We are undoubtedly spoilt for choice when it comes to our wine offering in the North Canterbury region, but what makes it even more special is the prevalence of organic and biodynamic focused producers. Here is a collection of families and businesses who are committed to making wine that benefits both people and planet.
Named in the top 100 as one of the world’s best vineyards, Black Estate is a vineyard that needs no introduction in this region. tTe esteemed Black Estate winery has been a North Canterbury icon for years. With an emphasis on both organic and biodynamic their various vineyard sites including Home, Damsteep and Netherwood (certified BioGro organic since 2010 and 2012 respectively) – all provide unique characteristics that shine through in each bottle. With an intentional avoidance of chemical residues they love to be able to make and drink wine that ‘nurtures us’. Working with nature, rather than against it, this ethos flows through from the glass to plate, and is represented in their cellar door restaurant where Chef Olly Le Maitre celebrates local food with flair and generosity.
This award-winning 33-hectare vineyard became fully certified organic in 2018. Greystone is the first winery in the world to produce wine using an in-vine ferment, a set up where the fermenter literally sits within the vines and makes the most of its environment. The concept behind this practice is to develop a stronger connection to place and the result, is a deeper character profile that offers a true essence of the North Canterbury terroir. Every single step of their handcrafted winemaking process is completed onsite, harnessing biodiversity and natural ecological cycles throughout the year. Their luscious vines are situated alongside a sleek new cellar door restaurant which opened in 2020. A place where you can delight in food prepared by chef Mel Wright that is as beautiful, natural and unique as the wine.
Run by the same team at Greystone, Muddy Water is one of Canterbury’s oldest organic vineyards. Muddy Water was born almost a quarter century ago when viticulture pioneers Jane and Michael East recognised the potential for grape growing in the Waipara Valley. They first planted the vineyard in 1993 with a range of experimental varieties – what worked, stayed, and what didn’t thrive was pulled out. The first wines released in 1996 quickly established Muddy Water Estate as one of the first real high quality producers in the area, and much of our wine today is still being made from those original vines.
When it comes to epitomising a successful organic winery, Terrace Edge are it. Recently taking out the prized position of New Zealand’s Organic Winery of the Year at the NZ Organic Wine Awards. Overlooking the Waipara River, Terrace Edge has been owned by the Chapman family since 1999, where they have 2000 olive trees alongside their grapes. They strongly endorse the philosophy that healthy soil feeds and breeds beautiful fruit, which then transforms into superb organic wine. They produce wine that allows you to taste the climate, season and landscape of North Canterbury. To experience their range, you can head to their vineyard, relax and enjoy a gourmet sticky pork toastie on fresh ciabatta bread in one hand and a glass of something delicious in another.
Situated within a lime quarry in the Weka Pass, North Canterbury, Bell Hill vineyard is modelled on the French, high density French vineyards. Being fully BioGro certified organic since March 1st 2015, their focus is on traditional techniques that use a lot of human input, to ensure their vines reach their full potential. The range of wines, commonly Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, hugely benefit from bottle ageing and are released around three and a half years after the harvest vintage. These specialty wines can be found in a number of luxury lodges throughout the country and you can find various stockists on their website.
Pyramid Valley’s Waikari Estate cellar door and tasting room produces wine that breathes of their place. They are committed to sharing the pleasure, culture and craft of wine through biodynamic viticulture and a natural approach to winemaking. With almost 20 years winemaking experience behind them, Mike and Claudia Weersing travelled the globe to find their wine location, a unique Waikari site with over 80 hectares of rich limestone and clay soils. Perched on north and east facing slopes, this vineyard is home to some of the most profound Pinot Noir and Chardonnay in the world.