A trip to Queenstown means many things. Crispy alpine air, breakfast at Chop Shop, many a scenic photo stop, and perhaps a glide down some snow-laden slopes. Yet it’s Cardrona Distillery, the world’s southernmost whisky-making facility, that has been capturing the attention of bon vivants looking for something unique to add to their repertoire since opening in early 2016.
While the emerging brand is becoming known for its award-winning artisan spirits, the distillery itself is an awe-inspiring destination located a stone’s throw from the famous Cardrona Hotel at the foot of the eponymous ski field. Made up of three buildings — one distillery, one barrel barn, and one bar area joined with the Cardrona Heritage Museum — visitors who are enticed by the promise of an afternoon charcuterie platter and locally foraged, seasonal cocktails are encouraged to take a 90-minute tour of the impressive facility. As you are guided through the process of hand distilling — from the milling and mashing of the barley to the fermentation, distillation and maturation of the final product — you will also be privy to the gorgeous gardens that are home to 2,250 Damask rose plants.
With various tastings of the distillery’s vodka, gin and liqueurs along the way, the beauty of the property and the masterful way the team goes about producing its spirits will leave you at once impressed and inspired. As the only place in New Zealand where you can get up-close and personal with the distilling process, as well as invest in your very own barrel of whisky, Cardrona Distillery ought to be on your winter to-do list.
Cardrona Distillery hosts daily tours on the hour every hour with the first one beginning at 10am and the last one at 3pm.
2125 Cardrona Valley Rd
(03) 443 1393