Central Otago Wine


Cental Otago, located on the tip of New Zealand’s South Island is the world’s highest and most southerly wine region. It took quite some time to catch on. While wine-makers knew the cool, very dry climate must be good for something, they had a hard time figuring just what that might be. But by the late 1980s and 90s, it was clear, Pinot Noir was it. 
The summers in Central Otago are very hot and dry, while the winters are extremely cold and prone to early frost. Most of the grapes are planted on the north-facing side of high slopes to ensure the best sun exposure and limit frost potential. The hot days and cool nights ensure a long growing season and well-balanced grapes, given a further boost by the free-draining schist soil prevalent in the region. 
The Pinot Noir from Central Otago has a particular power and grace, with good fruit, earth, mineral and acid balance, though there is definite vintage variation. Other popular varietals grown are Chardonnay Read more »

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Popular wines made in Central Otago under $20

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Varietals Produced in Central Otago View all

  • Gewürztraminer

    Gewürztraminer’s direct and obvious charm has made it a popular varietal in almost every corner of the wine world. Ex...

  • Chardonnay

    British wine writer and critic, Jancis Robinson, once noted that throughout the 80’s and 90’s in the United States, C...

  • Sauvignon Blanc

    Sauvignon Blanc is widely grown in California -- at over 15,000 acres, it’s now the third most planted variety -- and...

  • Pinot Noir

    “With so voluptuous a perfume, so sweet an edge, they make the blood run hot,” Joel Fleischman, wine columnist at Van...

Popular Wineries in Central Otago View all

  • Domaine Jaquiery

    Domaine Jaquiéry is a specialist Pinot Noir vineyard situated in the cool climate viticultural re...

  • Packspur Vineyard

    Packspur takes its name from the track that was used to pack supplies over the Pisa Range, from t...

  • Valli

    Valli is the creation of pioneering Otago winemaker Grant Taylor and is dedicated to producing li...

  • Mount Michael Wines & Estates Ltd

    Our Location Mount Michael Wines & Estates is in a very strange location indeed - on the hills n...

  • Gibbston Valley Wines Ltd

    Central Otago's first claim to fame was for the gold-rush in the mid 1800's. One of the gold mine...

  • Akarua

    Akarua's Central Otago estate vineyard and winery was established in 1996 by Sir Clifford Skeggs ...

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Central Otago on Snooth

  • Twelfth Night Riesling 2013


    No written review

    Wine review by Velawines

  • Twelfth Night Pinot Noir 2012


    No written review

    Wine review by Velawines

  • Thanks, Ogre, for that listing. Pyramid Valley pinots were what first put Central Otago on the map for me. Shocked me full awake, first tasting. Cloudy Bay SBs, on the other hand, make me gag. I remember back in about 1992 I thought they were the cat's meow for something out of a heretofore unknown, nascent wine region. But they just kept gettin... Read More

    Forum post in the topic Hello Snooth!

  • DMcKer,I am rather partial to the Pinot Noir from Central Otago(From fair to expensive) eg Felton Rd (and their Chardonnay, Mt Difficulty, Gibbston Valley, Chard Farm,Rockburn. The "Gimblett Gravel" wines from Hawke's Bay eg Trinity Hill Cab/Merlot, Craggy Range Le Sol, Te Mata "Coleraine" and Bullnose Shiraz, Waiheke Island Cabernet (Expensive)... Read More

    Forum post in the topic Hello Snooth!

  • Twelfth Night Pinot Noir 2012


    No written review

    Wine review by Velawines

  • Te Mara Central Otago Pinot Noir 2009


    No written review

    Wine review by martins2002

  • Wild Rock Cupids Arrow Pinot Noir 2009


    Great wine for the price. Lite tannins, raspberry flavors and smooth. Read More

    Wine review by BeautifulCalamity

  • Matua Valley Central Otago Pinot Noir 2008


    Full body smoothed with touch of spice Read More

    Wine review by meowmeowmel

  • Mt. Difficulty Pinot Gris Central Otago Roaring Meg 2009


    Loved this crisp wine. It is a bit sweet but not as sugary as moscato or Gewürztraminer and still has a nice citrus note. Read More

    Wine review by angiejford

  • Rockburn Central Otago Pinot Noir 2011


    The 2011 vintage yielded beautiful fruit. The winemaker's hands off approach ... is a classic expression of Central Otago Pinot Noir, with elegance, integrity and balance. It will improve in the bottle and can be enjoyed over the next five to seven year Read More

    Wine review by Jtincknell

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