Rockburn started as the hobby of Richard Bunton in 1991. He planted a few hectares of vineyard in the then pretty much unknown area of Central Otago. In 2005, Malcolm Francis the winemaker, arrived from Felton Road where his skills immediately reaped the rewards when he won the Elite Gold Medal. This is a very exciting new arrival on the world Pinot Noir stage.
Rockburn takes its name from the rugged, rock-strewn, burn scarred landscape of Central Otago. Situated on the 45th parallel, Rockburn shares a climate that is similar to Burgundy. The vineyards are surrounded by mountains to the west, whose seaward slopes are rainforest, receiving 5,000mm of rain per annum. To the east is a barren, moon-like landscape that receives less than 25mm rain per year. Situated between these extremes, lay the Rockburn vineyards, which are producing Pinot Noir of stunning quality. The vines are grown in two sites: Parkburn where the soil is loam over river gravel; and Gibbston, with topsoil over alluvial gravel soils. The vines are Pinot Noir clones: 10/5, 5,6, Abel, 667 and 777 and they are trained according to the Vertical Shoot Positioning system.