Meeting Newz May/June 2024

CENTRAL OTAGO PURE GOLD FOR MEETINGS IN Passion, inspiration, history, adventure and a plethora of inspirational people and places, make Central Otago an ideal destination for smaller in-region business event groups and equally for pre, post and partner programmes. When gold was discovered in Central Otago in the 1850s it caused a bit of a conundrum. Sure, gold would bring wealth, but those who listened to hearsay gathered from ships arriving from Europe, Australia and America would know such riches also had problems. Eventually, of course, the gold won but as you travel around the region and meet the people whose families have long lived here you realise that everything you hear about tough Southerners is true – they are not a people to give in easily, if at all. Overhead is a huge Southern sky and the relatively small staunch and innovative population do not generate a lot of electric light pollution, making stargazing an incredible experience. So with gold beneath your feet and diamonds above your head, you can be sure there are many other gems to be found in between, and you should really go on a mission to find them. Not that it is much of a mission, because the open hospitality is not at all hidden. Heard it on the grapevine One of the foremost welcoming aspects of Central Otago is its grape-friendly terroir. Wine has been grown here for more than 150 years by goldminer-turned-winemaker, Jean Desire Feraud who planted more than [CENTRAL OTAGO Bannockburn Inlet – ideal for cycling and wine experiences 1,200 vines. A rare variety usually grown in Northern Italy and Germany – trollinger – was recently discovered in the area and is thought to be an original Feraud vine. It is not believed that the variety grows anywhere else in the country, a one-off that is indicative of Central Otago. So established are the region’s vineyards – the most southerly in the world – that Central Otago claimed its first gold medal for a ‘burgundy’ wine way back in 1881 at a competition in Sydney. That burgundy colour lives on in the region. The pinot noir produced here has a rightful reputation as being some of the very best in Aotearoa and has been lauded worldwide. The success of red grapes here has not gone unnoticed by French vintners and in 2006 The Central Otago Burgundy Exchange was established. Up to six weeks long, stagiaires or interns first spend time at Centre de Formation Professionelle et de Promotion Agricole (CFPPA) in Beaune, a school which teaches viticulture and the marketing of wines and spirits, before spending weeks two to five on placement at respective vineyards. In return, French interns arrive in Central Otago to do the same thing. So, in a country lined with vineyards from the very top to the very bottom, Central Otago can still offer something not found anywhere else, and it’s one of the cleanest environments on earth to grow wine. It is probably no wonder that actor Sam Neill established his Two Paddocks vineyard in Central Otago because he, too, leads a life less ordinary. The terroir in the region also differs from vineyard to vineyard in some cases, so you cannot generalise about the overall product, just as you cannot generalise about Central Otago as a destination. Biking, hiking and trailing along The conversion of the former Otago Central Railway route into a 150km walking, cycling and horse-riding track in 2000 proved so successful it ensured the later New Zealand Cycle Trail/ Nga Haerenga project was a success as well. Users so vocally enthused over the trail that investors approached for funding for the proposed NZ-wide project already knew exactly what their money would do and Marsden Lake Resort [12] meeting newz [may june] 2024

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