The central Otago fruit and grape growing region, with Cromwell at the center, is between Queenstown and Wanaka. So why not spend half a day en route touring the wineries? That was my argument, and Jeremiah obliged. Besides wine grapes, Cromwell has a concentration of fruit orchards, though we didn’t see any genuine fruit anywhere near the size of those gracing the town welcome sign.
Our first winery stop was a classic tourist trap, but they had nice picnic tables for lunch alone side the buses full of Japanese visitors, so we stopped in to sample their products.
A “belt of viscosity” and “flecks of wet quartz”?!? Wine writers have seriously fanciful imaginations. Otago is known for white wines and pinots, and I guess I liked the wine description more than the actual wine…we have been spoiled by Mendoza, Argentina, having our favorite style of dry red wine in abundance (Malbec!) But it was still fun to taste, and at the smaller places, to talk to the owners about their grape growing practices. Vines are perched on various gravel terraces left by glacial outwash, bright green vines against the dry tan grasses of the craggy hills. Many of the orchards and vineyards are under netting to protect them from birds. Bird netting is so widely adopted that it makes me wonder why fruit growers at home don’t do it more, since they certainly complain vociferously about the damage caused by birds. I guess the dry climate in Otago makes for very few other diseases and insects to compete for the farm pest control budget, very unlike the humid northeast USA.
Jeremiah yawning over the wine tasting….it’s really not his thing, but he was a good sport about it anyway.
And Milo is happy trudging along at the wineries as long as he can play with the camera!
Perfect for Milo!