Our Vineyard

Vineyard Systems and Management

First plantings commenced in Spring of 1997. Pinot noir clones comprise mainly 5, 6, 10/5 and B115. The B115 is grafted on a suitable rootstock while the other three clones are all planted on their own roots. At the time of writing most of the pinot noir is approaching ten years of age and the bulk of the pinot

150409_Bald Hills Harvest WEB_063

gris and riesling, having been planted a year later, approaches nine. Pinot gris and riesling occupy approximately 1 hectare each, and the pinot noir covers almost 5 and 1/2 hectares.

New plantings of Clone Abel added in 2007 and 2008 further contribute to the complexity of these Central Otago Pinot Noirs. https://www.baldhills.co.nz/about-us/our-vineyard/Clone Abel appears for the first time in the 2011 Pinot Noir wine.

Vineyard Systems

  • Plants per hectare, 2500
  • Initial row spacing 2.5, current spacing 2.3, plant spacing 1.33
  • Fruiting wire 1m
  • Both cane and spur pruning

Vine Management

  • Training to VSP
  • Shoot and bunch thinning to bring crop to desired level. The ability of the vines to ripen the fruit for that season is assessed depending on climate conditions
  • Soil moisture determined professionally using deep probe. Each individual plant irrigated by dripper according to need
  • Fertilizer applied through dripper system after soil and leaf analysis
  • Frost fighting via two automatic wind machines, temperature set to a little above 0 degrees. Precise temperature determined by stage of development of the vine
  • Leaf plucking by hand to assist ripening, allowing sun and air to penetrate further into the canopy

Canopy Management

  • Three levels of canopy containment wires
  • Canopy trimmed as required


  • All harvesting of the crop is done by hand. Yield rarely exceeds 5 tonnes per hectare
  • Meticulous selection by experienced pickers of fully ripe fruit
  • Further sorting on site to eliminate any unripe fruit, leaves, and stalks upon emptying picking crates into larger bins for transport to the winery

Soils, And Climatic Zones

Excerpts from Soils for Horticulture CENTRAL OTAGO by PD McIntosh ( Scientist with Landcare Research New Zealand). 150409_Bald Hills Harvest WEB_065

“The Bannockburn Valley contains three areas with more than one thousand Growing Degree Days (1000GDD*)”.

Bald Hills is located within one of these favourable areas – “the slopes with northwesterly aspect between the Kawarau River and the Eastern Hill Country”.

Soils most suited to horticulture include the highly suitable Manuherikia soils of Bald Hills. These soils are moderately deep to deep fine sandy loam, accumulated as wind-blown loess over free-draining terrace gravels.


  • Around 200m above sea level.


  • 300-400 mm annually.

Water Supply

  • There is an abundance of water from the rivers and streams draining the surrounding mountains.  Bald Hills irrigates by means of drippers, each vine having its own dripper. A bore located within the Bald Hills property derives water from an aquifer some 30m deep.

* Growing Degree Days (GDD).  We calculate using the easy averaging method, i.e. average daily temperature minus the base temperature.

Bald Hills is a Certified Sustainable Vineyard

We are proud to be an accredited member of SWNZ – Sustainable Winegrowing of New Zealand ® – A proactive environmental management system that enables the production of high quality wine by employing environmentally responsible processes in the vineyard and winery. ‘New Zealand Wine, the riches of a clean green land’.