On the first day of my Otago Central Rail Trail adventure, Nick, my Off the Rails guide, shared his enthusiasm for the local wines. As we passed through Cromwell he pointed out a really large tree in Cromwell that all the teenagers in town used to “park up” (or “make out” in America). When the farmer planted his vineyard he kept the tree and named his winery The Wooing Tree.
We continued our drive along the Clutha River and stopped at a lookout for the hydroelectric plant. Looking toward the town of Clyde, Nick pointed out the actor Sam Neill’s vineyard and Two Paddocks winery. I felt like I let Nick down when I told him I was not much of a drinker.
He also gives guests a wine tour if they sign up for the 5 day tour with Off the Rails. Most of the area restaurants offer a selection of local wines and Central Otago boasts some very fine pinot noirs. You can find wine maps online to create your own tour.