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The plantings are divided into 23 separate blocks, highlighting clonal selection, sun exposure, land aspect and soil composites. Surrounding the vineyard is our working sheep and beef farm covering 500 hectares.
The two main hill slopes are dissected by a lake which divides the vineyard into North and South blocks. The Northern blocks are lower and cooler and more suited to our Sauvignon Blanc. The Southern blocks are higher and warmer, and suited to our Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris and Riesling varieties.
The vineyard enjoys a cool maritime climate. Cool nights and warm days, accompanied by nor'westerly winds in the spring, combine with the mix of rich silt loam and clay soil to provide an ideal environment for nurturing our vines.
We planted our first vines in 2004 and harvested our first grapes in 2007. By working with sustainable practices, we are working in harmony with the landscape and preserving the land for future generations.
Our soils are Phoebe soils which are silt loam and light clay on top of a mudstone foundation which is covered by alluvial gravel.
KEY VINEYARD FACTS
Located: North Canterbury
Vineyard Size: 79.0 hectares (195.21 acres)
Topography: From 25m-90m above sea level
Phoebe Soils: Silt loam and light clay on top of a mudstone foundation covered by alluvial gravel.
Maritime Climate: Hot summers with Nor west winds and cooler winters.
Growing Degree Days: between 1100 – 1280
Annual Rainfall: 800mm
The majority of the Sauvignon Blanc is planted on the most northern part of the vineyard which is cooler and more suited to this variety. All of our Sauvignon Blanc is hand-thinned and machine harvested before it is pressed into juice on site. The planted clones are a mix of University of California Davis (UCD) 1 and Mass selection (MS) on a mix of 101-14, 3309 and Schwarzmann rootstock, with a quarter of the vines Bordeaux clones BDX 316 and BDX 317, on Riparia Gloire rootstock. The Bordeaux clones tend to give a definite lift to Sauvignon Blanc flavors, with less cut grass and more tropical flavors providing a more artisan style, balanced, elegant wine which complements a range of foods.
The Pinot Gris is planted on the warm slopes of a north facing hill block of natural un-contoured land, sloping from 55m to 32m above sea level. This site is well suited for Pinot Gris as it is out of the cooler and lower surrounding areas and the soil mix of silt loam and clay provide excellent water holding properties. It is all hand tended throughout the season and at harvest. A variety of Pinot Gris clones have been planted including, German Geisenheim clone 2/21, new clonal reselections from South Africa, e.g. clones 7a, 14a and 52b and the Berrysmith clone, which provides a full bodied, textural wine with a richness in the mid palate.
Our Chardonnay is planted on the most Northern part of the vineyard and is hand-tended and hand-harvested. The clones are a mixture of French clones B95, 548, UCD15 and UCD1 grafted onto different rootstocks. The vineyard is in charge of dictating the flavor profile of the Chardonnay, so far yielding flavors of peachy stone fruits and creamy almonds. The first vintage was 2013.
The Riesling is planted on the higher elevated Southern section of the vineyard bordered by gullies, with the gully to the west being an established pine forest creating a warm sheltered block. The Riesling is closely planted, and has been split into two blocks with the lower block being spur pruned and the higher larger block single cane pruned to reduce vigor and maximize flavor. Like several of our other blocks we tend and harvest this block by hand. These plantings focus on German Geisenheim clone Gm 239, backed by clones Gm 198 and then Gm 110, which provide a classically elegant wine with mandarin, lime and lemon flavors.
The Pinot Noir is planted on the Southern section, which has the highest elevation in the vineyard, providing extra warmth and less exposure to frost. In addition to this our Pinot Noir is closely planted to reduce vigor resulting in lower crop levels, allowing us to ripen these grapes to achieve a true expression of this variety. Our Pinot Noir is all hand tended throughout the season and at harvest. Our mix of Pinot Noir clones were specifically chosen for their flavor profile with 50% of the vineyard planted in Burgundy clones. Clone BDX 667 fills out the middle palate, while BDX 777 provides a long finish. The rest of the vines are a mixture of seven other clones, including UCD 5, UCD 6, 114 and 115. The aim of these selections is to build sound palate structure in the wine, providing a vibrant ruby wine with ripe fruit, subtle tannins, great length and persistence of flavor.