Previous Vintages

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.


The 2009 Bell Hill Pinot Noir is an eight barrel selection from the Shelf (3.41pH, 6.8TA, 24.7 Brix), the Limeworks (3.5pH, 7.2TA, 24 Brix) and the upper part of the Quarry (3.51pH, 8.3TA, 25.2 Brix).  Each of these portions were harvested, fermented and aged in barrels separately.  The Pinot Noir handling was a combination of whole cluster (25% in the Shelf portion and 5% in the Quarry), crushed and de-stemmed fruit, all had 28 days on skins with a cold pre-ferment and a warm post-ferment maceration.  The French oak and 100% new and the wine was racked and blended after thirteen months in barrel.  After 10 months in tank it was bottled on the 5th of April 2011 with a pH of 3.66, TA of 5.4g/L and alcohol of 14%.  Approximately 2322 bottles were produced.

Earthy spice with cool blue fruit notes, opening up after six hours. Lovely, balanced fruit, has elegance and lovely available front palate fruit leading into a focused, cone-like core and a long, fine finish. The acidity is very balanced and serves to maintain the thread of movement through the palate from front to back giving way to very fine silky/grainy tannins. A dancing liveliness to the palate showing great finesse and clear minerality developing into a seamless richness but with fine particle tannin presence.


The 2009 Chardonnay is a four barrel blend (one of which was new) from the Shelf (3.34pH, 9.1TA, 23.4 Brix) and Limeworks(3.35pH, 11.0 TA, 23.2 Brix)blocks. It underwent 100% malolactic fermentation and spent 12 months in barrel and 12 months in tank. The wine was bottled on the 4th of April 2011 with a pH of 3.38, TA of 5.7g/L and alcohol of 13.5%.  Approximately 1195 bottles were produced.

Clear floral and mineral notes, benefiting with being open - gaining restraint and focus. The aromas are quite rich at first expressing melon, flowers, mineral notes and wet stones. A long, linear palate with precise fruit and a clear line of acidity, finishing with tactile phenolics and a salivating acid impression.  The wine has flesh with bite and a long, fine finish.


The 2009 Old Weka Pass Road Pinot Noir is a three barrel selection from the upper and lower part of the Quarry Block (3.46-3.51pH, 8.3-8.7TA, 23.2-25.2 Brix).The fruit was divided with its whole berry and cruched berry portions and had 22-28 days on skins with a cold pre-ferment and a warm post-ferment maceration. The French oak was 100% new and the wine was racked and blended after thirteen months in barrel.  It was bottled on the 5th of April 2011 after a further ten months in tank with a pH of 3.55, TA of 6.0g/L and alcohol of 13.5%.  Approximately 924 bottles were produced.

Rich deep fruit aromas with spicy complexity, opening up with time to lifted perfumes and giving blueberry notes with hints of pepper. Quite a tight mineral core with textured tannins giving good structural framework with vibrant and lively acidity and a clear finish.