Desert Heart Vineyard in Felton Road joins his Two Paddocks stable, giving the winery a foothold in all three of Central Otago’s valleys.
The 6ha block is planted entirely with Pinot Noir.
Neill said: “We’ve been quietly looking around for something good in this neck of the woods for quite a while now and we were very fortunate that the opportunity came up of buying a small vineyard that we’ve always admired – Desert Heart.
“This is a beautifully sited vineyard, that has been tended with immense dedication and attention to detail and we could not be more delighted to include this iconic vineyard in the Two Paddocks fold.
“This puts us in the unique position of being the only Central Otago winery with a footprint in all three of Central Otago’s great valleys, by owning vineyards in Gibbston, the Alexandra Basin and now the Cromwell Basin. I believe it demonstrates our faith and confidence in the future of New Zealand wine, Central Otago and in particular, Central Otago Pinot Noir.”
He added: “This is a departure for us: all three of our other vineyards we established from scratch starting in Gibbston in 1993. Desert Heart is not only a site under full production, it already has a proven track record – the 2007 Desert Heart Pinot Noir was Trophy and Champion Central Otago Pinot at the 2010 International Wine Challenge.”
The purchase has given Two Paddocks 19ha of vineyards overall, and means all its wines are 100% estate grown. Production is expected to grow by some 30%, meaning that more wines can be exported.
The new vineyard is to be renamed after Neill’s father, who was a soldier before running the family’s wine and spirit business.
Two Paddocks is distributed by Negociants in the UK, and its wines will be on taste at the New Zealand Winegrowers’ annual tasting in London tomorrow (January 21).