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The Legacy of Bell Hill Wines

Bell Hill Vineyard holds a significant place in the world of winemaking. Established in the picturesque Weka Pass of North Canterbury, New Zealand, by Marcel Giesen and Sherwyn Veldhuizen, it emerged from the grounds of an old lime quarry. The unique terroir of this site boasts limestone-derived soils and north-facing hillside exposures, setting the stage for the exceptional wines produced by Bell Hill.

A Testament to Terroir

With a vision deeply rooted in the Burgundian tradition, Bell Hill planted two hectares of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay from 1997 to 2009. The vineyard was meticulously designed, following the low-to-the-ground vine architecture (40cm) and a high plant density of 9,259 to 12,500 vines per hectare. Embracing this high-density approach not only reduces yields per vine but also encourages the vines to explore the soil profile, delving deep into its water, flavours, and elemental richness. Bell Hill aims to craft wines that authentically reflect the nature of the site and its soil, consistently delivering quality, fruit tension, and a true sense of place. The management of the vineyard is characterized by meticulous attention to detail and manual intervention, which greatly influences the vineyard's potential for excellence.

The Essence of Weka Pass

Nestled in the previously unplanted region of Weka Pass, Bell Hill Vineyard was drawn to the pure, marine-based limestone soils and calcareous clays that define the area. Below the lime layers, a subsurface glauconitic clay rich in iron and magnesium contributes its unique influence to the wines. Since the 2007/2008 growing season, Bell Hill has embraced organic and biodynamic farming practices, recognizing their paramount importance in nurturing soil and vine health, as well as enhancing fruit quality and expression. The dedication to these practices resulted in Bell Hill achieving full Bio-Gro Organic Certification on March 1, 2015.

A Tapestry of History

Bell Hill's story intertwines with the rich history of the region. Originally surveyed and named in 1917 for Charles Trounce's lime quarrying operation, the remnants of the machinery used in quarrying can still be found on the land. This historical connection, combined with the vineyard's bell-curve shape on the southern side (which was once the first view for travellers entering the Waikari Valley), inspired the name "Bell Hill." The wine label "Old Weka Pass Road" pays homage to the Maori drawings discovered on a nearby rock overhang, dating back 500-1000 years. The unveiling of a moa fossil on the vineyard grounds in May 2001 offered a glimpse into New Zealand's ancient natural history. Since the 2003 vintage, Bell Hill has released its exquisite wines under the "Bell Hill" label, featuring the iconic "Bellhill" logo.

A Journey of Expansion

The pursuit of wine excellence continues at Bell Hill, which embarked on a long-term project to unlock the full potential of its site. In 2015, a neighbouring paddock known as "The North Arm" was added to their vineyard, creating opportunities for future endeavours. This newly acquired land, planted in 2020, 2021, and 2022 at densities of 10,632, 12,987, and 18,181 vines per hectare, is also organically certified. In 2020 and 2021, Bell Hill expanded its land holdings even further, adopting regenerative farming practices, incorporating mixed cropping, enhancing wetland areas, and implementing progressive viticultural techniques. These additional parcels, enveloping Bell Hill, are part of the BioGro organic transition program.

Embracing Vintage Variation

At Bell Hill, the pursuit of excellence is an ongoing journey. The team understands the inherent variations in each vintage, which necessitate continuous evaluation, adaptation, and learning. By embracing the challenges presented by vintage variation, Bell Hill strives to push the boundaries of winemaking and achieve remarkable outcomes.

Experience the Elegance of Bell Hill Wines

Elevate your wine journey and indulge in the exceptional wines crafted by Bell Hill. Discover the unique expression of the Weka Pass terroir and immerse yourself in the legacy of this renowned vineyard.

Shop at The Reserve Cellar, your gateway to the world of Bell Hill wines.

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The Reserve Cellars. ABN 89621364994 Liquor License 196883. The Reserve Cellar supports the responsible service of alcohol. It is against the law to sell or supply alcohol to, or obtain alcohol on behalf of, a person under the age of 18 years. WARNING: Under the Liquor Act 1992, it is an offence to supply liquor to a person under the age of 18 years (Penalty exceeds $6,000). for a person under the age of 18 years to purchase or receive liquor (Penalty exceeds $500).

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