Our Vineyard

As if to underline the hardiness of grape vines, the Bridge Estate vineyard, in Riverpoint Road Matawhero, continues to thrive despite intermittent neglect. 

Over the last few years we have changed the pruning regime to two cordons instead of four, to take some of the pressure off the ‘old soldiers' now in their 24th year.

Vineyard health has been restored with periodic applications of liquid seaweed fertiliser and kind words to each vine from the proprietors. Wouldn't you know it!.. The old soldiers are now behaving as if they have received an indecent suggestion... and are fruiting like there is no tomorrow. Huge dark green canopies, magnificent bunches of grapes following an excellent flowering and fruit set and now we are having to deal with over-supply.

Significant bunch pruning (It hurts us more than it hurts you) takes place in January and February to ensure our quality determination is achieved.


Planted in 1985, the Bridge Estate is a microcosm of Bordeaux. The original 70 rows of vines include 30 rows of Merlot, 20 rows of Cabernet Sauvignon and 10 rows each of Malbec and Cabernet Franc. Another 1.5 acres has been replanted, to replace diseased Syrah vines pulled out by Denis Irwin in 2007, in favour of Maize....


Having rid the vineyard of these Rhone usurpers, spoiling an otherwise beautiful Bordeaux vision, replanting in 2008 has added another four rows of Malbec and Four rows of Cabernet Franc which especially enjoys our Matawhero silt loams and magnificent climate.

That leaves seven rows... and you will never guess this one. But true to our Bordeaux traditions we replanted the remaining rows in that noble white grape of Bordeaux; Semillon, in February 2009 - just because we can.

Semillon is a variety of white table wine which has in the past grown well in Gisborne, and with modern cultivars, we anticipate producing an interesting and complex white wine from 2010 onwards to provide a nice compliment to the Rose and the Bridge Bordeaux blend.

Restaurants and wine resellers are quick to tell us that Semillon is misunderstood and slow to move. This makes us happy since we are always prepared to drink any surplus Semillon ourselves.

Meet the Pluckers

Vineyard management is carried out by our consultant winemakers Anita Ewart-Croy and Simon Kirkpatrick, and very occasionally by the proprietors when they feel they know what they are doing. However a big contribution comes from two tooth hoggets who, contrary to reputation, know the difference between grapes and vine leaves and can be relied upon each January and February to delicately nibble surrounding leaves from the bunches , hence hastening ripening and exposure to sunlight.

Pest Control


Pest control consists mainly of the proprietors hurling abuse at starlings and the use of bird netting from February onwards. However the proprietors ‘weapon of mass distraction'; Snowie, the West Highland White Terrier enthusiastically shews the birds away and will, on command, dispatch any unfortunate Starling caught in the bird netting. No more detail required.


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