Mountford Estate’s vineyard is in an area dubbed as the ‘golden mile’ for the ideal amounts of light and heat it receives and the marl soils that bring a fine minerality to the finished wines.
The vineyard is on the north-west face of the Waipara Valley’s eastern hills, just below the Teviotdale range. This park-like environment was first planted in 1991, before being expand three times through to 2013 – the property now stretches to 9.3 hectares of Riesling, Chardonnay and Pinot Noir grapes. Thanks to new developments in viticulture equipment, the estate can now employ higher-density planting that is especially beneficial to Chardonnay and Pinot Noir grapes.
This may be the ‘golden mile’, but with an elevation of 305 feet above sea level the property does not escape frosts. A process of blowing warm air from an LPG burner behind a tractor helps to keep the grapes frost-free – the team here describe it as a ‘spring vigil’ that reaps satisfying rewards in seeing the vines grow on through the season to produce beautiful fruits at the end. Canopy management is similarly vigorous, aiming to keep the spring and summer growth open to sunlight and breezes that keep the vine naturally disease free.
Keeping the method ‘low impact/high attention’ means that the spray regime is kept to a minimum, simply involving boosting the health of the vines through organic inputs.
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