Wooing Tree is a family owned single vineyard, situated next to the town of Cromwell in the heart of Central Otago, New Zealand.
We’re lucky enough to be nestled into a stunning glacial mountain valley. Not only is our location scenic – it is perfect for ripening pinot noir. This grape is notoriously fussy about where it likes to grow! Cromwell’s dry climate and cool nights allow pinot to ripen slowly, developing layers of complex flavour pinot lovers adore.
Originally, we looked for the typical north-facing slope to give less frost risk and greater exposure to the sun. However, we ended up buying a relatively flat vineyard close to the shores of Lake Dunstan. The soil looked promising and the heat degree days over the growing season added up, so we took the plunge!
We haven’t had any problem ripening the grapes, but we do have to frost fight occasionally.
A Bit of History
Although we are all from Oamaru originally, we were living and working overseas when we got together and decided that we wanted to move back home to NZ. The outdoor lifestyle appealed as we had young families, so we started to look around in Central Otago for opportunities. Pinot noir was starting to do well there. We purchased the land in 2002, and took on the services of viticulturalist Robin Dicey to help set up the vineyard and manage it in the development stages. This enabled us to stay overseas and continue to pay the bills remotely.
Approximately 44,000 vines were planted in 2002. The 26 ha single vineyard site has 16 ha planted in mainly pinot noir on multiple rootstocks and the following premium clones: 5, 6, 115, 667, 777. These clones give our wines variety and complexity, and minimise risk across the vineyard. The vines are all grafted on American rootstock to prevent phylloxera problems.
The vines are planted at 2666 vine/ha on a VSP trellis system (Vertical Shoot Positioning). We use 1 cordon wire and 2 pairs of canopy wires, which are lifted as required. The vines are spur pruned (usually at 2 buds per shoot) and shoot thinned, leaf plucked, bunch thinned and green harvested all by hand during the season. It’s a lot of repetitive work, but it’s worth it in the glass!
We have a computer controlled irrigation/fertigation system, which is monitored via Aquaflex data loggers to keep an eye on soil moisture and temperature levels.
Birds are often a problem leading up to harvest (we don’t blame them – the grapes are pretty tasty!) and we net the rows to help keep the birds away.