Felton Road is a small, artisan producer of Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, and Riesling. Established in 1991 and Demeter-certified, Felton Road has quickly gained a reputation as one of New Zealand’s leading premium, biodynamic wine producers. The four estate vineyards are all located in Central Otago’s Bannockburn sub-region. Since the first vintage in 1997, Felton Road’s wines have attracted international enthusiasm for their ability to show clarity of place. Winemaker Blair Walter attributes the high quality and individuality to the distinct Central Otago soils and climate, the north-facing hillside vineyard sites, and meticulous care of the vines with an emphasis on an understanding of each unique location.
Location of Vineyard
Central Otago is New Zealand’s only wine region with a continental climate rather than maritime. This brings the risk of frosts but has the benefit of low rainfall, low humidity, and high sunshine hours. The climate has a number of characteristics, which seem to be particularly favorable to Pinot Noir. The latitude of 45-degrees south is similar to Oregon’s Willamette Valley and some of the finest wine regions of France. Felton Road is located in Bannockburn, Central Otago, New Zealand, the most southerly wine-growing region in the world. The vineyards are nestled on gentle north-facing slopes at elevations between 650 and 1,100 feet (200 and 335 meters) above sea level and totally surrounded by high mountains up to 6,560 feet (2000 meters).
Following a non-interventionist winemaking philosophy, Felton Road focuses on meticulous, biodynamic viticulture and a gentle winemaking process powered by gravity flow and spontaneous fermentations from wild or indigenous yeasts. No inert gas is used, and oak is minimal. Malolactic fermentation is simply a function of letting the warm spring air into the cellars. Pinot Noirs are unfined and unfiltered, and Chardonnays are increasingly treated in the same way.