Geographical identity – Canterbury’s Banks Peninsula is geographically and climatically unique.
Just over the hill is the major South Island city of Christchurch – a mere 26km (35min) drive.
Charteris Bay, Half Acre (home block)
On the southern flanks of the Lyttelton harbour crater, on a north facing, sun drenched slope, protected from the cool easterly breeze lies the home vineyard site.
This site was first planted in 2000 and while exclusively planted in the Pinot Noir variety it is made up of a mix of burgundian clones on root stock that were chosen to optimise the vineyard characteristics.
Initial site evaluation of sunshine accumulative hours indicated a latitude equivalent to Blenheim some 400km further North.
Teddington, Kokolo Vineyard
The second vineyard (Kokolo) is situated at the head of the Lyttelton harbour crater on a sun drenched, North West facing slope. The vineyard name Kokolo came from its original Japanese owners and given that the literal English translation is “heart and mind” there seemed no good reason to change!
Plantings on this site are both Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.
The Japanese name Kokolo translates to heart and mind and reflects our attitude to the site and vineyard.
The two properties were respectively planted in the year 2000 (Half Acre home site) and 2001(Kokolo site).
The home site is exclusively planted in Pinot Noir (400 vines) and the Kokolo site both Pinot Noir (4000 vines) and Chardonnay (4200 vines).
Both sites have been densely planted with inter-row spacing of 1.8–2 metres and vine spacing within a row of 1.2 metres. Wine quality and yield per hectare are both positively impacted under these more competitive conditions.
These are made up of the Burgundian, Dijon, clones of 777, 667, 115, CL5, 114, 375, 10/5, on low yielding root stock (101-14) or on their own root system (Lloyd block — Kokolo).
The Kokolo vineyard was further extended in 2006 and 2008 with plantings of Pinot Noir in the top section of the Winton block (B115 on 101.14 on 101-14 root stock).
This comprises Chardonnay B95, UCD 15 and Mendoza clones (primarily on Schwarzmann rootstock). The B95 clone produces a fruit-driven almost ‘tropical’ style of chardonnay while the UCD 15 and Mendoza clones add further acid drive and balance into the blend. Being fermented in oak with a small amount of solids increases the complexity of the wine blend.
This is made from clones 375 (early/average ripening — high yield!) and 10/5 (late ripening) at the top of Lloyd block.
To balance the impact of alcohol on the palette the fruit is picked at a brix of around 22–23 to produce a full, fruit-expressive and elegant, drier style.
Our cultural perspective on vineyard management is for it to be totally sustainable. In both vineyards we focus on low yielding vines and intensive canopy management techniques.
New Zealand has a temperate, maritime climate. This is amplified in Banks Peninsula with its two respective harbours. In the afternoon sea breezes move in to replace heated air rising from the land meaning these vineyards exhibit lower temperatures extremes and as a consequence the slowing of the ripening process helping to retain the vibrant varietal flavours that make New Zealand wine so distinctive.
Both our sites benefit from this close reference to the harbour and together with their elevated and north facing positions make them ideal for full fruit development as well as minimising any risk of early or late frost damage.
The soils are primarily Loessal in nature which is glacial eroded greywacke silt, blown from the Southern Alps.
These are considered young soils of medium fertility and are characterised by an organic rich topsoil varying in depth from 200 - 400mm; a clayey silt compact layer to a depth of 700–1200mm; a parent layer from 1–2m.