He and his wife Glennice had bought a 10-acre property and house in 1982 opposite the quarry of Fraser Shingle. At the time the only grapes he knew of in the area were a parcel on Mere Road, although Chris Pask had begun accumulating land fronting Gimblett Road from 1980 and planting it in the early 1980s.
Alan’s search for land was wide and deep. By the time he bought the land, he had dug to the water table in Mere Road and decided that with 8 to 12 metres of gravel beneath them the vines would be unlikely to reach it. His consultancy work had led him to conclude that many growers during the horticultural euphoria of the 1970s had chosen the wrong crop for the land they owned. He was determined to find a soil-climate milieu where the vines would manage their own vigour with him managing their water supply:
Air New Zealand Seat Map Photo Gallery
I’ve dealt with a heap of orchards and vineyards and kiwifruit places that were basically unsuccessful because you could see that they had soil-related problems for what they were trying to do. They were in the wrong place. I knew that what I was looking for was about the most free-draining piece of land – but then you had the climatic factors over the top of that.
From his Esk Valley perspective, Kim Salonius approved of Limmer’s choice of site:
A PhD chemist and soil scientist, Stonecroft’s Alan Limmer pumps over the tank. Stonecroft Wines Ltd
I enjoy very much where I live – the view is wonderful, the valley’s great, the river over there is terrific and I spend a lot of time there. But if I had a choice or a magic wand I would choose that soil west of Hastings.
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