The Terra Sancta Label

Our labels are not squares. We do not live in a square. We live in a much more interesting place, with fascinating details and edges. We wanted to reflect this in the label.

Terra means earth. In addition, the world’s first atlas, by Abraham Ortelius, was called a “Terrarum.”

We love old maps. Beautiful art in their own right, old maps contain geography, the built landscape, local flora and fauna, the climate, human folly and political history. They tell a story, and inspire the imagination. They are a rich tapestry; an allegorical portrait of the land. That is what we have looked to create in our labels. The label on our Terra Sancta estate is the “source code” built up entirely like an old map - from the past and present of our place.

The cartouche is the key to any old map. It contains, in summary word and pictorial form, the key narrative for the fuller set of information contained in the map itself.

We see our label as an ancient cartouche - reflecting the age of the land and its history - but populated with the history and narrative and key symbols of the estate.

If you visit the estate, as well as seeing some unique old maps of the area, you might even see one particular original 1572 map, from the world’s first atlas called... Terra Sancta.

Some of the things you can see on the label include


  • Wild Thyme - this grows freely both on the estate and in the hills behind. It also provides a quite unique perfume in our wines. 
  • The forbidden fruits -raspberries strawberries, cherries, blackberries, plums - reflect the dominant flavors in our Pinot Noir wines. 
  • Flowers. The Sancta vineyard is planted with thousands of trees including flowering trees that make simply walking around the estate one of our favorite pastimes.


  • The White Falcon is an unusual bird we see occasionally at the bottom of the estate.
  • The Dog is our wine dog, Miro, usually found vigorously, but unsuccessfully chasing rabbits (which appear on the other side of the label)
  • Bees - a sign of the health of the environment in our vineyard, these are everywhere in certain parts of the season
  • The sea creatures. There is evidence that this area was once a large, deep, ancient lake. The particular images here are a guess, as to what may have lived here at that time.


  • Schist - this is the dominant rock on the property, and a key factor in both the soils and the flavors of our wines
  • The carved valleys and runs of the gold mines are right behind the estate. 
  • River - our estate borders the Kawarau river. At the bottom of Terra vineyard lies what used to be, before the dredging and then the flooding of the river to make the Clutha Damn, Shingle Beach. There is evidence, that a short throw from our Shingle Beach block, in the 1860s on one day, one gold seeker panned over two pounds of gold from the river. We are highly tempted to give this a go!

  •  Here is the (dry) Slapjack Creek in 1989 before the vines were planted. This image is replicated on the label in the left hand circle, and is the image used for the Single Block wine, Slapjack Creek.


  • In spring, when it flowers, the landscape is a gorgeous soft purple. The purple hue of the label reflects the colour of the vineyard in spring, when not only thyme, but a lot of other purple flowers cover the land
  • Gold - a major part of the history of the area, the gold rush of 2 centuries ago resulting in the original Pakeha settlements in the area 


  • You can’t have wine without people. The august, serious, looking gentlemen is Jackson Barry, a ratbag seeker of gold, teller of yarns, a local Mayor. 
  • Sarah denies that the woman in the label is her…The woman is mysterious and feminine, symbolic of the nature and quality of our wines.

Mysterious Diggings

The Mysterious Diggings label retains a clear link to the main Terra Sancta Estate label. As the Diggings Vineyard, however, is a simpler vineyard, high in the hills, with the same flora and fauna, but fewer trees and it does not border the river, the label has been designed in keeping with that vineyard. The label also symbolizes that the wine is gorgeous and delicious, but not as complex as the estate wines.