We visit Central Otago’s top five cellar doors
Locharburn – best for lunch
Owners Jenny and Chris Hill describe themselves as “hands on” when it comes to their boutique vineyard and winery. Expect panoramic mountain views and feel the warmth of their unique microclimate. Their cellar door is located at the nearby LazyDog Vineyard and Edible Garden, where you can enjoy their wines along with relaxed dining. Locharburn's recently released pinot noir vintage is a cracker, full of cherries and dark fruit flavours, laced with herb undertones. Perfect with lamb.
Mt. Difficulty – great if you have a thirst for knowledge
Established in 1992, this is one of Central Otago’s oldest vineyards, crafting wines with a sense of place. Their cellar door opened in 2003 and sits high above the winery on Felton Road. Perched on a rocky outcrop, it offers breathtaking views across the Cromwell Basin. You can taste their full range of Mt. Difficulty and Roaring Meg wines and be educated by their expert staff while you are there, including their award-winning Roaring Meg Pinot Gris.
Gibbston Valley – full of history
Between 10am and 5pm daily, the cellar door here offers a selection of cheese platters, light bites and homemade pastries to pair with their wine. They also offer tours and tastings in their wine cave and a visit to Home Block, the region’s oldest vineyard. Their unusual blanc de pinot noir is definitely worth a try.
Quartz Reef – a private experience
A specialist bio-dynamic vineyard, you can book a tour and learn a bit more about the unusual way they cultivate their fruit and make their wines. They also offer a Private Member Cellar Club, which allows you to enjoy private tastings, wine masterclasses and limited-release vintages. They excel in methode traditionelle wines and their farming practices are based on an all-organic method developed by Rudolf Steiner, that result in wines with real local character.
Wooing Tree – fab for families
A specialist pinot producer, look out for their excellent rosé and blanc de noir. They also have a fabulous family-friendly cellar door. Kick back and enjoy a light lunch with one of their fabulous wines, while the kids enjoy the slide and sandpit. Don’t have a family yet? Well, the tree in the middle of the vineyard is a popular place to propose, hence the name …