All of our wines are estate grown at Bell Hill and go back to our first four vintages of Old Weka Pass Road Pinot Noir from 1999 to 2002 before our inaugural Bell Hill Pinot Noir 2003 vintage and Bell Hill Chardonnay 2004 vintage.
The 2009 vintage was a great vintage in Canterbury, the best for some years. It began with few frosts in spring (late September and early October) moving into a warm November. Flowering was early in December as a result of the warm conditions and gave good yields, not excessive but a welcome level of production. This seasonal advantage followed through to veraison with the early application of nets to the vineyard from the first week of February. We had a significant amount of rain during the second week of February but the vines were out of their vegetation cycle and this did not cause delays in the ripening process. The harvest began early on the 6th of April and was finished on the 17th, a truncated harvest period with just four actual picking days.
The Shelf was harvested first, as usual, with the Chardonnay and Pinot Noir coming in on the 6th. This was followed by the Limeworks Pinot Noir on the 15th (the last vintage of this block, having been replanted with Chardonnay and an improved rootstock), the top of the Quarry on the 15th-16th and the bottom of the Quarry on the 16th-17th (also the last vintage of the bottom of the Quarry, having been pulled in winter 2009).
We had invested in a new de-stemmer for the 2008 vintage which gave us very gentle de-stemming of the fruit with an extraordinary amount of whole berries. The 2009 vintage gave us the opportunity to build from this and introduce an element of crushing to some of the fruit so now we have more choices over the ratios of whole cluster, whole berry and crushed fruit to use for any given block and vintage.