We created this website for you to explore and discover what we get up to here on the hill in Omihi, North Canterbury, New Zealand. We hope you have as much fun browsing as we did putting it together.
The best little organic winery and vineyard in the Waipara Valley, North Canterbury.
Just Naturally Pure Pinot Noir
We specialise in hand-made natural organic Pinot Noir. Pinot Noir is without question, the most difficult of all wine varieties to do well. In our opinion that justifies our single focus and deserves our unwavering attention.
NO tasting room, cellar door, winery tours or restaurant.
Sorry guys! This is a working regenerative farm and vineyard. For much of the year farm animals free-range through the vineyard working alongside our people to build soil with their manure.
Di Holding, our winegrower and half-owner, has her hands very full running our minuscule pop-up winery and working hands-on in the vineyard.
We’ve created a blog article to explain what Regenerative Agriculture is. You’ll now have an appreciation that Regenerative viticulture is all consuming, as is our focus on creating authentic expressions of Pinot Noir in a way that’s also good for the planet.
All our wine sales are online through this website.
In 2002, Di and Ian Holding bought the property that is now Fancrest, bringing to an end Di’s long search for the perfect site to grow Pinot Noir.
13.8 Ha of dusty windswept North Canterbury hillside. Quite unremarkable but for the limestone scarp above the fan, hinting at the valuable limestone soil beneath the rugged, semi-arid pasture.
The land is on Waipara’s “Golden Mile” and had been coveted by winemakers for years. With some considerable persistence, Di and Ian made sure it was soon theirs.
Most of the initial Pinot Noir plantings were completed by 2004, with just a small amount planted in 2008. Their first harvest from the initial plantings was 2006.
Two decades later, Fancrest Estate remains essentially a one-man band, with Di at the helm, and Di’s husband, Ian, supporting her in her venture. They make certified organic natural wines from their Pinot Noir vineyard including still red and rosé.
We have the most awesome open air pop-up winery in the valley.
Our plans to build a winery went on permanent hold after the 2010/11 Christchurch Earthquakes which revealed a Faultline running through our chosen building site.
The Omihi Faultline, as it is known, is very likely the cause of the slump of the original scarp that formed our fan.
Anyway, it turned out to be a blessing in disguise, as with no yeast or bacterial strains endemic to a winery building, every vintage since, we have benefitted from unadulterated vineyard yeasts for natural winemaking.
Estate Pinot Noir
Fancrest Estate Pinot Noir
Made from certified organic grapes grown right here at Fancrest Estate (Biogro #5124). The flavour will change slightly every year based on the weather and which clones are dominant in the mix after flowering. The wine is made naturally without fining, filtration or preservatives. Certified organic. Suitable for vegans.
Reserve Pinot Noir
Fancrest Estate Reserve Pinot Noir
Made only in exceptional vintages, the Reserve is made from barrels selected by Artisan Winegrower, Diane Holding for a special cuvée. Certified organic wine (Biogro #5124) made with no fining, filtration or additives. Suitable for vegans.
Rosé Pinot Noir
Fancrest Estate Pinot Noir Rosé
Made in years where the clones with a reputation for generous fruity wines have produced well. Drawn off from the main cuveé after around 8 hours skin contact, then fermented until almost dry before completing fermentation in barrel. Bottled just before the next harvest. Certified organic. Suitable for vegans.
In this blog we’ll try to share the inspiration behind what we do on the Estate.
We’ve always tried to strike out on our own path, rather than simply follow the way others do things in this part of the world.
That attitude saw us lead the way to organics and regenerative agriculture.
What is veriason?
What is "Veraison"? Each summer, our grapes begin to change colour from green to red. This event is known as
The Story Behind Our Logo
Designer Chuck House, Icon Group, Santa Barbara, USA A successful wine package is a sculpture of the moment, an authentic
Since we don’t conduct guided tours we thought we’d create an image gallery to take you through the annual cycle on the Estate.
Owner Director Winegrower
From an early age, Di dreamt of being a ballerina. As you might well imagine, this is a profession with limited lifespan.
Hers was brought to a precipitous end by injury. Di redirected her considerable energy into completing her University studies (including an Honours Degree in Industrial Psychology and an MBA) and moved into the corporate arena with an emphasis on Human Resources Development, and Change Management.
Ian and Di immigrated to New Zealand in 1992. Di helped Ian build a successful general medical practice in Auckland. She also practiced for a number of years as an Employment Advocate.
Driven by the notion that there was more to life, she embarked on another career change by signing up for a certificate course in Winemaking & Viticulture through EIT in Hawkes Bay. Certain, after completing her first vintage as a cellar hand, that she had chosen the right path, she pushed on to complete a B(App)Sc Wine Science through Charles Sturt University in NSW Australia.
More vintages followed in Auckland and North Canterbury.
For Di. Winegrowing brings together both the science and the artistry she loves. Every winter Di prunes all 27K vines by herself with some help from her Highland cattle and from Ian who pulls out some of the canes that the cows leave behind.
Stong minded and independent, Di has struck out on her own, with the support of husband, Ian, to build a unique venture that expresses her own values and beliefs.
Owner and Director
You can find some of his healthy creations on our Instagram feed.