The Sancta vineyard is a gently sloping, north facing vineyard, running down from the hills behind toward the Kawerau river in front. The vineyard’s slope varies across Sancta, but it averages around 4%, with some steeper parts. Together with the Terra Vineyard, the Sancta Vineyard make up Terra Sancta Estate.
Detailed analysis of Sancta vineyard shows that it has a very high percentage of schist in the soil. The presence of such high degrees of schist facilitates excellent drainage. At deeper levels of the vineyard, samples show that schist gravels make up about 75% of the soil profile, with the remainder being loam and clay. This unique soil makeup is crucial in driving the flavors that define Terra Sancta’s wines.
In a survey with 26 samples from various parts of the Sancta vineyard, research has shown that the first 40cm below the surface at Sancta vineyard is predominantly sandy gravels. From 40cm to 1m deep, the Sancta vineyard is about 70-75% of schist gravels, with the remainder a mixture of sandy loam and clay. There is then a 10cm band from 1m to 1.1 metre deep where the soil is higher in sandy loam, before again becoming characterised by dense schisty gravels (just under 80% of the soil) as you get deeper. Some of the oldest vines, such as on Slapjack Block, seem to have got their roots so deep that they do not need irrigation, even during the dryest periods.
Sancta is also a truly diverse environment - and the opposite of the singular monoculture that characterises many vineyards. Dense with trees and shrubs, it is a wonderful place for a summer picnic, in particular outside the Cellar Door, or next to the top pond.