He was originally thinking of planting nuts, olives and cherries or a combination of all three but as 1989 morphed into the mid 1990s and vineyards were being planted along Felton Road, Owen Calvert decided to take the plunge into the wine industry. And in 1999, he pressed the green light on grapes and Robin Dicey (founder of Mt Difficulty) began to establishe the first vines on the Calvert Vineyard on Felton Road.
Owen has since purchased two adjoining blocks of land, growing his land holdings to 40 hectares, of which he has now sold half and leases a portion to Cloudy Bay Wines. He now produces a small amount of his own Pinot Noir since 2018. Today Owen Calvert and Central Otago winemaker Sarah Burton collaborate to make Calvert Pinot Noir from three to four rows, give or take, each year. They are now onto the third vintage, with both 2018 and 2019 wines on the market while the 2020 is bottled but yet to be released (ETA first quarter of 2023) and the 2021 wine remains in barrel.
Over the years, a handful of winemakers from around the country have purchased grapes from the site and made wines under their own brand names. They include Craggy Range, Felton Road and Pyramid Valley, where each producer has championed the vineyard site name of Calvert on the front label and produced very different expressions of Pinot Noir from this well known vineyard site.
Here at Regional Wines & Spirits, we have the 2018 Calvert Bannockburn Pinot Noir in store and it is an exceptionally beautiful expression of Pinot from the southernmost wine region in the world, Central Otago.
Here's our tasting note by wine programme adviser and wine writer Joelle Thomson...
2018 Calvert Bannockburn Pinot Noir RRP $65.99
Fragrant, fresh and gently fruit forward, this beautiful Central Otago Pinot Noir is medium bodied with refreshing bright acidity supporting intense flavours of red florals, cherries and ripe plums. It has a lingering savoury finish, derived in part from indigenous yeast fermentation with the inclusion of 25 per cent whole bunches for support structure. This wine is made from a small portion of the long established, highly respected Calvert Vineyard, situated on Felton Road in Bannockburn, one of Central Otago's golden miles for great wine.