Central Otago Climate
Cold and frosty winters and long hot summers are ideal for growing delicious flavoursome fruit. Central Otago’s climate is continental or Mediterranean with crisp frosty winters followed by hot dry summers. Our climate is why orchards and vineyards produce such wonderful produce. We are one of the driest regions in the country, sheltered from prevailing south westerly rain by high mountains to the west and the Old Man Range to the southwest.
The Earnscleugh Valley enjoys a micro-climate that is perfectly suited for growing fruit that needs cold frosty winters to set the fruit buds for the spring and summer. Stone fruit and summer fruit like cherries, apricots, nectarines and peaches love the cold and frosty winters and long hot summers. We protect the new season blossom and buds from the spring frosts by spraying them with water that freezes over the buds and blossoms at zero degrees preventing the temperature from going lower and killing the new growth.
The orchard is very dependent on irrigation as we have very low annual rainfall of just 350mm to 400mm. The Earnscleugh Irrigation Scheme supplies our water that comes from the Fraser River. The water is from snow melt and rainfall atop the Old Man Range. Irrigation water is stored in the orchards large dams until it is required for over tree frost fighting in the spring and under tree irrigation in the summer.
Sun screen UV protection is very important for anyone being outdoors with our long summer daylight hours and high temperatures.