Thursday, December 10, 2015

Queenstown Wineries

After taking in amazing views of Queenstown on the Skyline Gondola and Luge, Peter and I spent the afternoon visiting a few local wineries. Wine is one of my top five passions in life, maybe number one, so this was definitely a highlight of the trip! Peter and I are both big Sauvignon Blanc fans so we had originally hoped to spend a day in the Marlborough Region at the north end of the island. Unfortunately, it would have added about ten hours of drive time to our route, since most everything else we wanted to see was on the southern half of the island, so we scrapped that idea in favor of the Central Otago Region, which is primarily known for their Pinot Noir.

Our first stop was Amisfield Winery, a 15 minute drive northeast of Queenstown. I loved the look of this winery; it kind of had a dungeon feel to it. Peter and I shared a tasting since he was driving, which basically meant that Peter got a sip or two and then I drank the rest. It should be noted that the legal alcohol limit in New Zealand is fairly low, I think .05, so I had to pick up some slack for Peter. It's a tough job, but someone's gotta do it!
I thought this picture was hilarious when I took it. Actually, I still think it's hilarious.
We headed straight to the tasting room, where we sampled upwards of ten red and white wines, including their $150 Pinot Noir. Needless to say, it was good! I think I'm going to need one of these in my future house:
After tasting, we wandered around the vineyard for awhile before moving on to our next stop.
 The grapes and me.
Our second stop was Gibston Valley Cheese, about 20 minutes east of Queenstown. By the way, whoever decided cheese and wine should be consumed together is an actual genius. Literally my two favorite things.
We liked the wines at Amisfield better, but this winery had an amazing outdoor patio area where we did our tasting.
After the wine, we sampled some ridiculously good cheese. I may have gone back for seconds, which is probably not socially acceptable, but oh well.

I don't know anything about vineyards, but this particular patch looked a bit rough to me. Perhaps these are the 'boxed wine' grapes? Just kidding. Fun fact: 100% of the wine I drank in college came from a box.  I remember my parents came down to visit on our last day of classes one year. My friends and I were celebrating in the living room when they arrived and my dad asked to sample some of the wine we were drinking, as he had never heard of 'Franzia'. I think he almost spit it out. At the time I thought he was being dramatic, but I'm not sure I could choke down a glass now.
Next, we drove just down the road to Peregrine Wines. This was the largest vineyard by far, and Peter and I both agreed that they had the best wines out of the three we visited. Their Sauvignon Blanc in particular was amazing and we were happy to learn it is available at Whole Foods in the U.S.!
Each winery had a different vibe and Peregrine's was definitely modern. The main building looked almost like a garage or storage shed of some kind and had a crazy slanted roof.
We hit the jackpot on this one because their tasting was free! Actually, I should say I hit the jackpot. I pretty much got two tastings and poor Peter had to resist free wine.
After looking around the property for a few minutes, we headed back into Queenstown, picked up dinner at Fergburger (highly recommend!) and ate on our patio overlooking Lake Wakatipu. We enjoyed a Pinot Gris from Amisfield with our burgers and saved the Sauvignon Blanc from Peregrine for the next night. Overall, a successful afternoon of wine tasting!

More New Zealand adventures:


  1. Good report! I'm jealous, and will have to check out the Peregrine. For the record, I think I had heard of Franzia, but just hadn't tasted it before. Or since.

    1. Hahaha. I'm shocked you didn't run out and buy a box for yourself!

  2. Hi guys!
    You really should jump 'the ditch' & visit us expats in Oz...I can point you to some fine wineries here too.

    1. We currently live in Melbourne! I've only been to the wineries in the Yarra Valley so far but I really enjoyed those!

  3. When you're dead assed broke, Franzia is better than boon's farm any day of the week...

  4. That seems like a very nice trip! And it was such a nice mix of sun and a smattering of clouds.

    1. It was a lovely trip and luckily we enjoyed really nice weather too!

  5. Wow your pictures are soooo magical !

    I'd love to go to Australia. Hope your enjoy your time there. :)

    Looking forward for your next artcles.

    Kenza from

  6. Thank you!! I would highly recommend visiting if you ever get the chance.



Welcome! I started Laura and Peter Down Under in July 2014 when my husband and I moved from the States to Melbourne, Australia for his job. I blog about expat life, our travels, food, and whatever else comes to mind. Follow along on our adventures Down Under!



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