We welcome everyone on our wine tours from wine anoraks, to those just looking for a fantastic thing to do in Queenstown, to those completely new to the experience of tasting wine.

To help you make the most of your day or evening out with Altitude Wines the following section introduces you to many of the concepts of tasting wine, how the grapes are grown and how they are lovingly turned into wine. Maybe you want to have a read of these pages before you head out with us or maybe it is something you want to come back to after your day out wine tasting to put some of the many things you have seen and heard into perspective.

No two wines taste the same and there are a number of factors that differentiate one wine region from another. Most obvious is the grape variety that is grown in the region. Not all types of grapes can be grown in all areas. Much depends on the climate, whether it is described as maritime (have influences from the sea) or continental. The climate is what is supposed to happen in a region, whereas the weather is what does happen. The weather of a particular year greatly effects how a wine tastes – did it rain a lot, or was there a lot of sun. The soil of the region determines which grapes can grow where also.

Once a wine producer has chosen the grape variety there is then the methods they employ to grow their grapes, known as viticulture, and finally the way they turn their grapes into wine, known as vinification, which can be very different from winery to winery.

Follow some of these pages to learn more about tasting wine and the process of growing and making wine.

Great wine starts with perfect fruit

More About Wine

Using the Senses to Taste Wine

Taste, smell, sight and even sound are part of the wine appreciation process. Learn more about the Stages of Tasting Wine


Understanding Viticulture

Growing high quality grapes is perhaps the most important part in the whole wine making process. Learn a little bit more about the grape growing process and how different methods are used to create the different wines.

The Wine Making Process

Armed with freshly picked fruit the artisans of the wine world go to work fermenting the grape juice to create alcohol of different colours and complexities. Here we look at the process of making the wine.


The Story of Phylloxera

Did you know that one small bug almost destroyed the entire world’s vineyards? Which “holly smoke” would mean no wine! Thankfully the story of Phylloxera has a happy ending