The Three elements!
Updated: Mar 7, 2019
Banks Peninsula unique Terroir - The First Element.
Akaroa Harbour, on Banks Peninsula, is an incredible and unique little piece of
heaven on earth. Because it used to be an island more than 20 million years ago, it
has its own water supply, biodiversity, micro-climate, soil and energy!
A gigantic volcano erupted 9 million years ago. That volcano continued to be active
for another 2 million years.
Different layers of lava flows and erosion formed the gullies, valleys and outer bays
that are all around the peninsula and for millions of years, the big valley that is now
Akaroa harbour was probably filled with fresh water coming from natural springs and
The collapse of “Akaroa Head” and the rise of sea level 6000 years ago allowed sea
water to enter the crater and formed the present harbour that is now home to some
unique wildlife: dolphin, penguins and many more.
Glaciers that were covering the peninsula during the last ice age carved even more
our beautiful hills and left an incredible amount of silts on top of the volcanic base
and in the harbour.
After the last ice age, the treeless peninsula was very exposed the strong
Norwesterly which carried very fine glacier silts from the southern alps of the South Island
and deposited on top of the volcanic peninsula.
Life took over that bare volcano/clay land and luxurious forest covered the entire
peninsula for thousands of years. The litter of the forest built up a very fertile humus
that is now a 20 cm dark and rich top soil.
There it is!! Our very unique soil profile: Volcanic base with loess. The loess being
made of lose silts and particles of clay and rich top soil.
Our soil is deep, moist and fertile. By not irrigating and letting grass and other
species grow in between the vines, we are making sure that they will go deep, work
harder and give us grapes that will produce very complex wines.
As an organic grower, my goal is to have those roots going down as deep as
possible making them work really hard but allowing them to extract the mineral and
silts from the loess.
No wonder why our wines are so delicate and fresh on the palate!
Terroir is one major element of wine making. The other two are loving the vines and
fermentation but that's for another story!
Renan Cataliotti – French Peak Wine.