Swallows Crossing Vineyard is named after its winged summer visitor and its unique locale. The Welcome Swallow feeds where Southern Maori once crossed the Clutha on their trade exchanges from coast to coast.
Initially purchased in 2000, by Julie and Dan Asher, Swallows Crossing was established in the late spring of 2002 on typically barren Central Otago soils on the banks of the Clutha, just north of Tarras. We were fortunate that there was at least one established shelterbelt on the property, as the prevailing nor’ westers proved particularly challenging to young plants. Rabbits, issues with sufficient water supply, and spring frosts on ground as yet unproven, were all initial stumbling blocks.
At the time we were resident in Te Anau and had the vineyard ‘managed’. Shifting on-site full time in 2005 off-set many of the early hurdles and the vineyard was frost protected and began to grow hardy enough to withstand the rigours of extreme heat and extreme cold. First vine plantings involved 10,000 grafted Pinot Noir plants over 4 hectares, with nearly 3 hectares situated in a bony, gently sloping bowl dropping to the river and the remainder on a relatively rich soil pan protected to the north by a stand of mature pines.
In 2006 the top flat was extended by a further 10,000 grafted Pinot Gris vines, and a half hectare of Riesling was planted in terraces developed on the west-facing side of the bowl. Both have established themselves remarkably quickly and the wines from these vines can be best appreciated on site at our Tasting Room, or in select restaurants and wine outlets nationwide. Come and visit our Wanaka lodge and vineyard to experience the fruits of this journey for yourself.