Upon returning to NZ the potential to grow grapes on the land at Kina became evident. The aspect, soil and climate were suitable for grape growing, so Julie completed a viticulture qualification in 2003. In 2004 over 8,500 vines were hand planted in both Pinot Noir and Sauvignon Blanc varieties.
Families and friends spent many months helping to establish the vineyard and the combined skills of our ex-farmer parents were invaluable. Not to forget the use of seven hundred 25-year old posts from my parents’ old kiwifruit farm. A 40-year old original shed on the property was recycled by dragging it up the top of the site to accommodate the tractor. The environmental focus of re-use and recycle became an economic and practical necessity.
The following 2 years of growing and training young vines was a refreshing departure from office work and far surpassed any gym workout. The vines thrived in the Moutere clay gravel soil, on the frost free sunny site, with low rainfall and regular air flow from the sea breeze. The demands of twin boys arriving in 2005 resulted in supplying the first 2 grape harvests to local wineries. From 2009 Julie was able to return to working in the vineyard and the first Kina Cliffs wines were created: Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Noir and Reserve Pinot Noir. A Pinot Gris block was established in 2009 and a cellar door opened in 2012 which is open during the summer months from November to March.