In 2002, Graeme and Gillian Crosbie decided to take the leap and purchased an old apricot orchard in Bannockburn, after having owned a vacation house there for the past 25 years. They started by planting 6.5 hectares with Pinot Noir, Sauvignon Blanc and Riesling and in 2011 expanded with an additional 10 hectares, adding Chardonnay and Pinot Gris to their production. They named this second vineyard ‘Defiance’, as they felt they were going against the grape-growing trend in the area by planting on this land for the first time.
During the mid-19thcentury, this part of Central Otago was an important centre for gold mining. The destruction and devastation caused by this gold rush resulted in wonderful soil conditions for growing grapes. The Domain Road Vineyard looks down on a historic area called ‘The Sluicings’, New Zealand’s own wild west — the scarred yet beautiful landscapes of a short-lived gold mining era.
The winemaking is taken offsite under the direction of Peter Bartle. He uses open fermenters, traditional and low-intervention practices in order to bring out the natural characteristics of the grape varieties and the specificities of each vineyard.