Mt Difficulty

With our founding vineyards established in 1992, Mt Difficulty owns some of the oldest vineyards and is one of the most respected wineries in the Central Otago region of New Zealand’s rugged South Island. Situated in Bannockburn, a unique and rare area of extremes, Mt Difficulty has harnessed the once brutal terrain to produce premium wines at the forefront of Central Otago’s wine production

Tasting Room

The Cellar Door at Mt Difficulty showcases its wines to thousands of visitors annually. It's the perfect spot to experience Mt Difficulty's unique hospitality while taking in the magical views of Bannockburn's dramatic rugged rock and thyme landscape.

The venue sits high above the winery on Felton Road, perched on a rocky outcrop looking across the Cromwell basin to Lake Dunstan. The contemporary building was first opened in February 2003, with the wine tasting counter and the restaurant sharing the space inside. In 2011 the decision was made to create a separate wine tasting area to improve the experience of both wine enthusiasts and diners. The new Cellar Door extension opened in May 2012 allowing us to welcome many more friends, both new and old, to share a little of the essence of Central Otago with us.

Our Vineyard

All wines that carry the Mt Difficulty Bannockburn Estate label are subject to two strict criteria: they have to be sourced from vineyards situated in a very specific area – Bannockburn, south of the Kawarau River – and they are to be under the umbrella of the Mt Difficulty management team. The reasons for these self-imposed constraints are that we believe this to be an area with very special qualities for growing grapes, and that the management of the vineyard is reflected in the quality of the ultimate product.

Another element of particular interest to us is the nature of the soils: we believe that diversity and complexity are essential elements that go toward the production of a well-balanced wine. The vineyards that came to Mt Difficulty Wines via the Gang of Four are on several different sites on the south side of the Kawarau River at Bannockburn. All were planted early in the 1990's and are named after historic gold mining references: Long Gully, Mansons Farm, Target Gully, Pipeclay Terrace and Templars Hill.

Each has a specific terroir, largely influenced by climate, and offers a variety of soil types, from open gravels to heavier clays. They are all low in fertility, and include light sands, clays, loams and gravels. Germanic man-made soils, which came about as a result of hydraulic mining and sluicing in the gold mining era of the late 1800's, can also be found on some blocks. The so-called Bannockburn soil is one of the few soils in the world classified as man-made.

One feature common to all our vineyard soils is the high pH levels: sweet soils are tailor-made for the production of quality wines.

Since 2001 Mt Difficulty Wines has become renowned for the Single Vineyard wines it produces from the best sites on its Bannockburn Estate properties. With variations in soils, microclimates and grape clones the sites each have significantly different features. The philosophy of the Single Vineyard wines is to display the characteristics that are particular to their terroir, thus each Single Vineyard wine tells the unique story of its own place.

Wine Awards

  • Mt Difficulty Pinot Noir 2002 (Liquorland Top 100 2003, Gold Medal Wines)
  • Mt Difficulty Chardonnay 2007 (Liquorland Top 100 2009, Gold Medal and Trophy)
  • Mt Difficulty Central Otago Pinot Noir 2002 (Trophy for Champion Pinot Noir and Trophy for Champion Export Wine) (Royal Easter Wine Show 2004, Gold Medal and Champion Wines)
  • Mt Difficulty Target Gully Riesling 2006 (Royal Easter Wine Show 2007, Gold Medal Winners)
  • Mt Difficulty Target Gully Riesling 2009 (Royal Easter Wine Show 2010, Gold Medal and Trophy Wines)
  • Mt Difficulty 2000 Riesling (Sydney International Wine Competition 2002, Blue Gold Award Winners)
  • Mt Difficulty Wines Pinot Gris 2005 (Sydney International Wine Competition 2006, Award Winning Wines)
  • Mt Difficulty Roaring Meg Pinot Noir 2003 (Sydney International Wine Competition 2005, Award Winning Wines)
  • MT DIFFICULTY PINOT NOIR 2006 (Sydney International Wine Competition 2008, Award Winning Wines)
  • Mt Difficulty Dry Riesling 2006 (Sydney International Wine Competition 2009, Award Winning Wines)
  • Mt Difficulty Roaring Meg Pinot Noir 2003 (Open Red Wine trophy) (Air New Zealand Wine Awards 2004, Gold Medal and Champion Wines)
  • Mt Difficulty Pinot Noir 2004 (International Wine and Spirit 2006, New Zealand wines – gold and silver medals)
  • Mt Difficulty Pinot Noir 2006 (International Wine and Spirit 2007, New Zealand Gold and Silver Medal Wines)
  • Mt Difficulty Pinot Noir 2006 (International Wine and Spirit 2007, New Zealand Gold and Silver Medal Wines)
  • Roaring Meg Pinot Noir 2008 (International Wine and Spirit 2009)
  • Mt Difficulty Pinot Gris 2005 (International Wine Challenge 2006)
  • Mt Difficulty Pinot Noir 2005 (International Wine Challenge 2007, New Zealand wines - Gold and Silver medals)
  • Mt Difficulty Long Gully Vineyard Pinot Noir 2005 (International Wine Challenge 2007, New Zealand wines - Gold and Silver medals)
  • Mt Difficulty Roaring Meg Pinot Noir 2007 (International Wine Challenge 2008)
  • Mt Difficulty Pinot Noir, 2008 (International Wine Challenge 2010)
  • Mt Difficulty Roaring Meg Pinot Noir, 2009 (International Wine Challenge 2011, Gold Medal Winners)

Winery Restaurant

The Winery Restaurant at Mt Difficulty provides a relaxed atmosphere in which to enjoy a delicious lunch. The kitchen is open, which offers a unique insight to a chef's world.

On a fine day the outdoor terrace is the perfect spot to take in the flavours of the region while enjoying the uniquely Central Otago views. During winter the view can be enjoyed from behind glass, with fireplaces providing warmth and ambience.

The chef produces imaginative cuisine, and the menu showcases the freshest of produce, with a choice of substantial fare or platters to share. All main meal options come with suggested wine matches, though diners are welcome to make their own choices at our wine tasting counter.

Lunch is served from 12 noon until 4pm daily, with full a la carte menu available until 3.30pm and platters from 3.30-4pm.

Reservations are recommended - demand is high year round and much of our seating is weather dependent.

We accept reservations for 1-8 people; larger groups are considered on request.

For dining enquiries and reservations please email cellar.door@mtdifficulty.co.nz or phone +64 3 445 3445 ext 1

73 Felton Road
Bannockburn
Central Otago

P: +64 3 445 3445
F: +64 3 445 3446

CONTACT: Matt Dicey