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16 R E GUL A R S




Vintage 2013

Tessa Nicholson

It was dry – mostly, warm – mostly, yields were up – mostly, and the quality superb – everywhere. That seems to be the synopsis of vintage 2013. We take a look at each region, in a review of how harvest this year went.


From the CEO

Philip Gregan


Regional Viewpoint

Doug Bell – Gisborne


In Brief

News From Around the Country


Bob’s Blog

Bob Campbell MW

40 Sommelier’s Corner

Cameron Douglas MS


Not on the Label

Legal Matters


Waitaki Woes

It is a decade since the first wines were made in Waitaki to much acclaim. But has the bubble burst, or are the climatic conditions just too tough? Jo Burzynska takes a closer look at one of our youngest regions.

Wine happenings in New Zealand


Research Supplement

The latest science and research projects funded by NZ Winegrowers



20 Responding to Natural Wine

60 Calendar


Natural, or additive free? Whatever name you give them, the subject is an emotive one. Four members from both sides of the professional wine industry fence give their views on the growth or lack of this wine category.

34 Reusing Wine Bottles

Could this be the next innovative step forward for the New Zealand wine industry? If so, what is holding the industry back from adopting this form of sustainability?


E D I TO R Tessa Nicholson


CO R R E SP O N D E NTS Auckland: Joelle Thomson Wairarapa: Barbara Gillham Gisborne: Christine Boyce Hawkes Bay: Mary Shanahan Nelson: Neil Hodson Canterbury: Jo Burzynska Central Otago: Max Marriott

A DV E R T I SI N G Kaye Sutherland Ph: 03 376 5552 Mobile: 021 221 1994 Stephen Pollard Ph: 09 913 9637 Mobile: 021 963 166

C I R C U L AT I O N & SUBSCRIPTIONS Lorraine Rudelj Ph: 09 303 3527 Fax: 09 302 2969 New Zealand Winegrowers PO Box 90 276, Auckland Mail Centre, New Zealand

PUBLISHING & P R E - P R E SS Rural News Group PO Box 3855, Auckland 1140 Ph: 09 307 0399 Location: Top Floor, 29 Northcroft Street, Takapuna, Auckland 0622 Publisher: Brian Hight Managing Editor: Adam Fricker Production: Dave Ferguson, Rebecca Williams

Published by Rural News Group Ltd under authority of New Zealand Winegrowers (jointly representing Wine Institute of New Zealand Inc and New Zealand Grape Growers Council Inc). Unless directly attributed, opinions expressed in the magazine are not necessarily those of Rural News Group and/ or its directors or management, New Zealand Winegrowers or its constituent organisations. Published every second month. One free copy is mailed to every member of the Institute, the Council, the New Zealand Society of Viticulture & Oenology and the New Zealand Vine Improvement Group, and to such other persons or organisations as directed by the owners, with provision for additional copies and other recipients to be on a subscription basis.

ISSN 1174-5223

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world see that as innovative. t a recent Primary Industries Then there was introduction of Innovation and Collaboration screwcaps. I am sure the founding conference held in Nelson, the committee were told many times that wine industry was showcased as being a leader in both fields. And with good their vision of seeing the majority of New Zealand wine enclosed under caps, reason, when you look at the history. rather than cork, was not possible. Those Take collaboration for example. It was naysayers didn’t count on the tenacity nearly 20 years ago that grape growers and of the original committee members, or wineries moved away from being separate the collaboration of the industry overall. entities, to a united package under the banner of New Zealand Winegrowers. That These days around only 2% of New Zealand wine is sealed under cork. There is no has allowed the industry to speak with other country in the world that can make one voice, whether that be to Government that claim. (On page 38 we look back at the officials, or overseas markets. massive changes made in just 12 years.) The World Wine Trade Group Creating a sustainable industry was also (WWTG) is another example of an innovative move forward, especially collaboration at work. When it became obvious our wine industry couldn’t survive when you consider it all began back in 1995. Now most new on domestic world countries sales alone, are creating there was an Creating a sustainable industry their own urgent need to was also an innovative move forward, sustainability secure export parameters, but markets. especially when you consider it all all have a long Only problem began back in 1995. way to go before there was they match New the inability Zealand’s. to break So where to from here? What other through the red tape involved in European forms of collaboration or innovation can regulations. By collaborating with fellow the wine industry achieve? new world producers, the WWTG was This issue we look at the potential of formed. This has opened the door into reusing wine bottles, which could well be some pretty important markets, such as the “next big thing”. America, Canada and Australia. Imagine if New Zealand was able to In terms of innovation, the wine market itself as producing sustainable industry is considered a leader among wine, in reusable bottles that have a carbon primary industries. The foresight of footprint 93% less than the standard Frank Yukich turned the sunny, sleepy bottle. little province of Marlborough into Sound a bit unlikely? Well given what a world-renowned wine producer. the industry has achieved in the past few While Sauvignon Blanc is no newbie in decades – it shouldn’t be. terms of wine varietals, the distinctive Marlborough style is. Many in the wine


THE IMPACT OF VINTAGE 2012 Vintage 2013 is now over and according to all reports it seems to have been a very good one for the sector. The first wines from the vintage have already appeared in the Wine Export Certification System and we expect May to be a very busy month for certifying 2013 wines as industry stocks are low.


ith the 2013 wines shortly to hit the retail stores, it is perhaps worthwhile to have a look at the impact vintage 2012 had on the industry over the past year. If you need reminding the 2012 harvest generated just 269,000 tonnes of grapes, down 18% on 2011. It was anticipated the smaller harvest would have a significant impact on the supply demand balance in the industry, the value and volume of sales, market orientation of sales and grape prices amongst other matters. This has certainly proven to be the case.

by up to 10% or around 18 million litres on the previous year. For the 10 months to the end of April export volumes are down 6%. Whether this reduction will be maintained over coming months will be interesting to see, as with stocks low it may be that a number of wineries bring forward the release of their 2013 wines.

marked reduction in export of bulk wine and we further expected most of that reduction to occur with exports of unpackaged wine into the UK. Again this expectation has largely eventuated. For the 10 months to April 2013, total exports of unpackaged wine are down 24% (or around 14 million litres) while unpackaged exports

The supply demand balance in the industry has a significant impact on the operating dynamics of the sector. Change the supply demand balance and sales, volumes, types, values, and destination markets will all change.

Total Sales Packaged Exports Still Growing

Total sales of New Zealand wine for the June year end (JYE) 2012 were 243.5 million litres. With the vintage down 18%, but with some stock to draw down on, our view was that total sales of New Zealand wine JYE 2013 would fall by up to 15% as a result. To the end of February this year, total sales of New Zealand wine are estimated to be down just under 10%, so by JYE 2013 it would seem sales are going to be significantly down on the previous year.

Despite the fact we expected there would be a reduction in the overall volume of wine exports, our expectation was that packaged exports would continue to grow for JYE 2013. This has proved to be the case as for the 10 months to April, packaged exports are up 5.5% on the previous year. This is in line with our view for 5% packaged wine export growth for the year to June 2013.

Export Volumes

Bulk Exports Fall

Our expectation was that JYE 2013 export volumes would fall

On the other hand we expected there would be a

to the UK for the same period are down 42%.

What About Pricing? Our expectations for pricing were two-fold: First, bulk export prices would rise by over $1 per litre to around $4 per litre; on the other hand we expected packaged export prices to respond much more slowly to the new wine shortage. Again experience to date has largely followed these expectations with FOB prices for bulk wine now averaging $3.60 per litre over 80 cents up on last year. By contrast, there has as yet been little movement

in packaged export prices, although there are signs of this in the UK market. The increase in the exchange rate over the past 12 months has, of course, impacted the FOB returns, but the clear signs are that the packaged export prices have yet to respond significantly to the changed supply demand balance in the industry.

Grape Prices? And finally grape prices, yes our expectation was that grape prices on the back of the changed supply demand balance in the industry would increase in 2013. Anecdotally it would appear that this is certainly the case, but we will only know the extent of the increase when the grape price data from this vintage becomes available a little later in the year. There are lots of numbers in the above, but behind them lies a single message – the supply demand balance in the industry has a significant impact on the operating dynamics of the sector. Change the supply demand balance and sales, volumes, types, values, and destination markets will all change. The supply demand balance is not the only factor affecting these, but it is certainly an important one. ■





here’s been a lot of superlatives bandied about, describing the 2013 vintage, but to put it simply, it was stunning, the best ever! The dry weather, whilst tough on pastoral farmers was ideal for grapegrowers, and we have harvested beautiful fruit, across the wide range of varieties grown in Gisborne. Steve Voysey, Indevin consultant winemaker, says; “Vintage 2013 - superb without exception.” If I were to pick a key feature of why it was superb, it would be the coolness of the nights. The open skys kept the nights cool resulting in acidity at near perfect levels and providing, bright, fresh and variety pure wines. Gisborne is blessed with a long and moderate growing season that supports grape variety and wine style diversity. Wines from Methode Sparkling (Chardonnay and Pinot Noir), lighter whites (Albarino, Sauvignon Blanc and Arneis),  full bodied Whites (Chardonnay and Viognier), Aromatics ( Pinot Gris and Gewurztraminer) Reds (Merlot and Syrah) and Sticky

late harvests (Semillon and Viognier) without exception have delivered spectacularly. The brands that Gisborne feeds are accessible and generally excellent value, without doubt this reputation will be enhanced by the quality of 2013 vintage. That’s not to say the winemakers have raced it all through to these early release wine styles. The 2013 barrel fermented Chardonnays are going to be something worth waiting for. And Anita Ewart-Croy, winemaker for the Grower Co-op, GroCo, commented; “All in all the 2013 season has given us clean, ripe and intensely flavoured fruit of all varieties. The Pinot Gris is showing fantastic spice and texture, while Chardonnay is giving full stonefruit flavours and wonderful aromatics. Sauvignon Blanc from Gisborne is truly passionfruit with crisp acidity, while the Gewurztraminer is brimming with lychee and ginger. All of the red varieties, Pinot Noir, Merlot and Syrah have vibrant colour, and wonderfully ripe tannins. “The perfect weather condi-

tions allowed for well-timed harvest decisions and selection of fruit at optimal ripeness. Everyone involved in the Gisborne wine industry experienced a rewarding harvest, and the general attitude is one of confidence and positivity for the next step, sales!”

On to what’s happening in the district Gisborne Winegrowers (GWG) has 3 trial vineyard plots across the district, and here we have planted commercial quantities of varieties or clones that our committee thought could be viable locally. We have 3 clones of Chenin Blanc, Vermentino, Sauvignon Gris, Lagrein and Fiano. We harvested the first crop off most of these this year and EIT Tairawhiti has undertaken to do the microvin on this fruit. The wines will then be made available to the local growers at a tasting and analysis forum. Brent Laidlaw is the wine course tutor and he will be overseeing the small batches of

wine for this trial. It is worthy of note that enrolments are currently open for the July intake in EIT-Tairawhiti’s Certificate in Grapegrowing and Winemaking (Commercial Practice) in Gisborne with up to 24 students able to enrol. Along with the classroom material, students taking this option will follow the life cycle of the vine from dormancy through to harvest putting theory into practice in the Waimata Vineyard and at the Polytechnic’s 70 tonne winery up to and during harvest in 2014. The vineyard supplies fruit for EIT-Tairawhiti’s own Waimata Vineyards and Cognoscenti labels and are supplemented with grapes purchased from local growers. The Commercial Practice endorsement is only available at EIT-Tairawhiti and recognises the hugely practical aspect of the programme. ■

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National SWNZ Recognised Sustainable Winegrowing New Zealand was acknowledged at the Drinks Business Green Awards recently, as runner up in the Sustainability Award of the Year (Generic Organisation.) Losing out to California Sustainable Winegrowing Alliance, the judges were still complimentary saying; “On a smaller scale than California but also highly impressive is the New Zealand Winegrower Sustainability policy, which has now incorporated 95% of the country’s producing land and encompasses seven key areas, including biodiversity and water management.” The only other New Zealand companies to be acknowledged in the awards were Villa Maria and Yealands Estates. Both were finalists in the Green Company of the Year and the Sustainability of the Year categories.

Lupton, the book represents the first attempt to collect, condense and synthesise research findings into a clear and cogent summary of the trials conducted in this country – and the outcomes taken on board in terms of current viticultural management. “Botrytis has been the subject of scientific inquiry for more than 100 years with ever-increasing areas of specialisation,” said Dr Simon Hooker, General Manager Research at NZW. The goal of the new book is to present the non-scientist with a clear picture of what the New Zealand body of research can tell us about botrytis and its management in the vineyard, he added. “New Zealand scientists are recognised internationally as leading researchers in the area of botrytis and viticulture, and many of them have generously contributed to this book’s creation,” said Dr Hooker.

Vineyard Register 2013 The 2013 Vineyard Register is now available online for completion. All vineyards are asked to complete their Register and submit online by 30th June 2013. To assist you with the completion of your Register, if you completed a vineyard register for 2012 NZW have pre-populated your 2013 Register with the data entered last year. This will automatically provide you with a summary of vineyard and variety information previously entered. If you have made no changes to your vineyard, all you will have to do is check, confirm and submit your information.

Battling Botrytis – A New Summary Botrytis bunch rot in grapes – often simply referred to as “botrytis” by winegrowers – is a perennial challenge to the New Zealand wine industry. Easily capable of destroying an entire crop, botrytis outbreaks can, in bad years, surpass the individual vineyard level to affect entire regions. That is why New Zealand Winegrowers (NZW) has consistently earmarked member levies to fund botrytis research over the past 15 years. This year a new book, Understanding Botrytis in New Zealand Vineyards, will be launched at the Romeo Bragato Conference in August, with copies sent to all members immediately after the event. Commissioned by NZW and written by Ruby Andrew and Trevor

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contact us to discuss your vine requirements for this year as well as 2014 delivery. Kate Gibbs (B.Hort.Sci) Stanmore Farm Ltd R D 1, Te Horo, Otaki Freephone 0800 STANMORE • Mobile 027 440 9814

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Delegat’s Buy Off Shore Delegat’s Group has bought the assets of Australia’s Barossa Valley Estate out of receivership, for NZ$29.94 million. The purchase includes a 5000 tonne winery, a 412 hectare vineyard in the Barossa Valley, along with grower contracts, inventory and brands. It is the latest in a list of acquisitions in recent months by Delegat’s. Earlier this year the Group purchased the Hawke’s Bay assets of Matariki Group and also bought two Marlborough properties last year.

World Wine Trade Group The World Wine Trade Group (WWTG) completed a new protocol on wine labelling in Auckland in November and it was signed in Brussels in March by some WWTG participants including New Zealand, and by Australia in April. It is expected that the remaining participants will sign up within a year. This treaty-level protocol requires that signatories allow the importation and sale of wine from other countries that have signed up to the protocol, provided that the wine meets a set of minimum standards (for labelling relating to alcohol tolerance, variety, vintage and wine region, and that it meets the exporting country’s laws and regulations). The protocol outcome does not require any changes to New Zealand regulations or legislation. The WWTG was formed in 1998 to promote better regulation and enhanced trade in wine. The group encompasses government and industry representatives from “new world” wine producing countries.

The current participants – Argentina, Australia, Canada, Chile, Georgia, New Zealand and the United States – account for roughly a third of global wine production and exports, and a growing share of the global market for wine.

Waiheke Island Dunleavy’s Take Back Control of Te Motu Two years after selling their Waiheke Island vineyard Te Motu, the Dunleavy family is now back in the management seat. The vineyard set in the Onetangi Valley was developed by the Dunleavy family back in 1988, and sold to Richina Pacific in 2011. It has now been purchased by a group including the Poland family, Paul Dunleavy and Sam Harrop MW, along with a number of others. Dunleavy will resume the role of managing director, while his brother John will continue as vineyard manager. Harrop will be a consultant winemaker.

Marlborough French Honour For Winemaker Marlborough winemaker Georges Michel now holds the honour of being an Officier de l’ordre nationale du merite, after being acknowledged by the French ambassador last

month. It is somewhat of a promotion for Michel, as he was already a “chevalier” or knight in the order prior to the recent presentation. The order recognises French citizens and foreign nationals who have distinguished civil

or military achievements, with officier the second on the list of five classes. Michel who arrived in New Zealand in 1997, is the owner and winemaker behind Domaine Georges Michel. He became a New Zealand citizen in 2003. ■




Matakana Ben Dugdale, chairman of the Matakana Winegrowers Association says the 2013 harvest was one of the easiest he has ever encountered in the region, with the exception of the ripening phase being relatively widely spaced apart. “The harvest began about seven to 10 days earlier than normal and that enabled us to pick when the balance was just right. In terms of whites, from what I’ve seen in people’s cellars, there was quite a lot of sugar and the flavours only came through in the last two weeks or so. There’s a real core of pure fruit within the whites, which are predominantly Chardonnay and Pinot Gris in the Matakana region.” In terms of reds, Dugdale describes Merlot as having more of a focused expression than usual and Syrah has been “interesting”.

Waiheke Island Waiheke Island is an enclave all of its own when it comes to weather at vintage time. And this year was no exception. While winemakers in the rest of the Auckland region found rain to be a battle at various times of the vintage, Waiheke Island was extremely dry by the end of harvest. Neill Culley from Cable Bay Winery says the vintage was also spread out. He began harvest on 28 February with Pinot Gris and finished around 20 April. “The whites were not par-

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ticularly early, although we don’t pick on sugar but more on acidity and flavour. The reds were a little earlier than a normal year but not super early. The drought we experienced seemed to slow down ripening because it took longer for the flavours to arrive than I imagined, which was probably related to the dryness this season. The vines were approaching proper water stress, which slowed ripening.” Culley says his white grapes looked fantastic but it was too early to make a prediction on the reds.

West Auckland Just under half the usual number of grapes were harvested at Kumeu River Wines in West Auckland this year, says Master of Wine and winemaker Michael Brajkovich. Brajkovich says the quality was excellent, thanks to the relatively dry weather, but a frost in early spring decimated much of the crop. “Our vintage was just under half the 300 to 400 tonnes we usually get. This year we had just 150 tonnes due to spring frost on 19 September last year, but our grapes were harvested virtually rot-free this year and the quality is fantastic.” While the numbers are significantly reduced, Brajkovich says “it’s not as low as we’ve had some other years and the most important thing has been the top quality we’ve got in.” ■



Gisborne Gisborne’s vintage has been described by winemakers as a “once in a lifetime” one. While the drought brought challenges to other sectors of horticulture, for local grape growers it provided freedom of harvest, high-quality fruit and stunning flavours across many varieties. “It was a pleasure and exciting to be a part of,” said Wrights Winery & Vineyard owner Nicola Wright. “The fruit came in exceptionally clean and ahead of schedule compared to other years. The flavours are ripe; with some strong variety expressions . . . I think we will see some of the best wines this region has produced.” After two very difficult and wet years, this vintage was a bit like a “prize giving” for hanging in there throughout the tough times, she said. “I think Chardonnay will be one to watch; it has some fantastic banana flavours coming through. Now the tanks are full, the barrels are all in and we’re looking forward to the first early releases in July and Chardonnays later in December” Andy Nimmo of Hihi Wines agreed the vintage was excellent – the quality of white and red were some of the best he had seen in years. One of the key advantages of the consistently dry weather

was that it allowed them to better manage harvest. “We could pick when we wanted to, rather than being dictated by the weather which was a huge positive. The result was some excellent flavours and excellent quality fruit. “It was fantastic. We needed a good year and we got one.” Indevin consultant winemaker Steve Voysey said everything had over-delivered. “The weather and the whole balance of the wines; it was a dry season but it was different in that the balance was really good. I put that down to cool nights keeping acidities high. “We didn’t have stress in the vines. The holding capacity of the soil in Gisborne was good enough that the wines didn’t stress even in the dry. We ended up with a lovely even crop.” The exceptional vintage also brought with it a positive morale booster to the local industry. “I think there is a general feeling things are on the improve,” Voysey said. “We have a bit less stock which is a good position to be in, prices have continued to rise and there is a good range of wines. It’s not just all based around one variety.” ■


Hand harvesting at Ata Rangi. PHOTO WINES OF MARTINBOROUGH


Wairarapa “You should know by now that every vintage is fantastic, even before anyone’s picked a grape,” says the godfather of Martinborough’s wine industry, Richard Riddiford. But as tongue in cheek as the managing director of Palliser Estate was, about vintage 2013, Riddiford says this is the best year in the past quarter century. “It has been excellent and it was quite concentrated in that everything got ripe at the same time, so there was a lot of work in a short space of time at one stage, but the resulting fruit is fantastic and I’d say that it’s the


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best in my 25 years – which is quite a long time to look back on,” Riddiford says. At one point, the 2013 vintage looked almost too hot, he says. “We had to be careful that we didn’t produce a lot of high alcohol wines due to that intense heat. We got a summer like we used to have year on year and this year’s yields are also going to be good, which is also important. We get years like 2007 where we halved our yield and therefore halved our income. It was nice this year to get a good yield and very high quality. It doesn’t often happen.” ■



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A rainy end to the season has in no way dampened Hawke’s Bay’s high spirits, with growers and wineries celebrating a vintage they believe will be among the region’s best. As a very warm and settled summer rolled on into a balmy autumn, fruit ripened consistently well across all varieties and subregions and was ready to harvest seven to ten days ahead of schedule. So there was little concern about bringing in the last of the red grapes a week or so early to beat the dodgy weather. As Ngatarawa winemaker Peter Gough points out, sugar levels were good and there were ripe flavours in the Syrah and Cabernet. And that, he says, was true of all the winery’s varieties. “It would be among the top 10 percent of my 25 vintages. You really cherish these ones because they are

highlights, the ones you remember most.” Gough believes the 2013 vintage will reward consumers in delivering well-balanced and flavoursome wines, and that the styles intended for cellaring will age well. Everyone was also happy that it was a disease-free season. Vidal Estate winemaker Hugh Crichton didn’t spot a single botrytis-affected berry – something he has never experienced before. While there were reports of some varieties being a little down, the overall yield is expected to be about average – a good result for Hawke’s Bay, says Mal McLennan of Maimai Creek. “We’re not here to fill tanks; we’re here to sell good quality wines.” Tim Turvey of Clearview Estate believes the 2103 vintage will rival the Te Awanga winery’s previous bests of 2007 and 2009. ■

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Nelson The 2013 vintage in Nelson will be remembered as one of two halves; a stunning growing season followed by frantic harvesting as the rains arrived. The season started well with perfect flowering conditions and balanced fruit-set that required very little crop thinning. Rain in early January was nicely timed to help get things moving and when

the bright sunshine did arrive it stayed for months.. The perfect growing conditions had some talking about one of the best vintages in memory but as the Chairman of Nelson Winegrowers, Richard Flatman, said early in the season; “We are working with Mother Nature so only time will tell,” and he was dead right. With the fruit in pristine condition and at or close to required

brix levels, it rained. We know harvest is in autumn and growers expect and can handle short rain events. However the problem in Nelson was an afternoon of light rain followed by two days of persistent rain. Damage was limited with most fruit so close to being perfectly ripe it was able to be harvested before the rains impacted too much. Flatman says Neudorf Vineyards harvested some of the finest fruit he has seen in his five years as viticulturist there.

Tony Southgate Winemaker at Bightwater Vineyards.


Marlborough The drought that struck most parts of the country, didn’t really impact on Marlborough. There was enough rain throughout the season to ensure the vines weren’t stressed, but not enough to cause any major disease pressures. Flowering conditions in December were a marked improvement on the year before, but there was still some variability in flowering throughout the region. Hamish Clark, senior winemaker for Saint Clair Wines, said the Awatere in particular produced lighter yields this year, as did parts of the Upper Wairau and Southern Valleys. However the

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Pat Stowe owner of Rimu Grove Wines.

fruit flavours throughout the region have been described as very good. Given Sauvignon Blanc’s unique thiols and passionfruit flavours tend to develop late in the ripening phase, Clark says there were concerns early on that the fruit would ripen too quickly without having the desired hang time. But a cooler snap just after Easter proved those fears unfounded. “The days were still warm but the cold nights slowed the ripening down just at the right time.” For some in the region, there was a maximum push towards the middle of April as an impending week of rain was forecast. “That could have been disastrous,” Clark said. “We were already running our


Producers spoken to across the region said the long, warm summer days helped develop beautiful flavours. The only impact on grapes that had be harvested with slightly lower than optimal brix would be lower alcohol levels which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Varieties to really shine in the Nelson region for the 2013 grape harvest are Pinot Noir (described by everyone as the best fruit they have ever seen in Nelson), Chardonnay and Riesling. ■


harvesting crews at max revs, we had to hit the turbo button for a last push to get all our fruit in before it hit – and just managed to do so.” “This vintage will be memorable for me because of the compression of the harvest window,” Clark said. “We were pretty much harvesting flat out 24/7 for three weeks, with no stops from just before Easter; unlike other years that would be typically stretched out over four to five weeks.” He wasn’t the only one placed under pressure by the compression of the season. Clive Jones, Nautilus winemaker and winery manager says the intensity of the harvest broke all records at the winery. “In terms of Sauvignon Blanc, we normally take 22 – 26 days to harvest all our fruit. This year we did it in 16!” Nick Lane from Cloudy

Bay says the Wairau Valley seemed determined to ripen Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc at the same time. “The last 2 weeks of March and 2 weeks of April saw the Wairau Valley harvest the majority of it’s healthy crop in a brief but intense period.” Looking at individual varieties, Sauvignon Blanc is described as returning average yields – although crops in the Awatere were much lower. Jones said the fruit looked really good, in the “slightly riper spectrum than last year, which was quite late. There are lots of tropical characteristics and I think they will produce extremely friendly, attractive wines.” “The Sauvignon Blancs are wonderfully varied with flavours going from the herbaceous and zesty to the ripe and luscious,” according to Lane. “At this stage the Pinot Noir wines look moderately fruited with ample structure if given an appropriate amount of time on skins. The Chardonnays have excellent balance, exhibiting complex flavours at moderate alcohol levels.” Clark describes the Pinot crops as “smallish. But it is sensational. There is a bit of variation in berry size between the blocks but all yielding incredible density of colour. The warm temperatures we had early helped build up plenty of tannin structure, the flavours are great.” A prolonged period of rain right at the end of harvest was forecast well in advance, allowing the vast majority of fruit to be picked well before it arrived. ■

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Canterbury/Waipara Following a chilly start, Canterbury experienced a great growing season. Winegrowers in Waipara appear particularly pleased with the quality of this year’s vintage, while some of those in the wider Canterbury region went on to experience some challenges at harvest from late rain as this report went to press. “The coldest spring in 10 years meant more time than usual frost fighting,” noted Nicolas Brown. While a few vineyards received significant damage, most of the area was undamaged. “Crop set was variable,” commented Pegasus Bay’s Ivan Donaldson, “being modest in the earlier clones of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, but otherwise generally good and so heavy in the later flowering varieties that extensive thinning was required.” “We experienced one of the best summers in recent years,” commented Brown. “The lack of mid summer Nor’westers allowed our vineyard canopies to relax in sun drenched still weather, which meant good growth, low vine stress, and good ripening. In mid to late March we experienced 10 days of very warm nights and as result a rapid accumulation in brix, with 12 days straight


of picking after Easter allowing us to capture our fruit in perfect condition, with thick skins, moderate brix, and good levels of natural acidity.” “The great growing season through the summer months ensured the flavour development across the board was fantastic, and there are some really exciting parcels in the winery fermenting away,” noted Simon McGeorge of Waipara Hills. “The Sauvignon Blancs have great flavour intensity and freshness of character, the Pinot Noirs are rich and dense yet still possessing lovely aromatic lift and the Pinot Gris look very smart and have great flavour concentration.” “The 2013 vintage has been widely anticipated and deservedly so: wonderful density to

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fruit flavours across all varieties,” agreed Dom Maxwell from Greystone, echoing the generally positive opinion of the vintage held in the region. “We are expecting wines of real energy, flavour and length. This is the best vintage the Greystone vineyard has seen in its short history.” On the Canterbury Plains, spring frosts wiped out pockets of vineyards, but those with fruit remaining here and across the wider Canterbury region went on to see grapes ripen well in the warm summer weather. When rain hit Canterbury in late April and early May, while much of Waipara’s crop was safely in the wineries, in later ripening areas of Canterbury, gowers had to contend with some damp conditions. ■

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Central Otago In Central Otago, vintage 2013 was a tale of two seasons. For some, the devastating spring frosts saw annihilation of entire crops, whereas for others, the cooler weather simply became a growth hiccup in an ideal growing season. The wet and cool spring did delay onset of flowering in most places, which was protracted right through until harvest. Very few grapes had been picked by Easter, with harvest kicking off about a week later than the previous (earlier) seasons. For most, the dates were fairly consistent with historic averages. Weather through January-March was largely warm and dry. Overnight temperatures postveraison were unseasonably warm, leading to a higher degree of grapevine metabolism and consequently, acids were dropping fast. However, lignification and physiological ripeness was strong. As a result, most were able to pick on flavours and acid, which saw fruit coming into wineries at lower sugar levels. It wasn’t uncommon to hear of numbers in the 23-24 Brix zone, much to the satisfaction of winemakers around the region. A southerly airflow in early April was cause

for concern. Hard frosts occurred on the 6th and 10th of April, after snow fell on surrounding hills. Most atrisk vineyards in the Cromwell basin were scheduled to pick or had already picked their fruit, however Gibbston was still a couple of weeks away from ideal picking windows and some vineyards were adversely affected. Those higher up on the Back Road escaped the worst of it. As is so often the case in Central Otago, the frosts for many signaled the end of the growing season. However a fortnight of warm, sunny weather surprised everyone. It wasn’t until the 30th of April that the frosts returned, resulting in a compressed harvest that started later and finished earlier. The short and sharp harvest, a product of the season and weather, was also due to some immaculate fruit. Picking was quick, clean and comfortable. Yields were coming in at or slightly over estimates and most were thankful for the extra fruit. Bunches came in a little larger than average, though at no detriment to concentration, flavours or intensity. The early prognosis for 2013 in Central Otago?

Concentrated wines, with good acid lines and power reigned in by lower alcohols and judicious oak handling. ■

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t was just a decade ago when the first ever wine was made in the Waitaki Valley, with the subsequent releases riding a wave of hype and well deserved critical acclaim. However, Craggy Range withdrew a few years back; its largest player, Pasquale has announced it’s pulling out and “for sale” signs are now scattered through its vineyard area. So what’s happened to a place so full of promise? Its potential was initially spot-

ted near simultaneously in the late 90s by the late entrepreneur, Sir Howard Paterson and Jeff Sinnott of what was to become Ostler Vineyard. They both identified the north facing limestone-rich hills as possible prime sites for top cool climate Pinot Noir. Since then it’s established itself not only as the producer of a distinctive savoury style of Pinot Noir, but also for its elegant Rieslings, Pinot Gris, and recent rising

star, Chardonnay. While coolness has helped shape its elegant styles of wine, situated as it is at the very edge of viable grape growing, its climate has also bestowed upon it some of the lowest yielding vines in the country. It’s the weather, “that can wipe out a harvest every four or five years” that’s cited by Pasquale, general manager, Renzo Miño as one of the reasons behind the company’s retreat from the region. This was combined with the “cost

of growing and hand-harvesting vines… reflected in the high quality and cost of the wine in bottle” and the region’s relatively isolated location on a road less travelled between Oamaru and Omarama. After investing what he estimates to be around $6 million in his wine interests in the region, including the Kurow winery he opened in 2009, Pasquale’s owner, Antonio Pasquale says the wines “cost too much to produce for what people are prepared to pay”.


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He also considers the region is not consistently warm enough every vintage to produce “memorable Pinot Noirs”, although has more face in aromatic whites and sparkling and plans to continue making a Gewurztraminer from the valley. “The region today has yet to be built,” he states. “There are no visionary people; no airport nearby; tourism is not developed. The potential is there but North Otago is today a too hard basket for serious investments.” Although Craggy Range also pulled out of the region, Steve Smith MW is more positive about the Waitaki and its potential. He says Craggy Range left the region due to the general decision made by the company to focus entirely on its estate vineyards and all its Pinot Noir and aromatic white production in its Te Muna vineyard.


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Jim Jerram owner of Ostler Vineyards.

“The decision wasn’t made because of our disaffection with the region,” he explains. “It is true to say that the first few vintages we had were difficult from a yield point of view: however that also happened to us in Martinborough. Personally I still have strong belief in the Waitaki region: it will make unique and expressive Pinot Noir and aromatic white wines. The challenge will be yields to ensure commercial sustainability.” Steve Harrop, who was involved in the marketing of Paterson’s Waitaki Valley Estates vineyard subdivision in the region’s early days, considers a number of factors to be responsible for the current wave of defections. “The main hurdle has been the timing of launching a new premium winegrowing region with the initial establishment costs in the vineyard, the cost of farming those grapes, followed by those unforeseen costs in the giant world of wine marketing,” says Harrop, who remains in the valley, where he runs his Sublime Wines label. “We were an infant winegrowing region trying to make as much noise as we could in a

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pretty difficult time for the wine industry both here in New Zealand and overseas. Then along came the global financial crisis.” “It certainly is not for the faint-hearted, and considerable resources are required,” acknowledges Ostler’s Jim Jerram, who has no plans to up sticks. “While some of the finest examples of each grape/wine variety come from close to the cooler limits of their climatic range, there tends to be a drop in yield, which is the Waitaki’s biggest challenge.” However, he speaks of a number of sites in the lower-mid Valley that have been identified in recent years that appear to “offer a compromise” and now “mitigates the risk” by sourcing grapes from three sites spanning 25km of the valley with a variation in heat summation close to 20%. “We wouldn’t be here if we did not think it worth the effort,” he concludes. “Our reputation is building and sales with it, but those who have pioneered in other regions know what effort and doggedness this requires.” Someone fitting that bill is Grant Taylor, who comments


he’s seen many people come and go over his time in Central Otago as well as in this recent period in the Waitaki, which he attributes to a combination of investors being under capitalised, involved as financial speculators, being overly optimistic and not understanding the wine industry enough. “However, it is definitely financially viable and well worth the effort,’ he says. “It may be more difficult than anywhere else I’ve worked, but that is part of the attraction and the resulting wines are so expressive of place.” “None of it’s to do with the wines themselves,” stresses John Forrest, who made the region’s first experimental Pinot Noir for Paterson back in 2003. “From the start I saw the wines were very different to those from anywhere else and expressive of the region’s limestone terroir. My initial excitement has been borne out by some years of superb wines.” “The indications are there that it can be a wonderful wine region for certain varieties,” says Michelle Richardson of Waitaki Braids. “There have been some wines that you can see real glimpses of something special,

which don’t look like anything from any other region.” “As is often the way with new ventures in high risk areas, the first person in carries the cost for the subsequent people to make it economically successful,” observes Forrest. But there are enough of that first wave left to ensure the region remains on the country’s wine map. Forrest would like to see the key players in the region join forces to run their own high standard viticultural service, which is something that the region has lacked. He also floats the idea that Pasquale’s exit might leave the way open for a winemaking collective in the region where he’d like to see a winemaking facility retained. “There are still many success stories from this little valley and, who knows, if the economy turns we may see a flurry of new investment,” says Harrop. “In the end the Waitaki Valley’s wines make a valuable contribution to New Zealand’s wine portfolio - it would be a shame to not see that continue and our true potential realised.” ■



hilly challenges have proven too much for now for one of New Zealand’s most isolated vineyards – Antonio Pasquale’s Hakataramea Valley site. The Italian-born and bred wine producer announced in April this year that, after 14 years of pioneering winemaking in North Otago, he is moving his energies – and economic input – to Northland, where he lives. Pasquale immigrated to New Zealand with his family from northern Italy in 1997, so cool climate winemaking is nothing new to this farmer-turned-wine producer. But the isolation of Hakataramea and Waitaki most definitely were a challenge. Pasquale says the lack of infrastructure in the area scared him. So, too, did the lack of uptake for the white wines he produced there. “Our Pinot Noir was very, very good but our whites were – and

still are – the most exciting wines we make from there. I believe in those wines and think there is great potential for them but for now I am going to focus more on the north,” Pasquale says. “The main reason for the move is my inability to compromise my taste of wine. This move is really based on the fact that, while the Waitaki as a region and a place has a lot of potential, I don’t think it has the people to get there at the moment,” says Pasquale. He currently has a one hectare trial vineyard of Chardonnay at Russell, from which he plans to release the first commercial vintage of 2012 Pasquale Northland Chardonnay, in about 18 months. The 2013 vintage will be released three years from now. “The grapes I have are showing me what’s possible to do in this climate and I am about to start shifting tanks and machinery north, and also to start planting

some more grapes,” says Pasquale. The vines he has planted at Russell so far include trials of Arneis, which he describes as being “a good wine, which has been getting a positive reception” but also one he is not convinced by yet, due to what he perceives as its relative lack of acidity. “I also have Sangiovese, which looks promising. All my vines up here are going to be grown here in Russell at my vineyard.” As for the deep south, Pasquale may keep grapes in the ground to see what happens in a place he describes as “still a work in progress”. “The cool climactic edge in Waitaki, along with the limestone soils, makes the area ideal for wines of crispness, concentration and lasting minerality. Great wines can be made here but they may not be the ones everyone is trying so hard to produce right now.” His investment in the region certainly proved his commitment to it; Pasquale had 100,000 vines and the valley’s first and only winery. He also garnered awards

at wine competitions everywhere from London to Asia and New Zealand. In contrast to Central Otago, Waitaki is far more isolated. “There are a lot of great wineries in and around Queenstown that work because there is an international airport there, but in Waitaki we are very isolated, so there is not enough quantity and quality. The place is perfect for high quality grapes but it is based on quality and extremely low yields and I’m okay with that, but I have to recognize the fact that my wines cost a lot to me,” he says, adding that, “If you do everything by yourself, I suppose it’s fine but I don’t, so it’s not fine economically and doesn’t work right now.” He admits to being disappointed in the lack of response to high quality whites from the area too. “I believe the whites we made at Waitaki are amazing; so good, so mineral, but everybody is screaming for Pinot Noir, while I found the whites to be the most promising.” ■



RESPONDING TO NATURAL WINES Call them natural wines or additive free, there hasn’t been anything that’s been the focus of so much emotive argument since the screwcap debate. Jo Burzynska solicited the opinions of wine professionals on different sides of the business fence, who explored issues of consumer acceptace, winemaking and just what all the excitiement is about. STEPHEN WONG Restaurant wine consultant: My first few experiences with very naturally made wine were epiphanies of purity. It was like tasting wine for the first time with no filters on: pure hedonistic, unbridled organoleptic pleasure! Wines like this make doing this job worthwhile, especially when you’re staring down the barrel of another tasting of 60 commercially-driven varietal wines all made in the same style for the same market. Flavour and interest plays a huge part in their appeal. However, what also speaks to me is the sustainability aspect; the return to less intervention; something that requires more skill on the part of the vigneron and winemaker; the necessity for small-scale opera-

tions and the preservation of diversity within the larger market for wine. Through conversations with staff and customers, these are clearly also things that matter to them. I found it almost impossible to exclude these more interesting ‘natural’-tasting wines from my lists, so it was a gradual process of increasing penetration rather than a conscious decision to make a switch. It was only with Golden Dawn where an opportunity presented itself combining a small, fast moving wine list, a new concept, no pre-existing audience and very forward-thinking operators; that it finally made sense for me to

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curate a list focusing on ‘natural’ wine styles from inception. I treat natural wines the way I would all very fine wine with regards to things like temperature and sunlight, which will rapidly damage them. The most common ‘issues’ levelled at natural wines are not exclusive to them, as plenty of conventionally made wines from the Old and New Worlds also exhibit elevated levels of Brettanomyces and volatility. The thing to watch out for is excessive cloudiness - what I call ‘colloidal strings’ - and unintended refermentation. It also pays to be more vigilant about detecting any possible runaway Brett presence, acetic notes, overly lifted aromas and any residual sugar in an unfiltered wine and make an

educated decision about how it might evolve in the near term. There’s been a mixed response to the wines. People who are bored of drinking the same thing all the time or disillusioned by the commercial styles, absolutely adore them. However, customers after commodity drinks or who prefer consistency are less enamoured, with a small number - mainly older customers or people working in the wine industry - being strongly opposed to them. My support for natural wine lies in wanting to create a welcoming environment for people to discover their own preferences, and if they happen to like wines in the same part of the spectrum as I do, to create a fun and welcoming environment for them to enjoy it amongst like-minded people.

ANDREW HEDLEY Winemaker: Framingham/wine importer: Oh So Pretty

I added some slightly more off-beat wines that fit under the “natural” heading to our Oh So Pretty offering and began to get

I initially wanted to liven up the wine scene by bringing in wines from little known regions and varieties that are out of the NewZealand mainstream.

requests for inspirational wines people had tried on their travels which aren’t available here. These were mostly “natural”. However, I don’t buy or drink

any wine based purely on the philosophy of the winery. As far as I am concerned, there are just good or bad wines. I’m definitely not an evangelist for natural wines, but maybe I’m more evangelical for choice and diversity of experiences. Balance and individual preference are key to deciding if a wine’s good or not. A wine’s components - acid, alcohol, sugar, phenolics, VA, aldehyde, extract, flavours and “spoilage” effects etc - come together to give either a harmonious or out of whack wine, where one or more components may dominate more than the individual assesssing the wine considers acceptable. Natural winemaking can be viewed as an incredibly risky thing to do, if one views it from the point of view that you want the everyday supermarket wine


buyer to drink them. Conversely, if your target market is people who are open minded wine lovers who like new experiences and tastes and are used to seeing a few weinsteins, crusts or other deposits in their wines, or like the idea of non-intervention, then perhaps it’s much less risky. Whilst I have admired many, many natural, biodynamic or organic wines and producers in my time, I can’t help wondering if it’s actually just the fanatical attention to detail over the more esoteric philosophy behind the wines that makes them work so well. I’ll let you know if I come to a conclusion. 

CHRIS ARCHER Winemaker: Archer McRae Wines

I believe that all winemakers who are passionate about wine and their craft would always be restrained in the use of vineyard sprays and chemical adjustments in making their offering. The viticultural practices of organics are fantastic, if they work in the specific vineyard site. But a vineyard manager will always do a better job if they have a holistic management programme that uses all methods

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The majority of claimed natural wines are soulless, dull, indistinct and generally poorly made. They are generally dominated by wine complications like oxidation in the form of aldehydes, yeast and bacterial derived characters, and sulfides in various forms, all of which hide the fruit expression and vineyard’s attributes.  The supporters of this movement are in love with the idealogy more than the taste of the wines. of organics and conventional techniques to care for land and fruit. The step to biodynamics is a cultural one. Although my core values are similar to those practising biodynamics, viticulture and winemaking is all about timing that’s influenced

by microclimate and not the astronomical. Great wines can be made from conventional, organic or biodynamic principles in the vineyard. If the fruit arrives in the winery of a robust nature, with perfect flavour ripeness and a chemical composition that is align with the style of wine to be made, then very little will need to be done and the wine can literally make itself with good


winemaking actions and little inputs. The problems occur when the fruit is compromised, which allows for yeast, fungal and bacterial attack that is carried into the juice.  At this point the actions of the winemaker are critical and if allowed to progress in a “natural” way what the wine is like in the end is an absolute lottery, which to me is unexceptable.   However, my true bone to pick with “Natural” wines is more about their marketing. The name is misleading as it suggests that all other wine philosophies are concocted, which is untrue.  A legal definition is also required as currently the status of “natural wine” can be claimed by anyone. Strict winemaking protocols are needed as well to protect the consumer from horrible tasting wines and the wine industry from being tainted by someone else’s brush.    These wines should not be called true terroir. They may reflect the local vineyard and wineries’ microflora, but these dominate all subtleties and beauty of the vineyard’s fruit, which I personally find is the soul of all wines. In my zealous years I jumped on the band wagon of no SO2 in making the 1994 Tyrrells Vat 6 Pinot Noir. At bottling we were amazed at its depth, structure

and quality. The wine lasted five years before it became a dried out husk. No added SO2 means that wines age and deteriorate fast. The majority of claimed natural wines are soulless, dull, indistinct and generally poorly made. They are generally dominated by wine complications like oxidation in the form of aldehydes, yeast and bacterial derived characters, and sulfides in various forms, all of which hide the fruit expression and vineyard’s attributes.  The supporters of this movement are in love with the idealogy more than the taste of the wines.

MIKE WEERSING Winegrower: Pyramid Valley I don’t like the word “natural” as no one knows what that means. I prefer to call them “no addition” wines: no acid, no enzymes, no anything. Wine should return to its essential recipe: grapes, yeast, time. It really shouldn’t require more than that. In biodynamics there’s a shift in mentality away from controlling plant and environment behaviour with softer treatments, towards encouraging a natural harmony that can largely look after itself. And just as biodynamic winegrowing aims to encourage and to utilise the specific biology of the site – weeds, soil microbes, etc - natural winemaking is a commitment to working with the indigenous wine life of the site, such as vineyard yeasts and uninoculated malos. It’s crucial no SO2 be used until bottling (and then only if the wine requires some aromatic freshening - a minimum dose to bind aldehydes), because wild yeasts and bacteria are enormously sensitive to sulphur. Adding SO2 to a wild ferment is like using herbicide in a

vineyard: it reduces drastically biodiversity, thus changing and simplifying any message of terroir. I have forgone enzymes, finings, temperature control, cold stabilization, heat stabilization, filtration, towards making the truest wines possible. Once one learns how to foster and to follow your wines, it isn’t very difficult. There’s huge difference between diligence and negligence. Natural wines can be as stable as conventional wines, but need to be raised differently: following carefully the microbiological health of

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the wine and allowing slight, controlled exposure to oxygen, which buffers a wine’s stability in the presence of oxygen. The greatest culprit in no-SO2 wines not travelling well is not the craft, but the closure. I’ve bottled and shipped many no-SO2 wines around the world, with no anxiety and no complaints: I would never ship the same wines under cork. There are those selling neglected wine as natural wine. When one finds a bottle that is oxydised, volatile, rife with spoilage bacteria, the blame lies with the winemaker, not the process. One would never say that all conventional wines are poisonous because one occasionally discovers a stripped, acidic, high SO2 wine which sponsors a spontaneous migraine. ■

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ew Zealand’s suitable grape growing areas could more than double by 2050, due to the effects of global warming, according to a recent report. The study, undertaken by researchers at the University of Texas, indicates that New Zealand will be one of very few winegrowing countries to benefit from the effects, with suitable grape growing areas emerging in Ward, south

of Blenheim, Canterbury, inland of Whanganui and west from Martinborough to Masterton. However current grape growing regions such as Northland and Coromandel may no longer be suitable, as temperatures rise over the next 40 years. In contrast, Mediterranean Europe which includes historic areas such as Tuscany, Languedoc, Provence and Rhone Valley, could see suitable grape growing areas

The Upper Wairau Valley in Marlborough is one area that could benefit from global warming in terms of grape growing suitability.

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decline by 68 per cent. Australian’s warmer climates could also see suitability drop by a massive 73 per cent. The study is the first to combine the impact of global warming on wine regions and also includes wider environmental concerns, including increased irrigation creating potential freshwater conservation issues and the impact on natural habitats. In the case of New Zealand, the report calculates the expansion of the wine industry into new areas would increase its ecological footprint by 126 per cent, at the maximum. There is no mention within the report on just how much temperatures will rise between now and 2050, and according to the President of the New Zealand Society for Viticulture and Oenology, Dr Glen Creasy, there is also no consideration given to the rogue weather events that New Zealand is prone to suffering. Events such as late spring frosts, tropical cyclones, early autumn frosts and severe rain events

around the harvest time, may have the final say in any future expansion. “All of which are quite detrimental to the grape growing industry so it may be that the overall temperature may be warm enough to grow good quality wine grapes but we have an extreme weather event, that means that it makes it uneconomic to actually do that year after year after year.” He said even without the effects of global warming, New Zealand’s wine industry is already moving into new areas. “These are already being explored, as witnessed with the successful development of vineyards in the Ward region of Marlborough and in the Waitaki Valley of Canterbury.” Dr Creasy said the research is important, but he cautions people against taking the blind application of their findings to the New Zealand situation, which differs in significant ways to other areas of the world. ■ • The full report can be viewed at

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s tastings go, there’s no shortage of contenders for best this year - but my highlight so far was on a rainy day in March with two Frenchmen, dozens of grapes and a small turnout of New Zealanders. The rain rendered us a bedraggled bunch as we trawled through Riversun Nursery’s source block on its annual open day with two clonal selection experts from ENTAV/INRA in tow. The Frenchmen, Jean-Michel Boursiquot and Laurent Audeguin, provided fascinating insights into grapes; having previously busted Carme-

nere parading as ‘Merlot’ in Chile, among other interlopers in the global vineyard. Savagnin known incorrectly as Alvarino in Australia was another example of their grape busting. Riversun began its vinous life as a one-man band in 1982. Managing director and founder Geoff Thorpe was 24 years old at the time, the country was going through what he describes as “the worst drought in living memory” and the entire experience was a baptism by fire. Today the nursery is home to over 400 different grape varieties and clones on its source block at

Waihuka in Gisborne. “By far the most exciting of those are the 120 new imports Riversun has brought into the country; not only from ENTAV-INRA in France, but from all corners of the globe,” says Thorpe. Another 200 selections are held in library rows and are of little commercial interest but he retains them as an industry repository. “The New Zealand government used to fund the housing of all that library material, first under MAF and then under Hort Research control at Te Kauwhata and at Rukahia, south of Hamilton. Those

facilities were wound down in the mid ‘90s, some of it relocated to Marlborough by the NZVIG; a voluntary organisation made up of nurseries and viticultural community members. With the demise of the NZVIG, we decided to create a repository of the cleanest and most interesting material at Waihuka,” says Thorpe, who sees it as the New Zealand wine industry’s national foundation vineyard. These 130 rows of vines are among the most fascinating in this country, making this the school room for grapegrowers and winemakers. ■



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Riversun managing director and founder Geoff Thorpe looks at the radical differences in bunch size, weight and structure of Pinot Noir ENTAV Clone 114 on his right and Pinot Noir ENTAV Clone 943; his left.

Exciting Southern Italian variety Fiano, one of the newest on trial at Riversun’s mother block.

Geoff with a bunch of Pinot Gris.

Zinfandel struts its legendary big bunches, juicy grapes and naturally easy high crop loads.


Sauvignon Blanc ENTAV Clone 905; a Bordeaux clone selected for its tolerance of botrytis.

The red-fleshed grape, Alicante Henri Bouschet; France’s most widely planted red-fleshed variety, bred between 1865 and 1885 by Henri Bouschet from his father’s crossing of Petit Boushet with Grenache. This juicy red, deeply coloured variety was highly popular during prohibition in the United States last century.

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Pinot Gris ENTAV 457 - an Alsace clone selected for its smaller berries, intense flavours and looser bunches, which provide this grape with a notably high tolerance to botrytis.

10mm 20

50 60 70 80 90 100 110 120

Albariño Riversun managing director and founder Geoff Thorpe shows the difference between the highly revered Chardonnay 95 (selected in the 1960s) and Chardonnay 1066 in his left hand), selected in the 1990s.

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0800 11 37 47 Chardonnay ENTAV Clone 1066; from Burgundy, this grape has relatively small berries, loose bunches and intense flavours. It’s used as a blending component in many Burgundian Premier and Grand Crus.



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There was a time when the wineries in Marlborough could be counted on one hand. Everyone knew each other, and get togethers were common. These days the industry has grown so much, that it’s hard to fit all the winemakers, owners and viticulturists into one room, let alone know all their names. So this month we introduce you to four of our young guns you may not have met before. How long have you worked in Marlborough? Four and a half years, although it feels a lot longer. What brought you to Marlborough? I was working in Sonoma, California, applied for a job in Marlborough, got it, so packed up, came home and moved to Marlborough. Where have you travelled in wine to get here? My wine career has been relatively short, and so I haven’t done much travelling in wine. I worked a vintage in Sonoma, California and last year was lucky enough to go on holiday to Europe which involved brief visits to wine regions in France, Spain and Italy. What do you enjoy most about your job? I enjoy working with the great team at Wither Hills, and the constant challenge that working in an agricultural environment brings to my job. What do you enjoy most about Marlborough? The accessibility to so many things in this region is what makes it so great for me – the mountains for tramping, the Sounds for sailing and the relatively close distance to some larger cities – Nelson and Wellington. When you are not making wine or growing grapes? Flying around

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the country to weddings seems to be the thing to do at the moment, other than that trying to get out into the region tramping or catching up with friends. It sucks when….? The alarms for frost go off at 1am. Your favourite wine? Millton Chenin Blanc (must support my Gisborne roots) Which wine region excites you most right now? New Zealand: Marlborough is a great place to be at the current time. In my role I have the opportunity to work with Plant and Food Research on new trials and I believe we are doing a lot of forward thinking in this region with new technologies that are on offer. Internationally: Rioja, Spain – A friend lives in this region and to see the age of the vines and how they’re growing grapes was really interesting. We also visited a vineyard there that’s doing a lot of research into Clonal variation which is an interesting topic. Future aspirations? To do more travelling and working in wine regions around the world to gain more knowledge in the different methods of growing grapes. ■


How long have you worked in Marlborough? Off and on for the last 9 years. What brought you to Marlborough? Work opportunities fresh out of Lincoln in 2005. Where have you travelled in wine to get here? Vintages in Alsace and Oregon and had a short stint in Central Otago. Have been pretty permanent in Marlborough for the last six years and at Framingham for the last four. What do you enjoy most about your job? Love (and sometimes loath) the buzz that comes with harvest ie; seat of your pants decision making, meeting new people year in year out. More specifically working with a great group of people at Framingham....(that should get me out of baking a cake for the next couple of “Friday Cake Days”). What do you enjoy most about Marlborough? We are very fond of the Kaikoura Coast and The Sounds of course. Growing up in South Otago (where they grow a bloody good sweed.....vines not so much) I appreciate the climate too. When you’re not making wine or growing grapes? Hanging with Jules and our twin daughters Alice and Isabelle, jamming/playing in local

band “The Dead Parrots”, trying to sneak down the Kaikoura coast for a wave which is once in a blue moon these days, DIY on our house. It sucks when…? our dog Joe eats grape mark and he has to have his stomach pumped at the vets......$280 later ....not the first time either and I doubt it will be the last, he’s part lab after all. Your favourite wine? Tough one, can’t name one specifically but really dig Mosel producers like Van Volxem in the south to Heymann Lowenstien in the north, they just consistently my humble opinion. Which wine region excites you most right now? Andrew and Debra Hedley import wines from some lesser known regions in Europe via their company “Oh So Pretty Wines”. Within their portfolio are a number of Nth Eastern Italian wines that are sparking my interest and there are many others that I need to try. Closer to home I am enjoying Hawke’s Bay and Waiheke Syrahs. Future aspirations? Keep enjoying myself and learning in this trade. Work and live somewhere in Europe (probably France) with my family for a period of time. Write and record at least one musical track. ■

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How long have you worked in Marlborough? 11 years. What brought you to Marlborough? Family and work. Where have you travelled in wine to get here? Lincoln University to Marlborough to South Australia to California to Dog Point then Bordeaux back to Dog Point.  What do you enjoy most about your job? The attention to detail, emphasis on quality and organics, also the large variety of other work, sheep, olives, apricots, organic gardens, extensive native plantings, pine nuts. Ivan and Margaret Sutherland have a fantastic plan for the property that makes it more than just a vineyard. 

What do you enjoy most about Marlborough? The climate, proximity to the Sounds where our Bach is, gathering seafood and other wild food.   When you’re not making wine or growing grapes? Looking after my new born, milking my wife’s sheep, spearfishing or diving, gardening.   It sucks when….things don’t go to plan, in a bad way.  Your favorite wine? Vina Tondonia (Rioja) just tastes of Spain.   Which wine region excites you most right now? Rioja for the age of it and Marlborough for the future potential .  Future aspirations? Grow better and better grapes. See more of Marlborough under organics. ■ NIGEL SOWMAN AGE: 35 T I T L E : V I T I C U LT U R I S T F O R D O G P O I N T V I N E YA R D .

How long have you worked in Marlborough? I have been working permanently now in Marlborough for 10 years.

skiing at Rainbow, on the way to Kaikoura or even over the Strait in Wellington enjoying the great city.

What brought you to Marlborough? My first real job after university was at Montana Winery here in Marlborough and I immediate loved being involved with making Sauvignon Blanc.

When you’re not making wine or growing grapes? I spend a lot of my time catching up with friends and planning the next holiday/dinner idea.

Where have you travelled in wine to get here? I have worked in Oregon, Duoro Valley, Bordeaux, Hunter Valley, Tuscany and in New Zealand in both Hawke’s Bay and Marlborough. What do you enjoy most about your job? The people you meet from all over the world. What do you enjoy most about Marlborough? Marlborough is great in that even though it is great to spend time here, within 1 hours drive from the township you can be in the Marlborough Sounds sailing,

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Your favourite wine ? Champagne. My favourite one I have tried recently is from the producer Cedric Bouchard RDJ ‘La Boleree’ 2007. Delicious. Which wine region excites you most right now? I think the wine region that excites me most at the moment is Central Otago. It is such a small region but has such great diversity within its sub regions. It is so young but already has so much to offer. Future aspirations ? To get my pilot’s licence. ■



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oving forward isn’t always about the future. Sometimes you need to look at the past to be successful. Which is something Neil Pollett of the Green Bottle Project is adamantly aware of. He would like to see the New Zealand wine industry take a lesson from the past to create a sustainable future that could also become a marketing strategy. In essence he wants to see wines bottles reused, rather than just recycled. There’s no real reason, other than habit, for this not to happen. The technology is there, the feel good factor is there and the benefits far outweigh the negatives. Let’s face it, it’s not so many years ago we were re-using milk and beer bottles. So why can’t we reuse wine bottles? Currently the bottles if they are recycled, tend to end up as crush for our roads, with only a small proportion being reused in the making of new bottles. While recycling has taken off throughout the country, most regions tend to comingle their recyclables. That means glass, plastic, paper and cardboard are all placed in just one bin for collection. Bottles are damaged, the glass is mixed in with all the other recyclable products and there are obvious difficulties at separating the products at the end. Which makes the recycling process a nightmare. Pollett says even if the glass is able to be recycled to help create a new bottle – the carbon footprint is far greater than that of reusing an old bottle. And in this day and

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age where consumers are questioning carbon footprints and sustainability that could be the difference between attracting a client, or not. Currently it’s believed that up to two thirds of the carbon footprint (CFP) of a bottle of wine, is in the bottle itself. An environmental report undertaken last year (by Auckland based Eunomia Research & Consulting) showed by reusing wine bottles, the carbon footprint would be lowered by a massive 93%. There is no hygienic issue involved with reusing bottles. Specialised bottle washing machines are high tech, checking for chips and cracks, prior to washing at a temperature of 80 deg Celsius. Add to that the cost of a reused bottle is expected to be lower than that of a new one, and the advantages begin to stack up. Which raises the question; why hasn’t the wine industry moved to adopt this technology? Pollett says it will obviously take industry and consumer buy in, but the biggest sticking point (excuse the pun) is the fact the label stock used in New Zealand is not conducive to being removed via the current technology. “One of the issues that we have had and it needs to be overcome is the labels. We have done a considerable amount of testing with two of the major bottle washing machine manufacturers in Germany. They have come back and said the vast majority of the labels won’t come off, due to the varying types of label stock and glue used


Current labels don’t come off properly in bottle washing machines – as shown here.

to adhere the label to the bottle. “We have come across a new type of label technology, produced by a company called Avery Dennison, one of the leaders in label stock production. They have a particular type of stock that will come off very easily in the type of washing machines we have looked at, but won’t come off where you don’t want it to, such as in a chiller or in an ice bucket.” Even if wineries don’t intend to

purchase reused bottles, the new labels would allow their stock to join the pool, providing a signal to consumers they are supporting sustainability. So the first step for the wine industry, is to move towards easily removed wine labels. The second step, is to change the way people recycle their used wine bottles. That means a system where bottles are stored protectively, possibly in plastic crates, until collection.

With easily removed labels the bottles come out of the washer looking like this.

While the largest sales of wine in New Zealand come via the off premise sector (now dominated by the 2 large supermarket chains), the easiest path to source used bottles is the on-premise. “If we can educate the trade and show them it’s an easier, cheaper and more sustainable way to get rid of their empties, the project will gain traction,” Pollett says. “The consumer side will be harder to do, but ultimately more rewarding volume wise in terms of returns. Regional Councils need to cooperate to allow us to run trials where consumers can put their empties out for

collection by charities and community groups (scouts, schools etc.) We will give those that pick up an incentive to do so.” Long-term Pollett believes the benefits for the New Zealand wine industry are substantial. Given our hard fought for image of clean and green, the next step is to ensure that consumers the world over consider us to be the most environmentally friendly producer of high quality wine. “New Zealand wine has done a fantastic job to come from an unrecognised wine production country 30 odd years ago to one that is at the top of its game. We are on average one of the highest priced per litre wine producers sold in the UK and that’s our biggest market. But we run the risk of losing that if sustainability becomes an issue. And in the UK sustainability is all important.” Already two of the country’s

largest wine producers, Pernod Ricard and New Zealand Vineyard Estates have shown support for the project, helping to co-fund the environmental report. Both companies believe there are benefits of reusing bottles, particularly in terms of cementing New Zealand’s clean, green image. This country is no stranger when it comes to innovation and sustainability. We were one of the first in the world to insist on full membership to a sustainable winegrowing programme, and we embraced the use of screwcaps to improve wine quality. Maybe the next step is to become the first country in the world to embrace the reuse of wine bottles. If you would like more information regarding the Green Bottle project, contact Neil Pollett at; ■

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Seeing Sauvignon As Others See It Decanter magazine invited me to review the results of a New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc tasting and write an introduction to the tasting, as well as talk about winemaking and grape growing trends. “...We are looking for your expert opinion on whether the wines scored as well as you might have expected, whether well-known or newcomer producers shone, whether one particular region or vintage swept the board and if so, why might this be? Surprises? Shocks? Basically your take on the results.” The tasting of 94 wines featured 14 Highly Recommended or Recommended wines. Out of

interest I looked up the results of the recently judged Royal Easter Show Wine Awards. Here a presumably larger number of Sauvignon Blanc entries had earned 19 gold medals. At the local wine show all but one of the top wines was from Marlborough while all but one was from the 2012 vintage. Running my eye quickly down the gold medals list it seemed that the judges had favoured intensely fruity wines that I would describe as “classic Marlborough styles”. There was no evidence of wines with overt oak influence. Contrast that with the Decanter result where half of the wines entered were oak-

aged while the 14 top wines spanned four wine regions. Marlborough earned approximately the same share of awards as entries, it certainly didn’t dominate in the way the region had at the Easter Show. Only eight out of the top 14 wines were from the 2012 vintage. It seemed to me that the Decanter judges were saying “We understand and appreciate the Marlborough style but we are getting just a little bit bored with it. We want more than just full-throated fruity Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc. We are looking for wines with greater complexity and richer textures than the usual crop of Savvies offer.”

Smiles in Gisborne I visited Millton Vineyards toward the end of vintage and witnessed the final stages of what appears to have been a terrific vintage. Happy harvesters were picking large bunches of Muscat grapes that were the colour of gold with scarcely an imperfection in sight. James scooped a bunch of dried leaves off the ground, held them out and said “Evidence of a great vintage. In a normal year these leaves would have mulched down. This year they are deliciously dry and crunchy. It’s been a fantastic harvest,” he said with a smile from ear to ear.

Selecting for Six Nations A decade ago I judged the first Tri-Nations Wine Competition featuring a selection of the best wines from New Zealand, Australia and South Africa. A few years ago Chile and Argentina joined in and the show was re-christened “Five Nations”. This year the US adds its

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firepower and we have become Six Nations. It’s my job to select 100 Kiwi wines in up to 16 different classes. Naturally I want to include the very best to give New Zealand a fighting chance of gaining first place, a status we have achieved on only two occa-


sions. A handful of our more prestigious producers refuse to enter, putting their own brand interests ahead of the greater national interest. It seems a bit like a rugby player turning down an invitation to join the All Blacks because he’d rather play for an overseas club. I wish

they would reconsider; I need all the great wines I can muster. Choosing my top 10 or so wines in each class is as simple as doing a quick sort in my database and picking the top labels, although I do scan recent wine show results in case I’ve missed something.

Martinborough I visited Martinborough toward the end of vintage. After a long dry spell late season rain applied a little pressure during the tail end of harvest. The wineries that hadn’t finished were scurrying to

pick the last grapes. Despite a damp finish the grapes looked clean and the flavours seemed ripe. My visit afforded the chance to add some vintage photos to my library

although the image that pleased me the most was a morning shot of the Martinborough Hotel sunlit against a background of dark sky.

A French grape picker at Big Sky in Martinborough.

Decanter World Wine Awards

identity of any of the wines in the competition, but New Zealand I’ve just spent a week as chair- seems to have done quite well man for the New Zealand sec- compared to other countries. tion of the Decanter World Wine Unlike local competitions we Awards. The past chairman was didn’t have to average judge’s Margaret Harvey MW and before scores before determining the that Rosemary George MW. The medal earned. Although the judges three of us reminisced about past did score wines out of 20 points in shows over dinner on the last their individual assessment, the night. majority ruled when it came to I’m not allowed to reveal any deciding the medal category. If two results, and in fact don’t know the judges voted gold and one judge 2029-08 layout_global_P 9/23/08 9:32 AM Page 1

silver the wine earned gold. When the judges simply couldn’t agree I stepped in with a casting vote. During the trophy judging of gold medal winners we had the right to downgrade any wine that we felt didn’t deserve its gold award. We also had the right to refuse a trophy award even if the contender had earned gold. Neither right was exercised during the Kiwi trophy judging. ■ C






Adrian Garforth MW judging at the Decanter Awards in the NZ section.


Composite NZ WINEGROWER  JUNE/JULY 2013  //   37




he jury may be out on the perfect wine closure of the future, but 12 years on from the New Zealand Screwcap Initiative launch in 2001, Kiwi winemakers are almost at 100 per cent immersion with screwcaps, with few advocates of cork remaining Before your eyes glaze over at the mere mention of closures, consider this: To what extent have screwcaps changed the face and the taste of New Zealand wine since they were launched in

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New Zealand in 2001? While the majority of winemakers in this country choose screwcaps as their closure of choice, a small bunch insist there is more than one way to seal a bottle. The use of cork in New Zealand has gone from 100% in 2000 to about 2% overall today; a massive shrink, given the rise in the number of wineries and wine production in this country over the same period of time. When Domain Road Vineyard in Bannockburn was formed in

2006, its owners immediately opted for screwcap. “We did experiments using cork and screwcap but it became clear that if we wanted to get our wines to the market in the best condition, we should opt for screwcaps,” says Graeme Crosbie, who co-owns Domain Road Vineyards with his wife, Gillian. He has had one faulty bottle of wine sealed with a screwcap, in the UK. “It sounded to me like the wine had oxidized but I didn’t get a chance to try it and I

think one bottle over eight years is remarkably low,” says Crosbie. A sense of certainty – backed up by years’ worth of tastings from screwcapped wines – led Master of Wine Michael Brajkovich to opt for this form of closure. “We can now be confident that all our wines are going to be the same. In the past Paul would open three bottles and choose the best. The major problem was not cork taint but oxidation. Cork taint is still around and you

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see it all the time and it’s about the same as historical levels – about 5 or 10% - but the big problem we were struggling with was oxidation,” says Brajkovich. James Healy and Ivan Sutherland at Dog Point Vineyards have a foot in both camps, using screwcap in their Sauvignon Blanc because it’s a modern style of wine and corks in their three top shelf wines – Dog Point Section 94, Dog Point Chardonnay and Dog Point Pinot Noir. “Those three wines are made in an old fashioned way and we figure that an old fashioned closure is the right closure for them, so we use natural cork,” says Healy, “If you stick a cork in a bottle, you can’t guarantee the wine won’t be corked or effected by cork, but the incidence we have now is extremely low.” Former chairman of the NZ

Screwcap Initiative, Brajkovich says he adopted screwcaps so swiftly because he had been able to taste many well aged wines under this closure. “We only made the change in 2001 after Paul and Mum asked me what I thought the wines were going to look like after 10 years. I had tried many Yalumba Rieslings that had been sealed with screwcaps, so I knew exactly what they would taste like; they change, they improve, they take on bottle bouquet – exactly the same type of character we used to see with the very best corks.”

Ironically, the amount of sulphur dioxide that Brajkovich uses under screwcap has risen. “Even under screwcap, SO2 declines over time and in order to prevent the loss becoming detrimental over 10 years or so,

we needed to raise it. Typically we used to bottle between 25 to 30ppm under cork; we’re now up between 35 and 40. I think under cork realistically you need to be 50.” ■





y time in New York re c e n t l y i n c l u d e d many tastings – with local negociants and at local wineries – while finalising details of my winelist for an about-to-open restaurant in Nolita (Lower Manhattan) - The Musket Room. It also coincided with the hiring and formal wine training for the staff. The winelist will be a groundbreaking example for the “City that Never Sleeps” – it has a New Zealand content of about 40%. This has been a great challenge for me (don’t get me started on legal requirements) and is also a fabulous plus for New Zealand. This has presented several unique challenges – not the smallest of which is how to bring a newly formed restaurant team up to speed with New Zealand wine to the point where they can confidently discuss and sell to New Yorkers, other Americans, and visitors to the city. The first undertaking was to

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cover details of what we do winewise other than Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Noir, and the lay of the land in terms of general viticulture and traditional farming. Many on the team were simply unaware of the ‘other’ varieties and range of styles that were available. These experienced hospitality professionals are more accustomed to handling wine of USA, French, Australian, Spanish and Italian origin. New Zealand wine seems new to many in the restaurant sector of New York, though there is great interest in what we are producing. The process reminded me of an important business philosophy. Your business is only as good as the team you bring together. Restaurateurs are perpetually battling with this – a frequently high staff turnover rate just one of the challenges of providing a consistent service at the right level. A winelist will also only be as good as a team that can handle the size, range and styles listed. Those


special ‘hand-sell’ examples need a specific connect between the customer looking for something different and the service person recognising the importance of the individual dining experience - building trust, and understanding wine and food to the point of being able to provide the right wine for that customer. A professional Sommelier is a key component of a team, provided they understand the complete business picture and aren’t just out to list their favourite wines (and that’s a story for another day). Sommeliers are always keen to taste and consider new wines and new vintage releases - it’s part of the role. Vintage roll-over in currently listed wines is an important consideration, especially when the wine is from New Zealand and being sold overseas. While customers will grow to enjoy the continuity of familiar brands, and staff become confident in their spiel, challenges

will arise if the specific vintage characteristics are different, and even more so when the wine making (or winemaker) is different. For example, if oak maturation is added to Pinot Gris the style of the wine changes enormously, and its position and application on the winelist will need to be addressed. Information on any alteration to style or notable vintage variation should be notified in detail to your buyers, both at retail and on-premise/ restaurant level. Wine and food pairing are hugely important, in addition to the balance of winelist sections. I work increasingly often with winemakers and people in the wine world who are personally taking their product to retailers and restaurants in cities around the world where they want to be represented. Being able to put a face to the brand is a key marketing strategy, and one I am proud to help develop for the New Zealand Wine Industry. ■

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Necessity is the mother of all invention, as the quote goes. Which is exactly how New Zealand’s foremost wine job recruiting source, winejobsonline came about. Lee Suckling explains. “WE don’t know how we used to find people for our vineyard without you.” So said a winemaker to Heather Battersby, when reflecting on the nine years Heather has run with husband Paddy. “Before us wine jobs were normally found by word-of-mouth, basic newspapers advertisements and knocking on the (cellar) door,”

she says. “The internet has opened up the wine recruitment industry and been a great channel for New Zealand’s wineries in need of staff.” Paddy and Heather met in 1980 when both working at Penfolds in Henderson. As they married, Paddy stayed in the wine industry while Heather took time out to raise their children, and returned

Paddy and Heather Battersby.

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to the wine world in 1992 to work as a PA for Jim Delegat. Eleven years later, in 2003, Heather thought about looking for a new job. “I was shocked at how hard it was – there was no specific place for people in wine to job hunt,” she says. “Paddy’s background was in HR (he launched Battersby HR Consulting in 1999) so we decided it was a good time to launch a web-

site to connect job seekers with employers.” Their goal has been achieved. Today, serves to put employers and job seekers in touch with one another, and covers all manner of jobs and placements in the wine industry; including winery, vineyard, sales, administration, marketing and retail. The fundamentals of wine

recruitment are the same as any other industry. “You’re trying to find the best possible person for the job,” Heather says. However, she and Paddy go one step further. “We know most of New Zealand’s wineries well. We understand the idiosyncrasies of many of the vineyards: the microclimates, if facilities are mostly inside in all weathers or mostly outside in all weathers, or if the owners are French-trained and the vines are a foot off the ground,” she says. “This kind of knowledge makes industry experience all the more applicable from the offset of job application.” Heather and Paddy’s personal experience in various areas of the wine industry enables them to assist wine companies as accurately as possible. “They don’t have to explain what they need to fill a role – we know the exact skills required,” Heather says. “We’ve been to almost every winery in every region, and built up a very strong network and an understanding of the way each works.” Finding a job can even become a two-way street using Paddy and Heather’s online tools. Unlike many job websites, job seekers can place advertisements themselves; stating their skills, expertise, and what they’re looking for. It’s a welcome channel in an industry that regularly seeks location-specific technical know-how. Thousands of applications come through winejobsonline. com, as it is New Zealand’s only dedicated online resource for wine jobs. “Applications come from anywhere where wine is made, and plenty of places it isn’t,” Heather says. Job seekers from China and India have become apparent in recent times. “It’s a reflection of growth in their markets – New Zealand’s wine industry is held in high esteem, and experience here is very valuable.” At any given time there are over 20 wine jobs advertised in New

Zealand – this increases to 30-40 for harvest season – and a handful of overseas opportunities. The UK has recently presented many opportunities for New Zealand wine professionals. “The UK is becoming well known for its sparking wines, and it’s being featured at a lot of wine events and taking top honours,” Heather says. “We’ve had quite a few jobs come through the website, and we’ve been able to connect them with Kiwis in all of them.” Things are not wholly smooth sailing when finding positions for foreigners, however. “The biggest barrier is getting visas, especially for the non-experienced,” Heather says. “If you’re from a non wine-producing country that doesn’t have a supporting industry, you don’t really have a lot to offer the New Zealand industry,” she explains. “But then again, if you’re French and you’ve worked in Burgundy, you’ll be looked upon more favourably. The skilled get priority – there’s already a pool of unskilled labour wanting to work in wine in New Zealand.” So the question begs to be asked, ‘when is the best time of the year to look for a new job in the wine industry?’ “One thing that’s happening right now, which is a seasonal trend, is that vineyard (and some winemaking) jobs tend to get advertised after harvest so there’s often a move-around of staff from around April to June,” says Heather. “It’s the ‘off-season’, if you like. “For winemakers and vineyard managers, they don’t like to move jobs from around January through to March, as that’s the crucial harvest time.” Heather concludes: “Some employment agreements even say you can’t resign in that period. It’s a conscientious thing that employers like to make sure of, so you don’t leave people in the lurch.” ■

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night of mischief has cost Hawke’s Bay winery Moana Park around $165,000 in wine after vandals forced open a valve to the winery’s largest tank and left the contents spilling onto the ground. Staff arrived at the Puketapu winery early on Saturday morning, 27 April, to find the five metre tall holding tank emptied and premium Merlot, destined for the Japanese market, soaking into surrounding gravel and lawn. Head winemaker Dan Barker, who co-owns Moana Park with wife Kaylea, said he was “just gutted” by the incident. While he expected insurance would cover the cost of the wine, he was concerned about the potential loss of a contract to supply Japanese supermarkets. “We don’t have wine now to cover that, and this is a relationship we’ve been working on for maybe eight years.” The Japanese distributor was at the winery on the day the damage

was discovered. Baker doesn’t believe there was any malice involved in what happened. “It looks like kids may have come in to get themselves a bucket of wine. They probably thought it was a bit a fun without understanding what would happen when they opened the valve.” The head pressure would have been enough to have knocked them off their feet, and that could have scared them into running off without necessarily realising the damage they had caused. Unchecked, the tank would have emptied in about an hour. “It is gutting to have all our hard work just wasted like this,” Barker said. “I mean we’ve invested 12 months of growing, harvesting and then winemaking – it’s a lot of blood sweat and tears to just literally pour down the drain.” While the vandalism was a massive hit to the small winery, it would not break the business. Moana Park had doubled its pro-

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Moana Park owners and staff were “gutted” to discover a tank of premium Merlot soaking into the ground surrounding the Hawke’s Bay winery. Moana Park owner Dan Barker can still manage a smile after losing a tank of premium Merlot.

duction every year since 2008 and expected to reach 25,000 cartons this year. However, what happened, followed two “really tough years” for Hawke’s Bay. The 2013 vintage was the light at the end of the tunnel, producing the best fruit Barker said he had seen in his 14 years of winemaking. “It’s a significant amount of wine to have lost”– the equivalent of 1000 cartons. Despite the setback, he

retained his sense of humour. “They didn’t even drink it!” he lamented. The couple, who live off site, appealed to the community to come forward with information and they have subsequently passed on some tip-offs to the police. And, to end on a brighter note, the Barkers still have much to celebrate with the birth of their first-born, daughter Chelsea, in mid-April. ■

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he wine industry both here and overseas has for decades been seeking a way to get more out of its investment in oak barrels, without compromising wine quality. The patented Phoenix Barrel Rejuvenation process, available in New Zealand exclusively through Vintech Pacific, was developed in Australia by Diverse Barrel Solutions, in association with the Australian Government and the Australian Wine Reasearch Institute. In Australia, many thousands of barrels have been successfully rejuvenated using Phoenix. In

New Zealand, where the process in much newer, several hundred have already been processed. It takes the engineering and technology applied to barrel refurbishment to a whole new level and according to AWRI data, restores around 84 percent of the extractable oak flavour profile of a new French oak barrel, for around half the cost - and they last just as long as a new barrel. In the first step of the process, the winemaker selects barrels he or she has liked and sends them to Vintech Pacific’s Phoenix Cooperage in Blenheim. After a visual inspection, the barrel’s heads are

removed by hydraulic press and a robtic laser scans the interior, creating a three dimensional cutting matrix that is unique to each barrel. A high-speed, computercontrolled robotic cutting tool then uses the matrix to remove approximately 8mm of old wood from the interior, exposing clean, uncontaminated oak. Each barrel is then retoasted using a sophisticated, computercontrolled, infra-red toasting system that completely eliminates the blistering commonly found in new, brazier toasted barrels. Finally two new, two-year outdoor-seasoned heads are fit-

ted, with the winemakers choice of toast level. These give each Phoenix Rejuvenated barrel a new oak content of about 33 percent. After pressure testing and ten litres of sulphur-citric solution, the Phoenix Rejuvenated barrels are returned to the winery and, just like a new barrel, can be used for either red or white wine production. ■ For more information, visit

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hile the New Zealand wine industry has been hailed as one of the bright lights within the country’s export sector, there is more room for growth, particularly in the supply chain. That was one of the messages to come from a Primary Industry Innovation and Collaboration seminar held in Nelson in April. Organised by the Ministry of Primary Industries and NZ Institute of Chartered Accountants, the seminar looked at ways of developing growth in all primary industry sectors. While the wine industry’s success was very much on display, it was other

industry speakers that highlighted the need for further growth. Graham Stuart, CEO of Sealord, said since the 1880s 55% of all New Zealand’s exports have come from the food and beverage sectors, yet there are only 42 companies that fall into the over $100 million turnover category. That is an increase on 12 years ago, however. Deregulation saw four new dairy companies joining the $100 million plus club, and the growth of the wine industry has seen five new companies join. “But too few companies graduate into the $100 million plus club through organic growth. The typi-

Yealands Baby Doll sheep.

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cal route in there is through an abundance of raw materials, such as with wine, or through physical growth. If we are really going to fix the gap between here and Australia or however you determine economic performance of a country, one of the key things we have to do is to fix our ability to grow in an organic way.” In terms of an innovation framework, Stuart said there are three fields that need to be considered. Core Customers – who are buying the same product over and over Acquired Customers – who are purchasing something that is new to your business And Created Customers – who are buying something that you have created, which is new to the market As you move from core business to created business, the risk level obviously increases. “We know that risk is not something to be avoided, but it is something that we have to carefully manage. We could sit on our core business and avoid all the risk, but sooner or later we will find our core business will start disappearing beneath us. There is no better day to think about innovation, than today. Because since the 4th of March 1985 when New Zealand floated its currency, today our trade rated index is as high as it has ever been. So as exporters we know, that standing still and sitting on our core business is not the best situation. Because the dynamic of the market is changing so much that we have to get up

Graham Stuart

and start doing things to adapt.” In terms of exports, it is the supply chain that offers the richest source of innovation and therefore growth. But currently New Zealand export companies tend to stop half way down. “That is due to our focus on getting the product to the farm gate, then the factory, putting it in a container and shipping it out. FOB, FIS and it’s gone. But the reality is that beyond that there is a whole supply chain lying undiscovered for a lot of New Zealand exporters, where value is added. If you deal with an import agency or distributor or wholesaler, then that business takes care of all the rest of the supply chain. But you don’t get to see the end user. You don’t understand the end use of your product. And another point is that a great proportion of the end costs of the product are actually in that supply chain.” Stuart said it will take innovation within industries to provide potential answers to that supply chain issue. “My idea about innovation is; Come to work every day thinking about what you do and how you can do it better.” ■

H INNOVATION INNOVATIVE DIFFERENCE Being the first winery in the world to be CarboNZero from conception is a major selling point for Yealands Estate in Marlborough, particularly in the UK market. Peter Yealands who addressed the conference, said continuing to reduce that carbon footprint has meant having to think outside the square time and time again. Given the Seaview vineyard is 1000 hectares, there is a lot of mowing required on an annual basis. “That’s 4000 kilometres of mowing, just to mow it once. You would normally mow a vineyard, depending on the season, about eight to 12 times a year. That’s an awful lot of tractor running and diesel.” So the company looked at alternatives – from Guinea Pigs to miniature sheep to keep the grass down. The guinea pigs weren’t a success, given they literally became hawke fodder. But the Baby Doll sheep Yealands has imported are paying off, even if numbers at this stage only allow them to graze 120 of the 1000 hectares. Kune kune pigs are being used in the same way. Chook houses around the property help to keep insect numbers down in the vineyard, while providing dozens of eggs for staff and the region’s St John’s Kitchen. Instead of relying on LPG as fuel to heat the winery and water, Yealands are baling vine prunings. “We bale about 5% of our prunings, and have about a couple of thousand bales. We dry them for six months and put them into purpose built boilers we brought in from the

States. During vintage we go through about 24 a day.” They ensure a massive saving on LPG. Bio diesel is used despite the government subsidies having ended. “A n d re ce n t l y I have imported hydrogen generators and installed them on two of the tractors. All they do is produce a hydrogen gas that goes into your air mix, so there are no unburnt fuels coming out your exhaust.” Utilising what would be by-products sent to the landfill, Yealands are also creating compost for the vineyard. Made up of waste mussels, sawdust, grape marc, seaweed and lime, the company produced close to 30 tonnes last year. That is spread throughout the vineyard. All the ingredients, bar the lime, cost the company nothing. The sawdust and shavings from a local timber company would end up having to be dumped if Yealands didn’t take the product. The same with the mussel detritus. All of the company’s own grape marc goes into the mix and now

Peter Yealands

they are receiving hundreds of tonnes from other wineries in the district. Despite the winery not even being five years old, Yealands Estate is now one of the largest wine companies in New Zealand. It is the fastest growing grocery brand in the country, and the largest employer in the Marlborough region. Yealands himself says it is the points of difference that have helped that growth. “Especially with the overseas distributors –they remember us for our differences.” Innovative differences!





ames Medina’s background makes him a very good fit for his new role as Hawke’s Bay Winegrowers’ executive officer. For starters, this personable American brings an international business perspective to the job. With former employer Daymon Worldwide, James worked with retailers in Europe, Asia, South Africa and Mexico as well as the USA. Then there’s the fact that he and kiwi wife Linda Baylis decided eight years ago that Hawke’s Bay was their ideal location. “We had done trips, visiting vineyards, and just loved the place,” James says of Hawke’s Bay. “It has a good climate, wineries and things to do. We said it would be really nice to come back some day and live here.” Growing up in California’s Mendoza County, James says he began enjoying wine in his 20s. He has chosen to learn more about the New Zealand industry by studying this year for a wine marketing diploma at EIT. With an MBA from the University of Phoenix, he has been able to cross credit papers to focus on wine-related courses that include grape and wine production, sensory class and wine business. “I felt I needed to do this to establish myself as a credible source. My motivations were both personal and professional.” After they married, the couple moved to the USA where they

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spent the next five or six years. Coming back to New Zealand, they originally envisaged settling in Auckland or Wellington, seeing that as a stepping stone towards relocating to Hawke’s Bay. “But we were concerned we would get stuck when what we were looking for was this lifestyle choice.” So James “jumped off the corporate ladder”, giving himself six months to find a job in Hawke’s Bay. With a young family to support – Jack is now 7 and Nathan 5 – it was a calculated risk. He says his new job with Hawke’s Bay Winegrowers is very much aligned with his ideals, passion and previous experience. “I’m in an industry that has a significant presence in the region and yes, I’ve picked a golden year to start with the fantastic vintage that’s coming in. It’s been an opportune time to come on board.” James senses “a change in the air” for his organisation’s membership, and not just because of the standout 2013 vintage. Winegrowers are casting off the negativity associated with the global financial meltdown, he says, and are more optimistic than they’ve been for years. In the interests of familiarising himself with the local industry, he has been sampling many good quality wines. “It’s impacting on my grocery bill,” he laughs. “I’ve shifted up the quality scale and further down the


James Medina

quantity scale, and that’s a tradeoff I’m happy to live with.” James says that while Hawke’s Bay faces many of the same issues as other wine regions, it is characterised by the diverse size of its wine businesses. “It ranges from very boutique operators like Stonecroft to much larger wineries like Mission which is well resourced and has a different set of needs.” So one of the challenges, he says, will be developing a strategy that serves this diverse membership and grows the brand of the Hawke’s Bay. Wine apart, he’s been

impressed by Hawke’s Bay’s sense of community and support and says that has “been quite visible”. While the region’s winemakers and grape growers have enjoyed a great season, they also appreciate the difficulties faced by others battling drought conditions. “They have given skins and stems to farmers to use as feed rather than using it themselves as fertiliser. They have also offered to graze ewes in their vineyards.” James also feels compelled to contribute to the community. “This work,” he says of the Hawke’s Bay Winegrowers role, “is allowing me to do that.” ■

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ow can you produce anything and not produce any carbon as the name ‘Carbon Zero’ suggests? To put it simply you can’t, but you can do things to mitigate the carbon you do produce. In New Zealand a handful of wineries are doing just that. The smallest wine producer in New Zealand by far to achieve carboNZeroCertTM certification is Kaimira Ventures winery, producer of the Kaimira Estate and Brightside wine brands. Located at Brightwater, in Nelson, Kaimira has been an active supporter of the Sustainable Winegrowing New Zealand programme from the outset and sustainability in all aspects of their business is important to

them. Embracing sustainable practices beyond those required in the sustainable winegrowing programme is part of the carbon zero goal. Owners Ian Miller and June Hamilton said that while you can’t easily say ‘carboNZeroCertTM certification has grown their bottom line by x’, they are more aware of everything they do and consume through their entire business. Carbon zero targets fit well with their commitment to sustainability. Most of the changes they have made as part of the certification are just good business practices, they said. The carboNZero CertTM programme was established in New Zealand in 2001 by Landcare

June Hamilton and Ian Miller.

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Research New Zealand Limited, a Crown Research Institute, owned by the New Zealand Government. It sets out to raise awareness of and; “Provide robust tools for individuals, organisations and events to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions, or carbon footprint, with the highest level of credibility and integrity”. Certification can be achieved in three fundamental areas – Measure, Manage and Mitigate. To participate in the programme Miller and Hamilton agreed to identify all the things within the operation that contribute to greenhouse gasses and then find ways of managing operations to reduce them. Whatever is left, they off-set by buying carbon credits.

The first places to look were the obvious emitters so they could “pluck the low-hanging fruit”. For example Kaimira use multiple attachments on tractors so if they are doing leaf trimming, they mow at the same time, making just one pass with the tractor rather than two. “Even things like short headlands in vineyards have an impact,” Miller said, “so if you need to stop and backup a tractor at the end of each row that is a cost to the business in terms of time, fuel use and emissions.” For the first few years they intensively monitored soil moisture and created a profile of all of their vineyards to determine how much irrigation water they used. While they have never been big users, hovering around 2% – 3% of their allowable take, there was a bit of guess work involved initially. Now they know the moisture profile of every block and how much water retention they have. This has resulted in measureable savings. Being efficient in the winery in areas such as cooling is important and Miller said they were lucky they entered the programme at the time they were building the new winery. It enabled them to achieve design work around thermal mass as well as the simple things like insulating all the cooling lines. Lots of thought went into sustainability design, with a hip wall that acts as a heat-sink, solar water heating and emphasis on the use of water. Every drop of water that flows into the winery is measured

and the aim is to use about 2 litres of water for every litre of wine produced. (The industry average is 6-8 litres of water use per litre). Using water to wash more than one tank is a common practice and they aim to wash and flush three tanks at a time. Miller said the most expensive single item they bought for the winery is the state-of-art waste water treatment plant, the same treatment plant used in small communities around the world. The underground plant uses natural soil bacteria to breakdown and treat every drop of water that leaves the winery. While the plant looks like a concrete pad outside the winery it is actually a highly complex, electronically monitored system, that is four meters deep and has three parts to it. The first chamber holds 10 cubic meters of waste water that

is monitored, checks pH levels and at intervals the computer tells the pumps to transfer water from the first chamber to the second chamber which is filled with layers of egg-crate-like panels that have been colonised by bacteria. A blower at the bottom of this chamber aerates the chamber while the bacteria do their thing cleaning the water over a period of about three weeks. Periodically the system automatically pumps water into the final settling tank and from there water is pumped onto the vineyard. While hot water is solar heated, the next step is photo voltaic panels to generate power. Miller estimates that for a modest investment they can generate about 30% of their annual electricity needs and as the cost of the technology comes down, the pay-back time will be quite short. Measuring greenhouse gas

emissions is reasonably straightforward. Information they collect for the carbon zero programme is the same information they collect for day-to-day management purposes. If you are creating greenhouse gasses you must be purchasing items, such as electricity, freight, packaging and fertilisers. All have a carbon footprint and collating the data is no big deal. One of the biggest hurdles for those committing to the carboNZeroCertTM programme is the small pool of wineries taking part. Developing norms is pretty haphazard. “Here we are producing 120,000 litres and you have Yealand’s producing 8 million litres and because their scale is quite different to us, it is pretty hard to extract norms, averages and targets that are relevant to us.” Carbon zero is only part of the story at Kaimira Ventures. They

are also members of the Sustainable Business Network. Supporting community programmes like Zealandia in Wellington, the annual Business Hall of Fame Gala Dinner, the Nelson Cycle Trail, the Nelson Marlborough Institute of Technology Hospitality School, Opera in the Park and many other events has been a personal philosophy for both Miller and Hamilton for many years. This commitment was rewarded when at the November 2012 Sustainable Business Awards they were named as the Trailblazer winner for Small Business and Sustainable Business of the Year for the Central and Southern Region. To put this in perspective Meridian won the large business award. And as various gold medals and trophies testify they make pretty good wine too! ■




ne of the most crucial decisions in the life of a business is deciding whether the business will be passed on to family members or whether the business should be sold. Regardless of which option is pursued, a business requires a warrant of fitness to be a viable option. This will require ensuring that business records are sufficient for the purposes of due diligence by a prospective purchaser, trustee or extended family. By anticipating the requirements of the due diligence process, the viability of a business as an attractive option for purchase or succession will be increased.

Due diligence Due diligence is about ensuring that a decision to purchase a business is fully informed and that there will be no future unpleasant surprises. It enables the purchaser to rely on his or her own investigations, information gathered and judgment as to whether or not the business is a sound investment. Warranties as to the state of the business are only as good as the person giving them. Undertaking appropriate due diligence processes will assist in precluding future liability of the vendor. Essentially, the due diligence process represents a checklist for the purchaser on acquisition of the

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Due diligence is about ensuring that a decision to purchase a business is fully informed and that there will be no future unpleasant surprises. business whether by way of succession or by sale.

Purchaser’s checklist on succession and/or sale Anticipate speculation on behalf of the purchaser or successor as to the reason for succession and/or sale. • Declining business. • Changes in character of the locality. • Lack of competitive strengths. • Expiring lease or franchise. • Imminent rent review. • Future loss of business because of actual or anticipated changes in government policy. • Change in zoning. • Change in roading. • Problems with creditors or suppliers. • Critical staff retiring. • Labour problems. • Bad reputation which may stay with the business. • Capital assets require replacement. If any of these reasons have promoted the sale or succession of the business, they will have consequent effect on the purchase price. Action List by the Solicitor or


Professional Adviser for the Purchaser or Successor The solicitor or professional adviser assisting the successor or purchaser will undertake a review of the instruction, status and contractual arrangements pertaining to the business. This will include the following: • The components of the purchase price. • GST and tax positions. • Valuation requirements. • Insurance/risk requirements. • The chattels being purchased. • Employee issues. • Grape supply contracts. • Licences to operate the business (e.g. Sale of Liquor Licences and Food Premises Registration Licences). • Warranties required from the vendor. Examples are warranties as to the financial accounts, turnover, a period of assistance from the vendor, restraints of trade, encumbrances on the property, debts, liabilities, licences and consents. • Review the title and any lease or licence documentation. • The means of funding the purchase. • The payment of any fees.

Ownership Structures There are a number of different ways a business can be owned. The most common ownership structures include: • Individual/personal ownership; • Shares in a company; • Trading Trusts; • Family Trusts; • Joint Ventures; • Limited Partnerships. The right ownership structure for a business can only be ascertained by a review of the particular facts and circumstances of each case. However, many businesses are owned directly or indirectly by the trustees of a trading trust or a family trust. The trustees may own the assets of the business directly or may own shares in a company that carries on the business. There can be some advantages to having the business owned by the trustees of a trust, including creditor protection and as a mechanism for “passing” the business to family members (in their capacities as beneficiaries of the trust) without, for example, needing to transfer ownership of the shares if they are held by the trustees. When considering succession planning, it is important that you have an up to date Will. It can also be useful to put in place enduring powers of attorney in relation to property and in relation to personal care and welfare. ■


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nly a few short years ago, the New Zealand wine industry found itself struggling with an oversupply of wine and an undersupply of markets in which to place its products. Oh, how times have changed. With a revived sense of confidence gained from successful ventures into new markets – not to mention a stellar 2013 vintage behind us – the industry now appears poised to conquer any and all new challenges. Fittingly, then, New Zealand Winegrowers’ 2013 Romeo Bra-

gato Conference focuses on the theme of “Back to the Future,” providing an opportunity to revisit the lessons of the past and what they can teach as we move forward. This year’s conference will be held in Blenheim at the Marlborough Convention Centre from 28th August to 30th August 2013. General Manager Research Dr Simon Hooker observed that it will follow the same format as the successful revamp in 2012, when the event was shortened in an effort to cut participants’ costs

without sacrificing the content of the programme. “Members’ feedback from 2012 was very positive and – with some of the country’s most experienced viticulturists and scientists already on board as speakers – we think this year’s Bragato conference will once again be a ‘must attend’ industry event,” said Dr Hooker. The 2013 programme drills down to the major risk management issues faced by the industry over time: • Planting and replanting,

starting with the “great vine pull” (now nearing its 30th anniversary) right up to present-day choices of rootstock and clonal material. • Fighting major diseases – past, present and future – including how to manage resistance issues. • The ongoing battle against grass grubs – knowing the pest. • Sward management and vine nutrition. • Disaster management – starting with the devastating aftermath of Cyclone Bola up to current concerns over biosecurity.

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• Crisis and rapid response – five years on, what can we learn from the oversupply of 2008? Once again, a keynote “Bragato Address” and a motivational speaker are part of the package. This time around, it’s founder and chairman of Anzco Foods Sir Graeme Harrison in the former role, and Peter Baines, one of Australia’s leaders in rapid response to acts of terrorism and natural disasters, in the latter role. The 2013 event includes more top viticulturists as speakers than ever before, as well as presentations from the renowned scientists. “As the wine industry once again gears up with new plantings and renewed confidence, the question remains, ‘How do we ensure that we don’t repeat past mistakes?’” said Dr Hooker. “The Romeo Bragato

GRAPE DAYS Now entering their fifth year, New Zealand Winegrowers’ Grape Days are once again on the calendar for 2013. Held in Hawke’s Bay and Marlborough, these popular one-day technical events are designed to provide high-level summaries of NZ Winegrowers’ research with a practical applied focus for industry uptake. This year’s programme covers topof-mind topics following vintage, and includes presentations from researchers and practitioners. Presentations include: • Disease management for powdery mildew and the latest research on slipskin • Pre- and post-frost planning, pre-

Conference provides the right forum for our industry to focus on those issues,” Hooker continued, “but it also offers an annual

paredness and mitigation •Yield management, including a review of 2013 climate effects on 2014 yields • Latest information on mechanical thinning and botrytis control • NZW Grape Day - Marlborough • Marlborough Convention Centre, Blenheim 11 Jun 2013 • NZW Grape Day – Hawke’s Bay • Napier War Memorial Conference Centre 13 Jun 2013 • For more information and to register online, visit the Grape Days website at

opportunity to catch up on all the latest news and research – plus it’s a great social event for everyone involved in our wine industry.”

Registrations for Romeo Bragato 2013 are now open and the programme is available at: www. ■

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decade is like the blink of an eye for a vineyard. Its vines may not struggle to stand up as many toddlers do, but they have their work cut for them as they stretch their feet downwards in search of the best nutrients and moisture below the surface. At Craggy Range Te Muna Road Vineyard in Martinborough, the Pinot Noir vines’ roots are tapping through stony soils to find the nourishment they need. This year the vines turned 14 and the 10th vintage of Craggy Range Te Muna Pinot Noir was released. The first wine was released in 2002; the latest is 2011. They show massive differ-

ences in style. While most of the quantifiable change is directly due to winemaking – in particular the substantial reduction of oak maturation – there are also differences in the taste of the grapes from this area. Most of Craggy Range’s Te Muna Pinot Noir vines were planted in 1999, with some planted in 2001. From the start, Viticulturist, Master of Wine and Craggy’s general manager, Steve Smith had high hopes for this vineyard. Its dramatic weather – cold springs, hot summers, frost risk and drought stress – make Te Muna a tough place to grow grapes he says. Prior to being a vineyard,

Te Muna’s lower Terraces.

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Craggy Range’s Te Muna site was a farm for 150 years, so the land has been in steady use for a relatively long time, given New Zealand’s young viticultural and horticultural histories. And while Pinot Noir is the big premium red wine hope for Craggy Range at Te Muna, it occupies just 40 per cent of the total vineyard site. All the Pinot Noir there is grown on the top terraces of this multi-terraced site. The balance is made up mostly of Sauvignon Blanc, which occupies 50 per cent of the site and there is an eclectic 10 per cent mix of Riesling (planted east/west in response to the challenges of aspect on the vineyard); Pinot Gris, Pinot Blanc and Gewurztraminer. Smith is a fan of the multi-grape

field blends made by French winemaker Marcel Deiss from Alsace. In homage to Deiss and those wines, Smith and his team produced their own Craggy Range field blend from Riesling, Pinot Gris, Pinot Blanc and Gewurztraminer in 2012. The grapes were hand picked, then co-fermented and the result will be small quantities of a trial white wine. There are also new aims for Pinot Noir at Te Muna. Smith’s plan is to plant more of the Able clone, reduce the amount of clone 5 and continue with increased use of whole bunch’s in the fermentation. His philosophy is that the Able clone adds seriousness, sinew and muscularity to Pinot Noir. “It’s the last block to pick on the vineyard. We have to work hard to get it

ripe but it adds a stamp of seriousness. From 2011 onwards, Aroha (the winery’s Prestige Collection Pinot Noir) will be based on the Able clone,” he says. Another block of the vineyard is planted entirely with Pinot Noir clone 114, which was entirely fermented with whole bunch’s for the first time in 2011. The whole bunch fermentation regime is significantly less for the Craggy Range Te Muna Pinot Noir; which receives just a 10 per cent portion of whole bunch ferment. Both wines are treated to barrel aging in French oak but these days it’s in the 25 to 30 per cent range of the overall wine; as opposed to the 50 to 60 per cent new oak the wines received in early vintages.

Viticultural Challenges At Te Muna Smith, sees three phases so far in the 10 years of Craggy Range Te

Muna Pinot Noir. The first was between 2002 and 2007; years characterised by the most erratic range of Martinborough vintages that Smith says he’s ever seen. Smith describes the vintages from 2002 – 2004 as showing a Californian stamp in style – a result of pushing the boundaries of ripeness. “It’s what you instinctively do as a result of being in a new vineyard. You need to know how far you can go before you step back and those first three years were very much about looking at how far we could go.” The second phase was 2005, 2006 and 2007; by this time the winery had begun to build up an oak portfolio of some older wines. “This was a period of going through an evolution of what we were doing; we realized we didn’t have to push Pinot to levels of shrivel on the vine because we

Steve Smith

felt it was masking what we were seeing from the vineyard, so we stepped back from that. We also felt that the fruit and the seeds had enough tannin in them so we started pulling back on the levels of new oak.” The third phase from 2008 to present has seen a return to the

classic Martinborough vintage and a retention of the themes developed in phase two but now with maturing vines. Smith says: “Here the stamp of the vineyard shows more strongly with more complex aromatics and a distinctive earthy/foresty character on the palate.” ■

WE HAVE MATCHED A FINE SELECTION OF LEGAL EXPERTS TO COMPLEMENT YOUR BUSINESS. RESOURCE MANAGEMENT Marija Batistich PUBLIC LAW Simon Watt HEALTH & SAFETY Tim Clarke FOOD STANDARDS Tania Goatley CORPORATE STRUCTURE Gavin Macdonald To access the full breadth of our team, please contact Marija Batistich in the first instance on 09 916 8809 or email W W W. B E L L G U L LY. C O M


With GrapeBase online software you have comprehensive records on hand for planning & budgeting, and to assist with yield forecasting, spray diaries, harvest diary, activities diary & report analysis. GrapeBase is a web-hosted programme that works in real time. It can be used for single or multiple vineyards. It is accessible anywhere, anytime. GrapeBase is SWNZ compatible. Ask about the free 30 day trial available. GrapeBase is one of the CRT CropBase suite of track & trace software products.

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he passing of Australian wine scientist Dr Bryce Rankine (pictured right), aged 88, will bring back many memories to a vast number of key New Zealand winemakers. Rankine died earlier this year in Adelaide, Australia. He was the mentor and teacher of many leading New Zealand winemakers in his role as Head of School of Viticulture and Oenology at Roseworthy Agricultural College in 1978; a role that followed on from his position as Principal Research Scientist at the Australian Wine Research Institute (AWRI); during which time he published over 250 papers in trade publications, peer reviewed papers, conference and seminar

papers, including the American Journal of Enology and Viticulture; Annales de Technologie Agricole; Australian Journal of Applied Science; Connaissance de la Vigne et du Vin and Food Technology in Australia, among others. Rankine most famously wrote Making Good Wine, first published in 1989. He was a companion of Barons of the Barossa (1976), Member of the Order of Australia (1986) and a recipient of the Maurice O’Shea Award (1998). And on this side of the Tasman, he was a chief wine judge twice at the New Zealand National Wine Competition in the late 1970s. In his role at Roseworthy College, he became the alma mater of many winemakers

who have been prominent in New Zealand’s wine history. Rankine joined the AWRI just after its establishment in 1955, following work at the CSIRO at the Waite Agricultural Research Institute. During his time at the AWRI, he researched yeasts, fermentation, ethanol production, lead content and other metals in Australian wines; treating wine with ion-exchange resins and preventing potassium bi-tartrate. “Dr Rankine was one of four overseas experts who had a profound influence on the development of a quality wine sector in New Zealand, the other three being Dr Maynard Amerine, of University of California, Davis, Dr Helmut Becker, the vine breeder

from Geisenheim, Germany, and Dr Richard Smart, who came from Roseworthy to be chief viticulturist for the Ministry of Agriculture for a number of years,” says Former CEO of the Wine Institute of New Zealand, Terry Dunleavy. ■

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CALENDAR JUNE 11 NZW South Island Grape Day


Convention Centre, Blenheim

Vinexpo Bordeaux France



NZW North Island Grape Day

Spieglau International Wine Competition

Hawke’s Bay Hastings Opera House

15 Launch of the New Zealand Boutique Wine Festival Imperial Lane, Auckland. For additional information please contact Ash on 0211545704


20–23 Hawke’s Bay Wine and Food Classic Winter Series. Details: http://



Decanter World Wine Awards 2013. Trade and consumer tasting.

Good Food and Wine Show Sydney – NZW participation





Moore Stephens Markhams Marlborough Young Viticulturist of the Year 2013 Blenheim

Hawke’s Bay Moore Stephens Markham’s Young Viticulturist of the Year competition 2013 Napier

21 6 Nations Wine Challenge Judging Sydney

27 Chardonnay – Ripe for a reboot Marlborough Vintners Hotel, Blenheim. Details at



Moore Stephens Markham’s National Young Viticulturist of the Year

Romeo Bragato Conference Convention Centre, Blenheim


SEPTEMBER 4 Decanter World Wine Awards – Presentation Dinner. London



Marlborough Wine weekend

Pinot at Cloudy Bay


Blenheim. Details at


New Zealand International Wine Show 2013 Auckland

60   // 


Hawke’s Bay Fine Wine and Food Classic – Summer Series Hawke’s Bay. Details;

9 Marlborough Wine Show Awards Dinner




Region (Actual)


2015 (forecast)

% of Total





Hawkes Bay
















Wairarapa / Wellington








Auckland / Northland




Waikato / Bay of Plenty




National Total







Sauvignon Blanc





Pinot Noir
































1 0.9

Cabernet Sauv





















Cabernet Franc

111.6 438.7





Aklnd / Nthlnd



Canterbury Gisborne





50.01 and over












































Waipara Wairarapa / Wgtn National

United Kingdom



42,195 277,413 $6.57 $6.46


50,194 371,408 $7.40 $7.21



7,182 78,706 $10.96 $10.97


4,228 26,388 $6.24 $5.87


0.869 5,716 $6.57 $6.42


2,100 14,500 $6.90 $7.87


1,138 13,622 $11.96 $11.42


1,832 9,935 $5.42 $6.80

2,446 30,233 $12.36 $11.85

Hong Kong






1,261 16,206 $12.85 $12.71


0.177 1,535 $8.63 $9.55




1.540 12,926 $8.39 $8.09


5,179 48,852 $9.43 $9.96

1,131 $6.71 $8.36


Hawkes Bay

Waikato / BoP

Litres $ Fob Average Average (m) $/L 2013 $/L 2012





% producing area

Pinot Gris

All other varieties

Exports for the 9 months to end of March 2013 (Moving Annual Total)


New Zealand’s total producing vineyard will increase by only 0.5% over the next 2 years. This table shows the variation for major varieties (in Ha), with % change and percentage of total in 2012. % producing area

Exports up again












170,899 1,204,391



*(npr = not previously recorded separately) *n.c. = no change


RESEARCH SUPPLEMENT Information and Updates on NZ Winegrowers Research Programmes. Associate Editors: Dr Simon Hooker, General Manager Research and Innovation

A regular feature at the back of each issue of WineGrower to inform industry people about research projects being undertaken for their benefit. Newly approved projects (when available) are briefly summarised in the first section ‘Introducing New Projects’. Longer reports in the section headed ‘Progress Reports’, will describe what has been achieved so far. Scientists in charge of each project have been asked to make these reports reader-friendly rather than to follow the usual format of scientific papers. When completed, each project will be reported in full detail, with references, on the website:

LIST OF PROJECTS QUALITY WINE STYLES FOR EXISTING AND DEVELOPING MARKETS Manipulation of methoxypyrazine (MP) levels in Sauvignon blanc wine through leaf and rachis additions Plant and Food Research (Claire Grose) Influence of juice pH on thiol production Plant and Food Research (Claire Grose) Identification of natural genetic variation in grapevine contributing to pathogen resistance Lincoln University (Chris Winefield) The development of a functional genomics tool for the capture and characterization of transposon mutants in Vitis Vinifera (PhD Scholarship) Rod Bonfiglioli Scholarship Lincoln University (Darrell Lizamore) Investigation of perceived minerality in white wine Lincoln University (Wendy Parr) Sensory effects of defoliation timing and method on Sauvignon blanc, Chardonnay, Merlot, and Cabernet Sauvignon Eastern Institute of Technology (EIT) (Mark Krasnow)

62   // 


Chinese consumers’ preferences and attitudes to wine: Review of literature including Chinese Language Publications Plant and Food Research (Roger Harker) PESTS AND DISEASE Implementation of Virus Elimination Strategy Various (Nick Hoskins – Project Manager) Supported by MPI Sustainable Farming Fund Review of New Zealand and other related trunk disease information Plant and Food Research (Dion Mundy) Managing Botrytis in New Zealand Viticulture Vino Vitis Ltd (Ruby Andrews) Botrytis decision support (BDS) industry training & botrytis sampling protocols Plant and Food Research (Rob Beresford) Understanding causes of slip skin Plant and Food Research (Rob Beresford) SUSTAINABILITY/ORGANICS Organic Focus Vineyard Project Organic Winegrowers New Zealand (Rebecca Reider) Supported by MPI Sustainable Farming Fund

Effects of undervine vegetation management on grape quality, vine performance, grape composition, and soil properties Eastern Institute of Technology (EIT) (Mark Krasnow) COST REDUCTION/INCREASED PROFITABILITY New opportunities for sustainable grape thinning Plant and Food Research (Mike Trought) Supported by MPI Sustainable Farming Fund Reduced berry size and Botrytis tolerance through trauma to the vine Plant and Food Research (Mike Trought)


New opportunities for sustainable grape thinning 11-101

Claire Grose, Sue Neal, Dion Mundy Mike Trought of Plant & Food Marlborough Benedicte Pineau, Michelle Beresford, Anne Gunson Plant & Food Auckland Andrew McLachlan, Plant & Food Palmerston North Mark Allen, Allen Vineyard Advisory Ltd, Blenheim A previous project funded by NZ Winegrowers (NZW10-106 Fruit yield management of Sauvignon Blanc: The use of mechanical thinning) assessed mechanical thinning as a cost-effective and labour-saving alternative to hand thinning for reducing grape yields to contracted targets. Initial concerns that machine thinning may increase disease (especially botrytis bunch rot incidence) proved unfounded. We also showed that thinning consistently reduced berry size at harvest. Extending that work, a similarly funded three-year commercial-scale field trial is in its second year. It evaluates the effects from using mechanical thinning for yield and botrytis bunch rot management on four varieties - Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Gris, Merlot and Pinot Noir - in Marlborough and Hawke’s Bay. Wines made at the Marlborough Research Centre from fruit from machine- and nonthinned vines in 2012 have been evaluated by industry professionals in Marlborough. Our aim was to determine whether machine thinning significantly affected the overall sensory profile of the resulting wines compared with wines from non-mechanically thinned vines. Evaluations were conducted in sensory booths using wine in black glasses - shown in Figure 1. Participants were asked to smell, taste and expectorate the wines,

and record if they could distinguish between the samples. The panel could not differentiate between the wines, and machine thinning caused no significant differences in the overall sensory properties of the wines compared with the control wines from the same site, when grapes were harvested at similar soluble solids concentrations. This result

held true for all four varieties evaluated, confirming previous results on Sauvignon Blanc in 2011. This indicates that mechanical thinning can be used in the vineyard with no significant effect on wine style.

Acknowledgements: We appreciate the support from New Zealand Winegrowers,

MAF Sustainable Farming Fund, Villa Maria (Hawke’s Bay), Pernod Ricard NZ (Marlborough), Constellation NZ Ltd (Marlborough), Wither Hills Ltd (Marlborough), Mt Riley Wines (Marlborough), Chaytor Vineyards Ltd and all their staff who have made this project possible, and the industry professionals that participated in the sensory evaluations of the wines.

Figure 1. A booth set up for consumer evaluation of two series of pairs of wines (sensory facility, Marlborough Wine Research Centre).


Reduced berry size and botrytis tolerance through trauma to the vines 12-106

Plant & Food, Blenheim Corresponding author

Previous projects funded by NZ Winegrowers and the Sustainable Farming Fund (NZW11-101 New opportunities for sustainable grape thinning, NZW10-106 Fruit yield management of Sauvignon Blanc: The use of mechanical thinning) revealed some important effects of shaking the vine on berry growth, size (Figure 1) and botrytis susceptibility. These projects assessed mechanical thinning as a cost-effective and labour-saving alternative to hand thinning for reducing grape yields to contracted targets. Initial concerns that machine thinning may increase disease (especially botrytis bunch rot incidence) proved unfounded: the machinethinned vines had the same or lower incidence and severity of botrytis as the unthinned vines at harvest.

Figure 1: Influence of machine thinning on Sauvignon Blanc berry diameter. Thinning was undertaken on 24 January 2012 (vertical arrow) three hours after the diameters had been measured on that date. Two curves (from January 20 to February 21 (day 52) and from February 21 to April 10 (day 101) were fitted to the data. Vertical bars are LSD (a = 0.05).

64   // 


We also showed that thinning consistently reduced berry size at harvest; and when fruit were harvested at the same soluble solids content, the mechanical thinning had no significant impact on overall sensory profile, overall complexity or typicality of Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc wine. Other work in Marlborough and Hawke’s Bay (PFR staff, pers. comm.) showed similar effects when severe leaf plucking (and possibly trimming) regimes were applied. The hypothesis that we are testing in this new project is that vine shaking induces a short-term stress or trauma in the vine, which then permanently alters berry development. The smaller berry size potentially causes a reduction in bunch compactness and may, in red varieties, result in increased anthocyanin

concentrations in the juice and wine. At the same time, a decrease in botrytis bunch rot may also be caused by an increase in skin thickness or chemicals in the skin slowing fungal infection rates. We have set up trials using alternative methods of creating trauma to vines. Vigorous shaking using an olive-shaking machine, a Braud mechanical harvester and/or using a Collard leaf plucker are being used to understand the mechanisms leading to slower berry growth and increased botrytis resistance. A positive impact of shaking/trauma treatments on botrytis tolerance will expand the possibilities of using mechanised techniques as partial or total substitutes to agrichemical use for botrytis control in grapes.

Manipulation of methoxypyrazine (MP) concentrations in sauvignon blanc wine through leaf and rachis additions 12-107

Claire Grose, Damian Martin, Jeff Bennett and Lily Stuart, Plant & Food Blenheim Contact:

This New Zealand Winegrowers funded project is targeted at protecting New Zealand’s position as the world’s leading producer of premium Sauvignon Blanc. Previous NZ Winegrower and Government co-funded research has confirmed that Methoxypyrazines (MP) and in particular iso-butyl methoxypyrazine (IBMP) and isopropyl methoxypyrazine (IPMP) are important contributors to the aroma of typical Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc. It is known that relative to the grape berry, grape stalks and grapevine leaves naturally contain much higher concentrations of methoxypyrazines (and their precursor compounds

hydroxypyrazines). Most research has, however, focused on the negative sensory impacts of MPs in grapevine material (other than berries) in winemaking and little is known as to whether substantial additions of stalks and leaves to must can increase juice and wine MPs without introducing other negative sensory effects. The initial experiments will explore the effects of increasing additions of rachis and damaged leaves (blades and petioles) to de-stemmed and crushed Sauvignon Blanc must on juice MP concentrations. If a positive correlation between leaf/stalk additions and

juice MPs is observed, we will expand the experiment to include micro-vinification and descriptive sensory analysis of the resulting wines. The goal of this research is to increase MP concentrations in Sauvignon Blanc juice and wine using natural methods. This will help the New Zealand industry to not only remain ahead of competition from cool climate countries such as Chile and Argentina, but also to mitigate against a potentially increasing frequency of warm and dry seasons that without intervention, will lead to lower MP concentrations in our flagship wine style.


Influence of juice ph on thiol production 12-108

Claire Grose, Damian Martin, Abby Albright, Sharlene Haycock and Lily Stuart Plant & Food, Blenheim Contact: Recent research from the New Zealand Grape and Wine Research Programme (GWRP) has shown the characteristic thiol-related flavours of Sauvignon Blanc wine (tropical, sweaty, passionfruit) are 10-20 times higher in wines made from machine harvested grapes (with skin contact) than from hand harvested, whole bunch pressed grapes (no skin contact). During fruit processing, as skin contact time is extended there is an increase in extraction of potassium from the grape skins, with a corresponding increase in juice pH. Likewise as pressures and duration of grape pressing increase, juice composition changes as potassium concentrations increase and organic acid concentrations

decrease. The net result is higher pH juice from later/harder press fractions. From our experiments carried out thus far, it is not clear whether thiol production is being modified by a “skin contact/pressing” effect independently of a “juice pH” effect, or whether the influence of pH on yeast metabolisms is the more influential factor in volatile thiol production. The principal objective of this new research funded by New Zealand Winegrowers is to determine the relative influences of changes in juice pH, press fraction and skin contact time on volatile thiol production. In the first experiment we will manipulate juice pH before fermentation by the addi-

tion of varying proportions of a) potassium bicarbonate or b) heavy press fractions from a commercial press. A second experiment will be run in parallel, to assess the effects of varying lengths of skin contact time on juice pH. Modified juices will be fermented under controlled conditions and the wines chemically analysed for major constituents, volatile thiols and methoxpyrazines. Increasing or optimising thiol concentrations represents a clear path for Marlborough winemakers to differentiate their product further from the competition and protect New Zealand’s unique position as the world’s leading producer of premium Sauvignon Blanc.


66   // 


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V IN TAGE 2013

Nzwg80 june july 2013  
Nzwg80 june july 2013