N a t u r a l l y P u r e H a n d - C r a f t e d O r g a n i c P i n o t N o i r

Fancrest Estate Logo

Welcome to Fancrest Estate, a tiny organic Waipara winery and vineyard, where we hand-craft our exquisite natural Pinot Noir wines. The vineyard sits on a  limestone fan that we farm organically and regeneratively.


W e l c o m e t o F a n c r e s t E s t a t e

Fancrest Estate Waipara Winery and Vineyard Pinot Noir Pouring into glass
Organic Pinot Noir just before harvest to make natural pinot noir wine

Hidden Gem

The best little organic Waipara winery and vineyard in North Canterbury.

5-day-old Highland CalfJust Naturally Pure Organic Pinot Noir

We specialize in hand-made, natural, organic Pinot Noir. Pinot Noir is without question the most difficult of all wine varieties to make well. In our opinion, that justifies our single focus and deserves our unwavering attention. Every vintage is aged to perfection before release to give you the best experience.

No tasting room, cellar door, winery tours, or restaurant.

Sorry, guys! This is a working, regenerative farm and vineyard where farm animals freely roam through the vineyard and work alongside our people to build soil with their manure for much of the year.

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. That’ll give you some appreciation of how all-consuming Regenerative Agriculture is, 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.

Jazz one of the vineyard cats

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.


Our Story

H o w I t A l l B e g a n - T o m a k e a l o n g s t o r y s h o r t

Fancrest Estate Waipara Winery and Vineyard under netting
Vineyard under white lockout birdnetting
Di Holding at vintage
Di and Ian, with their first vineyard dog, Tin-Tin and Panda
Di and Ian Holding with their first Vineyard dogs

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.


Our Story

T h e S t o r y B e h i n d O u r W i n e r y

Our wine is made outdoors within meters of our vines ensuring the success of our indigenous yeasts
Fermentation vats in the pop-up winery under their non-breathable covers

A r t i c l e s

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.


winter in the vineyard at Fancrest Estate

Avoiding pruning injuries

Start pruning safely by taking it slow, selecting the correct tools, staying active, paying attention to your body, and incorporating rest days. Remember to take advice from experienced pruners: ease into the season to avoid burnout and overuse or repetitive strain injuries.

Please follow and like us:
Read More

A Y e a r o n O u r E s t a t e

Since we don’t conduct guided tours we thought we’d create an image gallery to take you through the annual cycle at Fancrest Estate, Waipara winery and vineyard.

crafts people

M e e t O u r K e y P e o p l e

Di Holding pruning the vineyard with Panda, her first Border Collie.
Owner Director Winegrower

D i a n e H o l d i n g

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

I a n H o l d i n g

Ian’s medical career followed a very successful international career as a world class amateur and then professional squash player. A feat he managed while studying medicine.
He now practises as a Musculoskeletal Specialist from the Burwood Pain Clinic in Christchurch.
He is fascinated by the role of food and wine in health and loves to create with food grown organically on the Estate.

You can find some of his healthy creations on our Instagram feed.
When he isn’t out exercising in the vineyard, he’s most often to be found playing his classical guitars or enjoying a round of golf at the local golf club.
Please follow and like us: