The Central Otago gold rush of the 1860's saw New Zealand's biggest strike of gold which lead to a massive influx of prospectors looking for their fortune. Although short lived, this gold rush put the region on the map, later developing into the fruit bowl of the South Island now famous for it's apricots and, more recently, cherries.
At southern latitude 45° south, Central Otago vineyards form the world's southernmost winemaking region. The vines are planted amongst spectacular alpine scenery and are the highest in New Zealand, with most vineyards located between 200 and 400 metres above sea level.
Grapes have been grown in Central Otago since 1864 when Frenchman John Desire Feradu took money made from the Dunstan gold rush and set up his own winery. Using experience gained from his winemaking family in Europe he won prestigious competitions in Sydney and Melbourne.
Described as one of the most beautiful regions in the world, Central Otago boasts spectacular mountain ranges and scenery and a true continental climate similar to other great grape growing regions of the world such as Burgundy, Alsace,and the Willamette Valley. Although small, Central Otago is rapidly becoming a world-class wine region, with an international reputation for Pinot Noir and other varieties such as Chardonnay, Pinot Gris, and Riesling. With around 200 vineyards throughout the region, Central Otago has become one of the premier New World wine producing areas.