaw grew up is laid back and rural style but the stunning scenery and sophistication of it's food and wine is world class.