Bannockburn's Felton Road winery named country's best

by Kim Bowden - May 06, 2024

Central Otago has shone in a latest line-up of the country's top wineries, taking 36 of the 157 spots, including Felton Road in Bannockburn at number one.

The Real Review, one of Australia’s leading authorities in wine, published its prestigious ranking list today, with Felton Road claiming the top spot for the first time.

In a statement today, wine critic and list judge Bob Campbell calls the rankings a "who's who of fine wine producers".

They follow an intensive tasting of more than 3,500 wines with some big movements up and down the list from previous years, and a number of new entrants to the top wineries. 

Felton Road winemaker Blair Walter says the winery is "blessed" with its four vineyard sites in Bannockburn offering "consistent and distinctly high quality wines".

"We’ve been farming our vineyards organically and biodynamically for over 20 years now, which brings additional harmony and nuance to the wines.”

Of this year's top 60 wineries, 34 (56.7 percent) have some or all of their vineyards certified organic. 

The list is independently ranked by The Real Review tasting team, led by Mr Campbell, Huon Hooke, and Stephen Wong, among others. 

Mr Wong says looking at this year's list there is "much cause for optimism" when it comes to Kiwi wineries.

"It is really heartening for me to see increasingly diverse representation in the list of winemakers, the stellar results from Central Otago, the outstanding dominance of organic producers and smaller regions like the Wairarapa, North Canterbury and Waiheke punching about their weight class alongside the juggernauts of Marlborough and Hawke’s Bay.

"It is an exciting time for New Zealand wine across almost every style and grape variety."

Completing the top five ranking of this year’s list are Destiny Bay, on Waiheke Island, Church Road, in Hawke’s Bay, Ata Rangi, in Martinborough, and Craggy Range, in Hawke’s Bay. 

Felton Road's Block 5 Pinot Noir 2022 was noted as a 'must-try' wine by the publication.

Terra Sancta, Vallie, Rippon, Gibbston Valley Wines, Prophet's Rock, Doctors Flat, Rockburn Wines, Two Paddocks, Carrick, Mt Difficulty Wines, Misha's Vineyard, and Quartz Reef, all of Central Otago, made the top 52.

Main image (Supplied): The view across the Kawarau River towards Felton Road's vines in Bannockburn.


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