Discover the Vineyards of Prophet’s Rock
Almost 25 years ago, we set ourselves one goal: to prove that Central Otago could produce some of the finest wines in the world. That no-compromise obsession began in the vineyards… and continues to this day.
Bendigo feels remote, and it is: turn off the Bendigo Loop Road leading up from the Cromwell Basin, and your GPS will tell you there’s nothing there but a field.
The Home Vineyard sits on a north-facing terrace high above the Bendigo Station Homestead. With the altitude comes exceptional views, panoramic vistas of the sprawling landscapes beyond the vines, the river terraces of the Cromwell Basin and the stoic mountains of the Pisa Range, shaped by the glaciers that once stood here.
The region’s history looms close, too. A roofless stone hut sits on the site, a reminder of the gold rush that gripped the region 150 years ago. Steep slopes, rising from 320 metres to almost 400 metres, capture maximum sun, while the elevation delivers cool nights, encouraging deepened flavour development and freshness in the wines. The vineyard hosts a rare mix of soils. Schist and quartz mingle with clay and, notably, a lens of chalk running through the site roughly one metre deep in the soil profile. The alkaline chalk influences nutrient uptake in the vines, while the clay retains water, ideal for keeping the sometimes-ornery Pinot grape on side in this cool dry climate.
The Home Vineyard was established with Pinot Noir and Pinot Gris, with Chardonnay, Muscat and Gewurztraminer coming into production in the next couple of years.
Rocky Point Vineyard
Perched at the rugged southern end of Bendigo, the Rocky Point Vineyard has some of the steepest planted blocks in Central Otago. The site rises from 226 metres to 351 metres, and walking through the vines one feels the land drop away sharply to the blue waters of Lake Dunstan below.
The steep slopes of Rocky Point intercept the sun, while the rough ground – stony free-draining soil littered with shiny broken schist – stores the heat, releasing it overnight when the air temperature drops. Fruit grows and ripens earlier here, crucial in a marginal climate like Central Otago’s.
Rocky Point’s shallow soils offer the vines they host a coarse welcome. Vegetation works hard to grow here, but there is reward in the concentrated, deeply rich fruit this struggle produces. Full ripening equals full expression, resulting in wines that know, and show, where they came from. Rocky Point is planted in Pinot Noir, Riesling and Pinot Gris. The parcel Pinot Noir bordering Lake Dunstan produces the Infusion Pinot Noir, six different clones of Pinot Noir combine to make our Rocky Point Pinot Noir, while four clones of Pinot Gris contribute to the Prophet’s Rock and Rocky Point Pinot Gris.
Kopuwai Delta Vineyard
This beautiful vineyard sits on a terrace directly overlooking the Clutha River, at the delta where it runs into Lake Dunstan. Protected by towering mountains on both sides of the valley, this warm site has been shaped by the passage of both river and glaciers.
Kopuwai Delta is situated at a narrow point in the valley between the Pisa and Bendigo ranges, and lies at 225m elevation. The low vigour, free-draining schist-based soils feature loess, alluvium, quartz and rounded river stones.
Bounded on one side by New Zealand’s largest volume river, the vineyard is named after its taniwha (water spirit/essence/strength) – Kopuwai – and its place looking down on the Delta. The Maori legend for Kopuwai is one of power, and sometimes menace that one would do well to respect given the impressive force of this river.
Kopuwai Delta is planted in Pinot Gris, Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. Two different clones of Pinot Gris, four clones of Pinot Noir, and two clones of Chardonnay make up the plantings on the vineyard.
If you wish to stay at the luxury B&B on Kopuwai Delta Vineyard and experience this unique site first hand you can make a reservation here: www.kopuwaidelta.com