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The top 8 places to enjoy some Central Otago wine

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Southern Discoveries

Central Otago is the world’s southernmost wine region world famous for producing some of the best wine in the world. The climate is perfect for producing Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris and Rosé grapes. If you’re looking to sample some world-class wines and delicious food in one of the most scenic settings, then you’ve come to the right place

1. Akarua Wines & Kitchen by Artisan

Close to Queenstown, Akarua Wines & Kitchen by Artisan is a local favourite in the most picturesque setting. The historic cottage sits among a beautiful garden that offers some of the best local fare in Queenstown. The wine comes from Akarua vineyards, located in Bannockburn and Pisa. It’s the perfect combination. Artisan Catering know food, and executive chef John has created a beautiful sharing menu. Akarua is locally owned by the Skeggs family, they know their wine and have been producing wine for the last 20 years. We’d recommend a Pinot Noir with the roast lamb and a delicious Rosé to finish with desert.

2. Spirit of Queenstown Scenic Cruise

If you’re looking to enjoy your wine with a view, then a cruise on Spirit of Queenstown is not to be missed. Take in the breath-taking views as you cruise across Lake Wakatipu with a glass of wine in hand. Spirit of Queenstown has the perfect upgrade to any cruise; a wine & cheese package. When booking, add a glass of Akarua wine and a delicious Gibbston Valley Cheese board. Our spacious cabin, with large windows offers the perfect spot to sit back, relax and enjoy the views.

3. The Winery Queenstown

With one of the widest selection of wines and two locations, The Winery needs to be on every wine buff’s list. Here, you can taste the award winning, single vineyard and reserve wines from boutique wineries that often don’t have cellar doors. You can select from over 80 wines with the simple push of a button. With this system, you serve yourself and choose from red, white and rosé wine, champagne, sparking wine, whiskey, port and sherry. You can decide to enjoy by the taste, half or full glass. They also have a variety of cheese boards to enjoy while you try the wine.

4. Gibbston Valley Winery

The first grapes of central Otago were planted by Alan Brady in the early 1980’s, this was the start of not only Gibbston Valley Winery but the birth of Central Otago as a world-renowned wine region. You can’t come to Central Otago and not visit Gibbston Valley, not only is it the home of central Otago wine it is also home to the largest wine cave in the Southern hemisphere. You can choose to have lunch in the restaurant or if you just want a light snack to enjoy with your wine, the cellar door serves platters and light bites.

5. Kinross

One of the last wineries along the Gibbston valley trail, Kinross acts as the cellar door for five high end boutique wine labels; Coal Pit, Hawkshead, Kinross, Vali and Wild Irishman. Learn from their knowledgeable wine advisors while you taste a variety of wines from the different labels, everything from a sweet Riesling to a silky Pinot Noir. At Kinross you can even sleep among the vines in one of their vineyard cottages, enjoy a dinner at the bistro and then finish the night with a glass of wine in the hot tub.

6. Bannockburn Hotel

While it’s not a cellar door or vineyard, the Bannockburn Hotel has one of the most extensive wine lists in the region. Located just 5 minutes from Cromwell with views over the Kawarau River and stunning vineyards, this is the perfect place to enjoy lunch and of course, some Central Otago wine. There are impressively, over 200 wines on their list with more than 60 available by the glass, you really are spoilt for choice here.

7. Wooing Tree

Located right in the heart of Cromwell, this small winery has become world famous for its stunning Wooing Tree Blondie, a unique Blanc de Noir. It was made famous when Reese Witherspoon shared it on Instagram claiming it as her favourite New Zealand wine. Wooing Tree is a family owned single vineyard. Sample some of their grazing platters or sweet treats with a glass of Blondie. The lawn is fully enclosed with a sandpit and slide to keep the children entertained while mom and dad relax.

8. Mt Difficulty

Situated under its namesake mountain, at the southern end of the Cromwell Basin sits Mt Difficulty winery. This winery offers two labels; Mt Difficulty and Roaring Meg both offering a variety of wines including everything from a Pinot Gris to a Pinot Noir. The onsite restaurant offers a relaxed atmosphere where you can enjoy a delicious lunch and sample some of the many wines. A beautiful spot in warmer months, you can sit on the outside terrace and soak up the unique Central Otago views.

When it comes to enjoying Central Otago wine, in Central Otago this is just the tip if the iceberg. If you don’t want to drive yourself, there are many transport options from Queenstown, including full day wine tours that include lunch at a winery. If you’re feeling more adventurous, you can bike the wineries along the Gibbston Valley Trail. No matter where you choose to visit, we can guarantee you won’t be disappointed.

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