Region: Central Otago
The essence of Central Otago, the world’s southern-most producing wine region, is symbolized by the Peregrine, a spectacular Falcon that thrives amongst the rugged mountains, lakes and rivers of this beautiful land. Located on the south island, Central Otago is being hailed as one of the most exciting regions in the world for producing cool climate grapes: most notably Pinot Noir. Greg Hay, proprietor of Peregrine, is a Central Otago native who started up Chard Farm
winery approximately 19 years ago, pioneering wines in this region. Greg oversees current production of 15,000 cases – primarily Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris and Sauvignon Blanc. Greg and friends are unabashed Pinot Noir fanatics with a simple goal in mind: produce the finest Pinot Noir in New Zealand.
The Peregrine vineyard sites are distributed throughout Central Otago in sub-regions of Lowburn, Bendigo, Northburn and Gibbston. The Region is situated on the 45th parallel, a similar latitude to Bordeaux and Oregon with a semi-continental climate – hot, dry summers and cold, dry winters. Average rainfall is very low at 300-400 mm per annum. Vineyard sites are chosen for their northern aspect and slope. Rows are aligned north/south where possible with maximum slope to provide heat accumulation during the summer and air flow/drainage during the ripening period. The predominant soil type is free draining shist-silt alluvial loam. All Peregrine wines are produced under the I.W.P. method (integrated wine production), which is recognized internationally as a commercial
form of Organics. (This is audited and quantifiable.) Pinot Noir yields are minuscule at less than 2 tons per acre. The grapes are all hand picked and crushed leaving 20% whole bunch component. The musts are fermented in small 2.5 tonne fermentors with 3-4 days of cold maceration, followed by agingin French Oak (38% new and 62% two year old barrels) for nine months. Serious attention to detail is given to all wines produced at Peregrine.
Central Otago is the world’s most Southerly wine region. Located at the tip of the South Island in New Zealand with an elevation of 200 to 450 meters above sea, Central Otago has become very well known not only as an incredible wine producing region, but also as the picturesque location for the filming of the Lord of the Rings trilogy. Everything about Central Otago can be described as larger than life. The rivers and lakes are an incredible azure blue and almost seem to glow. It may be the most beautiful place on earth! The predominant soil type is a free draining schist-silt alluvial loam, perfect for cool climate grape varieties. Vineyards are located in three different valleys: the Gibbston Valley, where Peregrine have recently completed their new winery building, is a small, narrow strip of plantable land at the bottom of the ranges. It is an incredible site and only workable by hand. The Bannockburn valley, that along with Gibbston, is producing internationally acclaimed Pinot Noir and has a larger, flatter, valley floor with warmer temperatures. The Cromwell Basin area, bordered by Lake Dunstan, is the third valley floor – where Peregrine holds selected vineyard sites. This is also a warmer and flatter valley compared to Gibbston. Queenstown is the major city of the region.