Sheep and rabbits coexisted on the land for some time but the sheep couldn’t keep up with the nocturnal activity of the rabbits and were hopelessly outnumbered – they were driven off the land and were last seen heading north. The owner of Rabbit Ranch, Mr McGregor tried a number of measures to rid the land of the rabbits at the turn of the century, but was unsuccessful. In the end he decided to plant some vines and make wine.
The vineyard fell into decline after the second world war until direct descendants of Mr McGregor, Warren and Betty McGregor decided to replant the vineyard, and as they say – the rest is history. Rabbits still run wild on the vineyard and fuelled by high altitude Pinot grapes, some are reputed to be the size of ponies – but that could be another tall story.
Central Otago makes a distinctive style of Pinot Noir that's recognized around the world for it's concentration of flavour and earthy, gamey qualities. Rabbit Ranch is a commune of vineyards which were once part of a high altitude sheep station in the Cromwell Basin of Central Otago. Vines are predominantly planted to light, stony soils on the remains of an ancient glacial riverbed.
A long slow ripening period with cool nights and warm days as the autumn harvest approaches, ripens grapes to the fullest. The growers have enlisted the expertise of Pinot Noir specialists Chard Farm, to craft an early drinking, fruit forward wine in a lighter style with all the requisite Central Otago regionality.