Destination Bannockburn - Heart of the Desert
Bannockburn is located six kilometers south of Cromwell, in the heart of Central Otago. The Cromwell Basin accounts for a large percentage of the regions vineyards due to its unique growing conditions.
Established to service the local gold miners, Bannockburn was a small settlement with a number of iron houses, two stores and a butcher's shop. Kingsmill Wines 'Tippet's Dam' Vineyard is located to the west on the edge of the sluicings adjacent to what was once Stewart Town, a settlement that was linked to the gold, but has more to do with water. A number of dams and water races on the plateau supplied the valuable water to the gold sluicings, and later farming, orcharding and more recently vineyards.
As the gold ran out the Cromwell Basin became a region of extensive farming and fruit growing. Cromwell is widely known as the "fruitbowl of the south" - with a large ode to fruit proudly displayed as you enter the town. The wine industry has been a recent addition to this regions rich history, with the amount of vineyards and grape production expanding rapidly since the first commercial vintages in the late 1980's.
At 45 degrees south, this is the world's southernmost winemaking area. Central Otago is the only area in New Zealand with a semi-continental climate, resulting in greater daily and seasonal extremes of temperatures. Summers are very hot and dry, with the autumns cool and also generally dry with cold nights. Heavy frosts are common throughout the cool, crisp winter months.
A relatively low amount of rain falls evenly throughout the year creating a stunning, semi-arid, desert-like landscape. The large diurnal temperature variation (the difference between day and night temperatures) creates a wine that is full of flavour with great colour and body.