Planting the dramatic hillside setting at Pukeora began in 2000 and it has evolved into a stunning vineyard.
The limestone and clay subsoils contained within the north facing basin combined with the warm Hawkes Bay summer climate provides an ideal site for growing a number of diverse grape varieties. Carefully chosen areas were selected to suit each variety from Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Gris on the more gentle upper slopes to the Bordeaux varietals and Syrah on the steeper slopes. Despite the altitude at 210m, being on a hillside promotes air drainage and reduces frost risk.
The first hectare of grape planting began in 2000. The planting now totals 13,000 vines on 5 Ha of planted area. The first commercial vintage of 9 tonnes was harvested in 2004, with the biggest of 34 tonnes in 2010.
On a steeper part of the hillside, 28 terraces have been excavated along the contours to enable the steep terrain to be more safely developed and operated. These face north west and receive up to 3ºC additional heat due to the steeper angle inclined towards the rays of the hot sun.
The top 14 terraces are planted with merlot. Smaller plantings of cabernet sauvignon, malbec, syrah and semillon have been established on the mid to lower terraces.
Row spacing is generally 2.4m apart.
Vine spacing varies from 2m to 1.3m apart.
The soil type is Matapiro Complex 28D -lime bearing muddy sandstone inter-bedded with limestone.
The soil profile from the surface is generally:
The plantable acreage, could be up to approximately 10 Ha.
The local climate is influenced by the rainshadow effect provided by the Ruahine Ranges. Rainfall is typically about 800mm per annum much of this falling in winter months. Spring, summer and autumn days are often warm to very warm and nights can be cooler with our elevation. The 40th parallel is a few 100 meters away which places Pukeora at a similar lattitude to Madrid in Spain. Our Growing Degree Days range from about 1440 to about 1600 depending on the season.