While some Hawke's Bay vineyards had been left with fruit abandoned on the vines in the wake of heavy falls of rain Lime Rock Wines at Waipawa had pretty well escaped, to the delight of owners Rosie Butler and Rodger Tynan.

"We have had a very good vintage with superb fruit here in Central Hawke's Bay," Ms Butler said.

"We have had lower rainfall than some parts of Hawke's Bay."

While she conceded it had been a challenging vintage and had not been as easy to work through as the previous couple had been they were delighted with what had emerged.


"We are still picking and the fruit we have already picked is very good."

The lower rainfall and the unique higher altitude terrain of the limestone-infused vineyards off Tikokino Rd had effectively done the job in making the latest vintage another fine one for that region, Ms Butler said.

"And Rodger [her partner and viticulturist] doesn't mow the grass so it takes in the water and respires it so the vines don't get waterlogged."

She said the pinot gris was "a dream to pick" as it was made up of all ranges of pink and brown fruit as well as what she described as "the odd genetically challenged bunch".

The last of their sauvignon blanc was carefully hand picked last weekend.

Ms Butler said while the bulk of the fruit was picked from their vineyard off Tikokino Rd a "tiny bit" had come from a small vineyard site which was effectively out of sight and regarded as their "secret vineyard".

"Sorry, can't tell you where."

The higher elevations (up to 270m altitude) and the steep sites allowed good drainage, while the limestone infused soils created a variety of growing conditions for the vines.

The crumbly limestone structure made it easy for rain to drain as well as providing a good root base and that ensured they were again producing their unique Coquina Sauvignon Blanc - coquina is the term for soft limestone broken shells.

It is part barrel and part fermented on skins.

"We also have Gruner Viltliner fermenting," she said, adding that their cabernet franc was "hanging out awhile" but the 2015, which had just been bottled, was "a little beauty".

The couple believed the limestone terrain of the region would likely be looked at more closely by other winemakers as an alternative vineyard site as it could offer more protection to "help fruit come through" when conditions were affected by weather.