Vineyards - Overview

Terra Sancta is all about the vineyard. As Terry Theise, in a book called Between the Vines, says “A great vineyard’s wines are not merely riper, they are in every way more expressive, more complex, more beautiful.” This is how we feel about our vineyards. Together the adjoining Terra Vineyard and Sancta Vineyards make up the Terra Sancta Estate, as shown on the below map. For a larger version, go to our Vineyard Map

Map of the Terra Sancta Estate

For centuries, wine makers - and wine drinkers - have been aware of the interaction between soil variation and the quality and character of the wine.

Just as in burgundy the famous terriors are characterized by limestone, the great vineyards of Bannockburn, and indeed Central Otago, are distinctive globally in their density of schist and schisty gravels. The soils on all our Bannockburn vineyards are characterised by soils comprised of substantial amounts of schist gravels, with varying proportions of silty loam, clay, and sandy loam in different spots. This is why we can produce three such different single block wines, and why the Terra Santa Estate Pinot Noir and the Mysterious Diggings Pinot Noir have such different aroma and flavor profiles, and are such distinct wines.

More than any other product of he land, the flavors and aromas of wine are linked to the soil, a linkage that is central to the concept of terrior. [Robert White, 2008].

Sancta Vineyard soils

The above photo taken from Sancta vineyard (Miro's Block) - show that our soils are dense with schist stones and gravels. This photo shows the soil from 5 feet below the surface (the top of the hole) to 11 feet below. This is where our new winery is, so had a unique opportunity to inspect the soils at "root depth."

The below photo shows an intensive sheep trial we are running on Terra vineyard. These cool Merino sheep are doing (nearly) all the jobs that humans & machines usually perform on the vineyard. They are...

  • mowing (via eating); 
  • killing weeds (more eating); 
  • bud rubbing (yet more eating....requires them to be a little hungry at the time); 
  • bunch thinning (requires them to be nearly full, with an active shephard on hand); and
  • providing sustainence for the non-vegetarian harvest staff in fall. 
The benefits of this are really nice: 
  • no sprays; 
  • no fertilizer (the sheep provide plenty); 
  • no fertigation (ditto); 
  • no machines (hence no soil compaction and predictable moisture absorbtion rates); and
  • a lot more fun in the vineyard for the team

Our precious pet goats Neroli (blonde) & Thyme (chocolate ears)