The Delta Farm was first established in 1848 by Constantine Dillon. It was purchased for wine production in 2000 by the Delta Wine Company.It is situated to the west of Blenheim and located at the mouth of the Waihopai Valley on the West Coast Highway where the steep-sided triangular shaped hill splits the wide valley.
The shape of this land mass is very similar to the symbol for the capital Greek letter 'delta'; hence the name given to this site on detailed topographic maps of the area.
Over the years this site has served as a dairy, a sheep farm and, because of the splendid elevation of the hills, an airstrip, before The Delta Wine Company planted it as a vineyard in 2001 and 2002.
While the focus in Marlborough is primarily on Sauvignon Blanc, the clay soil of the Delta farm is considered to be too low in vigour for Sauvignon, which flourishes on the loam soils closer to the Wairau River.
As the new Dijon clones of Pinot Noir came into production in Marlborough, Matt, noted that the best quality grapes were coming from vineyards planted on clay soils in the Southern Valleys of the Wairau.
The clay soil, combined with the elevation of the vineyard and the factors that make Marlborough such a successful viticultural region - sunshine, warm days, the excellent quality of the light, cool nights and constant ventilation - all combine to make this site ideal for the production of top quality Pinot Noir.
The Delta vineyard has just over 27 hectares planted solely to Pinot Noir. The best of the new Dijon clones 115, 777, 6, Abel are planted on rootstocks 101/14, 3309 and Schwartzman.
We have opted for a plant density of 2,150 vines per hectare matching the variety and the rootstock to Marlborough’s soil and climate. It is important to consider the balance of a mature vine when deciding on vine spacing allowing for the root system’s development as it ages. So a study was undertaken of several mature Pinot Noir vineyards with similar soils in the Southern Valleys region before opting for the spacing that was chosen in the Delta vineyard.
Vertical shoot positioning is used to give a balance between leaf area and ideal fruit exposure to avoid green characters without losing the all important perfume.
The soils at the Delta vineyard are made up of a top 5 -15 cm of soil of light loam top soil, which gives way to about 30 cm of clay with a high mineral content.
Below this is a mixture of clay and stones. The clay retains moisture well, ensuring that the vines do not suffer from water stress. The clay is low in nitrogen, which controls the vigour of the plant.