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CENTRAL OTAGO WINE HISTORY

The first wine-grapes were planted in Central Otago in 1864.Despite the districtís potential as a wine growing area being recognised by French and Australian viticulturists from the 1860ís 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.Other early pioneering wineries include Taramea, Blackridge, William Hill and Chard Farm.

Feraud's Winery "Monte Christo" near Clyde

FIRST IT WAS GOLD

Central Otago is steeped in history relating to the exploits of the miners who came in search of the precious metal from the 1860's onwards. Some found their fortune, others lost it, some moved on and some settled and farmed the land. Central Otago became known for its pastoral sheep farming and delicious fresh pip and stone fruit. Then people started to discover the stark beauty of the region and Queenstown and Wanaka, bounded by mountains offering some of New Zealand's best skiing, began to develop as a tourist towns with Queenstown developing as New Zealand's adventure capital.

Fine wine, and especially pinot noir, is the new gold in this southern region of New Zealand. The past 5 years has seen rapid expansion in the fledgling Central Otago wine industry, founded on the successes of a small number of vineyards developed in the latter two decades of the 20th century. While the area planted is still small on world scales, Central Otago now stands in its own right as a serious and credible wine region.

While Central Otago's wine discovery has been mostly a recent development, few people realise that the first commercial production of wine in the region was nearly 120 years ago.

Related Links

The Beginning -Feraud      Bragato's Report      New Pioneers      History Today   

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Central Otago Wine Cellar, Strathburn Farm, 5 Swann Road, RD2, Cromwell, Central Otago, New Zealand
Phone: 0800OTAGOWINE +64 (3) 445 0846, Fax +64 (3) 445 0840,
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