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 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.


The Bell Hill Pinot Noir is an eight barrel selection from the Shelf (98-60, 07 & Roadblock/Shelf 07 ferments), the Quarry Rootlings, and the Roadblock (combined with part of the Shelf 07).  Each of these portions were harvested, fermented and aged in barrels separately. The ferments included combinations of whole bunches, crushed fruit and whole berries, the amounts of which depended on the blocks. All ferments had 28 days on skins with cold pre-ferment and warm post-ferment macerations. After basket pressing the wine was put into 100% new French oak and racked and blended after 12 months in barrel. It had 3.5 months in tank without any fining and, after a coarse partial filtration of the bottom of the tank, was bottled on the 5th of October 2012 with a pH of 3.58, TA of 5.00g/L, and alcohol of 14.0%. Approximately 2,366 bottles were produced. The wine is deep, rich colour and dark fruit and depth of aroma, giving hints of cinnamon and spice with liquorice. The palate expresses a coating textural richness with clear minerality, suppleness and elegance leading to a long, linear and tactile profile. It shows sinewy strength and fine granular tannins traveling alongside, volumising and plush fruit. NZ$105


2011 gave us a six barrel blend from the Shelf, Limeworks and Roadblock. The fruit was crushed with stems retained and pressed in our tank press and underwent 100% malolactic fermentation, spending 12 months in French oak (33% new) and 6 months in tank without any fining. After a coarse filtration, the wine was bottled on the 4th of October 2012 with a pH of 3.20, TA of 6.3 g/L, and alcohol of 13.5%. Approximately 1,767 bottles were produced. We have been working toward earlier picking to capture the freshness and white flower spectrum of aromatics and this shows here with delicate aromas of white flowers, citrus and wet stones. It has energy and freshness with a fine and delicate thread of acidity pushing the length and focusing on the lithe, pure mineral salinity giving a complex blend of nervosity and mouth-watering tightness. There is tension on the palate expressing the mineral core and backbone of the wine, giving the skeletal path for the flavours to hang onto leaving an acid and textural persistence in the mouth that is both satisfying, yet draws you in for more. NZ$85


The Old Weka Pass Road Pinot Noir is a six and a half barrel selection from the Quarry 10/5.With the vintage conditions and the extra volume of fruit we opted to experiment with the 10/5 and separated the fruit into three ferments – one with 40% whole bunch/60% crushed fruit, one with 50% whole berry/50% crushed fruit and one with 100% crushed fruit. The handling on skins is the same as for the Bell Hill and the French oak was 46% new. The wine was racked and blended after 12 months in barrel, it had 3.5 months in tank without any fining and, after a coarse partial filtration, was bottled on the 4th of October 2012 with a pH of 3.62, TA of 5.3 g/L, and alcohol of 13.5%. Approximately 1,853 bottles were produced.

Spicy and earthy aromas, the whole bunch giving savoury tones and good bite. The texture is apparent and even with a supple roundness giving way to a bright core of acidity and a long, salivating finish. NZ$50