Featured Winery August 2023 – Wooing Tree Vineyard

Wooing Tree is a family owned single vineyard Pink Moon, nestled below the Pisa Ranges in the town of Cromwell in the heart of Central Otago, New Zealand.

Wooing Tree is owned by Steve and Thea Farquharson. They are committed to producing top quality grapes and wine and are a truly family owned and run business. Originally from farming backgrounds in North Otago, more recently they worked in IT both in Wellington and overseas working in IT in the UK 1998 to 2004.

Thea and Steve
Thea and Steve

They came back to Cromwell to run the vineyard at the end of 2004 in time for their first vintage, 2005. Steve studied viticulture, wine-making, the wine trade and WSET Diploma in Wine at Plumpton College in the UK. He then set up a wine import company, Extreme Wines, selling wine in the UK from 2003 to 2004.

The vineyard was planted around the tree and was home to their Cellar Door from 2005 – 2021. From 2021 Steve and Thea purchased another vineyard and extra land, as the original site begun its new journey as Wooing Tree Estate.

Pink Moon Vineyard is home to Wooing Tree wines now, a 17 hectare flat vineyard nestled under the Pisa Ranges. 20,000 vines were transplanted from the original site to add to the existing vines already at Pink Moon allowing Wooing Tree to continue to produce Award Winning wines even adding new varietals to their range.

The Wooing Tree in the middle of the old vineyard
The Wooing Tree in the middle of the old vineyard.

The Wooing Tree

They purchased the land whilst living overseas so didn’t know anything about the Wooing Tree. They received an email from Robin Dicey who was developing the vineyard, that there were a whole lot of trees that would have to be removed. Unbeknownst to them there was a tree on the land called the Wooing Tree and it had long been a popular place for locals to woo their lovers.

The impending removal of the tree bought a lot of locals out of the woodwork as the tree had to be saved. There were stories of people being conceived under the tree and it had a lot of history in the locals hearts and a campaign to save the tree was started. The story featured in the newspapers, there was even a poetry competition to save the tree.

They received another email from Robin telling us about the tree’s history, once they heard this story they decided it had to stay and that was the obvious name for the vineyard and wine label. The tree originally sat prominently in the middle of the original vineyard, being a heritage listed tree, it is now surrounded by beautiful parkland and with the new Cellar Door to have the best view of the tree.

The New Pink Moon Vineyard
The Pink Moon Vineyard at Wooing Tree

The Vineyard

They are lucky enough to be nestled into a stunning glacial mountain valley. Not only is the 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.

They purchased the original 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 them to stay overseas and continue to pay the bills remotely.

Planting 16 hectares of vines, mainly Pinot Noir, the vines were spur pruned (usually at 2 buds per shoot) and shoot thinned, leaf plucked, bunch thinned and green harvested all by hand during each season. Their first vintage was in 2005, which started their journey to an Award Winning Central Otago vineyard.

This vineyard was their home until 2021 when Steve and Thea purchased what they now call Pink Moon Vineyard, a 20 hectare site with 17 hectares of planted vines including 20,000 (approx. 8ha) of transplanted vines from the original vineyard. Purchasing and expanding Pink Moon Vineyard has allowed Wooing Tree to expand their range to include Gewurztraminer and Late Harvest Gewurztraminer.

Pink Moon has approx. 16 hectares of Pinot Noir planted, 1 hectare of Chardonnay and just under 1 hectare of Gewurztraminer. The 2023 vintage will include the fruit from the transplanted vines for the first time whilst continuing to green harvest all by hand.

Click to Visit The Wooing Tree Website
Visit the Wooing Tree Website…

The Wines

Wooing Tree produce a small but perfectly formed a range of wines, mostly Pinot Noir based:

Wooing Tree Beetle Juice Pinot Noir
Wooing Tree Pinot Noir
Wooing Tree ‘Sandstorm’ Pinot Noir
Wooing Tree Rosé
A dessert Rosé “Tickled Pink”
Late harvest Gewurztraminer dessert wine.
‘Blondie,’ a Blanc de Noir
The recently released ‘Blondie & Co,’ a sparkling Blanc de Noir.
Wooing Tree Chardonnay and Gewurztraminer complete the line up.

Scroll down for JB’s notes on five of the wine tasted and reviewed recently.

The Wine Range
Wooing Tree Wines Range

New Cellar Door – Coming Soon

Work has begun on building a state of the art, architecturally designed Cellar Door, which will be home to their Award Winning Wines with a contemporary and delicious restaurant to perfectly pair their wines with local ingredients. Located at the original vineyard site on the corner of Blondie Drive and Wooing Tree Ave, Cromwell, with stunning views of the Wooing Tree and Pisa Ranges. Opening late 2023.

Visit Wooing Tree Vineyard here: https://wooingtree.co.nz/

Visit: https://wooingtree.co.nz/ for more information and wine purchase.

JB’s Tasting Notes

Wooing Tree ‘Blondie & Co’ Pinot Noir / Blanc de Noir Sparkling NV, Central Otago NZ.
A new release sparking version of the already popular Blondie Blanc de Noir – Very pale straw in colour with champagne hues, a lighter spritz / mousse. Enticing nose of sweet stone-fruit, honey & subtle strawberry & cream aromas. Crisp juicy palate with peach & strawberry flavours, a zingy grape-fruit acidity & a medium dry finish. This “Fun & Flirty” bubbles is delicious and very easy to quaff. Serve Chilled!

Wooing Tree ‘Gewürtz’ Gewurztraminer 2022, Central Otago NZ
Bright pale lemon / gold in colour nice legs – lovely fragrant florals in the nose with citrus & spice aromas. Slightly oily palate with delicious pineapple, citrus & stone-fruit flavours, hints of Turkish delight & ginger spice notes, a grape-fruity tang. Nicely balanced / textured slightly sweet, warm, lip smacking finish (14 gms/rs & 14% abv help.) Great match for a spicy Asian noodle dish.

Wooing Tree ‘Beetle Juice’ Pinot Noir 2020, Central Otago NZ
Clear, shiny red-cherry coloured, medium bodied wine. The nose is filled with aromas of ripe cherries, dark berries a little plum & subtle oak spice. Fresh, lively & still young, the palate shows ripe fruit flavours reflecting the nose, dark berries, cherries, a little choccy note, silky tannins, soft acidity & spicy oak provide layers of texture & complexity – Long dry, full flavoured finish. Really enjoyed this, been many years since I last tasted it. Brilliant value too.

Wooing Tree Pinot Noir 2019, Central Otago NZ
Medium cherry / raspberry red in colour, paler at the rim. Fragrant nose of cherry & berry fruit & savoury herb aromas, vanilla & spice notes. Really quite textural on the palate with flavours of plums, cherries & red berries, while chalky tannins, subtle oak & a lively acidity add complexity. There’s sweet juicy fruit on the finish even though it’s bone-dry. Excellent Pinot & drinking beautifully.

Wooing Tree, ‘Sandstorm Reserve’ Single Vineyard Pinot Noir 2018, Central Otago NZ.
Deep cherry to ruby-red coloured, semi translucent, lighter at the rim. Wonderfully enticing nose with aromas of ripe plum, black cherry, blackberry, oak, spice & subtle savoury / herb notes. Full bodied palate, concentrated fruit flavours reflecting the nose, gentle acidity, smooth velvety tannins & fine spicy oak all in balance, refined & elegant with fantastic length & depth. An outstanding 5 Star / Gold medal Central Otago Pinot Noir.

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