» Industry Sectors » Climate (Benefits Of)

Central’s Climate

Winemakers refer to “Terroir”, a French word that captures the components of a site that lends their wine its special characteristics. Terroir denotes the special characteristics that geography bestows upon them. It can be very loosely translated as "a sense of place" which is embodied in certain qualities, and the sum of the effects that the local environment has had on the manufacture of the product.

Based on this definition, the whole of Central Otago has a very special terroir! It is the most unique, the most distinctive climate in New Zealand, and the product of the land is a direct beneficiary of this.

Central Otago is as close as anywhere in New Zealand to having a continental or Mediterranean climate. Hot summers, cold winters and low humidity all contribute to making Central Otago a special place to grow product.

  • The Mediterranean climate means that some crops grow better here than anywhere else in New Zealand. This includes garlic, crocus (from which we get the finest saffron) and olives.
  • Central Otago is already famous for its cherries, apricots and apples. The high sunshine hours and high diurnal temperature range are ideal for these fruit, and Central Otago is synonymous with the best summer tastes.
  • More recently, Central Otago has also come into its own as producing the best pinot noir outside (and arguably inside) France. Pinot Noir thrives in the cooler, dry climate of the district.
  • The harsh climate also helps control many of the pests or diseases that are part and parcel with agriculture elsewhere. Central Otago is the best place in the Country to grow organic or ultra-low residue fruit.

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