How Mitre Rocks Vineyard came about

On one of his family’s regular holidays in this beautiful part of the world, Simon McCallum raised the idea of starting a vineyard with his father, Roy.

Having been a farmer most of his life, Roy set out to find the right land. “I may not have known much about wine at the time, but I know a bit about land.”

Roy found the perfect spot at Parkburn, at the base of the rugged Pisa Range overlooking Lake Dunstan, 10km north of Cromwell. The property basks in the shelter of the mountains, with good water supply from Parkburn Stream and natural airflow down the Parkburn gully to protect the vines against frost in the icy Otago winter.

With both father and son partial to Pinot Noir, they decided to concentrate solely on this one variety in the first stage of planting. Of course, it helps that Central Otago is one of the very best places in the world to grow Pinot Noir.

To get the best out of the land, the McCallums realised they needed to involve local vineyard and winemaking experts. To this end, they developed close and long-term relationships with viticulturists Robin and James Dicey from Grape Vision and award-winning winemaker Carol Bunn from VinPro.

The first grapes from Mitre Rocks Vineyard were harvested in 2005, with its quality clear from the outset. The Mount Dottrel Pinot Noir made from this first vintage was joint runner-up for best Pinot Noir trophy at the 2008 Sydney International Wine Competition. At the same competition, the second wine from the vineyard, Mount Dottrel Saignée Rosé 2006, won the trophy for best rosé.

So you could say Mitre Rocks Vineyard has had a fair beginning as the NZ Wine Industry moved into a difficult period of survival.

The McCallum family business is recovering from the devastations of the GFC but the vineyard is in good heart and has been maintained in top condition ready to produce the world beating wines under the Mount Dottrel and Mitre Rocks labels.

“Our confidence in the Vineyard grows each year and the successes we have achieved with our wines and the passion of our wine make Carol Bunn, the terrior of our vineyard is reflected in every glass. Over the past nine years our wines have continued to develop in the bottle and we look forward to excellence in the years to come.”