As Mt Difficulty Wines grows, opportunities present themselves from time to time to take on new properties via lease or long-term contract. Some vineyards are located south of the Kawarau River and are leased back to Mt Difficulty by the founding partners, and so still qualify for Estate wines. However, those that do not are used to produce Roaring Meg wines. All of these satellite vineyards are located in the Cromwell basin and all are cared for on a day to day basis by Mt Difficulty's viticultural team. At almost 80 hectares, they make up close to half of the vineyard area available to Mt Difficulty Wines.
In 2008 Mt Difficulty Wines Ltd purchased over 30 hectares of land on the western side of Lake Dunstan alongside State Highway 8 towards Wanaka. Station Block takes its name from Mt Pisa Station, and is planted in Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris, Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling and Gewurztraminer. The first full crop from Station Black was harvested for Roaring Meg in 2012. The soil at Station Block is classified as a high terrace Lowburn gravel, generally considered very suitable for viticulture. This gravel is regular in both physical and drainage properties and is easy to manage soil, low to medium in fertility.
Though situated just across the State Highway from Station Block, Silver Tussock has a totally different soil type. The soil is river deposited alluvial, derived from the schist hills to the west. They are a division of the Waenga series, and are variable in both fertility and water holding capacity. This vineyard is planted with Pinot Noir, Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Gris and Riesling.
The below vineyards are part of the Roaring Meg wine label and located in the Bannockburn area - view map here
Inket vineyard is situated across the north bank of the Kawarau River, and is planted solely in Pinot Noir. The soil consists of Lowburn gravelly loamy sands with deep free percolation ability and low water holding capacity with low to medium fertility.
As its name suggests, Inlet vineyard sits in the Bannockburn Inlet. It too is 100% Pinot Noir. The soils here are mainly Cromwell soils, at least 90cm deep above river gravels, well drained and friable. Ideal for all forms of horticulture, these soils are proving particularly good for grapes.
This vineyard is situated directly above the Bannockburn Inlet. It is 2.18 hectares in size and was planted entirely with Pinot Noir (clones 6, 667 and 777) in 2002. The vineyard is reasonably steep and faces north-west, with elevation ranging from 208 to 225m. Before planting this site underwent some modification so there is a large variation in the constitution and depth of soil types. The base is deep gravel in some places, while others consist of clays. The topsoil is a loess/loam mix with varying depths. Due to the soil variability the vineyard has a range of vigour levels. The vineyard was named after a number of large (and scary!) Redback spiders were found by staff performing young vine training.
Gate 20Two sits between Templars Hill (and the Mt Difficulty winery) and Pipeclay Terrace. It was planted progressively between 2002 and 2005. Pinot Noir (clones 5, 115, 667, 777) makes up 3.41 hectares of the vineyard, and Pinot Gris (clone 2.15) the remaining 1.47 hectares. The vineyard is an elevated site with rolling topography, sitting at between 240-280m above sea level. The soil is a predominantly a shallow German loam/sand mix, but there are also areas of clay which make driving a tractor a difficult pursuit on the steeper sections.
Swan Song is so named because it was supposed to be the last vineyard planted by Robin Dicey, one of the original Gang of Four and Mt Difficulty's founding viticulturalist. It has also been referred to, in less charitable moments, as "Death Rattle" vineyard. The block is formed on a very steep hill slope above Target Gully vineyard – two row terraces have been carved into an unyielding landscape (dominated by the sluiced Bannockburn soil) and 3.71 hectares of productive vineyard land has been formed. Irrigation, tractor driving and management on this vineyard are very difficult due to its extreme contours. The vineyard consists of 1 Ha of the Abel Pinot Noir clone, 1.06 Ha of Pinot Gris (the new imported and exciting M2 clone) and two clones of Riesling (239 and 198-19) totalling 1.66 hectares. It was planted in 2008 and two crops have been grown on the site with promising results. The vineyard faces north to west (depending on location within a row) and rises from 280 to 320m, making it the highest elevation vineyard Mt Difficulty has in Felton Road.
The most distant of the Mt Difficulty satellite vineyards, Asher vineyard is located at the "Neck" on the east of the Clutha River near Queensberry. The vineyard was planted between 2002 and 2008, with Pinot Noir clones 113, 115, 5 (4.04 Ha), Pinot Gris clones Barrie and 2.15 (3.84 Ha) and Riesling GM110 (0.5 Ha) all planted on three distinct areas. The Pinot noir is planted on the "Bowl" (so called as it is a natural amphitheatre facing the north) and the flat top block. The Pinot Gris is planted on the flat top block and the Riesling is planted on two row terraces located above the Bowl block. The soils are alluvial gravels with loess/loam mixed at the bottom of the bowl.