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Bragato 2018 Think Smart, Look Ahead

Water Logged Marlborough Vines sit in water for months

Young Winners Meet the young Winemaker and Young Viticulturist


Wine Tourism Tapping into this lucrative market

BETWEEN YOU AND A GREAT NEW ZEALAND WINE O-I NEW ZEALAND HAS ACTIVELY SUPPORTED THE GROWTH AND DEVELOPMENT OF THE NEW ZEALAND WINE INDUSTRY FOR MANY YEARS. As the local producer of wine bottles for the New Zealand wine industry we’re helping Kiwi wine companies present their finest on the world stage. Our technical expertise, craftmanship and research in bottle design, assists New Zealand wine brands to deliver sensational product to their global markets.

O - I N E W ZE A L A N D Email: Call: +64 9 976 7100

Issue 112 – October/November 2018




Tessa Nicholson


From the CEO

Philip Gregan


In Brief

News from around the country



Wine Events in New Zealand


Biosecurity News

Dr Edwin Massey


Bob’s Blog

Bob Campbell MW

114 Not on the Label

Legal Matters with Kensington Swan



Tapping into Wine Tourism

The tourism season is just about to kick off and Keri Edmonds NZW’s Wine Tourism Manager highlights what it is wine tourists are looking for and how you can tap into this lucrative market.

Bragato 2019

“One of the best ever,” was how many attendees described this year’s event. We take a look at the issues raised and how you can Think Smart and Look Ahead.


Dealing with water logged vines



Marlborough has had one of its wettest winters ever, with some vines lying in water for months on end. What are the consequences? Mark Krasnow explains.

Front Cover: Mahi Wines. PHOTO RICHARD BRIGGS



E D I TO R Tessa Nicholson

CO R R E SP O N D E NTS Auckland: Joelle Thomson Hawkes Bay: Olly Styles Nelson: Neil Hodgson

The new season kicks off

Central Otago: Mark Orton

A DV E R T I S I 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 Jodi Blair Ph: 09 303 3527, ext 0 Fax: 09 302 2969 Mobile: 0277 00 2371 New Zealand Winegrowers PO Box 90 276, Auckland Mail Centre, New Zealand

IT SEEMS like only yesterday we were preparing for the vintage of 2018 to begin. Yet here we are with the new season already upon us. Bud burst has happened, flowering is around the corner and hopefully a benign and warm summer season is about to descend. Which means cellar doors are preparing for an influx of tourists, both domestic and international. This issue we focus on the aspect of Wine Tourism and what it means for the industry overall. Gone are the days when you opened the doors and without doing very much at all, managed to sell out of your wine in a few months. These days wine tourists are far more discerning. When they turn up at your cellar door, they are looking for more than just a few sips of your best wines. They want something that will create a memory, whether that be an outstanding snack or meal, a place to lay their head, or an experience that will make their friends envious. And they are prepared to pay for the pleasure of all of those things, given the figures relating to wine tourism. Just how you can tap into this lucrative market is explained in our lead story. We also take a close look at Bragato 2018 – which provided enough thought-provoking material to have those attending thinking seriously about what the future holds. If you ever doubted that climate change was a real thing, make sure you read the results from a NIWA/NZW project on what the likely scenarios are for New Zealand wine regions. While they may have you blanching with concern, feel grateful we are not in the situation Australia is. Paul Petrie from AWRI explains how much climate change has already impacted on their vineyards, while offering growers in this part of the world some sage advice, that could make all the difference going forward. Being forwarned is being forarmed.

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 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 Inc. or its constituent organisations. Published every second month. One free copy is mailed to every member of the New Zealand Winegrowers Inc, the New Zealand Society of Viticulture & Oenology and the New Zealand Vine Improvement Group, and to such other persons or organisations as directed by the owners, with provision for additional copies and other recipients to be on a subscription basis.

ISSN 1174-5223

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Tessa Nicholson



Lee Suckling

Lee looks at five wine rules he intends breaking, and explains why.


Joelle Thomson

It’s a nostalgic trip down the cycle lanes of the Mosel River for Joelle this issue.

Jean Grierson

Jean discovers this year’s Young Viticulturist is one determined young woman.

Neil Hodgson

Neil discovers one of Nelson’s new wineries, Tincan Wines.

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From the CEO Philip Gregan

Think smart, look ahead The theme of the recent Bragato Conference seemed to resonate strongly with many attendees – we have certainly had a lot of great feedback. Sessions on technology, climate change, developments in the workplace, vineyard replanting and many others got members thinking about the future and what it may hold for our sector. THE SPEED of change in the modern economy and society is incredibly rapid. Look back 10 years and a whole new lexicon was about to explode into our consciousness – GFC, too big to fail, quantitative easing etc. Combined with accelerated development of technology and infiltration of social media, it all confirms that change is the only constant! Thinking Smart and Looking Ahead … it is for that reason in 2011 that NZW commissioned PwC to conduct a strategic review of the industry. That review has framed much of our focus over the past seven years, but times have moved on and earlier this year NZW commissioned PwC to conduct another review for us. Members have already seen the outcomes from the first Review report. We have launched the New Zealand Wine Awards – to celebrate not just our wines but our regions and our people – and we have refocussed the Bragato Conference. Over the next month or so the final report from PwC will be delivered to and considered by the NZW Board. On October 11 PwC will present their report to the

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Board while on 25 October the Board will meet to consider its response to the report. Shortly thereafter members will receive the report and be advised of the Board’s decisions. I don’t know what will come out of the final Review report but I know the report and the resulting recommendations will

be important. The review is not about the issues of today, rather it is about the opportunities and challenges of tomorrow. It is the epitome of Think Smart, Look Ahead. So thank you to those of you who participated in the two member surveys conducted as part of the Review – and watch out for the review outcomes coming your way soon.

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News Briefs




NZWRC announces acting head of science

JUST AS we were going to print, news came through that University of Auckland has gained MBIE funding for the next five years for a major project that will drive new technology into the horticultural fields, including the wine industry. The MBIE Endeavour Proposal – Decision Automation for Orchards and Vineyard – could not come at a more appropriate time, given the recent Bragato Conference highlighted the necessity for the wine industry to move forward in terms of technology and robotics. The funding is worth $16.8m and is one of the largest bids ever. It is pan-sector funding, meaning it will be used within a number of different industries. The on-going research will dove-tail perfectly into the New Zealand Winegrowers Research Centre strategy, delivering on the research theme; Innovative Transformation Technology. More in the next issue of NZ Winegrower.

NEW ZEALAND Winegrowers Research Centre (NZWRC) and Lincoln University have announced that Dr Brian Jordan will be joining the NZWRC team, as Acting Head of Science to assist with the NZWRC’s establishment. While retaining his role at Lincoln University, Professor Jordan will be working part-time with NZWRC management and representatives of other universities and research institutes to shape the NZWRC science programme. “We’re delighted to have Professor Jordan on board at this key time, as we set up the research centre for the future” said NZWRC CEO MJ Loza. “Professor Jordan’s immense experience and technical expertise, and his networks across the New Zealand and international research communities will be invaluable as we define our science programme, plan to build science capability and put in place processes for delivering science excellence.”


Brancott and Emirates Team NZ form partnership BRANCOTT ESTATE and Emirates Team New Zealand have announced a partnership for the 36th America’s Cup, with Brancott Estate signing a three-year agreement to be the official wine supplier to the team until the end of the final race in 2021. Emirates Team New Zealand COO, Kevin Shoebridge says; “We will be welcoming guests from around the world to New Zealand in 2021 and Brancott Estate will be right alongside us rolling out the welcome mat, putting on world renowned kiwi hospitality and sharing the finest taste of New Zealand with them all as we utilise their support and strive to defend the America’s Cup.” The partnership is especially poignant for Chief winemaker Patrick Materman, who has been sailing for most of his life. Although he admits, he wasn’t offered a job on Team NZ. Then again, the Emirate Team NZ crew who had a go at vine wrapping while in Marlborough a few weeks back, are unlikely to be giving up their sailing jobs any time soon either.

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Blair Tuke (left) and Kevin Shoebridge.

News Briefs


Wines represent regions THORNBURY WINES have released a new range of wines, in response to data about what consumers want. The five wines each represent a particular region, from Gisborne Chardonnay to Central Otago Pinot Noir. Winemaker Simon Fell says New Zealand consumers have a greater affinity for locally grown and made produce. “Even in this little nation of ours, wine-making varies significantly from region to region,” Fell says. “The new Thornbury branding is about capturing this for consumers.”




NOD TO CHENIN BLANC It’s no secret that Chenin Blanc is declining in New Zealand (there are approximately 24 hectares today compared to 50 hectares in 2007) so the planting of two new hectares in Hawke’s Bay represents an incremental increase. The two new hectares of Chenin Blanc vines went into the ground in Hawke’s Bay in 2016 on Two Terraces Vineyard, owned by grapegrower Ian Quinn. Most of the new vines are trellised on VSP with a small block on a north facing slope that he is training as bush vines; “A nod to the Loire and other older growing regions,” he says. “I really like the textual side of Chenin, as well as older vintages, which show how it develops and transforms with age. I also think (hope) there is renewed interest in Chenin internationally, both as a classic wine variety as well as a great food friendly wine.”

ROCKBURN WINES is turning its Pop-Up Cellar Door at the Gibbston Tavern into a permanent destination. Situated on the historic site where the gold miners’ Gibbston Hotel proudly stood in 1867, guests are invited to enjoy a wide selection of drinks along with wood fired pizzas straight from the handcrafted pizza oven.   “With one of our key vineyards only a few k’s away on Gibbston Back Road, it’s great to welcome visitors in the heart of the renowned Gibbston sub-region”, says Rebecca Poynter, General Manager of Rockburn Wines.


Upcoming Events

October January



New Zealand Wine of the Year ™ Judging October 1 – 4, Auckland November 3 New Zealand Wine of the Year™ Awards Dinner – Wellington Previously known as the Air New Zealand Wine Awards and the Bragato Wine Awards, New Zealand Wine of the Year™ is now the official wine competition of the New Zealand wine industry.


Sauvignon Blanc 2019 January 28-30

Marlborough Wine Show

The regional wine show for the country’s largest wine region is coming up. Judging will take place from October 15 – 17, with the Celebration of the Marlborough wine industry on October 26.

Colliers Grape Debate Marlborough

International Sauvignon Blanc Celebration. Focusing on three themes, Place, Purity and Pursuit.

Chardonnay & Sparkling Symposium January 31-February 1 – Gisborne Following on from Sauvignon 19

October 19 – The Marlborough Convention Centre Back for the second time, the big guys take on the boutiques in this debate, with a moot of Is bigger, better?

First Light Wine and Food Festival Gisborne October 21 From midday to 7.30pm A great way to spend part of Labour Weekend, guests can take complimentary buses to stop and try the wines at three different venues; Matawhero, TW Wines and Bridge Estate.

NZSVO Sauvignon Workshop January 27 – the Clubs of Marlborough With a theme of How to dance on a moving carpet, this NZSVO workshop is being held in Blenheim prior to Sauvignon 19.

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Hawke’s Bay Wine Auction November 10, 1-5pm Napier Conference Centre The Hawke’s Bay Wine Auction celebrates 27 years in 2018 bringing together over 40 of the region’s top winemakers, offering mostly bespoke created wine parcels especially for the auction. All funds raised go to Cranford Hospice.

Global Events Global Events

New Zealand Wine Global Events Programme 2018-2019 The New Zealand Winegrowers Global Events Programme outlines the user-pays global events activities planned for 2018-2019.





17-19 MARCH Taste of New Zealand2019 Hamburg ProWein


DECEMBER Winesong Northern ThemedCalifornia Dinner Series






New York


Taste of New Zealand Warsaw



New Zealand Wine Experience MAY-JUNE New York

New Zealand Wine DEADLINE 10 AUGUST


29-30 OCTOBER UK New Release and

Promotion with Legal 1 OCTOBER Seafood New East Zealand Coast Wine Fair San Francisco

Sommelier Preview 12-13 OCTOBER

Evening The drinks business Wine and Spirits Show London DEADLINE 31 AUGUST


Flavours of New Zealand New Release and Dublin Preview Sommelier

StarChefs Somm Slam & Congress New York






Flavours New Zealand Three Wineof Men London Cambridge

Pure Discovery CANADA Vancouver




Summer Wine Jam Toronto 7–8 MAY

The Wine Gang London Wine Fair London



Winter Wine School 10 MAY Toronto

Pure Discovery Trade Lunch Hamilton OCTOBER Deadline 14 December POTW Speciality Boutique DEADLINE 17 AUGUST

Launch Event Toronto


David Jones New Zealand Pinot Palooza and Trade Month Dinner & Sydney Melbourne




Pinot 27 Palooza NOVEMBER Brisbane

Pure Discovery Korea




DEADLINE 3 AUGUST Wine New Zealand

of the Year™ Awards tastings 1-3 NOVEMBER Sydney, Brisbane and La Grand Degustation Melbourne Competition GOLD WINNERS WILL BE NOTIFIED Montreal


13-15 PureNOVEMBER Discovery ProWine TaiwanChina Shanghai




Pinot Palooza Pinot Palooza 2018and Trade Dinner Singapore






Royal Agriculture Winter Melbourne Food andFair Wine Toronto

Pure Discovery Seoul



Festival – Made in New Zealand Consumer Events Melbourne 29 NOVEMBER


DEADLINE 2 NOVEMBER Holiday Wine Jam Toronto

Pure Discovery Taipei

Pure Discovery and Trade Lunch 23 AUGUST Ottawa U-Feast






Vancouver International Wine Festival

Pinot Palooza 2018 Hong Kong












Rocky Mountain Wine Festival NOVEMBER Calgary




SEPTEMBER U-Feast Pure Discovery Toronto


DEADLINE 10 AUGUST Massachusetts


Angela Willis Global Events Manager +64 9 306 5642


Nantucket & Food New Zealand Wine Wine Fair Houston Festival


To view a digital version of this programme, please visit Alternatively, if you would like a hard copy version, or wish to speak to one of the team, please contact:




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Wine tourism

Tapping into wine tourism TESSA NICHOLSON

There is no denying that wine tourism is an advantageous adjunct that all wineries in New Zealand should be tapping into.

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IN 2017, the number of international travelers who visited a winery during their stay was just over 712,000. What’s more they spent an astonishing $3.8 billion during their time in New Zealand. Obviously not all of that was on wine – but there is the opportunity for wineries to increase their share of that spend. Keri Edmonds, New Zealand Winegrowers Wine Tourism Manager, says the international wine tourist is spending more, staying longer and visiting more regions than the average visitor. They also are not seasonal travelers, they visit all year round. In essence they are premium travelers who are looking for experiences and memories. To tap into that lucrative market, wineries need to be ensuring they are catering for their needs. Edmonds says the behavior of consumers and wine travelers in particular has changed in the past decade. Where once

Clos Henri.


Elephant Hill.

the product itself was enough to entice travelers, now their focus is more on the experience created by the product or service. Travellers want to be able to taste in a conducive space, they want to be able to dine or stay and they want experiences outside the normal tasting. In response, NZW has established WINE+, which provides wineries with the opportunity to collaborate with each other as well as work with other tourism providers to create diverse experiences. Research undertaken last year by NZW shows there are 279 wineries offering more than 400 wine tourism experiences in New Zealand. They range from cellar doors with tastings to restaurants, accommodation, wine tasting experiences with winemakers, tours of vineyards

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and cycling or sailing activities. Those current experiences are highlighted on nzwine. com/visit, broken down into four separate segments – Sip, Dine, Stay and Play. Since it was launched 14 months ago, it has had over 20,000 unique visitors. “The highest visited pages are actually Dine or Stay, not the Sip,” Edmond says, “this demonstrates the wine tourist is wanting a WINE+ experience whilst visiting our wineries” She says it is vital that all wineries who have some form of experience, ensure their details are up to date within the site. With partners Air New Zealand, Tourism New Zealand and Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment (MBIE), there are plenty of other opportunities for wineries to get their individual messages out. Particularly


on, New Zealand Tourism’s global website. “It is used by a significant number of international travelers as a research tool,” she says, “before they come to New Zealand. There is a food and wine

section where you can list for free, your winery experience.” Given in 2017 there were over 50 million unique visitors, this is a fantastic opportunity for wineries to promote themselves. There are also a number of

National Cellar Door Day THIS NEW NZW Wine Tourism initiative takes place on Saturday November 17. The aim is to drive awareness for the upcoming summer tourist season, and help drive more visitors to cellar doors throughout the country. Currently NZW are developing a social media campaign and member toolkit to support the launch of this event, which is to be an annual one. Regional and sub-regional associations are encouraged to work together, along with local members and capitalise on social media what activities are available individually and at a regional level. Diarise the date now – November 17, National Cellar Door Day.

modules that wineries can download that specifically provide information on the tourism sector. Developed by NZW and Tourism NZ, the modules only take a few minutes to complete and range in topics from wine as an international tourism opportunity through to growing the Chinese market. All are available on the members website. While a lot of emphasis has been placed on the international wine visitor, the industry cannot forget that the domestic visitor also plays an important role. With an average income of just under $100,000, more women than men visit a winery, 55 percent female, versus 45 percent male. On average they will visit three wineries in a day, and again are looking for more than just a tasting – they also want experiences.

Wine Tourism’s focus areas PRODUCT DEVELOPMENT: This is where NZW can help you to develop wine experiences. A tourism toolbox is currently being developed that looks at successful wine tourism experiences, not just here in New Zealand but overseas as well. This will be a valuable source for wineries looking to extend their tourism attractions. NZW are also facilitating product development and capability workshops in each wine region over the financial year. Partnerships: NZW is working closely with Air NZ, Tourism NZ, Regional tourism organisations and Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment (MBIE) to develop and promote winery visitor experiences. Promotion: Through the visit website and social media pages of other partners, the experiences available for wine tourists can reach millions of potential visitors. Preparation: Keri Edmonds and NZW as a whole are only too happy to help

wineries develop their visitor strategies. Again, the building of resource material and tools will play a big role in this focus area. Support: Edmonds says that is the role of NZW first and foremost – “to provide value to our members”. What you can do: Send any tourism relevant photos to NZW so they can be used in future promotions. (Wineries will be credited). Update your information in the pages. Make sure when you use social media you include not only the #nzwine, but also your own winery hashtag and also #nzmustdo. This hashtag has a million images on it already, all promoting the amazing experiences available in New Zealand. But Edmonds says the wine images a few and far between. You can help change that. Keep an eye out for your regional product development and capability building workshop.

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News OIV

John Barker still waiting for final vote ONCE AGAIN the decision on who will lead the International Organisation of Vine and Wine (OIV) has been delayed. As NZ Winegrower was going to print, the second tranche of voting was once again a stalemate. (The first vote was taken back in May, the second on September 19.) So now Dr John Barker of New Zealand will have to wait until November, to find out if he will become the new Director General of the international organisation. There has been plenty of lobbying on behalf of Dr Barker. Even New Zealand’s Prime Minister, Jacinda Adern helped out, with a video sent to all voting members back in August. (The script of what she

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had to say follows.) Why is this so important to New Zealand that a local take on the role of DG? Well the OIV is an intergovernmental organization which deals with technical and scientific aspects of viticulture and winemaking. The field of OIV includes grape production for all purposes, i.e. not just wine, but also table grapes and raisin production. Based in Paris, it has 46 international members. Since its inception in 2001, the role of Director General has always been held by a European member, with Dr Barker being the very first New Zealander to be nominated for the role. The fact he has made it to one of two finalists, is a very big deal.


In terms of how Dr Barker views the role, below is the transcript of an interview which was sent to all voting members earlier this year.

WHAT ARE YOUR PRIORITIES FOR THE ROLE OF DIRECTOR GENERAL? For me, the overarching priority is to ensure that the OIV continues to stand as the trusted global reference point for the vine and wine sector. We need to make sure that our organisation is well positioned to help the sector face the challenges and seize the opportunities of a rapidly changing world. I have set out a programme to do exactly that based on

two strategic directions. First, we need to make sure that internally our decision-making processes are as efficient and inclusive as possible, without sacrificing our scientific rigour. Second, we need make sure that externally the OIV enhances its global credibility and authority by increasing its membership and by building strong and cooperative relationships with other countries and organisations. 

WHAT QUALIFIES YOU TO TAKE ON AN INTERNATIONAL ROLE OF THIS NATURE? Expertise, experience and enthusiasm. I have a deep understanding of the vine and wine sector based on both my

thousand members and a multimillion euro budget - as well as establishing my own successful business, have qualified me well for the administrative aspects of the OIV Director General position.

doctoral research and more than 20 years as a legal expert and advisor in the sector. My career has been spent at the forefront of one of the world’s most dynamic wine producing countries, as well as advising both public and private entities throughout the sector globally. My long-standing experience in the OIV, including as President of the Law and Economy Commission, means that I have a good grasp of the organisation. My leadership role in New Zealand’s sectoral organisation - with two

THERE HAS NEVER BEEN A CANDIDATE FROM NEW ZEALAND FOR THIS ROLE. HOW HAS THAT SHAPED YOUR CANDIDACY? I feel it has been very positive. While New Zealand is a smaller producer, we have worked hard to establish a position in the global vine and wine sector. New Zealand is now the world’s 7th largest wine exporter by value so we are very outwardly focused. We have come a long way in a comparatively short time because we have been open and willing to learn, focused on the quality and integrity of our products and willing to work together. These are the values

that I bring to my candidacy. Fo r m e i t i s n o t a disadvantage to come from the so-called “new world”. Having worked and studied in many parts of the world, I have a very broad understanding of the global sector – particularly in my specialist areas of regulation, institutions and trade. Additionally, coming from the Asia Pacific region positions me to take that understanding into the emerging sites of production and consumption.

YOU HAVE PERSONALLY VISITED MORE THAN HALF OF THE OIV MEMBER COUNTRIES DURING THIS CAMPAIGN. WHAT HAVE YOU LEARNED? The world of wine and the vine is very diverse in terms of our histories, our growing environments and our social and economic situations. But everywhere I go I find a great pride in the vine and wine sector

and the way that it expresses each country’s identity, culture and environment. People see the potential for vine and wine production to contribute to regional economic development by the improving quality and reputation of their products. And they have many similar concerns – climate change being one of the most frequently encountered. These areas of shared interest are where we need to focus our efforts. I have also seen across many countries a tremendous goodwill towards the OIV, as well as a desire to have a stronger engagement with the organisation. For those countries and regions that are developing or re-emerging, there is a great interest in making better use of the knowledge and networks of the OIV to assist the growth of their vine and wine sector.



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News OIV Voting

Prime Minister backs John Barker There can be very few countries where the Prime Minister will throw their weight behind a resident seeking an international posting. But New Zealand has shown in more ways than one, that is not the norm when it comes to supporting its own. WHEN THE voting for the International Organisation of Vine and Wine (OIV) stalled in May, with New Zealand’s Dr John Barker one of two vying for the job, the big guns came out. Big guns in terms of our Prime Minister. The Right Honorable Jacinda Adern was approached by New Zealand Winegrowers about sending a video with her endorsing Dr Barker, to all voting members of the OIV. She readily agreed. Below is what she had to say to those members. Yours is a very important organization and which is why we think Dr John Barker would be an ideal candidate to be your next Director General. He has spent his career at the forefront of this sector and has a positive plan to take the OIV forward. As a New Zealander he knows the value of open and inclusive, forward-looking participation at the international level.

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Now New Zealand is not the biggest or the oldest country to grow grapes and make wine; but we are successful. Wine is now our 5th largest export and we are the 7th largest exporter in the world by value.


Beyond the numbers, New Zealand wine is about our land and our people. We pride ourselves on quality, integrity, respect for the environment and respect for the international rules that

help the sector succeed. These are important values for all OIV members. But this is a time of challenge for many industries. That’s why it’s even more important today that the OIV makes progress on our shared interests. In September, you choose the next leader of the OIV. For those who supported New Zealand’s candidate so far, I thank you and hope you maintain your support in the upcoming vote. For other members, I encourage you to consider Dr Barker’s plan to take the OIV and the positive message electing a New Zealand Director General could send. This is a sector that is rich in history, culture and tradition; but it succeeds because it readily adapts to new challenges and new opportunities and the same is true of the OIV. So, on September 19, I encourage you to look to the future and to vote for Dr John Barker.

Bragato 2018

Bragato a huge success Many of those attending this year’s Romeo Bragato Conference were claiming it was the best ever in terms of content. TESSA NICHOLSON

IT WAS certainly provocative, which is exactly what it was meant to be. With the theme of Think Smart, Look Ahead, the issues covered ranged from the disruptors that are likely to affect the wine industry, through to climate change and its projected impact on New Zealand wine regions. In between there were discussions on synthetic wine, what vineyards will look like in the future, how to overcome the vineyard bulge, biosecurity, lessons learned from the Kaikoura earthquake, optimising irriga-

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tion and getting social, in the media sense. Two guest speakers in particular stood out for me and many others. Dr Alison Stewart CEO of the Foundation of Arable Research, provided so much food for thought on just what technology is out there and how it may change the face of the wine industry as we know it. Special guest speaker Michelle Dickinson, also known as Nanogirl, gave a hilarious but thought-provoking talk on innovation, New Zealand


innovators and a fascinating personal insight into the marketing world of wine. (See page 36) On top of all that, those

attending got to hear from the six Bayer Young Viticulturist of the Year finalists. All spoke on the same subject; What are the challenges facing the wine

Bragato 2018

Everyone attending the session walked away with great faith in the future of our wine industry. industry in your wine region and what can be done about them? The finalists did themselves proud, and everyone attending the session walked away with great faith in the future of our wine industry, if these young people are anything to go by. So all in all, a huge success. Over the next pages we take a closer look at some of the more interesting topics covered. If you missed this year’s conference, or would like to re-listen to any of the presentations, you can find them at; Bragato.

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Bragato 2018

Climate change and our wine regions Climate change was a topic that came up time and again during the Bragato Conference. New Zealand Winegrowers and NIWA have begun researching what impact it will have on our wine regions. Tessa Nicholson looks at the initial results. THE SIGNS of climate change are all around us, NIWA climate scientist Petra Pearce told the conference. In the past century the New Zealand average temperature has risen by one degree. But there are many other signs. “We are seeing larger extreme rainfall events than we used to,” she added. “More intense storms across the world, wild fires and droughts. We have seen sea levels rise in the last two decades, coral bleaching in the tropics related to increased ocean temperatures. In our part of the world, Franz Josef Glacier has retreated between 2005 and

2015.” Those changes are unlikely to suddenly disappear, even if the Paris Accord was to see greenhouse gas emissions drop dramatically. Ongoing work by NIWA for NZW shows just how those changes will impact on four of our main wine regions, through until 2090. Pearce explained they were looking at two separate scenarios and two time frames. “We have a mid-range scenario that involves a stabilization of greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere, and we have a business as

usual scenario where emissions continue unabated.” The two time frames are 2040 and 2090. Under t a k ing mont h ly climate change projectiles through the growing season (September to April), the first four regions to be regarded were Hawke’s Bay, Wairarapa, Marlborough and Central Otago. Other regions will follow later this year. So what are the projections? By 2040, there will be increased warming in all regions, under both scenarios. The temperature increase is projected at between 1 and 1.5

The changes due to warming temperatures at Fox Glacier between 2005 and 2015.

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degrees. Pearce said, it was after 2050 that the divergence between the two scenarios – the mid-range and business as usual – really begun to show through. “By the end of the century the mid-range sees a flattening off of warming. But the business as usual scenario where emissions just keep on, really carries those warm temperatures further up to between three and four degrees” Not only will temperatures rise, there will be more hot days under the business as usual scenario. Hot days are classified as over 25 degrees. Currently in Hawke’s Bay there are around 12 hot days in January. “By 2090 there will be 10, maybe even 15 more hot days,” Pearce said. The same in Wairarapa and Marlborough. In central Otago the current number of hot days in January sits around 15. “The January


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prediction for the end of the century will see another 15 – so nearly every day of the month on average will be above 25 degrees under the business as usual scenario.” Heatwaves, which are considered to be three or more consecutive days above 25 degrees, will also increase and Pearce said the season of these will extend. “So at the moment you might see the first heatwave in Central in or around January. Towards the end of the century we have an earlier projectile, about a month earlier. And the end of the heat wave season is going to be a bit later.” It is important she said to realise that this is not every single year, as even with climate

“Because we will have warmer oceans around New Zealand, tropical cyclones will be able to gather more strength than they can at the moment.” change there will always be variability. There will be cooler and hotter years, that is par for the course – but the average across those variables will see an increase in temperature, hot days and heat waves. In terms of rain, it is likely to be drier in the spring in all of the four regions by 2090, but wetter at the end of the growing season. In November Hawke’s Bay is likely to see 20 percent less rainfall, but in April it could experience 15 percent more. It is a similar story in all other

regions. The number of extreme rainfall or deluge flood events that impact on grapes, will continue to rise, particularly as temperatures rise. “For short duration rainfall events, you see a larger increase per degree of warming. For say a one hour duration event, with a 100 year return period, so a very, very rare event, you will see a 14 percent increase in the amount of rain falling in that event, per degree of warming. So if we are looking to see two to

three degrees of warming, that is quite a significant increase in the amount of rain that is falling during one of those events.” Pearce said it is harder to predict whether New Zealand will be on the receiving end of more tropical cyclones in the future, although it is likely that the number we do receive will be more intense. “Because we will have w ar m e r o c e an s arou n d New Zealand, tropical cyclones will be able to gather more strength than they can at the moment.” In the following stories we consider some of the options available to growers to mitigate those inevitable climate changes.

Dealing with climate change TESSA NICHOLSON

As the last story showed, New Zealand is heading towards much warmer summers by the end of the century, along with more extremes in terms of heatwaves and short deluges. BUT ACCORDING to Paul Petrie, Principal Research Scientist at the Australian Wine Research Institute, we are in a far more fortunate situation than our neighbours Australia. “Australian wine regions are starting from a lot warmer temperatures and if emissions

continue at current rates, they are likely to get warmer still.” Already wine regions in Australia are beginning to feel the impact of higher temperatures. Petrie said data collected as part of commercial maturity assessments across a range of Australian regions

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Marlborough Canterbury Central Otago

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shows that since the early 90s until today the fruit has been ripening substantially earlier. As an example, using Chardonnay from McLaren Vale, the data shows that in the early 90s the fruit reached a benchmark of 21.6 brix in mid to late March.

“As we tracked this over time, the fruit was ripening earlier and earlier, so in recent vintages, the Chardonnay is ripening in late January or early February. That is an average advancement of about 1.3 days every year.” Cabernet Sauvignon which used to ripen in late March back in

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Bragato 2018

the 90s is now ripening in late January to early February – “almost two days earlier per year”. That can cause problems for some winemakers, with vintage now a lot faster, busier and more compressed. “S ome winer ies are struggling to manage all this fruit coming in at once,” Petrie said. “We have gone through a range of 21 days between the two varieties ripening in the early 90s down to seven days now.” What impact does this have on the fruit quality? Well if the winery can’t process all the fruit at once, then they make a choice to take what they can in, and delay taking the rest. That is not ideal, Petrie said, given the fruit left can quickly rise by two or three brix, and the average berry weight can drop – about 10 percent - which could equate to a yield loss of 10 percent in just one week.

There are options though, one being to delay the maturity of some blocks. “That would help spread our harvest out, improve our harvest logistics and would also move maturity back to a more normal time.” A number of research projects in Australia are looking

“You then set the vine back by a couple of weeks and delay maturity. Importantly, the difference in phenology doesn’t close up over time, the maturity delay lasts through until harvest.” There was also no detrimental impact on yields, when this scenario was carried

“In a lot of our cooler regions where we would have traditionally had a VSP system, a lot of our growers are going to a sprawling system or they are managing the VSP canopy to provide the fruit with more protection.” at just how growers can achieve that delay. One option is to delay pruning – waiting until post budburst when the shoots at the end of the unpruned canes are 5-7 cm long.

out over a number of years, and winemakers involved were positive about fruit and wine quality. Another technique that has been trialled involves spraying Shiraz vines with a plant growth

regulator, an auxin (NAA). “By spraying this just before veraison fruit maturity can be delayed by about 20 days. Once again, the winemakers were positive about the fruit quality from the trial.” But this spray has yet to be registered, so is not an option yet for commercial growers. Defoliation or removing leaves can also be used to delay maturity, but it has to be severe defoliation to have a significant effect. It also exposes the fruit far more and researchers are concerned about possible impacts on yields. Winemakers were also not as happy about the informal wines made from these trial blocks. Even a small increase in average temperatures can also mean that extreme conditions become far more frequent. The occurrence of very hot conditions in Australia has grown exponentially from approximately 2% of the time




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Bragato 2018

Three different varieties and how they coped during a heatwave in the Riverland. Negroamaro (left) and Nero d’Avola (right) are traditionally grown in Southern Italy and manage extreme heat better than the Shiraz (centre) which has shrivelled and lost colour.

during the 1950’s to 10% of the time between 1999 and 2013. If not dealt with, heatwaves can cause significant damage to vines and fruit, depending on the time of year. “Vines are more sensitive at certain stages of development,” Petrie said. “At flowering they are more sensitive as high temperatures can impact on fruit set and yield, and they are very sensitive post veraison.” This is when browning or sunburn occurs, and there is the higher chance of chemical damage. “You may not necessarily see physical symptoms, but one chemical change is the reduced colour in red varieties. Fruit on the side of the row that was exposed in the afternoon sun, when temperatures were also warmer, had a lot less

anthocyanins and a lot less tannin than fruit that received sunlight during the morning.” (Based on research in California, looking at Cabernet Sauvignon.) There are two management options available to growers here. One, reduce bunch exposure and/or increase cooling. To increase cooling, the vines need to be well watered in advance of a predicted heatwave. “It is important to turn those taps on when you have a forecast of a heat event, and start running five or six days in the lead up. Keep putting water on during the heatwave – and the canopy will manage a whole lot better.” In terms of reducing bunch exposure – the easiest and cheapest way is to grow more

canopy or change the way the canopy is laid out. “In a lot of our cooler regions where we would have traditionally had a VSP system, a lot of our growers are going to a sprawling system or they are managing the VSP canopy to provide the fruit with more protection.” For example, Petrie said, you can raise or lower the wires in different parts of the canopy. Some growers put all the wires up at the start of the season, and if a heatwave is predicted, they take some down and let the canopy sprawl out to shade the fruit. You could also lift the wire on the shady side of the canopy so the fruit has more exposure, while leaving the wire down or hooking it to a lower point on the side of the canopy that

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receives the afternoon sun. “If you are going to take leaves off, you don’t necessarily have to take them off both sides of the vine – sometimes it is better to take them off the shaded side, not the exposed side.” And remember that bare soil radiates more heat up into the canopy. Permanent swards, if you have enough water to feed them, will reduce the amount of damage to the fruit during heatwaves. L ong-ter m t houg h, if temperatures and heatwave occurrences are going to continue to rise, it may be you have to consider a change in varieties, clones or row orientation. These are all options discussed more fully by Dr David Jordan, on page 30.

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News Vineyard

Protecting grapes from sunburn TESSA NICHOLSON

YOU MAY think climate change is something we will face in the future, but going by last summer, it may already be here. There has never been a season like it, Jeff Sinnott from Vinesense says of the 2018 Central Otago summer. Days of extreme heat from December through to February eventuated in the earliest harvest ever – in some places 33 days early when compared with the long-term average. Pity the p o or grap es when the vineyard is hitting temperatures into the high 30’s. How can you protect that fruit from the inevitable sun burn that accompanies such highs? That was the question Sinnott found himself asking, when one block was inadvertently leaf plucked in early January. The contractors went in to trim and as they have done

every year before, they also leaf plucked. Before Sinnott could call the plucking off, a certain amount of fruit had already been exposed. “It probably cost that vineyard one tonne per hectare as far as yield depressions are concerned. The block that had not had the leaf plucking, that was fine. But any fruit that was exposed particularly to the afternoon sun just simply got fried.” Given the average yield for Pinot Noir in Central is 6.5 tonnes per hectare, with prices being between $3500 to $4000 per tonne, it was a costly mistake. But the high temperatures continued and Sinnott wanted a way of protecting as much of the rest of the block as he could from UV damage. After contacting a winemaker friend in the Hunter

Fruit exposed to the afternoon sun “just simply got fried”.

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Valley, who has had to deal with heat extremes on a regular basis, he was told to consider spraying a bentonite suspension onto the vines, to act as a UV barrier. “It forms a film over the fruit, basically over anything it hits. It’s a brilliant material because it has a huge capacity for expansion.” The beauty of bentonite is it is already an accepted wine additive being used as a protein stabiliser in the winery, so there are no issues surrounding spray residue. And the best news of all, it worked. Despite continual high temperatures no more fruit was damaged by sunburn. Which means if this summer looks like being a repeat of 2018, he will be the first to provide UV protection via bentonite. “We know the signs now and know what to expect. If things look like they are going to do the

same thing, we will probably use the bentonite around Christmas time. But I can tell you this, we won’t be leaf plucking.” It is advisable to use a product that has a rain fast sticker with it, Sinnott says, as bentonite sprayed on its own will wash off in the next rainfall. One of the other lessons learned from the extreme heat of summer 2018, is the impact of sulphur sprays on fruit, once the heat hit. “Even though we spray at night or in the early morning and not when it is hot, we found that some of the blocks that had recently been sprayed with elemental sulphur suffered more burn. Once the UVs became high, it made the sulphur burn worse. So if you see a spike coming, change the chemistry to a different product that is less susceptible to burn.”

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Bragato 2018

The vineyards of the future TESSA NICHOLSON

O N E T H I N G is c e r t ai n according to Dr Dave Jordan [Vine to Wine]– the vineyards of the future will not replicate the vineyards of today. With the unassailable and rapidly increasing march of change, growers need to be looking ahead to the future, and making decisions now to be able to adapt. It is not an easy task given the wine industry overall is steeped in tradition. In terms of the vineyard, change takes time. “We have a five-year lead time to full production and we have an expected life of 20 years plus,” he said at the Bragato conference. “But is that going to be the norm going forward? I suggest not.” So how do growers prepare for the future? Firstly Jordan suggested being agile in terms of the varietals and clones you choose now. For example should you be considering varietals that have multiple uses, such as Chardonnay which can be utilised in a sparkling or a table wine?

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Then you need to be looking at getting ahead of the trends. It is too late to be contemplating a varietal change from say Sauvignon Blanc to Gruner Veltliner, once the market has already embraced the new style. “I encourage my clients to be thinking about five percent of their planting as part of the new and upgrade part of their vineyard. But if you start taking five percent of your vineyard out of production, you need to have the capacity to reward yourself economically and financially while you continue to upgrade.” Failing to do a little bit each year, and waiting either until a new trend is established, or your vineyard life span has reached its end, will be catastrophic. “If you don’t take that approach, you will end up finding your vineyard asset will be devalued by the minute as it starts to become less and less aligned with the future.” As well as being aligned with future wine market trends, Jordan also advised growers to look for the “pain points” in


their business and the need to provide modern solutions to move forward. Examples of pain points are the cost of labour that is squeezing the profit margin for all. While easy to identify, he says it isn’t so easy to solve, especially given roughly 70 percent of all operating costs for grape growers, relate to labour. Mechanisation and removing the human footprint from the vineyard is one way of easing that pain point. He used the example of Klima (mechanical pruning) as one of the innovations that is helping reduce labour costs. But more will come. Mechanical picking, driverless tractors, robots in the vineyard are all likely to be introduced in the next few years. So what does that mean for the traditional vineyard? Will it look the same as it does now? Will the traditional parallel rows be the best way to lay out a vineyard, will they serve the new technology appropriately? “Will you need the same row width, headlands, vine height, row lengths? What other changes would happen if we weren’t configured around the existing tractor?” The other pain point, which is coming much sooner than expected, is “life beyond Roundup”. “No matter how much objecCould this tive information we could put be the out there about the merits or vineyard layout of otherwise of glyphosate, we are the future, not going to get away from the established emotive vote of our consumers to cope with new thinking it is bad. We need to be technology? thinking about that now.” It’s not just glyphosate, it is all pesticides. How will growers

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deal with increasing disease pressure and less pesticides available to treat them? Maybe the time is coming where as a community we need to be looking at gene editing as we are seeing rapid and viable use of this technology in stem cell research. Jordan said he believes as the medical profession adopts this new technology to benefit health, it will open the public’s mind to the pros, rather than the cons of such technology when it comes to food crops. All of these issues affect vineyards themselves, but Jordan also pointed out that the changing market, where consumers are crying out for new and fresh will also change the world of wine in the future. Placing your head in a bucket of sand and hoping it won’t affect you is tantamount to rolling over and dying. Instead, the industry needs to Look ahead and think smart.

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Bragato 2018

Wine without grapes TESSA NICHOLSON

THE OLDEST archeological evidence of wine made from grapes goes back to 6000 BC. In all the ensuing years, it has been a product that has played a role in festivities, religious events and day to day life. While some of those wines have been made from other fruit sources, the majority have relied on the production of grapes. But will that be the case in the future? That was one question posed at Bragato, when Alec Lee CEO of Endless West talked about the creation of synthetic wine. While he didn’t go into depth about the process of making wine without grapes or fer-

mentation, he did answer the burning question of why? And the answer to that question is multi-faceted. Firstly there are the environmental benefits, followed by a reduction in cost of production, the opportunity to create a consistent product year after year and then the efficiency associated with synthetic production. So let’s break that reasoning down.

ENVIRONMENTAL BENEFITS It takes far less water to produce a litre of synthetic wine than it does a grape fermented wine Lee said. “Depending on where the grapes are grown,

wine will take anywhere between 300 and 1000 litres of water pre litre of wine. Our process requires about 13. And there are advantages in terms of CO2 usage and also land usage.” There are also no pesticides or fungicides required in the making of synthetic wine, given no grapes were harmed in the making of this product.

COST OF PRODUCTION There is no down time waiting for the vineyards to come into production, to begin with, and there is no need to age wine in tanks, barrels or bottle for months or years before

releasing. “Our product from start to finish takes, depending on what it is we are making, between four and 24 hours,” Lee said. “A very long time,” he joked.

CONSISTENCY This in the wine world is a bit of a mixed bag, Lee admitted, given there are always going to be wine connoisseurs who want to experience individuality as determined by terroir and vintage conditions. “When we talk about mass consumers though, they love consistency and they make up a large proportion of the wine market.” Synthetic wines also allows

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producers to create prototypical wines. “Let’s understand what is prototypical about a Chardonnay or a Pinot Noir. Then we can mix and match and modify to create something new, different and unique.”

QUALITY This perhaps is where traditional wines may be at risk. Lee said with conditions beyond the control of the winemaker, such as weather events, bush fires and the inherent use of pesticides, synthetic wine can continue to deliver year in year out. “I am talking about the inherent liquid itself. There are various fermentation by products that we don’t have to worry about, we don’t have to worry about modification, as it is made exactly the way we want it to be, from the very beginning.” So the burning question then, is synthetic wine a natural product or not? Lee is adamant it is, and drew on two very simple examples to prove his point. One was the Mona Lisa, which he highlighted during his presentation. First he asked how many people in the room knew what this painting was. Then a little later, he drew everyone’s attention to the fact that he had used the word painting, yet what he was actually referring to was a group of pixels on

Everyone would agree this is the Mona Lisa, despite it being a photo rather than a painting. Synthetic wine is a similar representation, Alec Lee said.

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to experience what they are like, even if it is just close and not quite 100 percent, it gives (consumers) the ability to experience what else is out there.”

“Synthetic wines will take those wines out of the market, and those involved in crappy bulk wines will be the biggest losers.” – John Forrest

a screen, that represented the Mona Lisa. “If I said that is not really a painting, it’s a digital representation of a painting, you would all roll your eyes and be like; ‘we get that, but it still is the Mona Lisa’.” Synthetic wine is the same, it is a representation of a wine, in just the same way an image is of a famous painting. The other example he gave was digital music. Lee said the technology that digitalized music didn’t cause the death of the piano, cello or violin. It just made music far more accessible to consumers. And it expanded the circle of inclusion within music. “People were able to access this notion of quality at the click of a button without having to pay $100 or $200 for a concert ticket.” Synthetic wine has the ability to accomplish the same thing. “What we will be able to say is this is the breadth of the diversity that is able to be produced in wine. And as more

people come into the fold and get to experience that diversity, they become more informed and educated consumers who will inevitable seek out the

original version or new things. “ T h e h i g h e n d , l ow production or expensive wines will not go away. But more consumers will be able

Producing synthetic wines Endless West’s production of synthetic whiskey and wine is achieved in the laboratory. Alec Lee said all their creations are based on a naturally fermented product. “We take the wine off the shelf and we analyse its molecular profile. As many of you are probably aware, wine is mostly water, then some alcohol or ethanol, sugar, acids, proteins, volatile organic compounds etc. There is really nothing inside of that bottle that is not a molecule, everything else is something that we ascribe to that bottle. “What we do is source each of these compounds, completely pure, and we combine them in the right proportions to create the thing we are trying to make. There is pretty much no molecule that is found in a wine or spirit that is unique to that specific bottle. Which is to say that any single one of those molecules can be found somewhere else in nature.”

SO THE TASTE TEST AND REACTION The team from Endless West (previously know as Ava Winery) were tasked with producing a synthetic Sauvignon Blanc for Bragato attendees to taste The colour was good, the aroma was very close to an in-your-face Marlborough Sauvignon. Taste-wise, it wasn’t up there as a memorable Sauvignon. To be honest it tasted as though it had just been bottled that day, and needed some rest time. But given it was produced in four hours, it was an outstanding effort. For John Forrest who attended the tasting, the results were a warning to the New Zealand wine industry. “Those who have been looking after themselves by selling in bulk, cheaply, where it travels across the world in non-refrigerated bladders, then is mixed in with something else, beware. Synthetic wines will take those wines out of the market, and those involved in crappy bulk wines will be the biggest losers.”

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Bragato 2018

Nanogirl’s take on wine TESSA NICHOLSON

Michelle Dickinson, aka Nanogirl is world renowned in her fields of science and engineering. What she has to say about how wineries are connecting with their consumers was one of the many thoughtprovoking sessions at the Bragato Conference. HAVING WORKED alongside luminaries such as Elon Musk and Richard Branson, Dickinson knows a thing or two about where the world is heading in terms of technology. Having recently worked with a Californian wine company installing new technology, she also knows a thing or two about where wine consumers are going in the future. While there will be many who might not like what she had to say at Bragato, her clear picture of what wineries are doing wrong when it comes to consumers, is well worth considering. After analysing customer data for the Californian company, she forthrightly told them; “I don’t think you are speaking the same language as me. I do not understand half of the words you are saying (when you talk about wine). “They thought they were so great about technology and innovation in the wine industry, that they totally forgot about the people they were selling the wine to.” Dickinson said she buys wine as a gift, either to present in her home to friends, or to take to someone else. “I don’t see your wine as a product, I see your wine as a gift.” When the company personnel came back at her and said “what about tannins and

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terroir,” she quickly cut them down to size. “I don’t go into a shop looking for tannins. I don’t even know what that word (terroir) is or how to pronounce it properly. “I was told it has to do with soil, so I said ‘hey, I don’t go into a wine store and go what soil do you use?’ I go into a wine store and say I’ve got a barbecue and we’re having pork.” Being so focused on the “tiny details” especially on the label,

Dickinson said she buys wine as a gift, either to present in her home to friends, or to take to someone else. “I don’t see your wine as a product, I see your wine as a gift.”

makes the wine “boring” to a large segment of the consumer market she believes. In her research of American consumers, she has found


that a large majority of people want a wine that is fit for purpose, (ie; a barbecue) and has a pretty label. But most of all they want that wine to be consistent. If they like it they want to know they can go back and buy it again and it will be the same as last time. “Don’t tell me the difference between 2012 and 2015, I don’t care,” she adamantly claimed. “I don’t want to buy a 2014

and a 2016 and realise I don’t like one of them. I just want it to be predictable. And a lot of American customers were like that.” Now this is where purists might be a bit put out. Inconsistency is a part of the world of wine. No two vintages are ever the same. “It’s sad isn’t it, because you are all like; ‘oh this is terrible because we love our wine, we put so much effort into it.’ “Nobody cares!” Well some do she did admit

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percent of the population cares as much as you, so go market to them. But 90 percent of the

people, especially those off shore just want to buy something they like, that tastes good, that reflects who they are.” Her comments were taken on board by the Californian company she was working with – and while many were initially reluctant to agree with her strategy, they have come around to her way of thinking. “They totally changed the way they marketed their wine, the way they talked about their wine. They removed all the jargon and they watched the sales go through the roof. It broke their hearts, because they cared about the details – it was just the customers didn’t. “It’s a really hard thing to ignore your pride and joy but you have to remember the people who are buying it, want it to be a part of their story, they want it to be consistent and they want it to reflect who they are, not who you are.”


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Bragato 2018

Think Smart – Look Ahead DR EDWIN MASSEY


T H IS MON T H ’ S column highlights the key elements of the Bragato Conference that focused on biosecurity and emergency response management. Taken together, these elements encouraged members to look ahead and get them thinking about how the things they do on the vineyard everyday are critical to help them protect their assets from biosecurity risk and adverse events that threaten industry sustainability.

THE FUTURE OF BIOSECURITY RISK MANAGEMENT The first biosecurity session challenged members to look to a future where biosecurity practices, such as those outlined in the New Zealand Winegrowers - Ensuring Vi ne y ard Bi o s e c u r it y – Guidelines for Best Practice, had become an important part of our industry’s sustainability culture. media/6788/biosecurity_

guidelines-for-best-practice2017-final-2.pdf The session highlighted that the New Zealand wine industry has a proud history of pest and disease management, where members have adapted how they do things to protect their vineyards against threats such as Chilean Needle Grass and GLRaV – 3. Often the measures we take to manage these threats have a broader application and there is no real boundary between pest and The MPI incident controller presenting the action plan to the response governance team during the BMSB exercise held at Romeo Bragato 2018.

disease management practice and biosecurity. The session also examined the importance of being proactive on the vineyard. Using Pierce’s Disease in California as an example it showed that even a really well organised and implemented biosecurity response is often only going to result in sub-optimal solutions for effected individuals. Taking steps now, such as only purchasing vines certified under the New Zealand Winegrowers Grafted Grapevine Standard or having discussions with your suppliers of vineyard equipment and contract labor about the


importance of clean vehicles and machinery could be crucial in preventing unnecessary loss. With biosecurity, everyone has a role to play, it needs to be part of wine industry business as usual. Managing biosecurity risk is not “someone else’s job”.

BROWN MARMORATED STINK BUG BIOSECURITY RESPONSE EXERCISE This session was a window for members into how the wine industry could be involved in a biosecurity response to one of our highest threat biosecurity risks, the Brown Marmorated Stink Bug (BMSB). The exercise simulated the discovery of a potential breeding population of BMSB in a fictitious Martinborough vineyard in the lead up to harvest 2019. The session showed that during a biosecurity response there are a wide range of potential risks to manage, including biological risk, risks to human 188W X 120H MM

health and safety, risks around communications and liaison and potential risks to overseas market access. The exercise highlighted just how crucial it is for the wine industry to be a partner in the Government Industr y Agreement for Biosecurity Readiness and Response. If we weren’t involved other groups would make decisions that could impact the livelihoods of our members. The exercise also showed that during a biosecurity response, it’s often all hands to the pumps. Biosecurity responses are labor intensive and our members have a range of skills that could be really crucial to assist.

LESSONS FROM THE KAIKOURA EARTHQUAKE: PROMOTING RESILIENCE IN THE WINE INDUSTRY It has been almost two years since the Kaikoura Earthquake rocked the Marlborough and North Canterbury wine regions.

Imagine if people had been on this catwalk during the 2016 earthquake.




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This session examined how ongoing research, led by Landcare Research and supported by New Zealand Winegrowers is bringing together lessons learned from across winery design and construction; the financial and insurance sector and rural support organisations involved to promote tools that will increase overall industry resilience to adverse events. A key theme of the session was that supporting your people through the aftermath of an adverse event was absolutely

a simple disaster recovery plan could be critical in boosting your resilience to an adverse event.

CONCLUSION: THINK SMART – LOOK AHEAD! Overall, this year’s conference highlighted that adverse events, such as biosecurity incursions or earthquakes could cause major disruption and were a key threat to ongoing industry sustainability. The biosecurity and emergency management sessions all high-

A key theme of the session was that supporting your people through the aftermath of an adverse event was absolutely crucial to promoting ongoing resilience. People react differently to the stresses caused by their personal experience. Taking the time to listen and giving people the opportunity to share their experience with others seemed to be critical in promoting their welfare.

crucial to promoting ongoing resilience. People react differently to the stresses caused by their personal experience. Taking the time to listen and giving people the opportunity to share their experience with others seemed to be critical in promoting their welfare. The session also showed that readiness matters. Taking simple steps like, assessing how exposed different people in your business are to seismic risks while carrying out their job; checking the level of insurance cover you have, or even drafting

lighted that as part of “Think Smart – Look Ahead” all members of the wine industry should take steps to help promote resilience and mitigate these risks. Remember, as the weather warms, if you see anything unusual in the vineyard; Catch It; Snap It; Report It! Call the MPI biosecurity hotline 0800 80 99 66 to report your find and notify New Zealand Winegrowers Biosecurity and Emergency Response Manager Dr Ed Massey – 021 1924924 edwin.massey@nzwine. com.


Young Winners

Determination pays off JEAN GRIERSON

Bayer Young Viticulturist of the Year Annabel Bulk is one determined person. When she sets her sights on something, she’s there for the long haul. HAVING PLACED runner-up last year, this Central Otago woman was more determined than ever to better herself for one final try at the national title this year before it was too late. Bulk turned 30 the week after the event which was held in Martinborough in August in conjunction with the NZW Bragato Conference. Bulk had been planning her defence of the regional Central Otago Viticulturist of the Year title since last year’s nationals. “I don’t think a single day went by that I wasn’t planning it…I was pretty much focussed … it was very intense…” she said. She had to win the regional title so she could have another go at the national title, and time was running out. Bulk is assistant viticulturist at Felton Road Wines in Bannockburn where she started working six and half years ago, during her final year’s study for her Bachelor of Viticulture and Oenology degree through Lincoln University. The six-week work experience turned into a permanent job, and being a relatively small (32 hectares) vineyard operating over four properties, Bulk gained a breadth of experiences i nclu d i ng org an i c s and biodynamics, pruning, canopy work and tractor work through to working in the winery. “It’s fantastic for Central Otago to have another person win at national level,” said winemaker Blair Walter.

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Back at Felton Road Annabel Bulk cuddles a boer goat kid raised on the property’s scrubland block.

Another Felton Road protégé, Nick Paulin, won the national Young Viticulturist title back in 2011. “It points to a pretty nice history for people getting to work with [Felton Road viticulturist] Gareth [King]. …It shows the level he is able to cultivate with his team,” said Walter. “We’re extremely proud of Annabel, and what she’s achieved.” Bulk said there was a “huge difference” between the 2017 and 2018 national finals, but she was also “definitely more prepared this time.” After last year she felt she needed to


study more about conventional grape growing and spraying, especially for the pests and diseases section. This year there was more organic focus and the option to answer some questions either conventionally or organically, which played into her hand. She felt her experience was also helpful in the research project for developing an undervine weeding plan for a hypothetical vineyard. “I had to go in without bias and do research on chemicals, which linked in with the study I was doing. But coming from a

more organic background I have a lot of knowledge about different weeding regimes and trials, and I wrote a huge report which included nine options and I was able to budget each of those out.” She said the fact that all six contestants recommended a movement away from chemicals points to a significant shift in industry thinking. Camaraderie between the finalists developed quickly, they supported each other and became “really fast friends,” said Bulk. Her sp e e ch topic on

challenges facing her region brought people’s attention to the fact that Central Otago is still dealing with Phylloxera. She stimulated some feedback from reflections that the “commoditisation” of Pinot Noir grapes being shipped out of region for blending with 15 percent other wines was

“watering down” the terroir influence and affecting the Central Otago brand, while some local wine contract companies were missing out. She also proudly highlighted the fact that 23 percent of Central Otago grapes are now growing under organic certification. Bulk’s prize package includes

a Hyundai Kona SUV for a year, $5000 AGMARDT Travel Grant, $2000 cash, Bahco golden secateurs, glassware and a leadership week where she will travel around New Zealand to meet influential people from within the wine industry as well as leaders from other industries.

But there’s no let-up yet for Bulk as she goes on to represent the wine industry in the national Young Horticulturist of the Year competition in November. Giving her just eight weeks to come up with a new innovation for her sector and develop a business plan for it.

A secret weapon? TESSA NICHOLSON

It may be just a coincidence, or it could be a secret weapon – but the Tonnellerie de Mercurey Young Winemaker’s of the year in both 2017 and 2018 bought a house on the exact day they competed in their regional finals. LAST YEAR it was Kelsey Daniels who was juggling the South Island competition and confirming details with the bank. This year it was Young Winemaker of the Year for 2018, Greg Lane’s turn to do the exact same thing. Lane, from Foley Family Wines in Marlborough went a step further though, moving into his new home on the Friday and Saturday before the national finals were held on Monday. The one good thing about that was it gave him plenty of time to practice his presentation to his partner, while he was carrying boxes and moving furniture. The fact his partner (Sarah Adamson) is also a winemaker, provided another secret weapon in his studies for the competition he says. Thirty-year-old Lane, who was born in Adelaide, had no desire to be anything other than a winemaker. Growing up so close to famous wine regions such as McLaren Vale, Adelaide Hills and the Barossa, meant wine was no stranger to him. But it was the opportunities that winemaking could provide that made him undertake oenology

at the University of Adelaide. “I was looking for something that was science based, creative and would allow me to travel. So it pretty much ticked all those boxes.” Even now years after completing his degree, he is still enamoured with the creative aspect of winemaking. “I love that you produce something tangible through your efforts over a year. It is so rewarding compared to other professions. You plan what you are doing for years out, you work through the season, then you have two months to make the product and you have something at the end to show for it. That is exciting.” Having worked in Australia, France, Italy, America and New Zealand, it was this country that captivated him for a long-term career. “I love cool climate varieties, the things we can’t grow in South Australia,” he says. “For me the most interesting part about wine is when you can taste where it comes from, when you see that reflected in the glass. I personally think cooler climate regions and the varieties that

Greg Lane.


The finalists; from left, Kate Franklin (Sacred Hill Hawkes Bay), runner-up Kelly Stuart (Cloudy Bay), Greg Lane (Foley Family Wines) and Haidee Johnson (Villa Maria Hawkes Bay).

grow in cooler climate regions, reflect that better.” Lane says he heard about the Tonnellerie de Mercurey Young Winemaker competition when he was living in Australia, and was impressed that such an allround competition was being held here. “ There cer tainly isn’t anything like this in Australia and I don’t know of anything around the world that is like this. What I like about

it, is it rewards an all-round winemaker. It is not just about blending a wine or doing just cellar work. Winemakers have to wear a lot of different hats, and this competition rewards that.” The finals competition, which Lane says was a big step up from the regionals, pulled on all aspects of winemaking, from a general knowledge essay, a presentation on appellation, to producing a CapEx for an

imaginary winery, and blending. But there was one section Lane is keen to forget. Forklift driving. “I blame Nick (Entwhistle, one of the orgnanisers) because he set out the course,” Lane says. “We had to drive the forklift through a maze of pallets and I managed to knock three of them over, which wasn’t good. I have since banned myself from the forklift since I came home.” Lane’s prize package for

taking out the title of Young Winemaker of the Year is impressive. He has won a travel allowance, a training grant sponsored by NZSVO, a wine allowance and a fully funded trip to the Tonnellerie de Mercurey cooperage in Burgundy. On top of that Lane will also be a guest judge in an upcoming tasting for Cuisine Magazine.


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Sparkling Workshop

Joining the dots TESSA NICHOLSON

IT IS the wine most associated with celebration, with nearly every wine producing country in the world dipping their finger into the pie. Sparkling wine, whether that be Champagne, Prosecco, Cava or simply sparkling, makes up 10 percent of the world’s total wine production. Not surprisingly, 85 percent of all sparkling emanates from Europe. Australia produces 3 percent and New Zealand a mere 0.3 percent. But no matter where in the world the sparkling wine comes from, producers are

46   // 

faced with similar issues. At the recent NZSVO Sparkling Wine Workshop, held in Blenheim, those issues were highlighted. As Louisa Rose, winemaker behind Jansz Australia said, the number of decisions required to create sparkling wine is extremely long. And each level of decision making impacts on the end result. “It doesn’t make a difference between a still or sparkling wine, the decisions we make along the way will ultimately influence the wine we put in the bottle.”


‘I still smile wryly when I see the old vine Shiraz and Grenache coming into the winery these days, to go into our top reds, that I used to pick for our Brut.” – Louisa Rose

Louisa Rose.

Those decisions start in the vineyard, firstly with varietal mix. Both her and Ed Carr, Accolade Wines Group Sparkling Winemaker (Australia), both made mention of how the varietal change of

sparkling wine in their part of the world has changed in the past 40 years. Varieties such as Palomino, Pedro, Grenache, Riesling, Shiraz all went into the sparkling ferment at one stage or another.


To hand pick or machine harvest – Louisa Rose believes machine harvesting will be the way of the future.

‘I still smile wryly when I see the old vine Shiraz and Grenache coming into the winery these days, to go into our top reds, that I used to pick for our Brut,” Rose said. Now varietals are pretty much confined to Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and maybe Pinot Meunier if it is available. For

both Carr and Rose, the fruit for their top sparklings come out of Tasmania, a much cooler climate than the mainland of Australia. It is that coolness of area that Rose believes plays more of a role in the end product than which clones are utilised. “The cooler it is and this

is only my hypothesis yet to be proven, but the cooler the climate the less important the clones.” Another reason Jansz have a number of differing clones, is to provide a picking window, once the fruit is ready. She said if they concentrated on just one clone, the chances of the fruit

becoming ripe all at once, is much higher, creating logistic issues in the picking. Getting the fruit ripe as in any winemaking is vitally important for sparkling but she says defining ripe shouldn’t be restricted to numbers on a page. Instead it should be based on flavour. “It is really important with sparkling grapes that you pick them when they taste (ripe). It’s no different from making any other wine. You don’t ultimately want to make a sparkling table wine, so what you are looking for in terms of flavours and balance is going to be different from a table wine of the same variety.” She said that they don’t start testing for sugar and acid until the fruit has passed the taste test. Hand pick or machine harvest? Well purists would say hand pick every time. Rose disagrees and says they are already machine harvesting a certain amount of their sparkling fruit. Furthermore she believes this will become far more the norm in the future.

This graphic clearly shows the characteristics that emerge with age, and how they are likely to influence the final sparkling wine.

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“I am quite happy so long as you can pick them and get them off their skins fairly quickly. When you have a winery on site then I think machine harvesting, particularly Chardonnay, is quite good. It might mean you can pick in your ripening window more so than you could if you were hand harvesting.” Once the fruit is in the winery – you have to decide on press cuts. “I think gentle processing is probably key.” And then comes fermentation. To add yeast or allow the natural yeast to take over – that is the next decision for the winemaker. “What we know is that when you have a healthy vine and vineyard, and you have really good yeast coming out of there, you don’t do anything to stop them like adding sulphur, they are potentially going to have some input into the fermentation. Malo or not – the decision

making keeps on happening. For Rose, this is a stylistic decision. “We use full malolactic because we have naturally high acidity and we want to soften them.” New oak or old? For the Jansz

sparklings, mature oak is the answer. “We tend to use barrels that have had Chardonnay or Viognier in them for five or six years and then we convert them to sparkling barrels.” These decisions only concern

the base wine making, but as Rose said, there are many, many more decisions that follow on from here. Blending, aging, and closures all play a role in that final wine.


Marlborough Model - 2018 Viticulture Benchmarking Key Performance Indicators

Profit Before Tax

$10,000 14%

$10,000 $6,100

Profit $ Per Ha Last 5 years

Per Hectare

Working Expenses Per Hectare



to June 2018


per hectare

to June 2018




EBIT1 total capital, for the Model


to June 2018

13% 5%




Average Yield

S Blanc Yield

12.7 tonnes per hectare

9% Vintage 2019 Outlook

14.0 tonnes per hectare


Earnings before interest and tax reflects vineyard profit before tax and interest payments, then relate this figure to total capital employed. 1


S Blanc Price

$1,825 dollars per tonne


grape grower view as at May 2018

Growers are cautiously optimistic regarding the year ahead with growers forecasting a sizable crop up 6 percent on the outturn achieved in 2018. Growers also anticipate similar grape prices, in 2019. Underlying industry confidence remains strong, with some concern around labour, climate change, biosecurity and succession.

*figures are rounded for ease of reading

MARLBOROUGH VINEYARD MODEL The Marlborough model remains at 30 producing hectares and for 2018 data was sourced from 47 vineyards. 12 vineyards are located in the Awatere Valley and 35 vineyards in the Wairau Valley. There are 33 contract growers and 14 winery operated vineyards in the survey group. Seven of the vineyards are 0-10 hectares, 11 are 10-20 hectares, 17 are 20-50 hectares and 12 are 50 hectares or larger. Sauvignon Blanc is the dominant grape variety in the model representing 77 percent of the producing area, followed by Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Pinot Gris and Riesling. Five vineyards are BioGro NZ certified.

MPI Benchmarking

The impact of weather TESSA NICHOLSON

THE IMPACT of weather and increasing costs are the two major reasons behind a drop in Marlborough growers’ profit before tax. Those are the findings from the MPI/NZW 2018 Viticulture Benchmarking Model. Released in August, the report shows that yields were down, and working expenses were up, resulting in a drop of 14 percent profit before tax, when compared with 2017. Drawing information from 47 different vineyards in the region, the model is based on 30 hectares where Sauvignon Blanc makes up the majority of the plantings, followed by Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris, Chardonnay and Riesling. Profit before tax was based at

$10,000 per hectare, compared with $11,600 in 2017. That is despite prices paid for Sauvignon Blanc fruit being four percent higher in 2018. The reason? Yields were down nine percent on average across all varieties and down 10 percent for Sauvignon Blanc. The weather is the reason given, in particular the rain which began shortly after New Year and continued off and on until harvest. In February Blenheim had 181 mm of rain, making it the wettest February since records began in 1930. Over three days 108 mm of rain fell, due to Cyclone Gita. Putting that month’s rain into perspective, it was 452 percent of Blenheim’s long-term February average. Fruition Horticulture’s Greg Dryden and Jim Mercer, who run the programme under contract to MPI and NZW.


The result was an Again the weather make up for the drop increase in vegetative affected a number in yields. The model growth – creating more group average was work for growers in of growers, with seven $1930 per tonne – up opening the canopy, of the model having five percent on 2017. mowing between rows and Sauvignon Blanc penalty clauses activated, prices increased by spraying for the ensuing primarily due to risk of disease. four percent, to $1825 Inevitably, working disease issues. per tonne. expenses rose by three Again the weather percent over 2017/18, affected a number of but they were 15 percent growers, with seven higher when compared with However growers were of the model having penalty the average of 2013-17. able to cut back on irrigation clauses activated, primarily due “Disease, pest, and weed costs, and frost protection also to disease issues Those penalties control costs continue to rise,” dropped considerably, given the varied between $150 and $700 the report states. “The labour benign spring of 2017. per tonne. component increased 12 percent In terms of pricing, it There were 350 tonnes and the chemicals 10 percent was good news for growers, or 1.8 percent of Sauvignon compared with 2017.” although not good enough to Blanc unharvested either due

to fruit being rejected for not reaching quality standards, or for being over the winery cap. However there was a drop in the amount of rejected over-the-cap Sauvignon Blanc being on-sold. The total from the model group was 1.3 percent, compared with 2.5 percent in 2017. The average price paid for that excess fruit in 2018 was $990 per tonne. In terms of 2019, growers are expecting an increase in yields to 13.5 tonnes – up six percent on what they achieved this year. They also expect the average price per tonne of all varieties and Sauvignon Blanc on its own, to remain at the same level as 2018.

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Agenda Event

Wine of the ™ Year Awards The new look New Zealand Wine of the Year™ Awards judging is about to get underway. WITH A team of 28 judges, under the control of Chair of Judges Warren Gibson and Deputy Chair Ben Glover, the tasting of the best of New Zealand wines takes place between October 2 and 5. While the judging will take place in Auckland, the

celebration of excellence throughout the New Zealand wine industry, will take place in Wellington on Saturday November 3 at the TSB Arena. This year the wine awards and Bragato Wine Awards were merged

together, to expand the celebration of excellence. So not only will the very top wines be announced, along with regional winners and best organic wine, the awards night will also acknowledge many of the people who have helped forge that excellence. New Zealand Winegrower Fellows will be announced, and the winners of the Bayer

54   // 


Young Viticulturist of the Year and Tonnellerie de Mercurey Young Winemaker will be celebrated. A tasting of Trophy and Gold Medal winners from the New Zealand Wine of the Year™ Awards 2018 will take place earlier in the day in Central Wellington. Further details: info@






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Agenda Event

Chardonnay and Sparkling Symposium More than 50 international visitors will get a once in a lifetime opportunity to taste the very best of New Zealand’s Chardonnay and Sparkling wines early next year. THE CHARDONNAY and Sparkling Symposium to be held in Gisborne on January 31 and February 1, will be a very New Zealand affair. For the first time ever, the international guests will be tasting an array of wines on a Marae – the Manutuke Marae in particular.

56   // 

New Zealand Winegrowers Global Marketing Director, Chris Yorke, says this is a unique opportunity for both NZW and the international guests. “This has never been done before and we are truly grateful to the iwi who have helped us organise such a


memorable event.” The Symposium follows hard on the heels of Sauvignon 19, being held in Blenheim. The international visitors travel on an Air New Zealand Wine Flight, that will pass over the wine regions of Nelson, Wellington Wine Country and Hawke’s Bay before touching down in Gisborne. On the first afternoon they will taste the wide range of Chardonnay and Sparkling styles emanating from New Zealand, followed by a welcome dinner. Day two of the symposium will see more in-depth analysis of the two styles of wine with Masters of Wine, Michael Brajkovich leading the Chardonnay panel and

Jane Skilton the Sparkling. A dinner to farewell the international guests who have been brought out by NZW, will be held that night at the 120-year-old historic homestead Opou. There is still time (though limited) for wineries to register to be a part of the User Pays tasting on January 31;

Chardonnay and Sparkling Symposium January 31 – February 1 Gisborne

Agenda Events



It is a packed programme over three days, with dozens of international visitors getting up close and personal with New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc. DAY ONE -PLACE Future of Sauvignon Blanc – Matt Kramer Sense of place – Sam Harrop MW

Consumer preferences with Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc – Jason Amos Lighter Wines – Dr David Jordan/Richard Lee

Regional styles – Emma Jenkins MW

Pursuit of excellence – Yang Shen

International tasting – Matt Kramer, Sam Harrop and Emma Jenkins

Pursuit of new buyers – Justin Howard Sneyd MW Pursuit towards consumers – Sarah Heller

Garden party at Paripuma Gardens, Awatere Valley

Reaching consumers in the digital age – Paul Maubray


Pursuit tasting and lunch

Freshness/climate purity, New Zealand’s unique climate – Chris Brandolino

Final evening at the Marisco River Hutt

Climate to winegrowing purity – Steve Smith MW

28-30 January 2019,

Sustainability – Justine Tate Sustainability in wineries – Dr Roger Bolton

ISBC Marlborough

Organics – Johnathon Hamlet Vine longevity; the 1000-year plan – Geoff Thorpe When Sauvignon Blanc meets food, the myths and realities – Tim Hanni MW Purity tasting and lunch – locations throughout Marlborough Sauvignon 2019 gala dinner – Brancott Vineyard


Pursuit on premise stories – Video presentation by Cameron Douglas MS Who’s drinking our Sauvignon Blanc? – David Allen MW


Regions Hawke’s Bay

Sileni partners with Booster OLIVER STYLES

HAWKE’S BAY winery Sileni has been bought by KiwiSaver investor fund Booster for an undisclosed sum. Officially announced in September, the move sees Booster offshoot Booster Tahi LP (a Limited Partnership focusing on New Zealand companies and run as an offshoot of Booster) form a partnership with Sileni, as Sileni Wines LP. Due to the vagaries of Limited Partnerships, this Partnership is itself managed by Sileni Wines Limited. In this latter firm, Nigel Avery will continue in his previous role as CEO of the winery, while he and father Sir Graeme take the role of directors alongside Booster Chairman Paul Foley and Managing Director Allan Yeo. The announcement comes after “significant” customer losses in several markets Australia in particular. Sileni had been looking for investors for a year and had been in talks with Booster since February of

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this year. “This is a bitter-sweet day, but we are pleased to have reached a solution to the financial challenges we have been facing,” Nigel Avery said in a Press Release. “We have experienced severe headwinds in our Australian market in recent years. Management and strategy changes in our primary Australian distribution partners has reduced our access to that market. The result has been a significant reduction in sales, which has led to overcapacity in our New Zealand production operation.” Although Avery said a “main motivation” was to minimise the impact on staff, the transition does not come without some losses. These include veteran Chief Winemaker Grant Edmonds, who returns to his 20 year-old project Redmetal on a full-time basis. According to Foley, “the ‘new Sileni’ will be a smaller business than before”, although he did state that Booster does not own


the business as a whole. “Booster has selected the parts of the existing business that it believed it could combine into a profitable go forward business.  This has meant that some parts of the existing business will remain with the vendor company - and it has been talking to the suppliers, lessors or growers involved about the impact on them,” he told NZ Winegrowers. How e v e r, Av e r y w a s confident the move would allow Sileni to “thrive”. “This partnership provides a solid foundation for the business and allows us to build on the proud history of the Sileni brand,” he said. Foley added that the investment was focused on long-term ownership. “Unlike many other private equity/direct investment companies, Booster Tahi is an ‘open ended’ fund, whereas most others invest over a 7-10 year horizon,” he said. Sileni’s production volume

will be set to around 400,000 cases. The winery was set up in 1997 and began producing wines, with Edmonds at the helm, in the heralded 1998 Hawke’s Bay vintage. While B ooster, which currently manages investments of around NZ$2.5b, is one of nine government-appointed default KiwiSaver schemes, Booster Tahi is a special fund set up with the intention of investing in New Zealand businesses so that profit and talent might stay in the country. It was formed in 2017 and has (in conjunction with other Booster funds) around NZ$100m of investments in the horticultural and viticulture sectors. Sileni joins other New Zealand wineries with ties to Booster including Awatere River in Marlborough, Bannock Brae in Central Otago, and Waimea Estates (Nelson). The latter is fully owned by the financial group.











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Sarah Szegota had always planned to combine work with passion, only it was art rather than wine that she planned to work with. She was a fresh young graduate with a degree in the history of art when she started work as a wine samples coordinator in the United Kingdom. IT WAS a busy role. Administration, shifting boxes and coordinating the needs of overseas producers with those of wine buyers in the UK all kept her head down and tail up until… her employer offered to invest in her wine knowledge with the Wine & Spirit Education Trust’s (WSET) education programme. She studied. She got promoted. She quickly fell in love with wine, due to the study and work c ombinat ion. “It was a fast love affair,” she says, with a bit of a laugh. “As soon as I realised that wine was such a diverse product

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Now at the coalface of the wine industry, Sarah Szegota helps out at harvest this year.

to work with, I was in love it the history of place is what got me because I’ve always enjoyed working with different cultures and wine is the perfect vehicle to do that. It was quite a quick


romance.” While she admits she is happiest when she is writing or painting, she loves to “wax lyrical” about subjects she is passionate about. So, while she

loves the world of wine, it was never going to be something that she wanted to produce herself. “A career in winemaking never crossed my mind,”

“The time at NZW was priceless and gave me a great understanding of almost all aspects of the wine industry.”

she says, “I’ll leave that to the experts.” Her love of communication led to her holding the role of a lifetime, as communications manager for New Zealand Winegrowers, when she moved out with her husband to this part of the world. It cemented her love of the industry, while providing her with a chance to meet the people behind the product. “The time at NZW was price-

At the launch of Women in Wine at Bragato 2017.

less and gave me a great understanding of almost all aspects of the wine industry.” One of the highlights of her work in the national organisation, was getting the Women in Wine Initiative off the ground. “When I returned to work after having my daughter in 2016, my colleague and I read

Meininger’s Wine Business International’s survey on the findings of the experience of women in the wine industry around the world. The results weren’t overly positive and we knew how many capable and astute women there are working in the New Zealand wine industry, and realised that none

of them had put themselves forward as nominees in the NZ Winegrowers board elections.” This led to her spear-heading the formation of Women in Wine NZ. It also fuelled another positive – the appointment of two women to the board of New Zealand Winegrowers - Katherine Jacobs of Big Sky Wines

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in Martinborough and Rachel Taulelei, CEO of Kono Beverages. Asked whether she sees the New Zealand wine industry as better or worse than other countries in terms of the inclusion of women, she suggests it is better. “That’s a hard question but I think we would probably be in a better position than some of the old world countries in the wine industry. Initiatives such as Women in Wine give our peers the access to advice, perspective, networking, longlasting relationships, confidence, and encouragement. Everything required to help tip the balance of women putting their hands up to take the big jobs and the directorships. “This is something I would love to see balanced out more as we move forward.” Szegota is now the global communications and PR manager for Villa Maria Wines, meaning she is now working

“Working for a commercial wine business driving market share, profit and brand loyalty are the most obvious differences. Globally the retail environment is fast-paced, energetic and at times ruthless. It keeps you on your toes.” within the industry, at the coal face, rather than for the industry. And she admits, it is different. “Working for a commercial wine business driving market share, profit and brand loyalty are the most obvious differences. Globally the retail environment is fast-paced, energetic and at times ruthless. It keeps you on your toes.” While English born, Szegota now feels very much a part of the New Zealand wine scene, she admits she felt a little con-

scious at first, with her broad Yorkshire accent. “I thought I stood out like an imposter, but that soon changed. The New Zealand wine industry is full of people from all over the world and in my experience, our nation is accepting to newcomers.” That is showing through in the recently instigated Women in Wine Pilot Mentoring Programme which Szegota has been a strong advocate for. “Initially it will give one woman from each of the coun-

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try’s nine wine regions a chance to be paired in a mentoring relationship with an experienced female mentor from the industry and we hope it will grow to include more women and a wider range of mentors too.” As for who has influenced her in her decision making, she is quick to praise her parents. “They taught me the importance and value of hard work and honesty. My mother also showed me that it is possible to ‘have it all’. She had a successful and long career whilst bringing up two children in a loving home. There are so many inspiring people in the industry, it is hard to name them all. Working for Philip Gregan for seven years certainly had an influence on my working style. He reiterated the importance of some of the basics – to listen, empathise and not be afraid of having an opinion.”

Regions Marlborough

Wet year causes issues TESSA NICHOLSON

Water, water everywhere is becoming the catch cry of vineyard owners in Marlborough, given one of the wettest eight-month periods recorded in 30 years. Between January and the end of August, Blenheim recorded 623.4mm of rain. That is just 23mm below the long-term average for an entire year. IT BEGAN in February – the wettest February on record - and it feels as though it hasn’t stopped. That is causing headaches for grape growers throughout the province. You only need to fly over Marlborough to see the effects of all that precipitation – large puddles that are not dissipating. In areas near the hills and out

towards the coast, large tracts of vines have been sitting in water for months on end. Just when things start to look as though they are drying out, another heavy rainfall occurs. So what is the prognosis for growers, as the vines head towards bud burst? Dr Mark Krasnow from Thoughtful Viticulture says

the rain is causing multiple problems. The most major of those is the inability for heavy machinery to get in among the vines, to mechanically strip and spray. “If you can’t get in and do the herbicide spray till flowering, you might have very strong weed competition, not

necessarily for water, but for minerals. That lack of minerals can limit your yields. If you don’t have enough boron in your soils you would normally do a boron spray. But if you can’t get machinery in between the rows because of water logged areas, you might end up with bugger all set in your block.” Thickets of grass undervine

The sheer size of this puddle shows how wet it has been in Marlborough over winter.


are already thriving, and when the warm weather comes, as it inevitably will, they will thrive even more. As the photos show, the puddles in some vineyards are extensive, in some cases up to 15cm above ground level, so it is going to take a long time for these areas to dry out. “Driving heavy machinery over sodden or muddy soils isn’t great, as you compact the soil permanently and it is very hard to bring it back from that,” Krasnow says.

expected a large number of vines would die as a consequence of not having enough air around the roots during the initial growth phase, which is powered entirely by stored reserves that require oxygen to burn. “I had assumed that a vine that had spent the entire winter underwater and was still underwater when the roots woke up in spring, might get a tiny bit of budburst and then the vine would run out of oxygen to generate energy. But that is

The wet winter has already had impacts on the Marlborough wine industry. Some growers were still waiting to finish pruning in mid-September, with bud burst just around the corner. The second danger facing growers is the potential for fungal diseases such as Cylindrocarpons to get the upper hand. Krasnow says the fungi which is found in many soils throughout the province, is opportunistic. “It is looking for a vine to be on the back foot and in a very water-logged soil you have that situation. Those waterlogged roots are less able to get energy from the sugars they burn. Some of that energy is used for growth, some is used for extracting minerals from the soil, but some is also used to fight off pathogens. If you diminish the sugars those roots are able to burn, you diminish the ability to fight back against or outgrow the fungus.” The one piece of good news though is that the potential for vines to die due to being water logged, isn’t as high as might be expected. In a herbicide reduction block he has been monitoring for the past two years, he saw the effect of long-term water logging in 2017. The puddle was still there after bud burst, and he

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not what we saw. These vines were under water until well into November and yet they were still alive. They weren’t happy, they had shorter shoots and were yellow in colour because the roots were having trouble picking up minerals, but they hadn’t died.” T h e w e t w i nt e r h a s already had impacts on the Marlborough wine industry. Some growers were still waiting to finish pruning in midSeptember, with bud burst just around the corner. In some places Klima stripping hadn’t been possible, b e c au s e d r i v i n g h e av y machinery over sodden or muddy soils wasn’t viable. Solution wise, he says drainage is the only real solution. But in areas of highwater tables, which there are a few in Marlborough, that scenario is unlikely to be possible. The only good news is that Niwa is predicting a drier spring and summer, which is certain to bring a smile to growers facing water logged vineyards.


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International Perspective

A trip down memory lane JOELLE THOMSON

A NOTHER DAY, another impossibly steep vineyard perched on the slopes of the Mosel River. We are here to cycle and I can’t help but marvel at the mountainous terrain above the flat pathway we are speeding along in the 35 degree European heatwave. It’s enough to give anyone pause for thought, let alone those of us cycling upwards of 80 kilometres a day. I first visited this region nearly 20 years ago when my wine writing career was in its infancy and so was my daughter, Ruby, who took her first steps on the banks of the Mosel River while her father and I watched on proudly.

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That journey was a combined work trip and family holiday and I have wanted to cycle the length of the river ever since. This year I finally did, although my new partner and I trimmed the trip in half, peddling 220 kilometres in three days rather than six, due to time constraints. The Mosel has many claims to fame. It’s the best known of Germany’s 13 main wine regions. It’s the longest tributary of the Rhine River and it’s home to the steepest vineyards in the world with gradients of 65 to 70 degrees showing a spectacular determination to ripen grapes in a cool climate. It is hard to imagine how these grapes are planted or


pruned, let alone harvested. Many appear to be growing on ledges that look like a challenge to a skilled abseiler. Needless to say, it’s all about hand harvesting. Riesling is queen of the Mosel, occupying at least 60 percent of the region’s vineyards. The balance is a smidgeon of Pinot Noir (approximately 10 per cent) a little MullerThurgau and a smattering of other whites. The best wines from the Mosel have historically tended to be light in body and alcohol with high residual sugar but change is afoot. Climate change is having a dramatic impact here.

The region’s winemakers now pick earlier than in the past and at higher oeschle (the German must-weight – grape sugar - measurement, which determines the alcohol content of the wines). This means the wines often contain higher alcohol levels and are drier than they used to be. This doesn’t mean they taste austere or hot. Far from it. The wines of the Mosel that used to contain 7 percent alcohol are now nudging 10 or 11 percent, at a pinch. The highlight of our threeday cycle tour was the beauty of the place and the great wines of Weingut Schloss Lieser. And being there. Our journey began in Trier, the oldest city in Germany. We finished in the city of Koblenz. Its name means confluence and it’s where the Mosel and the Rhine meet. On the first day of our trip, we popped in to Weingut Schloss Lieser for an extensive tasting that I had arranged prior to leaving New Zealand. The winery was originally established in 1875 and was taken over by winemaker Thomas Haag in the 1990s. Talk about a blast from the past. When I first visited the

Mosel region 17 years ago, I met his father, Wilhelm Haag, of Weingut Fritz Haag. This time round, it was another generation – Thomas’ daughter, Lara, who gave us an outstandingly insightful tasting through the

great Rieslings of this small family owned winery. Her grandfather (who I met all those years ago) is a member of the powerful VDP (Verband Deutscher Pradikatsweinguter); a body of people who have transformed the quality, style and the perception of German wine. Her father, Thomas, is following in his father’s footsteps with great wines made from vineyards such as Wehlener Sonnenhur, Piesporter Goldtropfchen, Graacher Himmelreich and Niederberg Helden. This trip was all about coming full circle, for me. In January this year, I finally opened one of the bottles I brought back from my first visit to the Mosel all those years ago. The 2000 Weingut Fritz Haag Brauneberger Juffer Auslese is from my daughter’s birth year, so we opened it to celebrate her 18th birthday. And we did so

with trepidation. Wine lightly chilled and good glassware on hand, I gingerly tried to extract the cork, which disintegrated, so I sieved the wine into our glasses. It was fresh, luscious, like lemon zest and liquid honey. It was an incredible wine. Just like the region it comes from – and the 18-year-old I

shared it with. The 220 kilometre cycle in Germany’s heatwave was also incredible. Next time, I’m going to take it slowly and savour more Riesling along the way. I’ve seen Koblenz now. And it’s the journey that counts, after all.

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Agenda Events

Wine and the high seas Yachts of all shapes and sizes will once again take on Cook Strait, to deliver the new releases of Marlborough wine to Wellington consumers. THE ANNUAL WineWorks Marlborough Wine Race will take place on November 2, with dozens of boats expected to take part. Initiated back in 2001, the race has become a highlight of the off-shore racing circuit, attracting not only boaties from Marlborough but from around the country. While originally the race was promoting the release of the latest vintage of Sauvignon Blanc, the rules have now changed to allow wineries to enter any varietal. Each of the

wines is matched with a yacht, with top honours going to both the winery and the yacht that crosses the line first. The race begins at the entrance to Tory Chanel and finishes in Wellington’s Harbour. This year’s Wine Race, will kick off with a series of “mini races” in the lead up to the big event on November 2. Wine Marlborough will host a number of trade, media and influencers over the mini race series ensuring wine companies involved get increased exposure.

WineWorks Marlborough Wine Race November 2

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Bob’s Blog

BOB CAMPBELL MW Natural Wine Defined Natural wine is “on trend” right now but is it simply wine made without additives or are some additives permitted? Does natural wine have to be made from organic or biodynamically-grown grapes? Lack of a definition must surely hamper the growth of the natural wine movement. A group of Italian wine producers plan to change all that. VinNatur now has over 200 winemaker members throughout Italy with a few in other countries. They aim to “grow vines and produce quality wines, using natural

methods that are tied to the territory, without being forced by technology”. All members must be European Union (EU) certified organic wine producers which prevents them using synthetic pesticides, insecticides or herbicides. Use of coppersulphate is allowed but below levels permitted by EU organic. Grapes must be handpicked. Fermentations must only use endemic yeasts and sulphur addition is limited to a (low) 50 mg/l for sparkling and sweet wines, and 30 mg/l for

red and Rosé. Light filtration is allowed and they can use gas (carbon dioxide, argon or azote) to avoid oxidation. Everything else, such as bentonite, enzymes, heat treatment, reverse osmosis, acidification, deacidification, electrodialysis etc. is forbidden. Those restrictions are rules, not recommendations and are subject to being checked by the Italian Ministry of Agriculture. More information on VinNatur can be found at http://www.vinnatur. org/en/

Crowd Blend Rosé How can a new winery build brand loyalty among its customers? By making them part of the winemaking team of course. That’s one of the goals behind a novel marketing campaign by The Hunting Lodge, a relatively new West Auckland winery with a fresh approach to making

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and marketing wine. ‘Crowd Blend’ invites participants to buy a Rosé blending pack for $25. The pack contains three 375ml bottles of Rosé labelled as X ‘vibrant & generous’, Y ‘fragrant & refined’ and Z ‘opulent and expressive’. There is also an empty bottle with a calibrated label to help you measure


the volume of blending components. Then it’s just a matter of arriving at a master blend while keeping track of the percentage of each component (that’s the hard bit). Dream up a name for your wine and post it on one of your social media accounts with the bottle and blending card. You

should also introduce the wine name and describe your blend in the caption. Everyone who registers will receive a 750ml bottle of (limited edition) Rosé with the names of all who registered on the label. The bad news is that 500 packs sold out in a matter of days. The good news is that I managed to get one. I preferred the “fragrant and refined” sample but liked it even more with a 50 percent blend of the ‘vibrant and generous’ Rosé. Christening my wine was a bit more difficult. The brand should start with ‘R’, it should be different, exotic, memorable and appeal to women, because they drink more Rosé than men. The best I could come up with was ‘Rigueur Rosé’. My wife hated it. ‘sounds like something out of Prime Suspect.’

HOW TO BECOME A WINE JUDGE Judging 150-180 wines a day for several days in a row is hard work. It’s also a great learning experience and a chance to rub shoulders with other judges who feel as passionate about wine as you do. Did I mention that you need to be passionate about wine? By my count there are six major wine shows in this country. Five of them use the services of Shona White to organise the so-called backroom. Shona also plays a part in the selection of judges, associate judges and stewards. Aspiring judges first need to serve an apprenticeship as a steward. Stewards unpack and label sample bottles which are later served “blind” to the judges. There is a large imaginary

brick wall between the judging room and the backroom to protect the identity of wines from the judges and the results from the stewards. When a vacancy occurs, and if the steward shows promise, they may graduate to become an associate judge. An associate judge performs the same function as a judge except their scores don’t count. Competent associate judges may be invited to become a judge. Each judging panel consists of (usually) three judges and one or two associate judges. One of the judges is a panel leader. A chairman of judges, sometimes with the assistance of one or more co-chairs, has overall

control of judging policy and procedure. To apply for a steward or judging position in shows, except the NZ International Wine Show, send a CV with a brief background outlining wine judging experience and qualifications to Shona White at wineshowqueen@ . Applications for a position on the NZ Wine of the Year Awards, the new show that replaces the Air New Zealand Wine Awards and the Bragato Wine Awards, should also copy Angela Willis at To apply for a position on the NZ International Wine Show send a CV to Kingsley Wood in February or March next year.


Regions Central Otago

The French potter of Central Otago JEAN GRIERSON

WHEN YANNICK Fourbet arrived last summer with his Kiwi wife Philippa and twin boys, Augustin and Mortimer, to start a new life in Central Otago,

he brought with him no less than a container-load of beautiful Anduze pots. He had made these at his family business, ‘Poterie Le Chene Vert’, in the south of

PHOTOS: Rachael McKenna

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France, now being managed by his sister. He also brought with him centuries-old artisanal crafting techniques, and a mind full of plans to start making bespoke horticultural clays pots and “amphorae”, histor ic a l ly used for the fermentation and maturation of wine. The receptacles Yannick - or as he is known here, ‘The French Potter’ - plans to make will hold about 350 litres. Wine-makers who use traditional terra cotta receptacles claim that their wine is stable by nature, rich in tannins, and doesn’t require chemical preservatives to ensure long life, or fining. Whilst other New Zealand wineries, such as Escarpment, are experimenting and making small volumes of wine in amphorae, no-one is actually producing the pots here, says

Yannick. Creating big pots, as any potter will know, is a real challenge as not only do you need a massive kiln, but you also need a good clay source and something to retain the structure of the pot while its being moulded. In France the clay for Yannick’s signature Anduze pots came from Spain in 20-tonne containers, so sourcing a suitable New Zealand clay will be vital to the success of the project. Yannick developed the ancient ‘rope-coiled technique’, dating back 6000 years to the Neolithic period, with his Anduze pots. This involves coiling rope around a wooden skeleton structure and handthrowing clay over the rope, before smoothing it, drying and firing – the whole process taking three to four months. Yannick plans to have his

workshop up and running by early next year, and to have his first amphorae made with New Zealand clay ready by 2020. He is seeking some three to five wineries to trial the amphorae. His wife’s Central Otago biodynamic vineyard will naturally be the first.

Domaine Rewa winemaker Pete Bartle, of Vinpro, says he’s up for the challenge, and excited to work with the Fourbets to make their first wine in amphora, likely to be a Pinot Gris. “I think it’s a great concept, especially a New Zealand-based one, it’s

the whole provenance and biodynamic story.” “It’s the oldest way of making wine, but its completely new to modern winemaking… it will be back to the drawing board.” Amphor a e have h i g h insulation properties and the shape promotes good fe r me nt at i on dy n am i c s . Because of the cool and prolonged fermentation, Philippa Fourbet expects the wine produced will be “lighter, fresher and fruitier.” “It will add a different layer of sophistication and uniqueness to our Central Otago wine,” she says. “It’s different – it’s new, but it’s not new, it’s been around thousands of years.” Otago Polytechnic chief executive Phil Ker confirmed there was the possibility of beermaking trials using the New Zealand-made amphora at the new commercial brewery due to open soon at the Cromwell

campus. “It’s all about brewing education and we’ll be doing a lot of experimentation. Where that leads to we don’t know.” Meanwhile The French Potter will continue to import and sell Anduze vases. Developed in the 1600s and inspired by the elegant Medici vases, they were initially planted with citrus trees and only wealthy estate owners could afford them. The Poterie Le Chene Vert vases are keenly sought after and now adorn indoor and outdoor spaces of households and public spaces around the world. While the Anduze is special to his home town, The French Potter plans to develop his own distinctive signature New Zealand vase which will be recognisable by its shape. “I am inspired by the challenge of designing and firing pots big and beautiful enough for the vast New Zealand landscape,” he says.

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17/01/18 12:29 PM NZ WINEGROWER  OCTOBER/NOVEMBER 2018  //   73

Domaine Rewa

PHOTOS: Rachael McKenna

SHE MAY be a relative newcomer to the wine industry, but the owner of Domaine Rewa in Central Otago has a vision for the future. Philippa Fourbet is a Kiwi who has lived in London for the past 15 years working in investment banking. She bought, sight unseen, the 5.5 hectare vineyard and olive orchard established on the foothills of the Pisa Range near Cromwell back in 2010, and most of what she knows she has “learned organically”. The property coincidentally has a beautiful stone house built by the previous owners, which led to a “lovely turn of fate…. It’s quite a French property,…” says Fourbet who later met and married a Frenchman. The couple, along with their twoyear-old twin boys, made the shift to Central Otago on New Year’s day this year. Yannick Fourbet is a pre-eminent potter whose decorative French Anduze pots have adorned the Palace of Versailles in Paris, the house of Christian Dior and have been exhibited at the Chelsea Flower Show since 2011. Which

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is where the couple met in 2013, while Philippa was sourcing pots for her vineyard. She fell in love - admittedly it was with the pots first… - and the rest is history. Philippa moved to France in 2015 where they were to stay for a while, but a year ago they decided to move to New Zealand. While she quips her only previous wine experience was drinking it, Fourbet is a talented and highly motivated woman with a worldly view and an “unwavering belief in sustainability.” But while she’s still on a huge learning curve in the world of wine, she is keen to use her background to help open doors for other New Zealand wine growers. She recently accepted nomination to stand for the board of NZW, offering a “fresh independent voice” on issues including water, employment, and access to global markets. (Voting results were not in as NZWinegrower went to print.) “I would like to see New Zealand wine strive towards the premium end of the market. This is because I believe that


more sustainable, premium and niche equates to a more valuable product and this is the way we can best position our industry for the generations ahead,” she says. Coming from a farming background - Philippa grew up in the small Otago town of Lawrence - she’s always had one foot planted firmly on the ground. She praises the support of her viticulture team of Grant Rolston and Gary Ford of Vinewise, who helped transition Domaine Rewa to biodynamic certification, and winemaker Pete Bartle of Vinpro, who knew the vineyard from when it was planted some 20 years ago. “Grant and Gar y are passionate about organics which fits with me.... they are tasked with producing the best fruit they can. I am of the belief if Pete makes wine he likes it has the best possible chance of being good.”

Almost half of the vineyard is planted in Pinot Noir, with the remainder in roughly equal portions of Chardonnay, Pinot Gris and Riesling. Distribution has been established in New Zealand and Australia, with smaller volumes going to Japan and Hong Kong, and Sweden. Production has gone from 3000 bottles in 2011 (the remainder of grapes being sold on contract) to 15,000 bottles this year. Meanwhile Philippa works from Central Otago in global banking business servicing international investors, which involves a couple of days each week travelling, juggling her commitments with family, and supports her husband’s pot business. “I am resolutely committed to building an intergenerational business for Domaine Rewa,” she says.

Yannick and Philippa Fourbet and their twin boys.

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News Winemaking

The originality of Untitled TESSA NICHOLSON

IT MAY be common in other parts of the world, but here in New Zealand, blending more than a couple of varieties and regions to create a wine is anything but. Enter Untitled – the new label created by Lee Winston of Pleasant Valley Wines in Henderson. With three wines to his brand – the varietal mix is immense. Take the red wine for example, no less than 13 different varieties are included in the blend. Before you start hyperventilating about the number – realise that Winston is following the tradition of one of the great French wine producing regions, Chateauneuf-du-Pape, where up to 13 varietals are included in

their blends. Inspired by them and also Penfolds Grange whose wines are a mix of various varietals and regions, Winston believes there is a complexity and freshness that emanates. The 13 varieties in Untitled’s red wine come from five different New Zealand regions, from Northland to Central Otago. Winston is not sticking to just the red. He has also released a Rosé, blending seven varieties and a white is to come, taking the best from five varieties. The wines are a mix of blending already made wines and individual fruit parcels. Describing his red wine, Winston says it is in a way

“Pinotesque”. “It’s not a massive full bodied, concentrated number, but it is quite subtle and layered in nuance as well.” All very well creating a wine, but when it came to creating a brand, Winston said he went to Onfire Design in Auckland. They came up with the name and the innovative label. In turn Sam Allan from Onfire says these wines have come together in a comparable way to a movie. “Similar to a film editor who creates a finished film from multiple shots, Lee creates these blends in a similar fashion with grapes.” Says it all.

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Agenda Events

Central Otago celebrates Pinot Noir

Into its 14th year, the Central Otago Pinot Noir Celebration will see even more people take part as Jean Grierson discovers. BEGINNING WITH a Discovery Tasting, followed by a “wow factor” official opening, next year’s Celebration will provide guests with the chance to discover what it is that sets Central Otago Pinot Noir apart from the rest. Between January 24 and 26, master classes, tastings, and food and wine matching will profile the region’s uncompromising characteristics and unforgettable characters, while highlighting the different winemaking practices and philosophies. Among the many guests attending the event, will be around 30 overseas wine VIP guests hosted by New Zealand Winegrowers. Celebration chairman Paul Pujol expects one of the strongest contingents of world wine media ever to attend.

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The Grand Tasting will again be held at Amisfield Winery on Friday 25th January , followed by Lunch in the Vines. This year’s formal tasting on Saturday morning will celebrate the Central Otago Burgundy Exchange and focus on Burgundy domaines involved with the programme over the past decade. The Grand Dinner and finale will be held at Coronet Peak, concluding with the annual charitable auction of a special cuvee of Central Otago Pinot Noir.

Central Otago Pinot Noir Celebration 24-26 January 2019

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Wine Tutorials

From left: Emma Jenkins MW, Tutorial Dux - Andres Aragon Perez, Helen Masters, Institute of MW winner - Maciej Zimny and Blair Walter.

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Family of XII’s wine tutorials THE NUMBERS say it all. Twelve participants, 3600 wine tastes, 85 producers, 57 wine regions and 11 countries. Those numbers relate to the inaugural Family of Twelve wine tutorial held earlier this year. The participants were all individuals working with New Zealand wine in either New Zealand or Australia, selected by a panel of Family members. Over three days they took part in tastings of not only Family of Twelve wines, but a vast array of other wines from the world’s greatest estates. Tutorial Wine Chair, Blair Walter of Felton Road said it gave the participants the opportunity to taste the Family wines in a global context, which included many of the world’s most revered and prestigious wines At the end of the three days,

Andres Aragon Perez from the Merivale Group in Sydney was named Tutorial Dux. His prize, a return trip to New Zealand to tour all Family wineries and a collection of the Family’s hero wines for his cellar. In addition to the Dux, Maciej Zimny from Noble Rot Wine Bar in Wellington was named the winner of the Institute of Masters of Wine prize. He will travel to Adelaide, sponsored by the Institute to attend the annual education seminar this coming November. He will also get to experience the Barossa Valley first hand, hosted by Australia’s First Family of Wine. F a m i l y C h a i r, P a u l Donaldson described the participants as future leaders of the wine world, and the tutorial provided them with a “deep and memorable dimension.”


Regions Nelson

Making great wine naturally NEIL HODGSON

ALICE FEIRING, author of The Feiring Line blog, once said of Charles Chauvet, the credited father of the natural wine movement; “His ideology has somehow evolved into wines made with no sulphur at all. To get there, he did use organic grapes, advocated native yeast only and achieved his wine through cold carbonic macerations, all of which have become hallmarks of today’s extremely popular, insider, hip, esoteric and argumentative wine movement.” Recent additions to the Nelson wine region are Nick

“This venture is a culmination of all the little things I believe in about winemaking, rather than driven by the fact there is a hipster market in Melbourne.” Candy and Laura Tinnelly (hence “Tincan”) with their Tincan Wines range of wines that are natural, orange and pet’ nat but produced in bottles not cans as the name might suggest. I caught up with Nick recently

to talk about these wine styles and their acceptance in the market place. A re t h e y, a s Fe i r i ng suggested, only sold in the ‘extremely popular, insider, hip, esoteric and argumentative

wine movement’ or are they garnering wider attention and acceptance with consumers as a valid wine style? Ni ck s ay s h e tot a l ly understands the scepticism many people have about this style of wine. “If made well, natural wines can be intriguing and exciting. But poorly made examples are just bad wines. I guess like any winemaking, you need to do it properly.” Having worked in the wine industry since about 2000 as a viticulturist and winemaker, he says he didn’t get into this because he saw the hype. “It is

Even the dogs are impressed with this natural wine.

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where I want to go. The reason I worked in the vineyards and as a winemaker for others, here and around the world, was because I was trying to build a business profile for myself so I could be the general manager of a small company. “Along the way you learn all the ‘not what to dos’, and when it was time to have a crack at it myself, my experience of just how good well-made natural wines can be was key in choosing to go down this road. “ This venture is a culmination of all the little things I believe in about winemaking, rather than driven by the fact there is a hipster market in Melbourne. Laura sees the demographic as health conscious people looking for a healthier type of wine; not hipster guys with trucker caps and moustaches.”  In fact he says one of the hardest things is trying to portray that what they do is natural, additive free wine production but not bundled in with the hipster movement. “We think of it as a lifestyle wine, we don’t like being a generalist and our production is tiny compared to many of the places I have worked.”  With production increasing from about 1000 bottles in 2016 to approximately 5000 bottles in 2017 this is definitely a boutique producer that is building funkiness into their wines

Laura Tinnelly and Nick Candy of Tincan wines.

“Laura sees the demographic as health conscious people looking for a healthier type of wine; not hipster guys with trucker caps and moustaches.” using clean winemaking, “with no sulphur and avoiding things like VA and bret we are trying to build texture using skins, stems maceration times, the sediment

as the antioxidant and so on. We are trying to build our wines more on the reductive end of the scale so when you taste them now they can be flinty, but when

bottled and with a little age they will really start to show their pedigree.” “Ultimately, we’re out to make great wine—not just ‘great natural wine.’” From the samples I have tasted Nick and Laura with their Tincan wines label are producers with an exciting future in this very valid sector of the wine production market.

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Obituary Doug Gubler

DR DOUG Gubler, a University of California extension plant pathologist, and someone who played a major role in the world of wine, died in July, aged 72. His last name will be familiar to many, given it is linked intrinsically with the Gubler Powdery Mildew Risk Index, which plays a vital role in VineFacts weekly updates on grapevine phenology, weather summaries and disease pressure over the growing season. Dr Gubler along with research colleague Dr Carlo Thomas developed the risk index, linking with vineyard weather stations so scientists could monitor and evaluate whether conditions were favourable for the growth of powdery mildew. But Dr Gubler was also as well known in his home country for work on grapevine trunk diseases, and was a regular speaker on both subjects throughout the world.

New Zealander Garry Elliot first met Dr Gubler when he was Managing Director of Elliott Technologies, back in the mid 90’s. They became close friends over the ensuing years. “He was a big man in more ways than one and was very generous with using his

knowledge to improve what we were doing in the way of spray techniques, spray timing and mixtures with spray oils. It was Doug Gubler who discovered what JMS Stylet Oil could do for grape powdery mildew when he was asked to test it as an insecticide and found that

there was no mildew in his JMS plots. This led him to test the product as a fungicide which would aid resistance problems due to its physical contact action. We certainly have lost a wealth of information that he accumulated over the years and I personally have lost a very dear friend.”

When did you last invest in a success story? The world can’t get enough Marlborough sauvignon blanc. Since 2005, exports of this premium appellation have more than tripled and now account for around 80% of New Zealand’s wine exports. Satisfying this growing thirst has wine producers in a frenzy as they seek to secure future production from a diminishing pool of vineyards. International wine prices have surged and there is growing pressure on land prices and the cost of vineyard leasing. At MyFarm, we make it possible for eligible kiwi investors to share in the success of Marlborough sauvignon blanc through syndicated investments in select vineyards, which are leased to established wine producers. These investments are structured to deliver reliable monthly cash returns of more than 8% per annum.

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Regions Central Otago

Te Kano Estate Passionate about Central Otago’s wines and environment, American-born proprietor Rhonda Lloyd’s vision has fuelled a unique vineyard and environmental restoration project at Northburn, as Jean Grierson discovers. A CENTURIES old Kowhai tree which stands sentinel overlooking the Northburn faces symbolises a new Central Otago winery’s commitment to sustainability and stewardship. ‘Te Kano’ (Maori for seed) celebrates the lone surviving tree affectionately known as ‘Old Man Kowhai’ on the Northburn slopes above Lake Dunstan near Cromwell - on the land Te Kano Estate now calls home. The London-based Lloyd family fell in love with the “almost other-worldly beauty and unpretentious quality of the land and lifestyle” and purchased outright the 88 hectare tract of land - which was being sold as five lifestyle blocks (house sites included) with the vision of developing a single vineyard. Winemaker/general manager Dave Sutton says the Lloyd’s venture is quite possibly the last of the big grape developments in the Cromwell basin, where booming cherry plantings and

housing are competing for a limited supply of suitable land. “The thing is we’re running out of vineyard land in Central Otago… because of the battle with cherries.”

Two years ago Sutton moved from his winemaker position at Vinpro to oversee the new development and make wines for Te Kano Estate which comprises the Northburn property

and two other established vineyards of five hectares each. The inaugural 2017 release included a Blanc de Noir, Rosé and Pinot Gris, and Pinot Noir with fruit grown in the Te Kano Estate,

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Jerome and Eliza vineyards at Bannockburn. Sutton says winemakers need a good grounding in viticulture to “get it,” and is inspired by the owners’ philosophy of sustainability, and the considered approach of staggering plantings to give time to learn about the site and find the potential of the special and varied vineyard terroirs. Subsoil mapping and a tailored irrigation system allows each parcel to be treated individually to “give each part of the vineyard the chance to do the best it can…. otherwise you are managing for the 80 percent,” says Sutton. Viticulturist Mike Winter likewise brings a wealth of knowledge and passion for organic viticulture to the team, and sees himself as a custodian of the land rather than a vineyard manager. Twenty-five hectares were planted over the 2016 and 2017

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The western slopes of Northburn Station are some of the driest in this country, according to the NIWA and are the furthest inland that you can get anywhere in New Zealand.

planting seasons, with another seven hectares going in this year where previously cover crops have been building up soil organic matter. Sutton expects the terraces comprising schisty soils reflecting radiant heat will make “smashing whites,” – especially Chardonnay and Pinot Gris while the deeper soils have as much as possible been selected for extended ripening for growing Pinot Noir. “I think the Northburn site will produce incredibly good grapes.”


T h o u g ht f u l p l a n n i n g has involved marrying of clonal selections to soil type and aspect, and where clones cross over soil types the irrigation blocks have been split to accommodate different needs. Comprising five sizeable and distinct glacial terraces, the vineyard is dissected by several steep gullies, and is divided into some 40 irrigation zones, with water pumped to the top of the property from Lake Dunstan and then gravity-fed from a tank farm into the low maintenance

irrigation system. The property rises over 110 metres from the bottom of the site to an elevation of 328 metres at the top….. It is at times “hellaciously windy,” says Sutton, and more than 2000 shelterbelt trees have been planted. The western slopes of Northburn Station are some of the driest in this country, according to the NIWA and are the furthest inland that you can get anywhere in New Zealand. Average rainfall is just 300mm. Originally an outstation of the vast Morvern Hills Station in the 1850s, and farmed extensively for over 150 years, the property also has a rich goldmining history which has left a legacy of water races, stacked stone, and distinctive historic ‘herringbone’ stone tailings. Sutton says a full archaeological assessment was carried out and sites of significance on the property identified to preserve

their historical integrity. Wilding pine control specialists were employed to handclear sweet-briar from gullies and an intensive native regeneration project has begun with more than 3000 eco-sourced native trees and shrubs planted to date, with advice provided by Jo Wakelin from the Otago Polytechnic. Many more are being propagated on-site at Northburn’s nursery including some 1000 Kowhai seedlings raised from the “Old Man”

mother tree source which will in springtime swathe the dry gullies in gold and provide habitat for native birds. Ultimately Sutton sees huge potential for public enjoyment of the property, being mindful of managing the working vineyard. “There are so many magical parts…gullies, the tailings, revegetated areas… its going to be beautiful.” “This is a one-hundred-year project, not just making a quick buck,” says Sutton.

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Enjoying Wine

Five wine rules I’m breaking LEE SUCKLING

WINE APPRECIATION is full of accepted rules and wisdom. Some are as simple as “red wine goes with red meat”. Others are more finicky – e.g. “Champagne must be served at four degrees Celsius”. Over the Northern Hemisphere summer this year I ventured to many upscale wine bars across Spain and Italy. Most of the time I ordered by the glass, I was asked if I’d like ice. No matter how hot the weather, this is something you’d never be asked in New Zealand.

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Yet it was over 35 degrees most afternoons, so I succumbed, and my wine-drinking pleasure didn’t suffer for it. This experience has caused me to think of five other wine rules I want to break.

WINE TEMPERATURES It’s thought a cardinal sin to chill red wine – a cold Pinot Noir has most of its characteristics muted, no doubt. However, there’s a case for quickly refrigerating red wines in the summertime.


Standard room temperature rules (think a cold castle in France) have red wine’s optimal serving temperature at 14 degrees. But what happens when it’s 31 degrees in January? That’s no longer proper room temperature. I have no interest in drinking lukewarm wine, so I’ll refrigerate it for a few minutes. The same goes for whites with ice – if I need to do something to quickly change their temperature, I’d rather do whatever it takes than see a bottle that’s too warm go wasted.

ROSÉ IS JUST FOR SUMMER With the summer months around the corner many of us will be wondering when it’s appropriate to uncork the first Rosé. Why limit pink wine to only hot days in the summer sun? Textured and full-bodied Rosés still taste good when it’s cold outside. When you find them in a darker hue (e.g. made from Mataró or Grenache grapes from California and France) they are savoury and smoky and go perfectly yearround. USING A DECANTER Exposing big, bold reds to oxygen via the method of decanting is a valuable wine rule, but it doesn’t have to apply to all big wines. I find younger reds will benefit from aeration the most, but many older vintages have had long enough to mature and don’t need it. Conversely, some white wines actually benefit from decanting, particularly some old

white Rieslings and old white Rhônes. Even very mature Champagnes can be decanted – rather than following a youthful mousse, they can be aerated for an evolved aroma with deep complexities.

GLASSWARE NEEDS TO BE SPECIFIC Is it really an issue to drink white wine out of oversized red glasses with rounded bowls? I don’t think so. Likewise, sometimes it’s fun to drink wine from tumblers, or to have something non-fizzy from Champagne glasses. Various hipster bars around New Zealand will even serve you good wine in jam jars. Glassware doesn’t need to be particular when it comes to wine. Whatever a wine is served in won’t hurt the wine itself. Even if you’re forced to drink from plastic by the poolside.

Taking the lid off innovation. At Orora we specialise in designing, manufacturing and distributing premium quality screw caps, overcaps and caps for wine and spirits. For inquiries contact us: Phone: +64 9262 6971 Email:

CHAMPAGNE IS FOR CELEBRATIONS ONLY Bubbles comes with a sense of occasion, but why should it only be for celebrations? I have no problem popping Champagne – even an expensive one – on a casual weeknight at home when I’m just sharing it with one other person. Rather than getting caught up in the festivities and socialising, I find I can really appreciate the finesse of what’s in the bottle. It’s also great with some meals, such as spicy food – why not lift the flavour of Friday night Indian takeaway with a bottle of Veuve Clicquot?


Powdery Mildew

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Finger on the pulse of powdery mildew ANNA LAMBOURNE, DAVID MANKTELOW

Part 4: Sprayer setup SPRAYER SETUP is the most important of the different factors that contribute to effective powdery mildew control. It doesn’t matter if you have the perfect timing and use the perfect chemical strategy, if you don’t get good coverage it will fail. Sprayer setups need to be adjusted as your canopy grows through the season and tweaked to improve performance in different canopies. Significant improvements can be achieved from very simple fault checking and tuning of sprayers.

KEY MESSAGES • Prioritise sprayer repairs and maintenance • Use the ‘New Zealand Winegrowers - Setup guides’ to help you set your sprayer up correctly • Check coverage • Recheck setup throughout the season PRIORITISE REPAIRS AND MAINTENANCE Sprayer operators can only achieve good results if the equipment they use is up to

SPRAY DAYS ARE COMING Book in the date for your region for the annual Spray Day Workshop. More info available at Waiheke ..............................................................8 October Central Otago ................................................. 10 October Waipara ........................................................... 12 October Gisborne .......................................................... 15 October Hawkes Bay ................................................... 16 October Hawkes Bay ................................................... 17 October Martinborough .............................................. 18 October Marlborough (Blenheim) ............................. 23 October Marlborough (Blenheim) ............................ 24 October Nelson ............................................................. 26 October


standard. Prioritise repairs and maintenance on your sprayers. Far too many sprayers are being operated with needless and fixable faults – for example; bent dropper arms, kinked (obstructed) hoses, leaking air ducts, poorly cleaned filters and nozzles, asymmetric setups and, blocked or missing agitation systems. Leaving these type of problems unresolved will result in problems. Make sure your sprayer is serviced, but remember a sprayer service will oil and grease, but will not check setup.

SET UP YOUR SPRAYER Use the ‘NZW Sprayer setup guides’ as a starting point for angles, numbers, pressures and speeds that have proven effective in most NZ canopies. Take time to look at your sprayer, park it in the row and check it over. Is the setup symmetrical – the same on both sides? If one row side or the

heads in adjacent rows are different then chances are that one side will be doing a better job than the other – decide which is best and make them all look like that. Chose which nozzles are needed and block off the rest. Check the nozzle distance from the canopy is correct and even? Are the nozzles pointing in the right direction? Then run the

machine and watch, are there any blocked nozzles and is the spray hitting the target? Check spray coverage using water sensitive papers, if you’re not happy check your setup or your speed. Recheck your sprayer routinely throughout the season, especially before the critical growth stages -pre flowering and pre bunch closure. Things get bumped, nozzles get lost

and things break. Look after your sprayer it is the last and most important line of defence against powdery mildew.

NOZZLE SELCTION For powdery mildew and botrytis sprays you want to achieve the best coverage in the bunch zone to protect the fruit. So split the spray output. Aim to have 60% of the output at the




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bunch zone and 40% to the rest of the canopy. To achieve this, consider what nozzle sizes you are using. Remember nozzles wear over time, resulting in inaccurate

output rates, so make sure you replace them regularly, the cost to do so is tiny compared with the cost of chemicals and even smaller than the cost of pest of disease control failure.

WORKING WITH CONTRACTOR – results in great spray CASE STUDY 2: A Chardonnay block using a contractor to apply their spray programme. Powdery mildew levels had been very high over the past few seasons and the vineyard owners were struggling to get on top of the disease. A visit to the property in 2016-17 showed 78% powdery mildew bunch infection before veraison. Spray coverage assessments found that the sprayer had serious setup problems. Primarily booms were set in place and not adjusted for different row spacings and the fans where not being run fast enough. After everyone came together the contractor was keen to do his part. The limitations of his sprayer and the impact it was having, was the catalyst for him purchasing a new machine. “With the new unit I can hydraulically adjust booms for the different row widths as I change between blocks. I focus on getting head angles right and running the heads at the correct speed“. Over the 2017-18 season, this block was clean of powdery mildew, not a single bunch or leaf was found.



WWW.ARYSTALIFESCIENCE.NZ © 2018 Arysta LifeScience Group Company. ® FLUTE is a registered trademark of Nippon Soda Co., Ltd. Arysta LifeScience and the Arysta LifeScience logo are registered trademarks of Arysta LifeScience Corporation.


Science Update

Hot off the press PLANT & FOOD RESEARCH VINEYARD HEALTH PROGRAMME Plant & Food Research (PFR) invests $4.3M in wine science research from the MBIE Strategic Science Investment Fund. Part of this investment goes to the Vineyard Health programme, which focuses on maintaining healthy vineyards unburdened by pests or pathogens. UNDERSTANDING XYLELLA fastidiosa (Xf ), the bacterial cause of Pierce’s Disease (Mette Nielsen)

WHY/BACKGROUND/ISSUE Xylella fastidiosa (Xf) - the bacterial cause of Pierce’s Disease (PD) – is a priority incursion risk for NZW. PD is fatal to infected vines, and with no cure, would pose a significant threat

to New Zealand’s wine industry. The estimated cost of PD to grape growers in California alone is US$104.4M per annum. This does not even include the substantial costs of preventive measures against the spread of vectors (insects) within vineyards. Glassy Winged Sharpshooter (GWSS) is considered the primary vector of Xf on grape-


vines, but the recent outbreak of Xf devastating olive groves in Southern Italy highlighted that Xf has a broad host range and that “all xylem fluid-feeding insects must be considered to be potential vectors”. New Zealand has no record of Xf, or GWSS, but dispersal of Xf within New Zealand, if accidently introduced, could occur through other vectors. For example, the

meadow spittlebug (Philaenus spumarius) is common in New Zealand and is an Xf vector. New Zealand imports large quantities of potentially Xf-harbouring host plants, including cut flowers and nursery stock. Plants harbouring Xf can remain symptomless for a long time, and rapid and accurate detection can be difficult. This project is helping to

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Meadow spittlebug: The meadow spittlebug has a wide distribution in and around our grape growing districts.

ACCREDITATION ISO22000, ISO9001, ISO14001 and OHSAS18001 The production of the Relwine screwcaps is made in compliance with the international standards ISO22000 Food Safety Management, ISO9001Quality Management System, ISO14001 Environmental Management System and OHSAS18001 Occupational Health and Safety Management System.

ACCREDITATION ISO22000, ISO9001, ISO14001 and OHSAS18001 The production of the Relwine screwcaps is made in complianceFor more information, please visit: with the international standards ISO22000 Food Safety Management, ISO9001Quality Management System, ISO14001 Environmental Management System and OHSAS18001 Occupational Health and Safety Management System.

For more information, please visit:


a winning influence (nz) ltd Wineworks Complex 7 James Rochfort Place R.D.5 Hastings 4175 New Zealand DISTRIBUTED BY

a winning influence (nz) ltd Wineworks Complex

BarrelS and OaK alTernaTIveS

7 James Rochfort Place R.D.5 Hastings 4175 New Zealand ph (06) 879 6074 fax (06) 879 6974 mobile 0274 200 002 email

ph (06) 879 6074 fax (06) 879 6974 mobile 0274 200 002 email


The spittle masses can be seen in the grass that the spittlebugs produce around the nymphs. Photo supplied by Mette Neilsen

create a state of readiness for a PD incursion, by identifying the presence, distribution, host range and ability to feed on grapevine varieties, of potential Xf vectors already present in New Zealand vineyards. It will also validate the diagnostic testing protocols for detection of Xf in vectors, enabling a more rapid response to any incursion. Improved risk assessments, detection technologies and optimized surveillance will all lead to better preparedness and risk

mitigation. Furthermore, this knowledge will improve pest management in vineyards, and thus enhance the resilience of these productive ecosystems. No work has previously been carried out on Xf or PD vectors in New Zealand. What we learn will be relevant to numerous other sectors (crops, forestry) too, because of Xf ’s wide host range.

No work has previously been carried out on Xf or PD vectors in New Zealand. What we learn will be relevant to numerous other sectors (crops, forestry) too, because of Xf’s wide host range.

WHAT WE DID IN THE FIRST YEAR Surveyed areas in Auckland,



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Port of Tauranga, Hawke’s Bay, Marlborough, North Canterbury and Central Otago, and collected populations of any xylem feeders found.

ESTABLISHED LABORATORY COLONIES OF THESE INSECTS Quantified the feeding activities on grapes of identified species using an electrical penetration graph (EPG) Lodge applications with EPA for a new organism approval and with MPI for an import permit and CTO approval to bring cultured Xf into PC3 containments for future transmission studies WHAT WE FOUND Potential insect vector species of Xf were found in vineyards across New Zealand. The research found that meadow spittlebug has a wide distribution in and around our grape growing districts. This is of great concern because of its

abilities both to vector Xf (overseas data) and, as demonstrated in this study, to feed successfully on grapevines. A lthough other types of spittlebugs were found, they were not widespread in vineyards and did not feed as much on grapevines, but they may still play a significant role if they are able to vector Xf. All potential spittlebug Xfvectors found could feed on New Zealand’s most important grapevine variety: Sauvignon Blanc; indeed, Sauvignon Blanc could be a preferred food plant for them. These insects also have a wide host range and can survive on grapevines without the presence of green leaf material, with numerous alternative plant hosts found within vineyards year round. Beside spittlebugs, only one other obligate xylem-feeder insect was found in this study: a single adult cicada. There

are 42 cicada species unique to New Zealand, found in a variety of habitats, including tall forest, scrub and grassland. Considering the large amount of grass in and around vineyards, a dedicated study using sampling techniques specific for cicadas might have caught more. However, in light of our survey results and the still-tentative role of cicadas as Xf vectors, this was not pursued further. This survey represents only a snapshot in time during the grapevine-growing season; both the recorded species and other spittlebug species may be found in and around the vineyards if surveyed at different times of the year. For example, C. fingens was only trapped around Auckland, however, previous records show that adults of this species have been recorded during spring, summer and autumn in coastal areas from Northland to Nelson on numerous host plants. Car-

ystoterpa vagans was not identified during the survey although this species is widespread in New Zealand and also found on numerous host plants from spring till autumn. In addition, Xf transmission efficacy varies substantially depending on insect species, and spittlebugs may show high efficacy. There is international evidence for spittlebugs being vectors of Xf and the ability of New Zealand species to acquire and transmit Xf will be determined in upcoming work. So far, we have shown that spittlebugs in New Zealand may be important vectors of Xf, if Xf were accidently introduced. For biosecurity readiness for PD in grapes, we need to understand their association with Xf, potential host range, geographical distribution, and the potential for effective management and control of these species. We will continue this project for another two seasons.

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Blenheim & Cromwell Tim Judd South Island Manager Phone: 03 570 2996 Mobile: 021 779 180



New Technology

Technologies for our industry

Smart machines for weed control and beyond – Blue River Technology.


AT THIS years’ Bragato, we heard how technology will shape the future of our industry. While its clear new technologies are coming at us, it is important that these technology companies examine the issues our industry is facing, then design their technology as part of the solution. What’s clear is that there is a convergence of technologies, quickly bringing previously different operations and systems together. Growth in export value/ volume and more land being planted gives us exciting oppor-

tunities to look at profitability. In fact, with the average price per litre export value decreasing since 2003 ($10.4/L to $6.6/L), improving production methods, getting more out of existing resources and adding more value to our wines becomes increasingly important. Below are a few (brief ) opportunities that have come from various chats with growers and winemakers around New Zealand, and where technology has the potential to help. In brackets are examples of companies working in that space that

might be worth a chat with. As always, keen to hear from you on what issues are at the top of your mind and what technology you’d like to see developed.

OPPORTUNITIES The number of passes we take in our vineyards per season has increased, and is, in part leading us away from using less chemistry. At the top of the list is “see and spray technology”, targeting weeds undervine instead of a band every pass (Blue River Technology, WEED-it). A close second is variable rate spraying,

Reduce Losses in new Vineyard Plantings

automatically sensing and optimising for canopy density and row spacing. While there is the demand for a fully autonomous mower, there appears to be none available to us off the shelf for vineyard use. A logical first step would then be putting a selfdriving unit on existing tractors (Trimble, Bear Flag Robotics), helping to get more out of our existing equipment. Despite divergent views on how much, and when, to apply water to our vines, a real-time measurement of our vines water


Root Dip The most convenient root dip on the market that helps keep water in the root zone and eliminates moisture stress.

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status would help to make better decisions (Saturas). Satellite and drone technology is currently in use to determine water stress in vines and inform irrigation regimes (IBM and E&J Gallo collaboration) but has yet to be utilised in our vineyards. Looking for self-driving robots for horticulture? Already here in kiwifruit orchards (Acuris, Robotics Plus). Acuris maps yield density for kiwifruit. Robotics Plus is accurately pollinating and robotically picking kiwifruit. Vision systems, using normal cameras, microwaves and hyperspectral imaging are in development to tell us more about our yield, diseases and viruses (American Robotics, NZW/Lincoln Agritech, PFR, Callaghan Innovation). These systems can see what our eyes can’t, with the potential for information management practices. Trunk bud rubbing is not a sexy topic, but it does cost our industry around $17 million a year to manage. The goal would be to spray (or wrap) on an organic, biodegradable polymer around the trunk that could last a number of years. Talk to John van der Linden at Villa Maria about this, and other ways our future vineyards could be designed. Advances in technology also needs to address our consumer. More and more consumers want a product that is good for them, good for environment and want to know exactly what is in it. How will our wineries meet this increasing demand? Providing the right information to the consumer at the right time may be solved by blockchain technologies, however, these systems are not perfect and rely on accurate data being entered. To understand precisely how consumers experience our wines, we will soon be able to turn to biosensor technologies (Aromyx, MyDx,

Actively protects for longer Dr Mark Eltom

Prospect Bio, Aryballe). Virtual and augmented reality will then tell our stories of provenance to consumers (Conical, Project Nourished). This may be followed by machine learning and trained artificial intelligence, measuring the consumer emotional reactions to recommend the idea wine (Soul Machine, Wine-searcher). These technologies will not replace the extraordinary job our wineries, marketing and sales team are doing around the globe; it will just add another way to reach our consumers. Finally, low or no alcohol beverages are on the rise both in New Zealand and abroad. AB InBev is planning for 20% of their sale volumes coming from this category by 2025 (currently at 8%). The NZW lighter alcohol wine programme is making strides in this area, as well as others (Heineken, Budweiser, Diagio/Seedlip, Pernod/ Ceder’s).

RESOURCES. At Callaghan Innovation, we help co-fund your R&D ideas and connect you to the experts that can help. Also, check with NZW as to your levy funded R&D programme, and with the many talented scientists at our CRIs across NZ (Plant and Food, Ag Research etc.). mark.eltom@callaghaninnovation.

A breakthrough fungicide for powdery mildew control in grapes. • Controls powdery mildew for up to 21 days. • Approved for use on grapes prior to flowering (EL19). • Belongs to a new SDHI chemical group. • High potency and superior intrinsic activity. • Binds to leaf wax for excellent rainfastness.

For more information call 0800 333 336 or visit

MIRAVIS is the registered trademark of a Syngenta Group Company. Registered pursuant to the ACVM Act 1997, No. P9442. Always read the label completely before use. AD240718.


Machinery News

New machinery and how it can help you in the vineyard NO NEED TO FANNY AROUND MARK DANIELS

NEW ZEALAND Frost Fans Limited (NZFF) based in Hastings provides innovative frost protection solutions to growers with its range of FrostBoss™ fans. Specialising in frost fan design and manufacture, the subsequent field placements, installation and servicing, with the business dating back to 2007, following the purchase of Hawkes Bay Wind Machines Ltd. NZFF manufactures a wide range of frost fans (aka wind machines) including the FrostBoss C24 (2-blade), FrostBoss C39 (3-blade), FrostBoss C49 (4-blade) and FrostBoss C59

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(5-blade) machines, with the C49 (4-blade) machine claiming the title of the best-selling frost fan in New Zealand and Australia. The C49 frost fan is the result of much research and development that incorporates the proprietary FrostBoss™ clutch, controller and C49 composite blades. Developed with help from former Team New Zealand aerodynamics research engineer, Richard Karn, noise reduction is achieved by using a greater blade working area and slower rotational speed than typical 2-blade fans. In addition, the higher blade pas-


sage frequency of the 4-blade fan means the noise signature no longer has a low frequency beating sound, typically compared to an Iroquois helicopter, leading to the C49 and the C59 machines to claim to be the quietest machines in the marketplace. A growing market for fan upgrades now exists as new technology is adapted for the population of ageing fans, especially in New Zealand and Australia. The efficiency and productivity of such fans can be significantly improved by the retrofitting of composite

blades, centrifugal clutches and gearboxes, particularly when coupled with automated controllers. Web-based monitoring of frost fans is also becoming more popular among large and small growers alike, and the FrostBoss™ controller has been designed with this in mind. The remote monitoring option enables growers to access realtime monitoring of fans from remote locations, together with text alarms and historical data and graphs on temperature, run-hours and machine performance.

SPECIALISED TRACTORS THE ARRIVAL of a new range of specialist tractors from Massey Ferguson in the shape of the 3700 Series, will deliver a choice of formats that are a great fit for viticulture. The 3700 V and S models are a good fit, for the narrow vineyards in the case of the former, while the S designation is suited to wider spacings, with a slightly wider chassis and a more spacious operator cabin. V-versions have an overall operating width from 100cm, so should suit 1.8 to 2.2 metre plantings, while the S-units are from 130cm width, so better suited to 2.20 to 2.50 metre configurations. Power is provided by a common rail, Stage 3, four-cylinder engine, with ratings of 75, 85, 95 and 105 hp in models designated 3707, 3708,3709 and 3710 respectively, offering maximum torque upX 130H to a maximum of 185W MM

405Nm, while servicing schedules can be pushed out to 600 hours. A long working day is provided with an under-hood, and easily accessed 74 litre fueltank, while an optional 30 litre auxiliary tank can be specified for extended use. Available in Cabin or ROPS formats, the range can be supplied in two specifications, with the Essential offering a 24/12 Power Shuttle transmission, 95 litres per minute oil flow, three rear mechanical spool valves and a mechanical control rear linkage. For those requiring more specification, the Efficient version, available in cabin only format, offers the same 24/12 Power Shuttle transmission, hydraulic flow up to 120 litres per minute, two electronic rear remotes, complemented by a mid-mount valve delivering 45 litres per minute, while at the

rear, linkage control is electronic, with linkage levelling. The MF 3700V range also benefits from a maximum speed of 40kph for more efficient transport duties. Helping operational ergonomics in Power Shuttle tractors, a unique joystick allows clutch, transmission and implement control from one easily controlled position, that is said to allow the operator to concentrate on the

task at hand. A choice of hydraulic systems sees a twin-pump set up delivering a total flow of 95l/min (65 l/min to remotes), while a tripump layout has a max flow of 120 l/min with 95 litres available to the valves. Rear lift capacity is up to 3000kgs, which a choice of up to six spool valves and the option of a hydraulic dual-line trailer braking system.


L 974




FOR USE IN LOW TO MEDIUM VOLUME SPRAYING. MORE SPREADING BETTER ADHESION EXCELLENT RAINFASTNESS Du-Wett WeatherMAX® dramatically improves spreading, coverage and retention of sprays to withstand wet conditions and reduce spray drift.



WWW.ARYSTALIFESCIENCE.NZ © 2018 Arysta LifeScience Group Company. ® DU-WETT is a registered trademark of Elliott Chemicals Ltd. ® WEATHERMAX is a registered trademark of an Arysta LifeScience Group Company. Arysta LifeScience and the Arysta LifeScience logo are registered trademarks of Arysta LifeScience Corporation.


WHY NOT KEEP IT SIMPLE? SOMETIMES IT’S easy to overthink a solution to a task. Typically, fertiliser spreading has hit high levels of accuracy and control, but sometimes, basic maintenance applications can be achieved with basic equipment. One such solution is the age-old Vicon Varispreader, known by most rural folk, that dates to the 1960’s or before, with over 1 million units sold, and with many still in use around the globe. Well known for its pendulum spreading mechanism, the design is said to ensure that application rates remain identical on each side of the machine, ensuring consistent overlaps, while also resisting the influence of the wind, as material is only delivered to each side, with only a small amount to the rear. Clever design uses a tubular frame that is free from right-angled corners where fertiliser can collect, while the reinforced polyester or polyester hoppers are also unaffected by aggressive materials. For vineyard use in particular, the PS 403 and 503 models, offering 400 or 500 litre capacities, sees the hoppers mounted at 90 degrees to the norm, that results in an overall machine width of only 115cms, while also maintaining a low filling height of only 1000mm. Machines can be used to achieve spreading widths of up to 14 metres, depending on PTO speed, while a broad range of spouts can replace the standard unit, for the likes of band spreading to achieve accurate placement. As an example, the long band spreading spout can deliver spreading width from 2 to 8 metres, while the small unit delivers from 0.75 to 4.5 metres. Likewise, operations in cold climates like Central Otago might want to fit the salt-spreading spout to keep roadways and accesses clear.

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HML - the recipe for success. Bud burst to pre-flowering (10-14 day interval) Growth stage

Prebud to budburst

First leaf separated from shoot tip

2-3 leaf shoots 2-4cm long

4 leaf

6-7 leaf









Rate / 100L

HML Silco

425g powder / 540ml liquid



















Lime Sulphur


Copper Protector

12 leaf, inflor. Well developed, single flower sep.






Seaweed Magnesium

8-10 leaf single flower



Seaweed Magnesium

Tr. elements

see notes

Pre-flowering to PBC (7-10 day interval) Growth stage

14 leaf, cap colour fading

16 leaf, beg. flowering

50% capfall

80% - 100% capfall


Pea size 4mm

Pea size 7mm












Rate / 100L

HML Silco

425g powder / 540ml liquid
























Protector HML32


Protector HML32




Protector HML32

Seaweed Magnesium


HML32 Seaweed Magnesium


Post PBC to veraison (10-14 day interval) Growth stage

Berries still hard and green


33 Rate / 100L

HML Silco

425g powder / 540ml liquid


















Henry Manufacturing non-residual pesticides




Sulphur Copper

Protector HML32 Seaweed

1. Lime sulphur only needs to be applied if the previous season had high powdery mildew infection and/or erinose mites. 2. Recover after rain. 3. Applications of copper provides phomopsis and downy mildew control. Note that further copper applications may be required where the downy mildew pressure is high.

Disclaimer: Henry Manufacturing Limited has prepared this programme to assist grape growers using its products. Liability whether in tort (including negligence), contract or otherwise, for any loss, crop injury or crop failure, resulting from the application of this spray programme is excluded. Any user of this spray programme accepts this disclaimer.

6. If the flowering period is longer than 7 days or is wet, apply Protector mix to maintain powdery mildew cover.

botrytis resilience and enhancement maturity. See notes on website for accurate timings for white and red grapes.

7. For a month after Fruitset EL27 (when plant is still susceptible to powdery mildew), cover at 7 day intervals (10 day maximum) with HML32 mix alternating with Protector mix. If under pressure, use HML32 mix instead of Protector mix.

11. All HML products are alkaline. Take care when selecting copper and nutrient products to avoid tank mix incompatibility and plant damage. Read the label of HML products.

4. Early applications of HML Silco helps build plant strength and crop resilience.

8. The HML32, sulphur and Silco mix prevents and eradicates powdery mildew.

12. Magnesium sulphate is in most cases compatible with the Protector, HML Silco and sulphur mix. Jar test recommended. Not compatible with HML32.

5. HML32 mix at EL18 and EL 25 are important applications that brackets flowering. Provides powdery mildew prevention and eradication control as well as botrytis control.

9. Where there is existing powdery mildew infection, an alternative mix is HML32, copper and HML Potum (potassium bicarbonate).

13. If other trace element applications are required, an extra application round will be required or alternatively drop Protector out of the mix.

10. At EL35-36, the application of HML32 can provide

Contact Chris Henry on: or call 06 874 2921 or 027 294 1490 Visit us:

The road to resilience. Without residues. Without toxicity. Without resistance issues.

News Event

Match made in heaven TESSA NICHOLSON

F O R G E T T H E c an ap e s , the caviar, the salmon or degustation. Instead think of the humble pie, and then pairing it with the perfect wine. That is what The Burleigh Pie Wine Pairing competition, held in Marlborough earlier this year was all about. With a slogan of “Pies for the People,” The Burleigh produces 11 different pies, with many taking a slightly different slant on what most people consider pie ingredients. Think beef, mushroom and truffle cheese, pork belly, or chicken leek and mushroom. The pie wine pairing began last year, with wineries encouraged to match one of the Burleigh’s 11 pies, with one of their own wines. It was such a success, that it

Agriculture and Viticulture Machinery Sales & Service Specialists

New Zealand agent for Netwizz netting applicators. Ideal for vineyards or anywhere that requires crop netting. With automatic netting applicator and retrieval. Orders being taken for early January delivery:  Slim line for narrow rows  Standard for 300m+ length nets  Swivel heads for orchard hail netting Prices starting from $15,950 + GST

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Getting down to it; two of the judges, Stuart Smith MP (left) and Scott Radovanovich from Hits FM, search for the perfect Burleigh Pie/Wine Pairing.


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Fiona Fenwick (left) and The Burleigh co-owner Jane Dickenson, with the perfect match, Tohu Blanc de Blanc and a pork belly pie.

was held again this year, with 35 wineries taking the time to work on the pairing. Each winery was only allowed one entry, and choosing that entry became quite a task for the team’s palates. Many used the competition as a team building exercise, where a collection of pies were trialed alongside a

in Sauvignon Blanc, only one was entered. As for the winner – well that was even more interesting. It was the pork belly pie – with – Rewa Methode Traditionelle Blanc de Blanc (2014), from Tohu Wines, the only sparkling wine entered in the competition. One of the four judges,

The pie wine pairing began last year, with wineries encouraged to match one of the Burleigh’s 11 pies, with one of their own wines.

range of different wines. It was Burleigh’s pork belly pie that was the most favoured category for wineries, followed by chicken, leek and mushroom. As for the wines, well that was an interesting collection. The most popular varietal was Pinot Noir, followed by Riesling (from dry to botrytized), then Chardonnay. Pushing the envelope, some wineries entered more unusual varietals, such as Verdelho, Gruner Veltliner, and Syrah. Interesting for a region steeped


Bradley Hornby from local restaurant Arbor said; “the nature of a good match is to create magic. It’s the sum of all the flavour parts and this one just nailed it on every level.” It’s not the first time the pork belly pie has come out tops. In the inaugural challenge, it was the winner when paired with a Lawson’s Dry Hills Gewurztraminer. The competition while fun for all involved, also raised funds for three local charities.

Look for black & white banding on the antennae

The Brown Marmorated Look for black & white Stink Bug is a pest that can banding on the sides of the infest your home in the thousands, abdomen stinks when crushed, and almost impossible to get rid of. It could also destroy our fruit and vegetable industries. It’s not in New Zealand yet, and we want to keep it that way. It hibernates inside homes in the winter, so if you see one, don’t kill it. Catch it, take a photo, and call us on 0800 80 99 66. For more information:


0800 80 99 66


Regions Marlborough

Women, wine and water More than 70 women sailors, 13 boats and one enthusiastic wine company ensured the second Mud House Wines Women’s Regatta was a huge success. GEARED TO encourage women to give sailing a go, the Regatta is organised by the Waikawa Boating Club. Members willingly offer their own boats to the women sailors, and while they stay on board, it is up to the women to make the decisions during the racing. While some of those taking part are experienced sailors, Waikawa Boating Club Development Officer, Duncan Mackenzie, says there are also a number of novices. “It is a great opportunity for people to give the sport a go.” The 70 sailors came from as far away as Auckland, Mackenzie said, with a group of those already talking about chartering a plane to come down for next year’s event. “The weekend was a huge success, a brilliant platform for what’s going to potentially be the biggest women’s regatta in the country,” said Duncan Mackenzie. “There

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were some really good sailors out there. They really knew how to get the most out of their boat.”

“It is a great opportunity for people to give the sport a go.” Before the event, a number of the out of town sailors were hosted by the Mud House team at their Woolshed Vineyard. It gave the visitors a chance to try some of the wines, and also get an overview of the Marlborough landscape. Although it was the conditions on the water that was on everyone’s mind when the races kicked off on Saturday. For the second year in a row, it was Bump n Grind that took line honours, with a mixed crew of Auckland and Marlborough sailors.


RUGBY WORLD CUP 2019™ • Starters Tour – RWC Opening Ceremony & match, New Zealand v South Africa, Ireland v Scotland • Quarter-finals to the final – Hosted Tours and No Frills Packages • Semi-finals to the final – Hosted Tours and No Frills Packages • RWC & Melbourne Cup Tour – Hosted by Des Coppins • Build your own tour, flexible options and more! Call us today at 04 891 1026 to discuss everything Rugby World Cup™ and Japan related or visit for full details and to book online! TM © Rugby World Cup Limited 2015. All rights reserved.


News Tax

Leased land and tax deductions MARK DAVIES – JOHNSTON ASSOCIATES SOUTH

SPECIFIC TAX rules allow tax deductions for certain land improvements in the context of a “farming or agricultural business”. This includes a viticultural business. These rules allow a tax deduction for expenses such as fencing, land preparation expenditure, planting certain types of plants on the land, constructing growing or support frames for crops etc. Leasing of vineyards has become more common in ine Crowers Magazine - Design recent years. This is both where the parties are at ‘arms-length’, with a lessee unrelated to the land/vineyard owner, and ‘non arms-length’ where the same people are, in a broad economic sense, the ultimate owners of the land and improvements, and also of the vineyard operations. These situations can result in land improvement expenditure being incurred by 60mmx 180mm

different parties. From time to time we have been asked which party gets to claim tax deductions for the cost of land improvements where the land is leased. For example the following scenarios can arise: The land owner incurs costs to develop a vineyard. They then lease the vineyard to another party (the land owner is therefore not carrying on a farming or agricultural business); The land owner leases the land and the lessee develops a vineyard on it, at their cost, and carries on a farming or agricultural business; The land owner leases a mixture of developed vineyard and bare land to the lessee. The lessee develops the bare land into vineyard (this could include infill planting). The tax rules in this area recognise that where a person

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expends money on making such land improvements a tax deduction should be able to be claimed by someone, where those land improvements are being used in a farming or agricultural business. In other words someone should get a tax deduction – the question is who?

THE SCENARIOS OUTLINED ABOVE ARE DEALT WITH AS FOLLOWS: Where a land owner incurs costs of making improvements to their land, and they then lease the land to another party, the land owner gets to continue to claim the costs of the land improvements they

have incurred (at the relevant percentage each year). This is despite the fact they are not in the business of farming; The lessee in this scenario gets to claim no deductions in respect of the cost of those land improvements; Where a lessee who is in the business of farming incurs expenditure on land improvements on the land they are leasing, they get to claim tax deductions (at the relevant percentage each year) in respect of the costs they have incurred in making those land improvements; The land owner/lessor gets no deduction on account of land improvement costs incurred by

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108   // 


the lessee (however on a literal the writer’s view, given the clear reading of the legislation both intent of the rules and the somethe land owner and the lessee what clearer wording of these can claim deductions in respect rules in previous versions of the of expenditure incurred by the Income Tax Act); lessee – an outcome unlikely to The principles in 1 and 2 be endorsed by the Courts in 180W alsoXapply where there is a mix ACTIWETT WINEGROWER 1/2 PAGE 120H MM

of land improvements made by the lessor and lessee – essentially the person who incurs the land improvement expenditure gets to claim any tax deductions available, even if (in the case of the land owner/lessor) they

don’t actually carry on a business of farming on the land. Applying these principles it should be reasonably straightforward in the majority of cases to determine who gets to claim what deductions.

SUPERIOR SULPHUR SPREADING Improved powdery control with ACTIWETT in the tank. Better Coverage = Less powdery mildew! WWW.ARYSTALIFESCIENCE.NZ ©2018 Arysta LifeScience Group Company. ACTIWETT is a registered trademark of Loveland Products Inc. Arysta LifeScience and the Arysta LifeScience logo are registered trademarks of Arysta LifeScience Corporation.


News Education

First Level 3 Graduate M A R LBOROUGH L A B technician and cellar hand Rylee Funk is the first person to graduate  with a national qualification designed to upskill workers in the Kiwi wine industry.   Rylee, 24, works at Lawson’s Dry Hills in Blenheim and has recently completed the New Zealand Certificate in Cellar Operations Level 3, one of three qualifications designed by industry training organisation Competenz to form a career pathway for cellar staff.    Originally from Canada, Rylee was travelling New Zealand when she landed a temporary job at Lawson’s during the harvest. A few harvests later with some travel in between, she took

110   // 

As a lab technician and cellar hand, Rylee works across all aspects of the winemaking process – pressing, inoculating, transferring, racking, testing and bottling wine.

up a permanent position in the winery.  “At first it was just a chance to do something different, and it turned into a job I really enjoyed. There’s a lot to it and I like that it’s so hands-on.”  As a lab technician and cellar hand, Rylee works across all aspects of the winemaking process – pressing, inoculating, transferring, racking, testing


and bottling wine. She also supervises seasonal workers when the winery is operating at full capacity during harvest.  “Harvest is such a busy time – we’re working 12-hour days, seven days a week, but I love it.”  The Level 3 qualification provides a basic understanding of the wine industry, knowledge about legislation such as food safety and health and safety,

Photo courtesy of Riversun Nursery

When Reliability When Reliability Matters. Matters.

team work and regular cellar operations. It takes about 12 months to complete, and learners choose between workbooks or online modules. For Rylee, it was a chance to formalise her skills and knowledge.  “It helped me learn about the reasons why we do what we do. I knew that we needed to add things to the wine, and follow processes for hygiene, but by completing the bookwork I learnt a lot more theory about winemaking.”    While she completed the majority of the work in her own time, she also learnt more about the technical side of the job with support from senior winemaker Marcus Wright.   “We teach our staff how to do things and the qualification teaches them why they do things,” Marcus says. “This gives their learning structure and focus. It’s a great extension of the training that we do at

Lawson’s and it provides more background knowledge and fills in any gaps. “The qualifications can turn a job into a career.” Competenz also offers New Zealand Certificates in Cellar Operations at Level 4 and Level 5, which cover wine analysis, technical elements, grape pro c e ss i ng and v i nt age operations, through to the potential to lead others and provide technical support into commercial cellar operations. These also take about 12 months to complete. Rylee’s advice to other cellar hands considering doing the qualifications is to get stuck in.  “If you love working in  wine  and you’re thinking about it, definitely do it. You get to learn off the winemakers and find out so much more about the industry. And you get a qualification at the end of it.”

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Agenda Event

Is bigger better? THE COLLIER S Grape Debate is heading back to Marlborough in October, after successful events already held in Hawke’s Bay and Queenstown. With a moot of; Is bigger better?, it is literally a case of the boutiques versus the giants. Think Constellation, Villa Maria and Marisco – all big players not only in the Marlborough sense, but the wider New Zealand environment, up against the likes of Darling Wines, Loveblock and Ant Mackenzie Wines. Bound to be plenty of shots fired across both bows. Representing the Giants team, are Helen Morrison (Villa Maria), Wendy Stuckey (Constellation) and David Foes (Marisco). The boutiques team is made up of Bart Arnst (Darling), Erica Crawford (Loveblock) and Ant Mackenzie. Once again well-known comedian Jeremy Corbett will be the one tasked with keeping the teams in line, while firing his own brand of one-liners at all and sundry. The C olliers Grape Debate began in Hawke’s Bay back in 2015. Last year Marlborough was included for the first time, and this year Central Otago held their first event. While a fun night out is a large part of the event, it is also a chance to raise funds for local charities, with an auction of an array of memorabilia. So far more than $100,000 has been raised since 2015.

112   // 

Colliers Grape Debate – Marlborough Marlborough Convention Centre October 19 Tickets available at


Contestants in last year’s debate, from left, Tim Turvey (Hawke’s Bay), Anna Flowerday, Ben Glover and Bart Arnst – all of Marlborough.

Bragato Exchange

Different paths, same goals THE TWO Bragato Exchange students may have come into their careers by different paths, but both have the same goals, to make great wines. Twenty-one year old Mirko Rasera is the Italian exchange student, having studied at the University of Padua, while 25-year-old EIT student Douw Grobler is the New Zealand equivalent. The exchange scheme, established by Kevyn Moore, is named after Romeo Bragato, who, after training at the Conegliano school more

than a century ago, went on to recognise New Zealand’s potential for winegrowing. A degree student from the University of Padua who has attended the school in Conegliano visits New Zealand wine regions and EIT on a month-long trip during the year. Five months later, there is a reciprocal visit to Italy, by an EIT student. For Rasera, wine is no stranger, as his father has worked in a winery in Italy’s Prosecco region for the last 30 years. Two years ago, he took

Bragato exchange students (left) Douw Grobler and Mirko Rasera.

part in the European Wine Championship and, with 80 entered from wine regions around the Continent, he was placed 20th. Quite a feat given he was only 19 at the time. For Grobler, the road to wine has been different. Born in South Africa, he was 16 when his family moved to Palmerston North. Completing

his schooling in a horticultural area, he gained his Bachelor of Science with double majors in chemistry and animal science before deciding to pursue viticulture and wine science studies. He is currently in his third year of study for EIT’s School of Viticulture and Wine Science’s two bachelor degrees.

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Not on the Label


The Impact of increased urban expansion on green space WHILE DEVELOPMENT of new urban areas in New Zealand has struggled to keep pace with demand for housing, there has been a corresponding decrease in availability for productive land. This article focuses on how the reduction of green space may affect the wine industry both now and into the future. Viticulture is an expanding industry. While the total area of land in horticulture and vegetable growing is reducing at present, the actual land taken up by viticulture businesses in New Zealand continues to grow. In fact, in the last decade there has been a 23 percent

increase in land planted for viticulture (predominantly within the Marlborough region). Despite this, it is well known that urban expansion is continually changing the landscape of New Zealand. There is a need to address the tension between winegrowers wanting to protect their land, and the need to utilise at least some land for urban development. If this is not carefully managed, there could be major effects on the industry with a reduction in potential opportunities to expand operations. In addition, urban/built development in close proximity to


vineyard land raises reverse sensitivity issues for vineyards, usually in the form of noise, spray and dust effects.


Part of the problem is that there are no clear legislative guidelines to address the conflict between urban growth and the need to retain productive land. In fact, on a wider scale, until 2015 there were no legal requirements for the research and reporting on environmental issues, such that reporting on these issues was haphazard and infrequent.




Helpfully, in 2015 the Environmental Reporting Act was introduced into law. The Act requires Government to continually report on the state of the environment, and provides a framework for doing so, which Government must abide by. As a result, the Ministry for the Environment, in conjunction with Stats New Zealand released a report on the environmental concerns in relation to productive land. The “Our Land 2018” report was released earlier this year. It’s very clear message was that New Zealand needs to better protect the valuable land for horticulture



(including viticulture).


• Wine is the second largest horticulture export in New Zealand, behind kiwifruit; • 10 percent increase in urban areas from 1996 to 2012; and • In 2013, lifestyle blocks occupied 10 percent of NZ’s most versatile land. It is clear that there is a problem. Immediately following the release of the Our Land 2018 report, Minister for the Environment Hon David Parker published a press-release on the Beehive website advocating the need for action. He said: “I was particularly troubled by how much of our urban growth is occurring in irreplaceable highly productive land.” Most importantly, Mr Parker asked the Ministry to establish a new National

Policy Statement for Versatile Land and High Class Soils. National Policy Statements are high level legal documents issued under the Resource Management Act 1991 to regulate activities which are seen as ‘matters of national significance.’ The proposed National Policy Statement is still in its preparation stages. What we do know is that Government is taking it seriously. In a Cabinet Paper released recently on the proposed approach for the new Housing and Urban Development Authority, the Government specifically recognised that the new Authority’s work would be linked with, and dependent on, the proposed National Policy Statement.


The proposed National Policy Statement is a major

step in the right direction for protecting the use of land for vineyards. The National Policy Statement is intended to address the conflict between the need for a sensible amount of urban development to occur, and the need to retain productive land. There are some recent examples where councils and the Environment Court have refused resource consent for built development on versatile land. For example, in 2016 Bunnings was refused consent in Hastings. In that case, the Hastings District Plan provisions were strongly directed at protecting rural resource, however this is not the case for all district plans around the country. By contrast, when the National Policy Statement comes into force, this will regulate the protection of

land for viticulture on a nation-wide scale. It will apply over and above the provisions of district plans. This means that: • there will be more certainty for owners of versatile land; and • the costs associated with opposing potential residential/built development applications could be avoided. The industry will need to keep a watching brief on the development of the proposed National Policy Statement and make submissions once a draft is released. This will be an opportunity for the industry to provide valuable input into a legal document which will govern the way in which land in New Zealand is utilised in the future. Watch this space, we will aim to keep you up to date on developments.



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Cloudy Bay’s Northburn vineyard.

When is a shed not a shed? When it is Cloudy Bay’s new cellar door in Central Otago. IN THIS case The Shed is actually a stunning glassed building offering tantalising views of the rugged Central Otago scenery. Based in Cromwell, The Shed is located on Cloudy Bay’s Northburn vineyard. Having been based in Marlborough since 1985, one of the first five wineries in operation in the region, Cloudy Bay began taking fruit from Central Otago in 2010. They purchased Northburn two years later, and also lease part of the Calvert vineyard on Felton Road in Bannockburn. A full range of Cloudy Bay wines will be available for tasting and light snacks to accompany will also be offered. Private tastings along with custom-made experiences including vineyard tours by land or air will complete the cellar door experience. Yang Shen, Estate Director, says the opening of The Shed is the culmination of the hard work and vision of the team. “We are so happy to have found a home in Central Otago and look forward to sharing out wine and lifestyle with visitors.”

116   // 


News Advertising Standards

Simplification to standards TESSA NICHOLSON

CHANGES TO the Advertising Standards are about to be implemented, with the aim of making responsible advertising easier for all industries, including wine. That’s the word from the Chief Executive of the Advertising Standards Authority, Hilary Souter. Coming into effect on November 1, the number of codes advertisers need to be aware of have diminished dramatically. “When we started this project of code consolidation, we had 11 codes – now we have six. We have taken 29 principles and made seven. We have taken 141 rules and made 47. We

wanted to make it much simpler for industry and consumers.” Souter says the consolidation has made it a simpler process especially for those special categories such as alcohol advertising. “We have an overarching code, which is the starting point for all advertisements,” she says. “The key principles are; be socially responsible, provide truthful presentation and rules include offensiveness, safety and so on. But what tended to happen when people were selling a product like alcohol or any other product that has its own specialist code, that was the only code people

looked at. From November, the two codes alcohol advertisers need to check are the Advertising Standards Code and the Code for Advertising and Promotion of Alcohol. The codes rely on basic principles, such as social responsibility.

“In relation to alcohol advertising, that is a very high standard. There is more care that has to be taken with alcohol advertising than with advertising laundry powder for example.” The other principle is truthful presentation, which focuses on accuracy and not saying something that misleads consumers. “If you talk about environmental claims, you must be able to prove that you have that credential and it has to be accurate. You can’t claim a benefit if others (in the industry) are also doing what you claim, as a standard practice.”

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JULY 2018

Key Performance Indicators

Keep an eye on how New Zealand wine is performing both domestically and internationally.

Total Value of Exports


Growth Markets


fob value

$522.9m USA


$385.3m UK



Packaged Wine Export

Bulk Wine Export



154.3 mL




101.5 mL


Bulk white wine

Packaged Price









Domestic Sales, Volume


52.9m L*





$17.1m GERMANY



$130.7m CANADA



*Estimated All figures are for the 12 months to the date specified, figures are in $NZD unless otherwise specified

Research Updates

Research Supplement Information and updates on New Zealand Winegrowers research programmes. Editors Dr Matias Kinzurik and Will Kerner, Research Programme Manager A regular feature 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. When completed, each project will be reported in full detail, with references, on

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 transposoninduced mutations in vines C Winefield Lincoln University

Population genomics of the wine spoilage yeast Brettanomyces bruxellensis M Goddard Auckland University

Low alcohol-reduced calorie wines using molecular sponges for sugar removal B Fedrizzi University of Auckland

Shoot trimming effects on Pinot noir vine leaf area to fruit weight ratio, productivity and fruit composition

UC Davis collaboration to determine factors that affect colour in Pinot noir wines when grapes are harvested at lower than target berry soluble solids.

Spray protocols to quantify and optimise spray deposits applied to dormant grapevines (trunks, heads, cordons and canes)

C Grose Plant and Food Research

M Walter Plant and Food Research Supported by MPI Sustainable Farming Fund as part of the Powdery mildew best practise project.

The role of microbes in regional Pinot Noir quality and style

Cost Reduction/Increased Profitability

M Goddard University of Auckland

Exploring the chemical space in Vineyard Ecosystems (VE) Programme juices and wines

Precision Grape Yield Analyser Programme 2016-2021 A Werner Lincoln Agritech Limited

B Fedrizzi University of Auckland

An automated grape yield estimation system – The Rod Bonfiglioli Scholarship

Untargeted aroma compound chemical analysis of Pinot noir

M Legg Massey University

R Hill Hills Laboratory

Testing the effect of gelatin pre-fermentation fining on ethanol production B Fedrizzi University of Auckland

Pests and Disease

Breaking the quality-productivity seesaw in wine grape production (Pinot Noir Programme)

Grapevine trunk disease; young vine ecology, diagnostics and preventative treatments

Assessment of commercially available yeast nutrient products on Sauvignon blanc microvin ferments K Creasy

N Hoskins New Zealand Viticulture Nursery Association Incorporated (VINA)

Optimising management of grapevine trunk diseases for vineyard longevity

A Lambourne Supported by MPI Sustainable Farming Fund

Cost efficient optimisation of weed management in vineyards M Krasnow Thoughtful Viticulture

Optimisation of irrigation and water savings in Marlborough Sauvignon blanc and Pinot noir and Hawke’s Bay Chardonnay and Merlot

M Sosnowski South Australian Research & Development Institute

Developing powdery mildew best practise in New Zealand vineyards

Vineyard Ecosystems Programme

Various University of Auckland and Plant and Food Research Jointly funded by NZW and MBIE

Lincoln University

Various University of Auckland, Plant and Food Research and Lincoln University Jointly funded by NZW and MBIE


M Krasnow Thoughtful Viticulture

Future-proofing the wine sector with innovation: evaluation of ground cover, amenity & native plants as potential reservoirs of pathogens of grapevines V Bell Plant and Food Research


Research Updates Progress Reports

PROGRESS REPORTS Optimising irrigation in New Zealand vineyards Mark Krasnow 16-114 IRRIGATION IS required in most vineyards around New Zealand to maintain vine growth and productivity. Too much irrigation, however, can lead to higher farming costs because of the need for many passes to trim, spray weeds, pluck leaves, and thin crop. Excessive irrigation also leads to lateral growth that makes spray penetration difficult and reduces fruit exposure, both of which promote disease. Scheduling irrigation so that the vines receive adequate, but not excessive, water is a challenge for growers. Most growers use some sort of soil-based probe to schedule irrigation, however others still water on a calendar-based schedule with no knowledge of whether the vines need it or not. In the 2017-18 season a study was set up in Sauvignon blanc and Pinot noir vineyards in Marlborough, Chardonnay and Merlot

120   // 

vineyards in Hawke’s Bay, and Pinot noir vineyards in Central Otago. Each vineyard was divided in two large sections that could be watered independently. The study sought to compare the vineyard’s normal irrigation regime, which for most was soil probe-based, to irrigation based on measuring the vines’ water potential. Water potential can be thought of as the blood pressure of the vine. It measures how hard leaves have to pull on water to remain hydrated. Water potential irrigation thresholds were set up that were specific to each variety, and no water was applied to the “deficit” side of the trial until the vines reached these values, indicating that they needed water. These thresholds changed based on the phenology of the vines. In the “deficit” treatment in all varieties, irrigation thresholds prior to and at


Figure 1: An image of the SB3 vineyard with the deficit wines on the left and the control on the right. Notice the substantial difference in undervine weed growth brought about by irrigation on the control.

flowering were quite low, so that the canopy could be developed and flowering could proceed with no water stress. After set in all red varieties, the threshold was changed to purposely induce mild to moderate water stress before irrigation in order to produce smaller berries and to increase quality. In whites, the threshold changed at veraison so that vines were brought to the edge of stress to stop lateral and shoot growth, but not so dry as to slow photosynthesis and delay ripening. The aim was to reduce yield naturally in reds because of smaller berries so that costly hand thinning was not necessary. In whites the aim was to produce the same tonnage of equal quality fruit using less water. Wines were made at industry scale (at least 500 kg ferments), so that effects of reducing irri-

gation on wine quality could be determined. The stem water potential irrigation thresholds for each variety are found in Table 1 (over page). In general, the deficit irrigation applied less than half of the water compared with the control, often substantially less (Table 2). This reduction in water did not lead to less canopy growth, as the percent of gaps through the canopy is similar at veraison in most vineyards (Table 2). Usually, reducing water did not lead to a reduction in yield, though it did in a few cases (CH1 and SB1). In most cases when Brix differences were found, the deficit had higher Brix than the control, suggesting faster ripening when less irrigation was applied (Table 2). At the ME2 and PN1 vineyards manual crop thinning was performed on the control, but not the deficit

Table 1: Stem water potential irrigation thresholds for the deficit treatment






-0.8 MPa

-0.8 MPa

-1.0 MPa

Sauvignon Blanc

-0.5 MPa

-0.5 MPa

-0.9 MPa

Merlot and Pinot Noir

-0.8 MPa

-1.2 MPa

-1.2 MPa

Table 2: Percent gaps at veraison from canopy image analysis, seasonal irrigation, rot severity at harvest, yield per vine, and Brix from the Hawke’s Bay and Marlborough sites. Values are means of ten vines for canopy gaps, rot, and yield, and of five 50 berry samples for Brix. Irrigation amounts were calculated based on flow meters in the driplines in each vineyard half. Values in bold with different lower case letters from a vineyard denote significant differences between treatments at the 95% confidence level. *Crop reduction was carried out by hand in the control, but not the deficit treatment.




Chardonnay Chardonnay Merlot Merlot Merlot SB SB SB SB PN PN

treatment, leading to higher yields from the deficit in these vineyards (Table 2). However, the deficit fruit in both vineyards had similar Brix at harvest, suggesting that by imposing water deficit in red grapes, a larger crop can be ripened to the








6.50% b


37.60% a

4.45 a

19.0 b


11.80% a


24.57% b

3.58 b

19.6 a
















28.95% a






16.65% b







2.28* b






3.11* a


















9.02 a






5.25 b







18.0 b






19.5 a






16.9 b






18.1 a

















5.40* b






7.16* a














same quality, while at the same time eliminating or reducing the cost of crop adjustment, which is often substantial. Reducing irrigation also led to less weed and canopy growth, which could eliminate passes for spraying

and trimming (figure 1). This is the first season of a multi-year project, so it remains to be seen how consistent these effects are. It also remains to be seen what the effect of differential irrigation was on wine quality, but that will

be assessed in the next few months. The results thus far are exciting, and suggest that being more careful with water, we might be able to lower the cost of farming, reduce labour and chemical inputs, and increase wine quality at the same time.


Future-proofing the wine sector with innovation: evaluation of groundcover, amenity and native plants as potential reservoirs of pathogens of grapevines Vaughn Bell, Plant & Food Research 18-201 THE NEW Zealand Winegrowers Research Centre has recently approved its first funded research proposal entitled, “Future-proofing the wine sector with innovation: evaluation of groundcover, amenity and native plants as potential reservoirs of pathogens of grapevines.” Funded over two years, the project has two objectives. These are (1) to test if selected clover species/

122   // 

cultivars are alternative host plants for grapevine leafroll-associated virus 3 (leafroll virus). We will also assess the time over which mealybugs feeding on the selected clover plants are no longer vectoring leafroll virus; (2) in testing if groundcover, amenity and native plant species are potential hosts for a wide range of grapevine viruses, we aim to increase understanding


of what pathogens, if any, are present in different plants found in and around the vineyard ecosystem. If viruses capable of infecting grapevines are detected, we aim to understand their influence and potential implications for future vineyard management. Mealybugs are vineyard pests that transmit multiple plant viruses, including leafroll virus. Presently,

the recommendation is for infected vines to be removed annually, and to manage insect vectors that spread the disease, namely mealybugs. Part of any future integrated (multitactic) response could involve retaining and/or adding host plants attractive to mealybugs, with evidence showing that white clover is one such plant. The logic of adding white clover

is that the provision of a stable, off-vine habitat will sustain mealybugs, reducing movement onto grapevines and exposure to the virus. However, recent research from California identified for the first time one non-Vitis plant susceptible to leafroll virus. We must therefore ensure that plants like clover are not suitable hosts for leafroll virus, to validate our virus

management response. As well as investigating the potential for clover to host leafroll virus, this study will evaluate virus retention and loss mechanisms in mealybugs when exposed to clovers, and the timeframes over which these biological functions operate under controlled laboratory conditions. In the second objective, we will evaluate whether

groundcover, amenity plants (e.g. roses) and native plants are reservoirs for a range of grapevine viruses. Recent research funded by The Rod Bonfiglioli Memorial Scholarship, identified a larger than expected virus diversity present in New Zealand vineyards, including new-to-science viruses. We will assess the virus population of groundcover, amenity and native plant

species found in and around Hawke’s Bay and Marlborough vineyards, to understand the virus dynamics (movement between plant species, if any), with the goal of establishing a virus risk profile for each species tested. The results will be a list of plant species that are reservoirs of virus or viruslike disease(s) with potential to cause economic injury to grapevines.


What’s that smell - a look into Brett 15-112

124   // 

Matakana (n=3) Waiheke (n=8)

Hawke’s bay (n=15)

Nelson (n=4)

Martinborough (n=20) Malborough (n=16) Canterbury/Waipara (n=3)

Central Otago (n=1)


18% 11% 34%


SO2 tolerance (mg/l) @ pH3.5

BRETTANOMYCES YEASTS, responsible for the distinct blend of ‘phenolic, ‘barnyard’ and ‘medicinal’ aromas known as ‘Brett’ character, are an endemic presence in wine regions around the world. A focus of research in many regions has been to determine whether the perennial challenge of avoiding wine spoilage is linked to genetic variation amongst these yeasts. In other words, is the efficacy of ‘Brett’ control strategies affected by the strains present in a given winery or region? Previous work in Australia demonstrated that the most prevalent strain was able to tolerate more sulfite. Wineries with this strain present needed to apply sulfite more effectively in order to keep this strain under control. Until now there has been no information available regarding the Brettanomyces population in New Zealand. Collaborative research led by Prof. Mat Goddard (University of Auckland) in partnership with Asst. Prof. Chris Curtin (Oregon State University) has made use of the power of genomic sequencing to determine whether Brettanomyces strains in New Zealand wine regions are similar to those observed elsewhere in the world. Three major reference strains (AWRI1499, AWRI1608 and AWRI1613) known for their differences in sulfite tolerance have distinct genomic signatures. In Australia these strains represent 98% of observed isolates from 31 winemaking regions (Curtin et al.




40 35 30 25 20 15 10 5 0

AWRI1499 (A)

AWRI1608 (B)

2007), and perhaps more importantly, 85% belonged to group A which displayed the greatest tolerance to sulfite. Of the 70 New Zealand isolates for which useable sequence data was obtained, only 18% correspond to this genetic group-


AWRI1613 (C)



ing, while a sizeable portion (37%) belonged to a group that may not have been observed in Australia. Sulfite tolerances of the New Zealand isolates belonging to the four strain groupings was in line with previous observations. Taken



together this means that New Zealand wine regions do harbor sulfite-tolerant Brettanomyces strains, but these are found at relatively low frequency compared with Australia and may not be present in all regions. Importantly, no isolates

were recovered that exhibited sulfite “super-tolerance”. Why is the strain distribution different in NZ? Current winemaking practices and wine composition may favour strains that have different capabilities allowing their proliferation in wine, aside from tolerance to sulfite. Ongoing work in the project is seeking to identify these factors, and to evaluate the relative capacity of the different NZ Brettano-

myces strains to spoil wine, with emphasis on Pinot Noir. What does this mean for winemakers? In wineries/ regions were strain group A has been observed great care should be taken to ensure sufficient levels of free molecular SO2 to control Brettanomyces (>0.6mg/L, ideally >0.8mg/L). In wineries where lower molecular SO2 levels are typically achieved, but to date there have been no issues with

‘Brett’ spoilage, it is possible that this strain has not yet been introduced. Vigilance and careful screening of incoming wine and barrels would be advisable. What does the future hold? This dataset provides baseline knowledge of Brettanomyces in New Zealand. As an industry, adoption of alternative ‘Brett’ control strategies that reduce reliance upon SO2, such as

the application of fungal chitosan products, may alleviate selective pressure on the current Brettanomyces population and limit the spread of strain group A. Ideally, a repeat effort to gather new isolates and evaluate the population structure of Brettanomyces should be performed to ensure control strategies remain effective and winemakers can confidently produce ‘Brett’-free wine.



Winemaking Options for Lighter Wines ALTHOUGH GRAPE Day 2018 was winding down in Blenheim, Villa Maria winemaker Tom Dixon had no trouble holding the audience’s attention during his presentation outlining the company’s four years of experimentation into the production of lighter-in-alcohol wines. Entitled “The moderation trend requires more than moderate effort,” Dixon’s presentation summed up Villa’s multipronged approach. “Naturally producing the range of Villa Maria lighter wines is our ultimate goal,” he concluded, “but, in reality, this natural concept is easier to say than it is to achieve using our existing viticulture and winemaking processes.” Villa Maria is one of 18 companies participating in NZ Lighter Wines, a seven-year research and development programme

126   // 

established by New Zealand Winegrowers and co-funded under the Ministry for Primary Industries’ Primary Growth Partnership (PGP). The largest research and development initiative ever undertaken by the New Zealand wine industry, NZ Lighter Wines focuses on the production of wines that typically are 10% or less alcohol by volume (ABV) and often have 25% less alcohol than their full-strength equivalents. The challenge is not simply to produce lighter-in-alcohol wines that are high quality, but to naturally lower the alcohol content without compromising what New Zealand is famous for – full-flavoured, varietally expressive, premium wines.


The $17-million programme began in 2014 and


Villa Maria, like many of the participating companies, has invested considerable time and money into tackling these formidable goals, starting with applied research in the vineyard and continuing through to the winery and beyond, including sensory analysis and achieving the market access required to drive export growth. From the start, the programme has emphasised the fundamental contribution that natural and sustainable viticultural techniques can make to producing wines that are lower in alcohol (see “Vine Options for Lighter Wines,” New Zealand Winegrower, Research Supplement, December 2017/January 2018, page 73, for a more detailed look at this side of the programme). It turns out, however, there is still much to explore

in the winery itself, and the three case studies that follow highlight the ongoing experimentation under way at Villa Maria, Forrest Wines and Pernod Ricard New Zealand. NZ Lighter Wines Programme Manager Dr David Jordan says the rapid-fire experimentation seen at these companies provides yet another illustration that “lighter” does not mean “simpler” or “lesser”. “Our industry partners have energetically explored a range of approaches for the production of lighter wines, and the innovation by no means stops in the vineyard,” he adds. One hallmark of the programme is the willingness to share individual approaches among the participating wineries and beyond – to the industry at large, via technical events such as Grape Days and the

Romeo Bragato industry conference. “That spirit of ‘co-innovation’ has been apparent from the very beginning and has proven powerful in terms of amplifying ideas,” says Jordan. “The New Zealand wine industry has often been singled out for its highly collaborative nature, and Lighter Wines reflects those values as we develop what is essentially an entirely new category.”

Tom Dixon, Villa Maria winemaker, notes that the concept of natural production of lighter wines is “easier to say than to achieve.” PHOTO BY JIM TANNOCK


Why make lighter wines? According to Tom Dixon, Marlborough winemaker at Villa Maria, “that has to be the most-asked question from wine industry professionals not currently involved in the lighter alcohol category.” The company produces a lighter Rosé, Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Gris (all labelled as ‘Villa Maria Private Bin’). Speaking at the 2018 Grape Day in Blenheim, Dixon noted that the Lighter Wines programme was a good fit for Villa Maria, given that many of the tools developed could be applied to grape-growing and winemaking for any category. In addition, however, the strong growth the category has enjoyed among New Zealand consumers has provided another incentive, given that the domestic market contributes approximately 25% of Villa Maria’s sales. Dixon noted that site selection, harvest dates and vine trimming have been explored in some depth, and he highlighted the canopy manipulation techniques pioneered by John Forrest at Forrest Wines (explored in the 2017 article, “Vine Options”). The approach

has been freely shared by Forrest within the NZ Lighter Wines programme, and research has continued in different regions with additional trials on different varieties Initially, Villa’s Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Gris were produced from Marlborough grapes and the Rosé from Hawke’s Bay fruit, but Dixon noted that one of the biggest challenges in producing lighter wines is managing the typically high acidities. “More recently, we have sourced fruit for our lighter Pinot Gris from Gisborne, which has shown to be much better suited to achieving flavourful and textural wines at lower alcohol.” Site, variety and clone selections have evolved at Villa Maria since the inception of the Lighter Wines programme, said Dixon. The lighter Sauvignon Blanc, for example, started as a blend from five separate vineyards across Marlborough to just two in more recent vintages – the Awatere valley and an exposed slope in Brancott. Similarly, the composi-

tion of Villa’s award-winning lighter Rosé has changed over time. “We started by making a lighter Rosé along similar lines to the way we made our regular-strength Rosé,” he added. “Over time, however, we began to think that a Merlotdominant wine might not be the best way to go. We’ve gone from a blend of 60% Pinot Gris and 40% Merlot, both from Hawke’s Bay, to a blend of Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris and Merlot, with Merlot comprising only 25% of the blend in 2017.”


In the case of both the lighter Sauvignon Blanc and the Pinot Gris, palate weight has proven challenging over multiple vintages. “Lower alcohol and higher acid both contribute to a lack of palate weight and mouth feel compared to full-strength wines,” said Dixon. “That is one of the reasons underlying the higher residual sugar often found in lighter wines. Our ultimate goal is to achieve

positive textural features without having to rely on sugar alone.” To face those challenges, Villa winemakers have tested many weapons in the winemaker’s arsenal: skin contact (both in pre-press and fermentation), yeast selections (for reducing alcohol, flavour enhancement and degradation of malic acid), other softening and fining agents, selective use of seasoned barrels, and tweaking the end-of-ferment stage via chilling and other means. Dixon said that Villa has conducted extensive trials with varying degrees of skin contact, with the aim of enhancing palate weight and aromatics through extraction of skin-based compounds. The results pre-press, where fruit is destemmed and left for up to 12 hours before pressing, have been used on lighter Pinot Gris and Sauvignon Blanc, and have also been useful in the production of standard-strength Sauvignon Blanc. Yeast selections have been trialled to explore prop-


erties that include reduced alcohol, increased flavour and aromatics, degradation of malic acid and enhancing palate weight. “In order to maintain varietal expression and style profiles that are comparable to our conventional wines, these yeasts are largely cofermented with yeast used in our standard programme,” added Dixon. “The ability of some yeasts to metabolise malic acid during fermentation has been particularly useful.” Barrel aging and barrel ferments, using seasoned barrels, have been explored to increase the lees contact area to help build complexity in the wines. And deactivated yeast products, mannoproteins and gum arabic have also been used as a “final polish” on lighter wines before bottling. “There is also future opportunity with other varieties such as Riesling and styles such as sparkling wines,” Dixon summed up. “These advances and discoveries will benefit not only wines in the lighter category but wines of all styles and quality levels.”


Although the NZ Lighter Wines programme recently entered its fifth year, research into lower alcohol at Forrest Wines has been going on for twice as long – more than 11 years and counting. Widely recognised within the wine industry for his pioneering efforts with “The Doctors’” lighter-in-alcohol brand, company founder and winemaker Dr John Forrest launched The Doctors’ Riesling in 2006 out of his passion to make a Kabinettstyle wine, using the miner-

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For Beth Forrest, winemaker at Forrest Estate, the challenge has changed from how to produce lighter wines to how to commercialise that production.

ality of the river gravels in Marlborough as a counterweight to the slates of the Mosel Valley in Germany. Describing those early efforts at the 2017 Romeo Bragato Conference in Blenheim, company winemaker Beth Forrest (daughter of founders John and Brigid) recalled, “What tweaked John’s interest was that people were commenting about the lower alcohol of The Doctors’ Riesling. They liked the style, the taste, the flavour, and they really liked that it was lower in alcohol.”


From there began a wide-ranging study of applications that might enable Forrest to produce lighter-in-alcohol wines that still offered “what everybody wants to drink”. First came trials to pick Sauvignon Blanc at lower sugar levels around 18 Brix. But with high acidity, unripe flavours and a thin palate, the


resulting wine did not meet their objectives, said Beth Forrest. Site selection offered some improvement, she added, with a vineyard on the northern side of the Wairau providing vibrant, riper flavour components at naturally lower sugar levels. Picking early to keep Brix low still presented challenges, however, especially the higher acidity, obviously unripe flavours and thin palate of the finished wine. But, Forrest continued, in 2007 she and John experienced an “aha” moment while attending the International Riesling Symposium in the Rheingau, Germany. Dr Hans Schultz – “the last presentation on the last day of the symposium” – outlined an avenue of research that seemed worthy of exploration back home in Marlborough. “Selective leaf removal – taking away the highly active green leaf at the top

of the canopy – sort of shocks the vine into slowing down,” explained Forrest. “That allows the flavour profiles a chance to catch up with the sugar instead of the sugar shooting through the roof.” By 2010, their efforts were showing promising results. From 2011 to 2013, Forrest established further R&D trials, with funding from the Sustainable Farming Fund (Ministry for Primary Industries). With assistance from the PhD research of Dr Amber Parker (senior lecturer, Lincoln University) & Dr Mike Trought (principal scientist, Plant & Food Research), the project demonstrated that taking about six leaves out of the upper canopy slowed down sugar accumulation but allowed the classic flavour profile of Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc to continue to develop. With the establishment of the NZ Lighter Wines programme in 2014, Forrest signed on as one of the 18 companies and immediately shared the results from the SFF project with all participants.


The goal, according to Forrest, then changed from how to do it, to how to commercialise the production of lighter wines at Forrest. “The big driver from then on was to make it cost-effective, large scale, transferable across Marlborough sites and to produce wines that would win accolades.” From the first attempts at Riesling and Sauvignon Blanc, the company has since explored other varieties and styles, including a Rosé and, from 2017, a Pinot Noir. “We’ve also worked with

Arneis, which was already planted in our vineyards. It’s naturally lower in acid and has great flavours,” said Forrest. “We often pick at just 16 Brix and it still has great varietal flavour.” The winemaker’s toolbox has also become increasingly important to the process, she added, citing trials with various yeasts, mannoproteins, tannin supplements and oak. “Pinot Noir is our new project in the vineyard and the winery,” Forrest said. “The naturally lower cropping nature of this variety makes it much harder to manipulate the canopy and it doesn’t have the same area of vegetative leaf growth that Sauvignon Blanc does.” Nevertheless, following extensive work on leaf removal and cutting canes, the 2017 Doctors’ Pinot Noir showed “the possibility” of a lighter-in-alcohol contender, she said. Since Forrest’s presentation at the 2017 Bragato Conference, the company has completed another vintage, and, more recently, has garnered remarkable export success in a series of new listings in the United Kingdom. The Doctors’ Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc is now available in Tesco, and Forrest has also placed a Sauvignon Blanc and Rosé with Marks & Spencer as own-label wines. Widely interviewed by the press in the UK following the 2018 placements, Dr John Forrest cited the “startling progress” made by the NZ Lighter Wines programme. “We are well ahead of other lower alcohol production methods,” he explained, “and lower alcohol wines are now winning medals in

open class competitions up against standard wines.”


Another major player that has made a significant investment in developing a lighter-in-alcohol wine portfolio is Pernod Ricard New Zealand. Jamie Marfell, Marlborough winemaker at Stoneleigh, followed Beth Forrest’s presentation at the 2017 Romeo Bragato Conference in Blenheim with an insider’s glimpse into the Pernod approach to lighter wines. The company has been making lighter-in-alcohol wines since 2012, producing three ranges in the category: “Montana Affinity”, “Stoneleigh Lighter” and “Brancott Flight”, each of which offers

a range of varieties and styles, including Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Gris, Riesling, Rosé and sparkling. The company joined the NZ Lighter Wines programme at its establishment. “Our aim is to produce wines equal to or better than full strength,” Marfell noted, adding that the exploration has involved research into appellation (site), viticulture, harvest parameters, winery processing and winemaking. At first, the company simply wanted to “get out there and run some trials” after sampling some of the early “outstanding” wines from Forrest, recalled Marfell. Initially taking fruit from Rapaura, Lower Wairau and the Lower and Upper Awatere vineyards, the winemakers wanted to assess

the role that site might play in the production of lighter wines. But four sites presented logistical challenges during the already pressurised harvest period. “Making lower alcohol wines is very technical and there is only a small harvest window,” Marfell observed. “So, from an operational perspective, the 19-day spread in harvest dates was the last thing we wanted.” From those early trials winemakers found they preferred wines off the Rapaura and Upper Awatere sites. “This surprised us, given the high methoxypyrazines from the Upper Awatere,” added Marfell. Since then, Pernod has moved to source fruit for its lighter wines from an upper terrace, Kaituna vineyard,

Jamie Marfell, winemaker at Stoneleigh, picks yeast selection as one of the keys to lighter wine production because different cultures can help to reduce malic acid levels. PHOTO BY JIM TANNOCK


based on harvest logistics and style.


Another early challenge concerned managing malic acid. “We’re used to seeing high malic acid levels in Sauvignon Blanc, but when you’re seeing in the range of 7-8 grams of malic, you’re kind of in panic mode,” Marfell said. “So initially, we deacidified juice. Since then, we’ve learned to reduce those malic levels in our wine with yeast.” In 2016, the company initiated canopy manipulation trials à la Forrest Wines, to see how that input would affect ripening. “It did what might have been expected,” he said, “and delayed harvest by 20 days. That’s sort of the last thing wanted in a bigger winery – having lower alcohol fruit coming in in the middle

130   // 

of April was an absolute nightmare.” More recently, the company has returned to an early-harvest regimen, based on a target Brix of 16.5 to 17 and supported by a three-day sampling plan that kicks in when the grapes are 1.5 Brix away from that target. “Fruit ripens so fast through that picking window,” Marfell added, “and that’s something we’ve been caught out on. The sampling plan actually serves as a fantastic indicator of the rest of the harvest.” Juice processing has proven to be another critical stage for ensuring wine quality. In-field additions of ascorbic acid followed by “all in” pressing with no skin contact are the preferred route at Pernod. “We’re also really big on flotation, with minimal bentonite additions,” said Marfell. “We invested in this


four to five years ago, and I think it’s been one of the big things for improving wine quality. We aim to have juice clarified, floats decanted and inoculated within 24 hours of harvest.” As other winemakers have noted, yeast selection also plays an important role for Pernod’s lighter wines, helping the company to achieve significant reductions in malic acid (a 40% reduction for the 2017 vintage). Marfell explained that the company uses mixed cultures for everything, incorporating a wide range of commercial selections, along with a proprietary “terpene splitting” yeast. “The terpene splitter comes out of France and turns on an appealing Muscat note. That’s sometimes quite handy, especially when you’re looking for that lift in Riesling and Pinot Gris,” he added. Tight monitoring, get-

ting the wines in early and achieving balanced wines are where it’s at, concluded Marfell. “We spend a lot of time on acid manipulation in the lab and adjusting to get the balance right. At the end of the day, we want a lighter wine to taste like a standard wine.” Marfell believes that the company still has lessons to learn when it comes to how to make lighter wines from a technical point of view. But the category, he added, is here to stay: “I see this as a serious segment in the marketplace. I think it will have a longterm play.” Note: New Zealand Winegrowers’ members can access the PowerPoint slideshow and video for Tom Dixon’s 2018 Grape Day presentation by signing in to the members’ area of nzwine. com. Look for “Grape Days Presentations” under the “Grow” menu.















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NZ Winegrower October/November 2018  

NZ Winegrower October/November 2018

NZ Winegrower October/November 2018  

NZ Winegrower October/November 2018