Our winemaking philosophy

To understand our winemaking philosophy is to understand where we come from. We are five families all with a passion for farming andgrowing things. Our ethos is you do something and do it well.  

In 2001 we made a bold decision to embark on a project togrow some of the best Pinot noir in the world. As farmers we knew that meantfinding the land which would become our anchor, not any land, but exceptional land which enjoys relative immunity to seasonal conditions not shared by lesser vineyards which suffer more obviously from vintage differences.

Before planting the first vine in 2003 we had the rightpeople on board. People with the same focus on excellence and having fun. Peoplewho are ready for the challenge of growing Pinot right on the edge andunderstand the need to manage the risks associated with being at the edge.

To be great and not just good requires focus. A singlevineyard and a single wine is the focus.

Everything we do in the vineyard from pruning through to harvesteach year is aimed at producing 50 tonnes of Central Otago’s finest Pinot noirgrapes. It means attention to detail and attention to the season.  It means having the capacity and skill toremain flexible and manage the vines in response to the unique weather patternsof that year. 

A great vineyard site will only consistently produce greatgrapes through the hands of skilled and committed people.

Deciding the best day to harvest each block is a criticaldecision but fortunately we have found that on a great site it is actuallyquite easy as long as we make that decision in the vines while tasting thefruit. With experience we know when it is too early or when we need to pickquickly.

The many hours of work which have gone in during the seasonpay off at harvest. At harvest we can quickly go through and pick bunches wewant for making wine. Once bunches are off the vine and into the bins there isno further sorting and the job in the vineyard is done.
VinPro, our contracted winemaker, is a purpose built Pinot noir winery and aligned with our philosophy of getting the best people on board. 

In the winery each step of the process from Pinot noir grapes to wine is managed in the same way we manage in the vineyard. Protecting the purity of the fruit which have been produced in the vineyard and minimise the risk of spoilage is the priority. This means we generally select the yeast we want for fermentation. We do allow some of the tanks to undergo spontaneous fermentation through yeast which is already on the grapes when they arrive at the winery from the vineyard. 

It means sensitive physical handling and not over-extracting juice and tannins. It means using the best French oak in a way that enhances the fruit but does not hide it. Everything is focused on preserving the vineyard character as it is for many years in a bottle. 

Each bottle of Grasshopper Rock will be our very best presentation of that vintage. We don’t select some barrels and declassify others to make something different than a true representation of the vineyard, the vintage and our management in the vineyard. 

This is the true single vineyard wine. 

[Jim Collins' "Good to Great" Hedgehog Concept provided us some early inspiration].


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