Winemaker's Comment - Spring 2015

After a long and very cold winter in Central Otago this year, with temperatures in the vineyards down to minus 10°C, the sudden onset of warm spring conditions was welcomed more than usual. While our cold winters are tough on the vineyard team, out there day after day, pruning in the freezing conditions, they do bring advantages -  fewer pests and diseases that struggle to survive in the cold temperatures. It’s like a natural cleanse that assists with our organic and biodynamic farming practices. Finally we have young goat kids bleating on the hillsides, fruit trees are blossoming and the vines are bursting out in bud in the sunny and warm spring conditions. The last few months have all seen considerably less rainfall than normal which has been a blessing to enable the cool soils to warm quicker than usual and bring us a timely and even bud-break in the vines. 

The workmen on site have also welcomed the dry conditions, as they excavate a huge hole into the hillside just east of the winery for the construction of a new underground barrel cellar. The cellar is not for expanding production, (we have been about the same size since 2006 and while demand still continues to outstrip supply, we enjoy being a small, quality focussed estate) but to enable the Bannockburn Pinot Noir to spend more time in barrel. With ever increasing vine age and deeper rooting vines, we are seeing a growing depth of fruit and structure in the wines. The single vineyard wines have always been afforded the luxury of extra time in barrel.  This allows for further development and the harmonising of their components, along with the opportunity to add complexity and balance. Now, I feel the Bannockburn Pinot Noir is also demanding similar respect. Not to mention that next year will be our 20th vintage and we thought a new barrel cellar was a suitable birthday present to the winery! 

The 2015 Rieslings are bright, pure and as crystalline as ever. The 2014 Pinot Noirs and Chardonnay are already attracting very favourable reviews and could quite possibly be our most interesting vintage yet. It seems to uniquely combine the opulence of the 2013’s with the fascinating detail of the 2012’s. This will be your last chance to secure stocks from this exciting vintage.

We hope we can persuade you to join us for the 2016 Central Otago Pinot Noir Celebration to be held in Queenstown from January 28-30. As always, it will be an inspirational, informative and fun three days of fine food, great wines and mingling with old and new friends. Tickets will sell quickly so please visit for more details.


Blair Walter