Situation & Soil
Pisa Terrace® Vineyard is located approximately 15 kilometers north of the town of Cromwell, Central Otago, almost directly on the 45th Parallel. It is a 16 hectare block, of which we have planted just over 7 hectares. It is predominantly planted to Pinot Noir, with a small parcel of Riesling on the steep and particularly stony North slope.
We purchased bare land in 2000, a beautifully situated lucerne paddock used to graze sheep on Mount Pisa Station. Jacky and Murray McMillan, owners of the station, were especially helpful and supportive in our early days. This terrace is an island-like promontory, where adequate air drainage on three of its slopes minimizes springtime frost during the tender stages of budburst. The growth limiting soil, a loess of glacial origin, was deposited by the wind eons ago. Rocks and gravels made up of decomposed schist and quartz lie under this thin crust, all of which provide excellent drainage for vine roots.Why did we pick this particular site above all others in the Cromwell Basin? Our unobscured terrace sees first light and warmth from the sun early in the morning. We feel this gradual temperature progression on a daily basis has a significant effect on the maturation and flavors of our grapes, and is different than that experienced by our Bendigo neighbors across the lake. In our wines, this seems to translates into the fine grained, silky tannin structure our Pinot Noirs acquire across vintages.