Category Archives: Central Otago

Central Otago

The southernmost vineyards of the world lie here in Central Otago. Unlike most other New Zealand appellations, Central Otago is inland – nestled right in the middle of the southern island. Its lack of proximity to water creates weather more continental than maritime, leading to big temperature shifts – hot during the day, significantly cooler at night.

Notable Facts
The region’s continental climate, paired with the variety of soils found in the area, make Central Otago perfect for growing the finicky Pinot Noir grape. Covering almost 80% of the area planted with vines, Pinot Noir is the dominant grape variety, and the wine it creates from the region is receiving rave reviews for its balanced purity and intensity. Some Chardonnay is grown here, but Pinot is king.

New Zealand: A New Way of Thinking

Perhaps I was getting too lazy and missed all of the good things going on in New Zealand wine growing regions. Yes, I’ve tasted many of the country’s top wines over the last two decades, but I did not absorb what I do now.  This year is different. I was in New Zealand as a guest international judge in the Marlborough Wine Show; from second I arrived in Auckland and then onto Blenheim, the itinerary would be nonstop.

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Last Winery on Earth – Welcome to Two Paddocks

Talented ukulele player, animal and nature lover, winery proprietor, and accomplished actor, Sam Neill is a super cool guy.  His winery in Central Otago, New Zealand, is called Two Paddocks, and these small production wines made by rock star winemaker Dean Shaw are top-notch examples of what can be achieved in this most southernly wine region in the world.  I met Sam and Dean in New Zealand earlier this year, and while I was already a fan of Sam’s acting career, I immediately became a raving fan of the Two Paddocks wines.

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New Zealand – The Land of Diversity and Innovation

Kia Ora! (Maori greeting literally meaning “be well,” but more commonly used to mean “Hi”)

On a wine trip to New Zealand earlier this year, I fell in love. No, I didn’t meet Mr. Right, but I did fall for the wine region of my dreams! New Zealand is most famous in the US for Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc, and while it fully deserves that fame, there’s so much more to love across both islands.

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