Wine / Viticulture

The first wine-grapes were planted in Central Otago in 1864. Despite the district’s potential as a wine growing area being recognised by viticulturists from the 1860’s onwards, wine-grapes were not commercially grown again in Central Otago for more than a century.

Modern day wine growing began with a trial wine-grape vineyard that was planted at the Department of Scientific and Industrial Research (DSIR) orchard near Alexandra in 1972 and shortly followed in 1975 with experimental plantings at Rippon Vineyard, Lake Wanaka. The first commercial release of a Pinot Noir from Central Otago was the 1987 vintage from pioneer Alan Brady at Gibbston Valley Winery, on the way to Queenstown.

The following table presents statistics for the Central Otago District between 1996 and 2012. The numbers to 2010 are actuals, whereas numbers from 2011 to 2012 are projections.



In 2010, the Central Otago District produced around 6,500 tonnes of grapes derived from around 1500 hectares of land planted in grapes. There were around 89 wineries in the district, up from only 11 in 1996.

The last 2 years has seen a change in philosophy from the local industry as it looks to preserve its attention to quality rather than quantity. Accordingly, the new areas of plantings have tailed off and the harvest is now being managed to maximise top quality fruit.

Central Otago has made its name from Pinot Noir. However, several other varieties, such as Pinot Gris and Sauvignon Blanc, are also grown and produce high quality wines.

Business Directory
Business Groups & Organisations
There are a range of business groups and organisations in Central Otago for networking, advice and business support. Find out details of when and where they meet and how you can contact them. Read More

Economic Development Strategy
The Economic Development strategy’s key purpose is to help the Central Otago community focus on issues that impact on our economic and social well-being, and to suggest some of the actions we can take over the next few years to address them. Read More
Central Otago - Our Regional Identity
Central Otago - Our Regional Identity 'A World of Difference' defines what is uniquely Central Otago as a place and a community. Read More

Central Otago NZ - Through Local Eyes
Central Otago NZ - Through Local Eyes Meet some unique and passionate Central Otago locals and be introduced to their favourite places and activities. Read More

Central Otago Food & Wine
Central Otago Food & Wine Central Otago is a place of sheer indulgence – whether it’s fine dining, a casual al-fresco lunch or café culture. You will be spoilt for choice when enjoying local fare and award winning wines at the great selection of cafés, restaurants, cellar doors and country pubs. Read More
site maplegal information | login
evoSuite Tourism Marketing Software | Web Design by ReserveGroup