Bold, beautiful flavours for premium winemakers
 


Our Vineyards

 
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A good wine tastes of its heritage. Our vineyards produce ultra-premium pinot noir grapes from the heart of the most inimitable wine region in the world – Central Otago.

 
 
 

Discover the Central Otago Wine Region


 
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As one of Aotearoa's most distinct and iconic landscapes, Central Otago encapsulates the rugged romance of gold rush New Zealand with vivid, natural beauty. From its seasonal extremes, bare tussock-rock landscapes and spectacular tors; the thyme-painted hills and rolling orchards, to the hardworking and adventurous people who have made this place their home - they are all remarkable parts of this rich, unique terroir.


Central Otago is an amazing place full of people passionate about making great wine. I only get to visit the region a few times a year, but I always feel welcome and I learn something new with each trip.
— Joel Tilbrook, Milawa Chief Winemaker - Brown Brothers

 
 
 

Bendigo subregion


 
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East of the Clutha River and the head of Lake Dunstan lies Bendigo, the largest wine subregion in Central Otago. Ideally situated at a higher elevation, our vineyards can be characterised by their natural microclimates within New Zealand's only true continental climate zone. Winemakers love Bendigo for these hot, dry conditions which capture the taste of sunshine in the grapes - locking in decidedly subregional and sought after characteristics.

Akin to the gold rush witnessed here in the 19th Century, the landscape has once again attracted pioneers to the area. Similarly, the rapid growth of the wine industry in Bendigo suggests that if you choose the right spot, exercise patience, are hard working and able to embrace everything the weather throws at you - then you might indeed strike gold.

 

 
 
 

Bendigo Flat Vineyard


 
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First planted in 2003, our main vineyard is comprised of northwest facing rows, with the slightest undulation across 24 hectares, between 223-230m above mean sea level. Our soils are a combination of young Molyneux shallow sandy loam, loessial and alluvial soils, formed on an old river terrace near the Clutha River. The favourable and prevalent Bendigo growing conditions mean our grapes enjoy longer hang time on the vine before being gently hand harvested, allowing their rich, ripe fruit flavours and perfectly balanced character to develop to their full potential.

 
 

There is no compromise for quality.

Central Otago is a region of seasonal, climatic extremes. Throughout the growing season (spring through autumn) our frost-fighting technology uses water and its transitional latent energy, to provide insulation and the best possible protection for vulnerable plant tissue against the risk of devastating frost damage. Our investment in this system gives not only us, but our winemaking partners an invaluable peace of mind that their fruit stands more than a fighting chance en route to its pinnacle at harvest. 

 
 
 
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Zebra's frost-fighting system in action. Ensuring every vine in every row remains free from the very real threat of Central Otago's harshly variable conditions.    

 
 

Remnants of the Pleistocene Epoch surround Zebra's Bendigo Flat Vineyard (centre frame), taking in the Pisa Range to the west, Great Rock and Grandview Mountain's peaks landmark the north towards Hawea Flat, while to the east Tarras guards the gateway to the Lindis Valley and beyond. 

 

The first grapes picked at Zebra were in 2006 and a proprietary wine was made to taste the potential of the vineyards. At this stage in her life, having made and sold wine for many years (and with pleasing results from her first Bendigo vintage) Lyndsey decided to focus her energy on selling the best quality grapes rather than producing wine.

Currently, we have 5 hectares planted at 4,500 vines to the hectare (4 clones and 3 different rootstocks) and 17.74 hectares planted at 3,800 vines to the hectare (7 clones, 3 rootstocks). We crop around 7 tonnes per hectare and offer winemakers 7 clones on Schwarzmann, 101-14, and 3309 stock. 

 
 

A more intimate view of the Zebra's Bendigo Flat Vineyard where evidence of the Clutha River's historic past are etched out in terraces. The broad southern end of this block has extensive scope for further planting here and at the prospective winery and vineyard site in close proximity - extending west, from the southeast corner of the frame.  

 
 

Chinaman's Terrace


 
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Our Chinaman’s Terrace block produces simply outstanding fruit.  

Located 20km north of Cromwell, Zebra’s 4.45 hectare parcel reflects our approach to crop management and core value of quality over quantity. The steep north-facing and sloping site is perched amongst an area of historic gold workings, having the advantage of an even higher aspect at 314-378m above mean sea level.  The site has two distinctive soil types : across the top, a large section of Clyde shallow sandy loam soil, with a higher clay content and the smaller, lower section is an Alexandra steepland soil higher in gravel content. With the positive effects of free-draining soil, some wind exposure and frost free conditions (during growing season), winemakers praise the darker fruit and complex tannins produced from this perfectly positioned site.  

 
 

The highly prized north-facing and finite Chinaman's Terrace is backdropped by Central Otago's classification of 'foothills'.  Their rugged and intriguing form precede the larger Dunstan Mountains behind, to the southeast and give way to the south-west expanses of Lake Dunstan, Cromwell and Pisa Range.

 

A southeast perspective leads towards the old gold mining settlements and workings of Welshtown and Logantown in the distance.  In the centre foreground,  Zebra takes pride of place upon Chinaman's Terrace.

 
 

First planted in 2005, we have 4,000 vines to the hectare and crop around 4.5-5 ton per hectare. Chinaman’s Terrace vineyard offers winemakers 5 clones (115, Clone 5, 667, 777, Able) on Schwarzmann rootstock. This exposed site presents us with a harsh environment for growing vines, but as master winemaker Grant Taylor is fond of saying - "Struggling vines make the best wines".

 
 

The elevated northern view from the Chinaman's Terrace vineyard, down toward Zebra's (triangular) Bendigo Flat Vineyard in the distance.

 
 
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I buy all my crop from the Chinaman’s Terrace block. It’s the ideal microclimate for growing pinot noir, and I know the team at Zebra have the same goal as we do – to make the best possible wine the site can produce.
— Grant Taylor, Master Winemaker - Valli
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