Archived News

Browse all our archived news below, sorted by year.




Dear Friends of Bell Hill

We hope this newsletter finds you well and looking forward to the coming spring. We would like to apologise for the delay in sending this offer out to you and also to say thank you to those that have queried its absence and have waited patiently for its arrival.

The years do not seem to get any longer or less busy do they? Needless to say things still move at a pace that is hard to keep up with and before you know it, the priorities change with the seasons – harvest the 2012 fruit, release the next vintage – yes, maybe not – get the vines pruned...

Pruning behind us now and where to start...we got the 2012 vintage in after a relatively cool summer and were rewarded with a great period of weather from the end of the first week of April. This allowed us to pick the fruit with good ripeness and the wines are coming together nicely in barrel now. Volumes are down due to cool December weather affecting flowering and fruit set but, as our 2009 blocks came into production for the first year, we had some new fruit to work with and it was great to be at the receiving end of all that planting effort three years ago - small steps but very exciting flavours coming from these new blocks and we look forward to the coming seasons and incorporating them into our wines.

Earlier last spring saw the purchase of a wind machine and weather station that has proven helpful in frost protection, a big step forward from the sole use of water in the past. Also, the purchase of a second crawler tractor has given us more efficiency and a back-up machine. We are now embarking on strengthening the Bell Hill team in the vineyard with more staff and different skill sets in order to move forward to the next stage of Bell Hill, fifteen years after starting.

In the last few weeks we have shared in the excitement of discovering our first Bianchetto truffles from trees planted in 2000 - still waiting on the black Perigord so watch this space. It has been a real delight to drink our wine with dishes enhanced by our own Bell Hill truffles and we are learning what to do with them. Unfortunately volumes are not yet so plentiful that we can share them with everyone but it would be a nice thought in the future to have a dinner in each of the main centres coinciding with the release of the new vintage and the truffle harvest.

Overseas, in our export markets, we have found a solution for re-entering the US with the 2009 vintage and have also added Canada to our current markets. We have made a change in the UK and are now working with Burgundy specialist John Armit Wines. At home we are looking after the restaurants and lodges ourselves and maintain our non retail policy. We still believe that, given our small production, priority should be given to our loyal mail order and on-premise customers.

We look forward to January and Pinot Noir 2013 in Wellington where the 2010 vintage wines will be featured. It is a great opportunity to present our wines and we encourage you to join us at this great event show casing the best Pinot Noirs New Zealand has to offer.

Finally we are pleased to offer you the 2009 vintage wines. Please let us know how much wine you would like, do not send any money yet and we will do our best to accommodate your request and advise what is possible.  All you need to do is complete the enclosed Order Form with the number of bottles you require, provide your delivery address, and return this to us via fax, email or post.  We will confirm your order, allocate if necessary, and send you an invoice for payment.

As always, we look forward to hearing back from you and sharing the excitement of the 2009 release. Thank you again for your valued support and wishing you all the best for the year to come.

With best regards,

Sherwyn and Marcel


Dear Loyal Customers,

Many thanks for the emails that have been coming in recently regarding the release of our next vintage which we had indicated would be June/July. I am very sorry for the delay but due to health reasons, the second back operation in 9 months, I am not where I was hoping to be with the timing of this release. The good news is, apart from trying to get through pruning, that it has the focus of my attention and we are working to get through the details that will bore you but have to be done anyway, in order to have the wine ready to leave us. The wine is benefiting from its extended rest and you will be hearing from us soon.

Kind regards, Sherwyn.


Hello, Just a quick vintage update for you. After a long cool season, we started harvest on the 16th of April and finished on the 1st of May 2012. The great weather in April really allowed the ripening process to finish in a way we can be happy with. Volumes are well down due to a cool spring and poor fruit set at flowing time, and that is with our young 2009 plantings in production for the first time. We will start pressing this week on the 16th of May and are looking forward to having a young couple from Burgundy join us in the management of the vineyard. Wishing you well.


“MARIE MACKEY RECOVERY” from February 22, 2011

As you may be aware the anniversary of February 22, 2011 is upon us.  Life has changed much for our community in Christchurch and, in particular, a member of the New Zealand wine industry.

Her name is Marie Mackey, and her husband Petter Evans is winemaker for Sherwood Estate in Waipara.  Marie was left a paraplegic with multiple injuries when a building facade fell upon her the moment she exited the store next door.  After many struggles and through sheer determination she was finally re-united with Petter and daughter Kate back in their repaired and modified home in December.

Marie is home now and although she likes to keep a low profile, we would like you to know that she can still be helped.  There is much more to do and get through.  The website that explains in more details what Marie has been through is called and is a path to helping her.  There is also a book about the earthquake’s people just released called “Trapped” by Martin van Beynen in which Marie is featured, proceeds do not go to those featured in the book, however.

Please do this:

Go to the website -, search for “Marie Mackey Recovery” in the “People in Need” section, make an A-Z search if you can’t find her or go to this link:

Read about Marie and decide if you can help through a donation.

Pass this information on to friends, colleagues, anyone at all, even if you can’t help, there maybe someone close to you who can and would like to.

See if you can do a little fundraiser with the people you know to make a difference.

Many thanks for reading this and for any help you can give.

Best wishes and keep in peace,

Friends of Marie.