Ridge Block Vineyard Southern Valleys
Proudly certified by BioGro New Zealand, Ridge Block Vineyard holds a special place in Giesen’s premium organics programme, growing grapes that tell the story of their region. High-density planting and careful vineyard management have resulted in fruit with incredible flavour intensity, structure and complexity of a level that can sometimes take years to achieve.
- Located in the Southern Valleys on the outskirts of Blenheim, Marlborough’s largest town
- 7.25 km from the river and 14.25km from the coast
- Certified organic with BioGro New Zealand
- Planted in Pinot Noir and Syrah in 2010
- 40,000 vines planted in 1.5m high-density rows
- Pinot Noir clones are Abel 667 and 115, on two different rootstocks
- Syrah clones are Hermitage and Chave
- Topsoil rich in organic matter; deep silt gravels within dispersed underlying light clay. Free draining, with layers of iron-rich gravel providing great porosity and good moisture content.
Before the Giesen brothers arrived, Ridge Block started its life as a low-performing Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay vineyard.
Situated 7.25 km from the river and 14.25km from the coast, Ridge Block sits on the drier side of the valley. The soil was shaped by the erosion of ancient glaciers, leaving deep silt gravels within dispersed underlying light clay. The topsoil is rich in organic matter, with the subsequent 40 – 100cm rich in silt. It is free draining, yet its layers of iron-rich gravel provide great porosity and good moisture content.
In 2009 the Giesen brothers made the decision to kick-start their organic grape growing with a significant investment. That October they ripped out the 8.5 hectare Ridge Block Vineyard and left the land fallow for a year.
A consulting French soil expert concluded Ridge Block Vineyard’s soil was best suited to Pinot Noir and Syrah. The vineyard soil was found to be similar to that in Côtes du Rhône and the foothills of the French Alps.
Ridge Block was replanted in 1.5 metre rows as a wholly organic, close-planted Pinot Noir and Syrah vineyard. Farming the vineyard organically from day one helped encourage the vines to drive their roots down away from weed competition and cultivation.
40,000 vines were planted, where the site had previously held 20,000. This high-density planting creates intense competition that pushes the vines deeper into the soil to find nutrients and water. Such competition naturally reduces crop sizes; along with the Giesen team’s active thinning of fruit yields this builds flavour intensity, structure and complexity.
The careful planning in the establishment of this vineyard has resulted in the balanced growth of the vines that can sometimes take years to manage.
The wines from this young vineyard already show depth and structure unexpected in vines so youthful, as shown by a multitude of awards. Giesen Single Vineyard Ridge Block Pinot Noir 2013 was judged as the World’s Best Pinot Noir at the 2016 International Wine & Spirits Competition, UK.