Central Otago is a wine region located in the southern part of New Zealand's South Island. It is the world's most southerly wine region, with vineyards located between 200 and 400 metres above sea level. The region is known for producing some of the best Pinot Noir in the world, along with other cool-climate grape varieties.
The climate in Central Otago is unique compared to the rest of New Zealand. It is a continental climate, with hot summers and cold winters. The region experiences significant diurnal temperature variation, with warm days and cool nights. This temperature variation helps to develop complex and intense flavours in the grapes.
Central Otago's soil is composed of schist, a type of rock that retains heat well and is well-suited for growing grapes. The soil is also low in fertility, which stresses the vines and leads to lower yields, resulting in more concentrated and flavourful grapes.
The most widely planted grape variety in Central Otago is Pinot Noir, which accounts for around 80% of the region's vineyards. Other grape varieties grown in the region include Chardonnay, Pinot Gris, Riesling, and Sauvignon Blanc.
Central Otago is known for producing high-quality Pinot Noir, which is typically medium-bodied with bright fruit flavours and a long finish. The region's Chardonnay is also highly regarded, with a leaner, mineral-driven style. Pinot Gris from Central Otago is typically richer and more full-bodied than those from other regions in New Zealand.
Central Otago's wine region is home to some of the world's best Pinot Noir, and one of the standout wineries is Valli Wine. Founded in 1993 by winemaker Grant Taylor, Valli Wine is a family-owned winery that produces exceptional Pinot Noir sourced from four vineyards across Central Otago, including the famous Bannockburn vineyard.
The Bannockburn vineyard is located on the south-facing slope of the Cairnmuir Terraces, with schist soil and a unique microclimate that contributes to the wine's distinctive mineral character. Alongside Valli Wine, other famous wineries and vineyards in Central Otago include Felton Road, Rippon, and Mt Difficulty, each known for their high-quality Pinot Noir and other cool-climate grape varieties. The region's unique continental climate and low-fertility soil contribute to the intense flavours and complexity of the wines, making Central Otago a must-visit destination for wine lovers.
Recently, the Valli Bannockburn Pinot Noir 2020 was awarded "Best in Show" at the Decanter World Wine Awards 2022!