Region - North Canterbury

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North Canterbury

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Region Wineries

It was in North Canterbury during the 1970s that the South Island’s Pinot Noir potential started to be seriously explored through trials at Lincoln University. Subsequently, Danny Schuster’s gold medal-winning St Helena Pinot Noir 1982 is still seen as a seminal expression of the variety.

Ever since, the fascinating, diverse terroir that makes up North Canterbury has been delivering on its promise. It now occupies a special place on the national Pinot Noir map.

Most North Canterbury vineyards are clustered around the town of Waipara, an hour’s drive north of Christchurch. Sheltered by the Teviotdale Hills from the cold nor’easterly winds coming in from the coast, the area is both warm and low in rainfall. Soil-wise, it’s a complex mosaic. On the valley floor are deep alluvial gravels, while on the lower, gentler slopes of the Teviotdale Hills are heavier clay-based with the added allure of limestone.

Directly inland from Waipara, west of the town of Waikari, are hills rich in limestone. This was the principal magnet for a pair of producers, Bell Hill and Pyramid Valley, whose pinots are reflective of their distinctive terroirs.

Further south, there are vineyards on the stony plains around Christchurch and on the volcanic basalt of Banks Peninsula.

After Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Noir is the region’s most widely planted grape, covering an area of 430ha.

Black Estate

Family owned, our three hillside vineyards lie on slopes at the top of the Waipara Valley, North Canterbury.

Nicholas and his team work with nature to build strong foundations, detail and quality. Our intention is for these special vineyards to sustain their own natural rhythms for generations to come.

The vineyards, Home, Damsteep and Netherwood are small and within 5km of the other with slopes of clay and various limestone soils. Our Pinot Noir is not made with additions, except for minimal sulphur at bottling and each wine is filtered or fined.

We’re certified with Biogro 5202 and use Biodynamic practices to create healthy places for our vines and people to grow.


Greystone is an organic farm on the limestone hills of North Canterbury. The Thomas family converted a farm into 40 hectares of vines in 2004, with a few sheep to help with the weeding. Dom Maxwell, winemaker, has been a pioneer in fermenting outside in the specific rows where the grapes are grown. Through destemming outside, wild ferments in the vineyard, and organic viticulture we hope to share the beauty of where we live and grow.