Central Otago (10) Rudi Bauer and Quartz Reef

Rudi Bauer, Quartz Reef

It was great to spend some time with one of the pioneering figures of Central Otago wine, Rudi Bauer. Fresh off the plane from the UK, I picked up a car, drove to Cromwell, checked into my accommodation and then spent four hours talking, tasting and walking through vineyards with him.

 

When […]

Central Otago (9) Grasshopper Rock

It’s five years since I last visited Grasshopper Rock (see the full profile here), a small vineyard in the Alexandra district of Central Otago. Back in 2014 I commented that they were making some of the best value Pinots in the region. And they key to their success is that when Phil Handford and his […]

Central Otago (8) Chard Farm

With just a shade under 100 hectares of their own vineyards, Chard Farm are one of the larger players in the Central Otago region. Their beautifully situated home vineyard, at the end of a slightly terrifying 2 km track at the side of a gorge in Gibbston, is one of the prettiest I’ve seen, but […]

Central Otago (7) tasting verticals with Gibbston Valley

Christopher Keys, Gibbston Valley winemaker

This was my third time visiting Gibbston Valley, one of Central Otago’s pioneering wineries. Back in 1981 Alan Brady, who had previously worked as a journalist in Northern Ireland, planted 500 vines here. He was one of a small group who believed in the potential of the region, and this […]

Central Otago (6) Providore

Pete Bartle is the winemaker at VinPro, which is one of the two most significant contract wineries in Central Otago. He currently makes some of the highest-rated wines in Central Otago. Even though VinPro are a big winery in the region, they process only 800 tons through their winery each year, which in a New […]

Central Otago (5) the beautiful naturally made wines of Aurum

Aurum is one of Central Otago’s hidden gems. They are known in the region, but they don’t export. But these wines are worth seeking out. Naturally and sensitively made, they are serious expressions of place.

Lucie Lawrence

Aurum dates back to 1997 when Joan and Tony Lawrence planted the 45th Parallel Vineyard on the Pisa Flats. […]

Central Otago (4) Te Kano and their stunning new vineyard

Looking across to the Northburn vineyard

It’s always exciting to see new vineyards being developed. In recent years one of the most exciting vineyard projects in Central Otago has been the development of a large vineyard in Northburn, on the hills overlooking Lake Dunstan, by Te Kano. This is a substantial undertaking, and so far […]

Central Otago (2) interview with Christopher Keys, Gibbston Valley

Yesterday I caught up with Christopher Keys at Gibbston Valley. He’s one of the more thoughtful winegrowers in the region, and I asked him how his approach to winemaking had changed over the years – he’s been making the wines here since 2006.

 

Before, he says, he was trying to impress people with his wines. He’s […]

Back in Central Otago

It’s so great to be back in Central Otago, in New Zealand’s South Island. Prior to the annual Central Pinot celebration, which starts on Thursday, I’m spending a week visiting producers and getting to know this region better. I’ve been here several times already, but there’s still much to learn. And as it’s such a […]

Two superb Central Otago Pinot Noirs from Akitu

A relatively new arrival on the Central Otago Pinot circuit is Akitu. Andrew Donaldson planted this vineyard in Wanaka back in 2002 on old schist, and the wines are made at Maude under the watch of consultant winemaker PJ Charteris. First release was 2012. It’s solely a Pinot Noir project, and just two wines are made […]