Vigneron's Notes

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

Month: March, 2016

Delving Into The Soil of Waipara

Late last year Lincoln University held a Vineyard Soils Day at Black Estate in Waipara, where they unveiled an in-depth report into the soils of the Waipara wine region.

This welcome work allows current producers to gain even more understanding about their surroundings. And it may well help with future plantings, siting vineyards in the best spots and planting the appropriate varieties. More generally it can only do good in further establishing our credentials as a world-class wine region.



Photo credit: Lincoln University.

Our two vineyards are located in two different zones of the region, The Home Block (and the River Terrace) is on Glasnevin gravels next to the Waipara River, whereas Block Eight is on Pahau Clay soils. These are very different in characteristics and help to give us clear stylistic variety in our finished wines.

To see our locations – shown as vineyards 1a and 1b – see this map of the region courtesy of

For more information on the new study see Lincoln University’s press release on Scoop and a report from And for an excellent general introduction to our region by Jamie Goode of, click here.



The Latest Addition to Our Range: Aqua Vitae

The Bellbird Spring lineup contains wines that are made to be drunk with a wide range of food. Even our recent Sous Voile proved adaptable – and was delicious with Japanese twice cooked pork. Our new product is perhaps more focused for after the meal, to be drunk as a digestif, though the first time I encountered such a product was when the vineyard workers in Soave in Italy used to pour some into their morning coffee to warm up!


Naming our latest arrival took some thought. The Bellbird Spring Aqua Vitae is a pot-still distillate of Pinot Noir wine. Therefore it is not a grappa which is distilled from grape skins. Eau-de-Vie meanwhile tends to get associated with fruit schnapps. So I settled on the archaic Aqua Vitae, though you could also think of it as a ‘white brandy’. Whilst you do not get grape flavour in any true sense, using Pinot Noir rather than white wine has given it an extra roundness and fullness of texture.

The Aqua Vitae is available from our online shop. Quantities produced are, you will not be surprised to learn, microscopic.

For information on distillates, courtesy of wikipedia click here.