Moko Hills 2020 Chardonnay


This was the inaugural vintage for Moko Hills and it sure was a year to remember. A wet, cold and windy spring introduced the growing season, continuing through to our key flowering and fruit set periods in October and December – impacting yields, bunch structure and berry size.

Disturbed weather patterns continued through the season, settling in February – The calm before the ‘Storm’. Just before the Central Otago region was set for harvest, Covid-19 hit the world!

The fruit was hand-harvested under the strictest of Covid-19 conditions on the morning of April 8th 2020. Thanks to the cool flowering period, bunches contained small berries bursting with concentrated flavours.

Wine Making

The fruit contained a mix of two Chardonnay clones – UCD15 and B95.

Whole bunch pressed and full solids to 100% French oak. Fermented with natural yeast. Lees stirring was employed on a proportion. Twelve months in barrel, and allowed to undergo malolactic fermentation naturally in spring, before being racked to tank and allowed to integrate.

Hand-harvested: 8th April 2020
Bottled: 8th June 2021
pH: 3.37
TA: 7.1g/L
Alcohol: 13.61% v/v

The Label

Kowhai – Chardonnay

Each wine has a unique art piece, representing a group of species that embody the encapsulated characteristics of the wine. A homage to these species and a promise of protection.

The Chardonnay label is adorned with the native South Island kōwhai (Sophora microphylla). One of eight kōwhai species in New Zealand.

The kōwhai is accompanied by both the European Honey Bee (Apis mellifera) and it’s native counter parts, two Leioproctus Bees. Both these species are integral in pollinating not only the kōwhai, but a range of plant species found at Moko Hills.

Kōwhai is the Māori word for yellow and the name of the Chardonnay block at Moko Hills. Pockets of mature kōwhai overlook the chardonnay block, adorning the hills with a golden yellow come spring. This block is the highest in altitude at Moko Hills at 350 – 370m above sea level, sitting in a natural amphitheatre trapping the afternoon heat. This heat, accompanied with the clay soils, brings richness and depth to the wine while the altitude creates elegance and tension.

Send us an email if you would like to get your hands on a bottle or two.

Artwork created by the talented Rachel Walker | Walkerillo