Paul and Angela Jacobson (Chiaroni)'s vineyard is situated on a sloping fan at Hillview Road on the outskirts of Alexandra below the airport plateau. The soil consists of deep fine river sands and the site is sheltered from the north western and southern winds.
Our wine label Judge Rock comes from the prominent schist landmark near Millers Flat where Paul grew up. It is immediately above Judge Creek and is known as Old Judge Rock.
We have 8 hectares of predominantly westerly facing slopes with 4 hectares planted in 13,000 Pinot Noir vines and 2,000 St Laurent vines, with the oldest vines now 19 years old.
The clearing of the old peach, apple, pear and plum orchards, including relocating sprinklers, seemed like a Sisyphean task. Paul spent many hours on his trusty (not!) Massey Ferguson 35 tractor. Some of the more forgettable moments include being bellied on top of a smoldering tree stump pile late one evening and being so concerned about the tractor going up in flames that he put the overhead irrigators on all night!
Our Pinot Noir clones include Pommard 5 & 6, 10/5, 13, and Dijon 667, 777, 113, 114, 115. Most of the vines are ungrafted with approximately 25% on rootstock. Our sandy soils may inhibit phylloxera and we do not bring in any contract machinery or workers. All tasks in the vineyard are done by hand, by the time we harvest each grape has been visited about 10 times and the fruit is perfect for harvest. Our average harvest is around 18 tons. We have applied for organic certification and anticipate being fully Organic certified in 2019.
Paul picked a bathtub of left-over grapes in 1996 when we lived in Marlborough and made his first barrel of pinot noir. For five years from then he made a barrel from fruit initially from Marlborough and from 1999 to 2001from Central Otago fruit. Although he still works as a consultant Civil Engineer Paul has a love of wine making. In 2012 he worked for 6 weeks in Burgundy learning about the crafting of fine burgundies.
Our first commercial vintage was 2002, made by William Hill, but from 2006 our wines have been made at Vinpro.
Since 2006 Judge Rock’s Pinot Noir wines have received many accolades including 5 stars from Cuisine, Elite Golds from Air New Zealand Wine Awards, IWSC gold medals, 3 Gold medals from Decanter World Wide Wine awards and in 2016 two trophies from the Australia & New Zealand Boutique Wine show.
Wines are currently sold at our Cellar Door, at the Otago Farmers Market every Saturday in the historic Dunedin Railway station, in Auckland at Farro Fresh’s 5 stores, Fine Wine Delivery co and at various other locations throughout New Zealand.
We export small quantities to the UK, Australia and China.
In 2001 Paul imported St Laurent in tissue culture form from Canada.
St Laurent is an ancient child of Pinot Noir originating from Burgundy and grown principally in Austria and Czechoslovakia. This grape is described by Jancis Robinson's Guide to Wine Grapes as capable of producing the finest quality wines with deep coloured, velvety, juicy fruit, and low tannin.
In late 2003 we planted our first St Laurent on own roots. Stanmore Farm grew a mother block for us and in 2005 we planted 2,000 grafted St Laurent vines. In 2009 we produced New Zealand’s first St Laurent.
Judge Rock St Laurent has been awarded Silver medals at Air New Zealand wine awards and Decanter World Wide Wine awards
Judge Rock Cottage
In 2015 we renovated the cottage and turned it into an exclusive 3 double bedroomed cottage.
Sleeping 5-6, the Cottage is in a prime location to enjoy the Central Otago Rail Trail, Alexandra Golf Course and other attractions in and around Central Otago.
Alexandra town centre is only a 5 minute drive or 20 min walk away. There is a minimum stay of 2 nights so guests can get to appreciate the magic of the site and taste the delicious wines.
Private deck and BBQ area with vineyard views, great for entertaining or relaxing. With the added bonus of being situated right on the award winning Judge Rock Pinot Wines vineyard, treat yourself to a tasting with your friendly hosts over a number of their award winning vintages.
Elegant Sensuous Intimate
A romance not a blockbuster, feminine not masculine,
balance not power, family not corporate, and love not lust