Brimming with colourful characters achieving improbable goals, the story of Central Otago’s wine industry starts with the gold rushes of the 1860s.
The wineries in Queenstown and nearby Gibbston, the 'Valley of Vines', have a reputation for producing some of the world’s best Pinot Noir, and it’s easy to while away a day exploring cellar doors and restaurants to find your favourite vintage.
Queenstown is the gateway to the Central Otago region where you’ll find 200 vineyards within a 40 minute drive of the town centre. The Central Otago wine region is made up of six sub-regions; Gibbston, Cromwell/Pisa/Lowburn, Bannockburn, Bendigo, Wanaka and Alexandra, all producing world-class wines.
What makes the region’s wine so special is the landscape its grapes are grown in. At a latitude of 45° south, Central Otago is the southernmost wine growing region in the world, with unique shaly soil and climate providing excellent grape growing conditions. Local winemakers produce award-winning wines of exceptional elegance and longevity.
Central Otago features New Zealand's highest and the world's most southerly wine region. The climate, temperatures and terroir (earth) all combine to create the unique flavours of Central Otago Pinot Noir and the other varietals that the talented winemakers create here. Find out more on the climate, temperatures and soil that makes Central Otago so special.
To help you experience our wines for yourself, many Queenstown wineries have cellar door tasting, and several have excellent winery restaurants on site, so you can drop in for a taste, a chat to the staff or a delicious meal with a glass of your favourite variety.
In Queenstown you can choose from tour companies to ferry you around Gibbston and further afield Central Otago wineries, leaving you to indulge in as many tastings as you wish before being whisked to the next destination. You can join an organised group tour, enlist the services of a chauffeur-driven private vehicle or even fly high on a helicopter charter flight across the region.