There are 14 named blocks with some subdivided to precisely identify how the individual blocks ‘behave’.


Over time as understanding of the terroir grew, proportions of blocks were grafted over to more suitable cultivars and to the select wines the estate now crafts. Careful management of canopies is applied in all blocks to avoid over exposure of bunches to the sun.

Block 1, 2 and 3 are planted with our favourite cultivar, Pinot Noir. Block 1 has the more delicate 777 clone and this has given more femininity to the wines. In the warmer years it can become a little jammy so one must be careful in monitoring the picking. Thankfully as it is the first block to be picked it, it does get that little bit more attention.

Block 2 and 3 are slightly smaller blocks than 1 using the 115 clone and contain within the block a small koppie. Block 2 is sandwiched between 1 and 3 whilst block 3 sits towards the back of the farm by the pine trees. It tends to be wetter so in the drier years performs better as it can suffer some uneven growth and occasionally rot in the damper years. The quality however in 2020 which did have some wet patches was surprisingly good with a more perfumed note perhaps not quite the structure of other years.

In most years block 2 performs well reflecting the more structured powerful attributes of 115, yet having fairly silky tannins. Often harvested together with block 3. In 2020 the yield was high enough to harvest separately which was a benefit in understanding the different terroirs.

Block 4 and 5 are planted with Riesling. Block 4 slightly shades block 5 in terms of quality. This block mostly made up all the past Lothian Rieslings with some of block 5 also sold off. However, some viticultural challenges where round-up residue was in a spray tank has meant that the yield on these 2 blocks has been paltry over the last 2-3 years. Hopefully in 2021 this will pick up. Suffice to say the Lothian Riesling has been sourced from the adjoining block 10 (see above).

Block 6 has remained Mourvèdre and instead of being picked for a blended red wine it has been picked earlier to be used as a Rosé wine. There is a lot of sense in this as Mourvèdre typically needs a warmer climate than Elgin can offer, so can be more challenging to ripen for red wine making. However, as a Rosé it can make a clean, crisp style with bright fruit and a fresh vibrant acidity. In many years it is still picked almost last in early April even if to make a Rose. The canopy is often trained Smart-Dyson to reduce vigour. In 2020, for the first time we also allowed it to ripen further to see what would happen. We picked a small crop and fermented as a red. More to follow.

Block 7 is the last block, on the far side of the farm, just above the new cellar. Planted as Viognier for blending into the Southern Rhone red style along with Shiraz and Mourvèdre it has become a grape used for Late Harvest. Over the years we have managed to get the twisting better and yield a more promising crop. Likewise, the cellar activities to produce the NLH have altered in line with what to expect by focusing on keeping the pH lower to require less SO2 and keep the VA in check.

Block 8.1 and 8.2 were originally Shiraz (I think? But check with Ewen) but were grafted over to Pinot Noir as Pinot became more associated with Elgin and the cooler climates. 

On Pinot Block 8 the clone is PN115. In its early stages some of the regrafts didn’t take but as time has progresses enough have retaken. The original flavours were like all young vines a little lacking albeit fruity, but as time has worn on it has shown some great potential mimicking the more masculine forthright chalkier tannins that 115 possess. This year, 2020, has been it most successful as winemaking techniques such as Delastage have smoothed some of the tannins and accentuated the dark fruit aspects.

Block 9 was formerly planted with Semillon and has been grafted over to Chardonnay. The clone in use here is 95. Again as time has progressed it has got better. The yields are often quite low and the structure less so but as the trellis has strengthened the grapes have got better. In damper years it can suffer from rot being so close to the dam. So it is important to open up the canopy. 

Block 10 was originally all Riesling and to an extent it still is, although a small amount of Semillon is planted behind the log cabin. The Riesling part has performed erratically and in most years was sold off. It can suffer a little from rot so canopy work has been improved to alleviate this. Equally, block 4 and 5 have had some issues of late (see those blocks). Overall, this block has recently had some good fruit if allowed to ripen fully and not attract rot issues. The small Semillon is usually sold to me or put in with something else. – it is about 400kg of grapes.

Block 11.1 just across from Block 13.1 was originally Sauvignon Blanc but has been grafted over to Chardonnay clone 95. Like block 9 it shows the typical 95 flavours of richness in the mid-palate, stone fruits and an attractive lift with decent acidity. As time has gone on the canopy has improved as also some of the original grafts didn’t take that well. A better canopy is helping improve this block.

Block 12.1 is the largest block on the farm and was originally Sauvignon blanc. As a block my only experience has been that it struggled to gain acidity which in Elgin is surprising. This year it was sold off as it has in many years. I believe the proximity to the dam has also increased its disease incidence. (Kevin G would know more)

As time progressed this larger block has been replanted. Block 12a the piece next to Block 14 was replanted to Chardonnay clone 548. This block has performed fairly well. Some years the yield can be on the higher side thus losing some of the mid palate. Other years like 2018 it has picked up mildew quickly as well as mealybug. In all cases mildew does present a problem but hopefully with better viticultural techniques and management this has decreased – certainly this year the grapes looked excellent. 

On the far side of Block 12, lets call it Block 12c, the Sauvignon has been grafted over to Gruner Veltliner. This grape has proved very successful in Austria both as an easy drinking white wine as well as some top examples from Brundlmeyer, Loimer and Nikl where the flavours exude white pepper, celery salt, roundness in the mid palate with a spiky alcohol and soft white fleshed fruit.  It will be interesting to see how this performs when the grapes first produce in 2021/22

Block 13 on the left as you enter the farm was the only original Chardonnay block planted to clone 76. As a clone my experience is that it can often underperform giving pleasant but not intense floral flavours and quite a round sweet fruit core. The best years such as 2020 we have worked with adding more acidity and with its extra concentration this block has performed excellently. 

Block 14.1 just next to block 11.1 was Riesling that was grafted over to Chardonnay Clone 95. This has been a haphazard block with varying quality and mostly sold to buyers (along with some Clone 76). It is the smallest block on the farm and only recently have we had chance to see how it performs. This year I bought some grapes from Lothian and it showed pretty well – although we only have 2 barrels of it.