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Lowburn Ferry - fine Pinot Noir wine from Central Otago

photo courtesy Carl Thompson

Deep in the south of New Zealand and surrounded by mountain ranges is Central Otago New Zealand's smallest but fastest growing wine region and home to some of the finest vineyards in the country. Central Otago has a continental climate hot summers and long cold winters and in small pockets of the region the combination of microclimate and unique soil conditions are perfect for growing the fickle Pinot Noir grape. The Pinot Noirs from Central Otago have been rapidly gaining international acclaim.

Lowburn Ferry is the area surrounding an historic ferry crossing over the mighty Clutha River. A picturesque lake now occupies the ferry site at the base of the Lowburn Valley and vineyards abound on the surrounding glacial terraces where goldminers once toiled in the hot Otago sun.

Nestled on a sheltered north facing terrace in the Lowburn Valley beneath the Pisa Range is Lowburn Ferry Vineyard, a family owned vineyard dedicated to the production of high quality Pinot Noir wine. The vines are hand tended to maximise the benefits of the unique terroir and microclimate.

Lowburn Ferry Pinot Noir 2003, the first wine produced from this vineyard, won trophies for Champion Wine, Champion Red Wine and Champion Pinot Noir at the NZ Winegrowers 2005 Bragato Wine Awards. The success followed a run of serious reviews from notable wine writers including a rating of 18 out of 20 by UK wine critic Jancis Robinson, and five star honours in Cuisine magazine.

Lowburn Ferry
Home Block Pinot Noir 2012

Lowburn Ferry
Skeleton Creek Pinot Noir 2011

One of NZ's foremost wine writers, Bob Campbell MW, recently had this to say in Gourmet Traveller Wine Feb 2011 "Top Secrets":

“…so why isn't Lowburn Ferry a household name, at least among pinot lovers?
Because its vineyard has a miniscule area of three hectares. That's not to say it can't expand. It could easily replace some of the sheep that graze on the balance of the 35-hectare property with vines. Its recipe for success is location and good viticulture. …”
And about us (Jean and Roger) he says: “Between them there's not much they don't know about growing grapes. They could do the world a favour by growing more.”

March 2015
"Great news for Lowburn Ferry!
The Drinks Business held our Global Pinot Noir Masters blind tasting last week and I am pleased to inform you that your wine received a Gold medal and one of the highest scores in the whole tasting. Our judges are notorious for being the toughest in the business with many wines failing to reach the medals at all so this was a fantastic result for Lowburn Ferry. Your result was as follows -
Lowburn Ferry Home block Pinot Noir 2011 Gold (90 points plus)
This Gold medal was extremely hard won, as the judges awarded very few high scores, as you will see when the results are published. So very well done to you and your winemakers!"
Andrew Oliver , The Drinks Business

Jan 2015
The 2012 Lowburn Ferry 'Home Block' Pinot Noir made it into Gourmet Traveller Wine's Top 100 new releases for 2014 and scored 5 Stars and 96 points. Described as 'An intense, complex, sumptuous pinot that is perfumed with dark plum, black cherry and a hint of violets. There is an appealing gamy influence on the palate. The texture is seductively smooth with a backbone of fine tannins.'

Small Winery soars Sky High!
Nov 2014
Lowburn Ferry Wines has capped a string of elite awards for its wines in the past fortnight with the announcement that its pinot noirs will be served in British Airways first class cabins from early next year.
Lowburn Ferry Home Block Pinot Noir 2011 will be on board on British Airways flights on the Asia-Pacific sector from March and vineyard owners Jean and Roger Gibson say the association with this premier airline represents a significant endorsement for Lowburn Ferry. They hope the first class patrons, being more or less a "captive audience" will learn more about Central Otago wines during their voyage, improving the profile of the wines in developing markets, particularly Asia.

Lowburn Ferry has also been in the spotlight over the past fortnight having secured a Top 10 placing in the Cuisine magazine Christmas 2014 issue's pinot noir tasting (Lowburn Ferry Home Block Pinot Noir 2012), whilst the Lowburn Ferry Home Block Pinot Noir 2013 won a Pure Gold medal at the Air New Zealand Wine Awards 2014, AND Blue-Gold, Top 100 at the Sydney International Wine Competition 2015. Finally, Lowburn Ferry is once again a TOP 5 Finalist in the NZ/Australia Winestate Wiine of the Year Awards, to be held in Queenstown later this week!

...download media release (pdf) here ..... ...view trade newsletter (pdf) .....
Lowburn Ferry Home Block Pinot Noir 2013
  • Pure Gold medal, Air NZ Wine Awards 2014
  • Blue-Gold, Top 100 award, Sydney Int. Wine Comp 2015

Lowburn Ferry The Ferryman Reserve Pinot Noir 2013
  • only released in exceptional years
  • limited stock

IWC gold!
June 2014
Lowburn Ferry Home Block Pinot Noir 2012 won a gold medal at the International Wine Challenge in London recently.
This influential wine show attracts entrants from all over the world and winning gold there is an endorsement of the consistent quality of our Lowburn Ferry wines.

Jancis Robinson champions Lowburn Ferry:
Almost 10 years ago Jancis Robinson listed Lowburn Ferry as one of the new brands to watch out for...recent reviews from JancisRobinson.com prove she was right...:
"Medium crimson. Sweet, like the warm smell billowing from the kitchen when cherry compote is simmering away on the stove. Mouthwatering and tingling with deliciousness. There's a sharp spine, like a slash of cranberry, which snaps all that sweet cherry juice into smart shape, and just a hint of menthol and liquorice to give it the suggestion of a dark side. The tannins lean ever so lightly on the tongue, more playful than practical. One should probably give it another year or so in bottle, but I'd struggle to resist opening it this summer. A wine that will probably give as much pleasure in its callow youth as it will with some mellowing age. (TC)" score 17+ JancisRobinson.com

...see more reviews here...
...read more news here...

Lowburn Ferry expands markets in UK and Australia
4 March 2014
Lowburn Ferry announces partnership with leading wine agency Daniel Lambert Wines Ltd in the UK.
Daniel Lambert has 22 years of experience importing wines from France, Italy and Spain for the UK and Indies markets, working in close partnership with selected wine growers.
Through this partnership Lowburn Ferry will soon be available throughout all of the British Isles including Northern and Southern Ireland, and Scotland.

"The wines being made here are some of the best NZ Pinot Noir's we have tried in many years," says Daniel Lambert.

...See international distribution for more contact details/

Done it Again: Lowburn Ferry wins Winestate Pinot Noir Trophy - Wine of the Year!
25 November 2013
Winestate Magazine’s tasting panel sampled over 11,000 wines in total and more than 1500 in each category in blind tastings during 2013, before selecting the best 5 finalists from a re-taste of all the wines that had received 4.5 or 5 stars during the year.
...Download full press release pdf here

Grand Jury Européen Ranks Lowburn Ferry Amongst Top Pinot Noirs in the World
August 2012

The inaugural reserve pinot noir from Lowburn Ferry has received an outstanding ovation from a panel of international tasters known as the Grand Jury Européen (GJE).
14 GJE tasters recently held a special session in Paris about the styles of various pinots noirs coming from various countries in the world : France, Italy, Switzerland, New Zealand, USA, Argentina, and Germany. Invited producers were asked to provide a wine representing a vintage between 2000 and 2010.
The lineup of 33 international pinot noir wines included Lowburn Ferry "The Ferryman" Reserve Pinot Noir from Central Otago, as well as three other iconic New Zealand brands from Central Otago, Martinborough and Marlborough.
"I must say that on our 14 tasters, 6 tasters put your wine inside the 5 best : bravo ! Obviously, your country, like Oregon and Germany, is able to produce great pinot noir with finesse, complexity, a real fruit and avoiding all excess as noticed too many times. pinot noir does not accept mediocrity : this is the reason it is so difficult to manage it !" Mr Mauss said .... ...Download full press release pdf here

...Read more news here Lowburn Ferry Pinot Noir 2003: NZ Winegrowers Bragato Wine Awards 2005: CHAMPION WINE OF SHOW,
Mike Wolter Memorial Trophy for Champion Pinot Noir Table Wine,
Gold medal
Five Star Honours - NZ Red - Best of the Bunch tasting - Cuisine Magazine March 2004
- tasting of 120+ New Zealand pinot noirs, published in her Purple Pages, March 2005
Lowburn Ferry 2003 Central Otago: 18 (out of 20) Drink 2006-09

see other reviews >


Lowburn Ferry Vineyard, Strathburn Farm, 5 Swann Road, RD2, Cromwell, Central Otago, New Zealand
Phone: +64 (3) 445 0846, Fax +64 (3) 445 0840, Email: