Lime Rock Wines

LIME ROCK is a stunning vineyard situated on limestone hills in sunny Central Hawke’s Bay, New Zealand, 40km SW of Hastings and 6km west of Waipawa (turn onto Tikokino Road opposite BP).

We specialise in Pinot Noir, Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Gris, Merlot and Grüner Veltliner. Elegance, balance and length are a feature of our wines. We believe the limestone contributes sought-after mineral characters.

Our ecological philosophy (vit-ecology), combined with over 30 years of wine industry experience, provides a solid basis for producing wines that express the flavour of our land.


Rosie Butler - Winemaker

Rosie is in home territory, having grown up on the family farm next door. With a practical laboratory background (Medical Laboratory Scientist) and some years of travel, Rosie started with Montana in 1974 and helped with the first two vintages (1977 and 1978) in Blenheim.

Rosie furthered her studies by gaining a BSC Appl. Sc. in Oenology and Viticulture at Roseworthy College in South Australia. She was part of the first New Zealand contingent to study there. Rosie was then winemaker for Montana in Gisborne for 5 years. Returning to Adelaide, she worked at Petaluma in the Adelaide hills and also taught wine appreciation to wine students.

Rosie's experience in quality control ensures wines are finished to exacting standards.

LIME ROCK Cellar Door

Visitors to the Cellar Door and vineyard are given personal attention. Along with tasting the wines you can walk or be driven to the top of the vineyard. Here you can appreciate the LIME ROCK philosophy and enjoy the spectacular scenery over the Ruataniwha plains to the Ruahine ranges. You are welcome to bring your own picnic and relax awhile.

Ellsgrove Gold Medal extra virgin olive oil, saffron and gourmet products are available. Oamaru stone sculptures by Jan Gosling are in the garden and are also for sale.

Giant three million year-old oyster and scallop shells from the limestone along with photos of our vineyard are on display.

LIME ROCK Cellar Door Hours 2015

Saturday and Sunday -1st October to end February - 11am - 4pm

We are happy to open for tastings outside of these hours. If the gates open call in and toot.

Just call 06 8578 235 or 06 8578 247 to arrange a time.

LIME ROCK Vineyard

Limestone, altitude and distance from the present ocean make our LIME ROCK vineyard site different from others. On these high north-facing Central Hawke’s Bay limestone hills we have found a niche for our vines. Graduation in soil depth down the slope, different aspects of the hills along with nine different clones, many on own roots, are factors that add to the complexity of our wines.

Complexity - from the vineyard to the wines

  • Elevation - 230-270m altitude results in cooler sites and steep slopes that allow cool air to drain and prevent frosts.
  • Soil types - loess (wind blown sediments) over crumbly limestone with shallow depth at the hilltop to deeper soils at the base. The shallower soils produce wines with more elegance and the deeper soils more muscular wines.
  • Micro-climates - top, mid and bottom slopes result in different growing condition for the vines. We pick accordingly, picking the top slope first.
  • We believe the limestone base produces wines with a characteristic minerality and good length on the palate.


The underlying limestone base is derived from an old sea bed (old sealand! get it?) that extended to the NE some 3 million years ago. The crumbly limestone structure, called coquina (the name of our new Sauvignon Blanc) is made up of crushed barnacle shells, embedded with large scallop and oyster shells that form the base of our logo.


The Ruahine Ranges pushed up through the limestone and erosion and wind deposited loess (wind blown sediment) on the hills. This silty layer has good water holding properties and any excess moisture drains down the slope or into the limestone, consequently irrigation is seldom used. The loess layer is covered with a shallow covering of volcanic ash from eruption events and provides a natural fertility. We do not have to use nitrogen fertilizer to maintain our vines and water use is very minimal, with some blocks not being watered for over 5 years. A very sustainable situation.


The hills and slopes provide a diverse environment with increasing soil depth down the slope. The slopes also allow cold air drainage. so frost is not an issue. There is always some wind movement through the vines that minimizes the risk of fungal diseases. This diversity within the landscape adds to the final complexity within the wines. The grapes are all handpicked, starting with the top of the hills, mid-slopes and then lower slopes.


The 10 ha vineyard is mostly Pinot Noir with 9 different clones, mostly on own roots, and newer plantings on rootstock.

All vines are trained on VSP trellis system, with about 2500 vines per hectare. We aim to have yields of less than 2kg per vine. Shoot thinning and leaf plucking are done by hand and any green bunches removed before veraison (when grapes change colour).

Our reserve label (White Knuckle Hill) comes mainly from a very steep slope planted with clones 777, 667 and Abel.

Other varieties include Pinot Gris, Sauvignon Blanc, Merlot, Cabernet Franc and some Gruner Veltliner planted in 2008.

Also have another small trial vineyard we call Secret Vineyard as it is hidden away fron view. This has plantings of Pinot Noir, Cabernet Franc and Riesling.

Sustainable Winegrowing

Lime Rock Wines, since the 2010 vintage, is certified by Sustainable Winegrowing New Zealand (SWNZ). The LIME ROCK vineyard has been certified since 2004.

601 Tikokino Road, Waipawa
Hawkes Bay
New Zealand

P: +64 6 857 8235
F: +64 6 857 8235