New Zealand’s newest wine region, the Waitaki Valley straddles the boundary between the North Otago and Canterbury provinces. The area was first planted in 2001 and the vineyards are mostly small, intensively managed and produce a range of distinctive cool climate wines. Most of the vineyards are within 20km of Kurow, some 65km from the East Coast.
The key viticultural characteristics of the valley are its cool climate, with warm summers and long, usually dry, autumn seasons, and its complex geological origins with limestone, alluvial greywacke and schist being found in close proximity at different sites.
The resultant wines demonstrate a distinctive minerality and complexity of fruit flavours. These wines frequently possess a notable lingering finish on the palate in addition to fragrant aromatics. It is believed that this results from a combination of the long slow fruit ripening and the substrata beneath the loess-based soil.
Two hours over the ranges from Central Otago, and four hours south of North Canterbury, the Waitaki’s wines are distinctly different from its neighbouring regions. Notable varieties produced are Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris, Riesling and Gewürtztraminer, with a small quantity of Arneis. Well known producers from around New Zealand also source fruit from the Waitaki for vineyard-specific labels.
The main grape varieties are Aromatics, Gewürztraminer, Pinot Gris, Pinot Noir and Riesling.
Source: New Zealand Winegrowers – nzwine.com
Wineries & Vineyards of the Waitaki Valley Region