Featured Winery June 2024 – Folding Hill Wine, Central Otago


This month we head down south to Central Otago and visit Folding Hill Wines, a small family owned vineyard, producing organically grown Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, from their BioGro certified organic vineyard in Bendigo.

Folding Hill Header

THE PEOPLE

Folding Hill Wine Company is owned and run by the Kerruish family. Tim and Nikki met in the North Island 30 years ago where they were both working as doctors, but they soon fell in love with the incredible wine and stunning landscapes of Central Otago. The first vines were planted in late 2003 and since then, Tim and Nikki have produced a lot of grapes and 4 children, Matthew, Mollie, Hannah and Izzy.

Folding Hill was an easy place to fall in love with. We had looked at over 30 potential sites in Central Otago by the time we walked out onto a bare sheep paddock nestled on a northern terrace of Bendigo Creek in 2001. It was deepest winter, the sky was azure and cloudless , the Pisa range covered in fresh snow. We felt the magic of the place.

The kids have grown up amongst the vines and have a deep love for the special place that is Folding Hill. Matthew was there for the very first harvest while the girls have picked plenty of grapes in the past few harvests. They are beginning to take on more active roles in the business with Matthew now running the UK tasting events and the girls showing a real flair for marketing.

THE VINEYARD

From the moment they arrived at Folding Hill they have taken a single minded approach to producing the very best Pinot Noir possible from their special part of the world. Advised by legendary Central Otago viticulturist Robin Dicey, planting of their first vines commenced in late 2003. They carefully selected Pinot Noir clones, and root-stocks, proven locally to make wines with complexity, flavour, balance and length and have done everything possible to ensure the vines have been able to reach their full potential.

We strongly believe that low yields are of paramount importance in creating outstanding Pinot Noir and we manage our vines intensively through the growing season to ensure crop levels are around 3.5 – 4.5 tonnes per hectare.

In 2016 they planted an acre of Chardonnay and are absolutely delighted that it is producing top class fruit with the debut vintage being made in 2020. All the fruit for their wines is sourced from their own Biogro certified organic vineyard in Bendigo.

WINE MAKING

Their approach to winemaking is based on the traditional philosophy and practices of the ‘Old World’. They believe that hand picking optimally ripe fruit and then gently guiding it through vinification with as little intervention as possible, allows them to produce elegant wines with flavour and structure that authentically reflect the special place they come from – wines that really are “Handmade from Central Otago”

Harvesting is done entirely by hand. This allows them to be scrupulous in rejecting any unsuitable grapes, ensures that only the highest quality fruit is used and creates a more personal bond with the winemaking process. Bunches are fully de-stemmed and berries fermented whole in small (3,000 litre) fermenters using wild and innoculated yeasts. The different clones are treated separately throughout winemaking and elevagé to allow the assembly of a final blend that combines texture, structure and flavour.

After many years of experience their choice of barrel is now Francois Frere Medium Toast. Using a mix of new and old barrels they find these have consistently produced the best wines across all clones. Wines are bottled unfiltered and unfined.

THE WINES

The Folding Hill portfolio currently has a 2021 Chardonnay (only the second vintage) 2020 Pinot Noir, 2020 Orchard Block Pinot Noir and a very special 2014 Cellar Release Pinot Noir, available for Cellar Club Members only.

Folding Hill Wines

Folding Hill Chardonnay 2021 – hand-crafted from their organic vineyard in Bendigo, Central Otago. Harvested by hand from their small block of chardonnay vines this is only their second vintage.

Folding Hill Pinot Noir 2020 is a wine that truly expresses the terroir of their organic vineyard in Bendigo, Central Otago. This is the latest release of their estate cuvée and was made from mainly 18 year old vines.

Folding Hill Orchard Block 2020 embodies the unique Bendigo sub-regions terroir. Very typical of their Orchard Block wines this release offers a deep layered drinking experience. Drinking well now but will cellar well for at least a decade.

Folding Hill Cellar Release Pinot Noir 2014 – Carefully cellared for a decade, this special release brings forward all of their estate’s best attributes. This is drinking well now but will develop even further with a few more years in the cellar.

Folding Hill Wines are all available to purchase online on their Website Shop, and internationally via Wine Collective Direct (WCD)

THE CELLAR DOOR

The Folding Hill Cellar Door is by appointment only – They’d love you to come for a visit, however as a small, family owned and operated business, they might be working away in the vineyard when you arrive. Please email, ring us or text them first to ensure they’re there to welcome you. See https://www.foldinghill.co.nz/contact for details.

Nikki pouring a taste at the Cellar Door
Nikki pouring a taste at the Cellar Door

JOIN ‘THE FOLD CELLAR CLUB

Becoming a member of Folding Hill Cellar Club gives you access to: 10% off wine anytime throughout the year via their website,
Total flexibility – You choose which wines and when you want them, Free courier delivery anywhere in Aotearoa (when ordering 6 bottles or more) Exclusive back vintage cellar releases, Personal cellar door tastings and vineyard tours by arrangement, Special vineyard events and Email newsletters updating you on what’s happening in the vineyard and winery.

For more information and to order wine visit:
https://www.foldinghill.co.nz/

Sunrise at Folding Hill, as harvest day about to start!
Sunrise at Folding Hill, as harvest day about to start!

JB’s Tasting Notes

Folding Hill Chardonnay 2021, Bendigo, Central Otago NZ
Bright yellow-gold in colour, slight oily viscosity. Fragrant nose with aromas of ripe peach, green apple & lemon citrus, then vanilla oak notes. Has a beautifully textured palate / mouthfeel, with subtle oak, fine tannins, a fresh citrus acidity, juicy stone-fruit & crisp apple flavours. Long complex & most satisfying finish. If you love Chardonnay I highly recommend this. Excellent.

Folding Hill Pinot Noir 2020, Bendigo, Central Otago NZ
Translucent mid ruby – cherry red in colour lighter at the rim. Aromas of ripe plums, berries & cherries in the nose, a hint of toasted oak, spice & a subtle dry herb note. Concentrated, luscious palate with juicy fruit flavours reflecting the nose, enveloped in silky tannins, medium acidity, savoury / herbs & nicely integrated spicy oak. Long textured & fruity finish. Drinking beautifully right now. An elegant & most excellent Central Otago Pinot!

Folding Hill ‘Orchard Block’ Pinot Noir 2020, Bendigo, Central Otago NZ
Dark cherry red – garnet in colour, lighter at the rim. In the nose, sweet red & dark berry fruit aromas, savoury earthy notes, dried herb, a little spice & vanilla-wine biscuit. On the palate there’s juicy blackberry, blueberry, & raspberry fruit flavours, medium bodied & textured with layers of silky tannins, bright acidity, more savoury dried herb, toasty oak spice and a long, bone dry finish.
A powerful & complex expression of Central Otago Pinot. Outstanding!

Folding Hill ‘Cellar Release’ Pinot Noir 2014, Bendigo, Central Otago NZ
Deep cherry red – garnet in colour, showing a hint of age at the rim. The nose is subtle at first but after a good swirl in the glass, aromas of plum, cherry & dark berry, savoury, smoky, dried herb & barrel spice. On the palate, juicy stewed plums, dark cherry & red berry fruit flavours are perfectly integrated with smooth tannins, a refreshing acid backbone & smoky, spicy oak – complex, textured, & elegant wine with a long, off dry & very generous finish. An exceptional Central Otago Pinot Noir.

If you would like to be NZ Wine Directory Featured Winery of the Month visit:
https://nzwinedirectory.co.nz/about/featured-winery-campaign/

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