The story of Bellbird Spring
In 2002 our family returned to New Zealand after many years overseas. We decided to make our home in the beautiful Waipara Valley in North Canterbury. It is a farming area peppered with vineyards and olive groves. A perfect place to grow vines.
Two vineyards and an olive grove
Our original vineyard, Home Block, was planted in 2002. Sited on a terrace above the Waipara river, the soil - a type known as “Glasnevin Gravel” is light and free draining, offering great aroma to our wines.
One hectare of this site is dedicated to our Vin de Terroir – Home Block White. There is no easy translation of the French term – this is a wine meant to express the nature of the soil, microclimate and other subtle aspects of its surroundings. A mix of Pinot Gris, Gewurztraminer, Riesling and Muscat Ottonell, this European style of wine offers something very different to the typical single-variety wine from New Zealand.
On the Home Block we also grow Pinot Noir, and Sauvignon Blanc – New Zealand’s signature varieties.
Block Eight, our second vineyard, was planted in 2004. This clay slope to the north of the river is composed of stony, sandy “Domett Clay”. Warmer than the Home Block, ripeness comes a little earlier to this site. Here we grow grapes for Block Eight Pinot Noir, Block Eight Sauvignon Blanc, and Block Eight Pinot Gris. Block Eight produces weightier wines, while the Home Block shows more vibrant aromatics.
Both vineyards are managed in compliance with the organic requirements of BioGro New Zealand.
Home Block also boasts a small olive grove, where we produce very fine extra virgin olive oil in small quantities.
Many hands at work
Winemaking at Bellbird Spring takes its cues from traditional practices. So, as time and nature allow we hand harvest our white varieties, permitting the older technique of whole-bunch pressing to produce our juice. This is briefly settled and fermented with indigenous yeast in old oak casks.
Our Pinot Noir is fermented with indigenous yeast in small lots, worked by hand-plunging. The pressed wine is then aged in old and new oak casks.
As a family, three generations, have homes on our vineyards. Where we grow grapes, make wine and produce extra virgin olive oil.