Last Updated on May 26, 2022 by ashleighsatlas
Are you wondering what the best Bannockburn wineries are?
I’d been to a couple of Bannockburn vineyards before during a Queenstown wine tour, but when I moved to Wanaka last year I wanted to try every Bannockburn winery.
So last weekend I set out with a map (and my husband as sober driver) and spent the day wine tasting at the Bannockburn wineries.
It’s of my favourite areas for tasting wine in Central Otago.
Keep reading to find the 5 best Bannockburn wineries you should visit.Central-Otago-Travel-Tips-2
5 Best Bannockburn Vineyards
1. Te Kano Winery
Te Kano Estate is one of the best wineries I’ve ever been to. It’s a fairly small winery and they really focus on creating an amazing tasting experience. It’s a must do if you’re visiting Queenstown or Wanaka.
One of my favourite things about Te Kano Winery is the beautiful architecture and incredible interiors. It’s worth going just to see the beautiful building.
There are also incredible views over the Gibbston River and towards the Gibbston Valley. I went in Winter and it was still so beautiful, but it would be even more beautiful if you went in Summer when the vines were growing.
I really loved the atmosphere. You can either sit inside or outside on the lawn or balcony. There’s no pressure to rush and the cellar door host will come over and top you up when it’s time to try the next wine.
They had amazing service. The cellar door host was so knowledgable and friendly, but also didn’t hover over you and make you feel awkward or rushed.
Te Kano Winery also has really good wine. I bought the Blanc de Noir, a white Pinot Noir, which I’ve never heard of before. I’m not a big red drinker, so it was a good introduction to Pinor Noir.
Tastings: Tastings are free. I felt no pressure to buy anything, but bought the Blanc de Noir because it was so good.
2. Carrick Winery
I really love Carrick Vineyard and I’ve been there a couple of times. It’s quite a popular big winery, but it doesn’t feel over-commercialised and has a lovely atmosphere.
The highlight of Carrick Winery is the beautiful views overlooking the Gibbston River and Bannockburn Inlet. It probably has the best views of all the Bannockburn wineries.
They have a lovely big lawn set up with tables and chairs. If it’s a cold day, you can also sit inside by the cozy fire.
I also really like how the wine tasting is set up. You get a paddle with four tastings and you can choose which ones you want to try. When they bring your paddle over, it has an information sheet and the cellar door host gives you a little overview of each. You are then left to try them in your own time, so you can just relax on the lawn and there’s no rush.
They also have really delicious tasting platters.
Tastings: You buy a paddle with four wines. They have a booklet where you can select what you want to try (e.g. mix of reds and whites, only reds etc). Prices will differ depending on what option you choose. I did the standard tasting (a mix or whites and reds) which was $17pp.
3. Domain Road Wine
Domain Road Vineyard is another one of my favourite Bannockburn wineries. It’s one of the smaller tasting rooms in Bannockburn, which can sometimes be a bit of a hit or miss. This one was a hit.
The tasting room is in a really cute building. It’s a shipping container that has been converted and covered in natural wood. It overhangs the vineyard and has beautiful views overlooking the vineyard and valley. The building reminds me a little bit of a smaller version of the Te Kano Estate tasting room.
They have amazing service and the cellar door host was very knowledgeable and friendly. It’s quite a small building and we were the only ones in there, but it never felt awkward or pushy.
Tastings: Tastings are free. There is no pressure to buy. I bought the Symposium, which is a delicious dessert wine. It’s one of the best dessert wines I’ve tried and isn’t too sweet and has a lovely caramel taste to it.
4. Mt Difficulty
Honestly Mt Difficulty was not my favourite. It’s very popular and felt a bit too commercialised for me and I didn’t love the atmosphere.
It’s split up into two main areas. There is a small tasting area when you enter. You can either sit at the bar or else there a couple of tables inside or outside overlooking the vines.
There is also quite a big separate restaurant area, which had really nice views. I didn’t try anything, but the platters looked nice.
Although it wasn’t my favourite, it has lovely views overlooking the vineyards. I also really liked then Riesling.
Tastings: Tastings were $10pp. You are given four wines to try (a mix of whites and a pinot noir), and then you can choose a fifth wine to try off a list.
5. Bannockburn Hotel
Bannockburn Hotel is not a vineyard, but I had to mention it here. It’s an amazing restaurant which you definitely shouldn’t miss if you go to Bannockburn.
Originally I wanted to eat at a winery for lunch, but I’d already been to Carrick Vineyard for lunch before and wanted to try something else. I saw Bannockburn Hotel had amazing reviews so decided to go here instead of a vineyard.
It was the best decision I made. It’s some of the best food I’ve ever had. I highly recommend the polenta fries; goat cheese croquettes; and baked camembert with mushrooms, pancetta and dates.
It’s also in a beautiful old building and has lovely interiors.Central-Otago-Travel-Tips-2
WINE TOUR: The best way too see the wineries (if you don’t have a sober drive) is on a wine tour. Most of the Queenstown wine tours and Wanaka wine tours go to at least one or two Bannockburn wineries, plus a couple of wineries in either Gibbston Valley (if you’re starting in Queenstown) or Wanaka/Cromwell (if you’re starting in Wanaka).
BIKE: Most of the wineries are on the same road, so you could bike between them (I saw some people doing this).
DRIVE: You can easily drive between the Bannockburn wineries if you have a car, but you will need a sober driver. The free tastings are quite small, but the paid samples (like Carrick Estate and Mt Difficulty) are quite large pours. It also adds up if you go to a few wineries, which I definitely would recommend.
PUBLIC TRANSPORT: There’s no easy public transport to get there.
RELATED: Ultimate Central Otago Travel Guide
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