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 2011 vintage season began with a frosty October but warmed up quickly, our last frost event was on November the 7th and following that we experienced good, warm conditions with an early start to flowering at the end of November. The warmth and successful fruit set gave us a natural crop load which needed to be adjusted to keep the balance of the vine but was pleasing to see after the very small crop of 2010. The warm and dry conditions of December through to February gave us an early start to veraison and green harvesting. You may remember the heatwaves in February breaking 100 year old temperature records and the strongest La Nina weather pattern in 30 years driving warm air 3 degrees warmer than normal for the SI East Coast. Normally we take our first field sample for fruit ripeness on the 30th of March but this season we needed to do this on the 16th of March! Harvest commenced on the 30th of March (our earliest harvest to date) with the Shelf Chardonnay, followed by the Shelf Pinot Noir (planted 1998-2006) on the 31st, and the Roadblock (2008) and Limeworks (1999) Chardonnays on the 4th of April. The Roadblock (2008) and Shelf (2007) Pinot Noirs were picked on the 6th of April, the Shelf (2008) on the 7th, the Quarry Rootlings on the 9th and the Quarry 10/5 lagging behind on the 19th due to naturally larger berries and a later ripening clone. With the good fruit set and growing season conditions, we were able to work with more whole bunches in the Pinot Noir ferments than in the past.