Bilancia is a small Hawkes' Bay producer of exceptional Pinot Gris, Viognier and Syrah. It is the label of winemakers Lorraine Leheny and Warren Gibson and was established in 1997 when Lorraine and Warren returned to New Zealand from winemaking overseas. The first wines were released in mid 1998.
Warren and Lorraine both studied winemaking at Roseworthy Agricultural College in South Australia and the subsequent years, before settling in Hawkes Bay in 1997, saw them make wine in Australia, Hungary, Italy, California and France (Warren) and Australia, Portugal and California (Lorraine).
The word Bilancia (be-larn-cha) means, in Italian, balance, equilibrium and harmony. These terms have obvious connections with wine and winemaking, but also, Bilancia is the Italian word for the Zodiac sign Libra which both Lorraine and Warren were born under. Warren worked in Southern Italy for a number of harvests and the name came to him whilst reading his Horoscope in the Italian newspaper!
The philosophy of balance, equilibrium and harmony is something that is carried through all aspects of the winemaking and, hopefully, people will see this when they drink the wines.
The viticultural central point for Bilancia is the 6 hectares (15 acres) of land covering the front and back of Roys Hill (west of Hastings on State Highway 50) where, planted only on the North - Northwest facing slope is the vineyard known as la collina (col-ee-na), which is Italian for "the hill". The upper most slopes and terraces are planted to Syrah whilst the lower gently rising land and gravels flat is planted to Viognier (and a small amount of Gewurztraminer). Some of the Viognier was top grafted to Chardonnay in 2007.
Fruit has been always been sourced predominantly from Hawke's Bay although, for the 2000 to 2003 harvests some Pinot Gris was taken from Marlborough . Since 2004 all fruit has been sourced from Hawke's Bay vineyards: Syrah and Viognier are from la collina and Syrah from Mere Road (Gravels). Pinot Gris is from Black Bridge Estate at Haumoana.