【Day 4】 Biodynamic Vineyard Of Domaine Thomson, Hike Up To 45th Parallel, Then Drive To Wanaka
- Wine Tasting 9: Domaine Thomson (A biodynamic Pinot Noir producer that also makes wine in Gevrey Chambertin in Burgundy, France)
- Wine Tasting 10: Aurum Wines (Family owned, certified organic vineyard)
- Hike – 45th Parallel South (a short hike to the top, to burn off all the calories you drink in the past few days)
- Drive – to Wanaka and stay a night
- See: That “Wanaka tree” (The most photographed tree in New Zealand)
1. Wine Tasting – Domaine Thomson
What is it so special about Domaine Thomson?
- One of our top 3 ♥️ favourite Pinot Noir producer in New Zealand
- Produces only one grape variety – single vineyard Pinot Noir (Pommard and Dijon clones) at the Lowburn subregion of Central Otago
- Premium hand-crafted organic and bio-dynamic wines under the Surveyor Thomson and Explorer labels.
- A family-owned producer, with vineyards and homes in Central Otago, New Zealand and Gevrey-Chambertin, France.
- “Hands Off” winemaking approach to ensure the wines reflects the unique terroir.
We were very grateful to have Kate and Su to show us around the vineyard although they were in the midst of busy harvest season. We got to see how much biodiversity and vibrant the energy was in that biodynamic vineyard. The grass was luscious, wildflowers were everywhere, birds, bees and insects seem happily roaming around the vineyard. Happy vine = happy wine!
Biodynamic farming is getting popular these days. It’s a holistic farming method similar to organic farming, but also following the concepts from philosopher and scientist Dr. Rudolf Steiner.
Pesticides or any chemical fertilizers are prohibited. Instead, herbs, mineral substances and animal manures are turned into field sprays and compost. An astrological sowing and planting calendar was used. It sounded mythical, but the idea is to make the vineyard healthier and as a result produces stronger and healthier grapes, hence better wines.
Note: there is no cellar door in Domaine Thomson at the moment, you can either make an appointment prior visit if you seriously like to know more about their wines, or you could also taste and buy their wines at Kinross Estate (2300 Gibbston Highway SH6, Queenstown) where we tasted Valli wines.
Aurum, means “gold” in latin words. It is a family owned boutique winery. Lucie is a third generation winemaker and trained as an oenologist at Dijon University, working vintages in Burgundy and Alsace.
- 9 minutes drive away from Cromwell city centre
- Open daily 10am-5pm
- Certified Organic
- Private Winemaker Tour ($120 per person) – 60 to 90 min
Produces an interesting range of wines: Single vineyard Pinot Noir, sparkling Blanc de Blanc, amber wine.
3. Hike: 45th Parallel Track
This is the halfway point between the equator and the South Pole.
We parked the car beside the highway and took a quick hike up to the top. If I remember correctly it only took us 30 minutes to hike up. The view on top was worth that little exercise.
4. Stay: Airbnb In Wanaka
It took us another 40 minutes drive north to our next destination – Wanaka. Our accommodation in Wanaka was a campervan at somebody’s backyard which cost us only SGD$122.73 per night.
5. See: That Wanaka Tree
We had a relaxing evening walk by the Wanaka lake and took a mandatory picture of “that Wanaka Tree”. You just can’t go to Wanaka and not take a photo of that tree, same as you don’t go to Paris and don’t see Eiffel Tower. This tree is possibly the most photographed tree in New Zealand. It even has its own hashtag on social media #thatwanakatree.
What is so special about this tree, you ask. It is just an old willow tree grown near the lake but got so famous ever since a Christchurch photographer took a tree photo on a misty June day and won the 2014 New Zealand Geographic photograph of the year. Ever since photographers and tourists from around the world travel there just to take photos of the tree.
It was quite hilarious to see people with tripods, selfie sticks and cameras just lining up to photograph this tree. The lake was beautiful with all the mountain ranges as backdrops. We had a good time walking around the lake and mesmerized by the power of social media influence to this tree!
In Case You Missed It:
- Day 1 of 5 – Day trip from Queenstown, tasting Amisfield, Chard Farm, Gibbston Valley
- Day 2 of 5 – Wine tasting at Peregrine, Valli, Misha. See Roaring Meg Lookout
- Day 3 of 5 – Wine tasting at Felton Rd, Mt Difficulty. See Cromwell town