Featured Winery February 2024 – Tussock Hill Vineyard

This month we head to Christchurch where nestled on the rocky slopes of the Port Hills, overlooking the city, there is a vineyard. Situated on the north-west facing slopes of the Port Hills, the Tussock Hill Home Vineyard is complemented by their flat, sun-soaked vineyard in the prestigious Waipara wine region. From both sites they are producing high quality organic & complex handcrafted wines. Here is the Story of Tussock Hill Vineyard.

Tussock Hill Cellar Door and Restaurant
Tussock Hill Cellar Door and Restaurant


The land on which the Tussock Hill Home Vineyard is located was originally part of a large sheep farm situated on the volcanic Port Hills of Christchurch. In 1998 a 10 acre block of this farm was purchased by Robin Woodsford and his partner Julie with a vision to establish an organic vineyard and olive grove.

Over the following two decades they worked hard to turn their dream into a reality. The bare tussock hillside was planted with Pinot Noir vines, olive trees and native plantings. Both Robin and Julie believed strongly in following organic and biodynamic practices and in 2016 they gained official organic winegrowers certification.

Aerial photo of the Tussock Hill Vineyard in 2016

However in 2017 it was time for Robin and Julie to move on to ventures anew and Tussock Hill Vineyard was for sale. Graham was working as a carpenter on a property overlooking the vines of Tussock Hill. On finding out that the vineyard was for sale Graham knew that he had found his passion. He convinced his wife Melaina, parents and siblings that the purchase and development of Tussock Hill could be an incredible new venture to be enjoyed by everyone in the Targett Family.

The Targett Family - Owners of Tussock Hill
The Targett Family – Owners of Tussock Hill

As a multi generational family the Targetts are concerned for the wellbeing of their environment. This has led them to adopt a holistic management approach to the way they farm their land. Based on the principles of regenerative agriculture they work with nature and use organic practices to protect the soils, vines and themselves. This means no pesticides, manufactured herbicides or artificial fertilisers are used in the production of their grapes.

The environmentally sustainable management of their land builds healthy soils and creates a natural environment that encourages wildlife to flourish. In addition to viticulture they raise Kunekune pigs, Baby Doll sheep and chickens, all of which are farmed organically and free range. Together they make a valuable contribution to the nourishment of the land, weed management and pest control.


The Home Vineyard is located on the north west facing slopes of the Christchurch Port Hills enjoys long sun-filled days during the growing season. The evenings are cooled by the prevailing sea wind from the east. This lengthens the time before harvest and generates more intensity in the grapes. The weathered volcanic clay soils deliver a minerality that contributes to the unique flavour of the wines from our Home Vineyard. Our Pinot Noir vines were first planted over two decades ago, more recently we have added Syrah and Pinot Gris, which produced their first grapes in 2022.

The Waipara Vineyard sits within the Omihi Basin below rolling limestone hills to the east. This part of the North Canterbury wine growing region enjoys a micro climate that is consistently several degrees warmer than the Port Hills. The vines are irrigated from pure groundwater drawn from aquifers below the Canterbury Plains. Clay soils mixed with limestone that has washed down from the hills over millennia contribute to a terroir that delivers concentrated and expressive wines. Pinot Noir, Sauvignon Blanc and Riesling vines flourish in this rich environment.

The Tussock Hill grapes are carefully nurtured from the rich soil they grow in, to the minimal intervention they use in the wine making process. They use a variety of livestock and bio-diverse plantings to improve soil quality throughout the vineyards & minimal organic sprays used throughout the growing season. Philosophically they aspire to not only grow world class wine but to integrate regenerative agricultural practices and holistic livestock grazing throughout their properties.

They are increasing the biodiversity of the vineyards through the use of cover crops and expanding native plantings. Their vision is to create a closed system that provides high quality organic produce for their family, the cellar door and local community. They aim to recycle the organic waste from the vineyard and cellar door back into the vineyard through composting.

The establishment of a small market garden and food forests onsite, in conjunction with local organic producers, will supply the cellar door with fresh high quality local produce. They want to create a business and setting that can be used by the community and be valued for generations.


Tussock Hill produce a range of wines from both vineyards: Sauvignon Blanc, a barrel fermented Sauvignon Blanc, both sweet and dry Rieslings, Pinot Gris, Premium Pinot Noir, Pinot Noir blend, a Pétillant Naturel (Pet Nat) and a couple of interesting Rosés too. You can explore the whole range and purchase wines online.


The Cellar Door Restaurant on the Port Hills serves a delicious selection of seasonal sharing plates with carefully selected local produce to compliment their beautiful organic wines. Tussock. The menu changes and develops with the season and what local producers are able to provide. They are open Wednesday- Thursday 10am-4pm and Friday-Sunday 10am-5pm. See the website for more detail and Menus.


The Tussock Hill Vineyard Retreat accommodation overlooks beautiful Pinot Noir vines with a wide view of the Port Hills and a commanding view of the sunset. Sip, soak, stargaze and watch the sunset from your outdoor bath. Each Vineyard Retreat has its own private balcony overlooking our Pinot Noir Vines. A rural escape only fifteen minutes from Christchurch City Centre. Perfect for a romantic getaway, anniversary or honeymoon. See the website for more detail and bookings.

I hope this has provided a little insight into the Tussock Hill Vineyard, the people, the place and the wines – To find out more about Tussock Hill and to purchase wine online visit:


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