During your wine tour with Altitude you’ll have the chance to visit at least 3 or 4 local wineries over the course of the day. At each stop there’s always the opportunity to taste a variety of wines and ask the cellar masters as many questions as you want about the production, the methods of growing the grapes and the influences of micro-climates. However, we find that having a little knowledge in advance about the wines and the wineries can often make your experience even more enjoyable as it prepares you for things to look out for on your wine tour.
In this section we introduce you in a bit more detail to many of the wineries that you might visit. Click on the link to find out more information about each winery listed below.
WAITIRI CREEK WINES
Planted with Chardonnay in 1994 Waitiri Creek was the first vineyard to be planted on the northern side of State Highway 6. Today the property boasts the iconic 100 year old poplar trees and a beautifully restored old church as a tasting room and restaurant.
The Kinross Cellar Door is located in Gibbston, along with Kinross Cottages and Bistro (great for a delicious meal!). They are the exclusive Cellar Door for five local, boutique and world-renowned wine labels, including their own Kinross label.
MT DIFFICULTY WINES
Formed in 1992 by the so-called “gang of four” on a “gentleman’s handshake” to create a consortium from four newly planted vineyards to be produced under one brand – Mt Difficulty wines. Mt Difficulty produces arguably some of Central Otago’s premium wines that have gained a well-earned international reputation.
GIBBSTON VALLEY WINES
The winery that started it all! Under the ownership of Mr Alan Brady Gibbston Valley Wines was Central Otago’s first commercial wine, followed impressively in 2001 with the award of “Best Pinot Noir in the World”. Today there is restaurant, cheesery, tasting rooms and enormous wine cave onsite.
Family-run Akarua is one of the largest producers in Central Otago with vineyards spreading over 110+ hectares producing a large range of different wines including sparkling wines. Akarua also boasts an innovative winery for large scale commercial production and a number of tasting rooms around Central Otago.
Amisfield is also a large scale commercial brand including the largest single vineyard in Central Otago at over 80 hectares near Cromwell plus an exquisite tasting room, restaurant and small vineyard right on the doorstep of Arrowtown and Lake Hayes.
MT ROSA WINES
One of the best things about Mt Rosa (obviously apart from their sumptuous wines) is the fun, friendly and down to earth tasting experience in their renovated woolshed (where sheep once ‘got naked’), come cellar door.
FELTON ROAD WINES
Established in 1991 Felton Road are arguably one of New Zealand’s most prestigious wine producers with most wines being purchased on pre-order or for International collections. Located on Bannockburn’s Felton Road can only be visited by appointment.
CHARD FARM WINES
If there is one vineyard which typifies the “vineyards on the edge” description often given to Central Otago vineyards it is Chard Farm. Perched perilously above the Kawarau River the excitement of just driving into the property is an activity alone! But it is not just the visit to the winery that should not be missed – Chard Farms wines are equally exciting!
WOOING TREE WINES
Wooing Tree Wines is literally in Cromwell, situated right on the edge of the town. The presence of the town in this vineyard is much than in just proximity – the name also comes from the large Monterey Pine that has been very important in the lives of many young local couples while growing up.
WILD EARTH WINES
Wild Earth Wines is another Central Otago winery that has reached staggering altitude on the world stage. At the 2008 International Wine Challenge in London the 2006 Wild Earth Pinot Noir won Best Red Wine and Champion Pinot Noir! Today Wild Earth boasts one of the most interesting dining experiences in Central Otago alongside their epic wines.
Carrick Wines have been undergoing a change in ownership and perhaps also a change in style of wines. Traditionally described as very characteristic Central Otago wine most recently a number of new innovative styles are emerging from Carrick making it one of the most exciting wines to watch in the region.
COAL PIT WINES
The name stems from the original industry on Coal Pit Rd – but this wine is anything but coal. When Rosie Dunphy purchase Coal Pit Wines in 2001 she bought an attention to detail in the vineyard plus a state of the art winery that has brought many award-winning wines.
WILD IRISHMAN WINES
From the famous man himself, Wild Irishman is Alan Brady’s latest wine. Made from his retirement vineyard with the stated purpose of having fun with Pinot Noir. It is equally his best with an incredible complexity of aromas and flavours – one of our favourite wines in Central Otago.
Four different vineyards produce four completely different Pinot Noirs for Valli Wines. Owner and produced by Grant Taylor – the only winemaker in the world to win Best Pinot Noir four seperate times. Taste these wines alongside one another at the Kinross Wine Experience.
Planted in 2001 Hawkshead wines display the passion and tenderness owner Dennis Marshall has for the land he so carefully nurtures. These wines are beautifully handcrafted with each clone variety individually fermented and blended only after tasting to produce the best possible quality.
DOMAINE THOMSON WINES
David Jones developed not one but two Pinot Noir vineyards at exactly the same time. Not unusual except one was in Central Otago and one was in the old world of Burgundy, France. Domaine Thomson is such as interesting story and equalling interesting wine with both French and Kiwi influences.