Our Wine Tour Experience with Queenstown Wine Trail | 2024 (with Photos)

Nataša Obradovic

Nataša Obradovic - Travel Writer

Published: April 19, 2024

Hey there! I'm an avid wine enthusiast with a passion for exploring the captivating world of wine tours. Join me on a journey through Queenstown Wine Trail and discover the delightful tastes and breathtaking views that await you. Cheers to unforgettable experiences!

Queenstown Wine Trail

Queenstown, nestled among the majestic Southern Alps and the crystal-clear waters of Lake Wakatipu, stands as a paradise for adventurers and wine aficionados alike.

Renowned for its breathtaking landscapes, it also serves as the gateway to Central Otago's esteemed wine country, making it a must-visit destination in New Zealand's South Island.

In this article, we share our experience with Queenstown Wine Trail, a premium wine tour service offering personalized and friendly vineyard tours and wine tastings for those eager to dive into the region's rich wine culture.

Offering expertly guided tours through picturesque vineyards and intimate tastings of world-famous wines, Queenstown Wine Trail promises an unforgettable, one-of-a-kind experience for wine lovers.

Most Recommended Thing to Do


Top Choice Hotel

Hilton Queenstown Resort & Spa

Our Top Choice Restaurant


Our Top Choice Bar for Nightlife

The Bunker.

Best Time to Visit

Best time to visit for outdoor activities and scenery.

Average Temperature

Moderate climate with cool summers and mild winters.

Transportation Options

Bus, taxi, rental car, bike rental, walking trails.

Average Cost ($, $$, $$$)


My Top Recommendation

Queenstown, New Zealand is a picturesque gem nestled in the heart of the Southern Alps, offering a perfect blend of adventure and relaxation amidst stunning natural beauty. Indulge in adrenaline-pumping activities like bungee jumping and jet boating, or simply unwind with a scenic cruise on Lake Wakatipu and enjoy the breathtaking mountain vistas that surround you.

For a truly memorable experience, be sure to take the peaceful gondola ride up to Bob's Peak for panoramic views of Queenstown and its majestic landscapes before savoring a delicious meal at one of the charming local eateries, where you can immerse yourself in the warmth and hospitality of this vibrant alpine town.

What You'll Need to Bring

Camera, comfortable shoes, warm clothing, and a sense of adventure

Portable phone charger, reusable water bottle, sunscreen, and a travel journal

What Not to Miss

  1. Skyline Queenstown

  2. Bungee jumping at Kawarau Bridge

  3. Fergburger

  4. The Remarkables Mountain Range

What to Avoid

  1. Overpacking for the trip.
  2. Ignoring local customs and traditions.
  3. Being disrespectful to nature or wildlife.
  4. Not booking accommodations in advance.
  5. Being reckless with adventure activities.

The Queenstown & Central Otago Wine Regions

The Cloudy Bay Shed

Exploring wine production in Queenstown and Central Otago offers a unique insight into the craft behind some of New Zealand's most celebrated wines.

Queenstown's proximity to the Central Otago wine region allows for a deep dive into the art of winemaking. Here, the cool climate and diverse terrain nurture a variety of grapes, with Pinot Noir taking center stage.

Local vineyards and Central Otago wineries open their doors to enthusiasts eager to learn about sustainable viticulture, innovative winemaking techniques, and the intricate process of turning grapes into award-winning wines.

Central Otago's commitment to quality and sustainability in winemaking further elevates its status, and you'll learn about this at various stages on the tour.

The Rich Wine Heritage of Central Otago

Gibbston Valley Winery

The winemaking history of Central Otago began in earnest in the 1980s, despite initial experiments dating back to the late 19th century.

During the tour, we learned about pioneers like Alan Brady from Gibbston Valley Winery, who were instrumental in proving that despite challenges, Central Otago's unique climate and terroir were ideal for producing premium Pinot Noir.

The region quickly established itself as New Zealand's premier location for Pinot Noir, gaining international acclaim.

Today, Central Otago is celebrated for its world-class wines, reflecting a perfect harmony between tradition and innovation.

Our Queenstown Wine Trail Experience

Queenstown Wine Trail Tours

Embarking on a wine tour in the picturesque Central Otago region was an experience that did not disappoint. 

We chose to book our Queenstown wine tour with Queenstown Wine Trail; this is Queenstown's original wine tour and it's family run, offering a small selection of premium wine tours in and around Gibbston Valley.

The booking process with Queenstown Wine Trail was seamless, a simple online reservation for a small group tour (private wine tours, custom tours, as well as self-guided tours are available).

Queenstown Wine Trail offers a courtesty pick up from your hotel where you are collected and greeted by your expert guide, whose passion for wine and extensive knowledge of the region's viticulture provide an informal yet professional atmosphere.

Embarking on the Wine Trail

Gibbston Valley Wine

On our way to the first Gibbston Valley winery, our guide shared insights into the unique terroir of Central Otago, explaining how the climate and soil contribute to the distinctive flavors of the wines we were about to taste.

Our guide also shared the itinerary for the day and answered any questions we had. We also placed our order for lunch from the à la carte menu, which included venison and local lamb shank. Each of these dishes is matched with a different wine from the winery.

Wine Tastings at Kinross Winery

Kinross Winery

During our wine tour and tastings, we had the pleasure of visiting several esteemed wineries, each presenting a deep dive into their unique wine-making processes.

Our first wine tasting was at Kinross Winery and Cellar Door, a boutique vineyard and cellar door that epitomizes the region's viticultural excellence.

At Kinross, the intimate setting allowed for detailed explanations of their techniques, from vine cultivation to the nuances of barrel aging.

Tasting sessions offered a spectrum of Central Otago wines, revealing the diverse flavors that Central Otago's terroir can produce. The sommelier shared the history behind each wine, a detailed description of the flavor and body of each wine, and answered questions relating to wine production and varieties.

Here, we tasted five wines. Our personal favorite from this tasting was The Wild Irishman Pinot Noir, offering a complex bouquet of ripe cherries, subtle earthy notes, and a velvety texture.

Lunch at Kinross Winery

Lunch at Kinross Winery

After the initial wine tasting, it was then time for lunch.Kinross Winery marries exquisite cuisine with world-class wines. 

The bistro at Kinross offers a menu crafted from fresh, local ingredients, designed to complement their selection of premium wines. We opted for the lamb shank and the fish of the day which was exceptional, some of the best food we had whilst we were in New Zealand.

The serene setting, with views of the surrounding mountains and vines, added a magical touch to the meal, making lunch at Kinross a real highlight of the day. 

Wine tastings at Mt Rosa Winery

Wine tastings at Mt Rosa Winery

It was then time for some more delicious wine tastings at Mt Rosa Winery. Nestled in the rolling hills, this family-owned and operated winery is also renowned for its exquisite Pinot Noirs. 

What used to be a Merino sheep farm, Mt Rosa has kept its rustic farm style charm. The first grapes established in 2000 were Sauvignon Blanc, followed by Pinot Noir and Pinot Gris in 2003. All which you can sample during your wine tasting at Mt Rosa.

The intimate cellar door allowed for a personalized tasting experience, where friendly and knowledgeable sommeliers guided us through a tasting of over five different varietals all grown onsite at Mt Rosa’s vineyards. As we sampled their award winning wines, we were guided through each tasting with explanations of the flavors and aromas unique to each varietal.

The picturesque setting of the winery added to the overall ambiance, providing a relaxing backdrop for our tasting experience. Whether you’re a seasoned wine connoisseur or new to the world of wine, the staff at Mt Rosa Winery made sure we felt right at home as we explored their range of exceptional wines.

Wine tastings at Gibbston Valley Wines

Gibbston Valley Winery

Our final wine tasting of the tour was at Gibbston Valley Winery. This is home to the region’s oldest vineyards where Alan Brady planted the first vines in Gibbston in the early 1980s and released Central Otago’s first commercial vintage in 1987. This created Central Otago’s first footprint in the world of winemaking. The region is now known to be one of the top three regions in the world for Pinot Noir.

Our wine tasting here was a real highlight of the day as we explored their impressive wine cave, which is carved into the schist rock beneath the vineyards. This unique underground cellar provides the perfect environment for aging wines, giving them a distinct character and complexity. 

During our time here, we enjoyed a guided tour of the cave, learning about the founder Alan Brady, and why he decided to blast his way into the side of a rocky hill to build a wine cave. This unique experience is one we will remember as our wine tasting was conducted in the cave. The setting of the cave provides a perfect atmosphere for sampling more of New Zealand’s finest wines.

After several (lots) of delicious wine tastings, we were safely dropped back to our accommodation by our tour guide.

Overall Thoughts on the Wine Tour

Overall Thoughts on the Wine Tour

What a brilliant day! Our wine tour with Queenstown Wine Trail was an experience to remember. 

From visiting some of the best wineries in the region, learning about their history and tasting some truly exceptional wines, to being treated to the stunning landscapes of Queenstown. Our guides were incredibly knowledgeable and made the experience both fun and informative.

We sampled a range of varietals, from crisp Sauvignon Blancs to robust Pinot Noirs. The breathtaking scenery of Queenstown and Central Otago provided the perfect backdrop for our tastings, making it an all-around unforgettable experience.

By the end of the day, we had made new friends, tried award winning wines, ate delicious food, and gained a newfound appreciation for New Zealand’s wine culture.

I highly recommend this wine tour with Queenstown Wine Trail to anyone looking for a fun and informative wine-tasting experience in New Zealand’s stunning South Island. Cheers to an unforgettable day!