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Volume 10. june 2012


Overseas ownership – a new perspective Black Barn ‘famous in America’





Winery engineering: the Aussies are coming



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june 2012

Features 02


The end of the golden harvests could be the way 2012 is remembered by wine producers, but it could also mark the time that more profitability returns to our wine industry.

The art of applying oak to wine barrels has changed over the years in New Zealand, mostly because tastes change amongst wine drinkers. We look at the current state of play.



They’re buying our wineries! Who are they? People from outside New Zealand who want to invest in our ability to produce wine. Peter Saunders looks at the positives of the trend.

The popularity of viticulture and winemaking as a career continues in New Zealand. We look at some initiatives from our education sector.



Gibbston Valley Winery founder, Alan Brady, says winemakers didn’t deliberately choose pinot noir, the vines ‘chose’ Central as the region where they could grow to their best potential.

Wine Technology: TASTE is the first of our wine tasting sessions which look at current developments in wine craft. Keith Stewart introduces this session which looks at wild yeast ferments.

06 Hawke’s Bay’s jewel in the wine sector’s crown, Mission Estate Winery, is expanding its business influence by buying Cape Campbell in Marlborough.

14 Danny Schuster is an artist with wine, and from this issue of Wine Technology he will be delivering his thoughts and his experiences on many aspects of winemaking.

31 WINE PROFILE Alan Limmer is ‘the Stonecroft man’ who has made a huge contribution to this industry. But wine writer Peter Saunders profiles him at a time when Alan is becoming far more interested in race cars and grandchildren.

End of the golden harvests

It had to happen. After year-on-year of bumper harvests that finally broke the $1 billion dollar export earning mark in the 2009/10 financial year, New Zealand’s wine industry this season encountered the summer from hell. As Aucklanders groaned about the summer that didn’t happen, but the bottom of the South Island dealt with so much sun it caused a drought, most of our wineproducing regions struggled to ripen the grapes. A very late burst of warm sunny weather saved many crops and winemakers are now predictably talking up the quality of the grapes, but the yield is well down. National figures were still being compiled as Wine Technology in New Zealand was heading to the printers, but individual regions were talking a drop of 20-25 per cent on past years. There will be benefits – including the high quality of many wines, and after several years’ muttered talk of gluts and wine lakes, a smaller harvest can’t be all bad news. Despite our habit of talking about the romance of wine, the past eight years have clearly demonstrated that wine-producing is an agricultural, scientific and largely unpredictable business. Vintage 2004 delighted wine producers with its quality and volume and built on growing international recognition for our wines. In 2005, New Zealand’s 500th winery opened and exports represented more than 50 per cent of total sales for the first time. The next year saw export earnings in excess of half a billion dollars, but in NZ Winegrowers’ 2010 report, the message was about ‘getting the balance right’ in the

face of over-supply and the global financial crisis. Last year, Winegrowers reported excess inventory had been sold through, although the longer-term consequences of 2008 were still being dealt with, in the form of lower prices, tighter money and tougher markets. The story of 2012 is still to be written and proof of whether a lower harvest will bring higher prices and profitability may well be delivered at international wine events such as Prowein, and in the export deals done by individual wineries.

EDITOR Graham Hawkes sales manager Pam Brown GRAPHIC DESIGNER Jan Michael David GROUP SALES MANAGER Lisa Morris ADVERTISING CO-ORDINATOR Pip Maclean ACCOUNTANT Pam King CREDIT CONTROL Gladys Hooker CIRCULATION/SUBSCRIPTIONS Sue McDiarmid Rates: $45 for 4 issues including GST and post. Overseas rates available on request. Address to: Subscriptions Dept, Mediaweb, PO Box 5544, Wellesley St, Auckland 1141 Email PUBLISHED BY

PUBLISHER Toni Myers Mediaweb 115 Newton Raod, Eden Terrace Auckland 1010 PO Box 5544, Wellesley St, Auckland Phone +64 9 529 3000 Fax +64 9 529 3001 Email Prepress/Printing by PMP Print ISSN: 1176-0281

Black Barn goes global Whatever the eventual result of the 2012 harvest, you can bet that the good people at Hawke’s Bay’s Black Barn will remember this year for decades. Frommers, a best-selling travel guide in the United States since 1957, has chosen Black Barn Vineyards as one of the world’s top ten vineyard visits. Black Barn was the only New Zealand venue mentioned. Placed in the midst of some of Hawke’s Bay’s most beautiful sites – the nearby Tukituki River valley, Cape Kidnappers and Waimarama Beach to the south, Black Barn’s phones will soon be ringing loud and clear.

Original material published in this magazine is copyright, but may be reproduced providing permission is obtained from the editor and acknowledgment given to Wine Technology in New Zealand magazine. Opinions expressed are those of the authors and may not necessarily be those of Mediaweb. We welcome material from commercial sources for publication but cannot guarantee that it will be used as submitted.

Publisher's statement of distribution Wine Technology distribution figures can be supplied by way of a publisher’s statement which can be verified if required by print and postal information. This is the same data reviewed under the ABC system. The guaranteed minimum distribution for Wine Technology in New Zealand is 2000.


They’re buying our wineries WHERE? There was a time when the New Zealand dollar was so low that buying a local winery from off-shore was appealing. The industry was in growth, the wines were making inroads in world-wide markets and winning top medals internationally. Much has changed for the growth and development of the New Zealand industry.  The dollar is still unhelpful for exports, vineyard property values have fallen because of a drop in grape prices and because discounting has become an acceptable form of local trade. Bulk wine exports have also caused doubts.  Yet the latest move by Bill Foley of California to add NZ Wine Company to his New Zealand empire – which already includes Vavasour and Te Kairanga – stems from his wish to have a viable quantity operation and to build export volumes which he feels are slowed by small quantities. Already he has found a market

in the USA for 75,000 cases of the Vavasour brands. In fact a glance at the table on this page, which shows the growing list of overseas ownership of New Zealand wineries, has in each case the overseas owner working hard to provide export road-to-market for the New Zealand partner or subsidiary – whether it be multinational companies with their own distribution and sales units or individuals like Bill Foley in USA or Tiazo Osawa in Japan.  So for all the emotion about overseas ownership of New Zealand land, the vineyards remain in New Zealand, the work force is local, most packaging is local and the labels carry the New Zealand brand and terroir to additional overseas markets. Besides which, there is a capital investment in a foreign currency which feeds into the New Zealand economy.

Company & Country

NZ Brands

Pernod Ricard (France)

Montana, Brancott Estate, Church Road, Deutz of Marlborough,Stoneleigh

Kirwan – Lion Nathan (Japan)

Lindauer, Corbans, Longridge, Huntaway, Triplebank, Timara, Wither Hills, Cellier Le Brun,

Foley Family Winery (USA) <in transit NZ Wine Co> 50% EuroVintage distributor

Te Kairanga, Vavasour, Goldwater, Boatshed Bay, Dashwood, Clifford Bay, Grove Mill, Sanctuary, Frog Haven

Louis Vuitton (France)

Cloudy Bay, Pelorus, Te Koko

Constellation Brands (USA)

Nobilo, Selaks, Kim Crawford, Monkey Bay

Peabody Family (Australia)

Craggy Range

Julian Robertson (USA)

Dry River, Te Awa, Kidnapper Cliffs

Treasury Wine Estate (Australia)

Matua Valley, Shingle Peak

Yalumba (Australia)


SOGRAPE (Portugal)


Taizo Osawa & family (Japan)

Osawa, Flying Sheep, Sustainable Dots

Philip Griffith (USA)

Mt Difficulty

Jebsen 30% Sacred Hill (Danish Co based Hong Kong)

Sacred Hill, Wine South, Halo

E & J Gallo 25% Whitehaven (USA)

Whitehaven, Mansion House Bay

Kirby family 50% Escarpment (Australia)


Hospice an auction ‘winner’ The 2012 Hawke’s Bay Winegrowers’ Charity Wine Auction has delivered $65,000 to Cranford Hospice in Hastings. Relaunched in a new format this year, the auction was held at Sileni Estate. Spirited bidding saw many regulars take home well-priced wine lots, with a number of first-time bidders getting a taste for the event. “ We a re delighted w ith the

support this event receives from the w i ner ies a nd f rom ou r generous supporters. While the total amount is well down on other years, we think it is more a reflection on the economic times than on anything else,” says Lyn Bevin, executive off icer of Hawke’s Bay Winegrowers. Long-time auction bidder, Robin Sage, who was delighted with his syndicate’s success in winning two lots, agrees. 

“It’s understandable that wineries’ donations are of smaller quantities and therefore they are likely to raise less, and times are harder for everyone; it’s hard to get what’s not there.” Bids were received from the floor, but they were also accepted online and there was one regular auction attendee who was on holiday and put in bids by phone from Singapore.


Wine Technology IN NEW ZEALAND JUNE 2012



25 years of ‘Central’ vineyards

With a dream run of summer and autumn weather, Gibbston Valley Winer y has an extra excuse to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the first commercial harvest of grapes in Central Otago. Its own harvest of 300 tonnes of intensely flavoured fruit is reason enough, especially since critics of Central’s initial development as a wine region declared the land “too cold and too far South”. Founder Alan Brady – a former

television editor and frontman, pictured above with winemaker Christopher Keys — was the first to plant and commercially produce wines in Gibbston Valley, harvesting pinot noir, pinot gris and a ‘dry white’ blend back in 1987. Twenty-five years later, he returned to the multi-award-winning and world-renowned winery to help harvest grapes in the original block he planted. “In those early days we experimented by planting everything under the sun, and pinot noir chose us, we didn’t choose it,” he said. “It ripened more consistently than any other variety, and from that moment on we were in on the ground floor of what became the pinot noir phenomenon, what’s now the secondlargest variety in New Zealand to sauvignon blanc. “Over the years we attracted some of the best winemakers in New Zealand to come and work with pinot noir, known as the ‘heartbreak grape’

because it’s difficult to do and winemakers love the challenge. “Twenty-five years later I’m still look i ng a head because we’re producing wines of such outstanding qua lit y that f u l ly ref lect the uniqueness of Central Otago, its climate and soils.” Gibbston Valley Winery winemaker Christopher Keys, who has been with the company for the past six years, said he was delighted with the 2012 vintage. “In Central Otago we enjoyed a long warm summer, which makes such a difference to the quality of the pinot noir. Although in February and early March there were cool patches, the long dry autumn and great weather through March and April meant we picked really lovely fruit, with really balanced sugar levels, great flavour, and good acid levels. We’re very happy with 2012’s quality, smaller bunches have given welcome intensity, and flavours are excellent.”


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Mission forges Marlborough link Mission Estate Winery in Hawke’s Bay has bought Cape Campbell vineyard in Cable Station Road, Marlborough. The purchase is being rated as one of the largest vineyard purchases in Marlborough for the last few years. Mission Estate (pictured) was set up in Hawke’s Bay in 1851 by French missionaries who established a seminary for Marist priests and brothers. After the seminary relocated to Auckland in 1992, one of the assets left was the winery and the wine brand has since seen substantial growth. Mission Estate chief executive Peter Holley sees the Cape Campbell purchase as another step in that growth path. “We have recently been focusing our endeavours on selected offshore markets, with extremely positive results,” he says. “The acquisition of the Cable Station Road Vineyard gives us another proven, quality supply of grapes, and reflects the company’s philosophy of sourcing fruit from the best wine-growing regions of New Zealand. In addition to meeting current demand, the vineyard purchase will also meet the requirements for our future offshore market development strategy.” The 100ha Marlborough vineyard is planted mainly in sauvignon blanc, pinot noir and pinot gris.

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‘The purchase…reflects the ongoing interest in Marlborough’ Caine Thompson, Mission viticulturalist says the Cape Campbell vineyard is of a very high standard, with excellent soils and outstanding vine health. “The block exhibits very low disease pressure, has considerable water resource and enjoys a relatively frost-free profile. These factors combined with an excellent location have created an extraordinary opportunity for the company.” Paul Mooney, Mission’s chief winemaker, says the lower Awatere Valley is noted for wines with distinct mineral notes and intense varietal character. “It is our intention to produce single vineyard wines of quality and influence. These wines will provide a very compelling offer when viewed against our highly regarded Bordeaux blends and Rhone-style wines from our Gimblett Gravels vineyards.” Stuart Smith, chairman of New Zealand Winegrowers, says the purchase is an important one for the New Zealand wine industry. “This is a particularly positive move and is further evidence of Marlborough’s desirability as a premium grape-growing region. The purchase also reflects the ongoing interest in Marlborough, particularly in the light of the industry’s improving export performance.” Previous owners Murray and Daphne Brown will be retained by Mission Estate to manage the vineyard. Mission Estate will continue to source fruit from company-owned vineyards and from existing contract growers in Hawke’s Bay, Marlborough and Central Otago.

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Black Barn earns ‘dream’ publicity One of Hawke’s Bay’s wine treasures — Black Barn Vineyards — has been ‘outed’ in the United States as one of the world’s top ten vineyard visits. That judgement comes from Frommers, a best-selling travel guide in the US since 1957. Black Barn was the only New Zealand venue mentioned in the list. Francis de Jager, cellar door and events manager at Black Barn says “we are very excited, this is a huge acknowledgement for New Zealand, Hawke’s Bay and Black Barn”. Black Barn describes itself as “a small vineyard just five minutes from the village of Havelock North in Hawke’s Bay Wine Country”. It produces premium Bordeaux-styled red varieties such as merlot, cabernet sauvignon and cabernet franc but its chardonnay and sauvignon blanc have also won awards. All the company’s wines are estate grown and the fruit is hand-picked. With just over 25 acres planted, many of Black Barn’s wines are available only through the cellar door and its website. With a north-facing site on the lower slopes of the Te Mata hills, Black Barn provides guests with wide-open views, and a warm micro-climate. In summer, Black Barn has become a very popular venue for a farmers’ market and there is a bistro on the premises as well as a gallery which features local art. Wine industry commentators have nominated Black Barn’s authentic New Zealand wine experience as being among the reasons for Frommers’ choice, along with the easy access to beautiful Hawke’s Bay attractions including the Tukituki River valley, Cape Kidnappers to the north and Waimarama Beach to the south.

8 | JUNE 2012 | Wine Technology IN NEW ZEALAND

Winery engineers meet in Blenheim The Australian based Winery Engineering Association Ltd is holding its 5th biennial conference in New Zealand this year. It will be held over two days at the usual venue, the Brancott Estate Winery of Pernod Ricard Pacific New Zealand at Blenheim, on September 6 and 7. The theme of the conference is ‘Building Customer Value’ and speakers have been invited to present on topics including: waste minimisation improving the worth of utilities maximising use of equipment maintenance practices applying new processing technologies advances in process control and workflow management reducing greenhouse gas emissions carbon footprint accreditation. For members of the Winery Engineering Association, ‘customers’ are people within the wine industry such as winemakers and production specialists. The end effects of how they perform their work then flow on to the customer who purchases the end products.

A programme of 16 half-hour technical papers is being prepared for delivery over the two days. The following presenters, subject to confirmation, have agreed to speak at the conference Philip Gregan, NZWinegrowers will deliver the keynote address Sally Van der Zijpp will deliver an update on the Sustainable Winegrowing NZ programme Stephen Jenkins, Aurecon, will deal with how wineries cope with risk management Pramesh Maharaj, EECA, will outline energy efficiency and renewable energy opportunities for wineries Les Boulton from Les Boulton & Associates will speak about control of metal corrosion in the wine industry Carlo Galeano of Ingenia (Australia) will speak on overall equipment effectiveness (OEE) in bottling and packaging Jeff Smit, Transfield Worley, will outline energy considerations for new and existing wineries Gerald Crawford, also from Transfield Worley, will speak on winery refrigeration

Lyel Stewart, Programmed Group, will deal with the parameters of outsourcing maintenance Simon Buick, Transfield Worley, will detail stategies, for maintenance decision-making. Other presenters are being negotiated for topics such as Compressed, air as an energ y sou rce, on- site i ner t g a s generation, safety issues and process control. The conference dinner will be held on the Thursday evening after the first day of proceedings, and on the Friday afternoon of the conference there will be optional visits to local wineries and businesses. Thirty display booths will show exhibitors’ goods and services. For sponsorship or exhibition enquiries please contact Trevor Leighton (+61 417 597 956 or There are still time allocations available on the speaker programme. Contact Ken Johnson in this regard (+61 8 8563 3166 or


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Wine Technology IN NEW ZEALAND JUNE 2012


Good news and bad – the harvest is well down BY GRAHAM HAWKES If there was a 2011-12 New Zealand summer, then most people must have blinked and missed it. For years to come Kiwis will clearly remember the summer of 2012 – it was 2.30 on a Thursday afternoon. But as Aucklanders complained about having no tan-lines, winemakers in most parts of the country had far more serious worries —

In Central Otago there’s a very happy man called Christopher Keys, who is pleased with 2012’s 300 tonnes of quality grapes, with “smaller bunches giving a welcome intensity, and excellent flavours”. In Gisborne, John Clarke from Gisborne Winegrowers describes the summer as: “like everywhere else, pretty challenging”.

One of the happiest winemakers in the country – Gibbston Valley’s Christopher Keys.

grapes on the vine which wouldn’t ripen. A late burst of warmer, sunny weather in April saved many crops from complete disaster, and predictably, white wine producers are now talking about beautiful flavours.

10 | JUNE 2012 | Wine Technology IN NEW ZEALAND

He is reporting a very good season for ch a rdon n ay g row n for met hode champenoise-style wine, “probably one of the best vintages we’ve had for years; great quality, great flavours, clean grapes”. But then John talks of the big story of

the harvest, virtually nation-wide — the yield is pretty much 20 per cent down in Gisborne. Hawke’s Bay is looking at 15 per cent down, and Marlborough at least 20 per cent. As Wine Technology in New Zealand was being prepared for printing, the ‘official’ national estimates of the crop were still being prepared, but it’s clear the yield will be well down on previous years. John Clarke says the smaller harvest will deal some pain to people in the region, but he says looking at ‘NZ Wine Inc’ the lower har vest will mitigate against the problem of recent seasons where big supplies of wine brought down prices and profitability. “Any talk of oversupply is gone now. And there’s a school of thought that given the very poor December period, that next year’s crops next year may be down a bit as well. So, I mean that suggests there will be a lot more positive signals being sent to growers than have been sent in recent years. They are cautiously optimistic that Mother Nature might have dealt us a pretty good hand in terms of delivering up a significantly reduced vintage and while you can’t always rely on her, someone’s got to give us a hand from time to time. He says there have been “a few grapes being pulled out” following the harvest in Gisborne, but he says that always happens. “Some of that is simply because vineyards need replanting. Some are coming out to change to other crops, but that’s a relatively small amount.” However, this year will definitely have an impact on the region’s wine producers.

“The Government and the tax man seem to be doing okay out of us, with the excise tax and what-not, but the rest of us are doing it pretty tough.” In M a rlborou g h, Wi neg rowers Association spokesman Marcus Pickens told us “the crop is significantly down”. “But while the cash-flow for businesses will be impacted in the short term, I think most see it as positive in the long term,” he says. He believes that if vineyards and wineries can survive this season, the future should be more profitable. “There’s certainly no pall of grey cloud hanging over Marlborough, there’s definitely an upside to this. The wine industry had been waiting for a correction and nature’s done it for us.” Ma rlborough-based business consultant Helene Marchant says harvest 2012 was “interesting” in the fact that it was looking like being a high-acid low-brix pick due to the lacklustre summer. “However the weather came right with amazing warm temperatures throughout all of April, allowing the fruit to ripen and acid levels to decrease. The little rain that came was not much more than a minor interruption. Yields are thought

to be down on the whole — definitely compared to last year and possibly long term average as a result of the cool and wet weather at fruit-set. “The silver lining to the shortage of fruit as I see it will be second labels being replaced once again by the main brand labels, with the quality-to-price ratio returning to the market, giving back those memorable wine experiences we all long for.” Xian Harding, deputy chair of Hawke’s Bay Winegrowers, says a “seat-of-thepants assessment would be the crop is down by 10-15 per cent at least in the area. “It was such a cool summer we are in uncharted territory. We did not have a summer to speak of. There were two dominating factors — the cool season and the amount of rain we had.” He says Hawke’s Bay’s production is roughly half and half whites and reds. “They respond quite differently to cooler temperatures. Cooler temperatures all being equal are generally positive for flavour development in white wine. So our cool summer is potentially good for the flavour of our whites. And for blocks that held up against the damp and the disease pressure, particularly from

botrytis, the potential is excellent. We will see a bit more variability coming through in our wines, with lower alcohol levels and wine with lower alcohol levels isn’t a bad thing. “With the reds there was quite a lot of pressure mid-season, so quite a lot of picking went on at lower brix than normal to preserve the fruit quality, but we were lucky towards the end of the season, so blocks that managed to come through in good condition got an extended run of good weather at the end of the season. “So there’s going to be highlights all the way through, although in general it was a more difficult growing season than usual; there’s no point in saying anything other than that.” Mr Harding says there has been price pressure on all wine lately, but he says if Marlborough is “quite a bit down” he hopes that the “fire-sale cheap wines” will disappear from supermarkets. “Hopefully consumers will be a little more generous on what they are prepared to pay for wine and we can get more sustainability, because certainly for contract growers and wineries, what has been happening in recent years is not sustainable.”

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Insuring business in complex times With fickle weather reducing grape-growing to something of a lottery, wine producers need to think of business risk and ways to use insurance to mitigate that risk. Marsh New Zealand has been operating in this country since 1958 and has more than 240 experienced staff in seven offices. It has worked with large and small players in the wine industry since 2004 and understands the specific business risks the industry faces. Its solutions range from conventional insurance cover through to risk management advice. The insurance market in general has been impacted by the Canterbury earthquake and the ability to obtain full earthquake insurance in the medium to longer term is still uncertain, although there are some signs of insurance capacity becoming available again in Canterbury for new building projects. Marsh New Zealand says tips to ensure the best possible insurance results for this year at least cover the wine industry as well as most businesses, and they advise clients to begin preparing for their insurance renewal as soon as possible. The company says it is working with its insurer partners to maintain insurance cover at competitive and sustainable levels over the long term, with respect to price and policy coverage. It is urging wine producers to thoroughly review their current insurance programme. Certain information should be researched in advance

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Review your business objectives and establish what levels of insurance are critical to ensuring these objectives are achieved Ensure complete and detailed underwriting information is available for all locations to be insured. At a basic level this includes information such as current valuations for insurance purposes; year of construction; construction materials and business interruption values allocated to individual locations or sites. Marsh New Zealand says businesses should work with their broker to establish a clear strategy before engaging in negotiations with insurers. This can assist insurers to provide a more timely response, and potentially an improved response, as they have clarity from the outset when negotiating with their stakeholders, such as re-insurers. Talk to your insurers about all the issues wine producers can be exposed to, including natural disasters, disease damage to vines damage or loss of grapes while in transit, health risks for personnel, machinery breakdown, business interruption and personal life cover.

Built for the hillsides New vineyards around the world are increasingly being planted on steep terrain and until now it has been challenging and dangerous for conventional tractors to work on sloping land. Doug McFarlane Ltd is the New Zealand importer of Antonio Carraro vineyard tractors and has been supplying to vineyards such as Man O’ War on hilly Waiheke Island. The company is one of the oldest tractor dealers in New Zealand, having been in business for more than 54 years. “We have been privileged to have supplied Antonio Carraro tractors to Man O’ War vineyards for over 10 years now,” says Stuart McFarlane, managing director. “It has been a pleasure to deal with such a professionally run vineyard.” Antonio Carraro tractors are manufactured in Italy and have just celebrated 100 years in business. They build compact tractors suitable for viticulture and horticulture use and with a very low centre of gravity are very popular for use on steep terrain. “They have now just released onto the world market the Mach 4 Quad track tractor and there’s nothing quite like it available anywhere,” says Mr McFarlane. The machine is a bi-directional articulated tractor, fitted with four massive 350mm-wide rubber tracks that give massive traction and very low ground pressure. “The footprint of the Mach 4’s rubber tracks is about the same as a similar-sized tractor would have if it was fitted with 14 tractor tyres. Being articulated, the rear tracks follow the exact path of the leading pair of tracks. This allows for tight turns without skidding. The ground pressure of this 3000kg tractor is just 2.84 pounds per square inch — less than a man’s footprint. “Until now the most popular tractors used on steep properties were steel-tracked crawler tractors. The disadvantages of using a crawler vehicle were rough operator comfort, turf damage when turning, high maintenance, slow transport speed and the fact they were unable to be driven on roads. The Mach 4 eliminates all these issues and even has more traction.”

INVESTING IN YOUR FUTURE Wine Bottlers Marlborough – Strategic capital investment in not only their business, but also yours. Enhancing and building partnerships.

Well known contract bottlers, Wine Bottlers Marlborough Limited, have been significantly investing in their business supply solutions over the last 12-months. CEO Lance McMillan has advised that the staged implementation of investment in people, plant and further technologies will future proof all parties, from shareholders to team members and clientele alike. “It has been a stepped and strategically staged process to ensure the correct solutions are purchased, installed and commissioned at the right time, with additional new plant being installed over the quieter period post harvest. This allows for not only risk management to guarantee continual supply, but, also to deliver new efficient solutions to our clients. We see our growth directly driven by our clients, therefore our role is not only to supply robust, high quality bottling solutions, but to also invest in our people, processes and plant to derive a definite market place advantage to our clients.

Stage 1 was the building of the new production and warehouse facilities, stage 2 followed, with moving all of our existing plant to the new site. Whilst this was being undertaken, we utilised this time to recondition and refurbish all of the bottling equipment. Stage 3 saw the investment in additional internal bulk wine storage. Then we purchased two rotary fillers, (one for carbonate wines and one for still wines), new bottle wash unit, high speed rotary labeller and case over packers. This has given our Company an enhanced capacity of over 30,000 cases per day. The implementation has been fantastic for our clients enjoying the expansion of our supply solutions. For example, clients giving us the opportunity to bottle new packaging formats as the new plant has so many additiona l attributes. With phenomenal camera scanning of filled and labelled glass allowing us to accurately add further labels automatically. This has been of benefit to fulfil ‘end of season’ markets

with no requirement to remove the existing label or brand. Not only have we undertaken what is one of the largest capital investment programmes in New Zealand’s contract bottling industry for some time, we have also increased our WSMP licence which allows for all client required additions, alterations or manipulation of wines. Where to from here? The implementation of Stage 4 – which will involve: • Completion of carbonate line • Applications to the main line to allow for branding of plain caps • Increased utilisation of digital printing on branded labels • Increased internal storage and fixed line wine supply • On-line software upgrade In short – when we say we are investing in your future – we mean it. Look to Wine Bottlers Marlborough for your superior bottling provider.

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Danny Schuster – an artist in wine BY JOHN CLARKE

Of all the pioneers of New Zealand’s vinous revival, Danny Schuster is the one who has delivered the most for the least recognition. This may be because he turned up in the country appearing to be more of a

wandering minstrel than a wine guru, or it may be that during his New Zealand career he was never afraid to challenge the status quo, often with ideas, such as growing wine south of Marlborough, that were beyond even the leading edge of local wine experimentation. Czech born and trained in Germany, with experience in some of the world’s leading wine research institutions, Danny was one of the first local residents who promoted the idea of liberal wine-tasting to establish a sound base from which New Zealand’s wine future could be established. He followed this with ground-breaking viticultural research into cool-climate winegrowing that ultimately led to the development of New Zealand’s first tertiar y wine academy at Lincoln University in Canterbury. At a time when pinot noir was considered

an impossible dream by most, Danny was instrumental in maintaining a future for it in New Zealand thinking. Daniel Schuster is regarded as one of the seminal figures in what has become New Zealand’s most successful red wine variety. While not accorded the attention in New Zealand that is his due, Danny is considered one of the great artists of international wine-growing, and one of the best informed, by the global fine-wine community, where he operates as a consultant to many of the greatest producers in Europe and North America. Few New Zealanders have done as much to nurture the New Zealand wine industry and none with as much international respect. As a champion of the notion of terroir, Danny is one of the true leaders of New Zealand’s regional wine development.

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14 | JUNE 2012 | Wine Technology IN NEW ZEALAND

CLIMATE CHANGE and recent Italian vintages BY DANIEL SCHUSTER Italy has had a run of diverse vintages over the past decade, some great and others less so. The erratic patterns of the changing climate since the 1980s are a world wide phenomenon, effecting wine industry significantly more than the gradual climate warming or cooling, which ever may be the case at present time. A recent study of the significant variations of vintages from the established long term patterns by Prof. M. Fregoni in Italy demonstrates this new trend clearly. Taking a 100 years long term average in all classical regions of Europe and comparing these to the incidence of significantly different climatic conditions in each decade past, his study explains why the wine industry in Europe, (and the New World) needs to focus on examining the fundamental bases of established viticultural practices including: which grape varieties and grape rootstocks to use, which pruning and canopy systems are best adapted to the changing climatic patterns and which wine styles to focus on in the future. In summary, Fregoni’s findings in relationship to the number of significant variations were: 1900 to 1940s, with 2-3 vintages outside of the standard patterns (hot, dry, wet or cold). 1940s to end of 1960s, with 3-4 vintages of unusual patterns. 1970s to end of 1980s, with 4-5 vintages outside the normality. 1990s to 2000, with 5-6 vintages of significant difference. 2000 to 2010, with 7 vintages well outside the normal weather patterns. The impact of these conditions for the grower and maker of wines is obvious no less so, than the need for the wine consumer to carefully select future vintages, especially when it comes to selecting wines for ageing. Here are my impressions of Italian red vintages during the past decade. 2001 - A great vintage throughout all classical regions. Complex wines of great balance, ripe flavours and ample tannins. Combine aromatic quality with firm structure, the top wines

appear youthful at present and should develop into great bottles over the next 5 years. 2002 - Difficult vintage in a cooler and rainy year in most regions. As always some wines of quality were made but selection is important. Drink now. 2003 - Hot and dry season with heat waves at the end. Concentrated, robust wines with ample tannins. Not for the fainthearted, lacking charm. 2004 - A balanced, ripe vintage, wines show richly textured flavours, fine aromatic quality and region specific character. At their best from now on, no hurry. 2005 - Another warm vintage like 2003, but less stressed and better balanced in generous flavour. Developing into complex wines, no hurry. 2006 - More opulent, concentrated version of the 2005s, well structured wines of ripe f lavour and ample tannins. Balanced to age well over the next few years, ones to keep. 2007 - Like the ’03 vintage, hot and dry. Firm, tannic wines of concentrated flavour, Montalcino, Barolo and super-Tuscans amongst the best, patience required.

2008 - Generous wines of ripe flavours and opulent aromas in a robust frame. Commercially a very good vintage, perhaps lacks the quality edge of ’06 or ’04, certainly behind the ’01s. Developing well, should make good bottles over the next 5 years. 2009 - Another fine vintage, complex and fine textured in flavour, great deal of aromatic quality and balance to age well. Less concentrated than the ’01s, but sure to make fine bottles. 2010 - A generous vintage in yield and balanced climate, resulting in more supple and less concentrated wines than the similar ’08. Some regions (central & northern) affected by autumn rains, requires selection and will provide earlier drinking as well. 2011 - An early vintage of potentially great quality. Perfect conditions to the end of July with hot and dry finish to the season. Some shrivelling caused problems and timing of harvest proved most important. Early indications are that best wines will challenge the ‘01 in quality and longevity. Look for complexity, aromatic quality and richness of tannins.


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Mower addresses organics issues A search for a mower that would satisfy the New Zealand viticulture industry’s demand for organic products led Martin Roberts from Marlborough Tractor Services in Renwick to Germany. He had hoped to find such a machine somewhat closer to home. However, six months down the track the company is now the sole New Zealand importer and distributor of the Siegwald under-vine mower and mulcher – a machine that allows for herbicide-free under-vine mowing. Roberts first discovered the Siegwald, which is designed specifically for vineyard work, when he was approached by a European vineyard owner who knew about the machine and was impressed by its features. Knowing that the demand was there and growing, Roberts researched the machine further, made contact with the manufacturer and imported the first machines to New Zealand. He has trialled the machines in Marlborough with successful resu lts a nd is now d istr ibuti ng them nationw ide. “Organics is a growth market and growers are moving away from spraying, looking instead for other means of weed control,” he says. “While the organic market in New Zealand is still small, in Europe they have been practising organic farming for


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years and have designed machines that do the job.” Martin Roberts says although there are alternatives in New Zealand the Siegwald is a mechanical mower as opposed to a hydraulic driven one. “The biggest advantage is that the cutter heads are driven by cable drive versus hydraulic-driven motors, meaning lower costs of maintenance for the owner.” Even more beneficial, says Roberts, the components for the machine are available in New Zealand. The machine addresses a number of organic philosophies, not least the fact that it provides a herbicide-free means of under-vine mowing, weeding and mulching. A combined fourin-one approach means that there is reduced soil impaction created by the mower and improved fuel efficiency. Low hydraulic demand also means that the Siegwald can be attached to the smallest of tractors, further reducing the mower’s impact on the environment, and making it easy to use.

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16 | JUNE 2012 | Wine Technology IN NEW ZEALAND

Improved effIcIency wIth track and trace software CRT GrapeBase is a multi-module software programme that tracks and traces essential information from multiple vineyard blocks to provide a complete picture of a company’s wine-producing operations, and the software has proven beneficial to wineries across New Zealand. In the 2010 – 2011 growing season, Villa Maria Estate trialled CRT GrapeBase across four vineyards, and expanded this to all company owned and managed vineyards in the following season. Company Viticulturist for Villa Maria Estate, Ollie Powrie, explains how the GrapeBase system has improved efficiencies in their operation. “We own 15 vineyards, which are managed as a large number of smaller blocks within vineyards to meet grape production requirements and quality tiers. Thirty percent of our company owned vineyards are either in organic conversion, or already fully certified. CRT GrapeBase has allowed us to have one system across the company. We now have the ability to load our own spray schedule, the New Zealand Wine Grower Export Schedule and an

organic schedule, giving us verification of spray applications against PHI’s and any other rules around spraying of particular chemicals. It also shows live, accurate stock levels of spray sheds online. The software makes reporting easy and it accurately reports ‘safe harvest dates’. We can view diaries online at any time, and the diaries produce operating sheets for vineyard staff. Improvements continue to be made and so the programme has become very useful, and we are well supported by CRT’s Harry Green meaning any issues are resolved quickly. CRT GrapeBase has improved our organisational operation and we expect more efficiencies to be gained now that the system has been used by everyone for a season. We recommend CRT GrapeBase as it is very user friendly and the efficiencies gained well cover the subscription costs.” Ollie Powrie, Company Viticulturalist for Villa Maria


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The power of oak still holds strong in NZ Times change, fashions come and go, but most often premium wines other than aromatic white varieties are aged in French oak. It’s true around the world, although there was a time – quite some time ago – when American oak held considerable sway in this country, mainly because so much chardonnay was being put into wood. The Americans are still doing well around the world even though the New Zealand palate has moved away from “big” chardonnays and our modern chardonnays from Central Otago, Hawke’s Bay and Marlborough now tend to rest on French oak. How much American oak now comes here? Perhaps up to 10 per cent of total new oak imported. From the poor man’s encyclopaedia – Wikipedia – comes the contention that American oak tends to be more intensely flavoured than French oak, with more sweet and vanilla overtones due to the American oak having two-to-four-times as many lactones. “Winemakers choose American oak typically for bold, powerful reds, base wines for ‘assemblage’ or for warm climate chardonnays. Besides being derived from different species, a major difference between American and French oak comes from the preparation of the wood.” The tighter, more uniform grain structure of French oak supports the coopers technique of splitting the oak trunks as a preliminary to stave production. American coopers favour the more economical sawing of trunks for stave wood. The wood is then aged or ‘seasoned’ for 24 to 36 months in the open air, in a wood-yard. So that is the opinion of the moderators of the Oak (wine) section of Wikipedia. In New Zealand, we are told between 12,000 and 14,000 new barrels come into New Zealand each year, and for a French oak barrel at a cost of between $1200 and $1500 each. And so why don’t we make our own? We have oak trees after all. Well, it’s been thought of in the past. We have the raw materials, we even have the raw materials growing in the right places in this country, but we lack the economies of scale the huge

French industry can achieve, particularly with its significant level of government control. Also we do not have the history, experience or stock of suitable standing trees (an oak tree can be 150-200 years old when felled for furniture or barrel making). There’s no doubt either that the amount of new French oak being used in New Zealand wine production has diminished over the past five to seven years as a percentage of the amount of wine we produce. It’s settled back to around 20-25 per cent new barrel input on, for instance, a premium chardonnay or Bordeaux red or a syrah. On some wines the percentage can go a lot higher. And so in terms of the types of oak input into our annual wine production, we have new barrels, second-hand barrels that have been refurbished, and then other forms of oak influence: chips, beans, dominos, planks, slats and inner staves. All of these latter ‘addons’ can provide inputs of oak-type characters to wine as an alternative to resting it in barrels and some wine producers are producing excellent results. If the retail price of a particular wine cannot justify the cost of lurking inside French oak barrels, then chips and inner staves can be a perfectly acceptable alternative. The cost of adding French oak to our wines may sound expensive when you look at the numbers of new barrels being imported, but if the cost is evened out across the volume of wine, the cost doesn’t look quite so imposing on a per litre basis. If you take a new, $1500 barrel with a capacity of 225 litres, you have a cost of around $7 per litre. If a new barrel lasts four years, the eventual cost will be between one and two dollars per litre. And depreciation of these capital items must be considered. But the fact remains that new, quality barrels will always have a strong position in premium wine production. Refurbished barrels and chips, beans and slats will also continue to have a solid slice of the market for somewhat lower-cost wines, where winemakers want the benefits of some ‘oak’ maturation and consumers expect to taste an oak influence in their glass. But as the saying goes, never the twain shall meet.


Will ‘poly’ tanks upstage barrels? BY DANIEL SCHUSTER of oxygen, is UV resistant, easy to clean and on per litre bases, significantly cheaper than oak barrels. The tanks come in sizes from 300-25,000 litres and grades of density achieving even rates of oxygen uptake ranging from 10-25mg/litre per year. The measured sulphur loss from the wine equals that of barrels of similar porosity. From experience, like barrels, the HDPE tanks are best kept full throughout the maturation period of up to three years for red, less for white, pending st yle requirements. Also, that use of floating lids, as in variable capacity tanks, can lead to accelerated ageing of the wines due to imperfect seal. When required, some winemakers add oak chips, oak staves or oak extract to wines being matured in the HDPE tanks to simulate uptake of oak flavour from barrels. Having tasted the red wines made this

way since 2005, for example in Jurassic Ridge Vineyard on Waiheke Island, their syrah, cabernet franc and Montepulciano reds appear as well-str uctured and developed as those from barrels. On reflection, this method of ageing may well prove a superior form of finishing wines for screw-cap type enclosures, as far as reduction problems are concerned at least.


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During the past 50 years much has been said and written on vinification and maturation of wines in inert tanks versus the more traditional oak barrels. Interaction of the wine with the atmosphere of the cellar, experienced during the barrel vinification and maturation, has shown to be difficult to reproduce in inert, stainless-steel tanks despite the introduction of oak chips, staves or micro-oxidation. One of the most impressive developments to date has been the recent research and introduction of the HDPE (or high-density polyethylene) tanks for the maturation of wines that evolve along the lines of those in the barrel, but without oak flavour. The technology was developed in Australia and extensively researched in Germany and Switzerland during the past 10 years, resulting in an inert, temperatureinsulating tank, that allows one-way uptake


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environmental effects of operations in the processing plant.” Fabian Yukich has been driving sustainability at Villa Maria for more than 14 years and has been instrumental in embedding social, environmental and financial sustainability into the core of Villa Maria’s culture. He paid tribute to Sir George Fistonich, founder and owner of Villa Maria, who is celebrating his 50th vintage this year. “George’s personal commitment to sustainable practices, his support and leadership has shaped a culture that encourages everyone within the company to find new ways to reduce our environmental impact, ensuring that we, especially as a family business, leave something for the next generation.” The 2012 Green Ribbon Awards had more than 280 entries across 12 award categories, an increase of 68 on the previous year, which shows that more New Zealanders are taking action to improve the environment.

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Villa Maria Estate won the Supreme Green Ribbon Award at a ceremony at Parliament recently, recognising the company’s outstanding ongoing contributions to protecting New Zealand’s environment. The 100 per cent New Zealand and familyowned wine business also secured the Large Business Leadership category, which recognises large organisations which demonstrate an ongoing commitment to environmental best practices. Environment Minister Amy Adams who presented the award to Fabian Yukich, Villa Maria’s executive director of wineries and vineyards, said Villa Maria is dedicated to minimising the environmental impact of its business and has demonstrated that environmental best-practice can boost profitability and be part of everyday business. “The winery takes a holistic approach to environmental best practice, implementing a variety of effective initiatives nationwide. These range from growing grapes organically through to projects that reduce the

13/03/2012 11:48

A potential problem in most winery operations involving either the movement of a wine or the addition of an additive is to wrongly identify the wine involved. The likely effect on wine quality will impact profitability but wine producers can look to software systems to eliminate these inaccuracies. Peter Huish from TallShips Solutions Pty Ltd, suppliers of the Wine File winery record-keeping software system, says the accidental blending of a wine or an incorrect addition can result in significant loss in value of the wine affected, or considerable additional processing costs. “ For t u n a te l y id e nt i f ic a t ion technologies like barcodes or RFID provide cost-effective methods of positively identifying barrels and tanks.” He says effective winery management software and operational procedures will significantly reduce and potentially eliminate the problem. “In most cases, current winery practices are heavily reliant on paper to communicate work requests between the winemaker and the cellar. This paper can be in the form of a printed document from the winery’s management system, a handwritten document or a transcription

from a work list on a whiteboard. In each case they are reliant on the accuracy of the initial information and also the recipient being able to accurately carry out the task described on the sheet. In the case of barrel operations where many vessels are involved, the opportunity for error is increased.” He says use of identification technologies can eliminate the need for transcribing barrel numbers at all stages of the barrel operation process. When a barrel is initially filled with a wine the barrel’s identity can be scanned and the information used to update the winery management software.” When barrels are topped they can be scanned to ensure that the correct barrels are being used. Similarly for transfers, barrel identities can be scanned before and after operations.” Barrel attribute information (Cooper, toast level, origin) can be checked to ensure that the winemaker’s wishes are met regarding the oak type being used for a particular wine, and the software effectively eliminates paper from the communication chain between the winemaker and the cellar.

Entries called for IWSC competition New Zealand wine producers are being invited to enter what organisers describe as the world’s largest and most prestigious wine and spirits competition. The IWSC is the only competition of its kind that conducts full blind-tasting — pre-poured numbered glasses — by a panel selected from more than 300 fully experienced and qualified industr y judges, in addition to extensive technical (chemical) analysis.

estimated that in 2011, the IWSC New Zealand wine producers wanting to enter the competition have an entry generated media coverage of 1.14 billion and shipping deadline of August 24. people worldwide. Profiles of all winners are published Among the benefits of entering the competition, the organisers say, is the in the annual IWSC Awards Supplement significant media and public interest in distributed internationally, along with the results. The IWSC actively helps m omm, t i o nCC-en34-AZ016_04/12 a l suppor t in other Hydronomic,WINE TECHNOLOGY IN NZ, 130p xr o206 winners promote their success, through publications. a winners marketing package. It is

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Products are assessed by region or area; variety, style,type and vintage and age. The competition has the support of many of the world’s top wine and spirit producers the organisers say, because it sets the international benchmark for quality. The unique combination of detailed technical analysis and specialist judging panels means that gaining a competition awa rd is rated as a n exceptiona l achievement.

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Change of allegiance paying off Moving to Marlborough to study viticulture has already paid off for Nelson Marlborough Institute of Technology student Mary Richmond. The second year Diploma in Viticulture and Wine Production student at NMIT’s Marlborough Campus is this year’s Wine Marlborough Scholarship winner. Originally from Hawke’s Bay, the 25-year-old moved to Marlborough at the beginning of last year to study the programme. “I wanted to study in Marlborough because it’s an interesting place to learn new things about different wines and wine-making techniques. It’s been great. It’s a really beautiful place and NMIT is a great place to study.” Ms Richmond says she found out she had won the scholarship at just the right time. “I was right in the middle of work experience doing a vintage at Nautilus Estate. I’d been working 12-hour days, seven days a week for about a month and was feeling really tired – winning the award was a really good boost.” The Wine Marlborough Scholarship is awarded annually to second year Diploma in Viticulture and Wine Production students at NMIT. It is designed to assist students with course fees and provide an opportunity through Wine Marlborough Limited for recipients to enhance their understanding of the wine industry. As

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this year’s winner, Ms Richmond receives $1500 towards her tuition fees. Wine Marlborough Limited general manager Marcus Pickens says Ms Richmond’s commitment to the industry and already impressive work experience made her hard to overlook. “Mary’s CV is an impressive summary of a variety of different winery and vineyard positions she has already held,” he says. “Through this I got the sense of someone really wanting to explore our industry and be deeply involved in it. I think she will have a very successful career in our industry and we are delighted to support her.” Mr Pickens says the scholarship is a way for Wine Marlborough to show its commitment to the Marlborough wine region and support the success of the scholarship recipient where it can. “The Wine Marlborough scholarship has been running for many years and Wine Marlborough has a long term commitment to support it and NMIT’s wine programme,” he says. “A part of our focus is to educate, inform and lead the region in all things wine-related and this is a key reason that we support NMIT’s Diploma in Viticulture and Wine Production.” NMIT primary industries programme area leader Jeff Wilson says the Wine Marlborough Scholarship is one of two available each year to NMIT viticulture students. “NMIT is focused on producing skilled, industry-ready graduates and these scholarships help us do that – they’re also an important way of rewarding and encouraging talented students.” Ms Richmond already had practical knowledge of the industry before enrolling at NMIT, due to helping out on her family’s Hawke’s Bay vineyard. She says the programme has helped her learn more about the technical side of winemaking. “It’s good to be learning more in-depth skills about the wine production. I’m really enjoying all the laboratory work because you get to see the wines throughout the process – from juice to finished wine.” Aside from winning the scholarship, a highlight of her studies so far has been work experience at Nautilus Estate which she describes as “hard work, but rewarding”. “I’ve been able to see some really great wines being made.” When she graduates at the end of this year Ms Richmond intends going on to study the Lincoln University Oenology degree offered through NMIT. “After Lincoln, I want to stay in Marlborough and work in the industry. I’m not sure what I’d want to do – viticulture or winemaking, but I’ve got a bit of time to decide.”


Five-star praise for Goldie Wines Auckland University-owned Goldie Wines has received a five-star review for its latest release, the 2010 Goldie Cabernet Merlot Franc. Noted wine reviewer and blogger Raymond Chan reviewed a selection of the Goldie and Island range of wines available from the vineyard, giving particular praise to the 2010 Goldie Cabernet Merlot Franc, calling it “elegantly proportioned and very fine-featured with bright, ripe and luscious blackcurrant and blackberry flavours, along with red fruit nuances”. Goldie Wines general manager Ken Christie is pleased to have received such favourable praise for the vineyard’s flagship wine. “We’re very happy with Raymond’s reviews and especially his five star gold award for our cab merlot franc. He noted that it was as if the vineyard, now under University ownership, hasn’t missed a beat in maintaining the standards set by Kim and Jeanette Goldwater. This wine should prove popular with those familiar with the quality of the Goldwater Cabernet Merlots.” The vineyard’s other premium wines under the ‘Goldie’ label also scored well with the 2010 Goldie Syrah and the 2011 Goldie Chardonnay receiving silver awards. Two of the “Island” range of wines received praise with the Island Red receiving a silver award and the Island Rosé receiving bronze.

Hope offered for disease control A series of research reports for New Zealand Winegrowers has been completed by Lincoln University into botryosphaeria dieback disease and cylindrocarpon black foot disease in New Zealand vineyards. The Botroyosphaeria report comprises three sections. In the first, the species of Botryosphaeriaceae present in New Zealand, as well as their distribution in New Zealand wine regions, is reported. This is followed by an investigation of the epidemiology of Botryosphaeria diseases in grapevines, including an analysis of infection processes, infection risk factors, disease development, and the production and dispersal of spores.  The third section reports on an investigation into the role of grapevine propagation nurseries in the spread of Botryosphaeria, and begins the dialogue about the development of control strategies.  The Cylindrocarpon black foot disease report describes the identification of the pathogens in New Zealand, investigations into the pathogen’s disease cycle, risk factor assessment, infection mechanisms, and possible control mechanisms. Though the research demonstrates that eradication and control of the disease is difficult, the report outlines several control methods whose integration is believed to provide effective defence against the disease.


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Left: Libby Rainey Diploma in Viticulture and Wine Production, Lincoln Bachelor of Viticulture and Oenology, VITICULTURIST, VILLA MARIA Right: Hiroyuki Kishido Certificate in English as an Additional Language / Diploma in Viticulture and Wine Production, CELLAR HAND AND VINTAGE SUPERVISOR, MUDHOUSE WINES, MARLBOROUGH

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Wine experience delivered early Lincoln University has moved to offer a freshman-level course that will link undergraduates more closely with the research focus of the Centre for Viticulture and Oenology. ‘Introduction to the Winegrowing Industry’ is being offered in the second semester to serve as an introduction to viticulture and oenology for first-year students. The course provides newbies with an opportunity to learn the basic principles of viticulture and winemaking, as well as an introduction to wine marketing and wine tourism, in both the global and New Zealand context.  The course unites all aspects of research that are encompassed by the Centre and introduces first year students to current research projects. The course also includes a field trip to cellar door operations in the Waipara region as part of the marketing and tourism component. Course examiner Dr. Glen Creasy, senior lecturer in Viticulture at Lincoln University, said the establishment of the course is a significant milestone for the programme. “For Bachelor of Viticulture and Oenology students, this course represents an expansion of the grape and wine-related information available to them in their studies. “For students in other programmes, such as science or commerce, this course represents an entry point for learning about how wine is made, marketed and incorporated into regional tourism.” Dr Roland Harrison, director of the Centre for Viticulture and Oenology at Lincoln University, is also pleased with the new course.

“The involvement of researchers in the Commerce and Tourism areas as lecturers in the programme means much wider exposure of the Centre’s investigations in those areas, which are of importance to the industry.”

Recognition in Australia Sacred Hill Vineyards has claimed gold for its 2011 Wild South Marlborough Pinot Gris, at the International Cool Climate Wine Show in Australia. Up against Australian, New Zealand and European best cool climate wines, Wild South’s classic pinot gris infused with nashi pear flavours and spiked with baking spices took out one of the top pinot gris awards. “We’re thrilled with the results,” says Wild South’s Marlborough winemaker Kel Dixon. “The 2011 growing season experienced exceptional cool climate conditions, and by fermenting the fruit at cool temperatures we were able to achieve full aromatic expression and vivacity of the vintage, an award-winning combination,” says Kel. Wild South also took home a bronze medal for its 2011 Marlborough Pinot Noir. The International Cool Climate Wine Show received a total of 645 entries from 130 wineries, and 26 gold medals were awarded by chairman of judges, Mike DeGaris. Showcasing the best cool climate wines, the event attracts winemakers, vineyard owners, sommeliers and wine enthusiasts from around the world.

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Is ‘gewurz’ getting a raw deal?

Blackenbrook Vineyard, Nelson. Picture: Veronique Cornille

A producer, a wine commentator and a top restaurateur have combined to champion New Zealand’s top gewurztraminer wines saying wait staff and customers need more education about the variety. Blackenbrook Vineyard’s Daniel Schwarzenbach says the wine has suffered from misconceptions that need to be challenged. “The typical comments we hear is that it only works with spicy foods, that it’s really floral and something only women would drink – all these stereotypes are incorrect and it’s time we gave gewurztraminer its true place on the New Zealand wine menu. “We find many restaurants simply don’t know enough about the wine and hesitate adding it to their wine lists. They don’t feel confident and put it into the ‘too hard’ basket, when in fact it’s a classic variety and a wonderful match to a wide range of food.” Gewurztraminer is an aromatic variety that grows superbly in New Zealand’s temperate climate. Commentators agree that New Zealand is one of the world’s best producers of this variety after Alsace. Blackenbrook Vineyard has prepared a gewurztraminer basic information sheet titled “Gewurztraminer – the fresh dimension to New Zealand fine dining.” Blackenbrook will send it to restaurants around New Zealand and will also have it available for download from their website. Wine commentator Yvonne Lorkin says

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customers are often afraid to order a gewurz, for reasons as basic as that they’re not sure of how to pronounce it. “It’s an education thing. If people are taught that it’s okay to ask for a ‘gewurz’ – and perhaps even showing in brackets on wine lists how to pronounce it – this would help people feel freer to experiment. Yvonne says she’s happy to join the crusade to get gewurztraminer back in the spotlight. “I talk to many people who are convinced they won’t like it. When I insist they try it, I see their eyes light up, they go ‘wow’. So when you get a good gewurztraminer down the throat you can instantly convert someone who used to avoid it.” Top food and wine matcher and owner of Wellington’s The Ambeli Restaurant, Shae Moleta, says gewurztraminer has fallen on the sword of being popular with Thai food. “I would love to see people embrace the gewurz more, as it’s my favourite grape. Now that the fad of Asian fusion is winding down there should be more room for it. Kiwis hate tall poppies and they like to move forward so I just think it’s a matter of people realising what it’s like to drink. “Any time you want to avoid the use of acid and bring out the savouriness I look for a gewurz. There are not many grapes that come with a low acid, and for me, in my forte of food matching to wine, that’s when I instantly go looking for gewurztraminer.

“Where I see the gewurztraminer coming in is that sweet, slightly salty flavour – the aftertaste of particularly good bacon. Blackenbrook’s gewurztraminer is so close to the sea it’s easy to imagine a dish that’s resting on a sweet saltiness. The dish we’re using it with is very gently cold smoked cured salmon with an orange and chilli picada and it comes with an avocado mousse.” Shae Moleta says it’s a food wine that he can’t live without. “You get people who swear till they’re blue in the face that they don’t like gewurz – but I don’t think they realise that it can be such a savoury wine.” Yvonne Lorkin says the key to changing attitudes and perceptions is to have restaurants offering gewurz by the glass. “There just aren’t enough available by the glass and it really annoys me. How do you expect people to try it? It’s not fair to expect them to fork out for a bottle. It’s far more likely they’ll spend $8 or $9 on a glass if they’re unsure. It’s not the cheapest wine to produce but I really think it’s important to encourage availability by the glass.” Daniel Schwarzenbach says it’s a crime that while they and others are consistently producing world class gewurztraminers (Blackenbrook Gewurztraminer has been rated 4.5 stars by Michael Cooper, five stars from Bob Campbell MW for the 2007 Reserve Gewurztraminer and four sta r s for Bl ackenbrook Reser ve Gew u rztra m i ner 2008 a nd 2010, Blackenbrook Gewurztraminer 2008 and 2009) many wine lovers are still not sure when to drink it. “It pairs well with salty, spicy, smoked or fruity foods. In Alsace it is served with tarte flambe (or flammenkuchen), choucroute with european sausages and smoked meats or an assortment of washed rind and blue vein cheeses. But it also harmonises beautifully with a crab salad with ginger and dried orange peel, a Dukkah-crusted salmon or an Asian braised pork belly. We hope to arm chefs and front-of-house staff with valuable information that will lead to opening doors for many more New Zealanders to try and fall in love with this amazing grape variety.”

Winery hygiene service now offered nationally A company that has been offering winery hygiene solutions to companies on the East Coast of the North Island is now offering its services nationally. WHyS, or winery Hygiene Solutions is now also making custom-built hygiene equipment for specific problem areas in wineries such as water and waste-water treatment, mould control on f loors, walls and tanks, barrel sanitation, washdown and CIP systems. Dean Wishart (director) says the company has been delivering solutions specif ica l ly for the control of Bretta noy myces a nd other conta m i na nts w ith a n internationally recognised anti-microbial tool, that has delivered independently verified results. He says wineries have been able to save money by reducing their spoilage costs and eliminating expensive chemical and water treatment costs. Following treatment, sanitised barrels can be filled just one hour later and Dean says the WHyS treatments will not compromise a winery’s certified organic status since no chemicals are used and there are no residues. Flavours are also not affected since the process uses a USFDA approved anti-microbial agent suitable for direct food contact.

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Wine Technology: TASTE The first of a regular series of WineTech Taste Panels that investigates current wine craft developments through a palate asessment of a group of wines from various producers working in developmental areas. The wines tasted are pre-selected, not identified, and served blind to a panel that includes two winemakers/wine science palates and one from the trade sector of the wine business. The comments the panel makes are intended to illustrate aspects of developing winemaking practice in New Zealand, and not to pass arbitrary judgement on the anonymous winemakers’ performance.

Wild yeast ferments Since Michael Brajkovich at Kumeu River initiated the first commercial wild ferments in the mid-1980s, the idea of using this very old and at times controversial method of fermenting white wines has steadily gained support around the country. The international wine market is becoming more diverse in its tastes and with a range of consumer-perceived added-values evolving, (such as organics, regional character and greater individuality within label definitions) the use of yeasts occurring spontaneously in the vineyard and/or

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winery environment of specific wine producers (and labelled either as wild yeasts, natural ferments or indigenous yeasts) has become more common around the country. Given the relatively long period of indigenous yeast fermentation at Kumeu River, the winery and its vineyards have become the focus of some ground-breaking research in the fermentation activity of this particular yeast community. Amongst these has been the identity of a particular yeast strain of the species Pichia kluyveri that enhances the aromatic/flavour thiol compounds in finished wine. Studies on well-established yeast communities show that they develop considerable diversity within the range of species involved. There is also diversity within certain species that is assumed to have evolved through genetic development across a number of generations of fermentations of the local wine. This is especially the case with Saccharomyces, which in one European location yielded 205 different variations, and at Kumeu River more than 90. In the case of Kumeu River, according to Dr Matthew Goddard of Auckland University, “...none of the New Zealand strains were even remotely related to any

of the international strains – the New Zealand population stood out by itself”. Without further research it is reasonable to assume that similar local yeast identity may exist in other winegrowing locations in New Zealand, and elsewhere in the winegrowing world. It is just a matter of experience and time before these are applied to wine in New Zealand. Another factor that research has revealed is that indigenous yeasts occupy vineyards, not wineries, and that the yeast environment is a product of specific vineyards. It has also been established that different species contribute to different stages of fermentation, with non saccharomyces types most active during initial stages, but as alcohol and heat levels grow, so the more efficient saccharomyces take over. By the last stages of fermentation it is only saccharomyces that remain active. Initially there was some negative reaction from wine judges and critics, who had grown accustomed to the linear, formulaic characters that had become the standard products of commercially available yeast cultures widely used in the wine industry. Now, winemakers who favour indigenous ferments talk of extra character, sometimes funkiness, and improved “mouthfeel” in these wines.

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In the only intensively researched indigenous yeast environment in New Zealand vineyards, at Kumeu River, the following yeasts were identified: Candida zemplinina; Hanseniaspora affinityoccidentalis; Hanseniaspora u va r u m; Issatchen k ia or ienta l is; Issatchenkia terricola; Pichia fermentans; Saccharomyces cerevisiae; Zygosaccharomyces affinitybailii; and Unknown species SCH-47. (Keith Stewart)

The tasting The panel was made up of: Danny Schuster, wine consultant, winemaker, author, wine educator. Amongst Danny’s clients are some of the world’s most illustrious wineries, including Stags Leap in California and Antinori in Italy. Ben D u gd a le, w i ne consu lta nt, winemaker. Having gained experience at wineries such as Coopers Creek and Dry River, Ben is winemaking consultant to a number of wineries around the country. John Ingle, one of Auckland’s most experienced and respected sommeliers, currently patron of Pinot Plus in Takapuna. Don Kavanagh, food and beverage writer with Mediaweb, Auckland, weekly column “Pub Spy” in The New Zealand Herald. Eight wines were selected for tasting, all chardonnays from specific vineyards. A l l were pr i m a r i ly fer mented sponta neou sl y u si n g loca l yea st populations that it is assumed came into the wineries from the vineyards where the grapes were grown. The vineyards represented most of the principal winegrowing regions of New Zealand, with one wine from Northland, two from Auckland, and one each from Gisborne, Hawke’s Bay, Marlborough, Waipara and Central Otago.

WINE 1 Variety – chardonnay; vineyard – Muriwhenua district of Northland; vintage 2010 Complex wine with layers of flavour and excellent focus. Creamy smooth texture with lifted aromatic appeal and a warm, oaky fullness. Classic Old World in style, with a nod in the direction of modernity. Good fruit characters as well as complexity throughout. Top quality and with the extra note of character that was expected from wild ferment.

30 | JUNE 2012 | Wine Technology IN NEW ZEALAND

WINE 2 Variety – chardonnay; vineyard – North West Auckland; vintage 2009 Tight, mineral-like wine with a hint of acetone and some leesy, sulphidy character. Gives the impression it will gain more richness and complexity with bottle age. Very New World in style, and w ith a sense of control from the winemaking team. Very technical wine, but with elements of complexity as expected.

WINE 3 Variety – chardonnay; vineyard – North West Auckland; vintage 2008 Tight but more luscious in its fruit character than Wine 2 above. High quality, ver y technical winemaking delivering a mineral character that is complemented by a supple, creamy texture. Wines 2 and 3 appear to be from the sa me w i ner y because of the winemaking style, rather than any particular yeast character.

WINE 4 Variety – chardonnay; vineyard – Gisborne; vintage 2010 This faultless wine is very precise and showing delicious chardonnay characters, but it lacks personality. One judge commented it was like the sexy one’s little sister – attractive but dull. Plenty of charm, nice texture but none of the extra character expected of a wine that has had an indigenous ferment.

WINE 5 Variety – chardonnay; vineyard – Central Hawkes Bay; vintage 2010 Oversized, over-ripe, emphatic but somehow it pulls it off. It is a love-hate style, one that sommelier Ingle said would be an “easy sell”. Over the top, but in a very popular style and with enough distinction to cope with a multitude of bad manners. Has a glossy, creamy texture to match its rich f lavours, but too much enthusiasm for one judge.Will never win gold but will have plenty of friends.

WINE 6 Variety – chardonnay; vineyard – Wairau, Marlborough; vintage 2010 Funky wine is full-on from the first

sniff. Full and ripe with a lot going on throughout the palate to the finish. In spite of excellent fruit concentration this is not fruit-obsessed wine, it is tight without being too acid, with an element of flintyness. If wild-ferment winemaking is about operating outside the square, this is a benchmark wine. Gorgeous, with heaps of personality. Residual sugar at the finish was a negative for all judges, but still rated superb.

WINE 7 Variety – chardonnay; vineyard – Waipara, North Canterbury; vintage 2010 Concentrated, minerally, tight, intense wine, very dry and uncompromising. Hints of Chablis about it, and the judges all made the point that this was its own wine, and should not be considered cha rdon nay. Lush nose made the strongest impact, and the reserve of the palate promised to yield more complexity with time. Tidy, svelte touch of texture. Great length.

WINE 8 Variety – chardonnay; vineyard – Bannockburn, Central Otago; vintage 2009 Corrupt, quite tarty on the nose, fullbodied and ripe fruit with a suave texture. Somewhere between commercially clean and wild funk, with enough character to deliver personality. Has mineral qualities and a very dry, long finish. Impressed all as amongst the best, if not the best Central chardonnay any had tasted. “This wine points the way for Central to make good Chardonnay.”

References: Sabina Di Maiol et al, Biodiversity of Indigenous Saccharomyces Populations from Old Wineries of South-Eastern Sicily (Italy): Preservation and Economic Potential: PLoS ONE 7(2): e30428. doi:10.1371/journal. pone.0030428 February 2012. Cocolin 1, L.F. Bisson, D.A. Mills, Direct profiling of the yeast dynamics in wine fermentations: Department of Viticulture and Enology, University of California, Davis, CA 95616-8749, USA, May 2000. Dr Matthew G odd a rd, Microbial Terrorism:in Australiasian Science, April 2010.


Alan Limmer – the Stonecroft Man – and everything else to do with wine PETER SAUNDER profiles a man who has made an incredible contribution to New Zealand wine

Alan Limmer is an unassuming person. But he has a spine, a gritty determination and with double degrees in soil science and chemistry, he is a strong opponent, or proponent. He carries a doctorate. He has runs on the board as an academic, hands-on viticulturist-winemaker and as an antagonist for the Resource Management Act as it applies to New Zealand viticulture. Alan likes to laugh, including thankfully at himself. He established Stonecroft Vineyard more than 25 years ago and relaxes with his racing cars, once incheshigh go-karts, now more substantial. He is a husband, parent and takes joy in his granddaughter. He is an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to the wine industry. Alan and wife Glen sold Stonecroft in

2010, having built it up from a Mere Road block in Hawke’s Bay’s gravely sub-region and adding to it with a further purchase near Roy’s Hill (both Gimblett Gravels appellation). While working on the brand, the vineyards and establishing a winery beyond his garage, Alan set up a long industry track record. He battled Fraser Shingle for the adjacent property on Highway 50 when they wanted to turn it into a quarry – ‘a huge waste of what could be a fine vineyard’. It took a few years out of his life, he says but was thankful when some other winemakers got wind of his project and helped with the legal costs and some expertise. In the end, they won, Fraser Shingle sold the land, now in two vineyards, Craggy Range and Villa Maria Group.

Alan did not get a square metre of it, despite his long and costly battle on principle for the wine industry over a quarry. “It was an issue which came at me from 20 different fronts,” he says, and he is very grateful for moral support received from John Buck especially. The experience of course made him a capable authority on the Resource Management Act and its effect on the wine industry. If you want something done, ask a busy man to do it. If anything said ‘Resource Management’, Alan was asked. Yet as one winemaker remarked: ‘What Alan does not know thoroughly he quickly works out or knows where to find information. He is the dogged, qualified person you want on your side, not the opposition.’


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A busy man? Throw in 12 years on the board of directors of Winegrowers and three more years as chairman of Hawke’s Bay Winemakers on top of the Fraser Shingle battle and building his own vineyard and brand. He would like to think others (and some have) will make their similar contribution to the industry yet he has set the bar highly, unselfishly. In the meantime, he built Stonecroft, a winery with a reputation with solid, dependable wines which reached great heights. Old-fashioned or European in style, carrying oak impact and tannin in the reds, personality in the whites, Stonecroft became a very desirable commodity. Yet these were never found in supermarkets or similar but were loved by a mail-order market which Alan visited each year for tastings around New Zealand. Exports were a big chunk of business for which Alan laboured under the rise of the New Zealand dollar from $US0.44 to $US0.84 in 18 months, which Alan’s science degrees did not come to grips with.  Regardless, Alan had made a stamp on the New Zealand industry, whether it be consumers with the style of his wine, or on

the industry through his dogged fighting and his tireless work for both Winegrowers and Hawke’s Bay. It is a contribution that should go down in history as a vital one for New Zealand wine and thus New Zealand wine drinkers. Yet he never sought praise. Here are some of Alan’s thoughts on some topical industry issues: On industry politics: ‘I think the thing that cheesed me off the most was the endless submissions and consultations we went through with endless government departments who had basically already made up their minds. Basically talkfests at our expense, keeping bureaucrats in work. Over two decades of that and all we get is more government regulation. I suppose it just comes down to putting your finger in the dyke. But there has to be more useful ways to spend your time, and catching fish and racing my car definitely qualify.’ On Zinfandel: ‘I was chatting with John Kemble one year and expressing a wish to make a good Zin and he told me he had four clones in quarantine from the Ravenswood vineyard in California. We chatted and agreed we would choose one and share it between us. In the right year, it was okay

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but it had to be warm and dry and it isn’t all the time in practice, so we had a few loose years and the few good vintages didn’t really cover them. I think Kemblefield have withdrawn theirs and I wouldn’t be surprised or very sad if the new owners at Stonecroft do the same.’ On Gimblett Gravels:  Although Alan had small issues (‘you just have to get over them’) he joined up with Gimblett Gravels but left soon after. ‘After thinking nationally and regionally for so long in my various industry positions, I didn’t really want to focus on sub-regional empathies. My focus was wider. But Gimblett Gravels has done a great job for putting the site on the map, very good work for PR as well as R&D. The new Stonecroft owners don’t have the perspective I have gleaned from my own experience and it would seem an entirely sensible thing for them to rejoin, as they have.’  On screw-caps: Alan is happy to concede on the consumer convenience, the consistency of the wine bottle-to bottle, the retained freshness and so on. But his doubt is about the reductivity which he says is now being confirmed more scientifically as the years go by and there are wines with greater age to compare. He doesn’t like it, and maintained cork (Diams) to the end of his stay and the new Stonecroft owners have followed that path thus far.  A fine contribution from Alan Limmer over thirty years is never behind him – he talks of on-going daily exchanges with science and wine people around the world. But he believes one should never delay in retiring from the daytime job. Other things to prioritise, other people who need attention – and of course a full life of granddaughters, fishing and racing cars.

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book review

Authentic Wine: A book review by Dr Glen Creasy, Lincoln University Centre for Viticulture and Oenology The book Authentic Wine: Toward Natural and Sustainable Winemaking, by Jamie Goode and Sam Harrop MW ( University of California Press 2011, ISBN 978-0-520-26563-9), is a bit of a conundrum. It’s tackling a concept that’s a bit like pornography. It’s very difficult to define, but you know it when you see it. The basic prem ise is that w ine shouldn’t be a commodity — it needs, and deserves, to have a sense of place. This in itself is a pretty straightforward thought, but the complicating factors a re how w ine producers go about achieving this. The authors are fans of the natural wine movement (that is, those who believe that wine should be made with a minimum of inputs and manipulations), but believe that a more holistic view, one which incorporates the whole chain of production from vineyard inception through to delivery to the consumer, has its place in the discussion of what they have termed ‘authentic wine’. The book is arranged by topic, starting with defining terms and limits and giving some background to the discussion to come. The rest of the chapters go through various aspects of grape and wine production in a reasonably technical way, explaining practices such as vine grafting, sustainable/organic/biodynamic production systems, har vest parameters, wine processing, and wine faults with commentary on how these fit in with the concept of authentic wine. There are times, however, when I feel there is too much discussion about the “how” of winemaking and the topic of authenticity gets lost. A tighter integration of the main topic of the book and all these examples would have helped to make their case more cleanly, and would, I think, have resulted in a more pleasant reader experience. An odd theme for the book was the use of photos that are not referred to in the text. In some cases, the link between what is being talked about in the text and the photo on the same page is not

obvious. It seems a bit of a waste, as using those figures as examples to strengthen their points would make for a stronger argument. There is at least one glaring error, which is unexpected given the calibre of the writers, which says that all grapes contain methoxypyrazines. This was made in a discussion about birds not liking to eat pre-veraison grapes, but the reality is that the high acidity of the unripe grapes is probably the more likely

deterrent at this stage. In this part of the book they also state that when the grapes are first palatable to birds after veraison, the grapes have high acid, but also taste sweet, which is most certainly not the case, Other minor issues I had with the writing was that at points it got a bit rat-a-tat-tat in style, firing off facts without crafting the information into a f lowing stream of description and explanation.,There was also a tendency to repeat things, which is good for those who pick up the book only occasionally and start to read again, but not so good for those reading day after day. These things aside, I think the book does deserve your full attention and lengthy sit-down-and-get-comfortable reading sessions.

On a number of potentially inflammable topics, such as the use of genetically modified organisms, the practice of biodynamics, pesticide residues in wine and even global warming, the authors have been quite even-handed and, I think, have done a good job of presenting the opposing viewpoints. The “scientist-turned-wine-writer and practising winemaker” team has paid off. As a viticulturist, I feel the general message of the book was gratifying: the most ‘natural’ wines will be the ones made from the highest quality fruit – the ones that need the least fiddling with in the winery. Authentic wine is wine that has a sense of place and as people that work with grapevines, surely we can all agree that that is a good thing. However, it’s all shades of grey. As a scientist, I appreciate that the authors promote the idea that naturalness (and authenticity) is a continuum. One of the fears of the authors is that wine will become a commodity – “Coke Cabernet” or “Gucci Gewürztraminer,” if you will, and made to a recipe to fit the market. But they also recognise that commercial w ine, wh ich by necessit y is less “authentic,” can still have a certain amount of authenticity – it is up to the producers (and sellers) of wine to make sure that that element is in their wines and to celebrate it, rather than assume no-one cares. New Zealand knows of this – our top export wine style is associated with a specific region. So do I recommend the book? Yes. Reading something like this should take you on a journey, and ideally, leave you in a slightly different place than before you took it up. Messrs Goode and Harrop provide information about winegrowing for those who want to learn more about it, but it is also thought-provoking, examining how things are done from a slightly different viewpoint, and challenging us to review our own ideas about producing and selling wine.

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