Bellbird Spring – Textural Waipara Valley Wines


After two decades in the U.K., the Porter family moved back to Christchurch, and purchased part of the former Retallick property on Georges Road in the Waipara Valley in 2002 to form Bellbird Spring. Guy Porter, a winemaking graduate of University of Adelaide, with extensive winery work overseas took charge of the winemaking. The Georges Road site, on gravel and named the ‘Home Block' is 14 ha, of which approximately 5 ha is planted to Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Gris, Riesling, Muscat Ottonell, Gewurztraminer and Pinot Noir, of diverse clones. Around 1 ha of the four noble Alsace varieties, is set aside to make a unique ‘field blend'. In 2004, Guy and his wife Leigh purchased just over 6 ha at the end of McKenzies Road, this ‘Block 8' with 4.6 ha of Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Gris and Pinot Noir planted on clay-influenced soils. In both sites, a range of clones of Pinot Gris and Pinot Noir was planted.

The first Bellbird Spring wines were made in 2008, the earlier fruit being sold off. The Porter's aim is to make food-friendly wines with textural qualities in the European style, somewhat different to most others. A second tier, ‘The Pruner's Reward' is made in a more fruit-driven, ‘modern' style. The fruit is grown as naturally as possible, the Porters eschewing systemic sprays. Guy Porter visited Wellington at the end of August and we discussed the Bellbird Spring operation. Here are my reviews of most of the current wines. www.bellbirdspring.co.nz


  • Bellbird Spring Waipara Dry Pinot Gris 2011

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