FROM THE BEGINNING
Family owned Coal Pit in Central Otago is committed to producing world class wines from our Gibbston vineyard and on-site winery, where only small volumes are produced annually.
Purchased by the current owner Rosie Dunphy in 2001, the Coal Pit name is derived from the historical area in the nearby mountain ranges which provided coal to the early pioneers, musterers and gold miners as they passed over the Coal Pit Saddle. The coal was bagged at the pit, loaded onto drays and brought down Coal Pit Road to the valley.
Coal Pit is now host to a new industry, one of the few ‘single’ vineyards in Gibbston where the grapes are grown, hand-picked and vinified on-site to maximise the distinct purity of the wines from this unique Central Otago terroir.
At latitude 45° South, Central Otago is not only the most southern wine producing region in the world, but incredibly breath-taking with snow capped peaks, dramatic rivers and thyme covered hills. This unique area boasts the most continental climate in the country where hot brilliant summers followed by reliably cool nights allow the production of wines with vibrant fruit, striking aromatics and excellent acid structure. The long dry autumns allow the notoriously delicate Pinot Noir grapes valuable hang-time on the vines, to maximise flavour development.
The Coal Pit vineyard covers 12 hectares of land on glacially formed schist based soils. Situated on the warm north facing slopes of Gibbston - the highest sub-region in the Central Otago wine region, this provides yet another distinct advantage for the slow, even ripening of Pinot Noir.
Pinot Noir and Sauvignon Blanc vines were planted between 1994-2001 with a mix of clones on own roots for added complexity and balance. Crop levels are tightly managed and consistently yield well integrated wines of great structure and elegance, with added depth as the vines age.
The Coal Pit vineyard is run in accordance with the proactive environmental management programme Sustainable Winegrowing New Zealand.
The 30 tonne award winning winery was designed by Chris Kelly and built in 2007. With a brief to construct ‘an elegant shed,’ the on-site winery allows ultimate control from vine to wine.
Situated in the heart of the Coal Pit vineyard, the winery faces north toward the Crown Range Mountains and the Kawarau River and comprises a cellar door, a temperature and humidity controlled barrel room, laboratory, meeting rooms and a loft apartment.
Coal Pit produces three wines annually, with many international accolades received. The flagship Pinot Noir ‘Tiwha’ pays tribute to Rosie’s late father, with a single vineyard Sauvignon Blanc and a Pinot Rosé completing the Coal Pit portfolio.
ABSTRACT PAINTING ‘COAL PIT’ 2006 BY CHRIS HEAPHY HANGS IN THE COAL PIT TASTING ROOM
The iconic Coal Pit label reflects the rich history of the site - the inky black lines top and bottom represent the coal seams that were once a part of the Central Otago landscape, while the dominating cadmium red represents the Pinot Noir grapes now grown in the vineyard.
Learn more about Chris Heaphy here.