During vineyard development the greatest care was taken to separate blocks according to soil, aspect and exposure differences. Clones and rootstocks were chosen with the philosophy that the more diversity each block had, the more complexity the resulting wines would display. Hence we have many different clones of Pinot Noir planted on a variety of rootstocks.
The first blocks were planted in 2003. The vineyard development has continued at a loving and deliberate pace to ensure that only the best plant material has been used.
In addition to Pinot Noir we have a small amount of Gruner Veltliner and Riesling planted. The Pinot is planted on north and north east facing slopes and the Riesling and Gruner are planted on an east facing slope at the top of the property. The Gruner Veltliner planting is from the first generation of this variety released in New Zealand.
When all blocks are mature total production should peak at approximately 5000 cases. All projections for the estate and the winery are based on a very modest 4.5 metric tons per hectare or 2 US tons per acre. At Burn Cottage we recognize the limits that both our climate and our search for the finest quality will place upon our yields.
Despite the fact that New Zealand is comprised of islands, the climate of Central Otago can be best be described as 'continental' with warm summers and cold winters. New Zealanders love to say that there is no climate in New Zealand, only weather and indeed any given day can give birth to moments that feel like you have experienced all four seasons in less than 24 hours. Average annual rainfall is less than 300mm (12 inches). We also get plenty of sunshine with particularly long warm days through the growing season and cool nights that help achieve ripeness while retaining good acidity.
The Moonlight Race name comes from a water pathway which passes through our Burn Cottage Property, one of the hundreds of water channels, “races”, which were created during the early years of European immigration to bring water down from the mountains around us. The Moonlight Race ebbs and flows during our seasons, its beginnings held in melted snow and rain high in the Pisa Mountain Range, 1100-1600 Metres above the Burn Cottage property. In our work with biodynamic farming, using the moon phases is an important part of how we farm our own property and vineyard.
Moonlight Race is solely about our two unique estate vineyards: Burn Cottage Vineyard in Lowburn, and the Sauvage Vineyard in Bannockburn. The combination of these two sites produces a vibrant expression of classic Central Otago Pinot Noir The wines were nurtured using our traditional care and attention, through Indigenous ferments in our winery, and bottled after 12 months in French Oak.
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