Region - Central Otago / Waitaki

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Central Otago / Waitaki

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Region Wineries


The Waitaki Valley is a river corridor that runs from the South Island’s alpine heart down to the east cost, just north of Oamaru.

Although the first vines were planted back in the mid-1980s, near Omarama, the first Waitaki Pinot Noir was a product of the 2003 vintage.

Most of the pinot vineyards are situated on the southern bank of the Waitaki River, south of Kurow, on gravels rich with limestone washed from nearby chalk ridges. The limestone element was a big part of the region’s attraction. The climate can present challenges, as when cool easterlies sweep up the valley from the coast.

Waitaki is one of New Zealand’s smallest pinot regions, and one with an exciting terroir all its own.



Central Otago’s rise to pinot prominence has been meteoric. It went from zero to 1200ha planted in Pinot Noir inside 22 years. Today that figure stands at 1484ha. The region and the variety are inextricably linked and enjoy a global reputation.

Frenchman Jean Feraud probably planted pinot in Central Otago in the 19th century. In the modern era, the first experimental vines appeared in the mid-1970s.

Central Otago’s physical beauty has made it our most photographed wine region. It consists of a number of river valleys flanked by soaring mountains, with Lake Dunstan at the centre. As a region it is relatively far-flung, and distinct sub-regional differences have emerged.

Schist and greywacke predominate underfoot. Clays and heavy silt loams also feature on the Central Otago soil map.

The climate of Central Otago is as continental as you get in New Zealand. No town is further from the coast than Cromwell, the region’s hub. The winters are snow swept while the summers dry and hot. The annual rainfall is among the lowest in the country. The growing season is short and intense, which leads to berries typically larger than those grown in regions further north.




Akarua was established by the Skeggs family in 1996, amongst the first daring pioneers of the Bannockburn subregion of Central Otago. We now have further vineyards nestled underneath the starkly dramatic Pisa Ranges, and it is here we are pursuing certified organic farming. We now harvest – 90% of which is pinot noir – in 88 separate parcels, committed to the diversity of our fragile desert mountain vineyards. Every Autumn we support our local community with the Akarua Arrowtown Festival, and profits are reinvested into future-reaching conservational projects. We value progression, but remain quietly steadfast about what still drives us today – family, our people and our place.


Set in the heart of Central Otago’s Upper Clutha basin, our 12-hectare vineyard sits alone at 380 metres above sea level on a stunning north facing slope which hides a special geology.

We are obsessively dedicated to the production of exceptional Pinot noir, in fact it’s all we grow. We planted our vines in 2002 and patiently tended them before launching akitu in 2012.

An organic farming transition is under way which will allow this special place to speak even more confidently through our wines. Our family has been in this valley since 1958 – we’re here to contribute as this is where we belong.

Domain Road Vineyard

Domain Road has two vineyards located on Felton Road and Domain Road, Bannockburn, Central Otago.

Originally drawn to the area because of Central Otago’s legendry hot summers, Graeme and Gillian Crosbie found it also to be an ideal place to grow grapes. The unique vineyard microclimates produce high quality Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Pinot Gris, Riesling, and Sauvignon Blanc wines.

Domain Road wine are grown and crafted with a dedication to excellence and a traditional hands-on approach. We have a philosophy of better, not bigger.

Domaine Rewa

Nestled amongst the rugged mountains of Central Otago lies Domaine Rewa. A family owned, 5.5-hectare vineyard run by Philippa and Yannick Fourbet.   Lovingly nurtured over the last ten years they produce Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Riesling.

Our wines are true, honest and delicious.  Driven by a kinship with our land sees us farm alongside biodynamic principals, giving back rather than taking away. Amongst our vineyard biodiversity thrives, with an olive orchard, bee hives, numerous fruit trees, a juvenile truffière and our children, all thriving together in harmony.


Domaine Thomson is a family-owned wine producer, with vineyards and homes in Central Otago, New Zealand and Burgundy, France. Proprietors PM and David Hall-Jones are dedicated to making the finest Pinot Noir in two hemispheres – wines that express the individual terroirs of each region. The Domaine Thomson crest symbolises PM and David’s passion and commitment to this unique “two hemisphere” adventure.

Gibbston Valley Wines

A maelstrom of creativity and vineyard diversity and has seen a blossoming of Gibbston Valley’s production. Where there was one in 1987, there are now eight Pinot Noirs given full voice. Established mature vineyards mark the Gibbston subregion; high altitude Bendigo sites the rest. Lo fi winemaking, slavish devotion and avid interest in the product has kept the team rapacious. Diversity, we say, is expression, not confusion. Or maybe both.

Maude Wines

Family owned Maude Wines is set in the surrounds of the spectacular alpine town of Wanaka, set on a glacial lake and nestled into the base of the Southern Alps. The 4 Hectare Mt Maude vineyard was planted in 1994 on the north facing slopes of the Maungawera Valley. Maude has since grown to include vineyards in Lowburn – Mohawk Hill and Queensberry – Poison Creek.

The Maude winery in urban Wanaka is central to creating our individual craft wines produced by highly acclaimed winemakers Dan and Sarah-Kate Dineen

Mount Edward Winery

The majestic mountains and lakes of the Southern Alps are home to Mount Edward. Our winery, situated in Gibbston, just east of Queenstown, has its vineyards amongst the foothills of the Pisa Range and on the banks of the Kawerau river in Bannockburn. Mount Edward, part of the Central Otago wine community since 1998, is BioGro certified organic with this philosophy at its heart. Owned and managed by the Buchanan and Forsyth families since 2004, our winemakers Anna Riederer and Duncan Forsyth craft wines that are textural, restrained, and speak of our place here in Central Otago.

Peregrine Wines

Set majestically in the rugged mountainous beauty of Central Otago this family owned producer is committed to enhancing the environment with both their organically certified estates and winery and their “hands on” involvement in conservation of New Zealand’s native birds, the Karearea falcon and the Saddleback.
The McLachlan family have a passion for great wine-making, merging that vision with sustainable practices to craft wines that capture the essence of their environment, while improving the land that creates them. Great wine begins in the vineyard – we help it on its journey.

Quartz Reef

Quartz Reef Bendigo Estate Vineyard was established in 1998 by Rudi Bauer. Both vineyard and winemaker creating their own history chapter as pioneers in New Zealand’s developing wine industry.
We farm holistically, with full organic and biodynamic certification. “For us the highest priority is being good custodians of the land and growing grapes and making wine in a responsible manner. We want to show that you can look after the land and ensure it is in better shape for the next generation while making great wine at the same time.”
We aim to craft engaging wines that tell their story, that capture the extraordinary beauty and energy of our landscape and community and express this with purity and precision in your glass.
We feel privileged to play our part in this exhilarating journey.