Central Otago has a continental climate and is lucky to have long autumns where the days are warm and the nights cool. This diurnal range is credited with allowing Pinot noir to ripen and mature slowly maximising the depth of flavour. The Farm is a rare and prized site in Central Otago, the slopes and the northern aspect mean that the vineyard is effectively frost free and that fruit will ripen to optimal levels even in the coolest of seasons.
The average rainfall at The Farm is only 330mm per year and humidity is low at 30-40%. The dry, barren landscape forces the vines to work hard, resulting in low vigour vines. The low humidity means that we experience low disease pressure resulting in minimal spray usage and an easier conversion to Organic Production.
The diurnal temperature range on the site is high. The northerly aspect of the valley traps sunlight and heat during the day. As soon as the sun drops behind Mt Pisa, a cool katabolic wind instantly flows over the site cooling the vineyard overnight. This dramatic diurnal is incredibility important for developing the gentle yet intense fragrant aromas of the fickle Pinot noir grape.
The nature of the landscape has such an effect that the various vineyards mature over a two week period and the naturally minimising the crop load and with the sheltered north facing slopes; the fruit is able to mature to its optimum quality and gives different flavour profiles that further increases our options with which to blend our Quest Farm Single Vineyard Pinot Noir.
The Farm contains 18 separate vineyard sites covering a wide range of soil types and aspect. The Farm lies in a rain shadow at the foothills of the Pisa Range and the soils are predominately sourced from this ancient mountain range. Each of the soils has an influence on the growth and flavour of the grapes.
In general terms, the vineyard soils can be divided into three categories.
In the upper slopes, Gravels dominate. The free draining nature of this soil structure results in thicker skins and small berries, bright aromatic red fruit characters are found in the resulting wines.
Free draining loams in the middle blocks are our more consistently warmer and more protected sites. This results in bigger bunches, careful water management ensures we still have small berry intensity, these blocks provide mid palate weight in the wine
Lower blocks contain Tertiary glacial deposits. These soils are mixed – here clay fines are mixed with schist, quartz, manganite, on steep slopes. In wetter environs, clay soils with their higher water holding capacity can result in vigourous vines, in our dry climate the opposite is true. Compact soils resulted in a greater challenge during vine establishment, now at over a decade old the vines are starting to show fine and delicate tannins and strong structure, they are starting to express their potential after a decade and are now showing themselves to be exciting blocks