Ballochdale Vineyard Estate


Pinot Noir is now the absolute stand out grape variety for this vineyard. It is a unique site in its own right and it is not until you visit that you come to appreciate the magnificence if the situation and suitability to grow some of the finest. It is also a site well suited to the growing of a quality Awatere Valley Sauvignon.

Location Description

Located in the heart of Seddon, Marlborough.


  • Produce ultra premium wines.

Additional Information

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Ballochdale Estate Vineyard came to be when Garry Neill, a person from a family with a long history of farming (130 Years ) and liquor industry association (150 years), teamed up with his wife Sara and a group of investor wine enthusiasts, mostly based offshore, to create an entity to produce the highest possible quality wines from this very special site.

We were lucky that in owning the land we had the privilege and time to spend several years researching into assessing the site for its suitability of growing grapes including monitoring of temperatures, taking advice from many experts and a careful analysis of the soils.

History shows that you must plant what best suits a particular environment and so in went the Pinot Noir and some Sauvignon Blanc to follow. Ballochdale Estate is now fundamentally a contract grape grower, selling premium and ultra premium grapes by the row to some of the most reputable wineries in the country

The Team

The Founder, Garry Neill set up the Vineyard by surveying off the hay paddocks from the Ballochdale Farm to establish the vineyard site. He wanted to diversify the farming entity and have a bit of fun along the way. In reality it has been more hard work and a modest amount of fun but a big sense of achievement.

The Directors consist of Garry Neill (B. Ag. Com.) who is also the CEO of the Company, Andrew Shaw, a very experienced international Accountant and Tax Consultant who represents the offshore contingent and Tony Preston, a local businessman with past experience in the wine industry as Managing Director for Vavasour Wines for 8 years.

The Shareholders consist of a bunch of smart, enthusiastic, English Pinotphiles, two local investors and the Neill Family. This is a great collection of people who all contribute in their own different way to offer a broad and varied perspective to the success of the business.

Two viticultural consultants who have made very significant contribution to the production of these quality wines have been Jeremy Hyland, who was with us on the very first day we planted and still works with us today and Mark Allen who visits from time to time to give us another opinion on the growing of the grapes.

Estate Vineyards / AVA

The site is on an undulating, north facing, glacial terrace that overlays a deep sedimentary papa base. There are two very distinct soil types within the vineyard .The higher terrace is a loessial clay loam which overlays a layer of shingle about 1.6 meters below the surface. The lower flatter terrace is a deep stony loam. In the main the Sauvignon Blanc is planted on the lighter soils and the Pinot Noir on the tighter denser northern aspect clay loam. The Pinot Noir was planted straight into existing undisturbed soil and the Sauvignon Blanc site was deep ripped to minimise the stress on the posts when driving them in to the ground.

Ballochdale Estate Vineyard rises up to over 300 meters above sea level and has approximately 55 meters of fall across the site and then on the edges on three sides falls off into these very deep gorges. Before planting we lit a lot of little fires to observe the air flow movements on cold mornings and it became very clear that there was a very consistent southerly drift of air draining off down into the gorges. It is the combination of altitude which gives induces a high diurnal temperature range, sheltered location, the isolation, the northerly aspect, the evenness of and suitability of soils and the inland climate which all combine to give the ability to produce wines of identity and intensity.

This all aids in minimizing frost risk to which Pinot Noir can be vulnerable in the early spring due to it being an early shooting variety. All but one block have the rows running in a north / south direction with 2.2 meter row spacing. The fruiting wire is at varying heights and all vines are grafted onto a variety of rootstocks .
There are five different clones (4 French plus UDC 5) of Pinot Noir and a single clone of Sauvignon Blanc on different rootstocks. The Pinot Noir vines are spaced 1.44 meters apart and the Sauvignon Blanc 1.8m apart. Target production in is the order of 130 Tonnes of Pinot Noir and 100 tonnes of Sauvignon Blanc per year.

After the 12 years the vines are well settled down now and nicely in balance. Most of the Pinot Noir is spur pruned and well set up for target yields. Text book stuff as a recent viticulturist commented recently.

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Ballochdale Road 220
Seddon, Marlborough 7285
New Zealand

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