Waitaki Valley: Visit the Highest Wine Region in NZ

Waitaki Valley: Visit the Highest Wine Region in NZ

A petite region lying partly in North Otago & Canterbury, Waitaki Valley is located on the east coast (South Island). The word Waitaki can be translated as ‘the water of Mount Cook’, named after the highest point of the Alps, reinstating the fact that the valley surrounds the area along the Waitaki River—from the Southern […]

A petite region lying partly in North Otago & Canterbury, Waitaki Valley is located on the east coast (South Island). The word Waitaki can be translated as ‘the water of Mount Cook’, named after the highest point of the Alps, reinstating the fact that the valley surrounds the area along the Waitaki River—from the Southern Alps to the Pacific Ocean.

Things to do

  • Known for its historic landmarks (located in the Oamaru township) and picturesque views, the Waitaki wine region saw the plantation of the first vineyard in the year 2001.

  • Explore the 19th-century architecture while walking down the streets.

  • It is home to award-winning boutique vineyards, and around 12 labels producing amazing Waitaki wines.

  • Ladybird Hill is another famous tourist destination here, offering amazing dining experiences. Catch your own salmon and relish its flavours with wines from a winery located at the highest point in NZ.

  • A foodie’s paradise—binge on the amazing seafood sourced from the fishing village of Moeraki.

  • Visit the Oamaru Penguin colony at dusk and watch the penguins coming ashore—a soul-satisfying experience awaits!


A Walk Through the Vineyards

The Climate

The Soil

Waitaki Valley is characterised by cool climate. The summers are warm and long. During autumn it experiences a dry climate. The north-facing vineyards are densely planted with low-yielding vines to attain concentrated fruit for wines.

The land comprises of unique limestone soil (From the ancient sea that once covered the region). The top layer comprises of alluvial and free-draining soil providing ideal conditions for winemaking.


Must-try Wines
Waitaki Valley is a cool-climate wine region that has over a period gained a reputation for producing exceptional Pinot Noir wines that are elegant and restrained. The majority of vines planted here are low-yielding, thus resulting in intensely flavoured fruit—a signature characteristic of Waitaki wines. Followed by Pinot Noir, some other widely-harvested grape varieties are Pinot Gris, Riesling and Chardonnay.

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