The valley is protected from rain by mountains on three sides. Harvest days are warm, yet nights are cool year round due to direct exposure to the southern ocean. These factors contribute significantly to the consistency of quality, both by preserving fruit intensity and facilitating a long, slow, steady ripening through the autumn.The stony river terrace on which most of the vines are planted is made up of very shallow silt-loam on top of 25-metre-deep alluvial gravels. The stones are mostly quartz-threaded greywacke and to a lesser extent volcanic basalts. This very free-draining profile, combined with the windiest and driest climate in the North Island – around 700mm rainfall a year – means humidity and therefore disease risk is low. Spring is typically cool and windy, often resulting in imperfect flowering which keeps yields naturally in check, at a much lower average tonnage per acre than the rest of the country.