Mysterious boulders, windswept beaches and Maori rock art are what makes the Waitaki Valley more than just another wine growing region. The large braided Waitaki river comes from New Zealand’s highest mountain, Mount Cook. The local Maori call the river Waitaki o Aoraki, which means the tears of their ancestor Aoraki. The ancestor embodied in the mountain remains the physical manifestation of Aoraki, the link between the supernatural and the natural world.
Waitaki Valley is the new and very cool (climate) kid on the block, the first vines were only planted in 2001. The wineries are small and intensely looked after, producing beautiful expressions of cool climate aromatic wines. The vineyards are all located on a 75km strip of limestone rich soils which make it perfect terroir for anything aromatic. Combined with cool Pacific breezes and the protection from the Southern Alps, this is a very exciting region. Definitely one to keep your eye on…
- Pinot Noir is the most planted variety, producing aromatically intense, fine bodied wines rich in red cherry, raspberry, strawberry, wild herbs and spice.
- Pinot Gris has fresh varietal intensity, with perfumed aromatics and pear/apple, stone fruit, citrus, gingerbread and spice notes.
- Rieslings are delicately structured, expressive wines with intense citrus, floral and mineral character and crunchy natural acidity.
- Waitaki Valley Chardonnay cuts a stylish swathe. Crisp green apple, citrus and honeydew melon alongside biscuit, flint and white flowers are typical.
Visiting Waitaki Valley
If you want to feel truly deserving of a glass of Waitaki Valley wine, be sure to cycle the Alps to Ocean Cycle Trail through unspoilt natural beauty. Find your inner mother nature and revel in the beauty that surrounds you.
Be sure to stop in at the quaint Vintners Drop in the old Post Office, in the town of Kurow for a glass and a taste of the local produce. If you’re visiting in Autumn, the valley becomes a vibrant splash of golds, yellows, oranges and reds. Picture Perfect!