We founded Mitre Rocks Vineyard in 2000 as a family enterprise, with the aim of producing high-quality Central Otago Pinot Noir with substance and heart.
Lying at the foot of the rugged Pisa Range overlooking the picturesque Lake Dunstan some 10km north of Cromwell, the vineyard was to be something of a hearthstone for our family. It is a common cause that binds us together, and giving future generations the option to continue this endeavour, rooted in the land we love.
We strive to make wines, particularly Pinot Noir, which bring excitement and pleasure to wine lovers honest, unpretentious wines with true Kiwi charm. We only produce single-vineyard wines grown in exceptional Central Otago terroir. All our Pinot Noir is grown on our own vineyard, closely supervised and managed to achieve the style we desire.
The first grapes were harvested from our vineyard in 2005, producing Pinot Noir of remarkable quality from the outset.
– Simon & Roy McCallum
Carol BunnCarol Bunn was just a kid when one of Central Otago's first vineyards was planted close to her parents Arrowtown farm, sparking her interest in viticulture.
Carol completed a Bachelor of Arts degree in geography and worked in resource management before making a career change in 1995, to get back to her farming roots. She completed a postgraduate diploma in Viticulture and Oenology at Lincoln University in Canterbury, preparing for her new life in winemaking.
Carol started her winemaking career in Martinborough, gaining invaluable experience with Pinot Noir under the watchful eye of renowned winemaker Larry McKenna. She completed vintages abroad in Oregon and Bordeaux, and worked as a winemaker in Canterbury for three years. In 2001, she started plying her craft back where she grew up in Central Otago, building a stellar reputation early on with the trophy-winning Pinot Noirs she crafted for Akarua Winery. The Akarua Pinot Noir 2002 won Champion Pinot Noir and Champion Wine of the show at the prestigious Air NZ Wine Awards in 2003.
With her growing stature as Queen of Pinot Noir in the region, VinPro Ltd approached Carol in 2004 to set up, build and take the reins of their new contract winemaking facility in Cromwell. In this capacity, Carol works with 18 different wine companies, including Mitre Rocks Vineyards, to craft their wines.
My philosophy is to work in closely with my clients to consistently produce great wines which reflect each individual vineyards terroir. Every vineyard has its distinctive qualities which we preserve and enhance, says Carol.
She prefers to take a minimalist approach to winemaking, seeing her role as a caretaker of the wines, rather than a manipulator of the wine character and style.
Carol works closely with Roy McCallum of Mitre Rocks Vineyards on the production of Mount Dottrel and Mitre Rocks wine. Throughout the season, she actively liaises with us on vineyard management to bring out the best in our terroir, so that the special characters and flavours of our vineyard will be expressed in the wine.
The partnership between Mitre Rocks Vineyards and Carol Bunn has proven to be inspired from its inception. The first two wines we ever made together had exceptional success at the 2008 Sydney International Wine Competition one winning the trophy for best rosé and the other being named joint runner up for best Pinot Noir!
Both the vineyard and the team at Mitre Rocks present some very striking characters! says Carol. Its very rewarding to work with them.
Our 42 hectare vineyard lies at Parkburn, 10km north of Cromwell in the renowned Central Otago region of New Zealand, positioned on the flats at the base of the rugged Pisa Range, overlooking the pristine Lake Dunstan.
Planted on a combination of glacial schist and alluvial soils, our vines experience cool climate extremes basking in hot sun by day and cool mountain air by night to produce high-quality Pinot Noir.
With the Parkburn Stream running through the property and a sizeable reservoir, we have a steady supply of clean mountain water for irrigation during the driest summer months. In winter, the Parkburn gully creates good airflow across the vineyard, providing natural protection against frost. We also have three wind machines for emergencies.
Our vineyard is intensively and carefully managed by award-winning viticulturists Robin and James Dicey of Grape Vision. We planted the vineyard exclusively in Pinot Noir, using a selection of proven clones 5, 6, 115, 667 and 777.
On one of his familys regular holidays in this beautiful part of the world, Simon McCallum raised the idea of starting a vineyard with his father, Roy.
Having been a farmer most of his life, Roy set out to find the right land. I may not have known much about wine at the time, but I know a bit about land.
Roy found the perfect spot at Parkburn, at the base of the rugged Pisa Range overlooking Lake Dunstan, 10km north of Cromwell. The property basks in the shelter of the mountains, with good water supply from Parkburn Stream and natural airflow down the Parkburn gully to protect the vines against frost in the icy Otago winter.
With both father and son partial to Pinot Noir, they decided to concentrate solely on this one variety in the first stage of planting. Of course, it helps that Central Otago is one of the very best places in the world to grow Pinot Noir.
To get the best out of the land, the McCallums realised they needed to involve local vineyard and winemaking experts. To this end, they developed close and long-term relationships with viticulturists Robin and James Dicey from Grape Vision and award-winning winemaker Carol Bunn from VinPro.
The first grapes from Mitre Rocks Vineyard were harvested in 2005, with its quality clear from the outset. The Mount Dottrel Pinot Noir made from this first vintage was joint runner-up for best Pinot Noir trophy at the 2008 Sydney International Wine Competition. At the same competition, the second wine from the vineyard, Mount Dottrel Saignée Rosé 2006, won the trophy for best rosé.
So you could say Mitre Rocks Vineyard has had a fair beginning.
- Mitre Rocks Pinot Noir 2007 (Royal Easter Wine Show 2009, Gold Medal and Trophy Wines)
- MITRE ROCKS PINOT NOIR 2007 (Sydney International Wine Competition 2010, Award Winning Wines)
- MITRE ROCKS PINOT NOIR 2008 (Sydney International Wine Competition 2011, Award Winning Wines)
- Mitre Rocks Central Otago Pinot Noir 2006 (International Wine and Spirit 2008)
- Mitre Rocks Pinot Noir 2007 (International Wine and Spirit 2009)