The Vineyard

Doctors Flat Vineyard is an organically farmed 3-hectare vineyard in Bannockburn, Central Otago.

The soil is deep gold-bearing gravels deposited by receding glaciers about 480,000 years ago. The area was intensively mined for gold throughout the 1800s, the claim here was held by the Deep Lead & Doctors Flat Mining Co. However, the gold and gravel of the vineyard block were left largely undisturbed.

To the benefit of Pinot Noir: at around 8 metres deep the gravels offer a large volume of soil for roots to explore and abundant minerals resources. The meagre water holding capacity and energy needed to draw sustenance from such depth checks vigour and produces balanced vines.

At about 100m above Lake Dunstan it is cooler than most Bannockburn vineyards, with an increased risk of poor crop levels, but in return the fruit gains in flavour, identity and balance.

The three hectares of Pinot Noir were planted in 2002: five blocks combining two rootstocks and three Dijon clones (114, 115 and 777) on VSP trellis. The clones, selections from Burgundy, have adapted perfectly and are more at home than the original Central Otago selections.

After a century of quiet living, the old mining claim is providing new riches from the earth – this time a truly sustainable mineral wealth.


Organic farming - the conduit from soil to wine

Steve has developed Doctors Flat Vineyard from the outset, with labour-intensive farming in order to maximising fruit quality.

The focus now is to build soil health, especially the beneficial microbes and mycorrhizal fungi. When the natural soil micro life is healthy and not suppressed by synthetic fertiliser, there is a more intimate connection between soil and vine, more intense flavour and most importantly, an authentic wine of the site.

Soil is important, consider the difference between farmers market and super market tomatoes and cast your mind back to the tastes of your grandfathers' garden.


If you're curious to read more check; EVERGREEN(Sept09).pdf