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B R AG AT O 2 017

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O-I New Zealand







12 NZ School of Winegrowing

Tessa Nicholson


From the CEO

Philip Gregan

10 In Brief

News from around the country

42 Family Vines

18 Organic and Biodynamic Winegrowing Conference

Annie and Monique Millton

100 Bob’s Blog

Bob Campbell MW

135 Not on the Label

Legal Matters with Kensington Swan

Wine happenings in New Zealand


Research Supplement

The latest science and research projects funded by New Zealand Winegrowers

Cover: Coal Pit Wine, Central Otago. Supplied by NZW

We have a number of stories from the highly successful conference, held in Marlborough during July. From the humble worm, to the Focus Vineyard three years on. But most importantly, a feature on how to improve sales of both organic and biodynamic wines.



34 The new Visit tab

136 Calendar

In what is a first for the education sector and the New Zealand wine industry a school is being set up in Marlborough to teach winegrowing to secondary school students.


About to go live, this new tab on will encourage tourists to visit our wine regions.

Negotiating contracts Being prepared and open minded, when you go into a contract negotiation, can make the process a lot more pleasant for everyone.


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A DV E R T I SI N G Sales Manager & Upper North Island: Stephen Pollard Ph: 09 913 9637 Mobile: 021 963 166 Central North Island: Ted Darley Ph: 07 854 6292 Mobile: 021 832 505 Lower North Island: Ron Mackay Ph: 04 234 6239 Mobile: 021 453 914 South Island: Kaye Sutherland Ph: 03 376 5552 Mobile: 021 221 1994

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

PUBLISHING & P R E - P R E SS Rural News Group PO Box 331100, Takapuna, Auckland 0740 Ph: 09 307 0399 Location: Top Floor, 29 Northcroft Street, Takapuna, Auckland 0622 Publisher: Brian Hight Managing Editor: Adam Fricker Production: Dave Ferguson, Rebecca Williams

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

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here is no need to go on about vintage 2017, other than to say it was a challenge for most growers and wineries. But the challenges experienced, weren’t limited just to weather conditions. New Zealand Winegrowers CEO Philip Gregan told the Grape Day audiences that he had received more calls than in any other vintage, regarding the relationship between growers and wineries. “The feedback came from every area in the country, with the exception of Central Otago. And a lot of that feedback was around the interpretation of grape supply contracts and how issues regarding quality were being assessed, as well as the timeliness of those assessments.” After further questioning, Gregan said some of the growers were concerned about the decisions on harvesting dates along with a number of interpretation issues. It wasn’t growers only talking to NZW, wineries as well were concerned that some growers didn’t comprehend that they needed quality fruit to make quality wine. There were some who were upset their fruit wasn’t harvested, although wineries claimed there was little choice but to leave diseased fruit on the vine. (At least 4000 tonnes of fruit was left unharvested this year, according to the Vintage Survey, although Gregan admits that does not include the amount of fruit that was dropped to the ground prior to vintage.) As a result of the number of conversations this year, the issues were reported back to the board of NZW in April, leading them to investigate whether a Code of Conduct should be instigated, to ensure such issues are not ongoing. This is not the first time a Code of Conduct has been mentioned within the industry. At last year’s Bragato Conference, following a session on contracts, the

audience was asked if they would support such a Code being brought in. It was close to a unanimous yes, from all attending. So what could such a Code look like? Hard to tell, although NZW is looking closely at the Australian version. Established back in 2008, their Code has two main aims: • To establish a common Australian wine grape supply contract framework • And to provide a dispute resolution system to manage disagreements which arise over price or quality assessments. It appears any New Zealand version would have the same principals, and like Australia, it would have to be voluntary. Commerce Commission rules mean such a contract cannot be compulsory. Across the Tasman the FAQ section that discusses the Code highlights why wineries should sign up. The benefits to wineries are: • Providing protection in case of a dispute arising with a supplier, because there will be a written agreement in place with an impartial dispute resolution process • Demonstrating that the business you run is fair and reasonable • Improving the ability of wine companies to negotiate similar arrangements with retailers • The dispute resolution process creating the potential to resolve disputes without recourse to expensive and time consuming legal proceedings that also undermine the grower-wine company relationship Between 2009 and 2015 41 large wine companies based in Australia had signed the Code. Which given there are over 2400 wineries in Australia, does not seem like a lot. Let’s hope if New Zealand introduces its own code, that more of the industry gets on board – to prevent the issues of 2017 rearing their head in the years ahead.■

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t the time of writing (early July) I have just spent some time at a conference in Blenheim celebrating the tenth anniversary of the RSE (Recognised Seasonal Employer) scheme. The Conference underlined the tremendous contribution RSE workers have made to the various industries in New Zealand that have been able to participate in the scheme. Equally important the Conference heard about the difference RSE has made to individuals and communities in the home countries of the RSE workers. In that context the stories from the workers involved in the programme were a moving testimony to the difference the programme is making in the lives of those involved in RSE work. A strong theme that emerged from the Conference was the respect shown by all parties – employers, workers, the New Zealand government, foreign governments, researchers, and the various industries – for RSE and what it has achieved. That respect in part reflects the efforts by government officials from day one to design a scheme that addressed the flaws in similar schemes overseas so that RSE did not generate problems either in the home or destination communities.

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Our industry has been a major beneficiary of RSE. When it commenced in 2007 our total vineyard area was 25,000 hectares. In 2017 it is 37,000 hectares and rising. That is over 80 million vines which need to be maintained and pruned. While RSE workers do not do all this work, they are a major component of the workforce that makes this happen. Given that healthy vines are the very bedrock on which our industry’s reputation for quality rests, that makes RSE workers a very important cog in preserving our quality reputation. Just how important are they – try to imagine all our vines being pruned on time to the standard the industry needs without RSE workers! Given the tight labour market in New Zealand it is clear that would not happen. So RSE is very important for our industry. But it is vital to remember that having access to RSE workers is not an industry right, rather it is a privilege. It is a privilege that our industry needs to keep demonstrating that we deserve to keep. It is clear that most RSE workers are treated well in the industry. Equally it is clear that some workers in the industry are not treated to the standard any of us would expect. How do we know these two points are factual? Well on the good news front,


a recent labour inspectors visit to RSE Marlborough employers evidently found good compliance with rules and regulations. Very well done to all concerned. What about the not so good news. The stories we have seen in the media this year in Marlborough and prosecutions in the Courts definitely suggest some industry workers are not being looked after in the way any of us would expect. This is clearly not good enough. All workers – whether directly employed or engaged through contract services – need to be treated fairly. Treating all workers well is how as an industry we will demonstrate that we deserve to retain and, indeed, expand the privileged access to RSE workers that we enjoy. To assist the industry to meet its employment obligations, in recent months we have published new workplace guides on health and safety, and employment, including a checklist for conversations with labour supply contractors. If you have not seen them get hold of copies, they are a must read. Comply with those guidelines and the industry will generate good news stories, not negative headlines and court cases. Looking forward it was clear at the RSE Conference that the scheme will evolve and change

in the future. That is has been successful is not debated, the real question is how it will evolve in the future as the needs of the various participating industries continue to grow. The impact on the home communities (both good and bad) will need to be factored into future changes in the programme as will the impact on communities in New Zealand. The future success of RSE will depend on the involved industries working together with the government. It is the government which makes the big decisions on RSE – the design of the programme, the requirements imposed on employers and the number of workers allowed to be part of the scheme in any one year, but industry does have input into those decisions. To date that partnership with government has delivered a very successful programme which has benefited all parties and allowed the participating industries to grow strongly over the past 10 years. A decade on and it was great to be part of RSE celebration. Let’s hope that the 20 year celebration will be just as positive. Whether it is or not is very much in the hands of the participating industries. Let’s be sure the wine industry plays its part in making the next 10 years a success for all involved.■

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NATIONAL GIA signed and sealed The New Zealand wine industry gave very strong support to the proposal that the governing body sign a Government Industry Agreement (GIA) deed for biosecurity readiness and response, last year. That deed was signed in May, ensuring the wine industry secures a seat around the table when decisions are being made on biosecurity issues. “Making decisions in partnership with government provides the opportunity to influence how the wine industry is impacted in the event of a biosecurity response and ensures we deliver the best outcomes for our member’s,” NZW CEO Philip Gregan says. “This is a significant step forward in helping to ensure the sustainability of the wine industry.”

Deputy Chair of NZW Board, John Clarke and Primary Industries Minister, Hon Nathan Guy.



Wine and Food Celebration The annual New Zealand School of Food & Wine Celebration will take place this year from August 19 to 21. Being held at Auckland’s Viaduct, the three-day event will include a mix of wine tasting, cookery demonstrations, tutored masterclasses and an opportunity to cook alongside some of the talented chefs, in the professional kitchen. The NZSFW will also once again host the New Zealand Sommelier and Junior Sommelier of the Year competition, on August 20. The wine professionals will have to put their wine knowledge and service skills to the test before judges determine the overall winner. Full details available at

NELSON Excellence Award Congrats to Port Nelson who were announced as a finalist in the Large Energy User Initiative of the Year in the Deloitte Energy Excellence Awards. (The winner will be announced August 9). Port Nelson reduced fuel and energy use across the company while providing supply chain improvements for the Marlborough wine industry, when they established QuayConnect early last year. This freight logistics model optimises import and export loads, by working 24 hours a day moving dry goods from Port Nelson to Marlborough and then transporting bottled wine back to the Port. Previously the transport model saw trucks travel empty on one leg of the journey. Over the first year of operation, QuayConnect reduced truck journeys by more than half between the two regions.

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Gisborne Winegrowers has new leadership Annie Millton from Millton Vineyards and Winery has taken over the reins of the organisation and Bobby Clark has been employed to help coordinate and promote the wine region. “The aim is to promote the regional wines and wineries to both locals and visitors,” says Millton. Originally from London MClark has been working with Gisborne wines for the past two years. “So I have good overall knowledge now and will be working to bring the local wine industry together, help build networks and communicate between the wineries and the public,” he said. Millton has been involved in the wine industry for 35 years and takes over from retired president Al Knight. There is also a new executive committee including Annie Millton, Bobby Clark, Doug Bell, Brent Laidlaw, Hamish Anderson, Rory Grant , Ross Mirko and Eileen Voysey. Millton said she wants to make sure information and research from NZ Winegrowers gets to growers and wineries. “Also we need to make sure international visitors get to Gisborne, see our industry and what Gisborne is producing in the way of wine.”



Kidnapper relaunches with landscape artwork

Escarpment moves to screwcaps

Three of Hawke’s Bay’s highest prices wines have been relaunched with a new label that pays homage to one of the region’s most beautiful natural landmarks - Kidnapper Cliffs. The brand is not new but its production has taken a break in between ownership. The new owner is the Villa Maria Group and winemaker Richard Painter has relaunched the new trio of wines from two of the country’s best vintages ever – 2013 and 2014. The range includes three single vineyard wines. The wines are the 2014 Kidnapper Cliffs Chardonnay, made from grapes grown on the edge of Te Awa Estate Vineyard; the 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon Merlot, and the 2013 Kidnapper Cliffs Syrah. The two reds are made from grapes grown on the Gimblett Gravels.

The tipping point has come for the Escarpment Vineyard in Martinborough, whose winemaker and founder Larry McKenna is now sealing all wines with screwcaps. The move took effect from the 2015 Escarpment Pinot Noirs, which were released in May this year and are all sealed with screwcaps for the first time. “It happened because of the 2014 vintage, which was enough to convince me to move to screwcaps – there was too much influence of cork taint in those wines,” says McKenna. “I am far happier now that I know the wines won’t be cork affected, even if it did take me a while to put the whole range under screwcap as I had hoped cork would have delivered better results.”

MARLBOROUGH Grape Debate Comes to Town After three successful years of the Colliers Rural Grape Debate taking place in Hawke’s Bay, Marlborough is gearing up for an event of its own. Event organiser Rebecca Tacon says a team of Hawke’s Bay winemakers will take on a team of their Marlborough counterparts, discussing the moot; “Is Hawke’s Bay riding Marlborough’s coat tails ?” That should make for an interesting evening. The event will take place on November 3, at the Marlborough Convention Centre, with proceeds going to the Kaikoura Earthquake Relief Fund. Hosting the event and

making sure no one gets too over heated about the moot, will be well known comedian Jeremy

Corbett. On Team Marlborough is Ben Glover, Anna Flowerday and Bart

Arnst. Fighting it out for Hawke’s Bay is Tim Turvey, Rod Easthope and Ant Mackenzie.

Riedel Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc Glass After years of testing with experts in Marlborough, Riedel have released their Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc glass. The glass is now available for wineries to purchase, either for use within the cellar door, or as two glass gift packs. Each of the glasses will have Marlborough, New Zealand branded on the base, along with the subtle Riedel brand. Wine Marlborough is looking to bring in 12,000 of the glasses, if orders come in, in time for the upcoming Christmas and summer season. For further details, contact Harriet Wadworth at Wine Marlborough.



The new school of winegrowers Te s s a N i c h o l s o n


n what is a first for the New Zealand education sector and the wine industry, a school to teach winegrowing to secondary school students is about to open. The New Zealand School of Winegrowing will offer 20 year 12 students in Marlborough a chance to gain NCEA credits, while learning the basics of the wine industry. Marlborough Boys’ College Assistant Principal James Ryan says the idea was first mooted by him back in 2015. He says it was obvious that Marlborough offered a large number of opportunities to young people in terms of employment, yet many within the school system couldn’t see past the jobs of pruning and wire lifting. “They drive past vineyards on a cold, frosty morning and see big gangs of RSE workers and think; ‘I am not going to do that, because it’s minimum wage’. We need to shatter the perception that it is just picking, pruning and lifting. They can’t see that there are tractor drivers, harvest drivers, vineyard managers, cellar hands and so many other jobs available to them, if they have the suitable skills.” How they gain those skills is the issue Ryan says. It seemed like the obvious solution - teach them in a school environment that provided not only practical experience but also gave the students the opportunity to gain NCEA credits that could take them further up the education ladder.

12   // 

”Students require 60 credits or higher at level two (year 12). But it doesn’t have any component around what those credits are for. You could get 20 credits in Biology, 20 credits in Chemistry, 20 credits in Geography. That’s 60, that’s NCEA level 2. You don’t have to have maths, you don’t have to have English. Just 60 credits.” Ryan says the aim is to provide the students with contextualized teaching, where the chemistry component could be based around winemaking and the biology say, is based about vine physiology. “In biology for example, students learn about the life cycle


of a plant or an animal, so that is one standard worth about four credits. Just what that life cycle is, is up to the teacher. So long as you meet the criteria by which achieved, merit and excellence are marked at, the context is inconsequencual.” A large number of what most would consider traditional subjects will be taught in relation to the wine industry overall, he says. For example, writing up a report will count towards English, learning about tritation and pH analysis would fit into chemistry and maths would be taught through the topic of calculations for product or spray additions. In consultation with the

industry itself, Ryan says there were a number of skills specified that would be useful to include in the programme. These include first aid, Health and Safety, and GroSafe certification – subjects that will stand all students in good stead within the industry should they chose to move into it. These would add to the number of credits a student was able to attain. “All of a sudden we are looking at a programme with 120 credits available for the student to attain, and they only need 60 to gain NCEA level two.” While initially the course is one-year only, Ryan says they are keen with industry involve-

ment, to expand it into a two-year course, which will cater for those wanting to go further within the industry. “We figure that we will lose students at the end of that first year, who will go into the industry and will be soaked up. They will start their career with Level 2 NCEA and go to a wine company to work, happily progressing up the ladder to managers, operators or whatever else. Then there will be a percentage who will want to stay on for a second year to go off to NMIT, Lincoln or EIT to look at a potential of doing the degree to become a winemaker.” He does not expect the 20 that start in 2018 will end in 2019 with all going off to University. Instead he believes the programme will provide what the industry is crying out for at the moment, skilled workers leading towards middle managers. Going on past initiatives in the

WHAT WILL IT COVER? The Certificate in Viticulture and Wine will cover: • Viticulture and viticulture management practices • Wine Production • Business principles • Machinery operations • Leadership and team building In addition to specific Certificate in Viticulture and Wine core subjects taught with traditional school subjects, participants will also undertake; • The GroSafe programme • A First Aid certificate • A driver’s licence programme • Health and Safety and emergency response training • Level 2 NCEA units. trade academy model, Ryan says programme such as this help to keep students in learning. “Education is one of those really powerful tools that can change a lot of things, from social welfare issues through to unemployment figures.” An added bonus for the students, is if they decide after a year

at the School of Winegrowing, the industry is not for them, they can then move back into the school system as a year 13 student. It is understandable that the Marlborough wine industry is so behind the programme. The lack of skilled workers has become one of the industry’s concerns in recent years, as Marlbor-

ough’s wine industry continues to grow. In a Labour Market Survey undertaken in the region in 2016, the following was reported; “All vineyards identified a shortage of skilled, competent and willing workers as a key issue, with little interest from school leavers for outside physical work. There was a general concern that there is a lack of young people entering the industry and that many job seekers are only working because they are required to.” The New Zealand School of Winegrowing has been funded by New Zealand Winegrowers and Wine Marlborough, and would not have got off the ground initially Ryan says without the support of the Marlborough Grape Producers Cooperative. He says more industry funding will be required for the school to continue after 2018, which he is more than hopeful will be forthcoming.■


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Corban name exits industry Mary Shanahan


ews that the Corbans were exiting Ngatarawa Wines may have taken the industry by surprise, but founding partner Alwyn Corban says he and his cousin Brian, the company’s co-owner and chairman, “just thought it was the right time to sell”. Both men were looking to retire, Corban said, and with his son Abraham and Brian’s son Ben pursuing their own business interests, there was no heir appar-

Alwyn Corban

ALD0471 NZ Wine Grower Half Page 120x180mm-Ron_PATHS.indd 1

ent waiting to take over the reins. “You can look at succession plans in two ways. One is passing the business on to family, and that’s very European in its approach. But the other is to pass the brands on to someone who is going to be in stewardship of them and I think that’s equally valid. So I think this is a good solution.” Having made to decision to quit the wine business, Ngatarawa’s co-owners considered who might be a suitable purchaser.

Comfortable with the Mission’s long tradition of winemaking and operating ethos, they approached the Hawke’s Bay-based company. The outcome was Mission Estate taking over the Stables, Stables Reserve, Glazebrook and Alwyn brands as of the end of June and it is leasing the winery and 20ha vineyard at Bridge Pa. “That’s where we built the value over the years,” Alwyn Corban says of brands developed over 30-plus years. “They’ve all got value, they’ve got distribution,

19/09/16 4:31 PM NZ WINEGROWER  AUGUST/SEPTEMBER 2017  //   15

and they’ve got growing sales.” Ngatarawa nurtured a strong sense of family among its staff. Those who worked for the company for many years included winemaker Peter Gough, public relations and Hawke’s Bay sales manager Jo Smith, who retired in June, and cellar door manager Karen Inglis. As of mid-July, Mission had offered jobs to at least eight of the 19 staff. Alwyn Corban founded the company with his then business partner Garry Glazebrook in 1981. Pastoral farmers, the Glazebrook family leased the land and former racing stables to establish the vineyard and winery in what is now known as the Bridge Pa Triangle, west of Hastings. Meaning “between the ridges”, Ngatarawa was the first winery to establish in the area and as others followed the Corban lead, the triangle has developed a reputation

for top quality wines. “We pioneered it and it’s proven to be successful,” says Corban of the sub-region. He considers that and New Zealand household recognition for the Stables brand to be Ngatarawa’s two greatest achievements.” Another is the addition of a significant chapter to the Corban winemaking narrative. The fourth generation of their family to make wine in New Zealand, the cousins extended a Corban legacy of service to the industry, innovative winemaking, generosity of spirit and steadfast commitment to community. The first in the New Zealand line of Corban winemakers, Assid Abraham Corban emigrated from Lebanon in 1892. He initially worked as a hawker, and his wife and two children joined him in New Zealand in 1898. The couple set up shop in Auckland’s

Queen Street and subsequently moved to Henderson where they established a small vineyard and orchard. The vineyard, like the family, flourished. “They had another eight children in New Zealand, so that made 10 in the family. And so the second generation just grew with them, and then the third generation included Dad, Alexander Annis Corban.” Alwyn Corban started his career with a first vintage in Gisborne in 1973. Having gained a maths degree from Auckland University, he then studied for his postgraduate diploma in biotechnology at Massey University. That, he says, “was really to get some prerequisites out of the way before I went to UC Davis and did a master’s there. I then came to Napier and worked for McWilliams for four years with

Reduce Losses in new Vineyard Plantings

Evan Ward, and Bob Knappstein was our boss. “So I was there four years and then Kim Salonius [of Eskdale Winegrowers] introduced Garry Glazebook and we set up a partnership and started at Bridge Pa in 1981. We leased the land and buildings off the Glazebrooks to start with. We owned the posts and the wires and the vines and the tanks and all that sort of stuff. “The partnership continued for seven years. We then formed a company and bought the land and the buildings. When we formed the company, Brian became involved as a director and minority shareholder and then in 1998 the Glazebrooks sold their shareholding to Brian and myself.” As Corban points out Stables has become a household name in New Zealand. The company has also developed its exports, focusing mainly on China, the USA, Ireland and Australia. Corban was the driver in establishing the Hawke’s Bay Wine Marketing Group to promote the region’s wines into China. The eight wineries still involved were in China in May, holding master classes and showcasing their wines alongside the NZTE and New Zealand Winegrowers stands. Three comparative tastings have also been held in China, successfully pitching Hawke’s Bay styles of Syrah, Chardonnay and, most recently,


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Merlot Cabernet against top quality French equivalents. Although the market has been up and down in the four years they have been involved, members of the group continue to see its potential. Ngatarawa has also been active at a national level, with Alwyn Corban representing Category 2 medium-sized wineries on the board of the New Zealand Wine Institute for four or five years in the mid to late ‘90s. A long-time supporter of efforts to promote the region’s wines, he recalls the first Hawke’s Bay Vintners meeting being held in the Lovedale Room at McWilliams in Napier in 1979 with all of the eight Hawke’s Bay’s wineries at that time making up the committee. He became actively involved in 1982 and continued to be so apart from about four years in the ‘90s. “There was a very proactive group right from the start and I’ve

always believed in the benefit of working together and the results you get from that,” he says. “And that has been a family thing too. If you look at Dad’s uncles, they were very involved in industry organisations in the ‘20s and ‘30s and Dad carried that on, culminating in the formation of the Wine Institute in 1975. “So I’ve been passionate about that and very committed to it. I felt in the ‘90s Hawke’s Bay Vintners was starting to split and splinter groups were coming through, which is why I got involved again. Because I think it has to be cohesive. “ If there are differences you still need to work together and at the moment the regional industry is really working together and is

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now encompassing 40 wineries as “a fantastic Hawke’s Bay wine celebration”. Another example of local cooperation, he says, are the Hot Red Hawke’s Bay Wine Shows, now renamed as The Hawke’s Bay Wine Celebration, where 35 or so wineries come together each year to stage tastings in Auckland and Wellington.

Ngatarawa has itself been a generous supporter of Hawke’s Bay activities, organisations and charities. It routinely donated as much as a barrel of wine to the charity wine auction and Corban, having rejoined the auction committee about three years ago, says the event continues to do really well. The Hawke’s Bay Arts Festival, Horse of the Year, Creative Hastings, the MTG and the Hawke’s Bay Cancer Society have also benefitted from Ngatarawa sponsorships. Although no longer involved in the winemaking business at Ngatarawa, Corban continues to live on the property, in the villa he once shared with his warmhearted late wife Paula. And not having firmed up his retirement plans, he is looking forward to exploring future opportunities.■



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Organic wine – a hard sell? Te s s a N i c h o l s o n


hile more and more New Zealand wine producers are moving towards organics, there appears to have been a distinct lack of consumer buy-in. Why is one of the questions that was brought up numerous times during the recent Organic and Biodynamic Winegrowing Conference. With well over 370 people attending events over the three days in Marlborough, the support for both forms of wine production is obviously held dear by many. Yet the flow on effect seems to be stymied. What makes it even more frustrating is the rise in sales of organic food and produce. Why is it that people will willingly pay more for an organic capsicum, yet not even consider purchasing a bottle of organic wine? British writer Jamie Goode told the conference that could be because there’s no marketing or PR campaign that explains the obvious benefits. “There is no obvious factory farmed versus free range example when it comes to wine. You can walk down the chicken aisle or past the eggs and see examples of free range or organic. People will pay more for those than they will for the factory farmed stuff. But you don’t seem to have that easy mental jump in wine.” The fact that wine is an alcoholic beverage may also play a role. For those that choose organic food items as a lifestyle

18   // 

Jamie Goode

choice, may not be keen on purchasing any form of alcohol regardless of whether or not it is organically produced. All very good points to be taken into consideration. However, it doesn’t explain why organic and biodynamic wines languish behind the natural wine movement, which is becoming increasingly popular. “The natural wine movement has broken through into the conception of many consumers, in a way that organic and biodynamic hasn’t,” Goode said. “It has managed to establish a very interesting niche.” In London alone there are 15 natural wine bars, he said. In Paris there are dozens. Two natural wine fairs are held in London


Yvonne Lorkin

every year and these attract scores of people, who Goode said are curious about the wines. “A lot of my colleagues, the old school guys, really hate natural wine. They call them faulty, terrible wines. But what I see is people curious about the flavour. It is fascinating to see so many people engaging with these wines.” New Zealand wine writer Yvonne Lorkin said there is also a taste consideration that consumers don’t seem to be able to get past. Rightly or wrongly, she said, many consumers are reluctant to spend money on a product they “feel” may not taste as good as a wine that is produced conventionally. After questioning dozens of people on their attitude to organic wines, Lorkin set up a social media survey. She asked people to answer four questions, with a yes, no or not sure answer. The questions were; Does knowing that a wine is

AWARD WINNING ORGANIC WINES Following hard on the heels of the Organic and Biodynamic Winegrowing conference, there was some good news for Babich Family Estates and two other Marlborough producers. In the Organic Masters, a competition created and run by The drinks business, Babich picked up three top awards; Master for the 2016 Headwaters Organic Chardonnay, a Gold for the 2015 Headwater Organic Pinot Noir and a Silver for the 2016 Headwaters Organic Sauvignon Blanc. Nutcracker Sauvignon Blanc from Marlborough won a silver and Kings Bay also from Marlborough won a silver.

produced organically make you more likely to buy that wine over another bottle whose production methods aren’t clear? Do you seek out organically made wines specifically? Does buying an organically made wine make a difference to how you appreciate it? Is your attitude to organically made wines more positive today than ever before?

While this was not a scientific survey, the results did raise some interesting points. To question one, 58% said yes they were more likely to buy a wine knowing it was organically produced. 36% said no and 6% said not sure. The next question showed 80% of people do not seek out organic wines Forty-two percent of people said buying an organically made

wine made a difference to how they appreciated it, while 36% said it didn’t. And finally, 83% said their attitude to organically made wine was more positive today. “The over-riding comment in my survey was; if it tastes great, I don’t care how it’s made. What was also overwhelmingly obvious


was the majority of respondents didn’t go out of their way to buy organic wine,” Lorkin said. That doesn’t surprise her, given it can be extremely difficult to find organic wines. Unlike lower alcohol wines, supermarkets don’t tend to have a special organic or biodynamic category. Plus many wines have no clear indication they are organic or biodynamic. How are people to know what to look for? So how do organic and biodynamic producers change the consumer mind set? How do they become the choice option for the mainstream consumer? Raise your profile for one thing Lorkin said. While there are plenty of column inches in mainstream media on the benefits of organic produce, like meat and fruit, there is very little about organic wine. “They are out there aggressively promoting they are organic. They are spending money on promotion and PR to get their messages out to consumers.” Money has to be spent to be earned she said. Producers should be telling their stories to ensure consumers are totally aware of the differences between organic and non-organic wines. “Get rocking on your social media post. Spend a little bit of money to boost your post, at least $250 a month on Facebook. It is the only way you will get your followers up in such a crowded

environment.” Never let a chance go by to have your wine tasted. Given the number of comments about taste during her discussions, Lorkin said it was vital to get your wines in front of the mainstream consumer. Not at festivals such as Budburst or Rootstock, “as there you are preaching to the converted”. “From the feedback I received from the members of the public, the one thing holding them back from automatically reaching for an organic wine, is how is it going to taste? They don’t know and they are confused by it.” Maybe now is the time to start lobbying for an organic section in supermarkets – especially given how much wine is sold thru this medium. And one final word from Lorkin came to her from an

acquaintance; “Organics overall needs to have a facelift. Get away from the hippy and into the hipster.” Goode reiterated that last comment when he offered advice to the organic and biodynamic wine producers, stating they need to undo the negative characterization, of biodynamics in particular. “I was telling people I was coming to this conference and some of my wine friends said; ‘oh you are going to the hippy conference’. This is the wrong image. It would be good to bring the language back to a level that is inclusive of others, that people can understand. And (a language) that doesn’t exclude people because it is esoteric.” Given what he had to say about the natural wine movement, Goode said the message

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being delivered by organic producers tends to focus too much on what happens in the vineyard. Whereas natural wine producers tend to focus on what happens in the winery. “If you are just thinking about what happens in the vineyard, it is a much harder story to communicate.” Stories are key he said, but they need to be strategic and clearly thought out. “I think the organic and biodynamic community need to take a really collaborative approach, one that is coordinated very skillfully. One that is not a piecemeal approach. You need to know who to communicate with, what words to use, what terms to use, what strategy to take in order to communicate clearly.”■

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The humble yet great earthworm Te s s a N i c h o l s o n


harles Darwin once wrote of the earthworm; “It may be doubted whether there are many other animals which have played so important a part in the history of the world.” After listening to Nicole Schon from Ag Research in Lincoln discuss earthworms at the recent Organic and Biodynamic Winegrowing conference, I tend to agree. For one I had no idea there were so many different species. Or that the ones that are important to our vineyards (and gardens and pasture) are not native but exotic. Or that there are earthworms in New Zealand that grow to 150cm. Okay I could do without actually knowing about that last fact. It gives me the heebie geebies. Anyway back to the humble earthworm and its importance to our soils. That very fact is pretty well acknowledged, but the whys and wherefores maybe not so. Currently in New Zealand we have around 180 native earthworms, that have been here for a very long time. They reside mostly in our bush where they are unlikely to be disturbed. There are around 20 exotic earthworms, that arrived in the soil of fruit trees brought to this country back in the 1800s. These are the ones that are important to viticulture. There are three specific worms that help in aerating soil, improving water holding capacity and delivering nutrients to the soil for the plants to feed on. They are

the dung worm, which lives very close to the soil surface, feeding on organic matter. By eating that organic matter and then excreting in the form of casts, they deliver the nutrients from the soil surface to below. The grey worm, which is the most common type in New Zealand, Schon says, doesn’t feed so much on organic matter. “But it does burrow quite extensively and does a very good job of reworking that soil structure.” There are a few important factors in that. Not only do the burrows created by these worms free up the soil, allowing better water absorption below the surface, those burrows also provide nutrient rich areas for fine roots to grow down. The third is the deep burrowing earthworm. This is the biggest of all three, and found mostly in the North Island. Known as the blackhead worm, it feeds on more of the dung or organic matter but takes it far deeper into the soil than the dung worm. “In an ideal system, we want all types of these worms working together to get the most out of the soil,” Schon said. In terms of increasing and maintaining the numbers of earthworms, she said growers need to be feeding, watering and caring for the worm’s habitat. Given worms tend to hibernate during the summer months, (as they don’t like dry conditions) irrigation can help to keep the number of active worms up.

Feeding organic matter into the soil, whether that be in mulch, compost or fertilizer, (the higher the quality the better apparently, worms can be fussy) will help. And try not to undertake too many of the tasks that earthworms dislike. The compaction of soils is a turn off for worms. So think carefully about how many times you have to drive close to the vines over those summer months. Earthworms also do not like cultivation. “Regular cultivation to control weeds will not be good for earthworm numbers,” Schon said. “As the frequency of cropping increases, the abundance of earthworms decrease as their

habitat gets broken up and they get chopped up.” said. Bear in mind the role earthworms play in improving growth. Schon said in terms of pasture, an area that has plentiful earthworms will have about 20 percent more growth, than an area without worms. And never underestimate how many worms can survive if your soil is providing the right ingredients. Schon said while a spade of soil may deliver just 15 earthworms, when you multiply that into a square meter, the number rises to 375. What does that mean the numbers are per hectare? A massive 3.75 million! Something to think about.■


Where now with Organic Focus vineyards? Te s s a N i c h o l s o n


ack in 2011, an ambitious three-year project began, looking at what it took, cost and involved to turn a vineyard from conventional to organic. Known as the Organic Focus Vineyard project, it involved vineyards in Hawke’s Bay, Marlborough and Central Otago. Each company agreed to convert a block, monitor it carefully and provide in-depth data to quantify all costs, issues and results. (The full report of the Organic Focus Vineyard project is available on the OWNZ website.) So now a few years on – how are those three vineyards; Mission Estate growing Syrah and Merlot, Wither Hills with Pinot Noir and Sauvignon Blanc, and Gibbston Valley Wines growing Pinot Noir and Pinot Gris doing? A number of questions were put to each company, and the answers were highlighted at the recent Organic and Biodynamic Winegrowing Conference. The good news is that each of the three sites has been retained as organic and Gibbston Valley has since increased its organic area to 35 percent of total vineyard. Have the wines made from organic grapes lived up to expectation? MISSION ESTATE

We have kept fruit separate in the winery and the organic sections of Merlot and Syrah have better flavour concentration and texture. WITHER HILLS

The Focus Vineyard Blocks have been on sold to various

22   // 

The Mission Estate Focus Vineyard in Hawke’s Bay.

producers since the completion of the project. This is because Wither Hills is also a contract winemaking facility which grows to various specifications for clients. GIBBSTON VALLEY

The wines made now from the organic grapes are more consistent in quality and flavour profile. They are expressive, exciting and unique. The primary and secondary fermentations are largely not inoculated and require less fermentation nutrition. Has the fruit from the organic areas behaved/looked/responsded differently to the conventional fruit?

powdery mildew over the past few seasons. A lighter weight canopy and loose bunch architecture has helped to significantly reduce disease pressure. In the Sauvignon Blanc which had a shift in vigour after year three, has plateaued. Yields are at a level of 12 – 14 t/ha. GIBBSTON VALLEY

Smaller canopies and a smaller yield in the organic areas, however as per the previous question very happy with the resulting fruit. Several years on what new learnings, if any, have you made? Would/could you do anything differently?



The vines have less vigour and are lighter cropped. No apparent differences in fruit, brix, TA, colour and tannins are similar.

No. The soil type suits cultivation and the vineyard is irrigated. This alleviates some of the problems (soil quality and de-vigorisation) that some vineyards will get with cultivation for weed control. Also the lower yields we are getting, are close to what we are targeting for our premium level wines.


The Pinot Noir is continuing to improve. Plants are healthy with balanced canopy growth and crop levels between 5 – 6t/ ha. The block has also shown substantial resistance to botrytis and



The addition of the Rolhacke (Braun attachment) to our undervine arsenal has allowed us to get better control of weeds especially in heavier soil. In V17 we saw significant mealy bug pressure in conventional blocks, there is mealy bug in the organic area but it hasn’t been a problem thus far. GIBBSTON VALLEY

Don’t under estimate how hungry the site was and how much nutrient replacement and soil nutrient building was required to maintain production on a lean site and a site that had been otherwise fed plenty of supplementary fertigation. Root damage, root replacement, dry seasons, mid row competition and undervine weed growth all have an impact, but it’s difficult to pinpoint what is the critical factor. We probably needed twice as much compost and to apply it every year to buffer the change in growing system at the School House vineyard.■







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Vivid flavours from a vivid country Joelle Thomson


ine writer Jamie Goode says simplicity is key in communicating New Zealand wine to global markets. The British blogger visited New Zealand to speak at the country’s second Organic and Biodynamic Winegrowing Conference in Marlborough in June this year. His message was emphatic. “You will maintain an edge in international markets by sticking to a simple clear marketing message going forward in the same way as you have done in the past with Sauvignon Blanc from Mar-

lborough. It’s consistent, reliable and there are no nasty surprises. “The same type of clear message needs to be communicated when you are talking about your organic and biodynamic wines. The worst message of all is that we do lots of things really well. It’s far better to communicate that we do one thing really well.” Goode drew on the analogy of his own circuitous route into wine writing. He came to wine writing via a career in book editing, a PhD in plant biology and a passion for wine, which led him to publish, prior to the success of Facebook in 2008. The timing was fortuitous

“I would say to anyone doing anything: just do one thing well and let people know what you stand for,” Jamie Goode told the Organic and Biodynamic Winegrowing Conference.

26   // 


because there was little competition when he began blogging and, he admits, things have changed dramatically since then, in terms of communication and competition for a share of that voice. But, like New Zealand wine, his message has remained straightforward. “The reasons for New Zealand’s success internationally so far is that you’ve always had a simple, clear marketing message: Sauvignon Blanc from Marlborough and, now, Pinot Noir from Central Otago. So it’s two clear messages. Because of this consistency, people around the world have come to trust New Zealand

as a brand. New Zealand wines taste of vivid flavours from a vivid country.” He likens New Zealand to Spain with its clear wine message. “Tempranillo and Albarino are two wines that are easy to appreciate, easy to pronounce and easy to understand. Both resonate well in the United Kingdom. “I would say to anyone doing anything: just do one thing well and let people know what you stand for. I certainly translate this to my own career – there are loads of wine writers out there, so why would somebody hire you? Because you stand for one thing and do that one thing really well.”

Threats to NZ wine


Loss of brand equity, low alcohol wines and lack of risk taking are all potential threats to New Zealand’s global wine success, suggests Goode. One of these threats for New Zealand is the potential loss of brand equity, due to a proliferation of private label mass brands as growing numbers of supermarkets create their own labels. This strips profitability from other brands, so that wine becomes all about price. It also makes organic wine production extremely difficult, due to the high cost involved. “I think this is dangerous because it forces people into corners by making things continuously cheaper. This certainly comes into play in the vineyard and particularly where organics are concerned, which can cost more.”

For any country with a successful wine industry, part of the success is based on big companies performing well enough to allow them to invest in creating interesting wines that are good value for money. “They pump out big quantities of wine but if they do well, then they buy themselves a strong quality reputation and the ability to put time and money into new innovations, such as organic and biodynamic wines.”


Low alcohol, low quality “Low alcohol wines are a real danger – it’s a trend but the wines are terrible. “It’s a nonsense. They taste terrible,” says Goode. “I love wine and I really care about wine but when I taste these wines, I get a bit depressed. I just think wine is wine - it’s not just a beverage. It’s different.” With only one chance a year to

make wine, he suggests allowing it to be what it naturally is rather than denuding it of alcohol to fit a marketing proposition. He added, apologetically, that: “These are just my thoughts and you can decide whether you want to take them on board.”

Take more risks The strongest way to get people excited about wine is to take risks. “Often you need a crisis to break free of being in the position where you’re doing okay but not being the exception. I would say for New Zealand, the real thing to do is to take more risks.” Goode had been strongly impressed by boundary breaking winemaking in South Africa, a country where many winemakers were experimenting. “For many people winemaking isn’t just a job. It’s something they believe in. “It’s like a calling, a vocation where they feel they owe it to a

patch of land – an amazing patch of land – to create a sensible and intelligible interpretation of that place in the glass. I have seen a lot of that in South Africa. “There’s plenty of interesting things going on in this country, but I would love to see more interesting wines from New Zealand that wine geeks would take to parties and dinners and say ‘wow, this is really amazing and different’. “I would love to see New Zealand make more wines that make wine geeks go weak at the knees.” Goode suggests that the most exciting aspect to wine is not the grape variety, but the place in which it is grown. “The varietal is boring really, I think. “What’s exciting is place and the interpretation of that, using the variety to express what that place is all about.”■

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Gross margin benchmarking Te s s a N i c h o l s o n


hen it comes to net cash income, the latest Gross Margin Benchmarking survey shows Marlborough was head and shoulders above other wine producing regions this year. The survey which is co-funded by MPI and New Zealand Winegrowers, surveys a number of growers in each of the five main regions focusing on dominant varieties. In terms of Gisborne, that is Chardonnay, in Hawke’s Bay it is Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc and Merlot, Wairarapa Pinot Noir, Marlborough - Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Noir and Central Otago – Pinot Noir. In terms of what the gross margin represents, it is an averaged revenue less direct expenses for growing, harvesting and marketing the crop. In what has been described as a difficult season, margins are down in all regions, with the exception being Gisborne, which saw a healthy increase over 2016, but still falls well behind that of Marlborough growers.

Gisborne The data coming from 19 hectares of Chardonnay, shows a Region

gross margin of $11,675 per producing hectare – 14 percent up on last year, a direct correlation to the 14 percent increase in yields in 2017. The gross margin was $9,025 more than their counterparts in Hawke’s Bay, despite Gisborne’s price per tonne being close to $500 less. Most growers were able to harvest their fruit prior to the weather events of March, although they did so at lower brix. That has not been seen as an issue for winemakers, who have described the fruit as having “excellent flavours”. In terms of industry issues and development, there was concern expressed that Gisborne was overshadowed by other wine growing regions, due to demographics, location and the lack of corporate players. There were also reports of vines being removed straight after vintage, due to them being old,

Chardonnay Gross Margin p/ha



Hawke’s Bay


unproductive, or the grower not being able to secure a contract.

Hawke’s Bay With 14 vineyards, comprising 22 blocks, the Hawke’s Bay survey covers a total of 61 producing hectares. There was a mix between contract growers and wineries supplying information. The overriding message from the survey was, 2017 was not a year

Sauvignon Blanc Gross Margin p/ha

Marlborough Central Otago Figure 1

28   // 


Pinot Noir Gross Margin p/ha



Merlot Gross Margin p/ha $6820

$3605 $15,215

growers will remember kindly. As noted in Figure 1, the gross margin for Chardonnay was well below that of the Gisborne model, and the other two major varieties of Sauvignon Blanc and Merlot also saw margins well down on 2016. The report states; “Sauvignon Blanc and Merlot produced gross margins that were approximately half of what was achieved in 2016. This was a result of yield and price being negatively affected by a wet harvest.” In terms of Sauvignon Blanc, the gross margin per hectare compared with Marlborough was less than half, at $7240. It equates to $555 per tonne. (Marlborough was $1055 per tonne). Merlot was slightly lower, at $6820 p/h, while Chardonnay dropped to $2650, the equivalent of $395 per tonne. “This was largely due to three blocks being only partially harvested, due to rain events, putting pressure on contractual brix

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last year. The reason Wairarapa had a higher gross margin than Central Otago was put down to the cost of labour in both regions, with Central being higher. Given the premium or super premium market, the prices paid to growers per tonne was higher than 2016, at $3940. Challenges expressed by participants include a lack of investment in the region, due to the low gross margin and the lack of growth in the local market. Sourcing skilled labour locally was another issue raised.

Marlborough Photo: Marlborough’s Fromm Winery, supplied by NZW

requirements and disease.” ally lead to consolidation of the There were numerous com- industry, and as the more ‘marments within the survey, regard- ginal’ blocks get removed, overall ing the relationship issues arising regional quality will improve.” between wineries and contract growers, particularly over disease Wairarapa thresholds and brix levels. The smallest of the five regions “Not surprisingly relation- surveyed, there were seven vineships between some wineries and yards comprising 28 hectares of contract growers are tense,” the Pinot Noir. The majority of parsurvey report states. ticipants were winery growers, With some varietal grape with 13 of the blocks being grown prices not increasing for a num- for premium or super premium ber of years, the lack of profit- grapes. ability within the industry is Wairarapa, like many others in now starting to be seen, in terms the survey showed a gross marof some growers removing their gin that was less than 2016 – at vines, or selling outright. $3,605 per hectare, or $880 per “It isADVERT thought this willMMgenertonne. That is $785p/ha less than JMS 176W X 60H COLOUR ORGANIC WINEGROWER

The country’s largest wine growing region saw declines in terms of yields in 2017, although gross margins per hectare were substantially higher than other regions surveyed. In terms of Sauvignon Blanc, the margin of $15,215 per hectare ($1055 per tonne) was 110 percent higher than Hawke’s Bay Sauvignon Blanc. Interestingly, that is despite the cost of growing Sauvignon Blanc being substantially higher in Marlborough, because of labour expenses related to spraying and crop moderation. Pinot Noir’s gross margin per hectare was $11,615 ($1690 per tonne), way above Wairarapa and Central Otago. Given there was a poorer than average fruit set for Pinot Noir this last season, crop

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management costs were not as high for this variety as last season. Morale is high in the Marlborough region among the majority of growers, and unlike some other regions, the majority of contract growers reported “reasonable to excellent relationships with their buyer wineries and had received good communication through the difficult conditions of the 2017 harvest.” Issues of concern raised by those taking part in the survey and the Marlborough viticulture benchmarking model, were the large volumes of Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc selling at low prices and potentially indifferent quality from the 2017 vintage, and the effect this would have on Brand Marlborough. A shortage of labour, particularly skilled machinery operators is another issue of concern, as are potential changes to immigration policies which may impact on future RSE allowances.

Central Otago This is the first year Central Otago has been included in the Variety Gross Margin Benchmarking, with 11 vineyards representing 198 hectares of Pinot Noir providing the data. The figures show a gross margin of $2335 per hectare, less than a third of that in Marlborough and $1270 lower than Wairarapa. There are some good reasons for that the report says.

Photo: Martinborough’s Palliser Estate, supplied by NZW.

Central Otago had lower yields per hectare and higher costs of production, particularly in terms of labour. Yields were down in 2017 when compared to last year,

(according to NZW Vintage survey 2017) by 10 percent, although this year’s yield was considered close to the long-term average. However, the price paid per tonne was well up on the 2016 average

price – at $3985 per tonne, $500 higher than 2016. This places Central Otago Pinot Noir at a far higher price point than Marlborough, ($755 per tonne more) but similar to

prices paid for the premium fruit in Wairarapa. “This price does not appear to adequately compensate for the higher growing costs and highlights the reliance on added value for the Central Otago winery grower,” the report says. In comparison, Central’s labour expenses were $3000 more per hectare than Marlborough and just under a $1000 more than Wairarapa. “The lower gross margin, especially when viewed from a contract grower point of view, makes attracting new investment to the region challenging. Contract growers aim to contain their costs well below the averages reported in this gross margin model, to remain financially viable.” The full report on the Varietal Gross Margin Benchmarking and the Marlborough Vineyard Benchmarking report, is available on the members site.■

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GI Act comes into force


t has been a long time coming, 11 years if you go back to when the Geographical Indications (Wine and Spirits) Registration Act was passed by Government, but on July 27, it finally came into force. On that day New Zealand Winegrowers filed 18 applications on behalf of New Zealand regional wine associations, and paid the $5,000 application fee for each application. Applications were filed for the following regions: Northland, Auckland, Waiheke Island, Kumeu, Mata-

kana, Gisborne, Hawke’s Bay, Central Hawke’s Bay, Wairarapa, Gladstone, Martinborough, Marlborough, Nelson, Canterbury, North Canterbury, Waipara Valley, Waitaki Valley North Otago, Central Otago Like all other processes for registering intellectual property (such as Trademarks and Copyrights), the Intellectual Property Office of New Zealand (IPONZ) will now review each GI application to see whether it meets the legal requirements, and decide whether or not the GI is accepted.

That initial review may take up to three months. Jeffrey Clarke, NZW’s GM of Advocacy says if the GI application is accepted, IPONZ will advertise the acceptance of the GI in the Journal of IPONZ.  This begins a further threemonth period in which any person may oppose the application.  This opposition period can be extended.  If no objection is raised, the GI will be registered. If the GI application is not accepted, the applicant wine

region will be sent a “compliance report” explaining why the application does not meet the requirements, and giving at least six months to respond.   Once any response is submitted, IPONZ will re-examine the application.  If it is still not accepted, IPONZ will send a “final rejection” within six months.  The matter could then go to a hearing, before being accepted or declined. Clarke says all going well, we would hope to have these [18] GIs registered by the end of January 2018.■

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Website to have Visit tab Te s s a N i c h o l s o n


he new look New Zealand Winegrower’s website is about to add something completely new – a Visit tab, to encourage tourists to make the most of our wineries and cellar doors. NZW Global Marketing Director Chris Yorke says for the past nine months the organisation has been researching just what is available in terms of cellar doors, restaurants, accommodation and experiences throughout the country. That research was funded by an Auckland Airport grant of $50,000 given last year. Yorke says prior to the research, NZW had no concrete information on just what was available and where. Now they know that there are 235 cellar doors, 109 dining options,

68 accommodation outlets and 48 tours or experiences offered by the New Zealand wine industry. With that information behind them, a Visit tab is being added to the website, which tourists can access. Within the pages there will be four main sections, each populated with searchable wine tourism offerings. Sip which will include cellar doors and wine tastings, Dine – winery restaurants, Stay – vineyard accommodation and Play – tours and or experiences.

The new Visit tab, enticing tourists to visit more wineries while in New Zealand.

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Given how important tourists are to the country as a whole, wine tourism has the potential to grow exponentially, Yorke believes. “We know that 24 percent of all visitors who come to New Zealand, visit a winery. But when you break the figures down even further, 36 percent of visitors from the US visit a winery. That is a massive number. But if they have cycled or played golf while in New Zealand, that group goes up to 42 percent. “So what should our wineries be doing? They should be talking to other experiences in the region and look to partner with them.” Add to that the Trip Advisor figure of 4.6 out of 5 percent average New Zealand winery rating, and you have a success story that is already happening. However there is more to be done Yorke says. “The reality is that wineries have been so busy growing and selling wine, they haven’t quite realised how tourism has grown and what an important role they play in it. We want to help them not only realise that, but make the most of it.” The Visit tab is one of the first steps forward, but more will follow. In September NZW

will take the Wine Tourism Workshop on the road, visiting each of the regions, teaching and promoting how to make the most of the overseas tourist. NZW is also co funding an on-line training module specifically aimed at cellar door staff. Wine tourism figures relating to New Zealand are already quite spectacular. Wine tourists are likely to stay in the country for six days longer than the average tourist, they will spend on average 26 percent more and they will visit more regions. All of those are mantras the government has been encouraging over recent years. Which is why Tourism New Zealand is keen to support the Visit initiative. They and Air NZ will help drive visitors to the website and the Visit page in particular. Now though, Yorke says he needs the help of wineries throughout the country. “If you have a cellar door, restaurant, accommodation or tours and experiences, we want you to get in contact with us. And once the Visit tab is up, we want you to check your information, add to it if you can and add photos.” The page should be live by the end of August. If you would like any further information, Chris Yorke would love to hear from you. Email; The new CEO of Tourism New Zealand, Stephen England-Hall is one of the presenters at this year’s Romeo Bragato Conference.■


Global events


he New Zealand Winegrowers Global Events and Marketing Programme outlines the user-pays global events and levy-funded global marketing activities planned for 2017-2018 – in two handy booklets! To view digital versions of these booklets, please visit the Members section of and click through to the Sell section. Alternatively, if you would like hard copy versions, or wish to speak to one of the team, please contact: Global Events Programme Angela Willis, Manager – Global Events P: +64 9 306 5642, E: Global Marketing Programme Felicity Johnston – Global Marketing Executive P: +64 9 306 5645, E:

User Pays Global Events

Programme - 20 17-2018 New Zealand Winegrow

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RSE a decade of success Te s s a N i c h o l s o n


en years on, the RSE scheme in New Zealand has been touted as the most successful labour mobility programme in the world. The scheme celebrated its 10th birthday in July at a conference attended by New Zealand government ministers, members of government agencies, representatives of Pacific governments and RSE employers from throughout the country. Instigated back in 2007, the programme’s aim was to provide seasonal workers from the Pacific for the horticulture and viticulture industries, while also allowing the workers to earn funds and skills to take home. While there was some trepidation at the initial outset that the programme

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would be too difficult to manage, those fears appear to have been unfounded. Dr Manjula Luthria from The World Bank says the RSE scheme has changed the conversation regarding labour mobility programmes, and is now being praised by international bodies. “The ILO (International Labour Organisation) describes your RSE scheme as a model for other countries to follow,” she told the conference, “promoting safe and orderly mobility, respecting the rights of workers and the needs of employers. “It takes a lot for the ILO to say that. It is not a big fan of guest worker programmes.” She then went on to say The World Bank describes RSE as one of the “most effective develop-


ment programmes to ever be evaluated” by the Bank. “This scheme stands out as having delivered development gains that are orders of magnitude about the rest.” When RSE was first introduced, 5000 Pacific Island workers were involved, employed by 65 accredited employers. In 2017 there are 10,500 workers, and the number of employers has more than doubled. Minister of Immigration, Hon. Michael Woodhouse said the growth in a decade has come about because of the dedication and willingness of employers to try something different. “If you think back to 2007, so many of you at that time had fruit rotting on the ground because you didn’t have the workers avail-

able to help prevent that. Not only has the RSE scheme helped to prevent that, but it has led to better quality and more productive workers as well as a more stable workforce for the horticulture and viticulture sectors.” Woodhouse went on to say the scheme had allowed businesses to grow, at a steady rate. “Since 2007, 82 percent of RSE employers have expanded their cultivation schemes, with most agreeing that participation in the RSE scheme was a contributing factor.” That has also led to an increase in the number of Kiwis employed in both horticulture and viticulture he added. Dr Luthria said the success of the scheme has turned many of the negatives surrounding labour mobility programmes, on their head. The thought that you either provide aid or migration but not both was one of those negatives. “You turned that around, you have allowed both aid and migration. This is enormous for those of us who are in the development aid community, it is a first.” The theory that rich countries only need highly skilled workers has also proven to be false as a result of RSE. “You have demonstrated that most economies need workers of all skill levels and you have a found a way to make that work.” And the other theory that has been proven to be false, is if you employ migrant workers, you take jobs away from the local population. Dr Luhtria said the RSE scheme however has resulted in

“more locals being employed now than before the scheme.” So these are the success stories from New Zealand’s perspective – but what about how the programme is viewed by the Pacific nations that are involved? Fiji’s Minister of employment, productivity and industrial relations, Hon. Jone Usamate said RSE was “absolutely critical to our economy.” He went on to thank the New Zealand government and the employers, “for the difference you have made in the lives of the people who have come here, their families and communities.” Samoan community leader Tuatagaloa Joe Annandale went further, pointing out how much the RSE scheme had changed the lives of the people in his village Poutasi. “RSE is a beacon of hope for our small community,” he said and has led directly to prosperous developments.

EXPANDING ON RSE Just prior to the RSE Conference, the government announced $10 million in new funding to expand Pacific labour mobility. Foreign Minister Gerry Brownlee said the RSE scheme is innovative, fulfilling a labour need here in New Zealand and providing a chance for Pacific workers to gain income and skills. “Due to the scheme’s success, the Government has approved $10 million over an initial five-year period to explore what other sectors of the economy –

The Poutasi Learning Centre has been established, teaching a role of 135. “It is a preschool and primary school that has grown very rapidly from when we started five years ago and had a role of 15. All this has been helped by RSE.”

where there is a continued high demand for labour – RSE workers are well placed to make a contribution,” Brownlee said. “In particular, the Government will be exploring employment opportunities for Pacific women and develop prospects in semi-skilled, higher income occupations. “The new funding is in addition to $5 million for the training of Pacific workers in New Zealand and forms a significant component of the recently-signed Pacific Agreement on Closer Economic Relations Plus,” Mr Brownlee said.

An arts and craft centre has been built, with a ukulele making workshop. The Poutasi gardens have been established and a memorial hall built in memory of the nine members of the village who died in the 2009 tsunami. All of this has been possible

because of the money brought home by RSE workers. “The average net earnings for each RSE, after deductions for the 20 weeks, is NZ$10,000,” Annandale said. “That $10,000 New Zealand equates to 17,500 Tala. Our average wage in Samoa


is 5,500 Tala. This means it would take three point two years for the average wage earner back in Samoa to earn what an RSE takes home in five months. That is huge, amazing.” He said the visual signs of progress and advancement in his district are obvious. There are home extensions, new homes, new cars, plantation developments, small businesses, commercial fishing boats and taxis and buses, all as a result of the income coming back to the area from RSE workers. While the prosperity is important, Annandale said the benefits go way beyond the financial implications. He says the development of individuals involved in the RSE programme is obvious. “We are seeing a better disciplined individual who is better organised in their approach to work and tasks within the village and within the family. Some outstanding individuals have developed out of RSE and we can look forward to good leaders coming through to take our village and district into the future.” Annandale described RSE as a “godsend” for his community, for Samoa and for all the Pacific Islands involved in the programme.

Challenges ahead Despite the success of the programme, there are some challenges ahead.

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Nigel Bickle Deputy Chief Executive of Immigration New Zealand warned the conference that the impact of rogue and unscrupulous contractors was impacting on the success of RSE. He warned the members of the horticulture and viticulture industries, to take a very close look at their supply chain, because there were some serious issues arising. “We might think words like modern day slavery, human trafficking and migrant exploitation apply to things that go on in other parts of the world. But they go on in New Zealand, and they go on in this industry,” Bickle told the conference. He quickly added that it was not RSE employers who were to blame, but it was others involved in both horticulture and viticulture. “I can tell you that in the last 12 months the first two cases of human trafficking being taken through the New Zealand courts involved this industry. The human trafficking investigations that are currently underway, involve this industry. We are confident it is not the RSE employers per se, but this stuff is going on in orchards and vineyards.” The focus on developing a brand around the production of high quality produce, needs to be expanded to a focus on the labour standards component of that brand he said.


“I want to leave that as a challenge for this industry. How are we going to deal with that? Whilst it might not be you directly, in terms of the people you employ, somehow in the supply chain the evidence we have in terms of human trafficking, prosecutions, investigations and migrant exploitation is going on in this industry.It is a risk from a number of perspectives and from a social license point of view, in terms of the ongoing support for the RSE programme here in New Zealand.” Professor Emeritus Richard Bedford also raised a concern regarding the imbalance of workers coming from the Pacific and the impact that may have on countries in the future. When he combined the figures of Pacific Islanders taking part in the Seasonal Work Scheme in Australia and RSE in New Zealand it showed 16,000 Pacific Islanders were involved at the end of June this year. Of that 16000, 11,000 came from just two countries – Tonga and Vanuatu. Broken down further, the figures show 86 percent of the workers were males, and 80 percent were between the ages of 20 and 39. Twenty-three percent of men in Tonga, aged between 20 and 39 have been in Australia or New Zealand in seasonal work this year. That is a big share, Professor Bedford said. “If you project

that forward until 2021 and you just hold constant the same share Tonga provides to New Zealand and Australia, 45 percent of men aged 20 to 39 from Tonga will be in New Zealand or Australia.” He said the impact of that must be discussed. Is it sustainable? Especially given this is the age that provides international students, civil service workers and young skilled workers. If such a large percentage of that age group of men is out of the country for five to seven months a year, what impact is that having on their home country? “We need to be aware that its impact is highly uneven. “We need to discuss what are we doing to families and communities when we take that share of the young workers away.” Professor Bedford however pointed out how well communities within New Zealand have got behind RSE workers to ensure they take more home to their people than just the money earned. In particular he said the Vakameasina programme that helps workers improve their English, learn financial literacy, maths and computer skills as being something unique to the RSE programme. “These actions are rare, very rare in schemes globally.” Yet another aspect of the 10-year-old scheme that those involved with can be proud of.■

Peanuts join oil and coffee

Dr Graeme Wright from Australia, investigating the potential of peanuts in Tanna.

Te s s a N i c h o l s o n


ack on March 13, 2015, a force five cyclone hit Vanuatu. It devastated the small archipelago, no more so than on the outer island Tanna, home to many of the RSE workers who come to help in Marlborough’s vineyards each year. Not only did Cyclone Pam wipe out the homes and schools on the island, it also impacted on newly developed employment opportunities – created by Marlborough contracting firm VinePower. Owned by Jono Bushell and

Jason Kennard, VinePower is RSE accredited – and was the first in the country to become so back in 2007. Hundreds of workers from the Pacific are involved, although the majority come from Tanna. The more the pair became involved with recruiting from the island, the more they realised there was a need to utilise the skills of the workers on their home turf. Coffee plantations were established, coconuts that were literally rotting on the ground were collected and a mill was built to turn them into virgin

oil for the international market. The majority of those developments were wiped out by the cyclone. Heartbreaking for Bushell

and Kennard, even more so for the workers, their families and communities. “We were literally wiped out” Bushell says. “Two years of


work was gone in one day.” Admitting it would have been easy to walk away, he says; “we couldn’t turn away after the cyclone. When we looked at the people who had so much need, we knew we had to stay.” It has been a long hard road back, but the Mill is now up and running again, and the processing plant in Vila is also operation. The coffee plantations have been reestablished and now a new string to the Tanna economy’s bow has been added. Peanuts. Bushell says the idea came out of the Cyclone itself. Peanuts

had already been planted in amongst the coffee prior to Pam, and after the cyclone when there was little able to be done, shelling them became a fill in activity. “We would sit around and shell these peanuts and cook them up in coconut oil. It got to the point that people began saying, Jono you have to sell these. So now that is a considerable part of our business in the Islands.” A peanut consultant from Australia has been brought out to provide the locals with knowledge on best practice organic farming. Dr Graeme Wright was enthusiastic about the possibilities, Bushell says. He rated Tanna as probably the “most fertile place I have ever been to in the world. It’s got huge peanut production potential.” Given peanuts are a huge global crop and 98 percent of

This is how Tanna looked after cyclone Pam. It would have been so easy to walk away, Jono Bushell admits.

them are not grown in organic conditions, Dr Wright said Tanna is in an enviable position. He says with a few changes to local farming practices, the production could increase significantly, creating more employment and economic benefits for the Island. What’s more, given the peanut has a fast 90-day growing cycle, it has been able to fill the economic breach left by losing the original

coconut plantations. Without the new crop, Bushell believes the Tanna Farm company he and Kennard established would have struggled to stay afloat. The company is now looking at the potential of export opportunities for the organic peanuts and peanut butter in both Australia and New Zealand. Which will only add to the economic viability of the small Island of Tanna.■

Proven success in delivering HR and Recruitment solutions to the wine industry. • Employment Agreements • Permanent and Temporary Placements • Health and Safety • Restructuring • Performance Management

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HOME: +64 3 577 6310


The fields of our endeavour

Vintech Pacific is a New Zealand-based company providing a range of non-additive, new technology processes to the wine industry. Our technology applications – all focused on quality outcomes – are mobile to the winery door anywhere in New Zealand. By researching, testing and investing in specialised extractive technologies and related equipment, Vintech Pacific’s role is to take investment pressure off wineries, improve wine quality, minimise losses and improve overall cost benefits and winemaking efficiencies. Our goal is to make great New Zealand wines, even greater.

V I N T E C H P A C I F I C L I M I T E D a PO Box 2160, Gisborne, NZ e p 06 863 0024 f 06 863 0025 w

Marisco Vineyards, Waihopai Valley, Marlborough.

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Gisborne based James and Annie Millton were the first New Zealand winegrowers to gain BioGro certification for organic wine production back in 1989. They went on to become the first biodynamic growers in the Southern Hemisphere, on land that has been in Annie’s family for 168 years. “We don’t own it, we farm it for this generation,” she says. The couple’s belief that it should be left in better order and a better state for the next generation has been passed on to their two children, Samuel and Monique. In this Family Vines we look at the generational influence that has seen Monique Millton and her partner Tim Webber develop their own organic vineyard, Manon, in Forest Range in the Adelaide Hills. As a fifth generation, Monique is following very much in her parent’s footsteps.



y father was one of the first commercial wine growers in the Gisborne district, but he also farmed sheep, cattle, maize and had high country farms. He was a dynamic man, always interested in new things, so when Penfolds, Corbans and Montana came into the district, he planted what is known as the Opou vineyard, in 1969. The Riverpoint Road vineyard was planted in the early 70s. Growing up I always worked in the vineyards during the school holidays, but also helped my mother who was a very passionate gardener. She had a two acre garden, so throughout my life I was always involved in viticulture and horticulture. I went to Lincoln to do a horticulture degree, and was looking more towards nursery, propagation and the production side. Not so much viticulture.

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Then after Lincoln I did a floristry course, which was another arm to my background. So I did a lot of things in those early years and then went off shore. In the late 70s I worked in a very famous London florist shop appointed by the Queen, called Moyses Stevens. I worked there for quite a while, then headed to Beaune in Burgundy and then on the Germany . James was at school in Christchurch and was suspended in the 7th form for making wine in school house. He was so determined that he wanted to make wine, and ferment any kind of fruit, he encouraged the people at Montana to take him on as a cadet. I guess we would call it an apprenticeship now. James began in the vineyards, and went right through the whole industry with Montana ending in sales and marketing, also working in retail. He happened to come to Gisborne as


at that time as Gisborne was the largest grape growing region in New Zealand and this is where we met. We met up again in the Barossa where I ended up doing a vintage, then James headed off to Europe and I headed off in a different direction. When I worked in London he was in France and our paths kept crossing. But after a number of vintages in Europe it

got to the stage we both wanted to come home. But that was like, “oh God what are we going to do?” My parents said, look we have all this land and the vineyards are already established, so why don’t you stay here. But we had a yearning, this was about 1980, to take a road trip to Central Otago and see what was on offer down there. At that stage, there was only the Bannockburn

Research Centre that had grapes planted. We spent a few weeks down there looking at all these wonderful sites, and thinking it would be a really interesting place to grow grapes. But we weighed up the rabbits, the establishment, the fences, buying the land and it was quite a turmoil. That winter we got the data from the Bannockburn Research Station and it had a minus 13 degree frost. So with the frost, rabbits and the fact we would be the only ones growing grapes in that region, we thought it was too much of a risk and decided to come back to Gisborne. We came to an agreement (with Mum and Dad) that we would lease the vineyard so we could plant what we wanted, and we went from there. Our first vintage under The Millton Vineyard Label was in 1984. Everybody knows us for Chenin Blanc, but the Opou Vineyard already had Chenin Blanc planted by my father in the

Annie Millton’s mother Dorothy Clark planting the first vines at Opou Vineyard in 1969.

80s. They were contract growers and in that era they were paid on tonnage, not brix and the Chenin Blanc variety was fantastic. You could yield 14 tonnes to the acre, so it was a good producer. We decided to keep the Chenin Blanc as we understood this variety and over the next few years we undertook

a large replanting program. We still have some of the old Chenin Blanc vines and some of it we have re-propagated and re-established. We have recently brought in new clones of Chenin Blanc which are into their second crop. In my father’s day, being a contract grower, he would go to the


chemical company for his spray programme. Initially in the mid 70s, they would spray a fungicide, herbicide and insecticide every 14 days, whether there was a reason to spray it or not. The chemical suppliers sold a lot of chemicals at this time. When we came back from Europe and looked at the

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spray programme, we thought there has to be a different way to grow grapes in this region. In Europe they use just a copper/ sulphur spray program and that was what we wanted to achive to eliminate the volume of chemicals used. So we would take blocks that no one could see and we would change the spray programme. It just didn’t make sense to keep growing them the way my father was, that era had to change. In 1989 we become certified organic, the first vineyards in New Zealand to achieve that. Monique is the oldest of our two children. It’s quite funny, but she wasn’t quite sure what she wanted to do growing up. She went to enroll at the local EIT to do the winemaking course and was put off when they asked her if she understood what a vintage was like. (Lots of laughter here). After growing up in a winery and

a vineyard all her life, where the poor wee soul used to sleep in a cot in the corner of the winery during vintage or left home alone, it was a question that threw her. So she decided that she would take a more practical approach and joined me in the office, working on the orders and processing and helping in all other areas. I find it interesting that in her own business, the practical side has given her bounds of knowledge. Her and her partner Tim have bought a beautiful vineyard in the Forest Range up in the Adelaide Hills. Tim is an ex chef from Sydney and he decided he had had enough of the city. They met at Rootstock in Sydney and he had worked a few vintages in the Adelaide Hills and over the next few years they decided to look for a property there. They finally found a beautiful vineyard and have been on it for one full season and have

just completed their first vintage. Monique and Tim are even more environmentally aware than we are. They very much want to be self-sufficient, grow their own vegetables, make their own wine and get away from the complicated life that everyone seems to be creating.

Monique is a person with great personality, she is very passionate, very sensitive and is very capable. Her strengths are enthusiasm, inspiration, perfection and a nice balance of wisdom and she also has a lovely creativity about her. She has a wonderful maturity about her. I admire her and I am very proud of her. ■



y first memories of the Millton Vineyard are during my school days. I had a friend that lived directly across the road, whose mum worked in the vines with a few of the local Manutuke ladies. We would arrive back from school, run from the bus that dropped us at the front gate of

the winery and out to the vines where the ladies would be picking grapes and chatting and singing away. My friend and I would sit on the back of the trailer that was carting the fruit and we would dangle our legs off the back while it slowly moved through the rows scoffing our faces with grapes and the grass tickling our bare feet. I don’t think there wasn’t any-

Stanmore Farm certified vines TAKING ORDERS NOW FOR GRAFTING THIS YEAR Kate Gibbs (B.Hort.Sci)


Ph 0800 STANMORE or 027-440 9814 Email: Web:

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Monique and James Millton.

thing we were not involved in as children. It is a family business, but it is also our lifestyle. We enjoyed labelling, bottling, packing wine that was going off to an overseas destination and most of all being out-

side feeding the animals and being in the vines. One thing that I would enjoy the most was helping mum cook at harvest time. Mum would be in the winery with dad and she would


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Monique Millton

give me instructions on what she would like done in the kitchen. It was there I learned to cook and today I have a strong passion for cooking. The vineyard is historical in the fact it has been in Mum’s family for generations. Being from English and Sottish decent, living and growing up in an area like Manutuke was a complete blessing. My Grandmother and Mum always made it clear that “we are not the owners of this land but the

caregivers, we need to look after the land and have respect for other generations to come”. My brother and I are fifth generation and my brother is with Mum and Dad today carrying on farming the same land that our family has done. Wine brought many people into our home from overseas and around the country so my brother and I were always surrounded by interesting people.

My strongest realisation that Mum and Dad did things differently was when I decided that I would study wine at a local institute. They said; “You are aware we don’t do that weird hippie shit your dad is into”. I would overhear local farmers almost bullying my dad in social situations like he was some sort of weirdo. The group of unhealthy looking men would scoff at what dad would have to say even though

they were the ones trying to understand why their land was turning into an absolute mess and why the more they sprayed chemicals those darn stinging nettles would keep coming back. Working for my parents in the cellar door also made me realise that what I was talking about and how my parents were farming made peoples’ eyebrows raise. I assured them that we didn’t keep our witches brooms out on display.


But in the same place you would always meet someone who knew and understood about biodynamics and this made the feeling of pride overwhelming for what it was my parents have stuck at and worked so hard at doing. Today people are understanding it more and taking it upon themselves to seek out well farmed goods. It is something people are excited to talk about. Now being a parent myself I understand you are your children’s life teacher and most important teacher. Tim and I farm using biodynamic methods, it is a very strong interest to Tim and it is the only way that I know. I really struggle with the idea that people need to use artificial chemicals to grow their own and others food and plants that are for human consumption. I believe farming with biodynamic methods comes with a way of life you choose to live, the food you eat, the books you read, the clothes you wear, the tools you use and your approach to living etc etc. Like how my parents taught me, I will teach my children how to grow their own food. Isn’t it amazing that it is something we as humans have lost touch with!!? I am very lucky to have grown up in a way of farming

that teaches you to see the life energy in nature and the incredible way it can reward you when you look after it. We have one life and I am happy smelling the sweetness of a good compost tea! When I moved to Australia, (to see what else the world had to offer other than grapes and wine) I ended up working in a wine bar! From there I met some pretty interesting people making wine. This led me to my move from life in the city, which I was terrible at! And move back to the countryside where I belong. This has ended up to be my home now in Forest Range, Adelaide Hills. Manon, is the name of our farm and wine label. We grow our own food and 4.5 hectares of grapes, Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Pinot Gris, Sav Blanc, Savagnin, Merlot, Cab Franc. We use little machinery and honour the way of ancient agriculture methods. We make a small amount of wine that comes only from the grapes we grow. When it comes time to making the wine we do this in a very simple but gentle way. The grapes are picked by hand in small parcels and left to ferment naturally then pressed into aged oak barrels. Over winter they will be topped once or twice and left alone with only the

odd visit to taste. In spring when things are starting to warm up we look at bottling. We use gravity to move and bottle the wine. All of our wines are made with no additives or preservatives, temperature control, racking or anything of the such. If we had a power cut it wouldn’t actually effect anything that we are doing in the slightest. From this we believe our wines will be the true representation of what it is we have been working at so hard all year. We export our wines to places we want to travel to and to people who have a respect and understanding for organic ways of life. We are watching the demand growing rapidly for something true, living and most importantly organic. We feel very blessed to be part of this exciting global movement as people learn, seek and want to know more about organic products and living wines. When it comes to Mum, I describe her as strong, beautiful, intelligent and someone who takes no bullshit. She is the most amazing cook and loves to entertain. She has green fingers and thumbs (in a growing sense). She can be shy and has a lot of knowledge. Dad rather than mum gets a lot

of the credit and media publicity for two reasons. One being an honest answer, the wine industry is very masculine still so a lot of direction and focus comes from the male side and voice. People will even call up to order wine and will only want to order with dad not mum even though mum deals with that side of the business and dad is out in the vines or in the winery... not taking orders. The other reason is that dad is extremely passionate and I am yet to meet another person who understands and has the in-depth knowledge and wisdom of biodynamics. With passion comes the ambition to share the excitement and findings of working with nature and he wants to share this with everyone and anyone. As my brother says “Dad you would talk to your own shadow if it would listen”. Mum on the other hand is working at the part of the business where she is dealing with people day in and day out. She is happier behind the scenes, but if you ask her a question she too will give you an equally amazing answer to what it is they are doing. She is keeping everything going and my dad knows he is very lucky to be her business and life partner. ■

Millton Vineyard

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Negotiating contracts As an employee, attending a contract negotiation can be as nerve wracking as waiting on a report card. For employers, it can be a case of waiting to be hit up for more money. But it doesn’t need to be, as Tessa Nicholson discovers, while talking to Tony and Helen Smale, from Forté Management, business consultants, trainers and coaches.


y nature, New Zealanders are not the best at negotiating workplace contracts, according to both Tony and Helen Smale. That has a lot to do with the fact that as a nation we are not used to negotiating. It is not something that we grow up familiar with. That may have something to do with the fact that until a few decades ago, the majority of contracts were negotiated not individually, but by unions. “We have an idea that negotiation is about beating up on the other party,” Tony says. Nothing could be further from the truth however. So let’s take a look at the dos and don’ts of negotiating, from both sides of the table.

Employees Just what should you know before you go into a contract

negotiation? For one thing, you should go in with as much information about the role you are undertaking as possible. “Know what the ball park that others in similar situations, with similar education and experience are being paid,” says Helen. “That way you ensure you are negotiating from a perspective of having knowledge, rather than going in unprepared, waiting to see what is going to be offered. If you don’t know the background, then you will have nothing to bounce back with.” Sites such as Job Seek or Trade Me Jobs can help with that sort of information. Be realistic about your economic worth to the company. Just because you think you are a valuable asset, doesn’t mean you will automatically be raised to the top of the food chain (or pay bracket in this case), Tony adds.

Helen and Tony Smale from Forté Management.

“A lot of young people have an unrealistic expectation about their economic worth. What is missing is the realization that we need to climb to the top of the ladder, not land at the top.” Go in with an open mind – a

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take it or leave it attitude is not helpful to you or the employer. (That goes both ways it has to be said). Which means, don’t limit yourself to only one outcome. Tony says there is a lot more to negotiating than just haggling

over the price of the wage rate. “Especially when you are just starting off. It is not soley about the money you are going to be paid, it is the experience you will gain. “When you are negotiating, you may be wanting to eventually work in a particular area, or you have a bent to an area. If you can negotiate some way of gaining experience in that area, that is just as valuable as coming out with a few more dollars in your pocket each week. In lieu of pay rises and promotion, having an opportunity to develop yourself and your skills is so valuable.” Both consultants say another common mistake made in negotiations is when an employee goes in aggressively, spouting their “rights”. “That is a no, no,” Tony believes, as it is the quickest way to get up the nose of an employer who is the one whose business is on the line. While you are entitled to take someone into a negotiation with you, Helen believes you should think carefully about that. Not because it is a bad thing, but because it is hard to create a symbiotic relationship if a third party is involved. Good employ-

ment relationships are built on mutual trust.

Employers Many of the points that employees have to take notice of are also important for employers undertaking contract negotiations. Being prepared, open minded, and positive can help ease the pressure. Not all negotiations need to be about an hourly wage increase, Tony says. Think laterally if you have someone who has done something exceptionally well over the previous year. “Clients often say to us they have this person who has done an absolutely fabulous job and they are afraid he is going to be poached. As it’s not time for the annual wage round, we suggest they pay a bonus. It has a lot of benefits, from everybody’s point of view. It comes as a pleasant surprise for an employee, but it also comes as a one off for the employer. So if someone has had a good year or done something exceptional, reward them.” Beware of how you approach the strengths and weaknesses of your staff. Recent research has shown that when weaknesses are brought up early in negotiations,

the person on the receiving end tends to shut down mentally. “Biologically,” Tony says, “when we know someone thinks we have a weakness, we expect it to be exploited. So when an employer says you are pretty weak at such and such, the employee feels under threat, all they are focused on is getting out of that situation. I expect that is what happens in a lot of negotiations. People feel threatened. They go into this fight or flight mode, they are no longer listening – all they are interested in is the threat.” The basic structure for any negotiation should be positives first – what the person has done really well in the past year, to ensure they are in a positive mindset. And frame any conversation that involves an employee’s weaknesses in a more positive light. “What can you do better, or what do you need to be better at your job, which is the positive equivalent to what you are weak at,” says Tony. “That has an effect on a person – it allows them to see they can do better, they can step up. It is much better, as it is not a negative.” Think laterally. If you can’t afford to offer a wage rise, what

about offering to pay for extra training. Or maybe a gym membership. Again, the pair say, it doesn’t always have to be about cash in hand. One final word of advice, comes from Tony, who says New Zealanders have the most strongly developed sense of fair play, of any country in the world. Which means as an employer, you need to be very conscious about how you are perceived. “When you are negotiating with an employee and there is a Maserati in the driveway, paid for last season, the employee is probably not going to be too considerate of the fact that you have had a bad current year. “As Kiwis we believe in swings and round-abouts, and rightly or wrongly employees believe it is a one way process. ‘When it is a bad year I am supposed to suck it up, but when it’s a good year you don’t come back and say, oh we couldn’t give you anything last year, but we’ll give you 10 percent or a bonus this year to compensate.’ “Doing something like this is an extension of good faith, moving from a legal concept to a moral one.”■



Challenging year results in low harvest Te s s a N i c h o l s o n


he challenges of the 2017 vintage began last year, with the 7.8 Kaikoura earthquake at the end of November. Approximately $200 million worth of damage was incurred by wineries in the Marlborough region, including 60 million litres of tank capacity. The big question then and leading into the vintage was; will that damage be rectified in time for vintage, in New Zealand’s largest wine region? New Zealand Winegrower’s CEO Philip Gregan says a pre-vintage survey of wineries provided comfort that the region would be able to cope. In fact the survey showed wineries were hoping to increase the yield from 2016, to cater for strong export growth. The expectation from the survey was that wineries were looking at a vintage of around 450,000 tonnes. Due to the earthquake, many wineries had exported wine in bulk to ensure they had the space for vintage this year. However, the predictions did not come to fruition. In fact, the vintage this year was down 9 percent on 2016, and came in nationally at around 396,000 tonnes compared with 436,000 tonnes last year. “If there was ever a reminder that we grow grapes in a cool and maritime climate (with the exception of Central Otago) we got that reminder this year,” Gregan said. “Clearly there were some challenges for growers and wineries.” Those challenges involved weather. While leading into

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March the conditions had been extremely favourable, the effect of two cyclones, Debbie and Cook placed pressure on growers and wineries. While Gregan was quick to add that winemakers throughout the country are positive about the quality of the fruit they harvested, they were not so positive about the amount of fruit that was either dropped to the ground or left unharvested. Not surprisingly, it was Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc that was hit hard. In terms of harvest, the total tonnage was down six percent across the country, and five percent down in Marlborough. That played an integral part in the overall yield decline. But in terms of varieties and regions, it wasn’t the largest decline. Waipara suffered the most in terms of regions, with a 30 percent decline in yields. Riesling and Pinot Noir were the varieties most affected in those regions. (Riesling down over 60 percent, and Pinot Noir down 25 percent). Every region in the country saw declines over last year (which was a record), with the exception of Gisborne who saw a slight increase in yields. So what did we harvest this year? Sauvignon Blanc made up 75 percent of the 2017 vintage, Pinot Noir 8 percent, Chardonnay 7 percent. Yields were down on last year, with an average tonnes per hectare coming in at 10.8. In 2016, yields were over 12 tonnes per hectare. For the first time NZW asked


wineries and growers this year how much fruit was left on vines unharvested. This did not take into account how much fruit was dropped due to disease pressure or thinning, only what was left behind. “Both of the surveys came back with the number of 4000 tonnes unharvested. I think that

is probably an under estimate,” Gregan said. So with the growth of exports over the previous 12 months, what does a lower than hoped for vintage mean for New Zealand wine? “The simple implication is the supply, demand balance over the year ahead is going to be tight.”■


Shaking the heck out of botrytis Te s s a N i c h o l s o n


hen we remember vintage 2 0 1 7, we will remember weather events. Rain, lots of it, impacted on fruit quality for those who didn’t take care to manage their canopies and look after their fruit. But for those who decided to remove trash early in the season by mechanically shaking their vines, the end results yet again proved they had made the right decision. Now the question is, why aren’t more people employing the practice, especially given the stellar results that have been achieved by those who have? Mark Allen is the head of the Mechanical Shaking trials, and says the results from this year – one of the worst ever for botrytis – saw an average of 52 percent less botrytis in vines that were shaken, when compared with those that weren’t. In most cases, that meant the level of botrytis fell below the five-percent disease threshold wineries enforce. He strongly believes those

A visual representation of positive results from mechanical shaking before and after Cyclone Cook. To the left are grape bunches from the control row, and past the red line to the right grape bunches typical of shaken vines, with infected bunches in the bottom portion of each sample.

results could have been even higher, if growers had monitored closely how well the shaking was undertaken. But back to the point that baffles him most. Why aren’t more people undertaking shaking, espe-

cially growers with susceptible varieties like Pinot Gris, Riesling and Pinot Noir as well as Sauvignon Blanc? “I can understand many people still think that if you are shaking the vine, you will lose crop,

that that is the only purpose of shaking,” Allen says. “But it is not. Shaking gets trash out, that if left will lead to botrytis outbreaks later in the season if conditions are favourable.” A New Zealand Winegrowers

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survey following V17, showed 4000 tonnes of fruit was unharvested this year. It is thought a lot more fruit was dropped to the ground before harvest because of disease. That is quite a financial burden to those affected growers. Allen provides a financial implication from 2016, as an example. Within three bays of a Pinot Gris block that had not been shaken, 130 bunches were dropped to the ground prior to harvest, because of botrytis infection. On the neighbouring shaken vines, only 30 bunches had to be dropped. “If you did the financial equation on that, the grower probably lost two thirds of his crop by not shaking,” Allen says. “It cost him a fortune to drop those bunches on the ground, around $1000 a hectare. He probably lost four tonne of fruit per hectare, which would equate to about $6000 to $7000 per hectare. Now if you put

that over a 20-hectare block, it is around $160,000 lost. Whereas the shaken vines were under the five percent threshold which the winery would have accepted and it cost him just $400 a hectare ($8,000; a saving of 95%) to do that shaking.” While there are still some who have not embraced the method, Allen says those that have are converts. However he believes they could get even better results if they monitored the shaking more carefully. Following behind and monitoring just how much trash is coming out, (either via white trays on the ground if the collector plates are not used, or in the on-board bins if the collector plates and belts are used) will allow you to see whether or not the shaking needs to be increased or maybe decreased. “You might say let’s go a little bit slower, or speed up the beaters to see if we can get a little bit more trash out. We found this

year that people were going quite gently, and I would say wind it up a little bit further and you could double the amount of trash you get out. It is all about precision application.” There is also the advantage of delayed repetition, where 10 days after the first shaking you undertake another one. Allen says the results of this can be incredible. “There is a classic block in Marlborough and it falls over every year. Two years ago we shook it twice. The control vines had about 30 percent botrytis (at harvest) while the shaken was only about two percent – after being shaken twice.” While research undertaken by Dion Mundy at Plant & Food in Marlborough showed removing trash prior to PBC helped reduce the risk of botrytis, Allen says there may well be something else going on as well. “We know the skins are thicker, we know the vine goes

under stress and we know we delay veraison by five days, and then it catches up. I would love to see more science go into finding out what is happening because of the trauma caused by the shaking.” And most of all he would love to see more growers realise that the shaking does not automatically mean crop thinning. “You get the benefit of removing trash, but you don’t necessarily have to lose crop.”

Scientist says shaking could save millions Allison Haywood is a scientist who admits she was surprised when Mark Allen told her the success rate of mechanical shaking in controlling botrytis. She couldn’t quite believe that there was an average success rate of over 50 percent. “That is an astonishing result in science, certainly you don’t normally get a difference in


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results of 50 percent or more.” However once she was brought in to analyse the data for 126 shaking sites throughout New Zealand, she said, “I could see it was working, consistently, every time. Even after prolonged periods of rain, 50 percent of the vineyards got under the five percent threshold of disease. That is a really marked effect.” Haywood has put together all the data from the 2017 season, which more than backs up the claims and results from previous years. Below are some of her assessments following trials undertaken in a year that was perfect for botrytis infection. “The results from the 2017 trial amply demonstrate that the reduction in botrytis infection from mechanical shaking is highly repeatable and the effect pronounced (more than 50 percent reduction) relative to the standard treatment of botryticides at 80 percent cap fall and pre-bunch closure only. Regionally, the reductions in botrytis infection were even greater overall for the Gisborne (55%) and Nelson (62%) regions than for Marlborough (52%). Importantly, all of the control botrytis infection means for the different regions were above the commonly used industry rejection threshold of five percent for grape consignments. Shaking the vines brought those means

Control (left) and shaken bunches showing different bunch architecture, degree of compactness, berry size and shape.

under the threshold. On average then, vineyards would not have their consignments rejected after shaking their vines, although this would depend on whether they were red or white wine varieties that may have different botrytis infection thresholds (generally under 3 percent for reds and under 5 percent for whites). Data compiled from 126 sites representing around 3000 Ha of shaken vines revealed a mean 52 percent reduction in botrytis infection after shaking vines based on all NZ data. Mechanical shaking also at least halved the

normal botrytis infection in Marlborough, Gisborne and Nelson, and for Chardonnay, Pinot Gris, Pinot Noir, Riesling and Sauvignon Blanc varieties. Costs of botrytis control were almost halved for participants of this year’s trial (at 45 percent of normal) saving conservatively NZ$3.3 million for a paltry 126 sites or around 3,000 Ha, just eight percent of the total industry area in vines. Importantly, these results were achieved in a year of inclement weather prior to harvest that was favourable for botrytis

growth and proliferation. Based on 2017 figures (costs and mean botrytis infection) and conservatively assuming a 20 Ha vineyard size and around 3000 Ha shaken for 2017, the savings to industry could be in the vicinity of NZ$37 million in a bad or botrytisfavourable year. Since previous studies have shown no adverse effects on wine quality or on vine health from mechanical shaking, there seems no barrier to extend the method and make it commonplace in the New Zealand wine industry.”■

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Science of Wine – Darrell Lizamore Te s s a N i c h o l s o n


rape vines and South African abalone may not seem to have anything in common, but for one scientist, they will forever be intrinsically linked. Dr Darrell Lizamore, the inaugural Rod Bonfigliano Scholarship winner, owner of Zebra Biotech and plant geneticist at Lincoln University began his career studying genetic markers of abalone. These days he is one of the leading lights in helping to create

unique New Zealand grape vine clones. The story of how he moved from one to the other, needs some more explanation. Lizamore, grew up in Somerset West, in the Stellenbosch region of South Africa. With a love of science, he was intending to follow the medical path at Stellenbosch University. In his first year he studied biology, microbiology, bio chemistry and some genetics. Job shadowing a GP and

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a trauma doctor for a few days changed his mind about becoming a doctor, leaving him a little confused about what path he did want to take career wise. “I just wasn’t convinced that was for me. I didn’t think I wanted to be either a GP or involved in the trauma side of medicine, so I went and spoke to some of the academics at the university. At the time I was getting quite interested in genetics,” Lizamore says. “This was 2004 and the human genome was being released. It was a very critical time for genetics and it was quite exciting in that field. I decided that was what I wanted to do.” He says he developed a real passion for the field, while working in some of the university’s genetic labs, so much so, that he undertook an animal biotechnology degree and did honours in genetics. It was during this phase of his career that he became involved

with abalone. At the time close to 80 percent of South African abalone was being trafficked illegally off shore, at great cost to the nation. Lizamore was studying DNA finger printing that shows individuals (and organisms) that originate from different populations show unique differences. “So we were trying to find markers that were specific to different abalone, looking for the ones that were characteristic of a population. If you could develop a genetic profile for a population, then you essentially had a way of tracking where any shipment came from. So somebody could say; ‘I am bringing it in from this area and they all come from a legally harvested resource’, but you could take a small core sample and track it back to ensure it was correct. If it came back as coming from another location, where there was no permit to harvest it from, you would then have a case.”

It was a breakthrough for law enforcement, even if resources at the time failed to take full advantage of the technology. It would be a few more years before Lizamore got to further test his academic abilities. With the need to raise funds before he could undertake Post Grad study, he decided to take a break from research and head to South Korea as an English teacher. The next two years remain one of the highlights of his life. He was employed in what is referred to as “an English Village”, established by the South Korean government. While many wealthy parents can afford to send their children overseas for an English education, the government wanted to provide something for those who didn’t have the financial means. “So it wasn’t a normal school, it was designed to be an immersion programme that mimicked the idea of going overseas. They

decided to import a lot of native English speakers and set up a place that looked like an English village. It had English architecture and even a mini Stonehenge. The kids would come for anything from one day to six weeks. We got to set up our own syllabus as well, so it wasn’t just about adjectives and verbs, we were teaching them music and acting and I began developing biology classes. I taught people from primary school right through to guys in the military. I really, really loved it. Korea has a very special place in my heart.” But all good things must come to an end and in late 2008 he arrived back in South Africa, looking for a job. “It was a combination of the job market slowing and finding that a lot of the research work I was interested in, required a PhD, that made me think rather than apply for a job, I will have a look at applying to study again,”

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Lizamore says. The call went out to friends and colleagues asking if they had any information on people involved in molecular biology or molecular genetics. A friend put him in touch with Chris Winefield at Lincoln University, and before he knew it, Lizamore had applied for one of Lincoln’s international scholarships and gained approval. “At the time Chris had some interesting findings about the

56   // 

rates of genetic change in grapevines. He had a PhD student who was looking at variation in a specific gene in a population of vines in a single vineyard. I had been interested in DNA-changing elements called transposons since I had learned about them in under grad. One of the ideas Chris had sent me was looking at transposon mobility and whether it causes mutations in grapevines. That sounded like exactly the


kind of thing I was interested in.” Before he arrived in New Zealand in early 2009, Lizamore and Winefield began designing experiments to establish whether transposons were active and how to characterize them while measuring the rate at which they cause mutations. This would be the start of his PhD, but as so often happens in science, it didn’t quite go to plan. “It ended up changing quite a

bit. The experiments we designed turned out to be fairly naïve and not the best way to test it. But the broad hypothesis about transposons causing mutations in grapevines and affecting rates of genetic change turned out to be more true than we anticipated. It turns out there is a lot of transposon activity, far more than I think anybody was really expecting in grape vines and that it contributes quite a lot to the genetic variation

we see here.” The February 2011 earthquake nearly stymied Lizamore’s PhD plans, with the Lincoln labs destroyed, along with all of his samples. To say it was a major set back is putting it mildly. His initial scholarship funding was coming to an end, but the project was far from complete. He credits being the inaugural winner of the Rod Bonfigliano Scholarship as his life saver. “Absolutely, it was a huge relief. The scholarship gave me the funding I needed to finish my PhD. We wouldn’t have been able to complete the project in the time I had from my Lincoln scholarship.” As part of the scholarship, Lizamore was required to provide updates on his research at the annual Romeo Bragato conferences. From there he has forged an extremely strong relationship with New Zealand Winegrowers, which has added to his ability to ensure the information regarding his research gets out to growers and winemakers. “They are the ones who are the ultimate beneficiaries of the work, so it really helps.” As for his current research on creating unique New Zealand clones, Lizamore has discovered that grapevines are naturally mutating year to year. If you were to take a DNA sample from two opposite tips of the same vine, prior to pruning, you would find DNA differences. To further enhance his study, Lizamore took cell cultures from the tissue of one American clone of Pinot Noir UCD5. These were grown into young vines, which were then subjected to a range of differing shock treatments to determine if any of them would trigger transposons to move and cause mutations in the DNA that can affect plant traits. The shock treatments included ranges of temperature, differing levels of UV and biotic shocks which are a set of naturally occurring microorganisms.

“We are finding that the 200 vines we have so far regenerated from these cell cultures are each genetically different from the clones we started with.” The research continues, with another 2000 plants, more than half of those Sauvignon Blanc. Lizamore admits he is really excited to see if the findings with Pinot Noir are replicated in Sauvignon Blanc. “I think it will be very interesting what happens with Sauvignon Blanc, because New Zealand Sauvignon is so unique. Growers and winemakers know that theoretically grapes make quite different wines depending on where they grow – the concept of terroir. I think if we can analyse the entire genome, we are going to see some really interesting traits that the grapes inherit by virtue of the fact they are grown in our local environment. “The big thing is, we have clones that were selected for their performance in foreign environments. We have Californian and French clones growing in New Zealand, yet we are making quite unique wine. Obviously the climate is different, but we also know, the environment that an organism grows in also affects the genome to alter how genes are expressed.” This research on grapevines becomes even more special when Lizamore points out that grapevines are the oldest domesticated fruit crop. “There isn’t any other organism that has been artificially cloned for thousands of years. So we get to study what is the effect of cloning and how genetic change gets introduced in the absence of breeding – which is what most of us typically think of as the source of genetic change.” Could this research provide the ultimate answer to why New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc is so different to everywhere else in the world? We’ll keep you posted.■

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Powdery mildew explained Te s s a N i c h o l s o n


owdery Mildew is relentless and a nightmare for growers. But what exactly is it and what can you do to ensure the pathogen doesn’t get out of hand? Peter Wood, Plant & Food scientist says a powdery epidemic is dependent on three things; the pathogen which is having a source of inoculum, the host which is the grape vine and the environment which is suitable weather. Native to NE America, all European grape vine varieties are susceptible. It is known as a biotrophic pathogen, which means it doesn’t kill its host, unlike botrytis and downy mildew. It is host specific, which is an important aspect. It does not come from you, vegetables roses or fruit trees. It is specific to grape vines. All green parts of the grape vine are susceptible, that is shoots, leaves and fruit. It thrives under low UV, and warm, humid conditions. The fruit is most susceptible when it is young, and once it gets a hold, it goes on to affect yield and wine quality. Because it grows across the surface of the berry, puncturing it to gain nutrients, it makes the fruit susceptible to bunch rot later in the season. In terms of leaves, they are most susceptible when they are half formed, but are never immune despite their size. Fruit however is quite susceptible for a brief period Wood says. “Berries are highly susceptible for the first two to three weeks

58   // 

From this to below can happen over a very short Figure 1 period of time.

Figure 2


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after set.” Then there is state that he says is known as diffuse powdery mildew when berries are infected as they transition from being highly susceptible. Diffuse powdery mildew is difficult to see with the naked eye but still results in berry damage. People may think they are seeing powdery develop on the fruit months after fruit set. “But no. The fruit has got infected when the berries are very small, but it takes time to express.” Both visible and diffuse powdery mildew can lead to increased severity of botrytis bunch rot, sour rot and wine defects. The fruit can go from Figure 1 to Figure 2 in a short period of time. As mentioned earlier, powdery mildew thrives in the shade. In fact it is damaged by UV. That is because it is does not have protective pigmentation, and lives on the surface of the fruit and leaves. “It is a warm, dry weather disease. It is enhanced by temperatures of between 20 and 28 degrees.” High humidity increases the severity, while cold temperatures and rainfall decrease pressure. A temperature of two degrees for

The most critical time for powdery control is from pre-flowering to pre-bunch closure. Miss that window and you miss your chance to get a clean crop. two hours will kill the pathogen and also make the vine less susceptible to infection. The reason it takes off around flowering Wood says, is because the conditions are almost perfect. Temperatures are increasing and there is humidity in the canopy, which work together to increase spore production. As the vine’s canopy grows, it provides shade for the inoculum from UV and makes spray deposition of the very susceptible fruit zone much more difficult. There is no one “magic silver bullet” Wood says to control powdery mildew. Nevertheless there are six things you as a grower can do to improve powdery mildew control. Pruning out diseased wood in the winter and canopy management in the fruit zones helps control. With the sexual stage over wintering in bark, make sure

Figure 3

60   // 


heads are thoroughly cleaned out during the pruning season and thinned in the spring. In spring and early summer, open up the canopy to ensure UV light and spray is getting onto the fruit. Optimise and monitor spray units with water sensitive papers. The most critical time for powdery control is from preflowering to pre-bunch closure. Miss that window and you miss your chance to get a clean crop. The Gubler model is a potential spray schedule guide as it will alert you to when the conditions for infection are high. Scout for disease and take action immediately with curatives if required.

Best practices important While Chasmothecia (sexual stage) has increased the amount of disease pressure we are experiencing, it has not changed the

effectiveness of best management practices. Timing of sprays and sprayer set up are two of the most essential tools a grower has. But as Trevor Lupton from Lewis Wright said at Grape Days, there are some other tools that can help. Two trials he has been involved in have focused on sulphur rates and the use of adjuvants, and single site fungicides applied with or without sulphur. Both trials have produced some results that could help growers going into vintage 2018. In trials last year, it was clear that increasing sulphur rates to more than 3 kg per hectare provided no advantages. So this year the trials focused on what the adding of a wetter did in terms of containing powdery mildew, and whether it was safe for the vine. Alongside these trials there was another that combined sulphur with a single site fungicide, and compared to an organic block that relied on no fungicides. The trial was conducted on Chardonnay in Gisborne and Sauvignon Blanc in Marlborough. While Chardonnay is a susceptible variety, Sauvignon Blanc is less so. But the canopy vigour does cause issues in the latter, due to the difficulty getting the spray onto the fruit bunches. In each block an area was left untreated, and Lupton says in the case of the Chardonnay, a month after fruit set there was some powdery mildew apparent. By the middle of January that had spread onto the leaves and canes. On the Sauvignon Blanc, a month after fruit set there was also some powdery in the untreated vines and by harvest some of the untreated bunches “were pretty well nailed”. Working on the premise that the threshold for fruit with powdery mildew would be set at three percent, the aim of the trial was to see if spraying sulphur with a wet-

Figure 4

of a wetter increased the efficacy of all the sulphur applications on Chardonnay in Gisborne. Combining the fungicide with the sulphur also delivered fruit with less than three percent powdery

mildew. The organic treatment also delivered cleaner fruit than the untreated. However with Sauvignon Blanc, possibly due to the density of the canopy, the trial was not so



ter, at differing rates would drop the disease to acceptable levels. And whether applying a sulphur along with a single site fungicide would make any difference. As figure 3 shows the adding

clear cut. It took far more sulphur to drop the disease below the 3 percent threshold, and the best result of all was the conventional programme that combined single site fungicides with sulphur. (See figure 4) The key messages to take home from these trials are; • Mixing sulphur with a wetter is more important than increasing the sulphur rate • Single site fungicides gave the best results (over two years of trials) from pre flowering to bunch closure. • Single site fungicides can be mixed with sulphur • Coverage is king • Sprayer set up is probably the most important thing. Manage the canopy, get the water rate and chemical rate right for your row width. The full results of these trials are available on the member’s section of■

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Research leading the way Record numbers turned out to this year’s New Zealand Winegrower Grape Days. The annual event held throughout the winegrowing regions, it was a chance for the members to hear about what research is being undertaken by NZW and how that can help in the growing of premium winegrapes. We take a look at a number of projects that have been undertaken by the NZW research committee. Tessa Nicholson reports.

New Zealand Winegrowers Research Centre Update The wine industry’s $12.5-million bid to establish a new research centre in Marlborough has now moved into the establishment phase with the recent signing of a contract between

New Zealand Winegrowers Inc. (NZW), and the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE). The contract signing follows negotiations that began almost immediately after the government announced it would allocate $12.5 million in funding over four years

for the venture in October 2016. The centre is part of an initiative by MBIE to support innovation in the regions, and is also supported by Marlborough District Council, which has set aside $75,000 for establishment and a further $150,000 in co-funding each year from 2017 to 2022.

The contract was finalised and signed 13 June 2017. “New Zealand Winegrowers Research Centre will immediately start on the implementation phase,” said Dr Simon Hooker, NZW General Manager Research and Innovation. “We have our establishment team in place, and we will be looking to ensure that set-up runs as smoothly as possible.” New Zealand Winegrowers Research Centre (NZWRC) will be based in Blenheim, and will run as a limited liability company, owned by New Zealand Winegrowers Inc.  Three directors, all with strong roots in the wine industry, were

Spray Days will be back later this year.

62   // 


The Team Backing Bragato


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appointed in late April: Dominic Pecchenino (Chair of NZW Research Committee), Peter Holley (Mission Estate Winery), and James Dicey (Ceres Wines). “Although the centre is based in Marlborough, our strategy is to continue building a research programme that is national in focus,” said Dr Hooker. “We’re seeking world-leading research for grape and wine production that cuts right across the entire value chain.”

where synthetic herbicides are used under vine, and the other Future which is a more organic approach. Quite a lot of data has been gathered already, and

aims to come up with a prototype in the shape of a box, that can be carried or placed on a driving platform that will record data as it passes through the vineyard.

Brettanomyces in New Zealand

Vineyard Ecosystems Programme With an anagram of I.O.U, this research programme is investigating everything In the vine, everything On the vine and everything Under the vine to help improve vineyard longevity. A seven-year programme, with funding of $7million ($3.5 from levies and $3.5 from MBIE), the research is based on two broad treatments. One Contemporary

64   // 

Massey University. His research will look at combining all the current technology available to help growers build a 3D image of the canopy.

is available on the website.

Yield Analysis Tools In an effort to provide grape growers with the tools to accurately predict yields, NZW have co-funded two separate projects. One is run by Lincoln Agritech – the Automated Grape Yield Assessment. This five-year project


“It will pick up visible and non-visible analysis, to give a true assessment of what the yield is at that point in time. The other part of the project is to predict what it will be, leading up to harvest.” The second automation of grape yield estimation is funded by the Rod Bonfiglionli Memorial Scholarship, which was awarded to Baden Parr, a PhD student at

This is a recent smaller project funded by NZW. The aim of this project is to protect the industry’s important asset, the completed wine. Samples will be taken from throughout New Zealand, of wines that may or may not have Brett in them. They will then be isolated, sequenced and tested for their sulphite tolerance. “We want to protect the wine and make sure the wine quality is the best it can be before it goes off shore, or is consumed in New Zealand,” says Mark Eltom, Research Programme Manager.

Spray Days If there was one over-riding

message to come out of this year’s Grape Days, it was that regardless of what you are spraying onto your vines, having the right equipment, set up the best possible way is the most vital ingredient for success. In the past year 70 extension seminars were held throughout the country on best management spray practice, with more than 700 people attending. The good news is that there are still another two years of this programme to go, so even more Spray Days are planned, with this year’s coming up in October and November. Keep an eye out for these in your area.

Lighter Wine Programme Formerly called the Lifestyle Wine Programme, has just completed three years of data collection, Eltom says. “This is a very large project, $17 million over seven years and

it has 18 industry partners.” The initial research insights have shown that a lot can be done in the vineyard if you want to produce better quality lighter wines. “Canopy trimmings, early picking or timing of harvest and site selection can lower your brix so you can usually take fruit that would normally be harvested at 21.5 brix, in at 17 or 18 brix, which will result in a lower alcohol wine.” Eltom says three quarters of the industry partners involved have adopted a number of vineyard techniques which have stood out in the past three years of research, while 46 percent of companies have adopted winery tools that have been developed. More on this programme at the Bragato Conference.

NZW Research and Innovation All research results, and data collected from on-going projects

Mark Eltom

is available to members on the website – which by the way has just been updated. If you are looking for information on any issue that has reared

its head in your vineyard this harvest, check the website for best practices to deal with it, and research that explains the research undertaken.■

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A call for mentoring Te s s a N i c h o l s o n


hen Trac y Taylor moved from a career in banking to one in the wine industry, she had no idea what she was getting herself in for. The Mud House viticulturist began with a Bachelor of Wine Science at EIT, but soon realised she would like another string to her bow, so picked up the Bachelor of Viticulture. In 2005, she was the first concurrent graduate. But whether she would go down the winemaking path, or the viticultural one was not clear cut. Looking back now, she wishes she had the chance to spend time with a viticulturist to gain a better understanding of what would be involved if she chose that pathway. “I didn’t know what a day in the life of a viticulturist looked like. My lecturer suggested I tag along with someone to get a better idea, so I asked around a couple of guys, and they all kind of said the same thing to me. ‘Oh it’s pretty boring, I don’t really have anything to show you.’ So it never happened.” Although she had undertaken work in the field during her degree, it didn’t provide an indepth experience of the day to day workings of either a viticulturist or vineyard manager. “I thought vineyard managers were responsible for directing teams and fixing machinery. But I didn’t really know what a viticulturist did,” Taylor says. That may have played a part in why she didn’t go straight into the wine industry after graduating. Instead she took a role as a viticultural researcher with Hort Research in Hawke’s Bay. After three years however, she felt

66   // 

INSPIRATIONAL EVENING At the first meeting of Women in Wine in Marlborough, a few themes emerged, the most common being the request for networking opportunities and access to experienced professionals. As a result New Zealand Winegrowers is hosting the first Women in Wine function on the evening of Tuesday 29 August in Marlborough at the ASB Theatre (immediately prior to the Bragato Conference).  Three top-of-the-line guest speakers will talk

about their challenges as they have made their way to the top of their fields. The impressive line-up includes: Sandra Taylor, CEO, corporate sustainability expert and wine writer (US) Jeni Port, Wine Journalist (Australia) Nadia Lim, NZ MasterChef Winner 2011, co-founder of My Food Bag (NZ) The event is open to anyone interested, with more details available via the New Zealand Winegrowers’ member site.

Tracy Taylor

detached from the industry as a whole and applied for a role as grower liaison for Pernod Ricard in Gisborne. There was still a big gap in her practical knowledge, she admits. “You graduate knowing your vine physiology very well. Along with irrigation, water and soil dynamics, engineering and combustion engines. You know all the science, but in terms of practical things like what sprays to use when, establishing a spray programme, they have to be learned


on the job. And you can’t afford to get it wrong, as so much is at stake.” Understanding career paths going forward is another area that Taylor was lacking. She knew she could drive tractors, but a concern she had, was would this be what she was required to do on a regular basis? “You have to realise that you don’t have to do everything, as a viticulturist you can employ people with those specific skills.” Taylor is now keen to pass on

her own knowledge to anyone who is considering a career in viticulture – something she would like to see more people consider. “Why not use some of our older viticulturists who have been there, done that, as mentors for those coming through. They are reliable, they know what they are doing. Plus they would provide information for someone studying, particularly if those people are looking at electives and are not sure which way to go.”■


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Water – less is more Te s s a N i c h o l s o n


f you wanted to decrease yield to increase quality, what management practices would you undertake? Canopy management, such as hedging or trimming or leaf plucking? Crop thinning? How about dropping the amount of water you are giving the vines? That may not be your first thought, but research undertaken by Mark Krasnow has proved it might be the most sustainable, effective and cheapest way of achieving your goals. At the New Zealand Winegrower’s Grape Days, Krasnow talked about a form of sustainability, that in his words, “is not talked about enough”. And that is water sustainability. In an ambitious project undertaken in Hawke’s Bay in the 201516 season, he was determined to see what effect limiting irrigation had on yield and quality. The Merlot block used in the research had a history of producing 15 tph, year in, year out. The wine company wanted to make high quality wine, and wanted just 10tph, which meant thousands of dollars a year were spent crop thinning. The large block already had two irrigation zones, which made it easy for the research team to split in half. One half was irrigated in the traditional way, two to three times a week for two hours. The other half, known as the dry half, was irrigated only when the vines reached mild to moderate water stress, as determined by measuring with a pressure chamber. When these vines were watered, they received a much

68   // 

longer dose, six to eight hours at a time. Given regular irrigation provides the weeds on the surface with the first drink, Krasnow’s theory was they wanted the dry side to have water delivered much lower in the soil profile, allowing the roots to get the maximum benefit. The trial began in January 2016, and up until harvest the wet vines received regular drinks two to three times a week. The dry vines only received four drinks during the entire season. “When we turn those into numbers, the total irrigation applied to the control side from January until harvest was 142mm per vine,” Krasnow said. “The dry side had 36mm per vine. When we crunched the numbers on vine density, we got huge water savings over a million litres per hectare, 1,188,095 to be exact.” That’s an impressive water saving in anyone’s books. But Krasnow says there is an even better side of the story. “We then looked at yield. Traditionally it had been 15 tph. The company wanted 10 tonne to make high quality red, so it always required crop thinning. What we saw, was the deficit irrigation brought the yield right down to the target, with never having to set a foot into the vineyard to drop any fruit.” There were higher brix as well in the deficit side, which can be accounted for by the lower crop. From there wines made from each of the two blocks. These were then taste tested at the NZSVO workshop. “The comments were a pretty good consensus,” Krasnow said.


Mark Krasnow

“Pretty much everyone thought the deficit wine had better colour. The one thing that really struck everyone, was the tannins were quite different. They are different numerically, but the structure of the wine was also very different. “The deficit wine was much smoother and there were flavour and aroma differences and the deficit wine was fruitier and less vegetal.” In terms of wine composition, there was slightly higher alcohol in the deficit wines, following higher Brix. pH and TA were largely unaffected, but the phenolics were very different. “The deficit actually had more pigment, which we could see in the colour and it actually numerically had more tannin. There were more polyphenols in this wine,

yet it had a smoother mouth feel.” When the wines underwent further testing at Auckland University, the results were also interesting. The deficit wines had more of the fruity, green apple, tropical and sweet compounds, and less herbal, grassy and vegetal compounds. As Krasnow told Grape Days; “Not only did we change the amount of fruit, we changed the quality of that fruit in a positive way. All by using less water.” It was very much a case of less is more he said. Putting on excessive water means more trimming, more hedging, more tractor passes, more compaction of the soil. “So, your bottom line can actually be increased by using less water.”■

THE CURRENCY OF VINES Mark Krasnow believes we should look at how a vine works, much in the same way we do our own financial budgets. “Plants have limited resources like we do and they need to make informed and logical decisions about how best to spend those resources.’ They can grow parts to get whatever resources are limiting them. For example, if they have plenty of water and minerals, but what is limiting them is light and CO2, they grow more shoots. “If they are lacking in water and minerals, but have plenty of light, they will focus their energy

on growing roots. The things plants do that we (as humans) can’t do, is they can sacrifice parts. If that leaf on the interior of the canopy is not making enough sugar for what it costs, the plant will drop it. Plants under stressful conditions will focus on seed dispersal, making the fruit as palatable as possible for the birds to eat and then disperse.” As for us creating a vine in balance, Krasnow said; “Our idea of balance is not in tune with the vine’s idea of balance.” For example, if we believe the vine has too large a crop load, we will go in and cut crop. “But

The irrigation levels throughout the season show the differences between the wet and dry blocks.

what does the vine do then? Well the remaining berries get bigger, and the vine partially undoes what we have done.” Water he believes is the most important point of control we have over the vines. “Thoughtful and care-

ful water management can encourage the vine to put more of its energy into permanent structures like roots and storage in trunks and less in temporary structures like shoot tips and leaves, which we cut off during the season and at the end of the year.”

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027-241 3510 NZ WINEGROWER  AUGUST/SEPTEMBER 2017  //   69


Promoting single vineyards Te s s a N i c h o l s o n


he 2017 Bragato Wine Awards have undergone a major change, with the entire competition this year based on single vineyard wines only. The awards have always been considered the “growers” awards, Chief of Judges Ben Glover says. However the transition to a 95 percent single vineyard competition has been in the offing for a few years. Until this year, single vineyard wines sat alongside the second category of Domaine wines, which had to be produced from fruit 85 percent estate owned and man-

aged. That category is now gone. “The 2016 show was the first time we delineated a SV 95% section, judged concurrently. The show has always been an 85 percent rule -which we named Domaine to differentiate with the 95% category,” Glover says. “The aim when I came on board in 2014 with 450 entries was to make this show relevant and it has taken four years to achieve this to make it a single vineyard show – to allow the growers and their winemakers to express these sites. “The Bragato Wine Awards

had become like so many other wine shows, whereas we wanted it to stand out as New Zealand Winegrower’s second major show and to have relevance. “If you are going to talk about growers and Turangawaewae, particularly coming out of this year’s Pinot Noir conference, you need to be talking about a single site or single parcel of fruit that you are working with that shows personality.” It will make these wine awards unique on a national basis, as no other competition enforces that 95 percent rule nor does it have a

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volume restriction. Which raises the question, why not make it 100 percent? “Because there will always be some vagaries in blending, and winery handling through to the final product. I think we would struggle to get a valid show if we insisted on 100 percent, no exceptions.” The good news is that growers and wineries have not been put off by the new rules. Glover says they have had 520 entries in this year’s competition. While that is less than the 630 wines entered last year, he says more than 120


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70   // 



of last years were in the Domaine section. “So we are really happy that we haven’t got back on numbers for single vineyard wines because of the change – we have more wines entered.” New Zealand’s flagship wine Sauvignon Blanc has the third most entries which may surprise some people. Glover says that is due to the fact that many wines are blends of Marlborough’s sub regions, as companies want to explore the entire spectrum of varietal expression occurring in Marlborough. The positive news is that the number of Single Vineyard Sauvignons entered this year is higher than last. “As with pervious Bragato awards, Pinot Noir and Chardonnay are the key categories and we have to recognise the fact that these lend themselves to single vineyard,” Glover says.

Chair of the Bragato Wine Awards judging panel, Ben Glover. Left: The winner of last year’s Bragato Wine Awards – Villa Maria Single Vineyard Ihumatao Chardonnay 2014.

Judging for the Awards will take place in Auckland on August 16 and 17, with the Trophy winners being announced at the Bragato Conference dinner in Marlborough on August 31. Judges this year include; Ben Glover (Chair), Liz Wheadon, Simon Nunns, Barry Rewai, Helen

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Market to vine Te s s a N i c h o l s o n


s exports of wine soar, and New Zealand holds enviable positions for prices in all our major markets, what does the future hold? Can we keep this trajectory going in the years ahead? That will be one of the areas covered in this year’s Romeo Bragato Conference, to be held over two days later this month. With the theme of Market to Vine, a wide range of subjects will be covered. From how our market share and pricing is developing in our key markets, through to ripening grapes in challenging vintages – sure to be of interest to growers the country over, after vintage 2017. A number of international as

72   // 

well as highly placed New Zealanders feature among the guest speakers. One of those is Sandra Taylor, CEO of Sustainable Business International LLC in the US. The former senior vice president of corporate social responsibility for Starbucks Coffee Company and former vice president and director of public affairs for Eastman Kodak Company, Taylor is currently the president and chief executive officer of Sustainable Business International LLC. She was selected as a First Movers Fellow of the Aspen Institute for her work to develop innovations in sustainable supply chains. In addition to her expertise in corporate responsibility, she brings a strong background


in corporate governance, human rights, issues management, public policy and international trade. Her session on the second day of the conference will focus on why sustainability is so important to the New Zealand wine industry. Brett McClen is the chief viticulturist for Brown Brothers Wines in Australia. He is responsible for all Brown Brothers’ owned vineyards which are located in a hugely diverse range of locations and climates across Victoria and also Tasmania. His experience in dealing with the vagaries of mother nature, will be a part of the session on Ripening grapes in challenging seasons. Master of Wine David Allen from will discuss the global trends of New

Zealand wine searches, while a following session will discuss the evolving wine styles, how we take that from the vine out to the consumer. Dovetailing in with the research and information sessions, those attending will get to hear first hand from the Bayer Young Viticulturists of the Year finalists, taste the medal winning wines from the Bragato Wine Awards, and find out which wines won the trophies this year. On top of that there is the Bragato Dinner, again to be held at the award winning Omaka Aviation Centre, on the outskirts of Blenheim. The dates to lock in are August 30 and 31, with registrations open at■

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e in W

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on the condition that it is not copied,


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either wholly or in part without the consent in writing of Peek Display Corporation Ltd.

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rs we ro G

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GLOBAL SE ARCH TRENDS AROUND NE W ZE AL AND WINE – David Allen MW, E VOLVING WINE S T Y LES: FROM THE VINE YARD TO THE CONSUMER – Dr. Simon Hooker, New Zealand Winegrowers; Richard Lee, Lighter Wines Programme; Jamie Marfell, Pernod Ricard; Beth Forrest, Forrest Estate; Avram Deitch, Yealands Estate CONCURRENT WORK SHOPS 1-4: 1: Continuing the chain of custody: Dr. Edwin Massey, New Zealand Winegrowers; Nick Hoskins, Vine Managers Wairarapa; Samantha Scarratt, Wither Hills; Emma Taylor, Vineyard Plants; Nigel Sowman, Dog Point Vineyard 2: Embrace, explore, evolve - Pinot Noir 2017 Tasting – Clive Jones, Nautilus Estate; Helen Masters, Ata Rangi 3: Evolution of winestyles – Dr. Jeff Bennett, Plant and Food Research; Dr. Mark Krasnow, Thoughtful Viticulture

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4: Business health check - Alistair King, Crowe Horwath; Nick Dalgety, Ministry of Primary Industries;  Matt Harvey, FMG Insurance; Peter Felstead, Deloittes CONCURRENT WORK SHOPS 5-8 5: Are you ready for the next big one? - –Dr. Edwin Massey, Biosecurity Manager, New Zealand Winegrowers;  Will Lomax, Onguard Seismic Systems 6: Climbing the Sommit - Stephen Wong MW, Wine Sentience; Felicity Johnston, New Zealand Winegrowers 7: Lighter Wines Tasting –  Dr. Simon Hooker, New Zealand Winegrowers; Benedicte Pineau, Plant and Food Research 8: What’s trending? – Dr. Simon Hooker, New Zealand Winegrowers; Mike Trought, Plant and Food Research

YOUNG VITICULTURIS T OF THE Y E AR SPEECHES – Nicky Grandorge, New Zealand Winegrowers

E V ENING MA S TERCL A SS 1 &2 Aromatics Symposium 2017 Tasting - Dom Maxwell, Greystone Wines; Stephen Wong MW, Wine Sentience Classic Reds Symposium 2017 Tasting -  Chloe Somerset, Cable Bay; Warren Gibson, Trinity Hill

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RIPENING GR APES IN CHALLENGING VINTAGES – Dr. Mark Eltom, New Zealand Winegrowers; Mike Trought, Plant and Food Research; Brett McClen, Brown Brothers

WINE, WOMEN AND OUR FUTURE –  Jeni Port, Australia; Sandra Taylor, Sustainable Business International LLC, USA

100% PURE - OUR WINE TOURISM OPPORTUNIT Y –  Chris Yorke, New Zealand Winegrowers; Stephen England-Hall, Tourism NZ

SUS TAINABILIT Y - WHO C ARES? – Justine Tate, Sustainable Winegrowing NZ; Sandra Taylor, Sustainable Business International LLC; Blake Holgate, Rabobank

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PROTEC TING OUR VINE YARDS: BIOSECURIT Y IN AC TION - Dr. Edwin Massey, New Zealand Winegrowers; Steve Gilbert, Ministry for Primary Industries


CONCURRENT WORK SHOPS 9-12 9: Ripening grapes in challenging vintages – Dr. Mark Eltom, New Zealand Winegrowers; Brett McClen, Brown Brothers;Damian Martin, Plant and Food Research; Ollie Powrie, Villa Maria 10: Making zero waste happen – Justine Tate, Sustainable Winegrowing NZ; Geoff Thorpe, Riversun Nursery 11: Improve your access to markets – Lisa Winthrop, Ministry for Primary Industries; Clare Kelly, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade 12: Wine tourism: The world to your door – Chris Yorke, New Zealand Winegrowers

THE E VOLUTION OF WINE S T Y LES AND MARKE T S - Panel discussion BR AG ATO DINNER Join us to find out the winners of the Bragato Wine Awards and Bayer Young Viticulturist of the Year.



Meet the Bayer Young Vit finalists


ix young viticulturists are all set to battle it out for the title of Bayer Young Viticulturist of the Year, at the upcoming Bragato Conference. Each has won their regional final, held over the past six weeks, and will now pit themselves against each other for the pres-

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tigious title. The finals which will be held in Marlborough on August 29 and 30 will see the competitors having to complete a range of theoretical and practical activities, including machinery, irrigation, trellising and pruning as well as answer a range of questions from experts within their field. They will also present a three-minute speech

to the attendees at the Bragato conference which is being held at the ASB Theatre. The winner not only takes the title of Bayer Young Viticulturist of the Year, they will also go on to represent the viticulture industry at the upcoming National Horticulturist of the year, in November. Included in the prizes up for grabs is; $2000 in cash, a $5000

AGMARDT travel scholarship, a Hyundai Santa Fe for a year, wine glasses and a leadership week where they will meet some of the top leaders in the New Zealand wine industry. This year’s finals will see six competitors, the most ever.

TIM ADAMS Representing Auckland/ Northern – Tim Adams from Obsidian. This is Tim’s second year in the finals.

BEN RICHARDS Hawke’s Bay; Ben Richards who currently works for Indevin, will be representing the Hawke’s Bay at this year’s finals.

ANNABEL BULK Central Otago; Felton Road’s Annabel Bulk is the only female in the national finals, and only the fourth to make it that far in the history of the competition.

ANTHONY WALSH Marlborough; Anthony Walsh from Constellation. Having taken part in previous competitions, this was the final chance for Anthony to make it to the finals, due to reaching the age limit.




LAURIE STRADLING Nelson; Laurie Stradling from Kamira Estate will be the first Nelson representative for a number of years to take part in the final.





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BEN McNAB-JONES Wairarapa: Ben McNab-Jones took out the Wairarapa title in his second year in the competition. Ben currently works for Urlar Wines.



America’s love affair New York PR director, New Zealander Jane Vesty, says our wines can ride the ‘premiumization’ trend


t’s hard to imagine a better confluence of trends for New Zealand wine in the U.S. – now the world’s largest wine market with annual sales of US$60 billion. New Zealand wines have become the third highest imported wine into the U.S. by value at a time when American wine drinkers, especially millennial women, are trending toward premium wines that are also lighter and more elegant and sophisticated. These are perfect conditions for the Sauvignon Blanc juggernaut that accounts for 94% of our U.S. sales. “The wines from New Zea-

land have gained a tremendous amount of popularity in the last 10-15 years; it is now a very important category for American wine drinkers,� says Will Guidara, co-owner of New York’s Eleven Madison Park, recently named the world’s best restaurant. “There exists a very solid image, and therefore expectation, for what the wines will be like. The majority of consumers are readily aware of Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Noir, but many people are still unfamiliar with other varietals and the growing areas outside of Central Otago and Marlborough.� In 2015 Guidara visited New

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Zealand on a tour of luxury lodges orchestrated by SweeneyVesty and supported by NZTE, Tourism New Zealand and ATEED. “The entire country of New Zealand, much like the state of Oregon here in the U.S. has been able to create an image of quality at a lower price point,� says Guidara. “And more often than not, the wines deliver upon those expectations. For a lot of consumers, picking a bottle off the shelf, and having the wine taste like what they expect, is very important.� Guidara says that “New Zealand has done a great job of put-

Jane Vesty

ting itself on the map as one region. Now you have to start pushing individual producers, and the sub zones. There are areas of potential growth in New Zealand that are barely being tapped. Syrah, Bordeaux varietals, Chardonnay, Riesling, all have found areas in New Zealand



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Cedric Nicaise, wine director Eleven Madison Park. PHOTO: CHRISTOPHER VILLANO.

that allow the grapes to shine.” (Eleven Madison Park has three New Zealand Chardonnays on its wine list – Bell Hill 2009 and 2011 from North Canterbury and Kumeu River Hunting Hill 2013). While accounting for just 20% of wine sales in the U.S., restaurants and other on-premises locations have a key role in influencing the wider market. “The best way to communicate to sommeliers is on a personal level,” says Eleven Madison Park wine director Cedric Nicaise. “Start with identifying which restaurants or stores you want to be featured in, and then find out who controls those lists. Email them directly; send them a sample with a handwritten card. Make it personal. Mass market emails just get deleted by most people. Understand that not all sommeliers go out to lunch several days a week. Make the wines easy to taste, hold a lunch, inviting people that may want to spend time together, not just with the wine you are selling. But then also have a late night event; many sommeliers like to have a glass after work. If you think your wine is as good as another, prove it, don’t just talk about it; pour the wines side by side, blind; let sommeliers decide

for themselves.” The most important thing a vineyard can do, says Nicaise, is to create a strong bond with your distributor. They are the link between you and restaurants and stores. He is also clear about what not to do. “Don’t stop into restaurants without an appointment, which only creates animosity. Don’t make a dinner reservation and treat your dinner like a sales pitch. You don’t have to drink only your wine. I want to know that a wine maker or winery owner knows more about wine than just what they are making and the region they are from. Don’t be afraid to serve your wine next to something else.” Social media is an essential medium for wine producers to build a long term premium audience, with 42% of all wine in the U.S. consumed in 2016 by millennials – and with over 50% of wine-drinking millennials talking about wine on Facebook. Millennials have several decades of earning – and consuming – ahead of them, so having a diversified social media presence – not only Facebook but Instagram, Pinterest, YouTube and Twitter is important for every winemaker. Millennials are especially influ-


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enced by their peers (rather than wine stars), suggesting that the oldest form of marketing – word of mouth – still holds sway today. It would be a mistake, however, to think of social media as a free play. “Pay-to-Play” was once a term used exclusively for Chicago politicians, but to be effective in today’s carnivorous media environment, it is essential for marketers to invest across a spec-

trum of social tools, from search to influencer posts to sponsored ads and blogs. It is beyond the realm for most individual vineyards to mount a comprehensive paid social programme in a market the size of the U.S., which is where aggregated efforts on behalf of appellations as well as the national wine brand are most sensible. The U.S. is many regions, and

most New Zealand export strategies in the U.S. need to “cook on the coasts.” It is clear from the wine consumption statistics that the Pacific West Coast – California and Oregon in particular – and the Atlantic Northeast states – Massachusetts, Connecticut, New Jersey and New York – are the top wine drinkers in the U.S. – with the exception of the capital, Washington D.C., which is far and

away the #1 wine drinking spot in the U.S. The relationship between tourism and wine is well established, and with 26.5% growth in American tourists in the past year (322,000 visitors), there is ample opportunity to marry the natural splendor of New Zealand to drinking our wines back home. Articles published in 2017 such as “New Zealand’s Wine Won-

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derland” in Food & Wine about Central Otago and Wine Enthusiast’s tour of Marlborough – “The world’s Sauvignon Blanc capital has much more to offer than its signature wine” – are excellent examples of earned media that can be generated. Indeed, the wider New Zealand INC story in the U.S. adds premium to our entire export range. Several recent news stories and events – Emirates Team New Zealand’s win in the America’s Cup, Lorde topping the Billboard charts with her new album Melodrama, Rocket Lab’s successful launch, and LookSee Wellington’s promotion, which saw 48,000 people, including 7,000 Americans applying for 100 technology roles in the capital – all serve to inform Americans that New Zealand has an earthy, innovative, design-driven sophistication that is well-paired with our wine. Winegrowers may be interested

in the site produced by SweeneyVesty which, since 2000, has mapped over 12,000 stories about New Zealand innovation and achievement in many sectors, including wine, that have appeared in global media. Great marketing is as complex as making great wine, though Eleven Madison Park’s Will Guidara offers a cautionary note on the pathway to premium. “Wineries need to do what they do best and make great wines. That is the most important thing. Once you start investing more in your marketing team and sales team than you are in your vineyards and production methods, you have turned down a bad path. If you are making great wine, sommeliers will seek it out.”■ • Jane Vesty is CEO of SweeneyVesty, a global public relations and creative marketing company founded in Wellington in 1987.



Urban winery hatched from an egg Mary Shanahan


awke’s Bay winemaker Tony Bish is on track to open his urban winery – “theatre for the visiting public” –

in spring. Now acting as a consultant for Sacred Hill, having worked with the company’s founders, brothers David and Mark Mason, for 23 years, Bish has chosen Napier’s seaside suburb of Ahuriri as the setting for his own business venture, Tony Bish Wines. With its worker cottages, warehouses, bond stores and oil storage tanks, Ahuriri once serviced the needs of the origi-

nal inner harbour and nearby industrial-sized port. Over the last decade or so, the area has undergone a metamorphosis, with the tank farms gone, former woolstores finding new vocations as offices and apartments and cafes and boutique shops adding to an increasingly dynamic mix. In the midst of this gentrification, Bish has, as he says, secured “a primo site”. Tony Bish Wines is occupying the front portion of the National Tobacco Company building, the most celebrated of Napier architect Louis Hay’s designs and a drawcard for Art Deco tourists.

Beyond the building’s imposing entry, lavishly festooned with plasterwork grapevines and roses, former office space once occupied by Rothmans management is being reconfigured to accommodate the winery and hospitality facilities. Inspired by innovative cellars developed at Chateaux Pontet Canet and Cheval Blanc, the barrel hall is a veritable wine temple where visitors may pay homage to maturing Chardonnay. Separated from the entry lobby by an internal viewing window, the atmospherically lit barrel hall is stocked with traditional

French oak barrels, a trio of 1600 litre concrete egg fermenters and a theatrically displayed 2000 litre wooden ‘ovum’ crafted without the use of hoops by French tonnelliere Taransaud. “At most wineries,” Bish points out, “the public can’t see the working end of the business. This will be a lead-in in a nice way. They will be feeling inspired and have questions when they come to the counter, they won’t be walking in cold.” Work, meanwhile continues on the fit-out which encompasses a laboratory, staff room, store room, kitchen, private tast-

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The trigger for the urban winery was Tony Bish’s interest in making wine in ‘eggs’ such as this one.

ing rooms and a hospitality area. Walls will feature blown-up photographs of oak forests in France and the furnishings are to include rugs and a 20-seat taster bar. Visitors, including passengers from visiting cruise ships, will be able to draw on the on-site expertise in tasting and making purchases and, adding to that experience, complement their choice of wines with gourmet platters of charcuterie, cheeses and fruit. Only Chardonnay will made on site. Passionate about the variety, Bish is committed to reinventing the style, making wines, he says, with interest and integrity that he hopes will lure people

away from Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Gris. The egg fermenters are a further tool for crafting such wines, creating a very different palate profile to any other vessel he has worked with. The shape, he points out, allows movement of the wine over lees with no mechanical or manual involvement. The concrete imbues the developing wine with a desirable textural minerality and, unlike a barrel, doesn’t impart oak characters. The 2016 range, the first for Tony Bish Wines, comprised Fat and Sassy, which sells for around $20; Heartwood, which Bish characterises as a partnership of oak and wine; Golden Egg


Just round the corner from this historic Louis Hay designed entrance, is Tony Bish Wines.

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and Skeetfield, a single vineyard wine made from grapes sourced from Hawke’s Bay’s only dryfarmed old Mendoza and priced at $60 a bottle. A higher priced ultra-premium wine, matured in the wooden egg, will also join the selection, but Bish says he wants to walk before he runs. Visitors to the urban winery won’t be limited to tasting and buying Chardonnay, however. Handpicked local winemakers who don’t have cellar doors, including Warren Gibson and Rod Easthope, are being invited to supply quality wines. The trigger for the urban winery was Bish’s interest in making wine in ‘eggs’. Having read about concrete egg-shaped fermenters, he started thinking seriously about doing something similar after seeing them during his travels in Argentina in late 2013. However, making an eggshaped concrete vessel proved challenging. Undertaking the

Innovation is the key to moving forward, though there have been broken eggs along the way. It’s like making an omelette – but we’ve nailed it. research and development project with local manufacturer, New Zealand Tanks of Napier, called for ongoing refinement. This process ultimately produced the third and current generation egg, a two tonne fermenting vessel. “No-one was going to tell us how to do it,” Bish says of egg fermenters made overseas. “Innovation is the key to moving forward, though there have been broken eggs along the way. It’s like making an omelette – but we’ve nailed it.” A number of the fermenters have been purchased by New Zealand wineries, and Bish intends

exporting them to Australia. Sold through KTB Brokerage for $14,000, he says they would cost $6-8000 more to import. “We need to sell quite a lot more to cover the cost of developing the technology. I have been the guinea pig for this.” The fit-out activity at the urban winery is already attracting passersby curious to learn what’s happening in a building that has been vacant for 10 or so years, ever since Rothmans’s expansive holdings in Ahuriri were purchased by the McKimm family to establish a headquarters for their Big Save furniture

business. Adding property development to their core activities, Bish says the McKimms were waiting for the right concept to occupy the iconic National Tobacco Company building. He considers the craft brewery being developed in the balance of the 10,000sq m building to be “a really great synergy” with his urban winery. The syndicate involved in that venture includes Simon Gilbertson, an infrastructure provider to the New Zealand wine industry. Tony Bish Wines is to be a family enterprise, with wife Karryn and three of the couple’s four children - Oscar (24), Evie (18) and Maddy (17) involved. Twenty-one-year old Sam has taken another pathway, as a professional skydiver in Cairns. They’re neat kids,” says Tony, who is looking forward to being able to walk to work from his home on Napier Hill.■

GROWING THE FUTURE OF THE NEW ZEALAND WINE INDUSTRY Who will be the Bayer Young Viticulturist of the Year 2017? CENTRAL OTAGO Annabel Bulk, Felton Road

MARLBOROUGH Anthony Walsh, Constellation

NELSON Laurie Stradling, Kaimira Estate


HAWKE’S BAY Ben Richards, Indevin

WAIRARAPA Ben McNab-Jones, Urlar

A huge thank you to all our sponsors for making this competition possible

NATIONAL FINAL  29th August 2017, Villa Maria Estate, Marlborough Winner receives: Hyundai Santa Fe for a year, $5000 AGMARDT Travel Grant, $2000 cash, Leadership Week and support to Young Hort. Winner to be announced at the Bragato Wine Awards dinner on 31st August 2017



Air NZ Wine Awards


ew Zealand’s premier wine competition, the Air New Zealand Wine Awards, has a new Chair of Judges for 2017. Warren Gibson, chief winemaker at Trinity Hill and proprietor of Bilancia in the Hawke’s Bay, takes over the helm from Kumeu River’s Michael Brajkovich MW, who served as Chair of Judges from 2011 to 2016. Gibson has been a regular on the judging scene over the years at New Zealand’s major wine competitions as well as at a range of wine shows in Australia. He acknowledges he has big shoes to fill following Brajkovich’s tenure, but he is excited by this new challenge. “I would like to respect and continue the great work of Michael’s Chairpersonship along with the previous efforts of many others”, says Gibson. “In saying that, I am also currently discussing potential to make small positive changes to help keep the awards evolving and relevant. “My motivation is to provide an excellent environment over the judging period followed by excellent results. I am confident that from the amazing people that are stewarding, organising and generally doing the hard graft behind the scenes through to the

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Warren Gibson

judges actually awarding the medals we will achieve this”. Although wine shows tend to polarise opinion in the wine industry, Gibson believes they can be hugely important in a number of different ways. These include opportunities for wineries to benchmark their wines, market their successes of medals and trophies, and celebrate the industry and regions. “The Air New Zealand Wine Awards also gives us the ability to invite world-class wine commentators to judge in the show

and, more importantly, to spend time in our regions and leave as future ambassadors for New Zealand wine”, he says. 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 1,600 grape growers and winemakers. Entries for the 2017 competition open to New Zealand wineries on Monday 7 August. ■

AIR NEW ZEALAND WINE AWARDS DINNER With entries opening for this prestigious competition on August 7, it’s also time to think about booking your tickets for the awards dinner. This year the event will take place in Hawke’s Bay at the Pettigrew Green Arena on November 25. Global Marketing Director for NZW, Chris Yorke, says the Air New Zealand Wine Awards dinner is the big night for this country’s wine industry. “Winning a trophy or medal is recognition of the hard work and skill that goes into making the wine and lets consumers know they are drinking some of the finest wine in the world.” Air New Zealand Wine Award Dates Monday 7 August – Entries open Friday 8 September – Entries close Monday 16 to Wednesday 18 October – Judging at Mt Smart Stadium, Auckland Wednesday 1 November –Gold Medal results announced to public/media Saturday 25 November – Hawke’s Bay Gold & Silver Medal Tasting Awards Dinner at Pettigrew Green Arena, Hawke’s Bay Wednesday 29 November – Marlborough Trophy, Gold & Silver Medal Tasting Thursday 30 November – Central Otago Trophy, Gold & Silver Medal Tasting Friday 1 December – Auckland Trophy, Gold & Silver Medal Tasting



Fruit is the hero in Doppio Joelle Thomson


ou can only buy them as a twopack direct from the winery and they were bottled straight from barrel with a smidgeon of SO2. They were devised to highlight the differences between the two clones of Syrah (MS and Chave) grown at Ash Ridge Estate in Hawke’s Bay and they are intended as an experimental duo rather than a ‘this one’s better than that one’ exercise. Meet Doppio. The word is Italian for double – as in, double espresso. So, it’s a fitting name for a new duo of deeply coloured Syrahs from Ash Ridge Estate. Winemaker Lauren Swift produced just 280 two-packs of the wines, which were made from the same vineyard site, from which Swift had noticed big differences in the taste of the wines made from each different clones. The wines come from the 2014 vintage – a very good quality one in the Bay, due to a

long, dry summer. “The Chave clone behaves extremely differently in the vineyard and is always balanced with very little done to it. We spur prune it and have a very open canopy and hardly fruit thin at all whereas with the MS you need to fruit thin a lot - the bunches are huge, it grows a lot of leaf that you’ve got to remove and we trim it two to three times a season whereas the Chave we only trim once when it gets to the top of the posts.” MS is the clone that is most widely used in Hawke’s Bay. Both clones were harvested at 21 brix and are 13% ABV. They each spent nearly two years in barrel and one in bottle prior to release. ■

Doppio winemaker, Lauren Swift.

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Celebrity wine ambassadors: are they worth it? Lee Suckling


f you’ve seen the 2003 film Lost In Translation, you’ll know what Suntory Whisky is. Actor Bill Murray famously portrays the brand’s ambassador, much to his character’s discontent. He is put through a rigmarole of advertising and sponsorship commit-

ments and the audience can tell from the beginning of the film that he is only in it for the money. Many wineries have “wine ambassador” roles, assumed as general marketing activity by way of hosting, local market engagement, and managing of countries within a wine portfolio. There are some big names out

James Bond and Bollinger, one of the great ambassadorial links in the world of wine.

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Television host Graham Norton’s ambassadorial role with Invivo has helped promote the label in the UK, Ireland, Australia and New Zealand.

there in spirit ambassadorship – actress Mila Kunis for Jim Beam Bourbon, actor Kevin Spacey for Jameson Irish Whiskey, singer Justin Timberlake for Sauza 901 Tequila – however the realm of celebrity ambassadorship, akin to the way liquor companies like Suntory Whisky and these others operate, is something wine labels aren’t so accustomed to. Though there are exceptions. In the New Zealand wine world, Invivo is the most prominent example of having a successful

wine ambassadorship. The company provides the wine for The Graham Norton Show, and host Graham Norton reciprocates by participating in a range of marketing activities (and helped develop his own vintage: Graham Norton’s Own Sauvignon Blanc). The result has been ideal for Invivo. It sells well in New Zealand, Australia, the UK and in particular Ireland (Norton’s home country), where “the brand is flying... stores are selling out,” says Invivo co-founder Tim Light-

bourne. In June this year, Invivo found another – and perhaps more peculiar – wine ambassador, this time to help represent the brand in the US market. On board jumped former model Nigel Barker, most well-known as a host of America’s Next Top Model. The courtship story goes that Barker fell in love with Invivo whilst shooting America’s Next Top Model in Auckland in 2012, and Lightbourne and Invivo partner Rob Cameron shipped Barker their

wine for five years for his personal consumption. Lightbourne says Invivo has exceeded its original Stateside sales targets and Barker is keen on a Norton-style wine collaboration (which Invivo also did with TV presenter Paul Henry in 2016, mind you). Overseas, various wineries have been successful in wooing celebrities to represent their brands. In 2005 G.H. Mumm paired up with musician Carlos Santana, where Santana helped

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select the final blend of a champagne and was paid royalties for the use of his name and image. In 2009, chef Gordon Ramsay, who uses Bordeaux label Château Bauduc as the house wine in his Michelin-starred restaurants, agreed to lend his name and signature to the wine for free. “We are not paying Gordon any royalties for this – neither for the signature nor for the link from his website,” said Château Bauduc owner Gavin Quinney, noting that his winery earned Gordon’s ambassadorship “from consistent hard work and quality”. Though other celebrities appear to favour financial compensation over ambassadorship “for the love of the wine”, some other exceptions reportedly exist, including singer Bob Dylan with Italian winery Fattoria Le Terrazze. The phrase “celebrity wine” can’t be uttered without mentioning actor Sam Neill, who owns Central Otago’s Two Paddocks. Rather than a mere ambassador, Neill spends the majority of his time on his property (four small vineyards making up the Two

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Paddocks winery) when he’s not shooting Hollywood films or BBC miniseries. Neill’s foray into wine is familial: his father’s family owned Dunedin-based wine importer Neill and Co. in the late 1800s. Another Kiwi example of a moviemaker-cum-winemaker is cinematographer Michael Seresin, who founded Marlborough’s Seresin Estate in 1992. The financial incentive for wine ambassadors varies depending on arrangement, with most of these kept secret. Ownership in such a way as Seresin and Neill’s examples is common overseas (the biggest celebrity wine name on the planet likely being The Godfather director Francis Ford Coppola), though there are examples of partial ownership here: in both 2014 and 2015, Graham Norton purchased one per cent stakes in Invivo. Why partner up with a celebrity ambassador? A wine company with a big-name star singing its praises effectively reaches that celebrity’s whole audience. In fact, a Neilson Consumer Insights study found that 64 per cent of people who follow celebrities’


social media profiles also follow the brands that are related to them. This makes for excellent online reach across the globe. Moreover, of all categories, food and beverage is the fifthmost-likely recommendation consumers will spend money on upon celebrity recommendation, behind only movies, music, TV, and other websites. Wine brands seek out celebrity ambassadors for a variety of reasons, not just because they can influence purchases. They’re great for brand awareness and mass exposure which can lead to corporate deals: Invivo’s example proved highly successful this year when it was chosen as the official wine of the 2017 Eurovision competition. They’re also good for brand positioning, especially if you’re trying to maintain prestige. Champagne brands are very keen on this, as seen with Moët and Chandon’s ambassadors, tennis star Roger Federer and before him, actress Scarlett Johansson. And you can’t forget what the fictional character of James Bond has done for Bollinger.

Getting a celebrity on board as a wine ambassador involves time, effort, and expense. It’s also risky: celebrities are known for scandal, and a brand can also find itself frantically trying to distance itself from an ambassador in cases of dishonour or illegal activity. Though no wine-specific examples exist, some beverage brands have been tasked with spending years trying to shake bad reputations off. Two instances are what PepsiCo did after its ambassador Michael Jackson confessed to painkiller addiction and was accused of child molestation in 1993, and the disastrous situation for cognac maker Rémy Martin, which struggled after its ambassador, rapper T.I., was arrested for drug possession in 2010. A celebrity ambassador can be highly effective if integrated into a long-term marketing strategy (as Graham Norton is proving), but it shouldn’t be forgotten that in less fortunate cases – even when a celebrity is long-dropped by a brand – the media articles and negative association will live on.■

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IWSC – a success story Te s s a N i c h o l s o n


n the past three years, New Zealand wines have had one of the highest success rates of any country at the prestigious International Wine and Spirits Competition (IWSC). New Zealand ambassador for the competition, Jo Burzynska, is hoping we can replicate those past results in 2017. Entries are now open, with the deadline date of August 28 for entries and samples to be received in the UK, looming. The IWSC has been a part of the international wine competition calendar since 1969. While New Zealand hasn’t been represented over all those years, in the more recent ones it has done remarkably well. What’s more, the varietal range gaining

accolades and more importantly trophies has been vast. Burzynska says since 2013 the medal percentage of New Zealand has been 85 percent or higher every year. “That means 85 percent or more of New Zealand wines entered into the competition have gained a medal. Putting that into perspective, this is not just a turn up and if you are okay you get a medal kind of competition. To get even a bronze, the wines need to be offering something special.” In comparison, the New Zealand 85 percent or more medal percentage is above the rest of the competition. In 2016 the total average of medals was 79 percent for the competition. In 2015 it was 76 percent.

KEY DATES Entries are open now – details at Entries close and samples must be received in the UK by August 28 IWSC, working with logistics partner Hellman, will send a consolidated air freight shipment with entries – the deadline for being included is August 14. Awards dinner – Nov 15 – Guild Hall, London

“So New Zealand is always punching above its weight,” Burzynska says. And it is not only our flagship wine Sauvignon Blanc that has stood out. Over recent years there has been a vast range of varieties taking out the top product trophies. (These are only awarded to noble grape varieties). In the past

six years, New Zealand has won at least one top trophy, every year. Last year we won the top Sauvignon Blanc as well as the top Pinot Noir trophies. In 2015, we won the Sauvignon Blanc trophy. In 2014, we won the Riesling, Pinot Noir and Single Vineyard White Wine trophies. And in 2013, it was three trophies again, for

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Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Noir. “So there have been some really, really strong wins for New Zealand.” In terms of the competition judging, the IWSC is very different to others. Owning their own premises, Burzynska says they are able to carry out their judging over a seven-month period. Which means the wines can be judged as they hit the market, rather than wines from New Zealand having to wait until the year after release to be entered. “Historically the dates of many Northern Hemisphere competitions don’t work very well for New Zealand wines. Whereas with the IWSC there has been a move to undertake all the Southern Hemisphere judging in the latter part of the cycle. As New Zealand is the last country in the world to harvest its

grapes, it has the last position in the competition. This enables the new, freshest vintages to be judged.” It also allows any winning wineries a chance to make the most of those wins, while the wine is still available. There is one other major component that makes the IWSC stand out and that is the chemical analysis of all the winning wines. Burzynska says having a fingerprint of the winning wine batch, ensures there are no show wines or blends going into the competition, providing consumers with an assurance that if they purchase a winning wine, it is in fact the exact wine that won the award, medal or trophy. Judging of the New Zealand wines will take place early September, with the initial results due out later that month. The final product and country trophies won’t be announced until the awards dinner, to be held at the Guild Hall in the city of London on November 15.■ tessa.nicholson@


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IWSC New Zealand ambassador, Jo Burzynska. PHOTO KURT LANGER.

Address: 91A Richard Pearse Drive, Airport Oaks, Manukau, Auckland and 6 Morse Road, Christchurch Email: NZ WINEGROWER  AUGUST/SEPTEMBER 2017  //   95


Smart infiltration technology Te s s a N i c h o l s o n


New Zealand based company is breaking ground when it comes to removing unwanted molecules

from wine. Ligar has developed a “smart” material that can absorb those unwanted organic nasties, such as specific phenols, agrochemicals, toxins and taints, without impacting on aroma and flavour. CEO Nigel Slaughter says the molecular technology is referred to as MIPs, molecularly

imprinted polymers. These polymers are what undertake the task of removal in a very specific way. “It’s what we call a smart material,” he says. “Imagine you have a children’s shape sorter, with circles, triangles and square blocks. You have to put each shape into the correct sorter. What we design is material or polymer where the holes in the shape sorter are all one shape, a square or triangle which matches the shape (of the molecule) you are trying to remove.”

So if a particular taint is deemed as say a triangle, the polymer is developed into a triangle and will only absorb other triangles, nothing else. Ligar has been working with a range of industries and began investigating wine filtration in 2011. Slaughter says they had discussions with a number of larger wine companies who were keen to see if pesticide removal was a possibility. “They said if we could get pyrimethanil out of wine, that

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would be a good start. So we started to see if we could do that, and that took us on to other pesticides and that got us into smoke taint. After the big Australian bush fires, there were big losses in the wine industry because of smoke taint. So we started looking to see if we could deal with that.” A learning process evolved, which is now allowing Ligar to research other possibilities for MIPs. “One of the filtration compa-

Ligar CEO, Nigel Slaughter.

nies in the industry asked if we would deal with brettanomyces taint, which has an overlap with smoke taint. Now we have a PhD student in Germany who is evaluating the ability of polymers to

remove the brett taint and that is showing some very good results.” The polymers come in two different forms, small beads or filter plates containing MIP powder. Slaughter says the beads are

coated with the relevant absorption material and placed within the filtration system. Early trials made use of loose powder, which he says could be used in the wine fermentation. “In these trials with wine, we took a handful of powder, placed it in the tank, gave it a stir and then filtered the powder out before testing the wine. We’re now using the filter plates within industry standard plate and frame systems.” Sceptics may be reluctant to add something to their wine, given the strict regulations from importing countries, but Slaughter says they have taken all that into account. “We have one polymer which is food safe according to FDA and EFSA requirments and one which is going through the food contact registration process in Europe. We have gone through rigorous testing proving it doesn’t have a negative effect, which is why it

has taken us since 2011 to get to this stage.” With the food safe polymers now approved, even larger trials on wine can be undertaken. “We are looking for wine companies to work with in New Zealand at this stage,” he says. Before the product will come onto the market, there will be more development and trials, including vinification to ensure that flavour and aroma are not affected. And for the all-important export market, Ligar is working towards having the system registered as a wine treatment method by OIV in Europe and the TTB in the US. “New wine treatment methods have to be approved and registered, so that process is now underway.” If you would like more information about MIPs, or are keen to take part in trials, contact Nigel Slaughter; nigel@ligarpolymers. com■


New Zealand Aromatic Wine Competition The competition is open to all Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Gris, Gewürztraminer, Rosé and any other wine varieties made in an aromatic style, from any internationally recognised region. INTRODUCING

�e Canterbury Wine Competition The Canterbury Wine Competition is a subsidiary of the New Zealand Aromatic Wine Competition. It aims to promote Canterbury wines to the wine industry and consumers. The competition is open to all wine varieties produced in Canterbury. Entrants may enter in either competition separately for $70 per wine. Wines that qualify for both competitions will be judged in both shows for no extra entry fee. Winning wines will be displayed in the Food and Wine Village at the 2017 Canterbury A&P Show. The Canterbury A&P Show is the largest event of its kind in the country, welcoming 100,000 visitors to Canterbury Agricultural Park from 15-17 November 2017.

WWW.AROMATICWINE.CO.NZ Entries close 4 October 2017



Ozone, nature’s disinfectant Te s s a N i c h o l s o n


Hasting’s based company is celebrating three innovation awards, for a product that could have a major impact on the world of viticulture. Hydratorq Ltd, distributor for BioFume Ozone, picked up the Locus Research Innovation Award and Fieldays Innovation Launch Award at Mystery Creek this year, and a few weeks later won the innovation award at the National Horticulture Fieldays in Hawke’s Bay. The awards were for their ground-breaking development of a

product that could deliver ozone directly onto plants, disinfecting them. There is nothing new about the sterilising abilities of ozone. When mixed with water it is 3000 times faster acting at killing bacteria, fungus and mold than chlorine. The biggest problem is, it is so unstable. Ozone has a halflife in water of

approximately 20 minutes after being formed, meaning its use in the past has been confined to buildings, and not in the field. Ozone or O3 is a naturally occurring gas, created via an electrical shock. The shock separates oxygen’s two molecules, leaving singles to join up with

other oxygen molecules, creating ozone. Within a short time frame, the third molecule breaks off, leaving just oxygen or O2. Greig Denham from Hydratorq Ltd says there is no residual effect after 20 minutes. As for the sterilizing capabilities, trials in the US have shown

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ozone is effective on mites, fungus, powdery mildew and botrytis. After this year’s autumn weather, anything that deals with botrytis in such an organic way, could be a godsend for the wine industry. BioFume Ozone has developed a system where the unstable gas can be mixed on the spot with water, within a spray unit. “It is a relatively small electrical unit that connects to a 12 volt power supply,” Denham says. “The operator would simply fill his tank with water, plug the unit into the tractor, the Biofume patented Ozone unit has an inverter in line that connects to an ozone generator which creates a controlled electrical storm in a box creating ozone. This ozone gas is then injected into the water and applied.” The ozone line is attached directly into the sprayer pump. This ensures specific levels of ozone hitting the required target. The innovation means there is no mixing of ozone in the tank, prior to the actual spraying – removing any danger of gas build up. The Judges at this year’s Fieldays said the innovation has applications across multiple agricultural sectors. “The company has taken some older technology and integrated it into a system that has shown some early promise of delivery of significant benefit to the industry. Their delivery mechanism allows ozone utilization in different agricultural areas, including cleaning, bacterial management and bleaching. This minimizes the use of chemicals and reduces costs. Judges were confident applications across dairy, viticulture and horticulture will likely see benefits from this innovation.” But wait there is more. Not only is this a natural sterilizer that can kill all sorts of nasties in the vineyard, it may also have another application – bird control. Given the cost of netting

and bird control to prevent berry damage as the fruit ripens, this could be a simple solution. Denham says when they were conducting trials in kiwifruit orchards after the PSA outbreak, growers noticed the number of insects had diminished significantly. So too had the number of birds. Further research showed that birds with a highly tuned respiratory system do not like the smell of ozone. In fact they hate it. One sniff and they are off seeking out less gaseous pastures. Ozone gas pumped through PVC pipes are now keeping a number of commercial facilities in the country free from pesky birds nesting in their rafters. Imagine if you could do something similar in your vineyard once veraison begins? Plus there is the added advantage that any bacteria, fungus or mite that is in the flight path of the gas, would be killed instantly or deterred There may be even more good news for growers from the ozone story. Exposing fruit to a burst of ozone gas is similar to ‘vaccinating’ them against fungal attack, scientists at Newcastle University have found. The team, led by microbiologist Dr Ian Singleton and plant biologist Prof Jerry Barnes, has shown that exposing tomatoes to ozone before infecting them with fungus, reduced lesion development by up to 60 per cent. Admittedly tomatoes are very different to grapes – but it would be interesting to undertake research on the impacts of spraying fruit with ozone prior to PBC, to see if it helped provide a barrier within the skin of the grape against something like botrytis or powdery mildew. The potential is huge and the best thing of all for growers contemplating the new technology, is it is clean, organic and sustainable, with no risk of residue.■

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HAPPY BIRTHDAY KIM AND JEANETTE! “Jeanette and I are planning to have a combined celebration for our 80th birthdays with our closest friends from all around the world at a beautiful Italian villa in Tuscany, in June, 2017. I hope that I am not being too optimistic in assuming that we will both make it...” Kim and Jeanette Goldwater were the pioneering winemakers on Waiheke Island. They developed a large and successful brand, Goldwater Estate, by expanding into Marlborough before ultimately retiring from the wine business. The wine faculty of Auckland University now runs their former Waiheke winery. Their birthday invitation went out to over 60 family members and friends. They had booked a villa near Siena for four nights and had planned,

with infinite care, two birthday dinners at Villa di Geggiano and a long lunch at one of my favourite Tuscan wine producers, Badia a Coltibuono. It was the best, and certainly the most stylish, birthday bash I have ever attended. Accommodation was at Borgo Scopeto,

a beautiful old rural estate with vineyards and olive groves together with a classy restaurant, two swimming pools, an 18th century garden and a tennis court. The weather behaved brilliantly. Old friendships were cemented and new friendships

MORE THAN 40 YEARS AGO TODAY... I recently came across some old copies of a wine industry magazine called Wine Review. The 1976 edition of this quarterly publication included a chart showing the vineyard area and number of growers in each region. Interesting to note that Auckland (Warkworth to Pukekohe) had four times the vineyard area of Marlborough. Gisborne had a larger acreage than Hawke’s Bay. Nelson and the Wairarapa virtually didn’t exist as wine regions. Marlborough had only two growers – Montana was one, it’s my guess that Hunter’s, Lawson’s Dry Hills or Te Whare Ra was the other. There were no vineyards south of Marlborough. Muller-Thurgau was the dominant grape variety with twice the acreage of Palomino (a sherry grape) in second place. The hybrid Baco 22A was third just ahead of Cabernet Sauvignon which was followed by Seibel 5455 (another hybrid), Chasselas and Pinotage. We’ve come a long way.

100   // 


made. Speeches in praise of the birthday couple were delivered with great sincerity and passion. The food was great and the wine flowed freely. One of the most memorable moments was during a formal dinner at Villa do Geggiano, a grand old restored villa dating back to the 14th century. A waiter burst into song, startling the guests around him. A second waiter joined him, then a third. They were seriously good. The guests went into a stunned silence. Later we discovered that all three were professional opera singers who had travelled from Milan. They entertained us for the rest of the evening. Fantastic! Thank you, Kim and Jeanette, for curating the world’s most successful birthday party. I look forward to the 100th.

IGNORANT WINE WAITERS Leading a wine tour in Italy it was my job to select wines for the group while dining at mostly very good restaurants. The size of our party meant that we needed two bottles of each wine. The wine waiter at every restaurant we visited would unfailingly invite me to taste and approve the first bottle before pouring both. They seemed startled when I asked to taste the second bottle. The ceremony of opening a bottle of wine and inviting a customer to taste it has become just that, a ceremony

with no practical purpose, at least in the minds of Italian wine waiters. I’ve experienced the same “open one, pour two” ritual in this country, although it is less common here. On a slightly different note, I always accept the waiter’s invitation to taste the wine even if the bottle is sealed with a screwcap and unlikely to suffer from cork taint. I like to check the temperature of the wine in case I need to request a bucket of ice or warm water.

WELL DONE AUSTRALIA Under the heading “Australia crushing it at wine comps” the Daily Wine News crowed about Australia’s performance at the Decanter World Wine Awards. “Of the 981 awards Australian wines received, 6.7 per cent were gold and above. In comparison, of the 3,781 awards France received, 3.6 per cent were gold and above. Italy received 2,802 awards, 2.7 per cent of which were gold and above.” A table illustrated Australia’s success against other countries by quoting the percentage of gold and above awards earned at the

competition: Italy 2.7% USA 3.5% France 3.6% South Africa 3.9% Spain 4.0% Chile 4.2% Argentina 5.9% Australia 6.7% But wait, they forgot to include New Zealand’s tally of gold and above awards … 8.3%

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HML Silco and HML32 Hit botrytis and powdery mildew hard, right between the berries.

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Proven by the experts: Efficacy screening by Professor Gubler at UC Davis showed a combination of HML32, Sulphur and HML Silco outperformed the best chemical alternatives within that trial.

2016 Control of grape powdery mildew (UC Davis) severe pressure. HML32, HML Silco and additives at 10-14 day intervals. Top treatment was the all-season HML32/Silco/Sulphur combination.



% Incidence

% Severity





Best Chemical




HML32+Silco with HML32+Sulphur




HML32+Silco (no sulphur)








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Disease incidence (%)

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Disease severity (%)

% bunch area infected averaged over all fruit inspected



18% Untreated





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0.7% 0.0




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Head of school retires Mary Shanahan


iane Marshall recently retired after 11-plus years as head of EIT’s School of Viticulture and Wine Science, rounding off a career in education that spanned more than 41 years. Chief executive Chris Collins said Marshall had shown leadership, commitment and passion in her role at EIT and she had left the school in a better place than when she started. Under Marshall’s watch, the school’s suite of programmes has developed into New Zealand’s widest range of viticulture and wine science qualifications. Study options encompass certificates, diplomas, bachelor degrees and graduate diplomas and cover

grape growing, winemaking, wine business and wine marketing. It was during her tenure that the Bachelor of Wine Science and the Bachelor of Viticulture became the first of EIT’s 12 bachelor degrees to be studied online as blended learning programmes. Executive dean of the Faculty of Commerce and Technology Fred Koenders said Marshall managed EIT’s longstanding relationship with Charles Sturt University in Australia, which had underpinned the two degrees. After gaining a Bachelor of Science degree, Diane completed a teaching course in Christchurch and took up her first job teaching science at Mt Maunganui College. Fourteen years ago she felt

Dianne Marshall


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ready for a change when she enrolled in EIT’s Bachelor of Wine Science programme. When the head of school position came up, several lecturers encouraged her to apply. “They persisted and I’m glad they did,” she says. “I loved the job and it kept me in contact with the wine industry and on the fringe of people doing research. “Perhaps you could say I am an education junkie,” says Diane. “Retiring is my leaving school really.”

Winemakers join the new look team Two well-known and highly regarded winemakers have bolstered EIT’s School of Viticulture and Wine Science. Dr David Bloomfield, who is teaching wine science and wine chemistry to bachelor degree students, established Bloomfield Vineyards in Masterton in 1986. As well as running the winery, vineyards and an on-site restaurant/café, he was the company’s winemaker for 13 years. Commuting weekly from the Wairarapa, where his wife is based as a geriatrician,Bloomfield has been a consultant winemaker for Martinborough wineries Murdoch James Estate and Coney Wines. While studying for a PhD in wine science, Bloomfield was an assistant lecturer and teaching fellow at Lincoln University. After gaining his doctorate

degree, he completed a Postgraduate Diploma in Teaching. Although he had considered himself semi-retired, he was attracted to working at EIT, seeing it is an opportunity to join a school that is building an international reputation. “It’s important not be seen as educating winemakers and viticulturists just for the Hawke’s Bay or New Zealand industry,” he says. “We are educating them to work anywhere.” Teaching wine business management and winery engineering, Ant Mackenzie has worked in a variety of industry roles – winemaker, consultant winemaker, general manager and production manager-- for such leading New Zealand wineries as the Mud House Wine Group, Waiaua Bay Farm (encompassing Te Awa, Dry River and Kidnapper Cliffs), Spy Valley Wines and the Framingham Wine Company. Mackenzie established his own business Ant Mackenzie Wines Ltd, in Hawke’s Bay in 2013 and has launched his own range of wines over the past two years. He has also undertaken vintage and consultancy work for wineries in China, Spain, the USA and Australia as well as in New Zealand. A senior wine judge at the New Zealand International Wine Show, he has judged in many other competitions including the Hawke’s Bay A & P Bayleys Wine Awards.■

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Among the vines Advice for August and September


ith the last of pruning being completed, it is vital to protect pruning wounds with an effective pruning paint such as Greenseal Ultra or using a spray-on protectant such as Gelseal Ultra Spray-On. Sprayon protectants have been shown in lab and field tests to provide good protection against wood diseases as long as the wounds are sufficiently covered, so the sprayer setup needs to be right for it to work. As spring approaches, it is time to get the sprayer out of the shed again. It is important to consider the various pest and

disease pressures specific to each block when determining the dormant and early season spray programme. A late dormant application of lime sulphur can be used as a broad-spectrum clean-up spray to target a range of pests and diseases. But there are some drawbacks to using lime sulphur and some more targeted approaches can be more effective and sustainable. In blocks with high powdery mildew disease carry-over, lime sulphur can reduce the inoculum load from chasmothecia. However, because powdery mildew can grow so rapidly, a robust spring and summer programme

is required regardless of the dormant applications. It is difficult to justify a dormant lime sulphur application based solely on suppression of powdery mildew inoculum. Once shoots emerge, the new tissue should be protected from powdery mildew infection. Kumulus is a good protectant but in high disease pressure blocks, JMS Stylet Oil should be used as it provides eradication of existing infections as well as some protection. Both products provide control of Erinose Mite. Copper such as Kocide Opti, or Dithane Rainshield provide protection against a range of diseases such

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as anthracnose, Phomopsis, and Downy mildew which can be a particular issue during the wetter spring periods we often experience. Remember to take care with maintaining adequate intervals between applying oil and sulphur or lime sulphur. The first step in a mealybug control programme is to apply Tokuthion with mineral oil prior to bud burst. Although Tokuthion is a broad-spectrum insecticide, there is very low activity of beneficial insects during the late winter so there is a negligible impact on biological control and maximum impact on the mealybug population.■

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Chenin’s rise and fall Joelle Thomson


henin Blanc in New Zealand is in free fall, having declined by over 50% in the past decade from 50 hectares nationwide in 2007 to just 24 hectares today. It is not on the radar of the many wineries experimenting with little known European grape varieties, such as Albarino, Arneis, Gruner Veltliner or Vermentino, and yet Chenin Blanc has (like Riesling) an extremely noble, highly respected history. And it also has the potential to age, evolve positively and remain fresh for decades (also like Riesling). So, why is it so under rated, under the radar and on a continuous decline?

Recently I hosted a Chenin Blanc tasting which was a sell out. I selected sparkling, dry and sweet wines made from Chenin Blanc, which came from France, South Africa and New Zealand. The oldest wine we tasted was from 2005 but in selecting wines for the event, we had local Chenins going back to 2001, which were drinking extremely well. Winemaker Simon Waghorn from Astrolabe Wines in Marlborough joined us for the tasting and gave his views on Chenin Blanc’s history and potential in New Zealand. He has made seven vintages of Wrekin Vineyard Chenin Blanc from Marlborough now, including his latest, 2017, which has yet to

be bottled. When he started making wine in the late 1980s, he worked at Te Kauwhata with the Chenin Blanc grape, which was very highly cropped in those days as one of the country’s work horse grapes. “It seemed to fade out as it had been identified as a bulk variety, so people generally seemed to view it as poor quality or, at best, a grape with little promise or interest.” The exceptions to this have been James Millton of The Millton Vineyard in Gisborne and Gordon Russell of Esk Valley in Hawke’s Bay. Both winemakers have consistently made very good quality Chenin Blanc and Millton is the country’s biggest producer

and champion of the variety. Fast forward to today and there is a handful of Chenin Blanc producers in New Zealand and the wines are, arguably, the best they have ever been, clearly demonstrating the potential to age well for the long haul. And yet, Chenin Blanc has declined. Waghorn suggests that one reason for its decline is that it needs to be cropped at levels that can make it unattractive to high volume wine production. “It is a very acidic grape and I think that many growers have realised they can’t crop it at the same level as Sauvignon Blanc and expect to get away with it,” he says. “If they did crop it the same

“It is very strange, in my view, that Chenin has largely been ignored while other alternative grape varieties are being explored,” Simon Waghorn says.

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way as Sauvignon Blanc, the wines would be too tart. This is why I have selected a very sunny clay hillside site on which to grow the grapes for Wrekin Vineyard Chenin Blanc. This wine is made from vines that are cropped at about seven to eight tonnes per hectare whereas Sauvignon Blanc would probably be cropped at

ture and providing a long finish. Waghorn says he finds it difficult to understand why Chenin Blanc is so ignored today because he sees strong high quality potential for this grape in New Zealand. “It is extremely well suited to our cool climate and the wines we make from it clearly do extremely well in the short, medium and

If they did crop it the same way as Sauvignon Blanc, the wines would be too tart. This is why I have selected a very sunny clay hillside site on which to grow the grapes for Wrekin Vineyard Chenin Blanc. about 12 tonnes quite comfortably.” The numbers don’t stack up as attractively in other ways too, says Waghorn. He ensures that he hand picks his Chenin Blanc grapes, which are then whole bunch cluster pressed and fermented on solids, about 40% of them in oak barrels with wild yeast while the remainder are fermented in stainless with commercial yeast strains. His aim is to make a medium to full bodied dry white wine with texture and interesting flavours; a wine that will age well and will sit stylistically somewhere between Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Gris and Chardonnay – “It’s what I call the Bermuda Triangle of those wines because of the way it’s made. It has low pH and high acidity and there’s no botrytis. I’ve tried to leave botrytis fruit behind if I get it and I have made a sticky, but the dry white is very bullet proof for aging.” It also tastes good now as an unmistakably dry white wine with weight, good flavour intensity (white flowers, dry straw, clover honey) and high acid adding a framework of interesting struc-

long term,” he says. “It is very strange, in my view, that Chenin has largely been ignored while other alternative grape varieties are being explored, because I think that Chenin is a far better grape variety than any of the others we are experimenting with in New Zealand right now. “Riesling and Chenin are two varieties that can certainly, if well made and put in the bottle correctly, keep getting better and improve over time, so that’s why I’m pursuing it in Marlborough.” Like James Millton, Waghorn also has history with the variety. Not only in his own winemaking career, but in tasting outstanding examples from other winemakers, such as Denis Irwin’s low cropping Chenin Blanc, which was, says Waghorn, the most expressive grape out of the vineyard in his early winemaking career. The kings of New Zealand Chenin Blanc were the Collard brothers on Lincoln Road in West Auckland; a winemaking family whose brand has now completely disappeared, but which was – like Waghorn’s - affordable, accessible, age worthy and a high quality


wine when youthful too. Ironically enough, Chenin Blanc comes from exactly the same part of the world as Sauvignon Blanc does – the Loire Valley, which is situated along the longest river in France; the Loire. The winery that dominated the Chenin Blanc tasting was Domaine des Baumard, which is based in the heart of Anjou in a town called Rochfort-sur-Loire. The vineyard has been owned by the Baumard family since 1634 and is now run by Florent Baumard, who is regarded by many wine critics as one of the greatest Loire Valley and white wine producers in the world. His yields are low at 1.5 to 2.5 tonnes to the acre. All his grapes are hand harvested and directly pressed swiftly to preserve freshness. Baumard makes several different blends of Savennieres, Coteaux du Layon and Quarts de Chaume; important Chenin Blanc appellation controlees (legally

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protected winemaking areas in France). His wines age superbly and are modestly priced from $18 upwards. And interestingly, Baumard has bucked the French trend by being a 100% convert to screwcaps since 2005 when he experienced a vintage of very poor quality cork. There are a number of wineries in New Zelaand making small quantities of Chenin Blanc today. These include: Astrolabe in Marlborough, Margrain in Martinborough, Mount Difficulty and Amisfield in Central Otago, Esk Valley and Maxim in Hawke’s Bay and The Millton Vineyard in Gisborne. Chenin Blanc has declined in France from 16,594 hectares in 1958 to 9,828 hectares in 2008*. However it is the most planted grape in South Africa today where there are 18,852 hectares*.■ Source: Wine Grapes by Jancis Robinson MW, Julia Harding MW and Jose Vouillamoz

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Stimulating soil microbes improves wine quality Te s s a N i c h o l s o n


ines are made in the vineyard as we all know, but the impact of recent trials has added even more weight to the statement. New Zealand owned company BioStart has conducted many trials over the years to determine how successful their product Mycorrcin is in increasing wine quality.

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Mycorrcin contains extracts from the fermentation of the bacteria Pseudomonas putida and other nutrients. It stimulates the activity of mycorrhizal fungi and other beneficial bacteria which convert the all-important nutrients within the soil, into nitrogen, sulphur and phosphorous, for the plant to use. R&D Director of BioStart Jerome Demmer says mycorrhizal fungi also help improve moisture retention, soil


structure and have been found to help build the plant’s defense mechanism against root disease. Original trials with the product were conducted on Merlot in Hawke’s Bay’s Gimblett Gravels. With the soil structure mainly made up of rocks, Demmer says they wanted to determine if Mycorrcin would activate the soil enough to provide a continual supply of phosphate to the plant. The trial proved successful, but

Two microvins were made from the Pinot Noir – one a table wine, the other a sparkling base.

it was the serendipitous followon that has the company truly excited. Wines made from treated and untreated vines within the same block threw up some interesting material. When tasted blind by Master of Wine Bob Campbell, all the wines made from treated fruit ranked higher than those from untreated fruit. To determine if this was just a one-off, BioStart undertook further trials on a Pinot Noir block in Marlborough and a Sauvignon Blanc block in the Awatere Valley. While initially the trials were looking at soil conditions, the opportunity came up to follow through with microvins. The Pinot Noir block based in Fairhall was showing a distinct lack of the nutrients nitrogen, phosphorous and potassium. Over a three-year period Mycorrcin and Digester were added to the soil at both spring and veraison. The end result was a notable increase in nutrient levels,

when compared with a control where nothing was added. Kirsten Creasy, formerly of Hill Laboratories, and now from Creasy & Co, was commissioned to make microvins from grapes picked from the untreated and the treated vines, in 2016. While originally the company had intended the fruit to be used for a table wine, disease pressure last year, saw the fruit harvested early for a sparkling base. For Creasy that meant she had to change her original microvan plans. “I split the fruit and made one as a sparkling base and one as a table wine, to get as much data as possible. The key thing I got out of it, was the treated fruit was much easier to process. The skins were much better in the treated fruit than the untreated. The skin was more robust, which means when you go to process it, it is easier to press and the juice is better, clear.” Despite the physical differ-


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Winemaker of the microvins, Kirsten Creasy.

ences, she says there was nothing notably different in the chemical analysis. “But when we looked at the aromatics of the juices, the treated was definitely bigger in structure,” Creasy says. “It seemed to be further along in the ripening spectrum.” There was another obvious difference between the two lots of fruit including bunch architecture. “There was a lot more hen and chicken berries in the untreated, which meant it was much more difficult to get juice out of them. There were also a lot more unripe berries in the untreated fruit.” What she had seen in the juice followed through into the wine. “Everything seemed bigger, bolder and richer in the treated wines.” This year a three-year trial conducted on a Sauvignon Blanc block was harvested and made into microvins. The Awatere Valley vineyard, had been suffering

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from root disease and Demmer says more than 20 percent of the vines had issues, resulting in vine death. Even when the dead vines were replaced, the newly planted vines were struggling to develop, reducing the block’s economic viability. BioStart were brought in to determine if Mycorrcin would help alleviate the death rate and allow the new vines to get established. It also provided the company with an opportunity to see how their product impacted on the ensuing wines. Again though, mother nature threw a spanner in the works and due to disease pressure and weather events the fruit was picked early at lower than ideal brix. Creasy says she had a good sample size to work on, with 100 kg of treated and untreated fruit. Interestingly, she didn’t see the same differences in bunch architecture in this fruit that she had seen in the Pinot Noir. “The biggest difference I saw was the level of disease.


The treated had a lot less. Then when I went to process it, the same thing that had happened in the Pinot happened in the Sauvignon Blanc, the treated pressed off beautifully. It was the integrity of the skin again.” The untreated had slipperier skins, not she says because of disease, rather the robustness of the skin. As a result the untreated fruit produced double the juice lees when compared with the treated grapes. Each batch was treated in exactly the same way from fruit that had identical brix levels. “But while the brix were the same, the TA was 9.9 in the untreated and 11.6 in the treated. At 20 brix, 9 or 10 grams of acid probably isn’t ideal,” she says. When blind tasted, “the fruit aromatics were greener in the untreated and the wine seemed thinner and less balanced on the palate. The treated fruit had a richness going through the palate.”

From a winemaker’s perspective, she says the untreated fruit flew through ferment and says “it was hard to hold back”. “The treated fruit just ticked along. “Both wines had nice aromatics, although there were obviously more tropical notes in the treated. The final wine again showed chemical parameters that were very similar, but smell and taste were different.” For Creasy it was an obvious difference that cannot be explained by anything other than what happened in the vineyard. “It was the same process, same rows and all wines were fermented in triplicate. So what you see is real differences.” What began as a trial to see how the product worked on soils and roots, has thrown something else into the mix, something that proves yet again, that what you do in the vineyard will directly impact on the wine.■

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Let the battle of the Islands begin Te s s a N i c h o l s o n


ithin the next few weeks, the best young winemakers in the South Island and those from the North Island will be known. After that, the top two from each island will prepare to battle it out for the title of Tonnellerie de Mercurey NZ Young Winemaker of the Year, 2017. While this is the third year of the competition, it has undergone some major changes. Pre-

viously there have been only three regional competitions, Central Otago, Marlborough and Hawke’s Bay, with each regional winner taking part in a national final. National coordinator Georgie Leach says they wanted to streamline that, and shine a light on all young talent throughout the country. “This is about finding the best talent, regardless of where they live in New Zealand,” she said. With applications closing on August 1st the organising com-

mittee has been whittling down the numbers to eight from each island. The North Island competition will be held at Hawke’s Bay’s EIT on August 18, while the South Island round will take place at the

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Marlborough Research Centre in Blenheim, on August 25, just prior to the Bragato Conference. Leach says the winners of both competitions, plus their runner up will then take part in a national final, to be held in Auckland on September 20. Open to anyone who has at least two years of winery experience, is under the age of 30 and is either a New Zealander or Australian citizen, the Tonnellerie de Mercurey Young Winemaker title brings with it some fantas-

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The winner of the Tonnellerie de Mercurey Young Winemaker 2016, Jordan Hogg. Who will be the winner this year?

tic prizes. Leach says there will be a substantial cash prize, along with a travel grant, a small wine allowance, a chance to judge at the 2018 Bragato Wine Awards, and a training grant that will help the winner further develop their career. Plus the title, which she says is a prestigious one. “Previous winners such as Jordan (Hogg of Seresin Estate, winner 2016) have benefitted hugely from taking out the title. They have gained a profile within

the industry that can only further benefit them in the years ahead.” With Cuisine magazine on board as a media partner, Leach says the winner will also be profiled in the November issue. While contestants do not have to enter a wine they have made, they will certainly be put through their paces during competition, with a blending module one of the many they will have to complete.■

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What is the wine industry’s role? D r E d w i n M a s s e y, N e w Z e a l a n d W i n e g r o w e r s


his month’s column examines the wine industry’s role in contributing to Biosecurity 2025: Protecting to Grow New Zealand, the Government’s recently released statement outlining the strategic direction for biosecurity in New Zealand. Biosecurity 2025 emphasizes shared responsibility, with government, different industries, local government and stakeholders all taking a key role to help mitigate biosecurity risk

in response to mounting pressure from increased trade, more complex markets and supply chains and rising passenger numbers. In recent months, as part of Biosecurity 2025, we have represented the wine industry on a working group tasked with creating a plan which aims to create a biosecurity team of 4.7 million so that every New Zealander becomes a biosecurity risk manager and every business manages their own biosecurity risk. Through this involvement,

it’s clear that the wine industry is well placed to be part of this team due to the growing awareness of biosecurity risks amongst members and their increasing participation in biosecurity activities.

Current initiatives to boost participation in biosecurity activities Over the last 18 months biosecurity has become a key part of New Zealand Winegrowers’ activity. Maximising members’ participation in biosecurity activities

has been a key objective of the Biosecurity Strategy signed off last year by the Board. The three examples below highlight some of the work that is ongoing to increase members’ awareness of and participation in biosecurity:

Government Industry Agreement – Progress Underway Joining the Government Industry Agreement (GIA) for Biosecurity Readiness and Response has been a great step



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Sustainability drives major wastewater upgrade In a continuing push to become the most sustainable winery in New Zealand, Yealands Estate in Marlborough has installed the largest membrane bioreactor (MBR) winery wastewater recycling plant in New Zealand. Recently commissioned by Apex Environmental, this is the latest in a number of sustainability initiatives completed by Yealands. An MBR is a biological wastewater treatment system that includes a 0.1-micron low pressure filter on the discharge to remove virtually 100% of suspended solids, bacteria and protozoa from the wastewater prior to discharge to the environment. This filter system is installed after an aerated treatment tank to achieve a very high level of both biological and physical treatment prior to discharge. As well as directly cleaning up the discharge by filtering out these contaminants, the fact that this system retains virtually 100% of the bacteria that are used for reducing the BOD and nutrient loading of the wastewater means that over twice as much organic loading can also be removed in a given size aerobic treatment tank – therefore significantly increasing the removal rate of these components in the plant. The level of quality achieved by the MBR allows wastewater to be disposed of via the existing under-vine dripper irrigation system, ensuring resource consent compliance by spreading the wastewater as far as possible across the vineyard. It also allows for alternative means of discharge, such as into surface water, and the ability to reuse the wastewater with further polishing treatment such as reverse osmosis. With a current capacity of 600m3/day and with room for expansion, the system was successfully completed by Apex while still maintaining the operation of the existing wastewater treatment plant. The installation included a concrete membrane tank, a new plant room and a waste sludge storage silo. Yealands Estate has an enviable reputation for innovation and sustainability within the New Zealand wine industry and Apex Environmental are thrilled to have completed another project with them.

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New Zealand Winegrowers signs the Brown Marmorated Stink Bug Operational Agreement.

to boost the wine industry’s participation in biosecurity. Earlier in July New Zealand Winegrowers signed the Brown Marmorated

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Stink Bug Operational Agreement. This agreement will set how the wine industry will collaborate with the Crown and


other GIA partners to manage the risks posed by this highest threat risk organism. By signing this Operational Agreement the

wine industry will become a key player in: • Promoting public awareness of the pest;

• Readiness planning to improve how we can respond to an incursion; and • Research to develop new response tools including biological control. With a seat at the table the wine industry can be proactive to ensure that the solutions identified meet the specific needs of our industry.

Catch it: Snap It: Report it Since launching the Catch it: Snap it: Report it initiative in 2016 we have received approximately 20 reports of suspect biosecurity risk organisms, many from the Marlborough region. These include suspect BMSB, suspect harlequin ladybird and even one report of suspect Chilean Needle Grass. To date, even though none of the potential threats have been identified as actual biosecurity risks, the fact members are reporting anything at all highlights that they are thinking and acting “biosecurity” while out in the vineyard. This is a great result and we encourage all members to continue to Catch it: Snap It: Report It should they see anything unusual throughout 2017. To make it easier add the MPI biosecurity hotline 0800 809966 into your phone’s contact list.

Biosecurity at Grape Days: Increasing awareness At the 2017 Grape Days we engaged with over 600 members on the risks posed by BMSB, Pierce’s Disease and Glassy Wing Sharp Shooter. During the session the audience got to see safely embalmed BMSB and a Glassy Wing Sharpshooter. These sessions, along with the “Pest of the Month” item in the monthly newsletter “What’s Fermenting”, help keep members up to speed with the latest information about the industry’s most unwanted pests. Increased awareness of these

risks enables members to have discussions about biosecurity risk management with their contractors and equipment suppliers, encouraging them to adopt biosecurity risk management practices as part of their business as usual. Having these discussions with others and partnering with them across the supply chain is an important part of protecting your productive assets. Consistent with Biosecurity 2025 it’s these discussions which are the building blocks of creating a biosecurity team of 4.7 million people.

Some may speak of range. Others of quality. All speak of

What next? During the remainder of 2017 New Zealand Winegrowers will work to publish finalised vineyard biosecurity best practice guidelines. These guidelines will help inform the risk management decisions you make in your vineyard every day and help to embed biosecurity as part of standard wine industry business as usual. Look for them to be published on the revamped members’ website

Conclusion This column highlights that the wine industry is already an active participant in biosecurity and that we are building our capacity and capability to manage biosecurity risk. While much work remains, we are certainly ahead of the curve when compared with many other industries. Nonetheless, to reach the targets identified in Biosecurity 2025 we must continue to engage with others throughout the wine industry supply chain so that they are aware that their risk management activities are a critical component of overall industry sustainability. Have you had that biosecurity conversation with your equipment supplier or your pruning contractors yet? If you have any questions about biosecurity please get in touch by phone or e-mail: Edwin.massey@ or 02119249124.■

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Join the journey of Continuous Improvement Friday 28 July marked a milestone for the Sustainable Winegrowing New Zealand programme – it was the day Sustainable Winegrowing Continuous Improvement (SWNZ CI) was officially activated. Justine Tate, Sustainable Winegrowing New Zealand Business Manager, explains the ‘how, why, and what next’ for the new extension programme.


WNZ CI is an industry driven initiative that has been developed to cement New Zealand’s position as the world leader in sustainability. The idea was seeded by feedback from growers and wineries who wanted to see SWNZ evolve and have the opportunity to be recognised for sustainability achievements over and above the baseline. The voluntary extension programme was developed under the guidance of a dedicated group of grape growers and wineries across the country. Winemakers visiting overseas markets know the demand for authentic verifiable sustainability credentials is growing from both retailers and consumers of high value wine. This is backed up by research. By taking the Continuous Improvement path you will create your own new sustainability stories above minimum standards. Focusing on verified examples of continuous improvement from SWNZ CI members will strengthen our industry’s position as sustainability leaders and avoid the risk of “greenwash” claims. New Zealand Winegrowers recognise our members are faced with ever-growing compli-

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ance requirements. The SWNZ CI framework has been designed to equip businesses with the tools to better respond to third party audit requirements saving time and money. There are costs and benefits to pursuing best practice – thinking differently will demand time, and implementing new processes may take investment, but the paybacks outweigh the cost at both an industry and individual level. Strengthening your sustainability credentials through SWNZ CI will better position your business in a competitive market place, save you money in the long term and enhance the industry’s reputation. Seems like the right step forward for us all, doesn’t it? SWNZ CI is a voluntary extension programme for Sustainable Winegrowing New Zealand members. It offers a framework to support you in advancing and recognising your sustainability commitments and achievements, in whichever areas are most important and relevant to you. In simple terms, SWNZ CI is a template for finding a better way of running a vineyard or winery. New Zealand Winegrowers has set aspirational industry goals (e.g. zero waste) for each pillar (biodiversity, soil, water,


air, energy, plant protection, byproducts, people, business), over and above baseline international (OIV) standards - which underpin the existing Sustainable Winegrowing NZ programme. Members of SWNZ can choose to focus on the area of sustainability that are most relevant to their particular situation (region, business size and resources) and work to extend their sustainability commitments in that area. Members will then set and achieve their own goals that align with the industry aspirational goals. The programme will have a verification service that measures and certifies the work members undertake. Members will be able use their verified sustainability achievements to communicate their sustainability credentials to external audiences such as retailers, consumers, distributors and media. If you are interested in: Enhancing the world-class reputation of New Zealand wine as a premium and sustainable product, Being recognised for achieving more than baseline sustainability, Adding authentic, verifiable sustainability credentials to your sales/marketing portfolio,

Justine Tate

Equipping yourself with the tools to better respond to third party audit requirements, or; Supporting your local community and enhancing your social license to operate, …then Continuous Improvement is for you. Your participation in SWNZ CI will further our drive to reduce our environmental impact. This enhances the world-class reputation of New Zealand wine as a premium and sustainable product. For you, participation in the programme will give recognition for achieving more than baseline sustainability. Most important, involvement in the programme will lead to an improvement in your bottom line as well as social and environmental outcomes. For the first 12 months Continuous Improvement will operate as a pilot programme, with membership limited to 50 places. We will gather feedback from pilot participants to refine the programme before opening it up to all members in the following year. The pilot programme is free for the first year. To find out more go to grow/sustainability/ If you want to join us contact Justine Tate to be one of the first to sign up. Justine Tate, Sustainable Winegrowing New Zealand Business Manager, justine.tate@ 03 577 2379.■

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Ensuring robust young vines Te s s a N i c h o l s o n


veryone planting a new vineyard, or replacing older vines, wants the best start possible for the newbies. There are some serious considerations to

be taken into account, prior to the planting if you wish to be successful, as Jonathan Hamlet, Villa Maria’s Hawke’s Bay regional viticulturist told the recent Organic and Biodynamic Winegrowing

Figure 1: Dripline irrigation which encourages weed growth.

conference. “We want to grow, craft and sell exciting wines that express our unique terroir,” he said. “The vineyard is very much the foundation for this goal.”

Figure 2: This is the weed growth where a sub surface dripline has been installed.

It all starts at the very beginning, when the site, varietal mix, rootstock and initial management practices are chosen. Hamlet who is also the chair of Organic Winegrowers NZ, said there are a number of challenges to overcome, in the initial stages, to ensure the sustainable longevity of the vineyard. Weeds, root structure, rootstock and planting density are just some of those challenges. Hamlet says a lot of the rootstock used in New Zealand has riparia parentage, and in the late 90s and early 2000s, the focus was on reducing the vine’s vigour. “With an organic system that is not necessarily applicable,” he said. “I think we need to reevaluate our rootstock choice very closely.” Growers want enough vigour from the vine, to cope with the conditions they will face without the need for more water and nutrients. To achieve that, the root system needs to be large

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and robust. Root structure is an area Villa Maria’s viticulturists have been focusing on according to Hamlet. The aim is to have a robust root system that is driving down into the sub soils, rather than clinging to the top and relying on irrigation. “Be it organic or non-organic, we run under vine cultivation aiming around pre and post root flush, so in the autumn and the spring, to take out surface roots, to drive them away. “A shallow root system follows the irrigation drip line. They have no intention of exploring the inter row and they do not express terroir.” Hamlet also wondered if the standard grafting of rootstock and scion is actually the best to encourage that root growth. “This year we actually grafted 500 rootstock making them 150 mm longer. I want to be able to plant them deeper, so they go further into that soil moisture and aren’t as reliant on irrigation.” Theories around planting density have changed over the years, with the accepted norm now being to plant for what you want to produce. Just don’t over estimate that. But if you are wanting to remove vine stress, and increase longevity, look closely at density, Hamlet said. “If you have a higher vine density, there is less stress on the vine through less crop load. Less stress means better vineyard longevity. But be aware that it does have implications on undervine operations.” While Villa Maria hand planted some of their new developments, Hamlet says he prefers machine planting, mainly due to the horrors of J-rooting he has seen in the past. “Machine planting gives us good consistency, timing and it is obviously efficient. But one thing we do do a lot, is use the biodynamic calendar for our planting. I want our plants in the early phases of establishment to be

focused on root growth.” Weeds not only compete with the young vines for water and nutrients, they also are costly to deal with. So why not deal with it at the first opportunity possible? Drip irrigation feeds the surface of the soil, and is a lifeline to all the emerging weeds. However sub surface drip lines ensure the top few centimeters of soil where the weeds reside is not being fed the elixir of life. Villa Maria have installed sub surface drip lines in vineyards in both Marlborough and Hawke’s Bay, after being shown research that the system means 20 to 30 percent less water was required to feed the young vines. (See Figures 1 and 2, that show the difference in weed growth between sub surface and drip line irrigation.) The added bonus, it also reduces maintenance costs, especially after sheep have been let loose among the vines over the winter months. On a new development of two hectares, Hamlet says they weren’t confident enough to place the sub surface irrigation in initially, given the soil had no water holding capacity. “We were worried it was such a shallow root system, that putting the drip line below it wouldn’t be enough to sustain the new vine growth. So we installed normal surface drip lines, expect for two rows where we put in sub surface irrigation.” At the end of harvest the vines were compared – and there was no difference in growth between the two systems. “We had almost identical cane length, so there were no negatives.” Now the entire development has sub surface irrigation. So while there are no silver bullets to ensure young vines go on to be healthy, well aging adults, there are a number of scenarios growers can consider, when starting anew.■

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Church Road marks 120 years Joelle Thomson


t’s a big year at Church Road Winery in Taradale, Hawke’s Bay, which celebrates 120 years of continuous winemaking this year. The winery was founded in 1897 by Bartholemew Steinmetz, who later sold it to the late Tom McDonald, whose name appears on the winery’s flagship wine range – Tom. The flagship wines began with one Tom, which was a Cabernet Sauvignon dominant blend, in homage to the late Tom McDonald’s McWilliam’s wines, which were 100% Cabernet Sauvignon,

due to the fact that there was no (known) Merlot growing in the Hawke’s Bay in the mid 20th Century when he was making wine there. There are now three Tom wines and the latest trio were launched with much fanfare at Church Road Winery and Kidnapper Cliffs lodge in May this year. They are the 2014 Tom Merlot Cabernet, 2014 Tom Chardonnay (the only one of the three sealed with a screwcap) and the 2014 Tom Syrah – the jewel in the crown of this range, in my view, thanks to its intense col-

our, concentration, full body, well balanced extract of flavour and its long finish. The new 2014 Tom The flagship ran ge, Tom, Syrah named after To m McDonald. drinks beautifully now but has a long life ahead, for those with At the launch of the Tom good cellaring conditions – and wines this year, Church Road winwillpower. emaker Chris Scott also opened three older wines from the wine’s cellar. These were all branded McWilliam’s and included a 1950s wine (vintage indeterminable), as well as wines from 1967 and 1977. They were branded 1967 McWilliam’s Private Bin Cabernet Sauvignon, 1977 McWilliam’s Cabernet Sauvignon and McDonald’s Cabernet Sauvignon (with no vintage but from a section of the winery’s cellar that was devoted to 1950s bottles). All three of the older wines were recorked 15 years ago, which helps to account for the good condition they were in. Media, Masters of Wine and wine writers were unanimous in their agreement that it was staggering to see these wines expressing their raw material so clearly. The best, for me, was the 1967, which tasted of black olive, green capsicum and rosemary; that dried herb, hot dusty road and black olive character that epitomises great old Cabernets.■ Chris Scott, Church Road winemaker.

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WHEN: MAY 2017



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he title is indeed true, this is not a wine guide. It is so much more. Chris Morrison was inadvertently lured into the world of wine almost surreptitiously, once he discovered a tattered copy of Jancis Robinson’s Wine Course. What was meant to be a five minute fill in time during smoko, turned into a 45 minute can’t put down. And that landed him a position as a sommelier’s right hand man. Morrison has gone on to spend the rest of his life extolling the beauties of matching wine, food and occasion. Yet he laments the fact that wine choices make so many people nervous. This book aims to alleviate those nerves, and

provide the background to ensure you enjoy wine “through the prism of your own preferences – how you like to eat, cook and entertain.” What a joy it is, to find a wine book that doesn’t confuse, become bogged down in rhetoric and mind boggling comparisons. Instead, This Is Not A Wine Guide provides easily understood explanations for the uninitiated, and those who

know a bit more. It is approachable, easy to read and Morrison is never pompous in his explanations. What makes a wine acidic? What does tannic mean and how does it impact on the

taste? What is umani and why is a wine described as savoury? What are these new wines that keep being mentioned in wine columns, and what are some of the food matches I should consider? There is a plethora of information in this VERY heavily covered book, that reinforces that great wine is made even greater with great food and wonderful company. “How you actually live should be the centre of all your wine decisions,” Morrison says in his intro. By reading this book, you will have the knowledge to take his advice.■





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Pinot ageability after 15 years Joelle Thomson


hould we talk openly about the challenges of cellaring wine or should we cross our fingers and hope for the best where old wines are concerned? The question was addressed at a tasting at Regional Wines & Spirits in Wellington in May this year. Seven old Pinot Noirs from Bannock Brae in Otago were tasted and discussed in depth. Central Otago vignerons Crawford and Catherine Brown provided seven Pinot Noirs from six vintages under two different closures. Six wines were sealed with screwcaps while one, the oldest, from 2002, was sealed with a cork. The tasting was a sell-out. It was based on 20 people, which is generally regarded as a comfortable number to maximise one bottle of each wine being opened for tasting. Extra people walked in on the night, hoping for a spot, which meant that every bottle

was pushed to its limit. The retrospective tasting came about after I talked on RNZ National about a lovely old bottle of Bannock Brae Pinot Noir, which I discovered when packing to relocate from Auckland to Wellington nearly two years ago. It was a long time between that find and the aged tasting at Regional Wines, but it was – like the wines we tasted – worth the wait. The oldest wines were the most interesting. They had acquired flavours that tasted more savoury, earthy and complex than the youthful wines we tasted. All wines were unfiltered and a few had gone through a light fining. Crawford and Catherine Brown started the Bannock Brae wine brand in 2001. In his previous working life, Crawford was a brewer with Lion Nathan and other companies around the world. His brewing career saw him promoted to brewery man-

Crawford and Catherine Brown, from Bannock Brae.

ager at Speight’s in Dunedin (his home city) and when he was promoted out of his job into a desk job, which he didn’t like, he decided to vote with his feet for a major life change. At the time, Central Otago’s modern wine industry was beginning to take off and, as Crawford says, the view from his office is much bet-

ter today than it was back then. He and Catherine bought eight hectares of land on Cairnmuir Road in Bannockburn where they planted Pinot Noir and Riesling with viticultural advice from Robin Dicey of Mount Difficulty, and winemaking by Matt Dicey, who was the first in a string of quality focussed,


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high profile southern winemakers employed by the Browns. Others winemakers over the years have included Peter Bartle, Matt Connell, Sarah-Kate Dineen and, currently, Jen Parr. It’s a roll call of big names, and Bannock Brae bats above its weight in other ways too, as the consultant, writer and former retailer, Raymond Chan, said. “Bannock Brae is disproportionally successful for its tiny size,” wrote Chan, on his website, www.raymondchanwinereviews. The Browns have downsized their vineyard over time, selling much of it to neighbouring winery, Akarua, so they now manage only about two hectares of their original eight hectares of planted vines. The land they manage now includes a little Gruner Veltliner, planted in 2008 following the visit of a young Austrian, who prompted them to give it a try. They have also diversified their range by adding a second tier of Pinot Noir called Goldfields Pinot Noir. Both this wine and their flagship, called Bannock Brae Barrel Selection Pinot Noir, have been highly awarded at wine shows but the barrel selection showed the greatest aging potential, thanks to its medium to full body, texture and length, much of which Crawford Brown attributes to the fact that the wines are unfiltered and, with few exceptions, unfined.

The Bannock Brae Barrel Selection Pinot Noir is made entirely from fruit grown on the original Bannock Brae vineyard although a portion can sometimes come from Bendigo. Contracted Pinot Noir fruit that they purchase finds it way The flagship wine, Bannock Brae Barrel Selection Pinot Noir solely into the Goldf i e l d s P i n o t No i r l a b e l . provided their aged Pinot Noirs It takes courage to show people for the tasting. It was a fascinating something you made 15 years ago evening, interesting snapshot of that you have stored in a dark, old Otago wines and – perhaps cold wine cellar ever since, but more important of all – evidence this is exactly what Crawford and that Kiwi wines can age. ■ Catherine Brown did when they

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he recent passing of the Geographical Indications (Wine and Spirits) Registration Regulations 2017 has now confirmed that the Geographical Indications Register came into force on 27 July 2017 and will be operated by the Intellectual Property Office of New Zealand (IPONZ). A Geographical Indication (GI) is a sign used to identify the particular geographical location that a product originates from, and denotes a quality, reputation or other notable characteristic of the product that is linked to that origin. Typically, it is the place name where the product originates, such as Scotch for Scottish Whisky or Champagne for sparkling wine coming from the French region Champagne. The new Geographical Indications Registration system will be useful for winegrowers in both the domestic and international markets, by reinforcing the distinctiveness and quality of their products, as well as making it easier to challenge unauthorised users. With the introduction of this new regime, it is important to consider the legal process of registering GIs, what recourse is available, and what rights users will have once their GI is registered. What is the process for registering a Geographical

134   // 

Indication? The Geographical Indications Register will be operated on a first in, first served basis. The Register will protect both New Zealand GI’s and foreign GI’s. A New Zealand GI application will need to include information on the GI applied for, geographical co-ordinates that define the boundaries of the territory/region/locality, whether the application is for a wine or spirit, and a description of any proposed conditions for use of the GI. Applicants will also have to file an explanation of the given quality or reputation, or other characteristic, of the wine or spirit that is attributable to its geographical origin, along with evidence supporting this. The Registrar is also able to request further information to help them in their examination. Once the Registrar has considered the GI application they may accept the application, or issue a notice of non-compliance. If the Registrar considers the application is non-compliant, the applicant will have the opportunity to respond to the notice or amend the application to make it compliant, within a set time frame. If the GI application is accepted by the Registrar, it will then be publicly advertised in the IPONZ monthly journal. If there are no objections lodged within three months after advertisement, the GI applica-


tion will then be registered. Registrations initially last five years and can then be renewed for further 10 year periods. How can a GI application be challenged? An application can be challenged by any interested party within a three month period following its advertisement. To do this, the opponent must file a notice of opposition, which must include the legal grounds upon which the opposition is based, but does not detail the factual circumstances, evidence or arguments under each ground (which are submitted at a later stage in the opposition proceedings). The length of an opposition proceeding is likely to vary depending on how much evidence is needed, how difficult it is to collect, how the other side runs its case, and whether much time is spent in attempts at settlement. However, a contested opposition proceeding could likely run for 12-24 months. What is the effect of a GI registration? GIs provide collective rights which means that any person who produces wine from grapes grown in that particular area, and meets the requirements to use that GI, is able to use it. This means the requirements of any GI need to be thought out in advance of filing the GI application, to ensure any prod-

ucts using it properly reflect the region’s distinctiveness and origin. Further, a person may only use a New Zealand registered GI on wine if at least 85% of the wine is obtained from grapes harvested in the place of geographical origin to which the GI relates. Importantly, once your GI is protected in New Zealand, you can also apply to register it in other countries, which will provide more beneficial enforcement options internationally. What concurrent legal rights are available? Currently, producers using place names for wines or spirits in New Zealand are protected by the Fair Trading Act 1986, the common law tort of passing off, or by trade mark law. These legal avenues will still be available once the regime change comes into effect (although there are some restrictions on the registration of names as both trade marks and GI’s). Further the new GI legislation expressly confirms that a person who makes unauthorised use of a GI will also be guilty of engaging in misleading or deceptive conduct under the Fair Trading Act. In summary, registering a GI will provide a faster, more certain, more cost effective option for wine growers in the event of any unauthorised use of the GI in New Zealand or overseas.■



325 ha (0.9%)




3 ha (0%)

2017 producing area is based on projections submitted in 2016 Vineyard Register


1,371 ha (3.7%)

NORTHLAND 67 ha (0.2%)


325 ha (0.9%)

37,129 ha

WAIRARAPA 3 ha (0%)

2017 37,129 ha

67 ha (0.2%)


1,017 ha (2.7%)


325 ha (0.9%)


MARLBOROUGH 41 ha (0.1%) 25,135 ha (67.7%)


3 ha (0%)


1,371 ha (3.7%)

CENTRAL WAIPARA OTAGO VALLEY 1,896 (5.1%) 1,257 ha (3.4%)




4,694 ha (12.6%)

168 ha (0.5%) NELSON 1,155 ha (3.1%)

37,129 ha 2005





25,135 ha (67.7%)

1,896 ha (5.1%)








1,257 haMALBEC (3.4%) 2%









41 ha (0.1%)





















Moving Annual Total May 2017


Ç 2%


168 ha (0.5%)


18.5 ha

1,257 ha (3.4%)

1,155 ha (3.1%)


2017 producing area is based on projections AREA OF PRODUCING TOTAL PRODUCING AREA submitted in 2016 Vineyard Register SAUVIGNON BLANC BY VARIETY




ha WHITE 29,210 ha A SNAPSHOT


GISBORNE 1,371 ha (3.7%) MARLBOROUGH 25,135 ha (67.7%)



1,017 ha (2.7%)




4,694 ha (12.6%)

1,155 ha (3.1%)


2017 producing area is based on projections submitted in 2016 Vineyard Register





Ç 2% 22,085 18.5 ha ha





To have events listed in this calendar, please email details to:

AUGUST 7 Entries open for the Air New Zealand Wine Awards

11-12 Beervana 2017 Wellington


Romeo Bragato Wine Award Judging Auckland

19-21 The annual New Zealand School of Food & Wine Celebration Auckland’s Viaduct


New Zealand Sommelier and Junior Sommelier of the Year competition



Bayer Young Viticulturist of the Year National finals

Romeo Bragato Conference







Closing date for NZ International Wine Show entries

Awards Dinner NZ International Wine Show


Crown Plaza Hotel, Auckland

ASB Theatre, Blenheim

Entries close for the Sydney International Wine Competition, online entries via

18-20 Judging New Zealand International Wine Show 2017 Auckland



New Zealand Syrah Workshop Mount Ruapehu

Air New Zealand Wine Awards dinner

The Colliers Rural Grape Debate

Pettigrew Green Arena Hawke’s Bay


Blenheim – Marlborough Convention Centre – tickets Eventfinda or Planit Events


Hawke’s Bay Charity Wine Auction


MARCH 2018




Wineworks Marlborough Wine Race across Cook Strait

Wine Heroes

Wine Heroes industry only exclusive day

ASB Showgrounds, Auckland – 11 - 5.30pm

ASB Showgrounds, Auckland 10 – 3pm

136   // 


UPCOMING NEW ZEALAND WINE GLOBAL EVENTS A service by JF Hillibrand and New Zealand Winegrower to remind exporters of forthcoming events. Further details are available on the members website (Sell section) or







25 September

Tastes of NZ - Copenhagen



The Netherlands

27 September

Tastes of NZ - Amsterdam




4 October

NZ in a Glass - Washington DC

18 August

1 September


5-16 October

Pinot Swingers - Melbourne

18 August

18 August


5-16 October

Pinot Swingers - Sydney


18 August


5-16 October

Pinot Swingers - Brisbane


18 August


5-16 October

Pinot Walkabout - Melbourne


18 August


5-16 October

Pinot Walkabout - Sydney


18 August


17 October

NZ Wine Fair - Taipei


18 August

South Korea

19 October

NZ Wine Fair - Seoul


18 August


23 October

NZ Wine Fair - Tokyo


18 August


26 October

NZ in a Glass - Los Angeles

18 August

1 September


31 October

New Release & Discover Tasting London

11 August

1 September



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

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 Lighter wine (PGP) University of Auckland and Plant and Food Research (Various) Jointly funded by NZW and MPI Primary Growth Partnership (PGP) fund. High-throughput genotyping of transposon-induced mutations in vines Lincoln University (C Winefield) Population genomics of the wine spoilage yeast Brettanomyces bruxellensis Auckland University (M Goddard) Low alcohol-reduced calorie wines using molecular sponges for sugar removal University of Auckland (B Fedrizzi) Shoot trimming effects on Pinot noir vine leaf area to fruit weight ratio, productivity and fruit composition Lincoln University (G Creasy) Assessment of commercially available yeast nutrient products on Sauvignon blanc microvin ferments Kirsten Creasy Determining the effects of UV radiation and vine water stress on Pinot noir fruit composition and berry components’ extraction into wine Lincoln University (G Creasy)

138   // 

Pests and Disease Grapevine Trunk Disease; young vine ecology, diagnostics and preventative treatments New Zealand Viticulture Nursery Association Incorporated (VINA) (N Hoskins) Virus diversity in New Zealand grapevines: sequence, ecology and impact – The Rod Bonfiglioli Scholarship Plant and Food Research (R MacDiarmid - student A Blouin) Optimising management of grapevine trunk diseases for vineyard longevity South Australian Research & Development Institute (M Sosnowski) Developing Powdery Mildew Best Practise in New Zealand Vineyards Lewis Wright Valuation & Consultancy Ltd (T Lupton) Supported by MPI Sustainable Farming Fund Powdery Mildew Case Studies Anna Lambourne Mechanical thinning and botrytis Mark Allen

Sustainability/Organics Pinot noir wine composition and sensory characteristics as affected by soil type and irrigation in the Waipara region Lincoln University (G Creasy)


Vineyard Ecosystems Programme University of Auckland and Plant and Food Research (Various) Jointly funded by NZW and MBIE Sector weather data licence & tools HortPlus (NZ) Ltd. Cost efficient optimisation of weed management in vineyards Thoughtful Viticulture (M Krasnow)

Cost Reduction/Increased Profitability Grapevine growth stage monitoring for prediction of key phenological events Plant and Food Research (R Agnew) Supported by MPI Sustainable Farming Fund


Grapevine growth stage monitoring for prediction of key phenological events Agnew R, Raw V, Grab F, Horner R, Sorensen I, Marshall R, Scofield C, Wood P, Stanley J, Gandell M, Smith J The New Zealand Institute for Plant and Food Research Limited Corresponding author 14-100 Previous articles in Issues 89, 93 and 99 of New Zealand Winegrower Magazine have explained the background to this National Phenology and VineFacts project and presented summaries for the 2014-15 and 2015-16 growing seasons. The project had the aim of transforming the Marlborough VineFacts Newsletter from a regional to a national service, while also extending the focus from monitoring phenology of Sauvignon blanc to other major grape varieties grown in New Zealand. The project has undertaken monitoring of the phenology of five grape varieties (Chardonnay,

Merlot, Pinot Gris, Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Noir) in five New Zealand wine regions (Gisborne, Hawke’s Bay, Marlborough, Waipara Valley and Central Otago) for the three seasons 2014-15, 201516 and 2016-17. At the end of June 2017 the project completed the third and final year of funding in association with the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) Sustainable Farming Fund (SFF).

Climate comparison for the five New Zealand wine regions Central Otago experienced

below-average rainfall in all three seasons (Table 1). Marlborough and Waipara recorded well above-average rainfall in 2016-17, in complete contrast to the previous two seasons. Gisborne and Hawke’s Bay also experienced well above-average rainfall in the 2016-17 season, as they did in 2015-16. The total growing degree days (GDDs) for a region (Table 2) are a way of comparing between seasons and regions. However, they do not give any understanding as to whether some periods of the season were below or above average. The individual monthly

GDDs and the normalized GDD graphs for each region enable you to understand when cool or warm temperatures occurred during a season, and to relate the temperature at any point in time to the phenology; e.g. knowing whether temperatures over the flowering period in November/December were below or above average gives understanding as to whether fruit set is likely to be below or above average. The GDDs in the 2016-17 season (Table 2 & Figure 3) in Gisborne and Hawke’s Bay were higher than in the two previous seasons (Table 2 & Figures 1 & 2).

Table 1. Total seasonal rainfall (mm) for five New Zealand wine regions for the 2014-15, 2015-16 and 2016-17 seasons compared with the long-term average (LTA)

Long term average


% of LTA


% of LTA


% of LTA









Hawke’s Bay
























Central Otago








Table 2. Total seasonal growing degree days for five New Zealand wine regions for the 2014-15, 2015-16 and 2016-17 seasons compared with the long-term average (LTA)

Long term average


% of LTA


% of LTA










Hawke’s Bay






























Waipara Central Otago

% of LTA


Figure 1. Normalized growing degree days for five New Zealand wine regions for the 2014-15 season: days above (+) or below (-) the long-term average (LTA) for the period 1 September to 30 April.

Figure 2. Normalized growing degree days for five New Zealand wine regions for the 2015-16 season: days above (+) or below (-) the long-term average (LTA) for the period 1 September to 30 April.

Marlborough experienced very similar GDD totals in all three seasons. However, the temperature profiles in Marlborough during each of the three seasons varied, as shown in Figures 1 to 3. These differences in temperature profile can have quite an important influence on phenological events within a season. The GDD total in the 2016-17 season in Waipara Valley was the lowest of the three years (Table 2) with the GDD line (Figure 3) closely following the LTA in 201617, whereas the GDD lines for Waipara Valley were well above average in the two previous seasons (Figures 1 & 2). The GDD total in the 201617 season in Central Otago was much lower than in the 2015-16 season and also lower than in

which can be expressed in days or other units (e.g. GDD). We are using the date of 8 °Brix as a surrogate for the date of 50% véraison, and the date of 21.5 °Brix as a standard maturity point close to harvest. The phenophases for the Gisborne Chardonnay are presented graphically in Figure 4.

2014-15. The three months from January to March 2017 were especially cool, as indicated by the rapidly falling GDD line for Central Otago in Figure 3.

Phenology Summaries Detailed phenology summaries tables for all 28 vineyard blocks in the five wine regions are contained in the annual report for 2016-17 which is available on the NZW website. The tables allow you to compare the phenology of each block for the past three seasons, as in the following example for the two Gisborne Chardonnay blocks (Table 3, over page). The period between two phenological stages (e.g. from 50% budburst to 50% flowering, from 50% flowering to 8 °Brix, and from 8 °Brix to 21.5 °Brix) is referred to as a phenophase,

Figure 3. Normalized growing degree days for five New Zealand wine regions for the 2016-17 season: days above (+) or below (-) the longterm average (LTA) for the period 1 September to 30 April.

140   // 


Summary for Gisborne Chardonnay • Budburst of Gisborne Chardonnay was on a similar date in 2016 as in the two previous seasons (Table 3). • The warm temperatures from September to November 2016 were responsible for flowering in 2016 being approximately one week early than in the two previous years. • Continued warm temperatures for part of January 2017

meant that the date of 8 °Brix in 2017 was between five and twelve days earlier than in 2015 and 2016 (Table 3 & Figure 4). • With the earlier dates of flowering and 8 °Brix in 2016-17, the phenophase intervals from budburst to flowering and flowering to véraison were shorter. • The Hexton block was harvested on a similar date in all three seasons; however, total soluble solids contents at harvest in 2017 were over one Brix unit lower than in the two previous seasons. The projected interval from 8 °Brix to 21.5 °Brix in 2017 was 13 days longer than in 2015 and 14 days longer than in 2016. • The Patutahi block was harvested at 19.9 °Brix on 13 March 2016 and again at 19.9 °Brix on 12 March 2017. The projected interval from 8 °Brix to 21.5 °Brix in

Figure 4. Phenophase intervals (days) of Chardonnay at two blocks in Gisborne over three seasons.

Slow ripening in 2017

borough and Waipara Valley. A consequence of the high rainfall was lower than average sunshine hours. Lack of sunshine contributed to slower ripening in 2017, with many of the monitored blocks in these four wine regions falling well short of the target 21.5 °Brix.

During the period of berry ripening from February to April 2017 there was high rainfall in Gisborne, Hawke’s Bay, Marl-

Phenology monitoring and VineFacts Newsletter post SFF

2017 was 13 days longer than in 2016, but the same as in 2015. The dates of 21.5 °Brix have had to be calculated in four of the six instances in Table 3 because the grapes were harvested well below 21.5 °Brix.

The New Zealand Winegrowers Research Committee has agreed to continue the phenology monitoring in the five wine regions in the 2017-18 season as well as continuing VineFacts Newsletter for subscribing winegrowers.

Acknowledgements: We wish to acknowledge the large number of wine companies, vineyard and weather sta-

tion owners who have supported this project and without whose ongoing valuable assistance this project would not be possible. We acknowledge the valuable financial support for the project being received from Sustainable Farming Fund, New Zealand Winegrowers and the Marlborough Research Centre Trust. • The full reports for the three years of this project can be found on the NZW members’ research pages.■

Table 3. Gisborne Chardonnay phenology and yield components for the 2014-15, 2015-16 and 2016-17 growing seasons. BB = Budburst, FL = Flowering, GDD = growing degree days.



Gisborne Hexton 2014-15

Gisborne Hexton 2015-16

Gisborne Hexton 2016-17

Gisborne Patutahi 2014-15

Gisborne Patutahi 2015-16

Gisborne Patutahi 2016-17

50% BB







50% FL







Days BB to FL














8 °Brix







Days FL to 8 °Brix







GDDs FL to 8 °Brix














Harvest °Brix







21.5 °Brix







Days 8 to 21.5 °Brix







GDDs 8 to 21.5 °Brix







Days BB to 21.5 °Brix







GDDs BB to 21.5 °Brix







No. Canes / Vine







Bunch No. / Vine







Bunch Weight (g)







Yield/Vine (kg)







Berry Weight (g)







Berry No. / Bunch







Predicted dates that grapes would have reached 21.5 °Brix and growing degree days up to 21.5°Brix.


Pinot Noir vine performance and grape and wine composition as affected by soil type and irrigation reduction in the Waipara region Creasy GL1, Mejias-Barrera P1, Zhang C1, Harrison R1, Hofmann R1, Smith C1, Lehto N1, Tonkin P2, Gill N3, DuFour J-L4. 1

Lincoln University Centre for Viticulture and Oenology


Retired, Lincoln University


Greystone Wines, Waipara


Waipara Hills Wines, Waipara

Corresponding author, 15-108 This project has been investigating the influence of site/soil and reduction in applied water on grapevine performance and grape and wine characteristics. Soil has a significant influence on vine growth due to physical properties, including its ability to hold water, as well as chemical and biological properties. In addition, irrigation inputs interact with the soil to affect vine growth and fruit. A previous article reported results on vine growth (leaf area, leaf greenness) and wine tannins across the treatments and sites (see New Zealand Winegrower, issue 93). This article shows information on pruning weights and carbohydrate status, as well as differences in soil nutrient status following the third, and final, season since the treatments were imposed. The trial was set up in late 2013 across three sites in Waipara, each having different soil types. The first was a Glasnevin gravel, which was on the valley floor. The two other sites were managed by a different company and on slopes on the East side of the valley. One, a Greenwood soil, was on a northwesterly facing slope, and the other (HuiHui-Greystone) on a

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more north-easterly facing slope. Glasnevin gravels are deep, but characterised by a high stone and gravel content, with relatively low water holding capacity. Greenwood and Hui-Hui Greystone are dominated by silt and clay loams and have limestone influence at depth. The primary difference between Greenwood and Hui-Hui Greystone is the latter generally has lesser rooting depth due to the density of its argillic horizon. In the case of this trial, the HuiHui Greystone soil is also rela-

tively shallow due to its position being high along the slope. At each site eight plots of five contiguous vines each were identified, where for four of these the irrigation was modified to deliver half the normal amount of water (reduced irrigation, RI). Buffer zones on either side of the treatment vines were included. Irrigation timing and duration were left to the managers of each property. Vine pruning weights were recorded in June of each of the last two years, and in 2016 small

sections of roots were collected for measuring stored carbohydrates, as these tissues are a good indicator of vine carbohydrate status. Also, in the winter of 2016, soil samples were collected from each plot via 40cm deep holes made with a soil corer and each sent to Hill Laboratories for a vineyard soil analysis (test S49). Vine pruning weights (expressed as kilograms per metre of row) for the 2015 and 2016 vintages are shown in Table 1. The reduction in irrigation had

Table 1. Vine pruning weights (Kg/m row) for the 2015 and 2016 vintage seasons.

2015 Site






















HuiHui Greystone







Table 2. Vine root carbohydrate measurements taken June 2016 where treatments were imposed from December 2014. Data presented as percent of root dry weight.























HuiHui Greystone








a significant effect only in 2015 and only at the HuiHui-Greystone site. Though the other comparisons were not significantly different, there appears to be a negative influence on vine growth in the RI treatment, which matched the visual appearance of the vines. The difference between the Glasnevin site and the other two was also statistically significant (p<0.001 in both seasons), highlighting the small vine size at Greenwood and HuiHui-Greystone. Pruning weights were generally a bit lower in 2016 compared to 2015, which at least in part could be due to frost events causing very low crop loads for vintage 2015 - vines will have put more energy into growing shoots rather than ripening fruit. An important consideration in this trial was the effect of reducing the water supply on vine physiology as well as growth. Our previous article (New Zealand Winegrower Magazine, issue 93) has shown the vines compensate for the lower irrigation by reducing leaf area, which avoids physi-

ological water stress. This has not always resulted in a change in vine pruning weights, however (Table 1). With reduced leaf area but largely similar pruning weights, there is a chance that the storage of carbohydrates in the woody parts of the vine could be affected. If these are lowered, the likely outcome is smaller vines over time, leading to less fruit production. Evidence for this can be found by monitoring root carbohydrate levels as they have relationships with future vine performance, such as yield (Bennett et al. 2005). The results of these carbohydrate analyses are shown in Table 2, where Starch is the carbohydrate stored for later use, and Soluble is that which is currently in use. There are no significant differences in the soluble carbohydrates, which is not unusual, and though vines in the RI treatment have slightly lower starch, only at HuiHui-Greystone was the difference statistically significant. Overall, the pruning weight

and carbohydrate results seem to indicate that reducing the amount of water delivered to the plants causes them to adjust to the “new normal” by reducing their growth, which then reduces the amount of water they need to stay physiologically un-stressed. After three seasons under the RI treatment, the vines appear to be in a relatively stable state, with the possible exception of the vines at the HuiHui-Greystone site. At that location, the shallower soil profile may make the vines more reliant on water applied through the irrigation system, so they have been affected to a greater degree by the treatment. It is worth noting that vines on the Glasnevin soil were not affected by RI. Irrigation frequency on the gravels was high, so reducing the rate of application has had only a small effect. It is possible that less water could be applied without significantly affecting vine performance or fruiting. With changes in applied soil water there could be changes to the soil ecosystem through

microbes that are involved in nutrient cycling. However, no statistically significant effects of RI were found, though there were differences between sites (Figure 1). No differences for sodium, Olsen P or soil density were found (results not shown), but there were significant site/ soil effects for the balance of soilrelated factors. Generally speaking, the Glasnevin soil had values near to the average, whereas Greenwood was lower and HuiHui-Greystone was highest. It should be noted that changing soil conditions can take many years, so the lack of treatment responses after three seasons is not be all that surprising. This trial demonstrates the adaptability of grapevines, where reducing the amount of water delivered through the irrigation systems results in smaller vines, whose growth matches the water available to them. There appear to be minimal impacts on the soil, at least in the short term, though this is something to monitor should longer trials ever be established.■

Figure 1. Soil nutrients at each site expressed as percent difference from the mean of each variable.


A brief history of DNA testing in vines Darrell Lizamore 15 - 109 The wine industry is no stranger to chemical tests. Growers test the hydrogen ion concentration (pH) in their soil and water, and can monitor with carbon and nitrogen levels in the soil. They test for sugars in grape berries (Brix) and a whole range of different elements in the leaf and petiole, including sulphur, calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, potassium and many more. They even test vine tissue for proteins indicative of viral contamination (ELISA). However, there is one chemical in every single cell of a vine that holds more information than any other: DNA. Within this bespoke strand of sugar molecules is information about the size and colour of the berries the vine will produce, the shape that the leaves will be, and how the plant will respond to a particular environment. And yet few local

Fig. 1: Grape leaf presses collected on card for DNA testing, as blood samples routinely are.

growers have ever had the DNA of one of their vines tested. DNA testing has been used in humans since the 1980s, most prominently in criminal identity and paternity cases. These days, tiny blood samples are collected from children on absorbent cards at birth. Systematic screening of these cards allows early detec-

tion and treatment of over 20 metabolic diseases. Clinical and social outcomes such as these have justified increased research into human DNA testing, and the techniques developed have slowly been adapted by the agricultural sector (Fig. 1). Until recently, the sheer volume of information in DNA was

Fig. 3: Genetic markers revealing differences among clones of the same grape variety.

Fig. 2: A collection of Pinot noir vines with new genetic diversity at the Lincoln University research vineyard.

144   // 


large to test comprehensively the genetic code in one grapevine cell has more “letters” than 100 copies of the King James Bible. Therefore, scientists have looked for variable parts of the DNA, called ‘markers’, that can be targeted for testing. Since the DNA holds the genetic blueprint of an organism,

the more closely related they are, the more similar two organisms’ DNA will be, and therefore the harder to identify DNA markers that can distinguish between them. In grapevine, DNA tests have been available that can identify vines at the species and variety level since 1996, although the cost of these has dropped from over $1,000 to just $60. But as new DNA marker types have been discovered, a test able to discern clonal identity remained elusive. In undertaking a NZW-funded

research program to develop novel grapevine clones (Fig. 2, previous page), our research group were well aware that we would need a tool by which to differentiate new clones from the imported material which is currently grown. But since our approach to creating new clones depends on stimulating the parts of the DNA that cause clones to naturally diversify, we found that tracking these new markers also allows us to tell apart commercially available clones (Fig. 3, previous page).

This finding has exciting new opportunities for the local and international wine industry. It offers nurseries the potential to uniquely identify their clones, and growers the chance to check their plantings where records are unreliable or not available. So watch this space for the world’s first grapevine clone ID test… or even better, get involved! Right now, we are developing this test into a commercially viable assay, narrowing down the number of markers we test

to reduce the cost and checking their reproducible accuracy. To do this we need to test a range of different clones currently in use by our local wine industry. We are inviting growers to send us grape clone samples to test and reference samples to compare them against. We will run the tests free of charge and let you know whether we can definatively match your clone. To get involved, contact Darrell Lizamore at Lincoln University (Darrell.Lizamore@Lincoln.■

Powdery project – what’s going on? 16-101 New Zealand Winegrowers’ Powdery Project is in full swing as it moves into the second year of research and tech transfer. So far, three research trials have been completed, one is under way, a number of new grower support tools have been developed, and there is plenty of activity in the pipeline. Here’s a brief overview of what’s going on. For a full report on the research trials and more detailed results, go to the “Mildews” listing on the members’ website at (under the menu for Grow / Vineyard Resources / Pest & Disease). And check out presentations made at Grape Days 2017, including “Powdery mildew best practice 2017,” by Trevor Lupton (also available on

Research trial 1: Sulphur rates and adjuvants The first trial examined the rate of sulphur required to provide commercially acceptable control and whether the addition of a wetting agent adjuvant improved sulphur activity against grapevine powdery mildew.

Sulphur (as Kumulus DF) at rates of 1.5, 3 and 5 kg/ha (based on 3.0 metre rows) was applied on its own or with the addition of the non-ionic adjuvant Actiwett. These treatments were compared with an untreated control, a conventional programme and an organic programme. Powdery mildew control of bunches was improved with the addition of the wetting agent adjuvant Actiwett. There was a smaller improvement with increasing sulphur rates to 5kg/ha. The best protection of bunches was provided by the conventional programme. This treatment had 4 applications of single site fungicides from preflowering to bunch closure in alternation with an application of Kumulus DF at 3kg/ha + Actiwett. The four single site fungicides were from distinct resistance management groups (Impulse, Luna Sensation, Flute and Quintec were used). This meets the requirements of the fungicide resistance management strategy and has provided the best control of powdery mildew in four trials over two seasons.

Key messages from trial results • Increasing sulphur rates gave a small improvement in powdery mildew control. • Adding a wetting agent to sulphur improved powdery mildew control more than increasing the sulphur rate. • Increasing the sulphur rate and using a wetting agent provided a cumulative benefit. • The conventional programme gave best control (sulphur + wetter + single site fungicides).

Research trial 2: Single site fungicides and sulphur Four applications of a range of single site fungicides were applied between pre-flowering and bunch closure, either with the adjuvant Actiwett or in a mixture with Kumulus DF and Actiwett. An application of Kumulus DF at 3kg/ha + Actiwett was made between each single site fungicide application. A high level of powdery mildew control was achieved on bunches with no negative effects from mixing single site fungicides

with Kumulus DF. Note that the resistance management strategy was not followed to allow side-by-side comparison of each fungicide.

Key messages from trial results • Mixing single site fungicides with sulphur did not impair control of powdery mildew; with some fungicides, control was improved. • This study confirmed the efficacy of single site fungicides in alternation with sulphur applications. It also demonstrated that sulphur and single site fungicides could be applied in a mixture if required.

Research trial 3: Spraying prior to and after lifting Wire-lifting or tucking in spring creates a denser canopy that, in turn, makes it more difficult to achieve good sprayer penetration – especially in Sauvignon Blanc. This trial measured if the application of a powdery mildew fungicide prior to or after wire lifting affected the level of pow-


dery mildew control in Sauvignon Blanc.

go to to download a printable version.

Key messages from trial results

Spray Days – back in 2017!

• Assessments with water sensitive papers showed better coverage when vines were sprayed prior to tucking. • Harvest assessments showed no consistent trend in powdery mildew levels in bunches between spraying prior to or post tucking. • While this experiment did not provide any definitive evidence of improved disease control to support spraying ahead of tucking, it would be prudent, where possible in a vineyard work programme, to time a fungicide application prior to lifting and tucking.

Following the success of last year’s events, New Zealand Winegrowers’ Spray Days are coming back to a region near you. The field days will be held in October and November 2017. The programme and event details will be available soon.

Make sure your sprayer is set up correctly this season Poor sprayer performance and technique has been identified as one of the most important factors in failure to achieve powdery mildew control. To help with this, wall posters have been developed on how to set up and operate specific sprayer types. Email powderyproject@gmail. com for a full size wall poster or

Check your rates on ‘Spring Mix Mate Calculator’ app When planning your spray programme and job sheets this season, remember to check your application rates. Make sure you are adjusting application rates for row spacing and canopy growth stage. Spray Mix Mate Calculator is free to download for the New Zealand wine industry and is available now for both android and iOS users from Google Play and the App Store.

Acknowledgements New Zealand Winegrowers’ Powdery Project is co-funded by the Ministry for Primary Industries Sustainable Farming Fund.■

Photo: NZW

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If there’s one piece of advice worth listening to for fruit growers, it’s getting insurance in place at this time of year. Because no fruit means no income. Our Orchard Fruit Insurance covers your grapes against hail strike, as well as fire, malicious acts, impact, natural disasters and flooding. We’ll pay out 100% if more than 65% of your insured fruit block is damaged. No matter what happens, we’ve probably seen it before, and we’ll know just what it takes to get things sorted. If that sounds like the kind of insurer you’d like on your side, ask around about us. Or better still, call us directly 0800 366 466. This is just a summary of our products and services and is subject to our specific product documentation. For full details, you should refer to the relevant policy wordings.

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