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44 R E GUL A R S




Vintage 2014

Tessa Nicholson

For some regions in New Zealand it was one out of the box, a stunner. For others it was a vintage of two halves and more challenging than they would have liked. Our reporters look at each wine region and how they fared in 2014.


New Zealand’s Pinot Noir Challenge

Well known and respected wine writer Jamie Goode wrote a feature recently for Wine&Spirits magazine, on the past and future of Pinot Noir in New Zealand. We share that article with you this issue.


From the CEO

Philip Gregan


Regional Viewpoint

Clive Jones – Marlborough


In Brief

News From Around The Country

30 Bob’s Blog

Bob Campbell MW


Sommelier’s Corner

Cameron Douglas MS

66 Not On The Label


Hawke’s Bay Optimism

There have been a number of positive stories emerging from regions over the past 12 months. Hawke’s Bay is no different. In fact it is on a bit of a roll, with new development and investment being made in the region. This issue we also look at Marlborough’s future plantings (page 26) and the changing face of Waipara (page 35).

Legal Matters with Bell Gully



Wine Happenings in New Zealand

70 Research Supplement

The latest science and research projects funded by NZ Winegrowers 50 Front Cover: Sileni Estate Ltd, Hawke’s Bay. Photo supplied by NZ Winegrowers



Authentic Japanese Wine Two of the better-known names in wine circles in New Zealand, are Glen and Kirsten Creasy. So how did they become involved with helping the Japanese to create a wine, based on a 1100 year-old table grape?


E D I TO R Tessa Nicholson


CO R R E SP O N D E NTS Auckland: Joelle Thomson Gisborne: Justine Tyerman Hawkes Bay: Mary Shanahan Nelson: Neil Hodson Canterbury: Jo Burzynska

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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.

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arewell to vintage 2014 and welcome to the pruning season. There is very little rest for growers and wineries as they move quickly from one major event into another. Pruning as we all know is one of the most important phases in the growing cycle of vines. What happens in the vineyard over the next few months will directly impact on crops and quality for not only next year, but the year after that. Which is why it is so important to get it right. But there is another important factor in this upcoming period of work – and that is responsibility. The responsibility of employing contractors who are following the laws of the land and caring for their workers. Every year there seems to be someone who will take advantage of their employees, either by not paying the minimum wage, or employing workers who are not legally entitled to be part of the New Zealand workforce. Inevitably when those people are uncovered by either Inland Revenue or another government department, the resulting media headlines are extremely ugly. In this day and age when a headline in this part of the world can emerge in our major markets within a matter of minutes, there is no way of hiding. It’s not only bad publicity, it’s also damaging for our image. Especially when our Sustainability story is such a good one in all other fields of wine making. In police circles, there is a saying; there would be no thieves if there was no market for stolen goods. In our industry, we could change the wording to; there would be no unscrupu-

lous contractors, if there were no growers or wineries employing them. So before you allow a vineyard contractor onto your property this winter, make sure you have all the relevant information that ensures they are not taking advantage of anyone. If they are RSE or Master Contractor registered, ask for all the relevant material. If they are not registered, then you need a covering letter with the names of the Principal Director and full mailing and phone details. Ask to see their health and safety policy (vitally important) their public liability insurance, employment agreement and remember to check they are registered with the IRD. You should also ask for a copy of the Current Certificate of Exemption from tax on Scheduler Payments (formerly Withholding Tax) or a special tax code. Plus request a letter of the company’s IRD/GST numbers. You should also ask for all the details concerning the contractor’s employees, and feel free to ask for proof that those people actually hold a valid work permit. Ensure that the contractor if paying piece meal rates, is meeting the minimum wage, which is $15.39 per hour, including 8% holiday pay. There are a number of other issues that could catch you out, but if you have concerns there is a Seasonal Labour Coordinator who can help with advise. Feel free to call Nicolette Prendergast on 027 577 8440 or email her at Remember it only takes one bad story to throw all our labour practices into question, at home and abroad. That is something no one in the New Zealand wine industry wants to see happen.




n the last week or so there have been two developments which every grower and winery should note with some pride. First, came the news that New Zealand wine exports have exceeded $1.3 billion, up $1 billion on a decade ago. Growth of nearly 10% in the past year comes on the back of the larger 2013 vintage and continuing strong demand in key export markets. To North America, exports have exceeded $400 million, and together the USA and Canada are now a larger market than Australia. All these numbers are indicative of the tremendous success of the industry in carving out a growing market niche for New Zealand wine. They bode well for the on-going growth of the industry both near term (when vintage 2014 comes on stream) and medium to long term. The second matter of which all growers and wineries should be proud escaped my attention until I received an email from Dr David Jordan, the well-known viticulturist: “I was reflecting on SWNZ and noting that we have moved in to the 20th year of the programme – this is a watershed as an achievement – a nationally focused sustainability programme in the primary industry with 20 yrs in operation (most marriages would have a large party on this milestone). My guess is that there is no other industry within New Zealand and the world that can make the claim of this tenure.  This needs to be celebrated.” 

How true! 20 years of ups, downs, and progress in a rapidly changing world. As David said quite an achievement and something to celebrate. David’s email got me reflecting on the origins of Sustainable Winegrowing New Zealand and how it has changed the industry Originally called NZ Integrated Winegrape Production (IWP) the programme was the result of a research initiative launched by Winegrowers of NZ, the then joint research arm of the Grape Growers Council and the Wine Institute. This was at the time when growers had only just stopped using mesurol to deter birds from consuming our grapes and there were concerns about residue levels in wines and the possible trade barriers that could be erected based on these. To the lasting benefit of the industry, Winegrowers decided to examine the broader issue of sustainability, rather than just the narrow issue of spray residues. To that end in 1994 Winegrowers contracted the then government viticulturist, one Dr David Jordan, to report on sustainability schemes around the world. As part of that process David visited Switzerland, examined the Wadenswil programme, and recommended that with suitable amendment a similar programme would provide an appropriate sustainability framework for NZ. Unlike many reports, David’s suggestions were acted on and bore fruit very quickly. The report was not something to lie on the shelf, rather it was a catalyst for action.

A pilot programme was launched in 1995 initially with five vineyards. Following that trial, in 1998 IWP went ‘live’ with 120 participating vineyards and the first technical workshops were held. Progress continued with the appointment of a National Co-ordinator in 2001, in 2002 IWP was rebranded SWNZ, and also in 2002 a winery scorecard was trialled, followed quickly by the launch of the winery programme in 2004 with 30 participating wineries. In 2005 NZW commissioned an international review of SWNZ to assess where the programme had got to and where it should go in the future. The direct result of that review was that in 2007 NZW launched its Sustainability Policy aiming at 100% industry involvement in a sustainability programme by 2010. That led to vineyard and winery participation in the programme doubling in very short order which brings us pretty much to the present time. It is interesting to note how things have developed over the past 20 years with SWNZ: In the mid-1990s the sustainability initiative was very much outside the mainstream, whereas today most growers and wineries see sustainability as part of normal business. Over the years SWNZ has been strongly research led, and indeed was borne directly out of the industry levy funded research programme Development of the programme has been industry led, rather than imposed from

outside sources. SWNZ is best assessed when it is examined as a component of the wider industry commitment to sustainability. What I have not described above are the parallel NZW activities in areas such as the spray schedule, our positioning as clean and green, the development of the NZ organic standard, research into a range of sustainability issues etc all of which has provided a framework for SWNZ and have supported industry commitment to sustainability. Finally SWNZ has shown it has the flexibility to meet changing industry requirements. From an initial focus on sprays SWNZ can now meet a range of member requirements, if members need it to. All the above is not to say SWNZ and the wider NZW sustainability programme are perfect. There are areas for improvement, and to that end, SWNZ and NZW are about to launch our new initiative WiSE (Wine industry Sustainability Engine). We are confident this will markedly improve certain aspects of the current programme. Certainly feedback to date from growers and wineries in the test programme has been positive. So after 20 years of sustainability development and experience we are moving into a new phase with WiSE. We plan to ensure that WiSE will add to the pride that every grower and winery should feel in the sustainability achievements of the industry over the past two decades. ■





ell the 2014 vintage in Marlborough has proved to be a challenging one for a number of reasons. Firstly a good fruit set meant crops looked well above average and a considerable amount of time and effort was spent on fruit thinning by most. The season was early and leading up to harvest the vineyards looked in very good condition. We had our earliest start on record for bubbly base for Nautilus Estate (25 th February) and Pinot for table wine (2nd March). Cyclone Lusi threatened but did not really deliver with about 30 mm arriving around 16th March – it was forecast to be much worse. For us the decision was - do we pick the Chardonnay before or after this rain - we left it hanging and picked a week later – a good decision in the end. After Cyclone Lusi we had 23 days with no rain. The botrytis fuse that was lit by Lusi fizzled and went out. During this

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time we managed to pick over 95% of our desired intake leaving only 50T of Sauvignon to harvest on the morning of the 9th April after about 10 mm of overnight rain. However the next 14 days saw regular rainfall and for the region it was a case of harvesting as quickly as possible, dodging the showers where you could. Marlborough typically gets a decent rainfall in April. This year it came early, was higher than average and yes there was a significant amount of Sauvignon still to pick for most. On the positive side there was a lot of good quality juice already in tanks and the flavour profile of what was still on the vine was good enough to harvest (not overtly green). So in a lot of ways it then became primarily a logistical issue about getting the fruit to the wineries. Not all the fruit was picked this year – but that was always going to be the case as wineries were likely to run out of room. In most cases agreed caps were reached


and harvesters stopped or the balance was picked to ground. We certainly left fruit behind on our own vineyards and our grower’s. Once the rains came then wineries could be more selective about what they picked. For some growers this may mean they didn’t harvest all they expected to but for most, if they reached their caps and minimum brix target, their income was secure. Like every vintage there will be lessons learnt. Crop estimation is still an inexact science – typically short years are overestimated and big years are underestimated. We have a great climate here in Marlborough but we are not bullet proof. For everyone it is about managing the agricultural risk. Those that took a conservative stance were more likely to have got their fruit in before the rain than those that took more of a risk and tried to ripen a larger crop. Looking at unharvested fruit after two weeks of rain is a timely

reminder of what can go wrong if Mother Nature doesn’t cooperate. It is not a pretty sight. So what can we expect of the wines from vintage 2014. From my own perspective I am delighted with the wines we have made – Chardonnay and Pinot Noir look exceptional and Pinot Gris and Sauvignon are very strong. We will have no problem filling our quality and quantity requirements across our portfolio of wines. Like any wine region around the world there will be some mixed results and some will have fared better than others. Luck does play a part but to some degree, as the saying goes, you can also ‘make your own luck’. ■




Having just experienced our best growing season ever, we are delighted to advise that we now have good volumes of surplus stock available for delivery this winter. VISIT OUR WEBSITE OR FREE CALL NOW

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NATIONAL Wine Exports Exceed $1.3 Billion

NZW Grape Days

The latest Statistics New Zealand data shows New Zealand wine exports have exceeded $1.3 billion for the first time. “The very robust export performance over the past 12 months reflects the continued demand in key markets and increased availability of the wine from the 2013 vintage. We expect further strong growth in the year ahead when the 2014 vintage wines are released” said New Zealand Winegrowers Chief Executive Officer Philip Gregan. Wine exports are at $1.32 billion up 9.2% for the year 31 March 2014. Wine is currently New Zealand’s 8th biggest goods export. Wine exports have increased by $1 billion in the last 10 years.

The annual NZ Winegrower Grape Days are nearly upon us.

Lion Buys Morton Estate Adding to their already large portfolio, Lion New Zealand has bought wine brand Morton Estate and its Stone Creek Vineyard, (subject to OIC). The line up for Lion New Zealand now includes Wither Hills, Huntaway, Corbans, and Jackman Ridge. MD Rory Glass said “Morton Estate will be a great complement to our existing brands, giving us more flexibility in the way we service customers and consumers by way of range and price.”

These have quickly become one of the major events on the winegrower circuit, and provide the opportunity for growers and viticulturists to catch up on the latest research and industry issues. First up will be the all-important vintage details. Just how much did we produce in 2014? The two issues that have been upper most in grower’s minds this season will be discussed in detail. Firstly, powdery mildew and how to combat it. Secondly, yields and the next vintage. Guest speakers include; Trevor Lupton, David Manktelow, Mike Trought, Mark Allen, Damian Martin and Tony Hoksburgen among others. NZW Grape Day is on June 10, at the Convention Centre in Blenheim, from 9.30 until early afternoon. In the North Island it will be held on June 12 at the Napier War Memorial Convention Centre, also with a 9.30 start. Tickets are $35.00 if you book in advance online at grapedays. or $45 on the day (this includes morning tea and lunch).

AUCKLAND Wine on Auckland Waterfront

Nick Stock

HAWKE’S BAY Change of Date and Venue for Charity Auction Stunning vintage lots will be up for grabs at the HB Winegrowers Charity Fine Wine Auction set for Saturday, November 8. The event will join the FAWC! (Food and Wine Classic) summer series and has moved to the Hawke’s Bay Racing Centre following the closure of the Hawke’s Bay Opera House for earthquake strengthening. There are 39 auction lots in the Cranford Hospice fundraiser, many showcasing the very best from Hawke’s Bay vineyards – and the much-acclaimed 2013 vintage. The format will be kept simple with an afternoon pre-tasting function, food and music, followed by the auction itself. The charity wine auction is in its 23rd year and has raised more than $2 million for Cranford Hospice.

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Wine Auckland is an exciting new event taking place during Restaurant Month in the heart of Auckland City this August. The R18 event is being held on the weekend of 16 and 17 August at the Viaduct Events Centre, featuring wineries from all over New Zealand with a touch of international flavour also included in the mix. Split into three sessions over the two days, the public will be able to sample wines, purchase wine to take away, and attend educational sessions taken by some well known wine industry personalities including Nick Stock (Australian Wine Writer) and Bob Campbell MW. Many of Auckland’s top sommeliers and restaurateurs will also be hosting classes at the event. Bookings for stands are being taken now. To find out more and to secure your space at this inaugural event contact the team at Lemongrass Productions on 09 531 5524 or

One Thousand Year Family Trust The owners of Craggy Range have made a longterm commitment to their business, forming a 1000-year family trust. Founder Terry Peabody says the Hawke’s Bay-based wine company was established as a family legacy, and his wife, two children and grandson were solidly entrenched in the business. The trust means no Craggy Range assets can be sold of disposed of in any way outside the family for the next 1000 years. The business owns vineyards in Marlborough, Central Otago and Martinborough as well as two in Hawke’s Bay. In 2012, Craggy Range entered a partnership with Benjamin de Rothschild and family to produce Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Noir from a 26ha vineyard, wine sold under the Rimapere label.

MARLBOROUGH Royal Media Wowed More than 50 members of the royal media contingent were treated to Marlborough wine and food, during a visit to Blenheim in April. The media were following the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge on their royal tour, and arrived in the province the night before the couple themselves. The Duke and Duchess were in Blenheim to lay a wreath at the war memorial, as well as visit the Omaka Heritage Centre, the home of Sir Peter Jackson’s WWI memorabilia. The event organized by Wine Marlborough and Destination Marlborough gave the media a chance to wind down with wine and food, and see for themselves the Heritage Centre prior to the royal tour. And far from being jaded, the journalists and photographers were quick to make the most of a wine many admitted to being enamored with – Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc.

Yealands Take Coveted Green Award Congrats to Marlborough’s Yealands Family Wines who were chosen as the ‘Green Company of the Year’, by UK’s Drinks Business. The Green Awards are the world’s largest programme raising awareness of green issues in the drinks trade and rewarding those leading the way in sustainability

and environmental practice. Founder of Yealands Family Wines, Peter Yealands, says this global recognition is a welcome endorsement of their philosophy, culture and focus on continual environmental improvement. “We set out with a vision of best practice

from the vine to the bottle. Since inception our mission has been to become the worldleader in sustainable wine production. This award in conjunction with our win at the International Green Awards (2012) demonstrates that we’re well on the way to achieving that goal.”

CENTRAL OTAGO Cloudy Bay Expands to Central Otago Cloudy Bay Wines have become renowned the world over for their stable of Marlborough wines. Now it’s time for the company, or at least its parent company Moet Hennessy Estates & Wines, to spread its wings further south. The company has conditionally bought

Northburn Station in Cromwell, dependent on approval from the Overseas Investment Office. There are two vineyards involved, Northburn and The Shed. It is not the first dalliance Cloudy Bay has had with Central Otago fruit. They have been making a Pinot Noir (Te Wahi) with fruit sourced from contract growers since 2010. The company also has long-term leases on several blocks, Cal-

vert Vineyard (Bannockburn) and another block in Felton Road. However if approval is given, this will be the company’s first purchase of land outside of Marlborough, in its 29-year history.



REVIEWING VINTAGE AUCKLAND WEST Joelle Thomson Early picking, slightly lower alcohols and abundant crops all defined the tidy 2014 harvest in West Auckland for Master of Wine Michael Brajkovich of Kumeu River Wines. “We had an exceptional period of weather in November, which meant the flowering was very good leading up to our 2014 harvest, so the fruit set was excellent, which translated into a reasonably high yield this year,” Brajkovich says. Though the high yield was a little unexpected (the biggest ever), fruit was in good condition, he says. The predicted bad weather event that was Cyclone Lusi never actually became anything more than a weekend of rainfall and overall this vintage was about a week earlier than average.

AUCKLAND – SOUTH Clevedon is home to a small number of wineries but to high

quality wine, the best known being Puriri Hills whose owner Judy Fowler says Cyclone Lusi was a blessing in disguise. “Rain was needed after a dry season which meant our grapes had retarded sugar levels, due to the lack of rain, so Lusi turned out to be a good thing,” she says. The flavours in the grapes that Fowler harvested this year are good and the vintage was a large vintage too – the biggest for Puriri Hills since 2006. In terms of quality, Fowler says she has seen a consistency in balance in her wines since 2008, which she thinks is due to vine age.

GISBORNE Tessa Nicholson There are not enough superlatives in the dictionary to describe Gisborne’s vintage. Outstanding, stunning, exceptional are three words that keep coming up when talking to winemakers in the region. Doug Bell, Chair of Gisborne Winegrowers said it was a vintage where the fruit quality

was “the best” and for growers the quantity was “reasonable.” “It was a great vintage across the board, no doubt about that. All the varieties came in very clean with lovely flavours, although winemakers locally are saying the Chardonnay and Viognier are two standouts. “Having said that, I would have to say we have never worked so hard to produce such beautiful fruit. It has been incredibly busy and hard work this year. We had very high powdery mildew pressure and that resulted in growers having to be in the vineyard all the time.” Hamish Anderson, production winemaker for Indevin in Gisborne said the season was an early one, up to 10 days ahead of the long term average. But the fruit came in in a steady flow, making it a vintage to remember. “Normally you get the bubbly base in and then there is a bit of a break before the table wines come in. But this year it seemed to flow one into the other and just keep going. It was a nicely managed vintage.” He agreed with Bell that there are a number of standouts this vintage, with aromatics topping his list of wines to look out for. “Even the reds are looking great. The Merlot is nice and ripe and we managed to get most of it in before the rain.”

HAWKE’S BAY Mary Shanahan Hawke’s Bay is celebrating another superb vintage, and one

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that is likely to have produced five to 10 percent more fruit than last year’s harvest. As Vidal’s winemaker Hugh Crichton points out, it’s rare to get back-to-back vintages delivering such outstanding quality. Chardonnay, accounting for just under a quarter of the region’s production, is said to have been exceptional and Hawke’s Bay’s Syrah also looks to be a very strong performer. Bridge Pa grape grower Chris Howell says it was a very good flowering and reasonably compressed. December was wet, with thunderstorms setting up conditions for powdery mildew, particularly in Chardonnay, but most growers found a way to manage that. January’s heat dried out the vineyards and helped put them ahead on growing degree days. February’s lower temperatures slowed the pace and March was just average. Overall, however, the season was ahead by some seven to ten days. Widespread concern about the risk of botrytis was allayed by the general lack of rain around harvest. A threatened tail lashing by Cyclone Lusi didn’t eventuate. However, growers took Easter’s forecast for heavy rain seriously. With only three days warning, most moved quickly to get in their last fruit a little early and ahead of the long wet weekend. However most of the region’s picking was based on flavour. Crichton says it didn’t get too hot, which he believes helps both

Chardonnay and Syrah. “You don’t get over ripe fruit and go down the Shiraz road. A warm dry summer brought things on reasonably quickly, Chardonnay in particular. At the critical growing points, it was dry and warm.” As Howell says, with the harvest up by perhaps 3000 tonnes on 2013, outstanding fruit quality across all varieties and two successive years of quality wine in their tanks, “every winemaker in Hawke’s Bay will be delighted”.

WAIRARAPA Joelle Thomson The 2014 vintage has yielded a harvest different from anything that Ata Rangi winemaker Helen Masters has seen previously. “What looked to be an incredibly early harvest due to early bud break was tempered by a cool, but sunny January and February,” says Masters. The early season has turned out to be good all round, with Masters’ fellow Martinborough winemaker, Allan Johnson of Palliser Estate, also reporting a significantly early vintage this year, and northern Wairarapa winemaker John Porter reporting the earliest vintage he has seen in years. Drizzle and damp weather in early April could have been problematic but most growers did harvest most of their fruit early. Nigel Elder said; “This has been a fantastic season in Martinborough, especially as it started very early for Pinot Noir and other early ripening varieties. The weather was damp and drizzly from 6 April onwards but we are still expecting some great wines.” The Palliser Estate wines will tend to have slightly lower alcohol levels this year compared to last, says Johnson. Porter described 2014 as “excellent”.” “What was remarkable for us was that this vintage is the first

time, in the 20 years or so that we have been here, that we have harvested Pinot in March. Normally we pick in mid to late April, but this year the fruit was showing physiological ripeness and great flavours at lower brix levels than normal. This combination will result in lower alcohol levels, and wines of real complexity and elegance.”

NELSON Neil Hodgson The 2014 grape harvest in the Nelson region has been notable for a number of reasons; primarily the exceptional overall quality of the fruit harvested despite significant rain late in the season. The saving grace was a very early start to harvest, about 14 days earlier than normal. This meant virtually all of the fruit had been harvested by the time more than 200mm of rain fell over a 12 day period. Crops appear to have been slightly larger than in recent years with intensive vineyard management required to thin crops on some varieties and prepare for the forecasted rain events. Canopies were opened up to assist drying after a short but significant rain event delivered by the remnants of Cyclone Lusi. Drying winds immediately after Lusi minimised any significant damage. A warm and sunny Indian summer ensured beautifully ripe fruit while the cooler nights after Lusi helped the flavour development in all varieties, particularly Pinot Noir. Chairman of Nelson Winegrowers, Richard Flatman, said it was one of the best vintages he had experienced in Nelson and while it may have been a long one, producers were able to harvest fruit at optimal brix and flavour profile levels. Being able to delay harvest between varieties as each ripened appropriately, took the pressure off winemakers, even if the vin-

tage was a long, drawn out affair. Waimea Estates winemaker Trudy Shield said; “We had really intense flavours across the board with Albarino and Pinot Noir the standouts.

MARLBOROUGH Tessa Nicholson Marlborough expects to get some rain during the month of April, but no one had predicted that April 2014 would deliver 288% of the long-term average. However it isn’t all doom and gloom in the province, given estimations that more than 80 percent of the region’s fruit was in wineries before the rains arrived. Fifteen days of rain and cloud ended with the tail end of Cyclone Ita at Easter. It was evident that there was a lot of variation in the unharvested vineyards. Consequently a great deal of fruit was dropped to the ground, or left on the vine, disease ridden. There are anecdotal reports that many wineries left or dropped up to 10 percent. Those who got their fruit in before the skies opened, are rubbing their hands with glee. The others are rueing heavy, slow ripening crops and uncharacteristic weather. Substantial crop thinning during summer paid off for many

though, with a number of winemakers saying there will be some very good wines this year. Accolade Wine’s Ben Glover said the balance and physiological ripeness in all varieties was really positive.  “After Cyclone Lusi in midMarch we had three weeks of very warm nights, which is unusual for Marlborough. But that may have helped lower acid and bring the wines more into balance, earlier. So the wines showed less brix but they were coming on in flavour and were physiologically riper.” Cloudy Bay winemaker Nick Lane agrees, saying acids across the board were a lot softer this year. He said in both Pinot Noir and Sauvignon Blanc there was a lot of variation between the sub regions, which will create a lot of interest in the ensuing wines. “The Sauvignon is probably not as fruit punchy as 2013 but I think there is going to be a wider array of aromas and flavours in the wine. We are also going to see more sub regional differentiations  in flavour.” Glover expected there would be a number of lower alcohol Sauvignons this year, and predicted that it will be an early release vintage. “In that the flavours will come on earlier than say 2012 and 2011.”


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Astrolabe winemaker and owner Simon Waghorn said in his company’s case the wine in tank far exceeds their expectations. “From my perspective there are less phenolics in the Sauvignon Blanc and more thiols, meaning more passionfruit and tropical fruit flavours, so potentially there are some very good Sauvignons out there.”He said the vintage was one of two halves, taking a while to get going, after the very early start to the season. “We had expected an early season but it morphed into a normal one for us, and we had clean fruit and good flavours. We had a little bit left out there when the rain hit and had to pick between the showers, but hand on heart, the quality of wine for us exceeded expectations.” He said the Pinot Noir has lovely flavours and colour and the Chardonnay is as good as he has seen in some time. “This is not a disastrous vintage at all. But there will be some war stories out there for the people who didn’t get all their fruit in before the rain hit.”

CANTERBURY/ WAIPARA Jo Burzynska It’s been a harvest of two halves in Waipara and a complete nonentity for some of the less lucky growers in the wider Canterbury area, who watched their grapes rot on the vine after the wettest March

on record. Things got off to a positive start in Waipara with a record early bud burst followed by settled weather over flowering. This led to an even fruit set with many producers reporting that this allowed them to crop thin to an optimal level. Timing was roughly two weeks earlier than normal and a benign spring and summer kept the development of fruit that much ahead of the usual season. This meant that picking the early ripening Pinot Noir clones began in mid-March with winegrowers reporting excellent quality and yields for early picked fruit such as Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Gris. “We’re picking flavoursome fruit at lower sugar levels,” noted Greystone’s Dom Maxwell at the start of the vintage. “This is great and means it has the potential to be an elegant season.” But then the rain came and heralded in the second half of the harvest. Uncharacteristically regular autumn rainfalls with less sunshine, lower temperatures and reduced growing degree days changed the dynamics of what was earlier touted by some, the perfect harvest. All late ripening varieties were affected, with the later part of the harvest providing a real challenge to the winemakers. “This is the worst aromatics vintage I’ve ever seen since I started making wine in the region

To Another Great Year in 2001,” noted Waipara winemaking consultant, Theo Coles. “There’s been rot, botrytis and slipskin due to weeks of soft soaking rain which just wasn’t washing off, even on the gravel sites.” “Overall, volumes will be down, but there will be some brilliant wines made from the early harvest,” commented Geoff Shier, chair of Waipara Valley NZ. “It really has been a season of two halves.”

had been less prevalent in previous years. Then conditions were noticeably milder, with sporadic rain and overcast weather. It was as though we’d had summer in spring and spring in summer. Conditions were nevertheless dry, as they often are in Central. Flowering was early and fruit set was strong in most places. Some inclement weather pre-bunch closure posed possible threats later in the season, but despite the ten-

15.-17.03.2015 Düsseldorf, Germany International Trade Fair Wines and Spirits In the later ripening areas across Canterbury, the rain that set in from early April resulted in some growers losing entire vineyards of ruined fruit. “We have lost 95% or our crop from the rains in the lead up to Easter,” reported Gill Walsh administrator of Wines of Canterbury and owner of Blackhouse wines. “Unfortunately our fruit wasn’t in a position to be harvested early and we are not alone.” “Our Pinot Noir is a write off,” stated Gary Dennison of Point Bush in the far south at Waimate. “Pinot Gris and Sauvignon are both struggling for enough temperature to ripen to bubbly, let alone still wine. My prediction would be a write off year.”

CENTRAL OTAGO Max Marriott The growing season in Central Otago started off with a hiss and a roar, along with a return of the spring equinox winds which

dency for some tight bunches and heavier crops, the fruit at harvest was clean and flavoursome. Quiet initial forays turned into fast and furious harvesting with fine, hot days at the beginning of the 2014 vintage. The season was early, but not as early as initially expected. With excellent lignification, many found that the fruit was physiologically ripe at sugars below typical. This follows on from the same trend in 2013. Crops were slightly above average, but the early season leant itself to greater fruit loading. Conditions during harvest were excellent and at time of writing – the 1st week in May – the last blocks in Gibbston Valley were coming off (frosts at the end of April effectively ended the season) and the only other fruit hanging out for late harvest. All in Central are quietly confident of another great season and thankful that we escaped the tumultuous weather experienced in other South Island regions. ■

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ust as NZWinegrower New Zealand as a destination for current familiarization trips to magazine was going to wine tourism New Zealand. print came the news of the • Deepening New Zealand’s “We are also looking at signing of a Memorandum i m a g e f o r p r e m i u m a n d consumer events to promote wine of Understanding (MoU) between sustainable wines tourism to New Zealand, including New Zealand Winegrowers and Air •   And leveraging the New Zealand. Air New Zealand Wine The national airline has always Awards in offshore had a close partnership with NZW, markets as major sponsor of the annual Work on the MoU wine awards. But this new MoU has been ongoing for a number joint participation in NZW Wine takes that partnership a mammoth of months with a number of Fairs held in offshore markets,” “areas of cooperation” agreed Yorke said. step further. The signing by Christopher upon. Yorke says NZW will work In store wine promotions Luxon, CEO Air NZ and Philip with Air New Zealand on PR overseas will provide the perfect Gregan, CEO NZ opportunity to Winegrowers on promote New May 19, will ensure Zealand as a wine a merging of the  “We now have the NZW and Air destination, while two organisations’ NZ teams overseas working closely Air New Zealand international together to create a joint plan for the will also promote activities. wine tourism on coming year.” NZW Global their website. Marketing  director – Chris Yorke   “ We n o w Chris Yorke says have the NZW there are a number and Air NZ teams of key objectives, which will come activity, including investigating overseas working closely together into effect immediately. They opportunities for jointly hosting to create a joint plan for the include;  international media visits here, coming year,” said Yorke. • Increasing the promotion of or including vineyard visits into A number of key markets will

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be targeted in the next few months following the signing of the MoU. In China, Air NZ will participate at the NZW Wine Fair, and will also sponsor WINE 100 in China next month. In the US, Air NZ will be a participant at the NZW Wine Fair in New York and San Francisco, while cooperative promotion between the two organisations will occur at the Whole Foods later in the year. They will also participate in the Wine Fairs in Calgary, Ottawa and Toronto, Canada. With Wine Tourism one of the focuses of Tourism New Zealand, the MoU couldn’t have come at a better time for both organisations. “This is a major achievement for both NZWinegrowers and Air New Zealand,” Yorke said. “We are not only working with one of the most respected airlines in the world, but we are ensuring that New Zealand wine gets the international recognition it deserves.” ■

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aking great wine requires patience. Even if you get the combination of soil type, climate and grape variety right, it’s three years until your first crop, and a lot longer until the vines

are performing at their best. Across the world, winegrowers recognize the extra quality that older vines can bring. So on a recent visit to New Zealand, I was curious to check on the state of Pinot Noir, in a country where the majority of vines have been planted within the last decade. Central Otago is quite a new region— A test case for examining the effects of vine age in Pinot Noir. “Our oldest vines now are 21 years old, and we have cohorts going [further] back,” says Nigel Greening of Felton Road in Central Otago. “We see a fairly profound change around the 10- to 12-year point. The vines respond less [to variations in climate]; their roots are deeper; there is greater inner strength to them. The wines show less variance; they are less fickle.” Greening had charted a graph of vine age in his Bannockburn Pinot Noir, which draws on fruit from a range of vineyards. “[Vine age] was at a relative high point when I came to the winery in 2000, because it was relying almost entirely on plantings made in 1991, ’92 and ’93,” he reports.

16   // 

“Then, as we started to expand and plant new vineyards, the vine age progressively dropped. It took us until 2009 to get back to a new high point. For our Bannockburn Pinot Noir, the average vine age is now about 12 years. A lot of producers are in a similar situation across much of New Zealand.” Working in the North Island region of Martinborough, Steve Smith of Craggy Range recently opened 10 vintages of Pinot Noir from Craggy’s Te Muna Road vineyard. The wines showed a clear progression, with an added dimension in the latest vintages, something that Smith attributes to vine age. “The key to establishing vineyards is encouraging the vine to send

Steve Smith MW


roots way down,” he says. “We started seeing the place [Te Muna] shown in 2008 with eight- or nineyear- old vines, and every year since we have seen more expression of place.” Smith thinks you can make good but not great wines from young vines, and also that fruit off older vines requires less winemaking intervention. “The first 10 years are dominated by fruit rather than the place. From 2008 onwards we have had to do less to the wines.” In Burgundy, there are no particular rules about when young Pinot vines can be included in the blend of village, premier or grand cru vineyards. It’s up to the grower. “Producers take varying views,” says Burgundy expert Jas-

per Morris. “Some do trial blends and include a few barrels of young in with the old if it improves the overall wine, and declassify the rest. Some would wait 10 years and some 20 for grand cru.” Jeremy Seysses of Domaine Dujac thinks it takes as long as a quarter of a century for a vine to show its best. “For me, a vine seems to enter its prime around 25 to 30 years of age,” he says. “Young vines can certainly express terroir, but the expression is perhaps not as strong, not as consistent and usually, there is something that falls a little short on the texture front.”

So what is it about vine age that makes such a difference? There are a couple of plausible theories. The first is that time is needed for the root system to thoroughly interrogate the underlying soil. A mature root system will reach down into the subsoil or bedrock, and through mechanisms that are still a matter of debate, will then be able to express the terroir more effectively. This could be through establishing a steady, consistent, but moderate supply of water. Or it could have to do with the chemical composition of the subsoil and particular nutritional inputs. Either of these options would explain why it takes a while for Pinot vines to begin to express their particular terroir in consistent ways.

Older vines also generally have larger carbohydrate reserves in the trunk and root system, ensuring a better start to the growing season before the vine reaches the point that it is supplying all its needs through photosynthesis. Older vines also seem to settle into a better natural balance, with modest vigor in the canopy and modest crop levels. (That is, when they are planted on appropriate vineyard sites, and are spaced and trellised in the right way.) Pinot Noir is one variety where you can’t simply cheat on yields. This last suggestion chimes with the observation that the first couple of crops of young vines are often better than the next few, the idea being that the young vine is in better balance than a more vigorous adolescent vine that hasn’t properly settled down. Then there is the fact that vines

in the best sites, performing well, are less likely to be replanted even when their yields start to drop, and so are allowed to become old: a

confounder, if you will. But while vine age seems to be working in favor of New Zealand Pinot Noir, there is a cloud on

the horizon. It’s called grape leafroll virus, and it necessitates replanting vineyards, often as they are just beginning to hit their

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stride. “Virus is becoming a bigger and bigger issue,” says Smith. “It’s the greatest threat to New Zealand making wines from old vines, especially for red wines.”

Grapevine leafroll– associated virus type 3 (GLRaV-3a) is a huge problem for viticulture generally. It is spread through vineyards by insect vectors, principally mealybugs. Virus affected vines produce low-quality wines, especially for red varieties. It reduces yields up to 40 percent, delays maturation of fruit (a particular problem in cool climates), and reduces the life span of the vine. The virus is a well-known problem in South Africa, but also in New Zealand and California. Once a vine has been affected, there is no cure. For red varieties, virused vines can be spotted visually in the vineyard because late in the season the leaves become red, with green veins still visible. For white varieties, it is

less obvious: There is a slight chlorosis (yellowing of the leaves). In both red and white varieties, the leaves roll downwards, and there is disruption of the phloem, the plant’s vascular system that circulates sugars. If just a few vines in a vineyard are infected (and this can be determined by using an antibody based diagnostic test called ELISA), then it is possible to pull just these affected vines out, a process called “rogueing.” The soil needs to be cleared to a depth of one foot because old root material can host the bugs. Once the infection rate exceeds 20 percent of a vineyard, most growers choose to pull out all the vines, removing all the roots and then, once the ground is clear, replanting with certified virusfree vines. If there are infected vines in the vineyard, then the virus spreads with any mealybugs as they move from vine to vine. So growers work to reduce the mealybug population, as well as to spot and remove

infected vines. With New Zealand’s wine industry actively pursuing a sustainable approach, this could be challenging. However, the sustainability regulations are pragmatic, and allow the use of certain insecticide sprays in order to control mealybugs. For organic or biodynamic growers, this isn’t an option. While the virus has likely been in New Zealand since the 19th century, it has become a particular problem only recently. “Rapid spread began with the boom in vineyard plantings starting in the 1990s,” says Dr. Simon Hooker, general manager for research at New Zealand Winegrowers. “The disease was noted as causing declines in fruit and vine quality by the early 2000s, especially with regard to the production of premium red wine styles.” In response, New Zealand Winegrowers began working with nurseries to develop the guidelines that would eventu-

ally become the Grafted Grapevine Standard, and in 2008 began the Virus Elimination Project. “The extent of area affected by GLRaV-3 is something we are researching,” says Hooker. “We don’t yet have a definitive answer.” But he says that the project has already achieved considerable success in the first two pilot regions of Martinborough and Hawke’s Bay. “Many growers in those regions have already achieved the initial goal of reducing infection incidence to below one percent in their vineyards—something they would not have believed possible five years ago.” So a mixed story is emerging. On one hand, New Zealand’s best vineyards are producing increasing multidimensional, detailed pinots. And on the other hand, leafroll virus is threatening to rain on this parade by preventing existing plantings of the grape from reaching full maturity. ■

Craggy Range’s Te Muna Vineyard

18   // 


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t is the wine that made New Zealand famous. More than a billion glasses of it are poured overseas every year. It is by far our largest export earner, estimated to bring in $1 billion annually. Yet Sauvignon Blanc is the one variety that has no major event focusing on it. International visitors are encouraged to take part in aromatics, Syrah, Pinot Noir, and Riesling celebrations, so why not Sauvignon Blanc? The former editor of NZ Winegrower, Terry Dunleavy, was a strong advocate of promoting our flagship wine at the highest possible level. In an editorial he wrote back in 2011, he praised the success of the Pinot Noir triennial celebration. However he followed it with a “but”. “Why…can we not mount a similar exercise based on the variety in which we are not only seen as setting the international

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standard, but which is such a large and defining element in our export portfolio?” I am sure Terry along with many others in the New Zealand wine industry are therefore pleased to hear that in the major event strategy planned by NZ Winegrowers, Sauvignon Blanc is now to be lauded on a scale similar to that of the Pinot Noir celebrations. The very first major event will take place in early 2016, less than two years away. It will be more than likely based in Marlborough, the heart of New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc. But that is not to say it will focus only on that region. There are many others in New Zealand producing this variety, including Hawke’s Bay, Wairarapa, Nelson, Canterbury/Waipara and Central Otago. All will play a significant role. NZW’s Global Marketing


Director Chris Yorke says the event will be used as a hook to bring in key influencers, while celebrating the nuances of New Zealand Sauvignon and the achievements that have been made in just 40 years. “We have had phenomenal growth in terms of exports of Sauvignon Blanc, but we want to continue that growth and to excite the market going forward. An event based on the variety will help us do that.” Yorke says the initial Sauvignon Blanc event will be smaller than Pinot Noir 2013. “It will target key influencers in our main markets and be held over two to three days.” There are a plethora of topics that could be covered within the celebration, including; regional and sub regional differences, styles, sustainability, research and innovation and the young and old guns

of the industry. While the Pinot Noir celebrations have always been held in Wellington, in the case of Sauvignon Blanc, Wine Marlborough’s General Manager, Marcus Pickens, says Marlborough is the natural home to celebrate. “The famous Sauvignon Blanc signature is always going to be Marlborough, so it’s a no brainer to hold it in the region that kick started the story. If you have a lot of international travellers, it makes sense to involve the actual region, the vineyards, the natural surrounds and explain the geography, climate and people. “We are obviously very proud of the Marlborough story, and the fact that Sauvignon Blanc is New Zealand’s leading wine varietal. It is unique, and well loved throughout the world, but at times we seem to be backwards in coming forwards to celebrate it. So I think it’s about time we stood up and sang its praises.” No formal title has been given to the event at this stage and a committee to oversee and run it is yet to be arranged. The committee once selected, will provide the creative vision and the accountability back to the NZW Board and to the members. Industry members who wish to be part of the Sauvignon Blanc 2016 committee are invited to submit a written application to Philip Gregan; email phillip@ Interviews will follow, and the Board of NZW will make the final selection. ■

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uilding on the success of Pinot Noir 2013 will be the driving force behind the next event in 2017, according to its new Chair, Ben Glover. Accolade Wine NZ’s group winemaker took over the role of chair earlier this year, after Alastair Mailing MW stood down. Glover says the success of the most recent celebration means there is a solid foundation to build from, as a new board is set to be formed. “2013 was a fantastic event,” he said. “We got great feedback nationally, internationally and from our members in the regions.

The event was all about making sure there was good representation of our regions, and I think we achieved that.” While in the past Pinot Noir has been held every three years, a new Major Events Strategy signed off by the board of NZ Winegrowers, will see the event take place in 2017, rather than 2016. The 7th celebration will then occur in 2021, marking the 20th anniversary of the original Pinot Noir celebration in 2001. Glover who admits to being a lover of Pinot in all its forms, says the variety is one that doesn’t need to conform, therefore any

celebration of it needs to be creative. “Pinot Noir is one of the few varieties you can’t be generic with. It allows you to be grey, to swim a bit. Pinot Noir allows you to show your personality and passion. The imbiber understands small personalities, large personalities, small vineyards and large plots of vineyards. It is quite a thespian variety, with all this grey you can portray anything you want from Pinot Noir and you are neither





22   // 


right nor wrong.” A review of the 2010 celebration saw a number of changes rung in prior to 2013. It was those changes that ensured the huge success, Glover says. “One of the challenges in a conference like this we found, is that it is all indoctrinated. At 10.15 you have a scone. At 10.30 you go to a hall. At 10.45 you have just drunk six Pinots and at 10.50 you are told what they are, blah blah.

“We had a whole lot of our paying members complaining that they didn’t get their day in the sun. So we flipped it (the format) around and said, ‘Okay you do it.’ We became a conduit to them, giving them an open forum to show off their region and their individuality, rather than being prescriptive.” While for some this was a real challenge, Glover says the format that eventuated with sepa-

the unification of the industry and regions, in terms of producers, winemakers and viticulturists, Glover said. “We all get on well and we all have similar highs and lows when making Pinot Noir. Plus we are all part of the New Zealand story.” That has quickly become one of the highlights for international visitors to the event he says. “The key influencers want to come to Pinot Noir NZ. In fact they get upset when they are not invited. Each event in their eyes has got better and better. We might be highly critical of it – which is great!, but for these gate keepers to our Pinot Noir markets it is a huge draw card and they fight over being a part of Pinot Noir NZ.”

rate halls for the regions, and an almost free style of information delivery worked well. Guests and delegates alike were full of praise for the outcome. “In the early stages of preparing for 2017, we are not looking at re-casting the mould. I think we have that right,” Glover says. “We just have to ensure the regions can tell the next Pinot Noir story.” One of the greatest attributes of the Pinot Noir celebration, is

Industry members who wish to be part of the Pinot 2017 committee are invited to submit a written application to Philip Gregan; email Interviews will follow with the NZW Board making the final decision the committee make-up. ■

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The following is a photo essay of vintage 2014, as seen through the lens of many cameras. The overall winner, is from Spy Valley – Entitled Cinderella’s Golden Shoe. Sileni Estate

Spy Valley

Saint Clair


vain Accart PHOTO: Dr Syl

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Matua Est


Hunter’s W


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e Auntsfi

ld NZ WINEGROWER  JUNE/JULY 2014  //   25




n 2013 there were more new vineyard developments in Marlborough, than there had been in the four years preceding it. And it appears that the coming 12 months are going to see even more planting, if the latest vine nursery survey figures are anything to go by. Acccording to the latest NZW Vineyard Register, there are 22,819ha of productive vineyard land in Marlborough, which is 65 percent of the country’s total. The accepted belief is that there is roughly only a few thousand hectares of bare land left suitable for winegrowing. Even some of that may be conditional on weather, soil types and the availability of water. Which may explain why wine companies are racing to purchase or lease suitable properties and get grapes in the ground as soon as possible. Delegats, Indevin, Marisco, Ara and a number of medium size wineries, were busy planting out last year, with the Vine Nursery Survey showing deliveries of 1,739,898 vines into

Marlborough. If you use the ratio of 2222 vines per hectare, that equates to the equivalent of 783 hectares of new planting in one year alone. This year the forward orders are for 2,508,054 vines for Marlborough, which on the same ratio as above equates to 1,128 hectares of plantings. (Admittedly, many of these vines will be for replants, not just new developments.) Given the anecdotal talk that only a few thousand hectares are left to grow grapes in Marlborough, it would appear that most of that is already earmarked. Especially when you consider two of the biggest tracts of bare land in the region are owned by either Marisco Wines or Ara. Marisco, owned by Brent Marris, bought the 2000ha Leefield Station back in 2012. A large part of the property is unsuitable for vines, but at least 500 hectares are expected to be planted out between now and 2018. Ara, which was the former

Bankhouse Station, covers a total of 1500 hectares, and only a third of that has been planted, with much more to come. Other major companies such as Indevin and Constellation are also committed to expansion and while some big players didn’t want to discuss their plans, there are indications most are looking at increasing holdings. Some of that may be through acquiring established vineyards. The expansion is riding on the back of the region’s flagship variety Sauvignon Blanc, which continues to be the country’s major export. More than a billion glasses are poured every year and this one variety makes up $1 billion of New Zealand’s $1.3 billion in wine exports. D av e S t a r k , r e g i s te r e d valuer at Alexander Hayward in Marlborough said the plantings are a solid indication of how much more confidence there is in the wine industry in the region. “These new plantings are the first we have seen since 2008. It’s a sign that people are feeling more

confident and for the best part, it is not based on speculation. These plantings have been undertaken by major, established wine companies with markets for wine.” So is there any room to move in Marlborough – is there some chance that the region will expand further south, or has it reached saturation point? That may well be the $1 billion question. While some small parcels of suitable land are available in the Wairau Valley, the large tracts have all gone. There are some larger blocks available in the Awatere. But water is always going to be an issue there. The one hope for those looking at expanding further south past Seddon, is the proposed Flaxbourne Community Irrigation Scheme. If this goes ahead it will open up an area estimated to be 2,200 hectares – with a portion of that suitable for grapes. After that, there may be very little chance of Marlborough expanding further – unless global warming takes a hold earlier than expected. ■

There will be more new development in Marlborough this year, going by forward orders of vines.

26   // 





cclaimed for the diversity of its wine styles, Hawke’s Bay can equally offer an array of reasons to explain mounting confidence in the future of its wine industry. In a region that appreciates traditional values, no-one is about to suggest that a land grab or gold rush is underway. However, there is a quiet but palpable sense of optimism about recent developments. Some years ago, Hawke’s Bay Winegrowers, weighing up the difficulties inherent in promoting a miscellany of styles, narrowed the focus with its Hot Red Hawke’s Bay branding. It’s been a successful approach both

in New Zealand and Australia, and now, what may give it rather more weight is China’s growing appetite for premium full-bodied red wine. Hawke’s Bay is mobilising to tap into that potential. The outstanding back-to-back vintages of 2013 and 2014 are also boosting belief in the Bay’s ability to build exports based on the quality of its wines. Mindful of the dangers of putting all their eggs in one basket, Hawke’s Bay wineries are also looking to develop their markets in the USA, Canada, the UK and other Asian countries. Giving tangible form to the growing sense of optimism,

Delegat’s has made a start on its new winery on the north-western outskirts of Hastings. While details are sketchy, it’s believed the plant will handle between 5000 and 10,000 tonnes of grapes coming off the company’s vineyards in Crownthorpe and the Gimblett Gravels as well as fruit supplied by contract growers. In the meantime, Delegat’s has sold its Matariki winery to BLK, a partnership of local businessmen who also own the former Montana winery in Pandora leased out to winemaker Rod McDonald. In another large development, Constellation has added 40 to 50 hectares of vines on its Corner 50 vineyard at the far end of the

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particularly the Gimblett Gravels. For us it’s about securing land for future growth of red wine in Hawke’s Bay. Part of that is China – George (Fistonich) is confident about the potential for growth in China.” Crichton – a board member on HB Wine Marketing Ltd, the Hawke’s Bay Winegrowers owned company managing the push into China – doesn’t believe progress will be meteoric. “I see it as a long slow road. We will need time for education

and getting the brand Hawke’s Bay out into the market.” For many people around the world, Sauvignon Blanc is often their introduction to New Zealand wine, he says. For the inquisitive, that can then be a launch pad for trying other wine styles such as Pinot Noir. “I think there’s a very good opportunity to grow on the back of other varieties. We really need to focus on Hawke’s Bay as a brand and that’s where the joint marketing group will take us.”

New Zealand Winegrower asked Bridge Pa grape grower Chris Howell whether the growing momentum was more about the shortage of potential vineyard land in Marlborough or Hawke’s Bay’s push into China. “That’s a really interesting question,” he responds, “and I don’t know the answer. My gut feeling is that it’s probably a bit of both.” Howell says it’s been pretty easy to sell any variety for the last couple of years. Hawke’s Bay fruit has been in demand because


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of the lower tonnages that were coming out of Marlborough. The region is also exporting more to China, the USA and other places. “We are going well in that sector. Whether the companies are making money is a whole different story.” Because of the big 2014 vintage, Howell anticipates demand for Sauvignon Blanc fruit dropping in both Marlborough and Hawke’s Bay. “Already there’s been a drop in price for bulk Sauvignon Blanc – there’s so much about. It was easy to sell excess production. This year there’s no one in the market for Sauvignon Blanc fruit. “Marlborough is so completely planted that extra planting is going into untested areas, the cool part of Marlborough where volumes drop off. There’s not really much more head room in terms of production

on the Marlborough plains. Future plantings will have to be elsewhere.” The growth in Hawke’s Bay planting is not big, he adds, 20 or 23 hectares here and there, and it will take time before it expands. “China is predominantly a red wine market. There have been significant attempts to get Sauvignon Blanc into there but the take-up hasn’t been huge. I’m sure it will happen but it will take time to develop. The Chinese associate high quality with red wine.” Like Howell, Hawke’s Bay Winegrowers executive officer James Medina believes the growing demand from China and the lack of available land in Marlborough are both playing into the dynamic. Supply and demand have to be considered – “there is only so much land” and the most ideal

sites have already sold. Gimblett Gravels is fully planted and for reds, the room for growth is at Bridge Pa. Wine companies are future proofing their products, and some are going to run out of room for reds. Total sales to China are probably also driving the requirement for land, says Medina. Wine companies are getting in while they can. However, he points out, no-one has specifically come out and said they are making purchases because they perceive there are fewer sites available in Hawke’s Bay. While the proposed $275 million Ruataniwha dam is likely to open up Central Hawke’s Bay to further development, Medina believes irrigated land there will be more valuable for horticultural crops than for wine grapes. ■

Delegats begin building their new winery on the north-western outskirts of Hastings.




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Decanter World Wine Awards For the second year in a row I travelled to London to chair the New Zealand section of the Decanter World Wine Awards (DWWA). The competition, which this year exceeded 14,000 entries, offers a good chance to see how judges from other countries react to the latest crop of Kiwi wines. We got off to a flying start on the first day by winning more gold medals than any other country. I’m not sure of the final tally but New Zealand

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wines certainly performed with distinction. Judging panels change throughout the five-day competition which can be a bit disconcerting although I have to say that the judging standard was particularly high. At one stage my panel had a Frenchman (wine buyer for an upscale group of restaurants), a German (head sommelier for Restaurant Gordon Ramsay) and a Swede (buyer for the Swedish liquor monopoly). It sounds like the beginning of a joke but all three were deadly serious wine judges with more in common that our varied nationalities


might suggest. They had a strong consumer focus which I found refreshing. We were all quite shocked at the dismal quality of a small class of Marlborough Sauvignon in the “under £8” price category. I assume that the wines had been shipped in bulk and bottled in the UK. While I appreciate the argument that the category will introduce a wider consumer base to Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc I feel that it’s a step too far in the wrong direction. We need to be careful not to undermine the precious premium reputation that NZ wine has earned. Philip Tuck MW (pictured), a very experienced wine judge

who joined me on three of the five days, commented that “there’s a lot of chatter around the (English) wine trade about the size of the Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc vintage this year amid speculation that it will put pressure on some suppliers to reduce their price. If suppliers dump thin, over-cropped Sauvignon Blanc on the UK market it will unquestionably damage the New Zealand brand,” says Tuck. Two other judges expressed a similar sentiment. The DWWA judging venue was Tobacco Dock. Each day I walked alongside the Thames and past the Royal Barge to reach the venue (see picture left).

Vintage Charts I don’t like or trust vintage charts. Great wines can be made in bad years and bad wines in good years. A Burgundian winemaker recently told me that his best wines are never made in the most highly rated vintages. “I just seem to try a little bit harder in a tough vintage and perhaps get a little too complacent when the going is easy.”

Despite my lack of faith in vintage charts if I go to buy a bottle of Alsace wine, for example, I check the vintages on an International Wine & Food Society (IWFS) vintage rating card that I keep in my wallet or consult an online source such as Jancis Robinson’s website (which offers comments without ratings). I also prepare my own ratings by region and grape

Luxury Goods I recently attended the release of Penfolds premium labels and marveled at how the company boldly launches wines at stellar prices. The latest release is a 6-litre bottle of Penfolds 2010 Bin 170 Kalimna Shiraz which has a reassuringly expensive price tag of around $60,000. That follows the 750ml bottle of Kalimna 2004 Block 42 Cabernet Sauvignon in a hand-crafted ampoule which sells for (or at least is offered at) $168,000. You don’t just get a bottle of wine in an ampoule you also get a Penfolds winemaker to open, serve and talk about the wine when you finally decide to share it with a few friends. It’s not about

variety. My ratings go back more than 20 years. I start with a provisional score out of ten based on vintage reports and often revise those ratings after tasting the wines and sometimes do a third or even a fourth revision if bottle development varies from earlier predictions. Once a year I rate New Zealand’s main wine regions for the IWFS. When they first

wine, it’s about extravagance, showmanship and very clever marketing. When I recently researched an article on

expensive Kiwi wines for Gourmet Traveller Wine magazine I discovered that we have

approached me to contribute to their vintage card I was asked to come up with a score out of seven for the entire country. That would have been nonsensical and misleading. My regional ratings in 2012 for example range from 5/10 to 10/10. Somehow I don’t think that an average rating of 7.5 would have helped any wine buyer choose wisely.

29 wines with a price tag over $100 (excluding sweet wines). When I suggested to one winemaker that they should be charging more for their premium label there was an awkward silence followed by an admission that while they were good at making and selling high quality wine they weren’t very proficient at marketing “luxury goods” which is what wine becomes when the price hits three figures. New Zealand needs a few trail-blazers who can make and package seriously good wine before devoting time and money to the business of convincing people that it is worth it’s mega-price. I’d like to see a four-figure Kiwi wine before the end of this decade. ■

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NELSON YOUNG GUNS How Long Have You Worked In Nelson? 2 years What Brought You To Nelson? We moved here after I was fortunate enough to be offered my position. My partner’s originally from Nelson and we always found ourselves up here whenever we had time off. What better place to live than the place where everyone wants to visit for a holiday. Where Have You Travelled In Wine To Get Here? Nowhere too exciting unfortunately. Grew up in North Canterbury, started in viticulture while attending High School in Marlborough, then moved to Waipara and worked my way up from Vineyard Assistant to Assistant Vineyard Manager for Sherwood Estate while studying part-time in Central Otago. And finally Nelson. What Do You Enjoy Most About Your Job? Having total independence and I have different challenges than many viticulturists, including managing rental properties and orchard on the property. Sea Level wine is 100% sourced from our single vineyard in Tasman so we’re too small to compete in scale, so we have to punch well above our weight in quality for the price. The vineyard is in a prime hillside location and I’m given every tool required to grow the best grapes possible. While 95% of my spraying is Organic, I’m not constrained by Organic or Biodynamic accreditation so

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I’ve got no excuses for sub-par fruit come harvest time. I find it’s so rewarding to see the end result in the bottle and see the positive feedback from reviews and judging. I still can’t get over strangers in the street sharing their positive experience of our wines when they see the logo on my truck. What Do You Enjoy Most About Nelson? Everything is on our doorstep the sea, lakes, mountains, snow and great beaches. Apart from bouts of West Coast rain, we have fairly settled weather and mild temperatures and we have arguably the most extensive network of bike trails, tramping tracks and back country huts in the country. When You’re Not Making Wine Or Growing Grapes? Tramping in the National Parks right on my doorstep, mountain biking, rifle target shooting,



hunting and fishing to fill the freezer, chasing my kids around and changing nappies. It Sucks When…. The fish are off the bite and I only catch a couple of Snapper in the morning before work. It starts to rain, we’re almost on the West Coast so you can usually expect it to hang around for a few days. The temperature drops during Spring Frost season, sometimes overnight it gets down to 5°C and I get cold toes in bed. Your Favourite Wine? I really can’t resist a good Riesling. My fav’s being from Waipara, Pegasus Bay or Sherwood Estate. Also James Milton’s Chenin Blanc is a personal favourite. Which Wine Region Excites You Most Right Now? Right now, probably Waipara, stunning Riesling. A few wineries

producing amazing Pinot Noir and Chardonnay and distinctive Sauvignon Blanc despite the majority of large scale wineries and corporates. Future Aspirations? Hard to say, short term I’d like to concentrate on spending time with my kids Quinn (2.5yrs) and Hunter (6mths) and just keep on improving over the next season at Sea Level. As strange as some may find it I’m also really enjoying being on the Nelson Winegrowers Committee as it’s an important side of the industry that many don’t see. I find it quite challenging but I hope I can contribute to promoting the region. In the future I’ll need to take on something challenging with more variety. My goal would be to be in a Production Manager’s role or similar, responsible for both winery and vineyard operations. ■

How Long Have You Worked In Nelson? 10 years What Brought You To Nelson? The opportunity of a harvest position at Waimea Estate. Where Have You Travelled In Wine To Get Here? Over high hills and rough water! Via NSW, Melbourne, France and Italy. What Do You Enjoy Most About Your Job? The enormous variety of tasks and the camaraderie with my team mates. What Do You Enjoy Most About Nelson? Its pure bounty of all things good. When You’re Not Making Wine Or Growing Grapes? I’m eating/sleeping with a few small windows for sailing. It Sucks When…. I have an unhappy team mate. Your Favourite Wine? I love all my children equally. Which Wine Region Excites You Most Right Now? Nelson! Like I say it’s so bountiful, come and check us out. Future Aspirations? At the moment I’m simply consumed with doing my current job better and better. ■

Get WIREd ~


is here

wine people are our business


to Nelson but also the beauty and climate. Where Have You Travelled In Wine To Get Here? Australia in the early days followed by three vintages in northern California.

It Sucks When….

What Do You Enjoy Most About Your Job?

Your Favourite Wine?

The hands on from shoot thinning to bottling. I really enjoy putting a lot of attention to detail into my work. T O N Y S O U T H G AT E , AGE: 41 TITLE: WINE MAKER B R I G H T W A T E R V I N E YA R D S .

What Do You Enjoy Most About Nelson?

What Brought You To Nelson?

The climate is fantastic. We have two very good vineyards which provide us with excellent fruit. My family loves the region as well.

The potential I saw in Brightwater Vineyards was the biggest draw card for our move

When You’re Not Making Wine Or Growing Grapes?

How Long Have You Worked In Nelson? 10 years

How Long Have You Worked In Nelson? 4 Years What Brought You To Nelson? Nelson is my home town and it’s a pretty addictive place to live. The style of winemaking that interests me at the moment is also found locally, so I have been lucky to find great people and wineries in Nelson, without having to up-root to another region. Where Have You Travelled In Wine To Get Here? I came to winemaking from hospitality and a cooking background, with a prior education in science. Winemaking seemed like a good synergy for me. I gained my Diploma through NMIT as an online student, while a stay at home dad. My first proper vintage was with Neudorf in 2010. Working with then winemaker John Kavanagh was a great start, helping to set the basis for the winemaking style that I have pursued. For the past 3 years I have been at Woollaston Estates, where working with winemaker Shane Munn I have developed a strong interest in

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Organic winemaking. In 2011 I received the David Macintosh Memorial Organic scholarship set up by Nelson Winegrowers and as a result spent a week at Seresin Estate in Marlborough. I was pretty blown away with what Seresin are doing with Organics and Biodynamics, especially the philosophies that viticulturist Coin Ross has applied to the Seresin Environment. I have recently joined Andrew Greenhough and the talented team at Greehough, another iconic Nelson Organic vineyard and winery. We have just finished a dream vintage, cheers for the awesome fruit Stef. What Do You Enjoy Most About Your Job? I love the variation with winemaking. I enjoy the pure sensory nature of how you approach wine, the hands on hardworking nature of vintage and also the science that binds it all together. I enjoy it all really. What Do You Enjoy Most About Nelson?


Spending time with my wife and two kids. They are stellar. Where would I be without my motorcycle?? Cooking great food consumes my time. I get overcharged…. At the moment I am really enjoying St Cosme. Pricey but not pretentious. Which Wine Region Excites You Most Right Now? I think with vine age and quality viticulture, from what I have seen, the varietal diversity Nelson can grow very well still excites me. Future Aspirations? To get my kids through their teens!! To continue with uncomplicated winemaking, making better wine as our vines mature. ■

Nelson has the complete package. Top notch Pinots, Chardonnay and really sharp aromatics and a diversity within the regions approach to winemaking. There is a high proportion of top organic producers for our size and nearly all Nelson’s wineries are family owned affairs. When You’re Not Making Wine Or Growing Grapes?

pretty tuned in to discovering the intricate details of the Plains fruit. I think that there is huge potential in areas of the Moutere Hills yet to be developed. Future Aspirations? Keep on learning, keep on loving it and like most winemakers hopefully put my own label together at some stage. ■

Day dreaming about fishing, spending time with the family, getting out into the bush and training up the new winery dog. It Sucks When…. You go waist deep into a fermenter, with no change of clothes on hand and have to spend the rest of the day in Drew’s super tight boardies. Your Favourite Wine? Pinot Which Wine Region Excites You Most Right Now? Having moved down from the Moutere Hills clays to the Waimea Plains, I am





aipara may be emerging from one of its wettest harvests in memory, but this hasn’t dampened the spirits of many of its winegrowers. Despite the recent inclement weather they’re remaining upbeat as the region enters what they consider to be a new and exciting era. “We have a region where everyone’s starting to hit their straps at roughly the same time in terms of the knowledge they have of their styles and vineyards,” noted Simon McGeorge, winemaker at Waipara Hills. “Most vineyards have now been here for quite some time, with 10 to 15 year-old vines tending to make more interesting wines.” Once a fairly fragmented region, there’s also a feeling now of greater fraternity amongst its producers. This has been illustrated

by recent collaborative initiatives such as tastings outside the region hosted by a group of North Canterbury growers, as well as the creation of a new marketing arm for the Waipara Valley region. “There seems to be a level of cohesiveness between a number of producers in the region that I’ve not seen in the 25 odd years I’ve been involved in the local industry,” observes Pegasus Bay’s Ed Donaldson. “There’s now a group of producers that all have similar objectives and have a likemindedness with regards to how we get there, without any negative competitiveness and a realisation that the success of an individual producer helps grow the reputation of the region, which in turn helps everyone.” Several decades after the region’s wine industry started to get established, Waipara is com-

Greystone morning.

ing of age. With this has come change, most evidently a period of consolidation. Wineries have changed hands and most recently the major multinational, Accolade Wines become the second major company, after Pernod Ricard, to take a branded stake in the region through its acquisition of the Mud House Wine Group and its

Waipara Hills cellar door.

Waipara Hills label. Accolade officially took control of the branded part of New Zealand Vineyard Estate’s business on 1st April. The latter has now been renamed New Zealand Wineries and remains the owner of Waipara Hill’s prominent cellar door building and winery on State Highway 1, which has been contracted by Accolade to continue to make the label’s wines and run the tasting room as before. “Having such a big player in Waipara could be very important for the region and should benefit everybody,” McGeorge says. Despite this growing multinational presence, Waipara remains largely a region of boutique players, albeit one that has seen some expand through acquiring other wineries. Greystone purchased its neighbour, Muddy Water in 2011 and more recently Dancing Water (which previously acquired the Floating Mountain label and winery) took over Fiddler’s Green last June. “This complements the varieties we make from our existing vineyard and has allowed us to secure our fruit supply,” explains Dancing Water’s Claire Bisso. “As Fiddler’s Green has such strong


brand recognition in the Canterbury market, we’ll be retaining the label and just injecting some new energy into it.” A number of other vineyards are currently on the market, such as those of Dunnolly Estate wines as the owners concentrate on the winemaking and business side of the venture rather than grape growing. Northfield has also divested itself of its Home Creek holding, to more strongly focus its Californian estate, but is “committed to continuing our grape growing and winemaking in Waipara” and retaining its Frog Rock vineyard. There have also been changes in Waipara’s winemaking personnel. Following the sudden departure of Mountford’s longtime winemaker, CP Lin, Theo Coles is now directing winemaking at the estate. Coles had earlier left his family company, Crater Rim and started his consultancy business, Natural Wine Solutions, which also sees him making wine for Waikari’s Arden Estate. After 20 years, Lynnette Hudson has left Pegasus Bay. She now runs Lynnette Hudson Wine Consulting Services out of Auckland and is winemaker and one of six partners in the recently established Waipara-predominant

Tongue in Groove brand, fronted by ex-Greystone marketer, Angela Clifford. Despite the fall in visitor figures to the region immediately following the Christchurch earth-

has become to be regarded at its flagship grape, Riesling. This has ranged from running the In Praise of Riesling events to the focus in more recent years on Summer of Riesling initiatives that this year

quakes, new cellar doors are still managing to open. These include Black Estate’s acclaimed cellar door and restaurant, which is proving a draw to the region, and Bishop’s Head boutique tasting room that finally opened last year after a protracted licence application. Tourism appears to be bouncing back in the region, as well as the local Christchurch trade. Waipara has become increasingly active in promoting what

saw the region hosting a major national Riesling tasting. “Demand for Riesling is increasing,” says Penelope Naish of Black Estate. “In the Auckland market it’s really popular, it’s a best seller in the restaurant and it’s been strong in Australia.” Waipara Pinot Noir is also starting to deliver its promise and attract growing attention through high profile awards, such as Greystone’s win of the Pinot Noir Trophy at the last Air New Zealand

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Wine Awards. While it is Sauvignon Blanc that’s perhaps surprisingly the region’s most widely planted grape (much of which is in a single large vineyard), there has been experimentation with new varieties. Chenin Blanc is one of these, wines from which have been successfully made by Bishop’s Head for some years now, with Black Estate on the cusp of commercial production. Another exciting development is the findings of soil studies conducted in the region by Lincoln University, which discovered that “Canterbury has the most diverse soil of any New Zealand region”, according to Professor Roland Harrison of the university’s Faculty of Agriculture and Life Sciences. As well as offering the region’s winegrowers greater insight into their own terroir, this information is being collated for communication to visitors at the region’s cellar doors. “We’re getting a lot of international profile for the North Canterbury area and people are starting to ask about the difference in Waipara, Omihi and Waikari,” observes Mavromatis. “I guess this is a sign of maturity coming to the area.” ■

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GIVING GREAT DROPS A BIG BOOST Entries are now open for the 2014 New World Wine Awards

The New World Wine Awards is a unique competition for commercially available wines (6,000 bottles or more) from New Zealand and overseas retailing for under $25. The New World Wine Awards is the premier consumer-focused wine competition in New Zealand, because affordability and availability of the wines are key criteria for entry. Our objective is to identify the best quality wines for our customers at an affordable price, whilst rewarding these top wines by making them stand out on New World shelves nationwide and driving customer demand through extensive marketing activity. This is the only New Zealand wine competition that sees a measurable uplift in sales for the top wines as a direct result of winning medals.

Don’t miss out! Enter online now at Entries close 5pm Friday 20 June 2014 Enquires:




n 2006 the first Young Viticulturist Competition began. Now, it is an annual event attracting intense interest within the industry with regional competitions throughout New Zealand culminating in the national finals, held in conjunction with the New Zealand Winegrowers Romeo Bragato Conference every August. Since the inception, this competition has attracted a high caliber of entrants from throughout the country and is

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now recognized as being a leading accomplishment for young viticulturists to aspire to and achieve. Young viticulturist winners are now inherent in leadership positions throughout the industry and are often called upon as experts to present to industry. The Caine Thompson: Winner 2009 Then: Company Viticulturist, Mission Estate competition Now: Managing Director Pyramid Valley Wines has become a


focus for the industry and enjoys recognition and publicity in a number of industry publications. In an industry well known for recognizing the best of the best in numerous wine awards, the Young Viticulturist of the year stands alone in identifying the future of the industry. It is well known that excellent wine comes first from the vineyard, and since its inception this competition has excelled in identifying the future guardians of our industry. In addition the national

Young Viticulturist winner goes on to enter the Grand Final of the Young Horticulturist of the Year. This competition now in its 10th year has been won by the Young Viticulturist in 06, 07, 09, 10 and 2012. Find out more at the Open Day – June 25.

Central Otago August 1st Nick Paulin

Key Dates and Contacts Hawkes Bay July 4th at Te Awa Estate Mike Saunders: Find out more at the upcoming Open Day, date to be confirmed

Marlborough July 25 at Wine Marlborough – Budge St Meredith Elley Stephen Marcus Wickham: Winner 2006 Dempster Stephen. Then: Company Viticulturist Mud House Wines Now: Managing Director of Klima Machinery Dempster@acco-

For all other regional entries contact National Co-ordinator Emma Taylor –

Regional winners receive: First place: $1000 cash, Full Registration to Bragato Conference, travel and accommodation to the national finals (up to $1000), wine glasses, Stuart Dudley: Winner 2010 Then: Vineyard Manager, Delelgats trophy Now: Marlborough Viticulturist, Second place: Villa Maria Estate $750 cash, wine glasses; travel provided by NZSVO; Third place $500 cash, wine $3000 Leadership week; glasses. Travel and accommodation to Young Horticulturist of the National winner Year Grand Final (up to $1000); receives: wine glasses; trophy. First place: Second place: $750 cash; $2000 cash, wine glasses. $5000 international

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isiting Hawke’s Bay during harvest, Fongyee Walker was quick to pick up on the potential for the region’s 2014 wines. Recently appointed Hawke’s Bay Winegrowers’ contractor to China, Walker was pleased to find on her five-day visit that the region was once again demonstrating its ability to grow a wide range of grape varieties well. Anticipating high quality 2014 wines to follow those from the outstanding 2013 vintage, she expects Hawke’s Bay will find further favour in a Chinese market seeking top class wines. “The overall message I want to send is that Hawke’s Bay is a reliable brand,” Walker says. “If you buy Hawke’s Bay it will be something you can really trust.” Canadian-born, Walke r founded and manages Beijingbased Dragon Phoenix Consulting with her husband Edward Ragg. Her contract with Hawke’s Bay Winegrowers is underpinned by significant funding earmarked by the Agricultural and Marketing Research and Development Trust (AGMARDT). The push into China, which is also supported by the Hastings District Council, is aimed at educating consumers on the Hawke’s Bay region and promoting the wines of 17 participating wineries. The reliability of the Hawke’s Bay product is a significant selling point in a market that is consolidating around buyers who enjoy wine, Walker says. Factors in that dynamic are a slowing China

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economy and an edict restricting spending on gifting and banqueting – traditional occasions for purchasing premium quality wines. While many New Zealand wines are more expensive than average, Walker believes they offer better quality overall. She adds a caution, however. “I think expectations for the Chinese market are too high across the world. I think a lot of people blindly look at statistics.” Statistics for China are very nearly meaningless, she says – the only figures that can be considered trustworthy are those supplied by Chinese Customs’ Imported Foodstuffs Bureau. Even these don’t capture what is more generally going on, recording only what wine is being imported. “Huge numbers of people are dabbling in wine and that’s not meaningful because their wine is not appearing anywhere. This is a big problem. We have no way of measuring what’s going on.” While credulous journalists continue to file stories about the China wine market growing 45 percent every year, the reality is that it’s been the importation of wine that has been growing at that rate. “The trouble is many people reporting on the China market from the West, they go to Beijing, they go to Shanghai, they spend two days here, three days there. They go to westerner-friendly places. They don’t live like your average white collar Chinese person.” While the Chinese still don’t regularly order wine in restau-


rants, Walker sees the potential to grow the market among young, well-educated and travelled Chinese. As it is, she says, most people don’t see drinking alcoholic beverages as pleasurable. “Only in a few areas of China do they drink it for pleasure. They drink it for sociability, to create relationships, to create ways of

loosening social bonds, but also tightening relationship bonds. I think for older people that will not change. “We want to work on really marketing New Zealand to younger people, sort of along the tagline ‘This is not my father’s Bordeaux’. “A lot of younger Chinese people find it quite repulsive, that

drinking for label, throwing down alcohol. They don’t want to be associated with that because that’s viewed as non-sophisticated, too Chinese, especially if you’ve been away to university and you’ve seen people behave properly in a restaurant and you’ve seen the clinking glasses type of thing.” Chairman of the Hawke’s Bay Winegrowers’ group promoting the region’s wines in China, Alwyn Corban agrees it is the young sophisticated Chinese who are most interested in learning about wine. “The striking thing about all those master classes that Fongyee does is the age of the participants. They’re about 30.” Responding to a point of concern raised by Walker, Corban says all the Hawke’s Bay stakeholders exporting wine to China will be ensuring it is labelled, from reserve wine and up, with

its region of origin. Currently, China accounts for $25 million of New Zealand’s wine exports and Corban estimates about half that is from Hawke’s Bay. “Forty percent of exports to China are Cabernet Merlot blends,” he says. “That will be Hawke’s Bay – the only other place is Waiheke. Then you can add on Chardonnay, Sauvignon and a bit of other stuff.” Corban believes increasing demand for Hawke’s Bay wine will be sustainable and that the region will be able to keep pace as that builds. “What people are going to do is allocate their resources to whatever market they think is appropriate. I don’t think it’s going to be an issue going forward – there’s plenty of land still being planted.” Walker says the wine trade to China will develop much more

organically than the gift and banqueting market and more rapidly than England which slowly switched from beer and America from beer and spirits to wine. Young Chinese, switched on to social media, are quick to pick up on online learning and buying opportunities. Walker and her husband moved to China in 2007 when Ragg took up a university position. Deciding to open a wine education school, she says they found they couldn’t source the standard wines. “I couldn’t find a New Zealand Chardonnay. Forget that. I could barely find a Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc that wasn’t like not three years old because it had been sitting in someone’s cupboard unsold. “And I was dealing with students who knew nothing. ‘There are three colours of wine. Did you

know that? We have red, we have white and we have pink.’ These were people working in trade. These were people turning up to our classes with name cards with ‘wine trainer’ and they’d never tasted a pink wine.” Knowledge of wine is now increasing and there is demand for ever more education. In Xi’an, one of six cities targeted by Hawke’s Bay, 100 people turned out for a workshop on big full-bodied reds. Corban adds that at a recent event held in Xi’an, there were more pavilions of imported wine than there were for biajo (rice wine). In this, its first year, the Hawke’s Bay promotional campaign will largely focus on consumer events. “We’re not going to mass distribution all over China,” says Hawke’s Bay Winegrowers chief executive James Medina. ■



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elling multiple pallets of a particular wine is great for any business, in reputation and cash-flow, but it does not automatically catapult a wine into cult status; there’s much more than a good sales record involved in that. How then can a wine reach the lofty heights of desirability; a following, a ‘must-buy-whateverthe-cost culture’? Some of the answers are presented in ‘Red Obsession’ a docu-movie - narrated by Russell Crowe – which explores and investigates the high powered, high stakes trade of ‘cult status’ classed growth Bordeaux wine. From historical, traditional and romantic beginnings with some glorious vintages over 150 years - to the outrageous prices paid for Cru Classé wines by collectors (the movie focuses on the China market) this is a film that challenges what we understand about global wine trade in particular Bordeaux wines, and in particular their unprecedented following. Released in 2013 the film also shares some rather frank opinions and ideas on the topic by noteworthy wine critics including Jancis Robinson MW, Oz Clarke and Andrew Caillard MW. The film review web-site ‘Rotten Tomatoes’ awards 4.5 Stars, and I would recommend watching it to anyone pondering the idea of why uber-wealthy Chinese, for example, might want to pay such inflated prices for wine that they are unlikely to ever drink; or how the opinion of wine critics apparently gives licence to high-

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end Bordeaux wine producers to seriously inflate their wholesale prices – and why not! (The Robert Parker syndrome is touched on, but that is a story for another day) Red Obsession also reminds me of the various ways in which wine can reach ‘Cult’ status, and whether this can, in fact continue - given the way in which social media and wine apps can cheer or slam wine in an instant. The impact of the opinion of notable wine critics is discussed in the film; the prices can be driven so ferociously high that the wine, presumably of outstanding quality, becomes available only to the uber rich, and as a luxurious status symbol; the rarity of a wine may mean more people seek that one last case – collectors hunting the elusive ‘perfect’ vintage. The answer must lie somewhere in the way a culture of ‘must have’ is grown, nurtured and developed over many years. At a recent Pinot Noir Conference, a well known producer said that if you make people believe there are fewer examples of your finest wine available, the demand for it can increase pushing some into a ‘must buy’ frenzy is a clever tactic (though it can sometimes backfire when, for example, a vintage may not deliver), and when demand increases exponentially the pathway to wine stardom becomes apparent. Few wines reach the ‘luxury item’ category and remain there. The great red and white wines of Bordeaux fit this category, with


their history and provenance, and while some vintage conditions have not worked in their favour, they manage to keep wine lists interesting and those who cannot afford them wishing they could. Screaming Eagle and Opus One, Penfolds Grange, Fritz Haag Grosses Gewachs and our own Stonyridge Larose are arguably wines that have met ‘X’ criteria: they can make a wine list look impressive - but when their

tipping point in their ‘Cultness’ occurred would make for interesting research. The answer should be a combination of hard work, great fruit, outstanding wine making, consistency, a very smart wine label and a marketing campaign that is subtle and unrivalled. Overworked as the term is, ‘globalisation’ is opening doors for showcasing excellence in our own wines. ■

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osting the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge for a wine tasting was a marketing dream for Amisfield Winery, Central Otago Winegrowers and the New Zealand wine industry as a whole, according to Craig Erasmus, CEO of Amisfield. While it may be difficult to ever accurately quantify the long-term effect, Erasmus says the publicity was a once in a lifetime opportunity. The afternoon event saw 30 Central Otago wineries take part, with a vast array of wines on display and available for the Royal couple to taste.

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And while they were the focus of the event, Erasmus says there was far more to it for those involved. “In many ways it was a celebratory occasion. It was one of those events when we got to get together with the broader Central Otago wine producing community around something that was fun to do.” Approached early in December by the Department of Internal Affairs, he says the lead-up to the Royal visit was surprisingly low key. “We worked closely with James Dicey, President of Central Otago WineGrowers Association (COWA),


and while we had a suspicion about what it might be about, we never discussed the subject matter until we had a face to face meeting (with Internal Affairs) in early January. The discussion then was about what they were trying to achieve and the process of that.” Not surprisingly, it didn’t take Amisfield or COWA very long to agree to put together the one off Royal event. Erasmus agrees a second was about all it took. “It was a huge honour for all of us. It was about being part of something that was a one off really. These sorts

PHOTO: AFP Getty Images

of things don’t repeat themselves often, if ever.” As for the Royal couple – they couldn’t have impressed the winery representatives more if they had tried, Erasmus says. “Everyone I spoke to, who had spoken with them, felt they were a very genuine couple and they had a real interest in what they were talking about. They participate in the process very well and engaged everybody. Of the people who were part of the event, everyone had a positive response. No one felt left out or hard done by in any way, which I thought was very clever on their (the Royal’s) part.” Erasmus says it is extremely hard for those involved to grasp the level of exposure Central Otago and New Zealand wine got from the visit. “When you look at how deep and wide the power of these larger media organisations are, it is hard

Quote of the day comes from Prince William to Amisfield Owner John Darby, as reported by The Mail Online; Mr Darby told the couple about the grapes and the climate. He said: ‘When it gets very cold we use helicopters to stop the frost over the vines by hovering above and stirring up the cold air.’ William exclaimed: ‘You’re joking? That’s an expensive way to do it! Wow! If you ever need a spare pilot, I’m here! That is an expensive way to make wine. But we should stop talking and start drinking.’ to comprehend the exposure. We were seeing stories popping up all over the world and in a very short time frame. “I don’t think from sitting in Central Otago we can understand the real pull that these two individuals have. They are such a big brand in themselves. “It will be interesting in a year’s time to sit back and try and gauge what the visit has done for all of us. I think it is one of those passive marketing things where the

attachment of the tangible benefits to the activity is hard to measure. But it’s about the on-going process of profiling Central Otago as a dynamic and exciting place to grow wine and consume wine from.” And maybe, just maybe, some of those wines will make their way into the cellar of Kensington Palace. Wouldn’t that be a coup! ■

PHOTO: Amisfield/ Vaughan Brookefield

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etting the opportunity to take part in a real life vintage is not something many people outside the industry get the chance to undertake. Waiheke Winegrowers Association changed all that with their first ever Vintage Festival. Held over nine days from late March through until April, the Festival attracted more than 2000 people. Twenty-one wineries took part offering a total of 50 events. What’s more all this happened as vintage 2014 was in full flight. Marketing Manager Jenny Hol-

mes said the Festival was a direct replacement of the Waiheke Island Wine Expo that has taken part in downtown Auckland for the past five years. “About 18 months ago, after that particular Expo, the feedback from our members was they wanted people to come to Waiheke, rather than us all be in a hall in the city. They wanted people to be on our vineyards, on our soil, and hear the vineyard stories. Our intent was to get people to come to us so they could meet the winemakers, meet the vine-

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yard owners, understand the story of how the vineyards came about and understand more about artisan winemaking.” During the festival wineries offered the public a chance to experience a myriad of activities normally reserved for winemakers and cellar hands. One winery offered the chance to pick your own grapes and foot stomp them, while another provided the opportunity for batch winemaking within the winery. Winery tours where the public could see first hand what happens once the grapes arrive on site, were also popular. “It was really about getting people more involved in the annual wine making process and getting them to understand that there is a harvest and wine doesn’t just turn up in a bottle,” Holmes said. It was a bold move running such an event during harvest she admits, and while she expected there would be some resistance from wineries, in the end they all got behind it. “It was up to each winery how many events they did and what they did. Some did something every day, others just did one or two events during the nine day festival.”

While being a part of a vintage was obviously compelling to many visitors, the other events were equally attractive. There were a number of music concerts, with all bar one featuring Waiheke Island musicians. Food and wine matching proved popular as did the vertical tastings, degustation dinners, sculpture in the vines, bush walks, cheese making and even a degustation meal accompanied by opera in one of the winery’s cellars. It was a first for the island’s wine family, and Holmes said it fits neatly into the calendar. “On Waiheke there is a jazz festival at Easter every year, we have sculpture on the gulf which happens for three weeks biannually, there is a Waiheke walking festival, but there is nothing to celebrate wine. Wine is the biggest industry on Waiheke and the island wouldn’t be what it is today without the vineyards.” She said the Vintage Festival allowed visitors to learn, have fun and connect personally with the wine industry. Feedback from those participating and attending has been extremely positive and Holmes said it will become an annual event, although it is likely to be a shortened version in the future. ■

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wo well-known wine industry personnel are helping the Japanese to create a wine, from an 1100 year-old table grape. There would be few in the New Zealand industry that don’t know the names Kirsten and Glen Creasy. Anyone who has been through the Lincoln Viticulture and Oenology course will be familiar with Glen, who is the senior lecturer, while Kirsten a former winemaking tutor within the course, is now the Oenologist for Hill Laboratories. Experts

within their fields, both are now consulting in Japan, to turn what is a renowned table grape – Koshu – into a suitable candidate for still and sparkling wine. It is not a new theory, given the Buddhist monks were making medicinal wine from this particular grape as far back as the 700’s. Over the ensuing years, the grape which was known as the Emperor’s favourite, was cultivated more for eating than wine, grown in vast quantities on pergola infrastructure. But as in wine, there are fashion changes and the Koshu grape, which has

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that would be the perfect accompaniment for Japanese cuisine. The Japan Wine Project began in 2003, with Glen coming on board as a viticultural consultant in 2006. It was his role to advise

on trellising systems and viticultural management - not an easy task. The first job was to change the trellising system from pergola to VSP. “We were starting from ground

zero, because they had no experience,” he says. “The growers said the grapes wouldn’t grow on a VSP trellis. Then when they did grow, they said, ‘well they won’t fruit’. But afterwards when they did fruit, they agreed that yes, maybe it would work.” The area for the new vineyards is the western side of Mount Fuji, which provides cool climate conditions vital to developing intense flavours. But while this is definitely cool climate, the humidity is far more than anything Glen has experienced in New Zealand. “They have high rainfall and also the monsoon season comes around harvest time, so they have to deal with disease and lots of insect pests.” When Kirsten first visited one of the vineyards, nothing had prepared her for just how intense the insect threat was. “The vineyard had electric

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fences around it to keep the monkeys out, seriously it was set in the middle of a jungle. And before we went in, we had to suit up in full protective gear with the mask and all, because there are stinging insects that cause major problems.” It was an eye opener to say the least, although she quickly adds, that vineyard is now no longer in use. Koshu is a vigorous variety, and as a table grape grown on the pergola system, it can produce up to 15 tonnes off just 20 vines per hectare Glen says. “Because they have phylloxera they had to have rootstock, so Koshu is grafted onto SO4 which is really vigorous under their conditions. We are trying to plant them on lower vigour rootstocks, but sourcing them is quite difficult. Koshu also has a debilitating leafroll virus that affects the vine


growth and quality. So what we are trying to do is make a clean Koshu, to find the potential of the vine.” The first modern day Koshu wines were made with help from Denis Dubourdieu, professor of enology at the University of Bordeaux. That wine known as Shizen, was produced in 2004. A year later 1200 cases were exported to the US. In 2006 Cuvee Denis Dubourdieu was the first ever Japanese wine to be exported to the EU. As expected, making wine from a heritage table grape has its own set of problems Kirsten says. “All the flavours are based in the skin. It has a lot of terpenes like Gewürztraminer, but it also has high astringency. In fact it is one of the most astringent berries I have ever tasted. So you have this double edged sword, of wanting to extract all the flavours from the skin, but you need to be able to manage the phenolics. Coupled with that it is a high pulp variety which means it doesn’t settle very well and it oxidises quite easily. So you have to manage the processing quite delicately to be able to get the flavor without the phenolics and yet be able to maintain freshness in the wine. So from a winemaking point of view, it’s reactive like nothing I have ever made before. That’s why it was such a fantastic opportunity to create a wave of winemaking for this style of grape.” Glen and Kirsten have their own small vineyard in Canterbury,

and have just released their first sparkling wine. With that experience, they could see the potential of this style for Koshu. Given the premium fruit goes into the Shizen, Kirsten had to make do with handpicked fruit from the pergola trellising – which she says wasn’t such a bad thing, given it was less exposed and the brix level was lower, around 18. Convincing her Japanese counterparts that they could move past their traditional winemaking methods, was another obstacle she had to overcome. “I went in and broke all the rules really. I whole bunch pressed, I macerated for four hours while the poor winemaker was having conniptions in the corner. Then I pressed it off. But the flavor just blew my mind. We did some barrel ferments, and had some processing and fining differences. They don’t ever use fining agents at all. So a lot of these ideas are new to them.” Kirsten is determined to treat the wine in a way that creates a new style and respects the grape’s character. It has been aged in new oak barrels, and while it will be bottled in May, it will not be available for sale until late next year. Given the Shizen is already available in five star French restaurants, the Creasy’s are confident the sparkling will also find a place alongside Japanese cuisine around the world. ■

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THE STORY OF TE MUNA What defines a sub-region and is it a classification to avoid or to relish? Joelle Thomson explores the area of Te Muna Road, 9 kilometres east of Martinborough township


or a man who lives and works in Hawke’s Bay, Matt Stafford spends a surprising amount of time three hours south of there in Martinborough. The reason for his almost weekly commute between these two east coast regions is to monitor grapes that his employers, Craggy Range Vineyards, own there. The specific vineyard in

question is the 85-hectare Craggy Range Te Muna one, which was planted in 1999. Te Muna is slightly off the beaten path, lying 9 kilometres west in an area that is not walkable in distance – like most of the compact Martinborough wineries are – and is not part of the charming village that has helped make a name for the region. So, is Te Muna markedly dif-

ferent to the rest of Martinborough and rightly defined as a sub-region? Or is Te Muna identical to Martinborough in terms of its terroir and all that encompasses - the soils, aspects, slopes, climate and the all-important human factor? “Based on soil types, there is no question that Te Muna is part of Martinborough,” says Larry McKenna, of The Escarpment

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Vineyard, which was also planted in 1999 – the same year as Craggy Range’s first vines went into the ground. “Te Muna has the same river system and the same soil type as laid down by the Martinborough Terrace, although it is marginally more elevated by perhaps about 10 or 20 metres,” McKenna says. Stafford agrees that the soils at Te Muna are identical but he sees some diversity in climate and in flavour. “The soils are the same as the rest of Martinborough but our exposure at Te Muna gives us a different growing season and we end up picking about 7 to 10 days later than most growers around the town, due to the exposure to the southerlies. It would be silly to say that Te Muna is not Martinborough but there are differences,” Stafford says. To start, there is the impact of the growing season, which gives

Te Muna a sub-regional feel to it, says Stafford, who says that Craggy Range had a difficult run of vintages there from their first planting in 1999 right up until 2008 when things started to come right. “It’s only since 2008 that we’ve had consistency in our wines and been able to pinpoint definitive flavours to the area. Prior to that, we were intermittently frost affected and it was hard to see any hints of a uniqueness coming from Te Muna.” The differences he sees at Te Muna now are not clear-cut, however, since they can also be pin pointed to other important variables. These include factors such as different vine material, newer clones and tighter row and vine spacing than in some other parts of Martinborough itself. Then there is the geographic fragmentation of the Craggy Range Vineyard at Te Muna. Of

the 85 hectares planted to date, 35 hectares are planted with Pinot Noir while the remainder is largely Sauvignon Blanc with a small experimental block of Pinot Gris, Pinot Blanc and Gewurztraminer; all of which find their way into a field blend. The 85 block is better described as three to four vineyards than one, says Stafford, because of the differences in slope and aspect across site. McKenna blends grapes from Te Muna and Martinborough and he has more experience in the wide region than any other winemaker or grape grower at Te Muna. From his perspective, any taste difference is imperceptible.

The greater Wairarapa sub-regional question While Te Muna is within a hair’s breadth of Martinborough, there are other sub-regions within the Wairarapa, which have barely been explored and remain rela-

tively unknown – to all but those in the region. The Northern Wairarapa has its own wine festival every year, which is dedicated to raising the low profile of wines from Gladstone north and eastwards. And then there are vines grown at Ruakokoputuna; just south of Te Muna and significantly cooler, says Te Kairanga winemaker John Kavanagh, who sources grapes from a company owned vineyard there. “Ruakokoputuna is later ripening by about a week to two behind Te Muna, so we see those bright red fruit flavours coming through from there. I see Ruakokoputuna as an outer part of the Martinborough appellation with very different flavours. It has cooler character fruit than what we’re getting off our winery blocks, so there is a difference.” Kavanagh agrees that Te Muna is very much part of the

Larry McKenna at Escarpment Vineyard.

Martinborough appellation and also points out the relatively close proximity to the township. “If you compare it to, say, Central Otago or Marlborough then the distances are tiny,” Kavanagh says. Another area that he highlights, which does have a wider spectrum of both ripening times and flavour profiles, is at Long Bush Valley; directly east of Te Muna – “That is a later ripening block which is cooler – we get more bright red fruit flavours from the fruit we grow there.”■




CARVING HIS OWN GROOVE Marlborough based kiwi cellar hand Annabelle Latz spent six weeks based at Mount Pleasant in the Hunter Valley for vintage year, and caught up with PJ Charteris of Chateris Wines in Central Otago.


nique winemaking and some of the purist fruit on the planet sits in the palm of the New Zealand wine industry. Showing the rest of the world what fun this combination can be is the responsibility of kiwi winemakers, according to winemaker and consultant PJ Charteris. Charteris has been based in Australia, predominantly the Hunter Valley, since 1993 after studying winemaking in South Australia’s Roseworthy in 1988 and then pursuing some vintage hopping. His career started at Viligrad in the Waikato as a young teenager where he planted Chardonnay, Cabernet and Pinot Noir, and later returned after studying his winemaking, to make wine off these vines. “That was a neat process for me, to see things go full circle.” In 2010 he was named Winemaker of the Year in the Hunter Valley, while winemaker at Brokenwood Wines. When I met him he seemed one

chuffed man with the end of vintage in sight, which will go down in the history books as being one of the best ever. On the back of a very warm winter, and consequential early bud burst and flowering, some fruit was being picked as early as the first two weeks of January. “I’d have to go back to the early 1990’s in my experience to find a similar vintage,” said Charteris, remarking that although the season was early, it was still quite a long one. He has always kept a close eye on the weather, noting the typical cyclone activity posed no threat this year, allowing for top quality colour, tannins and ripening. “As a result of watching our local weather, I can see what’s happening in New Zealand. My view used to be quite narrow, now I’m watching the weather across a quarter of the plant.” With a top quality Hunter Valley vintage wrapped up, Charteris was looking forward to the New Zealand one, where he thrives on

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working with defined distinctive fruit purity produced from unique geology and microclimates. The purity of New Zealand Riesling with great flavour ripeness at low pH and high acidity, gives potential for both early consumption and ageing styles of wine. “The brilliance that is evident in New Zealand wines almost sets it apart from the rest of the world.” He believed the huge success of New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc was because few other places on the planet can get fruit with such defined varietal distinctiveness, and crispness. “New Zealand white wine has a lovely lightness, a brightness that sets it apart from other places on the planet.”

Reflecting on this year’s Hunter Valley vintage, Charteris said the speciality of the Hunter Valley medium-bodied Shiraz, commonly known as ‘Hunter River Burgundy’ until the 1980’s, will this year be the product of rich fruited grapes with depth and character. The Semillon was richer and fuller this year, offering more generosity of fruit flavour, rather than the classic tight citrus driven fruit that the Hunter Valley usually sees. Charteris said the ‘old school’ wine people in New Zealand are aware and respectful of Hunter Semillon and its age ability, which can live well beyond 15 to 20 years, but the current consumer wants young and fresh.

“Everyone carves their own groove. You want to make wine that stands out as being different….a cultural practice evolves into a style.” This was the seventh vintage for his Central Otago venture, which Charteris owns with his partner Christina and their two children Sienna, 4, and son Jude, 1. They produce Pinot Noir, Riesling and Chardonnay. He describes their Pinot Noir which comes off the Winter Vineyard near Bannockburn, as “so at home” in Central Otago, although shared the same enthusiasm for emerging regions like Marlborough and Martinborough. “Everyone carves their own groove. You want to make wine that stands out as being different… .a cultural practice evolves into a style.” Showing his integrity, in 2011, it was a tough year and he decided not to harvest any Pinot, due to a lack of quality. “We hope people will respect what we do a little bit more, as a result of that tough decision.”

“Aged whites are as rare as hens’ teeth...As a region the Hunter Valley has to work really hard and shout out about how good it is.” Maintaining authenticity is vital, and Charteris said New Zealand winemakers do this well, in a unique industry producing exciting wine with personality and ethos. He looks forward to moving home with his family to set up base in Central Otago, but said for the time being, the Hunter Valley is a good way to be close to a market New Zealand deals closely with. Charteris carves his own groove wherever he is, and as long as his knowledge and ideas are expanding, all is well. “The day you stop learning things is the day you should probably look for something else.” ■

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ine industry researcher, teacher and founder of Hawke’s Bay’s Cross Roads winery Malcolm Reeves has been appointed EIT’s first honorary research and teaching fellow. Reeves, recently retired as a senior lecturer in wine science at EIT, will maintain his links to the industry with the fellowship, contributing on an ad hoc basis to the research activity of colleagues and assisting as required with the development of wine science teaching programmes. Something of a Renaissance man, Reeves has turned his talents to many areas in the industry, from designing his own winery to exploring the intricacies of wine chemistry. After gaining a Master of Technology (Food), he ran a plant in Sydney that was among the first to make speciality yeast for the wine industry. Winemaking stints with McWilliams in Australia’s Hunter Valley and Louis Martini in California’s

Napa Valley whetted his appetite for further industry involvement. A devotee of Hawke’s Bay’s Cabernets and Merlots, Reeves left a position lecturing in food technology at Massey University to establish and run Cross Roads in Korokipo Road, making the winery’s first vintage in 1990. He continues to closely guard the secret blend of the flagship red Talisman – a wine still produced by the company, now owned by the Yealands Wine Group. Reeves was employed by EIT as a part-time academic in 1997 and moved to a full-time position in 2002. An authority on wine education in China, he has regularly co-authored papers with College of Food Science and Nutritional Engineering staff at China Agricultural University. “I still have links with China and CAU and will be returning to deliver presentations for a year or two yet.” Over the last five or six years, he filled a leadership and mentoring role within EIT’s

School of Applied Science, helping to build the Viticulture and Wine School’s research profile by encouraging other academics and contributing himself to research projects. “International applicants want opportunities for academic research as well as to teach – they see that as part of what they want to do. That, in turn, is reflected in staff retention and the quality of teaching. “Usually local applicants for degree teaching positions

also want to be research active because of the enhancement that provides in their teaching.” ■

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FROM COLD DUCK TO ALBARINO A contemporary history of wine in New Zealand – the 1980’s PETER SAUNDERS


f the 1970s was the decade of with Cabernet Sauvignon drawing ‘discovery’ in New Zealand, attention for red wine styles. making the leap from hybrid The competitions, then just grapes to vinifera, forming two, switched from judging mostly a Wine Institute, planting a lot fortified wine to table wine, finally of vineyards, then the pace of dropping the fortified classes altothe 1980s was perhaps the most gether. exciting. The decade started with the Export sales went up and have emergence of Te Mata Estate, not stopped. The faith of New led by John Buck who had been Zealanders in their own wine also inspired by Tom McDonald with jumped and the number of wine his small Cabernet block tucked makers flew upward by 200 to into the Taradale hills. Merlot reflect these discoveries. was absent but by the end of the This was the decade when the development of Marlborough leapt. New businesses like Cooks New Zealand Wine Company became established by David Lucas and a ‘space-station’ winery was seen on State Highway 1 at Te Kauwhata. Yet the fascination of wine in the 1980s encouraged planting by a lot of smaller operators. Many dairy, sheep and beef farmers converted part of their farms to vineyards, and new brands abounded. Palomino became a grape variety of New Zealand’s history and A 1980 Tourism New Zealand poster steadily the Siebels promoting wine in this country. and Bacos with their number identifiers were replaced, initially by Mul- decade, was making its own conler Thurgau with its semi-sweet tribution to the solo Cabernet white wine and then Chardonnay, Sauvignon.

60   // 


But this was not the only viticultural evolution. Sauvignon Blanc had shown itself as a distinctive New Zealand style and, led by the British, exports began to rise. Sauvignon Blanc helped New Zealand become ‘discovered’ around the world as a wine country. Despite all this, it was not an easy time. The demand for wines meant big demand for grapes, preferably of the right varieties. The addition of water was so common that the Wine Institute cleared the way for this to be a ‘legal additive’ to New Zealand wine, subject to certain volume and naming conditions. Three years later, there were so many grapes planted that the cottage industry became a surplus industry and in 1983, the addition of water was forbidden. More dramas were on the way. After 1985 and a decent sized vintage, the Government ruled that grapes were so in excess that they (the Lange Government) would pay growers to remove vines before the cropping of the 1986 vintage. It cost the Government about $NZ10.5

One of the new players to emerge in the 1980s – Morton Estate, recently sold to Lion NZ pending OIC approvement.

million dollars. The interesting issue was that the pulled vineyards were not pulled for long. The hybrids were gone, the age of new vinifera varieties replaced them. The late 1980s saw an increase in names on the wine census. Many vines came from University of California Davis and as such had a warmer up-bringing than New Zealand conditions. A decade or two later, this was recognised and even these vinifera were replaced by new clones bought specifically from France, where conditions were closer to New Zealand’s cooler climate. We can think specifically of Merlot and Pinot Noir, yet subtle effects from heritage were shown in clones of other varieties as well. The 1980s bought a flash of green in the export markets also. No longer was a five case ‘export’ to a New Zealand embassy front page news. Now the British press had perked up to the ‘most marvellous’ and ‘different’ taste of New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc, coming mainly from Marlborough. The turmoil of the 1980s showed. From water in wine to no water in wine, hybrids out and vinifera in under a Government subsidy, new grape growers appearing in a change from milking cows and shearing sheep. Even the education system changed. The grand-father to grandson education in grapes and wine saw a new vocation for the Roseworthy

graduate bringing more text-book and practical knowledge to New Zealand. The list of brand names through the decade had grown enormously. As one of the original winemakers said, ‘there used to be Lionel Collard over the road, Peter Babich around the corner and Alex Corban up the street. We all knew each other, probably had grandparents from the same

neck of the world. Today, there are brands and people I have never met, never heard of - but we all seem somehow to be doing okay!’ Doing okay – an understatement. It was one great (if clumsy) step for an industry that would go on to become the eighth largest export earner in New Zealand. An export which other industries would compare themselves with in terms of earnings. Not everything was done correctly, looking back, yet the progress under guidance of the Roseworthy winemakers was enormous. The stainless steel of New Zealand’s dairy industry played a big part. The wineries which used to start the day firing up the ‘still to fortify wine, began installing refrigeration units for table wine to retain fruit characters. Sauvignon Blanc became a way of life. Family plots in Marlbor-

ough changed the face of the countryside. New areas like Waipara and Central Otago sprang into life. Even Matakana took on a face while the vineyards of Henderson diminished. Wine columns appeared in newspapers, books appeared on New Zealand wine, sipping wine with dinner moved past an experience for birthdays and Christmas to part of our routine, just weekly perhaps or with dinner guests, but the longest path was trodden by exports, firstly United Kingdom but then on from there. ■ Next issue we look at the wines of the 1990s. A brochure promoting Hunter’s Wines from 1985.




ndependent testing of Vinevax proves the best protection against wood diseases is achieved when used on fresh pruning wounds. Fresh pruning wounds are susceptible to water/airborne fungal spores which can enter and start disease processes within the vine. This often manifests in foliar/ shoot dieback symptoms and vine underperformance. Fungal pathogens causing these declines include eutypa and botryosphaeria spp which if able to infect pruning wounds will inevitably lead to vine decline and or death.

Dieback symptoms from Eutypa lata.

Vinevax is a New Zealand registered pruning wound dressing harnessing the protective and living barrier properties of Trichoderma that when applied to fresh pruning wounds inoculates and protects from fungal pathogen invasion. This wound protection and closing to infection is well demonstrated in the field challenge trial conducted by Dr Phillipe Rolshausen UC Davis, California. Phillipe subjected fresh pruning wounds with or without Vinevax treatment to challenge inoculation with 1000 ascospores of Eutypa at either day 1, day 6 or day 11 after wounding. Wound tissue from each of the treatments was sampled and laboratory cultured for the presence/absence of Eutypa. The results from the Vinevax treated group show that infections were reduced to 10% at day 1 of Eutypa challenge with no other infections from subsequent day 6 and day 11 Eutypa challenge. In contrast the untreated group (without Vinevax) resulted in

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62   // 


46% infection at day 1 Eutypa challenge, dropping to 22% and 16% infections at day 6 and day 11 respectively. Vine decline pathogens often gain entry via pruning cuts, leading to long term vine decline and underperformance. Management of vine decline is difficult once established within the vine. This field work shows that Vinevax wound dressing significantly reduces pathogen entry opportunity, provides early closure of pruning wounds and protected, healthier vines. ■



s the largest research and development project ever undertaken by New Zealand’s wine industry gets under way, the immediate focus turns to the vineyard. The new Primary Growth Partnership (PGP) between the wine industry and the Ministry for Primary Industries aims to position New Zealand as the world’s leading producer of higher-quality, lower calorie and lower alcohol wines.

aspects of grape and wine production in our winegrowing regions,” he adds. “This will help every grower gain a better understanding of how to optimise grape ripening and flavour development – especially in cooler years.” Industry partners will meet with NZW and PGP programme personnel in June, when they will be asked to nominate their technical liaison representatives for the vineyard and winery trials led by a team comprising scientists from

“We’re going to gain a much greater understanding of canopy management, grapevine physiology and nutrition.”

The strategy? To achieve that goal using sustainable viticultural techniques and native yeasts. Focusing on natural production provides a key point of difference to currently available low-alcohol wines, which often use laboratory processing methods such as reverse osmosis. ‘That’s an important distinction,’ notes Dr Simon Hooker, General Manager Research at New Zealand Winegrowers (NZW). ‘The PGP programme will deliver benefits to every grower and viticulturist in the country, and the first trials are being established right now.’ While media coverage to date has concentrated on the production goal – lower alcohol wines at premium prices – Dr Hooker observes that PGP research is heavily weighted on developing tools for use in any vineyard. “We’ll be investigating many

Plant & Food Research and the University of Auckland. Programme management, monitoring and evaluation will be handled by Dr David Jordan, a director of Vine to Wine to Market and a highly respected wine business and viticultural consultant. “We’re going to gain a much greate r unde rstanding of canopy management, grapevine physiology and nutrition,” says Dr Jordan, “and these outcomes can be taken on board by everyone in the sector – not just those who want to produce lower alcohol wines.” Industry members can learn more about the PGP programme via the Research area of the NZW website (, and Dr Hooker will provide an ‘Introduction to PGP,’ at the 2014 Grape Day technical events held in June (Blenheim: 10 June; Napier: 12 June). ■

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ast season some winegrowers discovered an innovative way to tackle the challenge of treatmentresistant powdery mildew. Many winegrowers are aware that the sexual phase of powdery mildew - chasmothecia - has recently been discovered in New Zealand. The sexual phase allows the fungal disease to develop resistance to chemical treatment. It also allows the organism to survive over winter and produce both mycelium and spores earlier in the season. The promiscuous fungus is now widespread in Gisborne and

64   // 

Hawke’s Bay, and has also been found in Marlborough. Winegrowers who are aware of the chasmothecia development, have been forced to re-think traditional control (and eradication in the event of infection) methods for the coming season Almost unbelievably, one of the answers lies with a type of soap - Protector HML. For over a decade, Protector HML has been widely used with sulphur to control powdery mildew. Last season after three years of intensive field research, HML-32 was commercially released. It is a pre-formulation of Protector HML


and potassium bicarbonate. While the severity of powdery mildew infection created havoc last season, particularly in Gisborne and Hawke’s Bay, it also presented a perfect opportunity to trial this new formulation under the most testing conditions. Manufacturer’s trials were conducted on an area of Hawke’s Bay Montepulciano with significant bunch infection. The ability of HML-32 when combined with copper to effectively eradicate powdery mildew infections was clearly demonstrated the day after the first application.

Approximately three weeks after the first application, Plant and Food Research scientist Peter Wood analysed primary infection and re-infection in each of the treatments. His findings are published (within the full report on the trial) on the manufacturer’s website: www. products/hml-32. Farmlands Horticulture also conducted their own trials on a disused Hawke’s Bay vineyard suffering from epidemic levels of powdery mildew infection. They trialed a range of chemistry and combinations. The HML-32

combination was one of the best treatments. Later work with Dr David Manktelow on spray application supported what was being reported from the field. His report, along with a best practice guide for eradication of powdery mildew has also been published on the manufacturer’s website. The manufacturer’s recommendations for the coming season depend on the level of vineyard exposure to powdery mildew last season. The most robust program recommends an early application of lime sulphur, and then HML-32 with sulphur and copper. The program has a strong preventative focus with eradication elements. This combination also allows growers to control the full spectrum of grape fungal diseases including botrytis, downy mildew, black spot and phomopsis.■

Hawke’s Bay winemaker Susan Mains inspects Montepulciano grapes close to harvest in April 2014 following widespread powdery mildew infection.

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he Resource Management Act 1991 presumes that land users may undertake any activity provided they do not generate adverse effects on the environment beyond the boundary of the land. In reality, many productive uses of land, including vineyards, generate effects beyond the farm gate that are not capable of being avoided, remedied or mitigated. Vineyards are particularly susceptible to conflict between uses on adjoining properties. The romantic, idyllic imagery associated with the industry is a powerful marketing tool for prospective subdivision of rural land for rural residential lifestyle blocks. However, the reality of the working environment is often at odds with new residents’ perceptions. Planning mechanisms such as “no complaints covenants”, separation distances and buffer zones have been used to address this issue. This article will consider the “no complaints covenant” in terms of its purpose, its enforceability and its application to subsequent purchasers of the land bound by the covenant. A “no complaints covenant” is an agreement which prevents the owner or occupier of land nearby or neighbouring an effects-producing activity (the nearby owner) from complaining about the effects of that activity. Such an agreement will propose various restrictions upon the nearby owner, preventing them from taking action against the owner/occupier of the effects-producing site (the effects-producing owner).

66   // 

Such restrictions might involve preventing the nearby owner/ occupier from: Suing for nuisance; Taking enforcement action under the Resource Management Act 1991; Opposing, or making a submission on an application by the effects-producing landowner for a resource consent to carry on existing effects-producing activities, or for new effectsproducing activities; or

on an informed basis Rowell v Tasman District Council [2001] NZRMA 202). In essence, this will require the nearby owner to have understood the covenant’s terms, and have entered into the covenant voluntarily. For winegrowers’ purposes, the most useful no complaints covenants are those covenants which bind subsequent purchasers of the nearby land. A covenant which binds these purchasers alleviates the need

Vineyards are particularly susceptible to conflict between uses on adjoining properties. The romantic, idyllic imagery associated with the industry is a powerful marketing tool for prospective subdivision of rural land for rural residential lifestyle blocks. Funding any of the above actions (Asher Davidson “Reverse Sensitivity: Are No Complaints Covenants the Solution?) In order to ensure a no complaints covenant will be enforceable against a nearby owner, both the nearby owner and effects-producing landowner must freely consent to its terms – a no complaints covenant cannot be imposed unilaterally. The reason for this is that a no complaints covenant restricts the rights of a nearby owner under the Bill of Rights Act 1990 and the Resource Management Act 1991. Such nearby owners are entitled to waive their rights under both of these statutes. However, to do so, they must freely consent to the terms of the covenant and its restrictions


to renegotiate such covenants every time the land changes hands, and affords winegrowers more certainty in their operations. A no complaints covenant will not automatically bind subsequent purchasers of the land. In fact, the legal presumption is that it will not; the law of contract generally provides that a contract between two parties cannot confer liability on a third party. However, this general principle can be overruled by specific behaviours. The best method is to require, in an Agreement to covenant, that the covenant be registered on the title of the nearby land. Once registered, the covenant will bind all subsequent purchasers of that land (s 302 of the Property Law Act 2007). Such

a clause will entitle the effectsproducing landowner, if the nearby owner attempts to onsell the land before the covenant is registered, to lodge a caveat on the title. A caveat will prevent the nearby owner from selling the land until the covenant is registered and subsequent purchasers are bound (s 141, Land Transfer Act 1952). Another method is to give the subsequent purchaser notice of the covenant prior to sale (Tulk v Moxhay (1848) 41 ER 1143). “Notice” essentially requires that the subsequent purchaser’s attention is brought to the covenant and its terms. However, this route is more difficult, since practically notice is a matter for the nearby owner in the course of sale. Nearby owners have an incentive not to give notice, as the covenant may potentially affect the value of their land(both positively in that an existing productive activity may continue unabated, and negatively if it highlights potential sensitivities). It is important to remember no complaints covenants will only go so far; they cannot restrict members of the public members of the public from taking enforcement action against the effects-producing landowner, making a complaint or submitting on an effectsproducing resource consent application. However, they are a useful tool for winegrowers (and other landowners whose land houses effects-producing activities) to enable them to carry out their business without constant threat of complaint from neighbours. ■


3: Decanter World Wine Awards 2014, Trade and Consumer Tastings - London


SWNZ Member Workshop WiSE Scorecard update and training – Gisborne, Bushmere Arms, 10.30 – 12.30 and 1.00 – 3.00

15 - 17:

Spiegelau International Wine Competition Judging – Blenheim


2-4: The London International Wine Fair

10: New Zealand Winegrower Grape Days – Blenheim

12: New Zealand Winegrower Grape Days – Napier


SWNZ Member Workshop WiSE Scorecard update and training – Marlborough Convention Centre 10.30-12.30 or 1.30 – 3.00.



Spiegelau International Wine Competition Awards Dinner

SWNZ Member Workshop WiSE Scorecard update and training Auckland

27 – 29:

- PRNZ Viaduct Harbour Ave 10.30 – 12.30 and 1.30 – 3.30-

– Auckland

Romeo Bragato Conference


- Blenheim

New World Wine Awards


– Entries Close – Auckland. Full details available at


SWNZ Member Workshop WiSE Scorecard update and training

8 – 22:


Introduction to Wine – New Zealand School Of Food And Wine

SWNZ Member Workshop WiSE Scorecard update and training

- Auckland

– Hawke’s Bay Havelock Community Centre – 10.00 – 12.00 and 1.00 – 3.00

– Wairarapa – Martinborough Fire Station – 10.30 – 12.30


SWNZ Member Workshop WiSE Scorecard update and training – Nelson, Seifried Estate – 10.00 – 12.00


SWNZ Member Workshop WiSE Scorecard update and training – Waipara, The Mud House Winery – 10.30 – 12.30


SWNZ Member Workshop WiSE Scorecard update and training – Otago – Golden Gate Lodge Cromwell, 10.00 - 12.00


Pick The Trophies Tastings – New Zealand International Wine Show, 2014 - Auckland


Marlborough Wine Show Judging - Marlborough


Gisborne Wine and Food Festival - Gisborne




ew Zealand Winegrow- marketing and events team will er’s Global Events (User be in New Zealand for the NZWG Pays) Programme, run- Romeo Bragato National Conferning from 1 July 2014 to ence in August, and wineries will 30 June 2015, is currently being be invited to meet the team folfinalised and will be due for release lowing the conference when they in late June. The programme cov- will be visiting regions throughout ers events and activities in our key the country to discuss the Global target markets of Asia, Australia, Events Programme in more detail. Canada, Mainland Europe, UK/ For all NZWG Global Events Ireland and USA.  It also incorpo- Programme enquiries, please rates New Zealand’s premier wine contact (09) 306 5643 or events@ competition, the Air New Zealand Wine Awards.   New Zealand Winegrowers Hawke’s Bay Will Host have been conducting extensive Awards research in order to produce a Hawke’s Bay, New Zealand’s comprehensive, innovative, excit- second largest wine region, will ing and ‘fresh’ programme to meet play host to the 28th Air New Zeathe needs of exporting wineries – land Wine Awards this November. whether you are firmly established The annual awards dinner will in a particular market or looking be held on Saturday 22 November to enter into a market.  The pro- at the Pettigrew Green Arena in gramme targets key influencers Taradale, and will be attended by in the form of trade, media and New Zealand’s top winemakers consumers, and runs alongside and industry figures to celebrate the NZWG (Levy) Marketing the country’s best wines. Programme. The awards dinner culminates Keep an eye out for the pro- in the announcement of the most gramme, which will be released coveted prize of the competition, 2029-08 layout_global_P 9/23/08 9:32 AM Page 1 in late June/early July.  The global the Air New Zealand Champion

Composite 68   //  NZ WINEGROWER  JUNE/JULY 2014

Air NZ Champion Wine of the Show, 2013.

Wine of the Show Trophy. In 2013, the trophy went to Marlborough winery Nautilus Estate for their Nautilus Cuvée Brut NV. The O-I New Zealand Reserve Wine of the Show (runner up) was awarded to the Villa Maria Reserve Hawke’s Bay Chardonnay 2012. Chris Yorke, Global Marketing Director for New Zealand Winegrowers, says the Air New Zealand Wine Awards dinner is a big night for New Zealand’s wine industry. “Winning a trophy or medal is recognition of the hard work and skill that goes into making the wine, C







and lets consumers know they are drinking some of the finest wine in the world.” The Air New Zealand Wine Awards is the premier wine competition in New Zealand, recognising excellence in winemaking. The competition is owned and organised by New Zealand Winegrowers, the national organisation for the country’s 1,700 grape growers and winemakers. 2014 competition entries open to New Zealand wineries on Monday 11 August. For more information visit ■




Region Region (Actual)

2012 2014

2015 2016 (forecast) (forecast)

% % of of Total Total

Marlborough Marlborough Hawkes Bay Hawkes Bay Otago Otago Gisborne

22.903.1 22,587.3 4815.7 4,841.4 1979.2 1,786.7 1602.4

23,287.3 23.017.7 4895.4 4,938.5 2012.3 1,791.9 1615.9

Gisborne Waipara

1,616.5 1266.4

1,586.2 1272.0

5% 3.5

Wairarapa / Wellington Waipara

996.7 1,034.5

1008.5 1,082.2

2.8 3%

Nelson Wairarapa / Wellington

1114.7 941.9

1152.1 943.5

3.2 3%

Auckland / Northland Nelson Cantebury Auckland / Northland Waikato / Bay of Plenty Waikato / Bay of Plenty National Total

372.0 962.6 195.8 319.77 22.8 16.1 35,312.8

374.1 1,015.4 206.7 315.7 22.3 10.2 35,894.4

1 3% 0.6 1% 0.1 0%

National Total



64.9 66% 13.6 14% 5.6 5% 4.5

Exports up again Exports for the year to date to the end of March

Exports for the 11 months to end of May 2013 (Moving Annual Total) (Moving Annual Total) Litres Litres (m) (m)

Country Country

United United Kingdom Kingdom


Average AverageAverage Average $/L 2014$/L $/L 2013 $/L 2012 2011

47,811 51,685 273,830 301,405

4.93 5.64


42,473 48,349

281,135 323,167 6.62 6.68

6.36 6.57

Australia Australia

49,460 53.922

368,191 385,843 7.447.16

7.11 7.40


Canada Canada

7448 7696

80,322 80,298 10.78 10.43

10.82 10.96

New New Zealand’s Zealand’s total total producing producing vineyard vineyard will will increase increase by by only only 0.5% 0.5% over over the the next next 22 years. years. This This table table shows shows the the variation variation for for major major varieties varieties (in (in Ha), Ha), with with % % change change and and percentage percentage of of total total in in 2012. 2012.

Netherlands Netherlands

3806 5075

24,213 34,473 6.36 6.79

5.78 6.24

Denmark Denmark

0.792 0.793

5446 6353 6.878.01

6.55 6.57

Ireland Ireland

2089 2134

14,830 15,940 7.10 7.47

7.55 6.90

Japan Japan


13,203 14,084 11.69 11.60

11.46 11.96

Germany Germany

1661 2329

9844 12,565 5.92 5.39

5.70 5.42

2366 1750

28,978 22,374 12.24 12.78

12.10 12.36

Hong Hong Kong Kong

1541 1385

19,940 18,.095 12.94 13.06

12.10 12.82

Singapore Singapore

1252 1544

16,066 20,546 12.83 13.30

12.72 12.85

Finland Finland

0.163 0.242

13562087 8.31 8.60

9.73 8.63

Norway Norway

0.201 0.312

1326 2501 6.598.01

7.42 6.71

Sweden Sweden


13,425 13,230 8.378.21

8.12 8.39

Others Others

5,057 5637

48,820 54,894 9.65 9.74

9.79 9.43

Variety Variety


% producing 2015 area % producing area

% producing 2016 forecast area

Sauvignon Sauvignon Blanc Blanc

19,929.8 20,014.7


20,214.7 56.9

57.8 20,260

Pinot Pinot Noir Noir

5096.4 5487.9


5175.1 15.6

14.8 5734.5

Chardonnay Chardonnay

3120.9 3202.3


3164.0 9.1

9.1 3247.0

Pinot Pinot Gris Gris

2396.2 2402.7


2399.7 6.8

6.9 2448.8

Merlot Merlot



1245.4 3.6

3.6 1288.5

Riesling Riesling



746.2 2.2


Syrah Syrah



400.6 1.2

430.1 1

Gewurztraminer Gewurztraminer



311.4 0.9

0.9 332.7

Cabernet Cabernet Sauv Sauv



323.7 0.9

0.9 314.9

Viognier Viognier



146.5 0.5

0.4 158.4

Malbec Malbec



143.9 0.4

0.4 144.5

Cabernet Cabernet Franc Franc

111.6 118.6


108.9 0.3


All All other other varieties varieties



572.7 1.6

1.6 625.0

Total Total

34,269 35,182



China China



10.01-2010.01-20 20.01-50 20.01-50 50.01 & 0-5 5.01-10 5.01-10 over

Aklnd Aklnd // Nthlnd Nthlnd

90 60

Canterbury Canterbury




Gisborne Gisborne

26 20


Hawkes Bay Bay Hawkes






30 24

3 0

Regional 50.01 Total and over




2 0




25 12



7 21

81 75


56 64


22 32


203 190


291 214


101 181

1015 100

Nelson Nelson

55 45




12 7




Otago Otago

100 80


61 28

26 17





— _








Marlborough Marlborough

Waikato // BoP BoP Waikato Waipara Waipara Wairarapa // Wgtn Wgtn Wairarapa National National










3 8






10 10


691 561


527 372

268 349

145 261



185,683,4601,200,933 1,316,860,54 168,861


7.05 6.56

*(npr = not previously recorded separately) *n.c. = no change NZ WINEGROWER DECEMBER WINEGROWER 2013/JANUARY JUNE/JULY 2014 2014 //    NZ   //    6969

RESEARCH SUPPLEMENT Information and Updates on NZ Winegrowers Research Programmes. Editor: 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 The Pathway Of Volatile Sulphur Compounds In Wine Yeast – The Bragato Trust And NZW Scholarship University of Auckland (Dr Bruno Fedrizzi - student Matias Kinzurk) Literature Review Of Grape And Wine Anthocyanins And Phenolics To Give Viticulturists And Winemakers Knowledge Lincoln University (Roland Harrison) Preliminary investigation of factors responsible for variability in tartaric acid additions to Pinot Noir Lincoln University (Roland Harrison) 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 Pathway Of Volatile Sulphur Compounds In Wine Yeast – The Bragato Trust And NZW Scholarship University of Auckland (Dr Bruno Fedrizzi - student Matias Kinzurk)

70   // 


Pests and Disease


Virus Diversity In New Zealand Grapevines: Sequence, Ecology And Impact – The Rod Bonfiglioli Scholarship Plant and Food Research (Dr Robin MacDiarmid - student Arnaud Blouin)

Organic Focus Vineyard Project Organic Winegrowers New Zealand (Rebecca Reider) Supported by MPI Sustainable Farming Fund

Sustaining Vineyards Through Practical Management Of Grapevine Trunk Diseases South Australian Research & Development Institute (Mark Sosnowski) Supported by MPI Sustainable Farming Fund Implementation of Virus Elimination Strategy Various (Nick Hoskins – Project Manager) Supported by MPI Sustainable Farming Fund Virus Diversity In New Zealand Grapevines: Sequence, Ecology And Impact – The Rod Bonfiglioli Scholarship Plant and Food Research (Dr Robin MacDiarmid - student Arnaud Blouin) Sector Weather Data Licence & Tools HortPlus (NZ) Ltd.

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)


Manipulation of methoxpyrazine concentrations in Sauvignon Blanc wine using leaf and rachis additions Grose C, Martin D, Bennett J, Stuart L, Albright A, Gunson A 12-107 The aim of this project was to increase methoxypyrazine (MP) concentrations in Sauvignon Blanc juice and wine using natural methods during fruit processing. The varietal thiols 3-mercaptohexanol (3MH), 3-mercaptohexyl acetate (3MHA) and 4-mercapto-4-methylpentan2-one (4MMP) in Sauvignon Blanc wines are significant contributors to the passionfruit, grapefruit and tropical aromas, whereas the alkyl methoxypyrazines (MPs) 3-isobutyl-2-methoxypyrazine (IBMP), 2-isopropyl-3-methoxypyrazine (IPMP) and sec-butyl methoxypyrazine (SBMP) contribute to the vegetative, grassy, capsicum characters in the wine. The balance between thiols and MPs plays an important role in the unique style and typicality of Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc. Our previous research has indicated that machine-harvested Sauvignon blanc grapes, fermented under controlled conditions, produce wines with higher MP concentrations than those from hand-harvested grapes. Machine harvesting probably causes greater contact with material other than berries (grape stems, leaves and petioles expected to be high in MPs), thereby enriching the juice in these compounds. We explored the effects of increasing additions of grape stalks (rachises) and damaged leaves (blades and petioles) to must on juice MP concentrations before fermentation. These additions to crushed grapes did

Figure 1: The effect of leaf and rachis additions (% w/w) on concentrations of (E)-3-hexen-1-ol in Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc juice (error bars represent 5% LSD).

not have a significant effect on major juice constituents such as yeast available nitrogen (YAN), although slight changes to the organic acid concentrations, titratable acidity and pH were observed. Increasing leaf additions were associated with higher free sulphur dioxide (SO2) concentrations in the juice, but paradoxically resulted in marginally more oxidised (browner) juices, whereas rachis additions had no effect. Higher juice concentrations of phenolic compounds from leaf

additions may have contributed to the reduced effectiveness of free SO2 as an antioxidant. Rachis additions before fermentation had no effect on IBMP concentrations in the juice, while higher leaf addition rates resulted in a trend for decreasing IBMP. The higher phenolic content and browning increase may have contributed to this unexpected decrease, although MPs are not thought susceptible to oxidation. The study also investigated the potential of leaf and rachis additions to influence a family

of other wine aroma compounds collectively known as Green Leaf Volatiles (GLV). Most GLVs are rapidly formed after plant cell damage such as grape crushing at harvest. GLVs contribute to the green/grassy characters in wine and two in particular have been identified as building blocks for passionfruit/tropical aromas (3MH and 3MHA) in Sauvignon Blanc. Juice concentrations of (E)2-hexen-1-ol, one of the newly identified thiol precursor building blocks, were not affected by leaf


or rachis additions. (E)-2-hexen1-al, also having thiol-forming potential, was not affected by rachis additions, but concentrations were significantly reduced by 6% and 9% leaf additions. Again, increased juice phenolics and the corresponding oxidative browning may have contributed to this. Leaf additions significantly increased juice concentrations of several other GLVs, especially (Z)-3-hexen-1-ol, whereas rachis additions had no effect (Figure 1). (Z)-3-hexen-1-ol is an important flavour compound in white wines, with an herbaceous “cut grass” aroma. In the course of this experiment, it was also observed that two specific GLVs, (Z)-3-hexenyl acetate and hexyl acetate, were absent in juices that had no leaf additions to the must and increased proportionally with

increasing leaf addition rates. These observations are of commercial interest and could potentially be used to develop an objective measure of the quality of mechanical harvesting. It remains, however, to determine whether the increases in these GLVs are a direct result of extraction from the leaves, or a change in oxidative potential of the juice as a result of phenolic compounds extracted from the leaves.

Summary of Practical Considerations for the Winemaker Leaf additions above 3% by weight to the crushed must associated with 3 hours of skin contact time considerably altered the composition of free run/light press juice. Key observations were: Increased juice phenolic content and increased juice browning

despite higher free SO2 concentrations Reduced juice methoxypyrazine (IBMP) and (E)-2-hexen-1-al (thiol precursor) concentrations Increased known green/grassy character GLVs, especially (Z)3-hexen-1-ol and (E)-3-hexen-1-ol in the juice Leaf-addition juices were also judged as “greener” through informal bench sensory evaluation The inclusion of grape rachises up to 9% by weight (equivalent to a whole bunch proportion) had no measurable impact on the phenolic content, oxidative potential, MP and GLV contents of free run/ light press juice Analytical measurements of specific GLVs have the potential to become an objective measure of the quality of mechanical harvesting. Winemakers will be able to use

the knowledge and tools developed in this project to minimise or enhance green herbaceous aroma and flavour characters in the wine, depending on the style required, to meet market and brand demands. This research will help the New Zealand industry to remain ahead of competition from other cool climate countries such as Chile and Argentina, as well as mitigate against potential increase in frequency of warm, dry seasons that, without intervention, could lead to lower MP concentrations in our flagship wine style.

Acknowledgements This work was made possible by funding from NZ Winegrowers NZW12-107. Pernod Ricard for providing the site and fruit used in this project.

Virus diversity in New Zealand grapevines: sequence, ecology and impact Arnaud Blouin1,2, Howard Ross2, Robin MacDiarmid1,2 The New Zealand Institute for Plant & Food Research Limited, 2 School of Biological Sciences, The University of Auckland


13-115 Grapevine viruses threaten both quality and quantity of grapes and, to date, 63 viruses have been described in grapevines worldwide. The most recent survey of viruses in New Zealand grapevines was conducted in the 1970s using techniques that have now been superseded. This doctoral research (undertaken by Arnaud Blouin) aims to: Develop an efficient, broad-

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spectrum protocol to identify viruses and viroids in New Zealand grapevines based on the most recent DNA sequencing technologies. Undertake a large-scale survey of grapevines in New Zealand to determine the full range of grape viruses and viroids present. Quantify the symptom expression as well as the spatial and temporal distribution of two selected viruses within distinct rootstocks


and scions of grafted plants to reveal how the rootstock affects virus movement and replication in the scion. Research outcomes will provide the winegrape sector with a better understanding of the viruses already present in New Zealand as well as offering new insights into those that threaten to cause problems in the future. New tools for identification and genetic characterisation of

viruses are being developed with the aim to increase testing volumes and speed. We are particularly interested in grapevines that show unusual symptoms. If you have an unusual-looking vine or a nonsymptomatic vine within a heavily infected block, please contact Arnaud at Samples may be collected from your selections and the viruses within them sequenced

to add to this study. This doctoral research is supported by New Zealand Winegrowers’ Rod Bonfiglioli scholarship and Plant & Food Research, with supervision from Drs MacDiarmid and Ross. Dr Rod

Bonfiglioli was a passionate grapevine virologist, who was amongst the first to report the extent of the genetic variability within grapevine viruses. This project aims to respond to Dr Bonfiglioli’s aspiration to

assess the current status of all grapevine viruses in New Zealand and to determine their adverse impacts on quantitative and/or qualitative parameters of wine production. This project complements

alternative research approaches explored under the Grape and Wine Research Programme, which delivers research that aligns with both Plant & Food Research’s and New Zealand Winegrowers’ strategies.

Influence of juice pH on thiol production Grose C, Martin D, Stuart L, Albright A, Haycock S, Gunson A 12-108

The varietal thiols in Sauvignon Blanc wines are significant contributors to the passionfruit, grapefruit and tropical aromas. High thiol concentrations are one of the key distinguishing features of a typical New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc, often many fold higher than found in wines from competitor countries. Optimising wine thiol profiles will allow New Zealand winemakers to further differentiate their product from the competition and to protect New Zealand’s unique position as the world’s leading producer of premium Sauvignon Blanc wine. From related research within the Grape and Wine Research Programme (GWRP), a joint investment by Plant & Food Research and New Zealand Winegrowers, we know that grape processing methods can alter the intensity of thiol-related characters in the finished wines. For example, thiol-related flavours are 10-20 times higher in wines made from machine harvested grapes (with crushing and skin contact) than from hand harvested, whole bunch pressed grapes (no crushing, no skin contact). During fruit processing, as skin contact time is extended, there is an increase in extraction of potassium from the skins, with a corresponding

increase in juice pH. Likewise as pressures and duration of grape pressing increase, potassium concentrations increase and organic acid concentrations decrease, raising the juice pH in the heavy press fractions. Overseas research has shown that pH and potassium imbalances can greatly affect viable yeast populations, yeast metabolisms and fermentation rates – all of which are important in volatile

thiol production. In this project we are using winemaking techniques to change juice pH in an attempt to modify volatile thiol concentrations in the wine. We are comparing the relative influences of changes in juice pH, press fraction and skin contact time on thiol production, to see which are the more important. We changed juice pH using additions to pressed juice (experiment 1) or by applying skin con-

tact duration to crushed grapes (experiment 2). Sauvignon Blanc grapes were sourced from a potentially high thiol site in Lower Wairau, Marlborough. For both experiments, wine was made in 700-mL volumes using our standard Marlborough Research Centre (MRC) winemaking protocol. In experiment 1, juice was collected from the commercial press and returned to the research winery. Juice pH was


altered with increasing additions of either potassium bicarbonate (KHCO3; 0, 0.5, 1, and 2 g/L) or heavy press fractions (0, 10, 20 and 40%) before fermentation. When fermentation was complete, wine samples were analysed chemically. In experiment 2, grapes were hand harvested from the same vineyard. Juice pH was manipulated using increasing skin contact durations (0, 1 and 3 hours) applied to crushed grapes before pressing. As expected, increasing rates of KHCO3 additions increased juice pH and decreased titratable acidity (TA) and tartaric acid concentrations. The addition of 0.5 g/L KHCO3 to juice decreased concentrations of the varietal thiols 3-mercaptohexanol (3MH) and 3-mercaptohexyl acetate (3MHA) in wine, but higher rates had no further effects on these. Adding increasing proportions

of press fraction juice to free run juice resulted in corresponding increases in wine pH but had much lesser effect on TA and tartaric acid concentrations than KHCO3 additions did. An increase in juice browning was seen with higher press fraction additions, reflecting that hard pressings have greater phenolic content and higher exposure to oxidation. The addition of 10% and 20% hard press fractions proportionally decreased 3MH and 3MHA concentrations in the wine; however, the highest rate (40%) resulted in an increase in thiols relative to amounts in the 20% addition rate, but still lower than the control. This illustrates the complex interplay between increasing thiol precursor availability and increasing susceptibility to oxidation as the proportion of hard press fraction increases.

As expected, skin contact duration applied to crushed grapes significantly increased juice pH and decreased TA. The 0 skin contact resulted in significantly lower pH, higher TA and higher tartaric acid concentrations in the wine than the 1- and 3-hour treatments did. Increasing skin contact duration and the associated increases in juice and wine pH had no significant effects on wine 3MH or 3MHA. Increasing wine pH by more than 0.1 units (treatments combined - KHCO3 additions, press fraction additions and skin contact duration) had an overall negative effect on wine 3MH concentrations (see graph). Effect of pH on 3-mercaptohexanol (3MH) concentrations in Sauvignon Blanc wine for all treatments. Further experimentation is planned for the 2014 vintage,

where a lack of data in the wine pH range of 3.1 to 3.3 will be addressed. Understanding of the effects of harvest and processing technologies will provide industry with tools to optimise wine flavour profiles. Winemakers will be able to use the knowledge developed in this project to elevate or minimise the intensity of thiol-related characters in their wines, to reflect product styles required and brand needs.

Acknowledgements This work was made possible by funding from New Zealand Winegrowers. The work is part of the New Zealand Grape and Wine Research programme, a joint investment by Plant & Food Research and New Zealand Winegrowers, NZW 12-108. We thank Saint Clair Family Estate for providing the site, fruit and juices used in this project.

Villa Maria Marlborough, supplied by NZW

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