Bell Hill Vineyard
Established by Marcel Giesen and Sherwyn Veldhuizen in 1997, Bell Hill Vineyard in the Weka Pass, North Canterbury, is an area layered with history. Bell Hill itself, so named for its bell-like shape on its southern side, was first surveyed in 1917 by Charles Trounce who went on to establish a lime quarry that operated until the late 1930s.
However the history of the area goes back much further than that. Maori first explored Weka Pass around 1000 years ago, when the area was still forested and rich in birdlife. A large overhanging limestone shelter in the pass was used as a temporary overnight camp and early Maori rock art decorates its walls.
Visits are strictly by pre-arranged appointment only, please contact us in advance.
Located within a lime quarry in the Weka Pass, North Canterbury, the Bell Hill vineyard is divided into the following blocks the Quarry, the Shelf, the Limeworks, the Steps, the Roadblock, the Slope and the Westbank and is modelled on the high density plantings of vineyards in Burgundy, France. The Quarry Block, which was the first to be planted, has 9,259 vines/ha, the steep, hillside Shelf Block has 11,111 vines/ha, the Limeworks Block has 9,090 vines/ha and the Steps has 12,500 vines/ha. The Roadblock, Slope and Westbank Blocks were planted in 2008-2009 and have 11,363 vines/ha. We now have just under 22,500 vines planted.
The rationale behind this high density planting is to reduce yield per vine and encourage deep and rapid root penetration to make the most of the sites unique terroir.
Bell Hills management style has a focus on traditional techniques and a high level of human input to ensure that the vines achieve their potential.