June 18, 2013 | By Collette Peck
When the opportunity for me to travel to New Zealand arose, the first thing that came to my mind was “New Zealand wine tasting”! I am a huge fan (as are many Americans) of the citrus and lemon grass flavors of New Zealand’s Sauvignon Blancs.
The wine region outside of Queenstown is the Otago wine region – which is south on the south island. Because of the cooler climate, they grow Sauvignon Blancs, Pinot Noirs and Chardonnay. The Otago region isn’t as famous as the Hawks Bay or Marlborough regions, but they produce some very fine wines and wine drinkers are fast becoming more familiar with the area. This region features many experienced wine makers that have been operating for decades.
When I arrived in May 2013 (autumn in New Zealand) some of the wineries had just finishing harvesting the grapes and were beginning the crush. I appreciated the wineries with unique buildings, and found that the personal service was exceptional. Plus, the Sauvignon Blancs were delightful, the Pinot Noirs in the Oregon style, and the Chardonnays not too oak-y.
When planning a wine tour of New Zealand, I would not leave the Otago region off your list, as I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised. Queenstown Wine Trail was the tour operator that took me to four wineries, and I enjoyed their clean vehicles and knowledgeable staff. Contact me for assistance on planning your New Zealand trip; I’d love to share my expertise!