Located in Central Otago, the world’s southernmost winemaking region, Akarua was established in 1996 by Sir Clifford Skeggs and is now run by his son David Skeggs.
What is your company background, how did you start the business?
“With increased demand for their signature wine styles Akarua has made significant investment in vineyards in the Central Otago region in the past 4 years. The expansion has resulted in the purchase of a further four vineyards which has taken their total vineyard holdings to over 123 hectares. As the largest family owned winery in Central Otago Akarua is focused on producing world class pinot noir and sparkling wines. The continued accolades and attention are a testament to the stunning quality of the wines.”
What is the current product range and variants and how do these products stand out in the market?
“Our signature wines are our range of Pinot Noirs and sparkling wines however we also sell aromatic and other still wines including Pinot Gris, Riesling, Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc. Our flagship wine, Akarua Pinot Noir, has an outstanding record of success with 12 trophies and 30 gold medals across the past seven vintages. Akarua’s wine maker Andrew Keenleyside is completely dedicated to ensuring the prestigious Bannockburn terroir shines through in every vintage produced. We also have our second label, RUA Pinot Noir, which has opened up the opportunity of trying Central Otago’s fine wines to a wider market. Similarly our sparkling range that includes a Brut NV, Rose Brut NV and a Vintage Brut has been recognised by many critics as something quite unique and special. Few Central Otago wineries have begun making sparkling wine so we feel this is something that truly sets us apart.”
Has there been any recent company news?
“In December 2016 we launched a new venture ‘Akarua Wines and Kitchen by Artisan’, in order to increase visibility and accessibility for those wanting to try Akarua wines. Teaming up with Artisan catering, we have fully renovated the previously named ‘Walnut Cottage’, an iconic Arrowtown café into an alfresco dining destination and cellar door. Just a few minutes out of Arrowtown, Akarua Wines and Kitchen by Artisan provides modern cuisine and fine wines with a friendly and relaxed twist. The aim was to provide a unique dining alternative appealing to not only tourists but locals and families. With a children’s playhouse, expansive decked and seating areas and a beautiful garden, it’s a great place to enjoy breakfast, lunch and a glass of wine with friends. The cellar door will be run from a fully converted 40 foot container. The small cottage location has been expanded by the addition of decking, and an extensive marquee to provide seating under cover. The shipping container cellar door gives the premises a modern twist and a perfect stop for passers-by to taste our wines and organise for wine to be shipped to their homes (or to take away with them) without having to make the drive to Bannockburn.”
What are the plans for the business moving forward, is there any expansion on the horizon?
“We have seen rapid growth over the past three years and hope to see this continue by looking at new export opportunities as well as continuing to be seen as an iconic Central Otago winery.”
Where are your products currently available to buy, and are you looking at or wanting to expand your availability?
“Our wines are distributed nationally and are available at Glengarrys and other fine wine stores as well as selected grocery store locations.”