We are a small family owned vineyard located on one of the hillsides above Christchurch city and overlooking the Canterbury Plains.
At 240 meters above sea level we are beyond the frost line and are on a sundrenched, west facing hill slope. The clay soils of volcanic origin have a variety of minerals and trace elements present and these give our wine some characteristics not found elsewhere in the Canterbury region.
The site is sheltered from the cool easterly sea breezes and we experience a microclimate that is quite unique.
We found the site of 10 acres / 4.1h in 1995 and began by planting native trees and some shelter belts as the land was a bare grass and tussock covered block that had been grazed by sheep over the years.
In the season of 1998/99
we planted our first vines in two terraces cut out of the hillside. Due to the open nature of the site and the high exposure we gave the vines all the time they needed to settle in and find their feet without trying to get into production too fast. From the very beginning we have focused on using organic bio-dynamic and sustainable methods over the whole block of land as well as in the growth and management of the vines themselves.
We had always seen stage one as a 20 year development programme of getting established and settled into sound and sustainable production. So it’s a long term project and we are aiming for the more boutique market of with a hand tended, high quality product that is loved and nurtured the whole way through…. the wine reflecting the journey of the grower and the winemaker…
it’s the journey that’s important not just the end point or product.
Each season since has had its unique twists and turns
as we have learned about the site and its features. We have been pest free, the windflow down the slope has also kept us relatively disease free and the site has been quite easy to manage. We use no chemicals or pesticides anywhere on the land and have gone through the AsureQuality programme to gain Organic status (Download and view certificate). It has taken almost twice as long for the vines to get established on the hillside as it seems to do down on the plains, so we have had to be patient and nurturing.
Everything is done by hand
and all fruit is harvested by hand on one day and taken to the winemaker and produced under our own label…. Tussock Hill Vineyard.
We have been fortunate to find a great winemaker in Matt King the owner of the Lone Goat Vineyard and Matt has been a great support and understands our site and fruit and what we are trying to achieve.
Currently we are producing around 1000 bottles per season depending on how the season unfolds, here in Canterbury that can vary considerably. We have found a baseline that reflects our site and find that each vintage seems to have its own particular twist and that keeps us on our toes !!
We will eventually produce only around 400 cases of wine per season so are not aiming for the big mainstream market.
Our goal is to try and bring the best wine we can develop from a unique and beautiful site by working with the land and natures rhythm’s in a gentle and sustainable way.
Its become a family and community affair
with many friends and helpers joining in along the way. We love the site, the work, the views and nothing beats watching the skies above the Canterbury plains as the clouds tumble by and the big skies do their thing.
Enjoy the fruits of our labours and take pleasure.
Tussock Hill Vineyard
Read our story of how Tussock Hill Vineyard began….