Desert Heart – Wine2Trade Portfolio

Denny Downie and Jane Gill established Desert Heart Estate when they purchased 7 ha of land at the base of Mt Difficulty at the end of Felton Road, Bannockburn in 1999. In 2000 they planted 6 ha of Pinot Noir, with Dijon clones 113, 114, 115, 667, 777, along with 10/5 and Pommard clones 5 and 6 with the viticultural advice of Robin Dicey. The vineyard is tended to organic and biodynamic regimes and the winemaking is at the nearby Carrick winery. The Desert Heart label also includes aromatic whites and Chardonnay sourced from contract fruit mainly from Bannockburn with some Pinot Gris from a biodynamic site Lowburn, and these are very complementary to the Bannockburn regionally expressive Pinot Noirs from one of the best pieces of wine real estate in Central Otago. The ‘Desert Heart’ name refers to Bannockburn, which was known as ‘heart of the desert’ from gold rush times. The name is apt on other levels too, as Pinot Noir, the variety Denny and Jane wanted to grow needs love and passion, and the logo of a hot orange coloured heart is similar to a grapevine leaf in autumn after a warm and dry growing season. The annual production is a tiny 1,500 cases, reflecting the low yields and Denny and Jane’s heart-felt desire to oversee all aspects in crafting the best wines they personally can. The vineyard was sold at the start of 2014 to Sam Neill of Two Paddocks, but Denny and Jane still carry stocks made from it.  Having bought another property on Felton Road, they intend to continue the Desert Heart label with fruit sourced from their neighbours and friends.  www.desertheart.co.nz Archived tasting notes of wines no longer commercially available can be seen by clicking here


  • Desert Heart ‘Mackenzies Run’ ‘Reserve’ Bannockburn Central Otago Pinot Noir 2013

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