Against All Odds for N Canterbury’s Bell Hill
Meteorological calamities have beset Bell Hill owners Marcel Giesen and Sherwyn Veldhuizen, British wine critic Jancis Robinson writes in a piece about the North Canterbury vineyard for the Financial Times. The wines they have produced however are “stunning”.
“In 2019, it was so wet during the December flowering that it halved the potential crop. In 2021, they lost about 35 per cent of the potential buds to frost that struck in September. And, in October last year, an unprecedented polar blast wiped out 80 per cent of the 2023 crop and left the growth that remained at such a variety of different stages that all they were able to harvest this year was a modest amount of base material for sparkling wine,” Robinson writes.
“Such blows are particularly difficult for a vineyard that is only 3.18ha. Their Burgundian close-planted vines have always been painstakingly worked by hand, at first by them and now with the addition of three full-time staff. They have never veered from the most labour-intensive traditional techniques in both cellar and vineyard and have been fully certified organic by BioGro from 2015.
“I’m just glad they have been able to produce what they have, given the exceptional quality of their chardonnay and pinot noir.”
Original article by Jancis Robinson, Financial Times, May 27, 2023.