I usually spend my vacations visiting wine regions so this past December we took advantage of a quiet two weeks to visit New Zealand’s wine regions. In our local wine shops and on restaurant menus you can easily find Sauvignon Blanc from Marlborough although there are eight main wine regions extending 1000 miles from sub-tropical Northland (36° S) to the world’s most southerly grape growing region Central Otago (46° S). The vineyards benefit from the moderating effect of the maritime climate (no vineyard is more than 80 miles from the ocean) with long sunshine hours and nights cooled by sea breezes.
We started our journey in Queenstown, with its soaring snow-capped mountains and sophisticated tourist culture. I was in search of Pinot Noir and the Central Otago wine region of the cool southern region is home to some of the world’s most expressive and distinctive regional and terroir-driven wines. The huge diversity in climates and soils enables a wide range of styles from the five main Pinot producing regions. We thoroughly enjoyed visiting and tasting the current vintages from Akarua Vineyard, Gibbston Valley Winery, Mt. Difficulty Wines, the organic Carrick vineyard, and the family owned boutique Aurum Wines.