Best cellar door experiences in Queenstown
Sally Scott goes in search of the perfect pinot noir in Queenstown.
Adrenalin-packed adventures aside, New Zealand’s Central Otago wine region offers all the pinot noir action you need on a visit to Queenstown. In just 15 minutes from the town centre you can be immersed in Gibbston Valley wine country. A relatively young wine region, farming land has been converted to grape growing in recent years which has seen over 75 wineries burst onto the scene.
Many Queenstown wineries have a cellar door with tastings, tours and excellent winery restaurants. Discover the Gibbston Wine Trail yourself or enlist the experts of Appellation Wine Tours for a private wine tour.
Here’s the best cellar door experiences to be had in Queenstown, all delivering their own unique expression of the mighty pinot noir.
Amisfield Winery is known as much for its dining experience as its world-class wines. The Bistro has been serving its signature ‘Trust the Chef’ degustation menu for ions with lunch a 3 or 5 course extravaganza or a 7 course gastronomic journey for dinner with a selection of Amisfield wines. One of the largest single vineyards in the region, winemaker Stephanie Lambert crafts wines of distinction and there are plenty of varieties on tasting at the sophisticated cellar door.
Address: 10 Lake Hayes Road, Queenstown New Zealand
This boutique winery is a must-visit in Central Otago. Owner Greg Hay (of Chard Farm fame) has created a unique cellar door experience in a rustic converted woolshed. With no tours or large groups to compete with, wine tasting is a relaxed affair, either seated fireside or around a communal table talking all things wine with the engaging team. It feels more like friends gathering around the kitchen table riffing about wine than a cellar door. It’s modern, fun and the perfect presentation of new world wines.
Address: 1 Bendemeer Lane, 903 State Highway 6, Lake Hayes, New Zealand
A visit to Gibbston Valley isn’t complete without a tour of the impressive wine cave. Nestled in the mountain to provide a regulated temperature, it’s New Zealand’s largest wine cave and available for tours, tastings and events. Dine in the restaurant or graze on an epic cheese and charcuterie board for the perfect pinot accompaniment.
As one of the region’s founding wineries, the estate continues to evolve, with a new luxury lodge and spa due to open in December 2019.
Address: 1820 State Highway 6, Queenstown New Zealand 9371
Chard Farm is a picturesque hillside winery with a European feel. Established by Rob and Gerdi Hay, the family are winemaking pioneers in the area. Rob Hay studied winemaking in Germany before returning to New Zealand and this German influence is evident in the superior Riesling and Gewurztraminers available for tastings. Snap a selfie with the famous sculpture Lola by local artist Lee van der Geest for a chance to win a magnum of pinot noir.
Address: 205 Chard Road RD 1, Gibbston 9197 New Zealand
Passionate about organic farming, the family-owned winery is now officially certified as organic from vintage 2017. Organic farming is fundamental to every aspect of Peregrine Estate with a holistic approach to crop and vineyard management. A modern winery with a spectacular architect designed cellar door whose exterior echoes the sweep of a falcon’s wing in flight and inside you’ll sip wines while viewing the vast barrel hall. This exquisite wine-only experience allows you to focus solely on the art of wine at Peregrine.
Address: 2127 Gibbston Highway, RDI Queenstown 9371 New Zealand
Visit Kinross and you’ll have the pleasure of tasting several award-winning Central Otago labels including Coal Pit, Domaine Thomson, Hawkshead, Kinross, Valli and Wild Irishman. More than a one-stop winery shop, this collective showcases the region’s best drops delivered by a passionate and educated team who are well versed in each winemaker’s journey to provide a quality tasting experience. Kinross also offers an onsite bistro and cosy cottages for the ultimate vineyard experience.
Address: 2300 Gibbston Highway RD1, Queenstown 9371 New Zealand
If you’re time poor from a day of adventure in Queenstown, The Winery right in the heart of town is your saviour. At The Winery, you can taste over 80 New Zealand wines in one place via their nifty Enomatic Wine Serving System, allowing you to curate your own wine flight. You can self-serve a taste, half or full glass of wine from their premium selection, which boasts 24 New Zealand pinot noir’s on tasting. You can also purchase a bottle from their extensive range of 900 wines and savour in the cosy wine lounge with a cheese platter. Watch this space for an Arrowtown outpost of The Winery coming soon.
Address: 14 Beach Street, Queenstown New Zealand