Land & Farming

Land & Farming

Black Estate Vineyard - North Canterbury | Hills 3
Black Estate Vineyard - North Canterbury | Restaurant

Land, Biodynamics & Organics

Our three organic vineyard sites lie on north facing hillsides of Omihi, north Canterbury. They comprise various limestone, clay and sandstone soils.  Stories and more detail about Home, Damsteep and Netherwood vineyards can be read by clicking on the right.

We farm these small properties organically and biodynamically. We find that when working in harmony with our natural world we have healthier vines and lives. We ant to grow vines that produce fruit with quality and flavour, expressive of its place and season.   We believe that healthy soils is the obvious foundation for this quality, so we farm to give back to the land, regenerate life and nurture the existing life in the soils, plants and wildlife there.

Each vineyard is certified organic with BioGo. Organics means we avoid using systemic sprays on our land.   When using conventional sprays such as synthetic herbicides, pesticides and fungicides, the microbiological landscape within a vineyard is severely compromised and loses its inherent potential to mitigate pests and disease and generate more life.

To allow our vines to flourish, we use regenerative and biodynamic practices, encouraging diversity of plants in our vineyards, planting cover crops carefully whilst being mindful or over cultivation and compaction of our soils.   In the long run, encouraging this natural harmony between vine, fruit and wine creates better quality and flavour for our wines, and respects the land and it’s potential to provide for generations after us.

We are in conversion to being Demeter certified this year, having practised biodynamics since we first started farming the Home vineyard in 2007. Rooted in Rudolf Steiner teachings, biodynamics teaches us to see each of our three vineyards in a holistic way. The practices promote the health and natural balance of the soils and ecosystems, and enhance the link between plant growth and the rhythms of the cosmos.  All elements that make up our vineyards are considered, especially how they interact and make one healthy, vital whole. The vines, fields, forest, animals, plants, soils, compost, people and the spirit of the place are all equally important. When all is considered, our sites can build and sustain their own natural rhythms.  Biodynamics is energising and a lot of fun for all of our team.

When it comes to winemaking, we want to make true and uncluttered wines that express the character of each farm.  Our winemaking is natural, which you can read about here.

Certified with Biogro 5202.  

Three Organic Hillside Vineyards

Black Estate Vineyard - North Canterbury | Vineyard Map New
Black Estate Vineyard - North Canterbury | Home Vineyard 2
Black Estate Vineyard - North Canterbury | Home Vineyard Soil

Home

The Home Vineyard is located 6 kilometres north east of the Waipara Junction, in the Omihi sub-district of Waipara Valley, North Canterbury. The slope is a north facing sedimentary clay fan on a gentle hill side slope. The soils are mainly Awapuni clay loam with calcium carbonate deposits.

Bottom Block

The vineyard was planted by the late Russell and Kimiko Black. The Pinot Noir was planted in a 3.8 ha block. Un-grafted predominantly 10-5 clone and were planted in 1994 at a vine density of 1841 vines per hectare. The vineyard was irrigated once in 1998.

The Chardonnay grows in the adjacent 3.8ha block. Un-grafted Mendoza Chardonnay vines were planted in 1994 at a vine density of 1841 vines per hectare.

Organic and Biodynamic practices have been used since 2010. Certified with BioGro.

Top Block

A 4ha block sits above the original Black Estate block .  The soils are mainly Awapuni clay with calcium carbonate deposits. This new planting completed in 2011 is at 6177 vine/ha and all vines are on rootstock.  One hectare is planted with Chardonnay – Mendoza, B95, ENTAV-INRA®548, and ENTAV-INRA®1066 clones.  Pinot Noir planted over 2 hectares with 115, 667, 828, 943, Abel, and UCD5 clones.  Chenin Blanc is 0.5 hectares (clones 880 and 220). The Cabernet Franc vineyard is 0.3 hectares (clones 214, 327, and 678).

Damsteep

Damsteep Vineyard is located in the north east of Waipara Valley at the foot of the Omihi Saddle, 10km north of our Home Vineyard. Riesling and Pinot Noir grow here with vine density of more than 5000 vine per hectare.

Pinot Noir is grown on a 5 hectare north east facing slope, with an altitude between 140 to 180 meters above sea level. The vines here were planted in 1999 and grow on clay overlying fractured limestone and sandstone soils.

The Riesling vineyard is 2.2 ha and lies on a north facing slope below the pinot noir. The soil is in very dense brown/ orange clay and inter bedded with sandstones and subordinate limestone horizons.

Organic and Biodynamic practices have been used since 2010. Certified with BioGro.

 

Black Estate Vineyard - North Canterbury | Damsteep Vineyard
Black Estate Vineyard - North Canterbury | Damsteep Vineyard Soil
Black Estate Vineyard - North Canterbury | Netherwood Vineyard 6
Black Estate Vineyard - North Canterbury | Netherwood Vineyard Soil

Netherwood

Planted by Russell Black and Daniel Schuster in 1986 at a vine density of 5000 vines per hectare. Netherwood’s soils are classified as Waipara Greensand which is a green grey richly glauconitic sandstone.

Pinot Noir cuttings were planted here on their own roots and established and farmed without irrigation. The Chardonnay block is 0.8 hectares and was planted in 1986 on a south facing hillside. The vines are mass selection and thought to be cuttings of Mendoza Chardonnay. The vine density should be 5000 vines per hectare but half of them are Pinot Noir so it is hard to tell.

Organic and Biodynamic practices have been used since 2012. Certified with BioGro.