On the first morning of our Honeymoon, we woke up in our amazing Air BnB just outside of Queenstown (see here for where we stayed!). We had booked in for a half-day wine tour out in the Central Otago Region and I could NOT be any more excited about it. G is not a wine drinker, so for him to say ‘Yep, I’m in let’s do this!’, I realised exactly how lucky I was to marry him :).
We drove down to the main street of Queenstown and jumped on our Queenstown Wine Trail mini-bus and headed off on our Central Otago wine journey. It was raining, which I thought really added to the magic of the day! Any excuse to cuddle up to your brand new Husband for warmth?!
We had around 10 people on our tour, which was really nice. Some friends, some work-colleagues, a few couples and a beautiful older Japanese lady (who schooled us all on whisky later in the day!).
Our first stop was to Gibbston Valley Winery, Amisfield Winery, Mt Rosa Wines and visited Kinross Cottages as well. We also had an amazing lunch at Gibbston Valley, weirdly enough (disclaimer: this is not at all surprising…) G and I ended up with the largest platter out of the group; but it was delicious and we were on our Honeymoon, so – no regrets there!
I went on that tour assuming my favourite wine was Sauvignon Blanc (white) and Cabernet Saubignon (red). I left the tour an official Pinot Noir girl and for the first time in my life, I tried a Riesling which I enjoyed. G on the other hand, remained anti-wine for the most part (he is a whisky drinker), however was not quite as disgusted when he tried the Pinot Noir on offer at each of the wineries. I think the best part of the day for him was when the guide at Amisfield identified him as a whiskey man and gave him the bar and bar tender’s name to hunt down in Queenstown for the perfect drink for him. The answer is yes, we did find the bar and he did enjoy it very much :).
So, in the spirit of New Zealand South Island wine, I have hunted down the following facts:
- Gibbston is one of Central Otago’s regions main wine subregions, and accounts for 20% of all plantings in the area;
- Pinot Noir flourishes in the Central Otago region;
- The regions first gold medal was for Burgundy, won in Sydney in 1881;
- The average annual rainfall in the area is 979mm;
- These soils comprise of moderately old, windblown loess (silt) formed over successive ice ages by glaciers grinding schist rock into a fine flour;
- This is the world’s southernmost wine region and the country’s highest. High sunshine hours and short, hot summers provide and idyllic landscape for vines.
We couldn’t have enjoyed our day out more if we tried, rain and all. There were delicious wines to drink, lovely company on the tour, unbelievably pretty terrain and the rainfall only added to the romance!
Our tour was with Queenstown Wine Trail and it was a wonderful day, highly recommend them and the price was great as well!
The whiskey spot we visited after the tour was Bardeaux, a great spot to sit in front of the fire with a whiskey or an amazing cocktail.
My favourite wines from our stops along the way were the Pinor Noir Rosé from Amisfield, the Riesling from Mt Rosa and the Surveyors Thomson Pinot Noir, which we tried at Kinross Cottage. I have since ordered many bottles of the Pinot Noir Rosé and also have two bottles of the Surveyor Thomson Pinot in the cupboard, which I just cannot bear to part with just yet.
Are you a wine fan? Have you visited the wineries in New Zealand? I would love to hear your comments!
x C x
For more info on Queenstown and its amazing tourism click here.
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