Small (though marginally larger than the Wairarapa) and tucked away in its sheltered pocket at the top of the South Island, Nelson is host to a tight core of dedicated Pinot producers.
The grape was first planted in the region in 1975 by the Austrian-born father of the Nelson wine industry, Hermann Seifried. In a region that has a strong reputation for the quality of its aromatic whites and Chardonnay, Pinot Noir is the most planted red grape with 198ha in the ground.
Protected by mountain ranges on three sides (west, south and east), Nelson is blessed climatically. The region usually leads the country in sunshine hours, while the dryness of the late summer months suits early-ripening Pinot Noir.
Nelson can be divided into two distinct sub-regions: the Waimea Plains and the Moutere Hills. They differ markedly in soils. The majority of the region’s vines are planted on the plain, made up of free-draining loams over a gravel base. However, the majority of the region’s Pinot vines are grown in the rolling Moutere Hills, made up of clay subsoils over the gravels of an old river system.