Cardrona Distillery

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Monday9:30 am – 7:00 pm.

Tuesday9:30 am – 7:00 pm.

Wednesday9:30 am – 7:00 pm.

Thursday9:30 am – 7:00 pm.

Friday9:30 am – 7:00 pm.

Saturday9:30 am – 7:00 pm.

Sunday9:30 am – 7:00 pm.

2125 Cardrona Valley Road, Wānaka

03 443 1393

Cardrona Distillery may be a small batch operation, but it’s one that runs like clockwork thanks to the efforts of its clever and enthusiastic team who, with founder Desiree Reid's careful guidance, mill, mash, ferment and distil the artisan spirits, label the bottles, run the tours or tend to the beautiful grounds.

Come for a tour and a tasting session, and set eyes on the beautiful copper stills that are responsible for turning grain into spirits — Single Malt Vodka, award-winning Rosehip Gin and deliciously powerful New Zealand Orange Liqueur.
 
No expense has been spared, with bespoke distillery equipment imported from Scotland and Germany. Aptly named due to their alternatively fast and furious or soft and slow distilling, ‘Roaring Meg’ and ‘Gentle Annie’ are the glowing copper round-bellied stills that do the brunt of the work on level two of this workspace.
 
Entering the cool, dark storage room where The Cardrona Single Malt Whisky lies sleeping as it begins its ten years of maturing feels almost like entering a hushed church, and the owners admit to having used it as a wedding venue once, albeit a very tiny one. The casks used for the freshly distilled spirit have come a long way from their former homes to be in Cardrona Valley. Shipped from the USA and Spain, they were previously used for storing bourbon and sherry, respectively, as is the tradition for making Single Malt Whisky. The team will tell you it’s essential to use these ‘seasoned’ casks, as it means the strong wood flavour for which bourbon particularly is known has been stripped from the oak, leaving the beautiful soft sugars and delicate aromas, the hallmarks of well-made Single Malt.
 
The tasting room follows suit in this pursuit of excellence and the little cocktail bar means you can try some of Cardrona Distillery’s Single Malt Vodka or Rosehip Gin shaken, mixed or stirred. For a full taste of Cardrona, sit back and choose a selection of plates to share (or solo indulge in) from the fresh and seasonal lunch menu, each of which has been designed to complement a drink from the cocktail collection. The decision of dish versus drink preference is a tough one — you can always opt for the set menu.

If the inside of this distillery and tasting room isn’t enough to impress you, then the outside surely will. Set in between rolling hills at the base of Cardona Ski Field, it has to be one of the most striking backyards in the world. Reminding you that you’re in Kiwi country and amongst people who like a bit of humour, the nearby bra fence has become something of an icon for people travelling through.

Words by Rosie Morrison & Photography by Anna Briggs

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Location

2125 Cardrona Valley Road, Wānaka

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