Central Otago gaining global attention for its sake wine production - 'It's all hand-made'

Source: 1News

Central Otago is well-known for its pinot noir, but now the region's gaining global attention producing another alcoholic drink - sake.

Zenkuro Sake in Queenstown is the country's only brewery to solely produce sake, or Japanese rice wine.

Now, the brewery is exporting to the UK - the first sake made outside of Japan to do so.

"We're making it in a very traditional way, it's all hand-made, we don't have any machines and we're brewing in small batches constantly," Zenkuro co-owner and head brewer David Joll said.

Each batch takes four months to produce.

The special sake rice is washed and steamed, before starch and yeast is added.

The mixture is then brewed for several weeks before it is pressed and aged.

The business grew out of owners Craig McLachlan, David Joll and Richard Ryall's passion for Japanese culture.

The men credit Queenstown's fresh southern water and their hand-crafted Manuka stirring paddles as key to their sake's success - along with its Kiwi-inspired name.

"This is zen and it means 'all', and this is kuro and it means 'black.'"