The Vineyard….the Hero of our Story
At an altitude of 952ft, our vineyard is situated slightly north of the 45th Parallel on an elevated terrace at the foot of the stunning Pisa mountain range in Central Otago, New Zealand. Like many vineyards in the region, the site was formerly a high-country sheep station but starting in 2001 the vineyard was planted with several clones of the Pinot Noir grape.
The vines are planted on a range of alluvial and glacial schist soils imparting balance in the vines’ growth and productivity. The vineyard is divided into eight distinct blocks and with a nod to our American roots, are all named after a different state or region in the USA. Each block has its own unique soil characteristics and mesoclimate. Our precise viticulture practices have allowed the Team to isolate and highlight the specific and very distinct terroirs of each block.
Texas is the largest block in the vineyard and is a combination of rocky soils and windy conditions that produce crops with unique and complex flavors. Its thin, gravelly topsoil, yields low-vigor vines and an expressively vibrant crop that captures the minerality from the soil.
North Carolina, South Carolina and Nebraska are blocks with a combination of schist and deep alluvial soils with a high capacity to retain water. Irrigation is used sparingly in these blocks and this allows a hand- off approach to viticulture and results in distinct terroir expression in the grapes.
Rhode Island and Oregon, the smallest blocks in the vineyard, are situated in the wind-protected part of the site where soils are dominated by a deep layer of clay on top of the rocky schist pan. The juice that comes from these blocks portrays an unprecedented minerality and acid structure that allows for excellent aging potential.
California and Grand Canyon are two terraced sites with a 300-foot drop in elevation. They boast dramatic views and distinctly different vines. The top of the terraces is characterized by rocky soils at the top and receives the first sun exposure in the morning while the vines at the bottom grow on rich alluvial soils with the sunlight reaching them later in the day. The temperature differences between the top and the bottom are as much as two degrees Celsius. This unique terroir produces fruit unparalleled in character and vibrancy. The terraces are our true jewels.
Like much of Central Otago, the summer growing season is very dry and winds are strong which greatly reduces the risk of disease and pests. Our dedicated crew makes multiple trips through the vineyard rows on a daily basis to ensure rigorous viticulture management in order to produce the best fruit possible.
Our Team’s approach to viticulture embraces sustainable agricultural practices where vineyard management works with, rather than against nature. Quality is emphasized over quantity and yields are kept at an optimum level to provide concentrated fruit flavor and complexity.
We hope that you will have the pleasure to taste the results of our work when you drink the latest cuvée of our Twelfth Night Pinot Noir, and share it with good food and great friends.
From all of us at Vela.