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.

Bell Hill Vineyard

Established in 1997, situated at an old lime quarry in the Weka Pass, North Canterbury, a previously unplanted area. This is a unique site with marine limestone derived soils, we have planted two hectares of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay at high density of up to 12,500 vines/ha. We seek to reflect the characteristics of our site and soil in the wines we make. Our vineyard management is very detailed, we consider this high level of manual labour as being crucial in achieving site potential.

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.

Fancrest Estate

When the world’s house is on fire organics is just not enough. Rebuilding soil carbon is the driving force behind Di Holding’s work, both in the vineyard and out in the paddocks. The soil on the Estate hasn’t been disturbed for the better part of 15 years allowing our microscopic workers to do what they do best… build soil and sequester carbon. Planted in 2003 and certified organic since 2008, this tiny vineyard produces pinot noir like none other. Distinctively “Fancrest” in a way only vines intimately connected to limestone soils can deliver. Di is hands on from pruning to harvest and is most often found working alone in the vineyard. This is personal.


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.

Koyama Wines

When Takahiro Koyama, owner winemaker of Koyama Wines came to New Zealand in 2003, it was to study Viticulture and Oenology at Lincoln. When he graduated in 2006 he became assistant winemaker at Mountford. He started to make his own wine and established Koyama Wines Limited. Grapes for Koyama Wines came from three local growers’ vineyards namely Williams’, Pearson’s and Tussock Terrace.
In 2017, Koyama Wines Limited purchased Mountford Estate and now all Koyama wines are produced at Mountford Estate.

Mount Brown Estates

In 2002 Tony and his daughter Catherine stumbled on an abandoned Pinot Noir vineyard in the foothills of Mount Brown. Waste high in weeds it presented an irresistible challenge and has since gone on to produce Trophy and Gold medal winning wines.

Mt Beautiful Winery

Owner, Scholar Entrepreneur, and New Zealand native David Teece believes his homeland features “the best products in the world, and the world should experience them.” Mt. Beautiful wines from North Canterbury reflect his passion for New Zealand. By producing elegant, certified-sustainable, estate-grown wines, David has found a way to truly represent the stunning richness of the land along with the
uncompromising quality and distinction that defines Mt. Beautiful.

Pegasus Bay Winery

North Canterbury is framed by the rugged Pacific Ocean to the east and the majestic Southern Alps to the west. The Waipara Valley is found here protected from the ocean winds by a range of hills providing a unique microclimate. The Pegasus Bay vineyard, now 35 years old and largely un-grafted sits on the north facing terraces of an ancient river bed. The Donaldson family, who own and run the estate, were pioneers of the region planting some of the first Pinot Noir vines in Canterbury.

Pyramid Valley

After 15 years of extensively travelling the world, Mike and Claudia Weersing finally found their Pyramid Valley site in North Canterbury New Zealand. The home vineyard was established biodynamcially in 1999 and has been planted in Pinot Noir and Chardonnay on scarp slopes, at a density of 10,000-12,000 vines per hectare. “Every gesture made in the vineyard and winery, is a summons to this spirit of place. Biodynamics, hand-based viticulture, low yields, natural winemaking – these are some of the means we’ve adopted better to record and transmit this voice”.

Terrace Edge

We’re biased but we feel we’ve been blessed with a slice of paradise. Our family vineyard is located on the terrace edge of the Waipara River, in North Canterbury, with a stunning view that one can never tire of. As guardians of the land, we believe it’s our job to care for, and tend the land as best we can. For us this means growing organically, working alongside the biological systems, rather than against them.
In 2018 our vineyard was named NZ’s Organic Vineyard of the Year.
Alongside the Terrace Edge label, we have created a social enterprise called ’27seconds’, a wine brand where 100% of the profits go towards helping survivors of slavery.

The Boneline

The Boneline is a figurative way of describing the Waipara river. Over millions of years the river has receded revealing fossils, rocky terraces and in turn informing the location of our plantings. The land is restless with low rainfall, katabatic valley winds and amphitheatre heat traps. We craft wines with resonance from vines planted by our family partnership founded in 1989. Younger people are drawn here contributing knowledge and commitment as The Boneline evolves.

The Crater Rim

The Crater Rim Ltd is a family-owned boutique winemaking company situated in the rolling hills of Waipara, in the South Island of New Zealand. They grow, make and market limited quantities of terroir-specific wines produced from their own two vineyards in Waipara, and Omihi and contracted sites in Central Otago and Banks Peninsula. These have been carefully selected for their particular mix of varietal, topography, soil and microclimate – creating high quality, site-specific wines of individual character and drinkability, styled on the negociant houses of Burgundy and the Rhone Valley in France. There, the careful selection of small parcels of estate and non-estate fruit for winemaking is a long held tradition. They manage their own vineyards and work closely with each grower to ensure that vines are cropped low and managed sustainably, guaranteeing the best quality fruit possible from each vineyard site.

Tussock Hill Vineyard

We are a boutique family owned organic vineyard, with our home block on the Port Hills of Christchurch and another in Waipara. We have an intergenerational vision for our vineyards, which means it is imperative we take care of our land. We are integrating regenerative agriculture, holistic livestock grazing and increasing our biodiversity through other cropping systems and native plantings. We aim to create a closed system to provide our family, cellar door and community with high quality organic wine and produce.