A relatively young wine growing region, the first vines were planted in the early 1980s by legendary local character Alan Brady. The land was rugged and uncompromising, home only to high country sheep farmers, and most thought he was crazy! But the landscape reminded Brady of the Bourdeaux region in France and a romantic notion turned out to be a fabulous reality.
Today, Central Otago is regarded as one of the top three wine regions in the world for Pinot Noir. The challenging high altitude conditions have led to consistently superb wines and many international awards. More than 70% of the grapes grown here are pinot noir; the rest are other cold climate varietals including pinot gris, riesling, chardonnay and sauvignon blanc.
Whether you are an aficionado or recently introduced to the world of wine, your tour of this spectacular region can be curated specifically to you. Our guides at Black have very close relationships with select wineries in the Gibbston Valley. This means special access when it comes to the cellar door, and amazing opportunities to witness and even get involved in seasonal events such as the harvest and first pressing of fruit.
Beau Rapley grew up in the Gibbston Valley, at the time home to just a handful of farming families. One of our most popular guides Beau brings a distinctly personal touch to any trip down the valley, with his stories of a childhood that was worlds apart from most. He is also passionate and knowledgeable about wine and the people that grow it.
“I personally know the owners and the winemakers, so the wine experience we can offer is straight from the horse's mouth…”
Beau loves to introduce his clients to the different taste experiences available in the Valley, but his favourite day out is to extend the journey into the Bannockburn and Bendigo regions, where the difference in soil and landscape is quite evident in the subtle characteristics of the wines from there.
No matter if you have just a few hours or a few days we can formulate a bespoke itinerary that will give you a taste or an in-depth exploration of this very special part of the world.