The wines of Bellbird Spring, Waipara, New Zealand
An interesting European-styled producer making compelling wines in New Zealand's Waipara wine region


Guy Porter is a Brit, with a Kiwi mother. He studied wine at Roseworthy, and his folks then moved back to New Zealand and purchased 8 hectares in Waipara. Here they planted 5.2 hectares of vines in 2002 (the ‘Home Block’), and where they have their home. In 2004 they purchased a second vineyard site, Block Eight.

There’s a European feel to these wines. All the fruit is hand harvested, and everything is barrel fermented with natural yeasts. Harvests are quite late (it’s cool climate here), but there’s no acidification or chaptalization here. Most of the wines are also cork-sealed, which is unusual for New Zealand.  

These are really distinctive wines, with personality. The alcohol levels on the two Pinot Noirs are quite high (14.5 and 15%), but the wines still have freshness and a silky texture – they reminded me a bit of the Mountford Pinots in this respect.

UK importer is Wine Traders


Bellbird Spring Pruners Reward Sauvignon Blanc 2012 Waipara, New Zealand
Distinctive with rich quince and citrus fruit and some green pepper. Very bold, lively and quite mineral. 89/100

Bellbird Spring Block Eight Sauvignon Blanc 2012 Waipara, New Zealand
Characterful and quite unusual this has savoury notes and a dense texture, offering quince, pear and spice characters. So distinctive and mouthfilling, this is a remarkably bold Sauvignon that should age well. 91/100

Bellbird Spring Dry Pinot Gris 2011 Waipara, New Zealand
Ripe and textured with notes of grape and melon, with a savoury, spicy edge. A powerful Pinot Gris with rounded, textured fruit. 90/100

Bellbird Spring Block Eight Pinot Gris 2011 Waipara, New Zealand
Lovely ripe apple and pear nose is full and rich. The palate is sweet, textured, appley and intense. Lovely depth of flavour here with baked apple and spice. 93/100

Bellbird Spring Home Block White 2009 Waipara, New Zealand
Complex with apple, pear, spice and citrus on the nose: sweet and toasty. The palate is off dry with powerful apple and pear fruit. Richly textured. 91/100

Bellbird Spring Pruners Reward Pinot Noir 2010 Waipara, New Zealand
Lovely sweet, seductive floral and red cherry fruit nose. Supple and a bit sappy. The palate is warm and smooth, ripe and silky, with lovely balance and a bit of warmth. It carries its 15% alcohol well. 93/100

Bellbird Spring Block Eight Pinot Noir 2011 Waipara, New Zealand
Aromatic, sweet, perfumed red cherry fruit nose is warm and elegant. The palate is sweet and ripe with supple, gently spicy fruit and an elegant textured mouthfeel. Finishes fine and spicy. 94/100

See also:

Visiting Central Otago, New Zealand (series)
Visiting Martinborough, New Zealand (series)

Wines tasted 01/14  
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