Frequently Asked Questions

You may have some questions about growing grapes in Central Otago. We have attempted to gather some information on the questions we get asked the most often below. Please visit our links page for additional information or contact us is we have not answered your question below

How much does land cost in Cromwell?

Land in the Cromwell basin which has access to irrigation water ranges in price from $20,000 to $100,000 a hectare for bare land depending on location. Average prices of land on the Wanaka Road are difficult to accurately set – they really depend on the area and suitability of the land. A number of real estate agents operate in Cromwell. Links to their websites are provided in the links section.

How much does it cost to develop a vineyard?

Again this very much depends on the location and what needs to be done to the land, however, developments typically run from $45,000 per hectare to $60,000 per hectare depending on the development with an average of $55,000 per hectare. This price includes land preparation, vines, posts, wires and their installation (basically all the tasks outlined in the development section) but excludes frost fighting equipment.

How much does it cost to run a vineyard?

Depending on the systems chosen and location it typically costs approximately $16,000 a hectare a year to run a mature vineyard, with labour being the major cost.

What sort of returns can we expect?

Average returns generated in Central Otago for the sale of grapes are set out in the NZ Winegrowers Statistical Annual Report. 
See for detailed information.
Selling grapes, once development costs are applied into a discounted cashflow analysis, will typically generate an internal rate of return of 3-5% (largely dependant on land and development costs), whereas selling wine made in a contract facility will generate a 15-20% internal rate of return (largely sales price dependant).

What varieties grow well in Central Otago?

Central Otago is rapidly developing a name for itself for growing exceptional quality Pinot Noir and this tends to the flagship variety on most vineyards. A number of other varieties do well in Central Otago including:

Which clones and rootstocks should we use?

We recommend that a variety of clones be used on any vineyard - this decreases the risk of poor flowering and fruitset as the clones tend to do this at different times and having different clones also increases the blending options available to the winemaker. We also recommend the use of a variety of rootstocks as there is no singular perfect rootstock for a site - this will only become apparent over time. So by using multiple rootstocks you will again be spreading risk. As our growing season in Central Otago is typically short we usually use rootstocks which encourage the scion to have a short season. Additionally, we select rootstocks that devigorate the scion to encourage the production of high quality fruit. The rootstocks we mostly recommend are:

What trellis system should we use?

We typically recommend the use of the Vertical Shoot Positioning (VSP) trellis system but this depends on the natural vigour of the site. The VSP allows a high level of mechanisation, particularly when used in conjunction with spur pruning.

Spur pruning or cane pruning?

We recommend that clients spur prune as we believe that spur pruning offers the following benefits:

These are a small selection of the questions we typically get asked by people new to grape growing or the region. Please feel free to contact us with your questions!