The most southerly wine region on earth, Central Otago has recently become known for producing some of the best Pinot Noir in New Zealand but is also popular for whites. The region also has the only continental climate in New Zealand owing to the fact that it is surrounded on all sides by high mountains which protect it from the winds blowing off the Tasman Sea. This contributes to the high diurnal (day and night) temperature variation which builds complexity in grapes. Summers are hot and dry; autumn is short, cool and sunny; and winter is cold, with substantial falls of snow. There are more than 120 wineries in the region, a number which has nearly doubled in the last ten years. However, most of the wineries are small boutique wineries, with an emphasis on premium production.
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