5 reasons you should visit vineyards in Otago by motorhome
19 July 2019
Otago is one of New Zealand’s most important wine-growing regions, and no trip to the South Island is complete without going to check out its gorgeous vineyards. While Marlborough leads in the production of New Zealand’s famous Sauvignon Blanc, Otago offers some of the world’s best Pinot Noir. The region’s vineyards are a must-see, with Mt Difficulty, Carrick Wines, and Chard Farm topping the list.
The Central Otago grape has a lot to offer, and Otago itself has even more for curious and adventure-minded travellers to enjoy. Here are our top reasons to pack up your motorhome and set off on a trip to find out what one of the most beautiful parts of the country has to offer.
1. Sample some of the world’s best Pinot Noir
Despite producing less than 1 percent of the world’s wine, New Zealand is one of the world’s fastest-growing wine exporters. This is due in large part to its unique Pinot Noir, grown primarily in Otago. Vineyards from the region have repeatedly taken home the title of “World’s best Pinot Noir” at the International Wine & Spirit Competition (IWSC), with New Zealand overall now maintaining a 12-year winning streak.
The secret to its success is believed to be a combination of the cool Otago climate and its intensely bright light. The southern hemisphere’s hole in the ozone layer allows more ultraviolet light to reach plants and is credited with providing the grape a fruitier and more complex flavour.
While New Zealand’s Pinot Noir is available in stores all over the country and is beginning to appear in foreign markets, especially in the U.S., the best place to sample it is directly at the source. In some cases, this is the only option. Many of Otago’s small winemakers aren’t well connected enough or don’t have the capacity to export their wines overseas, meaning that their one-of-a-kind wines are only sold locally.
2. The unique charm of Otago’s small growers
Unlike many of the world’s older and more famous wine regions, wine in Central Otago is still grown mostly by small independent growers. Each small winemaker has their own style, unique growing conditions, and traditions. As a result, visitors can enjoy a wide variety of wines, each with their own unique character, without ever leaving Otago.
This also arguably translates to higher quality wines in general. Many small growers are forced to compete with one another, leading them to explore and experiment with different techniques to help them stand out from the crowd. As a result, central Otago also offers highly acclaimed Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling, and Pinot Gris besides its signature Pinot Noir grape.
3. Enjoy your wine with a view
Not only do Central Otago’s vineyards allow you to enjoy a wide variety of unique wines, but you can also sample them in some of the world’s most breathtaking natural environments. Drinking wine is a multi-sensory experience. The sights, sounds, smells, and subjective sense that we have of a place make up an important part of the tasting experience. Atmosphere matters a great deal, to the point where even an incredible wine won’t taste the same when taken out of its original context.
In the case of Central Otago, that original context takes the form of some of the most stunning vineyard vistas in the world, whether you prefer rugged mountains, green hills, rivers, or lake views. After all, the Kawarau River, Lake Dunstan, Lake Wanaka, and Lake Wakatipu don’t just outline Otago’s wine country, they also contain some of the most scenic views and tourist spots in the region, giving visitors the opportunity to explore and find the perfect spot for them.
4. Find the right vineyard for you
Organised wine tours can be lovely, but there is something to be said for taking control of your own trip. Travelling by motorhome allows you to spend as much or as little time at any one place as you like, which is key to enjoying Otago’s unique and manifold charms.
There is just a lot more to see in central Otago than a short, over-structured trip can reliably allow you to enjoy to your heart’s content. Mobility is key. To make sure that you get the most out of your trip, you’ll want to be able to pick up and move, to see all that there is to see or to stay longer if you fall in love with one particular stop in your journey.
5. Explore Otago beyond wine
There’s nothing like touring one vineyard after another, but even a perfect wine-tasting vacation needs to be broken up by the occasional palate cleansing experience. What makes Otago’s wine so special is the unique natural environment that it grows in, and connecting with that environment is a part of experiencing its wine.
Otago offers a lot of outdoor recreation opportunities, from hiking, mountain biking, skiing or snowboarding, and four-wheeling, to more structured fishing and golfing. This gives visitors the chance to build a closer, more interactive relationship to the region’s gorgeous natural environment while getting active and working up an appetite for their next delicious meal at one of the region’s many incredible restaurants, complemented (of course) by more amazing Otago wine.
There are few feelings like taking a break and getting out of town to explore another beautiful corner of the country. What feels a lot less relaxing is having your motorhome break down halfway there.
Fortunately, Star CamperCare has got you covered.
We offer broad coverage, so you don’t have to deal with any unwelcome surprises during your precious vacation time. We ensure that you’re never far from the help you need with 24/7 roadside assistance, standing by with advice, minor roadside repair service, and towing should you need it.
Additionally, issues with generators and awnings, as well as glass claims are automatically covered, so even the relatively small things can’t ruin your trip by chipping away at your vacation budget. So, what are you waiting for?
Pack up that motorhome, set your GPS for Otago, and get on the open road!