One of the world’s premier wine events returns to Queenstown next year, bringing together international wine enthusiasts from across the globe for a special celebration of Central Otago Pinot Noir.
The two-day ‘Central Otago Pinot Noir Celebration’ is now in its 11th year, and is featuring up to 40 Central Otago winemakers and 200 other wine enthusiasts.
It’s a unique occasion where guests share experiences and philosophies with local winemakers, taste the wines, visit their vineyards and sample the very best cuisine the area has to offer.
The celebration takes place from January 29 to 31 2015 and guests will enjoy visiting some of Central Otago’s most picturesque local wineries including Rippon, Prophets Rock, Carrick, Aurum, and Mount Edward. For the ‘foodies’ amongst them, there’ll be exquisite dining options available from the likes of Josh Emett’s Rata, Skyline restaurant, Blue Kanu, Simon Gault’s Jervois Steak House and Botswana Butchery.
Central Otago Pinot Noir Celebration Event Manager Vikki Kircher welcomed wine fans to register for what she described as a “one-of-a-kind” event.
“It’s wonderful to see so many enthusiasts signing up for the celebration, which is becoming more and more popular each year. It’s a unique opportunity and an unforgettable experience which brings together people from all different walks of life to share their common love and joy of Pinot Noir,” she said.
The Central Otago Pinot Celebration has been running since 2000, when a group of committed Central Otago producers identified an opportunity to provide a world-class event in New Zealand. It’s held every two years, with every third year coinciding with the Pinot Noir NZ Celebration in Wellington.
One guest who has attended every celebration since it started is Dr Jeff Bragman from San Carlos, near San Francisco in the USA.
Dr Bragman said it was “the people and the wine” that made him travel all those miles ‘across the pond’ to New Zealand.
“The wines from this region have become world-class over the years and I always look forward to tasting new vintages and discovering new properties,” he said.
“It’s not just the outstanding wines that keep bringing me back, but also the people. Winery staff across Central Otago have welcomed me into their community and I’ve made many friendships which, I hope, will last forever. I often stay with them when I’m in Central Otago and when they travel to the US, they stay at our house. We’ve even renamed one of our bedrooms the ‘New Zealand Winemaker Bedroom’.”
Dr Bragman is returning next year for the celebration with this wife Ilene.
“Like me, she’s in love with Queenstown. After 35 trips to New Zealand, my jaw still drops when I arrive at the airport. This region is one of the most beautiful places on earth, with spectacular mountains and lakes. The food and wine scene is superb and you can’t beat the extreme sport opportunities.”
Closer to home, Wellington couple Mike During and Cathy Ferguson have attended the celebration nine times. They keep coming back for the “great memories” that they’ve collected over the years.
“It’s the best wine event in New Zealand – a great format, lovely people, wonderful area to visit and an amazing food and wine experience,” said Ms Ferguson.
Both Dr Bragman and Ms Ferguson said the highlight of the event was the grand finale dinner at the Skyline Gondola.
“It’s not to be missed – it’s a fitting farewell to the festival and a time to share many great wines with friends,” said Dr Bragman.
The best of Central Otago Pinot Noir will be showcased over a two-day programme including a masterclass, expansive wine tasting of some of the most sought-after wines in the world, visits to some of the region’s finest wineries, vineyards and restaurants, as well as fun-filled evening activities.
“You don’t have to be an expert wine connoisseur to take part – all that’s needed is an appreciation for of good wine and food,” said Ms Kircher.
“The event couldn’t be possible without our fantastic sponsors who provide tremendous support. This year, we’re lucky enough to have on board Vin Pro, Mainfreight, OI: Glass is Life, Hotel St Moritz, New Zealand Crown Sheetmetal, Commercial and Rural Insurance Brokers, Panprint, Riedel, Laffort, Heli Tours, Crowe Horwath and Antipodes.”