Vigneron's Notes

A family wine estate from New Zealand. We craft traditional wine styles that emphasise texture, mouthfeel and persistence of flavour.

WINNER! NZ Organic Wine Awards


We’re thrilled to announce that our Dry Pinot Gris 2016 has won a gold medal in the NZ Organic Wine Awards announced on May 13th.

North Canterbury was incredibly well represented in the awards with 14 out of 26 golds awarded to our neighbouring winegrowers and Black Estate taking out vineyard of the year.

Read the full results here


New Wine Release

Vin Doux Naturel

Just in time for the golden season; late harvest peach and apple crumbles, afternoon cheese plates or a cosy night in, Bellbird Spring is delighted to announce the release of two Vin Doux Naturel wines to the range, the Muté ‘L’Alouette’ and Muté ‘Les Epices’. The word Muté indicates fortification and these wines draw on the traditions of Southern France where Vin Doux Naturel (V.D.N.) have their home.

Made in a traditional sense, late picked fruit is whole bunch pressed, run into old oak barrels and fermented without added yeast. Part way through ferment our exceptional pot still brandy is added. This puts an end to fermentation and thus we are left with a wine with lusciousness sweetness tempered by rich brandy character.

This style of wine has barely been explored in New Zealand and the Muté ‘L’Alouette’ and Muté ‘Les Epices’ support winemaker Guy Porter’s portfolio of wines that draw inspiration from traditional European style wines. Guy is driven to make fascinating, evolving, characterful wines that match good food, good friends and stimulate conversation.

Muté ‘L’Alouette’ 2016

Named after the larks that inhabit our Block Eight vineyard.   A gently aromatic fortified sweet wine, in the vin doux naturel style, primarily made with late picked Sauvignon Blanc and our own clear pot still brandy.  (375mL. 17.5% abv. 81g/L rs).

Muté ‘Les Épices’ 2016

Made from three aromatic varieties –  Riesling, Gewürztraminer and Muscat.   An aromatic fortified sweet wine, in the vin doux naturel style, made with late picked grapes and our own clear pot still brandy.  (375mL. 17.5% abv. 85g/L rs).

Purchase through our website shop. Free delivery within NZ.



2012 Bellbird Spring River Terrace Pinot Noir

Rating: 92/100  Pale ruby colored, the 2012 River Terrace Pinot Noir
displays pretty notes of rose petals and lavender over a gentle core of warm
red currants and cherry coulis plus a hint of Provence herbs. Medium bodied
with very good intensity and plenty of layers supported by finely grained
tannins and just enough acidity, it finishes long.

Reviewed by Lisa Perrotti-Brown, Issue Date 2nd Jan 2017, Source – 216 (Part
2), The Wine Advocate

Group Tastings

We make food friendly wines and there is no better way to experience this than a wine tasting matched with food. Earlier this month we hosted one of these such tasting events at Duncan Cotterill Lawyers. Eight wines paired with four tastes, not necessarily as a match but as a sensation, to understand flavours, perceptions and how elements of food and wine both compliment and alter one another.
The format includes four tastes, high acid/low sugar, salty, rich/fatty and nutty, paired with eight individual wines from our range. With Guy to guide the tasters on the winemaking, wine style and food composition plus time allowed for generous discussion, this makes for a unique and informative after work or in home social occasion.
Guy often travels to major cities and can host such an event with groups of 12-18 interested tasters. To register interest or to find out more, please email Guy.

Pinot 2017 & Pinot Palooza

At the beginning of February over 600 people gathered in Wellington for a week of pure NZ Pinot Noir. This was a great opportunity for New Zealand to show off its Pinot Noir to the world, with writers and distributors coming from across the globe. To taste, listen and discuss for 3 days. The event itself is self-assured in culture, staunchly NZ  with little mention of Burgundy and plenty of references to our own sense of place and the styles emerging from various regions.  Certainly New Zealand Pinot Noir has come a long way in 30 years. As a country we make a diverse and distinctive range of Pinot Noir.

In addition a Pinot Palooza event ran for the public.  This was a fantastic opportunity to taste over one hundred Pinots in one a single session.  It was a pleasure to meet Bellbird Spring fans, and to hear feedback on your favourite wines.

Guy Porter

Forage North Canterbury 2017

This years event was another perfectly orchestrated, locally gathered feast.

Welcomed in true North Canterbury fashion by a blustery Nor Wester, a group of wine and food media, trade and chefs descended upon the region to spend the day fossicking about the countryside looking for food. Split into eight groups, they covered the hills and fields, down to the rivers, estuaries and out to sea.

The Bellbird Spring contingent got lucky with our rather glam itinerary which involved visiting Limestone Hills Truffiere, Waipara Honey and Guy’s parents for scones. We also picked plums, gathered watercress and raided the Bellbird Spring garden and quail coops. Lunch was a family affair at Bellbird Spring with delicious salads, terrine and rillettes all mostly grown, made and prepared by Guy and family.

The afternoon was spent at Pegasus Bay Winery for the great reveal of all the groups foraged finds. The table was amassed with edible greenery, plums, berries as well as a few pigeons, hares, fish and even an octopus! While the chefs planned and prepared their signature dishes, the visitors enjoyed a comprehensive tasting of North Canterbury wines made by the wineries involved.

Dinner was nine spectacular courses with the wine matches carefully chosen by the visiting sommeliers. All in all, the day and evening meal, was an exemplary experience showcasing just how special our region is for food and wine, we’re pretty lucky indeed.




That festive feeling


The sun has been shining, the vines are flowering and all is lush in the vineyard. It’s hard to avoid getting caught up in the seasonal delight that is Christmas and all that comes with a new year and new beginnings. So far,  I am pleased with how the growing season is coming along and the fruit set in the Pinot Gris, above, is looking excellent.

The latest batch of reviews from Michael Cooper

The Pruner’s Reward, Waipara Sauvignon Blanc
From Bellbird Spring, the 2016 vintage (4*) was fermented in tanks (80 per cent) and old oak casks (20 per cent). The best yet, it is medium to full-bodied, fresh and lively, with very good vigour and depth of ripe tropical-fruit flavours, showing a touch of complexity, and a dry, crisp finish.

Bellbird Spring Block Eight Pinot Gris
The 2013 vintage (4*) was estate-grown at Waipara, hand-harvested, and fermented and lees-aged in old oak casks. Showing good complexity, it is medium to full-bodied, with concentrated, ripe stone-fruit flavours, a distinct splash of sweetness (40 grams/litre of residual sugar), and a soft, faintly honeyed finish. Drink now or cellar.

Bellbird Spring Block Eight Waipara Sauvignon Blanc
This distinctive wine is hand-picked and fermented with indigenous yeasts in old oak barriques. The 2014 vintage (4*), barrel-aged for 10 months, is light yellow/green, with strong, ripe tropical-fruit flavours, a subtle seasoning of toasty oak adding complexity, and a tight, dry finish. A highly distinctive wine, it’s a drink-now or cellaring proposition. (In a short vertical tasting of the 2011–2013 vintages, held in August 2015, the older wines were still drinking well.)

Bellbird Spring Pinot Noir Rosé
Grown at Waipara, the 2016 vintage (4*) was fermented in old oak casks. Pale pink/slight orange, it is full-bodied, with good depth of ripe, peachy and spicy flavours, showing a touch of complexity, and a dry, rounded finish. Drink this summer.

Bellbird Spring Sous Voile
The non-vintage wine (5*) released in 2015 is unique for New Zealand, but echoes wines from Jura, France, and amontillado sherry. Made in a deliberately ‘oxidative’ style from Waipara Pinot Gris, it was fermented dry and matured for four years in old oak barriques under a layer of yeast (‘sous voile’ means ‘under veil’). Light gold, it is an unfortified wine (although harbouring 15.5 per cent alcohol), with substantial body and strong, dry, peachy, yeasty, nutty flavours. Well worth discovering.

Summer Update from Bellbird Spring


Dear friends,

After two years of drought, the valley and vineyard are looking extraordinarily green this year. Steady, repeated rain has brought up soil moisture and given excellent shoot growth. Shoot thinning is the focus for the moment, this ensures good spacing between shoots and in turn lowers disease risks and moderates yield. The Block Eight Sauvignon Blanc from 2016 vintage has been fermented in old barrels and is going dry, soon we will be moving it from barrel to tank to prepare for bottling. Our newest release however is the Bellbird Spring Dry Pinot Gris 2016, this can be purchased through our website with free delivery within NZ.

Wishing you all a happy and safe summer,
Guy Porter

Decant Tasting

Decant in Christchurch hosts a tasting every week but not often with a local producer, so it was a privilege for Bellbird Spring to feature in store last Wednesday.

In typical Bellbird Spring fashion this was a wine and food focussed tasting with 8 wines specifically matched to 4 canapé style dishes. Some of these matches were perfect, others could have been improved and thus great discussion ensued regarding flavours, mouthfeel and texture. This is what makes for a good wine tasting, thanks for having us Decant.