Mt Difficulty Bannockburn Estate Vineyards
All wines that carry the Mt Difficulty Bannockburn Estate label are subject to two strict criteria: they have to be sourced from vineyards situated in a very specific area – Bannockburn, south of the Kawarau River – and they are to be under the umbrella of the Mt Difficulty management team. The reasons for these self-imposed constraints are that we believe this to be an area with very special qualities for growing grapes, and that the management of the vineyard is reflected in the quality of the ultimate product.
Another element of particular interest to us is the nature of the soils: we believe that diversity and complexity are essential elements that go toward the production of a well-balanced wine. The vineyards that came to Mt Difficulty Wines via the Gang of Four are on several different sites on the south side of the Kawarau River at Bannockburn. All were planted early in the 1990's and are named after historic gold mining references: Long Gully, Mansons Farm, Target Gully, Pipeclay Terrace and Templars Hill.
Each has a specific terroir, largely influenced by climate, and offers a variety of soil types, from open gravels to heavier clays. They are all low in fertility, and include light sands, clays, loams and gravels. Germanic man-made soils, which came about as a result of hydraulic mining and sluicing in the gold mining era of the late 1800's, can also be found on some blocks. The so-called Bannockburn soil is one of the few soils in the world classified as man-made.
One feature common to all our vineyard soils is the high pH levels: sweet soils are tailor-made for the production of quality wines.
Since 2001 Mt Difficulty Wines has become renowned for the Single Vineyard wines it produces from the best sites on its Bannockburn Estate properties. With variations in soils, microclimates and grape clones the sites each have significantly different features. The philosophy of the Single Vineyard wines is to display the characteristics that are particular to their terroir, thus each Single Vineyard wine tells the unique story of its own place.