We are not pioneers in this field. Generations of farmers have gone before us, harnessing nature to work their land. Regenerative agriculture uses nature to build the quality of our vineyard soil, with the understanding that healthy soil will be able to support healthy vines and balanced wines.

These natural processes include: mixed herbal leys; using livestock to manure the vineyard; reducing toxins; promoting soil life, and balancing the soil's minerals. These terms mean using natural systems to improve soil structure; sequester carbon, control weeds, pests, and diseases; and improve the grape crop quality.

Healthy soil contains a balance between the organic particles that serve as plant food and the living micro-organisms like bacteria, fungi, algae and the larger ones like earthworms. These organisms process and decompose the inert mineral and organic materials, producing food for the vines and building the soil crumb. An optimally productive soil contains a perfect balance of inorganic minerals, organic (carbon-based) materials, and living organisms, all contained within a physical structure that absorbs and holds water to facilitate natural chemical reactions that feed plants perfectly.

Excessive use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides can upset this balance in the soil; which is precisely what we don't want.

We use viticultural practices that encourage beneficial organisms living in the soil including using light equipment that doesn't compact the soil and never driving over wet soil.

In some cases, we do use chemical inputs, but only some fertilizers promote life. Beneficial fertilizers are naturally derived are applied to restore balance to the soil chemistry. We use large amounts of both seaweed and fish fertiliser, a plentiful natural resource in New Zealand. 

Regenerative Agriculture also makes economic sense as healthy vines are more disease and pest resistant.

The regenerative approach to viticulture yields soil that is healthy and able to support healthy grape crops. The grapes are nutrient dense; meaning that they contain higher concentrations of plant sugars, minerals and amino acids and therefore have a higher nutritional value which translates to higher quality wine.

We have chosen BioGro to certify us as 'organic' so that when you buy our Pinot Noir, you are guaranteed that the highest organic standards have been met every step of the way, both in the vineyard and in the winery.

The BioGro logo on our wine guarantees that it has been produced without the routine use of synthetic pesticides or fertilizers, or genetically modified ingredients, and that it has had a reduced effect on the environment. Even the pasture the sheep and cattle graze on the farm is guaranteed by BioGro to have been grown organically.

Every year BioGro audits us and verifies that we have met our organic standards. If we make the mark we are authorised to use the BioGro logo which is trusted the world over.

Unusually, we certify both our vineyard and our winemaking, so our Pinot Noir truly deserves to be called "Organic Wine".

The term "cool climate" is often applied to New Zealand Pinot Noir wines. Predictably, this term refers to the temperature at which our wine is grown; and this temperature range determines the character of the wine. At 34 degrees South, Waipara is pretty much on the edge of Pinot Noir growing.

And at just 10km as the crow flies, to the cold ocean currents off Pegasus Bay, Christchurch, Waipara's climate is considered Maritime, albeit on the cool side compared with Hawkes Bay, Wairarapa, Nelson and Marlborough. Waipara is considered by many to be the warmest and the driest of all the New Zealand wine growing regions. It's secret, however, lies in the fact that this warmth does not refer to average temperatures, but to temperature spikes or peaks during the growing season.

The growing season is also relatively long. Snow falls intermittently on the Estate in winter, frosts are a regular feature of spring on the valley below, while in summer, our days are long and warm, rather than baking-hot. This allows our wines to retain their fresh acidity and relatively low alcohol. The summer nights are cold, and it is this diurnal variation that slowly produces such pure but intense flavours in our wines. The resulting complexity, poise, and balance make these wines a food lovers' dream, helping to accent the flavours in food.

The mountains between us and the ocean buffer us from the cold winds coming in off the sea and our limestone fan tilts the whole vineyard towards the sun, which sits low in the sky in spring, bringing budburst forward by around 10-14 days compared to others on the flats. Our black Rendzina soils absorb the heat and radiate it up into the canopy to help ripen phenolics. These factors make Fancrest Estate ideal for ripening Pinot Noir even in such a cool region. Our yield per vine is very low and this contributes to fruit quality and the potential for ripeness and concentration.

It is difficult to have a conversation about Pinot Noir without reference to Burgundy. Di, like many Pinot Noir winemakers in New Zealand has Burgundy as one of her benchmarks. She readily accept that our unique terroir, of which climate is a very important component, shapes our Pinot Noirs very differently to Burgundy. On the other hand, our limestone soils influence structure, minerality and acidity in our wines bringing us ever closer to Burgundy.