If wine is your passion, you'll quickly appreciate why Central Otago pinot noir is so richly praised. The climate and the soil work together to create magic in the bottle.
Central Otago has an inland climate that provides the high temperature variation on which grapes thrive. Hot summer days end with refreshingly cool evenings, and the long autumns are sunny and fresh. Central Otago's rocky soils were ground out of the mountains by ancient glaciers. They contain the much prized loess, a fine wind-blown chalky dust that produces great wines. The soils also have high mineral deposits which contribute to each wine's unique personality. Rainfall is low and vast water supplies from high in the adjacent Southern Alps allow perfect moisture control through careful irrigation.
These ideal conditions were recognised by European wine growing experts in the late 1800s. In the 1880s a good sized vineyard was planted by Frenchman Jean Desire Feraud on land he purchased after striking gold near the town of Alexandra. But New Zealanders were beer drinkers and agriculture was pre-occupied with sheep and dairy farming. It wasn't until the 1980s that Central Otago rediscovered its new gold - wine.Central Otago wines, particularly pinot noir, are now sought after by people all over the world. The award winning vineyards and the local lifestyle have attracted some very talented chefs to the region, so the dining experiences are as divine as the scenery and the wine.