Bilancia is a small Hawkes' Bay producer of exceptional Chardonnay, Viognier/Marsanne/Roussanne and Syrah. It is the label of us, winemakers Lorraine Leheny and Warren Gibson, and was established in 1997 when we returned to New Zealand from winemaking overseas. Our first wines were released in 1998.
We both studied winemaking at Roseworthy Agricultural College in South Australia and in the subsequent years, before settling in Hawkes Bay in 1997, we made wine in New Zealand, Australia, Hungary, Italy, California and France (Warren) and New Zealand, 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 we 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 our 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 Chardonnay with eight rows of Viognier, Marsanne and Roussanne of the edge of the gravels.
All fruit is sourced from Hawke's Bay vineyards: Syrah from la collina and Roys Hill, Chardonnay from la collina (Tiratore), Roys Hill and Otane (Central Hawke's Bay).