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The Environment

Pinot Noir, our signature wine, flourishes in our harsh and challenging conditions.

It is the ultimate lens, providing a snapshot in time of when climate, viticulture and winemaking combine to reflect both site and season – a concept the French refer to as "terroir". Pinot Noir reflects the climate, soil, topography and nuances from human intervention (particularly in the vineyard). Difficult to grow, if the conditions are not favourable, Pinot Noir earns its title as the "heartbreak grape".

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Pinot Noir planted in the region

Other varieties also thrive in Central Otago – the climate is well suited to aromatic white wines and for the hardy few in special sites, a small amount of Syrah, Tempranillo and Gamay.

+ 37º

- 25º

Climate

Central Otago is the world’s southernmost wine region and the country’s highest. In the semi-continental climate, frosts are accepted and planned for and site selection is key. High sunshine hours and short, hot summers provide an idyllic, at times brutal, landscape. The dry autumns and overall low humidity are significant assets, helping to coax both amazing purity and complexity from the grapes.

 

Accumlated Heat

Sunshine hours

Rainfall

Frosts

Low

950

1915

325

1

Avg

1050

1975

450

3

High

1175

2025

980

10

Soil

2025

Average annual sunshine

Soil

Central Otago’s vineyard soils are mostly described as "semi-arid" due to the hot summers and dry climate, less than 400 mm rainfall a year (excluding Wanaka and Gibbston). Soils can be highly variable, even within a very short distance, depending on age of surface and the influence of recent management. Typically soils are formed from a mix of Schist and Greywacke parent materials that have been deposited by rivers and glaciers and are generally free-draining. Age of these surfaces can be anything from very recent (a few thousand years old) to older glacial deposited terraces in excess of 600,000 years old. Windblown silts (loess) have often been deposited over these surfaces, sometimes with a depth of more than 500mm.

Culture

Almost as important as the environment that the grapes are grown in, is how they are grown. The decisions made by grape growers and winemakers can have a significant impact on the final wine.

Burgundy, the spiritual home of Pinot Noir, has guided the vignerons of Central Otago in their craft, evolving and refining their practices to create a wine which truly reflects the region.

Culture