Sam Neill buys Desert Heart

20 January, 2014

Two Paddocks, the New Zealand wine producer owned by actor, Sam Neill, has bought a fourth vineyard, this one in Bannockburn.

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.”

Desert Heart Vineyard, at the end of Felton Road, has now come under the Two Paddocks umbrella. It is a 6-hectare block planted to Pinot Noir, which was established in 1999 by Denny Downie and Jane Gill. It lies at the foot of Mount Difficulty and its neighbours are Felton Road, Terra Sancta and Wild Earth vineyards.

Neill said: “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 into 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 Otagos 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.“

“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” he added.

The company says the purchase of the Bannockburn vineyard takes the Two Paddocks vineyard planting to 19ha and ensures that all wines will be 100% estate grown. A new name will be given to the vineyard and Neill is hoping to name it after his father who was a soldier and then ran the family wine & spirit business.

The company states:

- Output will slowly increase by some 30%, which will increase small international allocations;

- Some of the Bannockburn fruit from this site will become a component of both Picnic by Two Paddocks and the flagship Two Paddocks Pinot Noir;

- They will add another single vineyard Pinot Noir to their line-up, bringing the Proprietor’s Reserves to a total of three wines – The First Paddock vineyard (Gibbston), The Last Chance vineyard (Alexandra) and The (name pending) vineyard Bannockburn.

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