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New Vineyard Acquisition for Sam Neill and Two Paddocks in Central Otago
17th January 2014
Two Paddocks vineyards have this week acquired their fourth vineyard, this one in Bannockburn. Sam Neill says “We’ve been quietly looking around for something good in this neck of the woods for quite a while now and we were very fortunate that the opportunity came up of buying a small vineyard that we’ve always admired – Desert Heart.”
Desert Heart Vineyard, situated at the end of Felton Road, has now come under the Two Paddocks umbrella. It is a 6-hectare block entirely devoted to Pinot Noir, which was established in 1999 by Denny Downie and Jane Gill. It lies at the foot of Mount Difficulty and its neighbours are Felton Road, Terra Sancta and Wild Earth vineyards.
Denny has said “We are both thrilled that the mantle of stewardship of Desert Heart Vineyard now moves into the capable hands of Sam and the Two Paddock’s Team”.
Sam Neill is clearly equally enthused saying “This is a beautifully sited vineyard, that has been tended with immense dedication and attention to detail and we could not be more delighted to include this iconic vineyard into the Two Paddocks fold.”
“This puts us in the unique position of being the only Central Otago winery with a footprint in all three of Central Otagos great valleys, by owning vineyards in Gibbston, the Alexandra Basin and now the Cromwell Basin. I believe it demonstrates our faith and confidence in the future of New Zealand wine, Central Otago and in particular, Central Otago Pinot Noir. “
“This is a departure for us: all three of our other vineyards we established from scratch starting in Gibbston in 1993. Desert Heart is not only a site under full production, it already has a proven track record – eg. 2007 Desert Heart Pinot Noir was Trophy and Champion Pinot at the 2010 London International Wine Challenge.”
The purchase of this Bannockburn vineyard takes the overall Two Paddocks vineyard planting to 19 hectares and ensures that even the PICNIC by Two Paddocks will be 100% estate grown. A new name will be given to the vineyard and Sam is hoping to name it after his father who was a soldier and then ran the family wine & spirit business.
So what does this mean for Two Paddocks:
We will slowly increase our total output by some 30 %, and this may ease some of those very small international allocations.
Some of the Bannockburn fruit from this site will become a component of both PICNIC by Two Paddocks and the flagship Two Paddocks Pinot Noir.
We will undoubtedly add another single vineyard Pinot Noir to our line-up, bringing the Proprietor’s Reserves to a total of three wines – The First Paddock Vineyard Gibbston, The Last Chance Vineyard Alexandra and The (name pending) Vineyard Bannockburn.
So an exciting start to 2014 for Two Paddocks and as The Proprietor quips, “Hats in the air, if you please!”
For further reading on Two Paddocks and Wandering Palate articles - click here