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NEW ZEALAND WINEGROWER T H E O F F I C I A L M A G A Z I N E O F T H E N E W Z E A L A N D W I N E I N D U S T RY

FEBRUARY / MARCH 2019 ISSUE 114

The China Market The ins and outs of this complicated market

Research Winery Bespoke tanks, first step in NZWRC winery

Bird Protection New ways of protecting your fruit

FEBRUARY / MARCH 2019 ISSUE 114

Where to from here We sum up the PwC answers to the Demand question


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Issue 114 – February/March 2019

Contents

REGULARS 4

EDITORIAL

Tessa Nicholson

6

FROM THE CEO

Philip Gregan

8

IN BRIEF

News from around the country

10

CALENDAR

Wine events in New Zealand

38

WOMEN IN WINE

48

BOB’S BLOG

Bob Campbell MW

Jenny Dobson

12

FEATURES 12

The demand for NZ wine

We break down PwC’s Strategic Review question of Demand, which looks at the major changes and impacts of our rapidly changing markets.

16

The market of China

In a series of stories we examine the importance of the Chinese market, who the consumers are, what the marketing plans of NZW are for China, and the quality of their own growing wine industry.

34

Mentoring programme a success

With applications open for the 2019 Women in Wine mentoring programme, we look at how some of the inaugural members viewed the six-month programme.

FRONT COVER:

For credits of social media photos, please see page 75.

30

50

34

18


E D I TO R Tessa Nicholson tessa.nicholson@me.com

CO R R E SP O N D E NTS Wellington Wine Country: Joelle Thomson mailme@joellethomson.com Hawkes Bay: Olly Styles oliverstyles@hotmail.com Nelson: Neil Hodgson neil@hodgson.net.nz Central Otago: Jean Grierson jean.grierson@nzsouth.co.nz

A DV E R T I S I N G Sales Manager & Upper North Island: Stephen Pollard stephenp@ruralnews.co.nz Ph: 09 913 9637 Mobile: 021 963 166 Central North Island: Ted Darley ted@ruralnews.co.nz 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 kayes@ruralnews.co.nz Ph: 03 376 5552 Mobile: 021 221 1994

C I R C U L AT I O N & SUBSCRIPTIONS Jodi Blair jodi.blair@nzwine.com 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

PUBLISHING & P R E - P R E SS

A bright start to 2019 BY THE time you read this, the biggest New Zealand Winegrower event of the year will have wrapped up. Not only did hundreds of individuals descend on Marlborough for the International Sauvignon Blanc Celebration, but 18 top international sommeliers took part in a two-day Sommit™ in Hawke’s Bay, and 75 internationals attended a Sparkling and Chardonnay symposium in Gisborne. It was a hectic week and a half for the NZW team, highlighting just why New Zealand wine is considered some of the best in the world. In case you are wondering why we have no coverage of the events in this issue, the first for the year, it’s because we went to print just days before the events kicked off. But we will have full and in-depth coverage of all events in the next issue. The guest speakers, the breakdown of themes – Place, Purity and Pursuit, the wines, the comments, and the reaction of those all-important key influencers who attended the events. In the meantime, this issue we break down the detailed information from the PwC Strategic Review – looking at the question of Demand. Just where are our major markets going and what exactly are the issues facing us, in the views of PwC? We also highlight China – as a market and a producer of wine. While currently it is not close to being in our top three export markets, it still takes more than $40 million worth of New Zealand wine, and that is steadily growing. Simon Zhou, from Ruby Red, an importer based in Shanghai provides insight into the market for us, while a Rabobank spokesman has a word of warning about the possibility of trade wars. We also review the first Women in Wine Mentoring Programme, with perspectives from both mentors and mentees and provide you with the latest technology to scare those pesty birds from the vineyard. So, lots to read and learn from. Enjoy.

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

Tessa Nicholson

EDITOR 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.

CONTRIBUTORS

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

4   // 

NZ WINEGROWER  FEBRUARY/MARCH 2019

Oliver Styles

Lee Suckling

Joelle Thomson

Catches up with a legend of NZ wine, for our Women in Wine feature – Jenny Dobson.

Lee considers whether Chinese wine will ever be competitive internationally.

Saint Clair releases Dawn – a bubbly to commemorate a 104-yearold family member.


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From the CEO Philip Gregan

The Year Ahead Another New Year has begun and at least on the weather front appears to have started well with lots of warm, dry weather. Long may that continue! FROM A promotional perspective January sees our long-standing Annual tastings in London and Dublin. Then domestically there is the main event - Sauvignon 2019 returns for the second time in New Zealand. Leading producers, experts and key influencers will shine a spotlight on our signature variety over the three days 28 - 30 January. Supporting Sauvignon 2019 are several other key events including the Sommit in Hawke’s Bay, a Wine Flight, and the Chardonnay and Sparkling Symposium in Gisborne. Throughout the summer months we also look forward to the continuing boom in wine tourism. Of all international holiday visitors, 27% visit a New Zealand winery, and in 2017 we had 712,000 visitors to our wine regions. The international wine tourist is spending more, staying longer and visiting more regions than the average visitor. There are 279 wineries offering more than 400 wine tourism experiences in New Zealand, with services available

6   // 

NZ WINEGROWER  FEBRUARY/MARCH 2019

ranging from cellar doors with tastings, wine tasting experiences with winemakers, vineyard tours, to restaurants and luxury accommodation. For many exporters Brexit and the uncertainty around what it could mean continues to be an issue. The risk of a “no deal” Brexit is increasing. Whether or not a

deal is struck, the UK is New Zealand wine’s largest single market by volume and we encourage members to talk with their UK distributors to ensure they are as prepared as they can be for the unknown that is Brexit. While there will be many other opportunities and challenges in the year ahead, for NZW a major task in 2019 will be implementing the outcomes from the Strategic Review. Our first task with the Review complete was getting the results out to members. With that phase now complete the next stage is considering what the Review recommendations mean for NZW activities. NZW’s newly agreed purpose is to protect and enhance the reputation of New Zealand wine, and to support sustainable, diversified value growth of New Zealand wine. We need to ensure that is reflected across the breadth of our activities – through research, advocacy, sustainability and marketing. All the best for a fruitful vintage and a successful 2019.


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News Briefs

  DOMEST I C 

WOMEN TO LEAD PINOT NOIR 2021 Co Chairs of Pinot 2021; Left Penelope Naish and Helen Masters

NEW YEAR HONOURS

THE CO-CHAIRS of Pinot Noir NZ 2021 were announced late last year. For the first time two women will hold the roles, both with a history linked intrinsically to the variety itself. Helen Masters from Ata Rangi and Penelope Naish from Black Estate may be representative of two of the smaller wine regions of New Zealand, but their involvement with the “best Pinot party in the world” goes back a number of years. NZW Global Marketing Director Chris Yorke says it is the first time the Chair role has been shared, “and we are delighted to have two successful and well respected individuals in the role.” Pinot Noir NZ is held every four years, with the next event taking place in Wellington in January 2021.

 M ARLBOROUGH 

NMIT NEW APPOINTMENTS

TWO KEY appointments have been made in the Marlborough wine industry in a collaborative arrangement between Nelson Marlborough Institute of Technology (NMIT) and Plant and Food Research. Dr Stewart Field joins the Bachelor of Viticulture and Winemaking team fulltime on

8   // 

CONGRATS TO Bob Campbell, who in the New Year Honours was awarded an ONZM. The following is from his citation. Bob Campbell has been one of the most recognised individuals in the New Zealand wine industry for the past 45 years. Originally part of Montana wines which initiated the development of the Marlborough wine region in the early 1970s, he has since vigorously promoted the wine industry not only nationally, but also overseas. He has become New Zealand’s preeminent wine judge, chairing and judging major wine shows nationally and internationally. He was only the second New Zealander to achieve the prestigious Master of Wine designation, of which there are only 354 in the world. He founded The Wine Gallery, an Auckland based wine school, in 1990 and is widely regarded as New Zealand’s foremost wine educator. He contributes regularly to major national and international wine and food publications, (including NZ Winegrower). In 2009 Mr Campbell was the inaugural recipient of the Sir George Fistonich medal in recognition of his services to wine and was inducted into the New Zealand Wine Hall of Fame in 2013.

the NMIT Marlborough campus and Dr Tanya Rutan, a specialist wine chemist and sensory scientist, is NMIT’s first joint employee with Plant and Food. Half the new role is lead viticulture tutor and co-ordinator of student research projects and the other half is research collaboration with Plant and

NZ WINEGROWER  FEBRUARY/MARCH 2019

Food Research, based at the Marlborough Research Centre. NMIT Programme Leader, Viticulture and Wine, Sue Blackmore says Dr Rutan will strengthen third year wine tutoring and supervise project research as well as working with Plant and Food in its Pinot Noir research programme.

Stewart Field


I NT ERN ATI ON A L 

200 YEARS OF WINEGROWING IN THE middle of January, in the heart of London, New Zealand wine celebrated 200 years since the first vines were planted. Back in 1818, missionary, Samuel Marsden, planted 100 vines at Kerikeri in the Bay of the Islands. Today, there are close to 40,000 hectares of vines dotted across New Zealand and in the

past 20 years, the total vineyard area has more than tripled. The celebration of 200 years took place at the annual trade tasting on 16 January at County Hall in London. Over 400 wines were available to taste and a number of the country’s top winemakers were in attendance.

 WE LLI NGTON W I NE C O UNT RY 

From left; Davina and Angus Thompson (Urlar), Kohei Koyama (Nishi Sake Brewing).

Wairarapa winery sold to 173 year old Japanese Sake Brewing Company WAIRARAPA-BASED URLAR Farms Limited has been sold to a subsidiary of Nishi Sake Brewing, a leading Shochu producer from Kagoshima in Japan. The Overseas Investment Office gave Nishi approval in December and the sale was

settled just before Christmas. Urlar was established in 2004 when Angus & Davina Thomson planted 30 hectares of vineyards on Dakins Road in Pinot Noir, Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Gris and Riesling. The company which is committed to organic and biodynamic

principles has developed a strong international brand and now exports approximately 75 percent of its wines. Angus Thomson is excited that Urlar’s new owners have big plans for the company. “Nishi Sake Brewing is planning to take

the company to a new level and will establish Urlar as a leading New Zealand wine brand in Japan. They have very well established distribution channels as their Shochu is widely available throughout the country in premium retail and hospitality outlets”.

NZ WINEGROWER  FEBRUARY/MARCH 2019  //   9


Upcoming Events TO HAVE EVENTS ADDED

February – April

TO OUR CALENDAR CONTACT TESSA NICHOLSON TESSA.NICHOLSON@ME.COM

NZ Rosé Day

Marlborough Wine and Food Festival

5 February Get into the pink of things with NZ Rosé Day and some of the leading New Zealand producers.

9 February Once again, this iconic event will be held at Brancott Vineyard, on February 9, attracting up to 8000 guests. More than 40 wineries and over 25 food stalls will once again be hoping for the perfect sunny Marlborough day.

https://www.facebook.com/events/1950138878402471/

Takapuna Food, Wine and Music Festival 16 February A boutique urban festival, which is being held at Smales Farm, Takapuna, on the North Shore, on February 16. The festival runs from 11.30am – 8.30pm. eventfinder.co.nz

Takapuna Food, Wine and Music Festival

wine-marlborough-festival.co.nz

North Canterbury Wine and Food Festival 10 March Set in the beautiful grounds of Glenmark Domaine, this festival brings together over 50 wine and food stallholders, on March 10, 2019. northcanterburywines.co.nz/events/

Royal Easter Show Wine Awards 9 March Judging at ASB Showgrounds 12th - 14th February Medal results announced 19th February Awards dinner 9 March – The Pullman - Auckland wineshow.co.nz

Regional Presentations of Climate Change Modelling 18 February, Marlborough – 2pm, Convention Centre 19 February, Nelson – 10am, Seifried Estate 20 February, Waipara – 10am, Waipara Hills Last year the NZWRC contracted NIWA to model two different climate change scenarios and two different timeframes for each wine region of New Zealand. In the following presentations, NIWA will explain the modelling and what it might mean for your region.

nzwine.com/members/events/technical-workshops

Clyde Wine and Food Festival 21 April Held on Easter Sunday, in the main street of Clyde, this festival celebrates the wines from Central Otago. April 21, 10.30am – 4.30pm. promotedunstan.org.nz

10   // 

NZ WINEGROWER  FEBRUARY/MARCH 2019


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 2019.

To view a digital version of this programme, please visit www.nzwine.com/members/sell/events-programme/

IF YOU WOULD LIKE A HARD COPY VERSION, OR WISH TO SPEAK TO ONE OF THE TEAM, PLEASE CONTACT ANGELA WILLIS GLOBAL EVENTS MANAGER +64 9 306 5642 ANGELA@NZWINE.COM

USA

31 May Pure Discovery Shanghai

Registrations closed

Final deadline 15 February

1 and 2 May Pure Discovery Vancouver

May/June New Zealand Wine promotion with Legal Seafoods East Coast

4 June New Zealand Wine Fair Tokyo

8 May Pure Discovery Ottawa

AUSTRALIA

8 and 9 May Pure Discovery Toronto

15 May – 19 May Nantucket Wine & Food Festival

Registrations closed

June Telluride Festival Telluride, CO Registrations closed

ASIA 27 May Pure Discovery Shenzen Final deadline 15 February

29 May Pure Discovery Beijing

Final Deadline 15 February

Earlybird deadline 1 March Final deadline 15 March

Final deadline 15 February

Final Deadline 15 February

9 and 10 March Melbourne Wine and Food Festival Registrations closed

CANADA 27 February – 3 March Vancouver International Wine Festival 2019 Registrations closed

Final deadline 15 February

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Strategic Review

The demand for New Zealand wine


The PwC strategic review released last year, is full of information that is useful to all in the New Zealand wine industry. So over the next few months NZWinegrower will precis the findings, as they relate to you, the members. This issue Tessa Nicholson looks at the question regarding Demand. THE DEMAND question PwC undertook as part of the review was; What are the major changes and impacts of rapidly changing markets? How is this impacting the size of key markets, New Zealand’s share of those markets and our position in premium market segments? As wine consumers drink less, the value of wines is increasing, indicative of premiumisation having a worldwide impact. That, PwC says, is a positive for New Zealand producers. There is also a move by c onsu me rs , p ar t i c u l arly millennials, towards products that are sustainable, authentic and provide unique wine experiences. Also good news. “New Zealand’s reputation for high quality, sustainable wine sits well with trends, with Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc (MBSB) dominating in a varietal that is on trend, that’s “light and fresh”. In terms of our major markets, there is also good news

for New Zealand producers, although PwC does admit there are some vulnerabilities. Two of our three top markets, the US and UK have seen imports of New Zealand wine rise, with market retail

growth strong. However, Australia, another important market has plateaued. It is a similar story when you look at value – in the US and UK it is up, but PwC says Australia is more “challenged”. And despite China being quite a small market for our wine, it has the highest average price, while across the Tasman, our prices are falling. Breaking down the markets one by one, is part of the Demand question.

US

Over 90 percent of New Zealand wines are in the super-

premium and premium price tiers. On average our wines are priced at 20 percent market premium. We exported close to 74 million litres to the US at MAT March 2018. Close to a third of that was unpackaged wine. That may not seem like good news, but according to the report, “New Zealand is the US’ most valuable unpackaged wine import with a significant 25 percent market value share as a result of the premium price” of our wines. The vulnerability spoken about earlier, comes with the news that despite our success

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in the US unpackaged market, volume and value growth were stagnant in 2017.

THE UK This market has always been one of New Zealand’s most important. Currently, PwC says, it is the largest export market by volume and second largest by value. Alcohol consumption overall is dropping in this market, but “the British are willing to pay for better quality”. We are the eighth largest exporter of wine to the UK offtrade by volume and value, and in the year to March 2018, we had the greatest growth in both. T h e v o lu m e s of ou r Sauvignon Blanc exports have risen on average by 14 percent pa since 2016 and this growth offers the opportunity to help boost the sales of other varieties. But Brexit is the vulnerability in the UK market. Since the decision to leave the EU, the British pound has dropped dramatically. This is making all imported products more expensive, including New Zealand wine. That is not likely to change in the near future, as continued uncertainty

14   // 

“New Zealand’s reputation for high quality, sustainable wine sits well with trends, with Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc (MBSB) dominating in a varietal that is on trend, that’s “light and fresh”. surrounds just how Brexit will be enacted.

AUSTRALIA Our third largest market, 11 percent of all wine consumed in Australia comes from our part of the world. MBSB makes up the largest portion of that,

NZ WINEGROWER  FEBRUARY/MARCH 2019

however the vulnerability is that our Sauvignon Blanc exports have declined in the last three years. Pinot Noir volumes and values are steadily rising. New Zealand Pinot is now the second most premium product in the market with year on year price

and volume growth of 3 percent and 11 percent respectively. Our Rosé is also on the rise, having grown 290 percent since 2017 (admittedly from a low base). New Zealand Pinot Noir, Rosé and own label present opportunities for New Zealand to regain traction in the changing Australian market,” the report states.

NEWER MARKETS “There is potential for growth in Asian markets, particularly in China for all New Zealand wine varieties,” PwC says. The markets are experiencing growth of 2.8 to 6.7 percent in the still light grape wine category, and there is evidence of growing premiumisation in most markets. While our wines are still low as a portion of key markets in Asia, the value is growing between 6 and 17.6 percent. In China our exports have increased by around 10 percent pa since 2011, but still only make up one percent of all our wine exports. That percentage has not changed in five years. While the potential is there in China, market entry is difficult, PwC says, and requires special attention. Japan is potentially a growth market for New Zealand. While Chilean wine is the most popular imported wine by volume, that has been helped by a FTA. New Zealand value


growth exceeds the average total market for imported wine growth and PwC believes it is a market that holds potential for our premium wines. Hong Kong; our exports are increasing at approximately 1.4 percent since 2011. Our wines make up 2 percent of the total of imported wines in Hong Kong but by value, make up just 0.8 percent. “The difference between value and volume suggest New Zealand wines are not commanding the same average pricing premium as other importing countries.”

EUROPE P w C s ay s out s i d e of traditional export destinations, new exports to destinations in Central Europe have grown at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 13.3 percent in the period from 2011 to 2018. That is good news. Germany and the Netherlands are quickly becoming some of the most

important European markets for New Zealand wine showing a CAGR of close to 3 percent. In terms of what needs to be done to grow these emerging markets, the PwC report says this; “New Zealand

w i n e pro du c e r s s h ou l d leverage premium, niche and sustainable elements to benefit from changing consumer tides in these alternative markets in order to meet NZW’s 2020 export target.”

The full PwC Strategic Review is available to read within the NZW members section. Next issue we will look at the Review’s findings on Sustainability.

NZ WINEGROWER  FEBRUARY/MARCH 2019  //   15


China Focus

Trade wars – will we have to take a side? THE US-CHINA trade conflict is developing into a ‘cold war’ for global economic supremacy and could result in New Zealand being forced to pick a side between the two global superpowers, according to Michael Every, Rabobank’s Head of Financial Markets research for Asia Pacific. Late last year, Every said the US-China trade conflict was developing into a “cold” war for global economic supremacy and countries like New Zealand could end up being caught in the middle. And with this threat he said New Zealand’s agricultural sector (including wine) should aim to reduce its reliance on individual trade partners and place an increased focus on diversification of its export markets “The clash between the US and China is not going away, it’s not an aberration, it’s going to get worse,” he said. “China and the US both want to be number one, they both want to be sitting in the driving seat for who gets to set the rules for the global economy and who everyone looks to as the global leader, and there’s only room for one in that chair.” Ever y said increasing tensions could produce a scenario where New Zealand is forced to choose sides. “China is aggressively pursuing trade expansion and there may come a time when a gun is put to New Zealand’s forehead and you’ll be asked are you with us, or are you with the

16   // 

Michael Every

agreements with no-market economies such as China, as “economic warfare dressed up as trade and the type of move the US may try to employ in the Asia-Pacific region.” When the US withdrew from negotiations to sign the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) in March last year, US President Donald Tr ump signaled he could push harder for a “substantially better” Pacific trade deal for the US. “At some point the US is going to come crashing back into the Asia-Pacific region

rapidly in recent years and China is now New Zealand’s most imp or tant trading partner. New Zealand also has a significant trade relationship with the US as well as historically strong diplomatic and cultural ties. Every said farmers and exporters should look to diversify offshore markets, before any concessions are demanded by the US or China. “New Zealand’s agricultural sector should be looking to further develop links into new growth markets like Japan,

New Zealand’s agricultural exports to China have grown rapidly in recent years and China is now New Zealand’s most important trading partner. New Zealand also has a significant trade relationship with the US as well as historically strong diplomatic and cultural ties.

US,” he said. “If you answer the US, the Chinese could slam the door shut.” Every said China’s growing global influence and use of policies inconsistent with free trade had provoked the US to retaliate with tariffs on Chinese imports and others as anti China trade policy. He described the US new trade deal with Canada and Mexico, which requires them to notify the US before entering into any

NZ WINEGROWER  FEBRUARY/MARCH 2019

because it is so geopolitically important Every said. “And the message may well be that the price of protecting New Zealand is a new trade deal on their terms and which forbids, or greatly restricts, dealing with China.” An ultimatum from either of the US or China would place New Zealand in a perilous position given its significant trade ties with both countries. New Zealand’s agricultural exports to China have grown

Indonesia and India he said. “While this may take a lot more effort in the short-term, it will leave agricultural exporters in a better position should the US or China start making demands down the track. New Zealand needs to look at it as an opportunity, rather than a threat, and ask ‘what brand can we build for agriculture that allows up to thrive’, because trade protectionism won’t go away.”


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China Focus

Breaking down the Chinese Market China is expected to become the world’s second largest importer of wine by 2021. Tessa Nicholson looks at where that growth is coming from and how New Zealand fits in.

BACK IN 2007 China imported USD$260 million worth of wine. By 2017 the import figures had risen to USD$2.79 billion – a tenfold increase in just one decade. Those figures came from Simon Zhou, a former New Zealander who established his Shanghai fine wine shop, Ruby Red, in 2004. He was presenting to a large group of international journalists who visited Shanghai in November, for ProWine China. While the stats are impressive, Zhou said they have to considered alongside other alcoholic beverages. For example the beer market is worth USD$23.5 billion and Baijui sales in mainland China equate to $72.5 billion, almost three times the sales of wine. “So the wine market in China is very small in terms of other alcoholic beverages,” he said. Forty percent of all wine imports come from France, 19.2 percent from Australia,

18   // 

13.5 percent from Chile and 12.3 percent from Spain. “The top four countries account for almost 90 percent of all imports by volume. By value it is different. New Zealand value is well up there, even though the volume is not.” In terms of where the wine imports are going, Zhou was at pains to point out China is not just a single market. In fact, he described it as “many, many markets” separated into four quadrants. “They all behave differently. Just as there is no one style of Chinese food, there is no one Chinese market.” The Guangdong province has the highest figures for import volume, followed by Shanghai. In terms of value though, the situation is reversed with Shanghai having the highest value of imports and per capita consumption. Beijing is a lot lower than both when it comes to value, volume and

NZ WINEGROWER  FEBRUARY/MARCH 2019

consumption. It is the differences that make China a difficult market to come to terms with. Zhou says the first-tier cities of Shanghai, Beijing, Guangzhou and Shenzhen, all have a “very strong western dining culture”, so his company does a lot of on-trade business. “But once you get out of those cities, the on-trade drops to almost insignificance.” The average price paid for wine also varies greatly, depending on where in China you are based. In Shanghai the average Ruby Red price is NZD$80, Beijing - NZD$95 and in second tier cities it is NZD$31. Just how much wine is consumed per capita is a difficult one to define Zhou says. He puts it at point six or point seven litres per person, per year. (But that has to be countered with the fact that a massive percentage of the population drink no wine at all). And those that do drink wine, do so less

than once every two weeks. Defining the Chinese consumer from his own business perspective, Zhou said the largest group is aged between 28 and 48, with 75 percent of all purchases made by a male. When asked if there was any movement in the female sector, he said no. “Not many women drink alcohol in China – the average of females drinking alcohol is quite low.” But there is good news for New Zealand producers. Zhou said the Chinese love affair with Bordeaux style wines is starting to wane, and more people are now looking towards Burgundian styles. New Zealand Pinot Noir may be able to take advantage of that. Already he said, Ruby Red customers are beginning to show preferences. “Our biggest growth is Burgundy, followed by cool climate New Zealand and Tasmanian Pinots.”


WHY RED IS THE PREFERRED CHOICE IT IS well known that Chinese consumers prefer red wine to white. A lot has been made about the health benefits associated with red wine, as well as the colour red being a fortuitous one. But Zhou expanded on the perception of health benefits during his presentation. “Chinese people don’t drink cold water. If you ask in a Chinese restaurant for water, it will be warm. The perception is that room temperature of products is better for your body. So because white wine and RosĂŠ need to be chilled and the majority of Chinese people don’t like to drink chilled products, introducing a white wine is a battle. “Will that change? Not likely. It will increase, but there is unlikely to be a dramatic change. When you go into McDonalds and see people ask for coke with ice, it might indicate the market is changing, but I don’t see that happening anytime soon. “Plus the perception is that all wine is red. If you went out into the smaller cities and asked people what colour wine is, 99.9 percent would say it is red. Very few people associate wine with the colour white.â€?

Former New Zealander and founder of Ruby Red Fine Wines in Shanghai, Simon Zhou.

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NZ WINEGROWER  FEBRUARY/MARCH 2019  //   19


China Focus

China – leading the market TESSA NICHOLSON

IS THE hype around China as a growing wine market a real thing – or is it a fantasy based on the fact the country has 1.4 billion people? According to a survey of experts, commissioned by ProWein, it is a real thing. The study undertaken by Geisenheim University, questioned 2,300 individuals from 46 countries following ProWein 2018. The sheer number of wine experts, from producers, and exporters, to importers and marketers, makes this the most comprehensive barometer of where the industry sees itself going in the future.

20   // 

More than 80 percent of producers questioned were wanting to expand their current markets within the next three years. When asked what export market they were considering as attractive for that expansion, China came out tops. Which is quite a change from 2017, when China was ninth on the list of favoured new markets. Japan was another big mover, into second place (up from 6th in 2017) with both followed by Hong Kong, Scandinavia, USA and Canada. China also came out number one in terms of producers believing it to have the strongest

NZ WINEGROWER  FEBRUARY/MARCH 2019

Nearly one in two wine retailers who visited ProWein said they were looking to expand their portfolios. increase in attractiveness, just ahead of South Korea and Poland. However it wasn’t great news for the UK, one of New Zealand’s largest export markets. It was deemed as the lowest by far, in terms of current attractiveness and was not expected to get any better in the next three years. Dr Simone Loose from Geisenheim

University said the UK market is a story all on its own, with three areas contributing to the lack of faith by producers and marketers. Number one is the alcohol tax which is expected to rise more than inflation. “The value you can deliver is getting smaller,” she said. Then there is the on-going trade wars, with so


HIGHLY SPECIALIZED IN PRODUCING PROFIT. Dr Simone Loose

many wines fighting over limited shelf space. And thirdly, the impact of Brexit, which is due to come in in a matter of weeks. All of these are ensuring the UK stays off the radar in terms of attractiveness for the rest of the wine world. The other two countries seen as least attractive are France and Austria. The Geisenheim survey also looked at new emerging sales markets, questioning where they are likely to occur in the next five years. In terms of having the most potential, those surveyed listed Singapore, Czech Republic and Taiwan. Dr Loose said surprisingly, United Arab Emirates came in fourth. “But it is a tourist hub and an ex pat hub as well,” she qualified. There were major differences between what old word producers deemed as potential emerging markets and those listed by the new world. “France, Italy and Spain, all big producers, see Singapore, Taiwan and Czech Republic as the biggest emerging markets, whereas the new world sees India, Taiwan, Singapore and Vietnam as the potential …for their company in the next five years.”

While all of the above dealt with producers, what about retailers and importers visiting ProWein 2018? Are they keen to expand their portfolios in the coming years and who do they want to add to their list? Nearly one in two wine retailers who visited ProWein said they were looking to expand their portfolios to make their wine lists more interesting. In terms of countries of origin they were interested in, Portugal came out number one, South Africa was second, followed by Argentina, US, Australia, Spain, Austria and then New Zealand was in 8th place, with 25 percent of those surveyed wanting to add New Zealand wines to their portfolios. However that figure was much higher from retailers in Eastern Europe, with 34 percent of those surveyed keen to add New Zealand wines, (making New Zealand the most favoured choice) and New Zealand was listed as the third choice for North American retailers and importers. ProWein who commissioned the study will follow up this year, following the 25th anniversary in Dusseldorf in March.

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China Focus

Q & A with NZW’s Marketing Manager, Asia, Natalie Potts What is NZW’s event strategy for Asia, including China? New Zealand Winegrowers events are organised according to winery demand, and are based in markets where wineries want to explore and leverage opportunities. As such, we coordinate events in order to deliver maximum results for wineries; this typically includes a mix of standalone New Zealand-focused wine fairs - such as the Pure Discovery events we host in China’s Tier-1 cities each May - supported by a regular presence at the major trade show VinExpo HK. Where possible, we try to link events together to create roadshows or tours, in order to maximise travel times and budgets for winemakers and representatives. As all our events are funded 100% by winery contributions, they are entirely based on demand. We communicate with wineries regularly to understand what it is they are looking for

in an event, what their global market objectives are, and how we can deliver this. Winery demand also affects which events are regular points in the annual schedule and which are more opportunistic.

ProWine China is becoming the largest mainland China event – yet New Zealand wineries do not seem to be keen to take part. Why do you think that is? In recent years, China has seen a huge proliferation of expos, wine shows and other activities for wineries to reach trade and consumers with their products. Some of these are international shows with highly professional organisers such as ProWine China, newlylaunched Vinexpo Shanghai, Decanter Fine Wine Encounter, the long-established Chengdu Tang Jiu Hui and more, while many others are more locally focused and typically have lower

participation fees and production values. As a general rule, wineries that are seeking distribution or looking to expand their network of representation into new regions of China tend to be more willing to look at the larger events; while wineries that are already represented in China tend to follow the advice of their importers, either attending smaller-scale locallytargeted events or spending funds on in-market promotions and activities to drive sales. Having said this, NZW believes that ProWine China is a valuable event for all wineries to consider. We have supported the event, participating with a national pavilion at the second edition and promoting it in our Global Events Program and events communications for the past three years. However, as all our events are 100% participation funded, we require a minimum number of sign-ups to proceed with a pavilion to cover design and build costs. In the case that we cannot offer a pavilion, we pass any wineries keen to participate on to the event organisers to coordinate their participation directly.

In terms of other major markets (US, UK, OZ, other Asia) how important is China? China is our largest export market in Asia, and 6th largest globally by value, so it is an important market that both demands and deserves attention from wineries. New Zealand wine exports

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to China for the year ending June 2018 increased 11 percent to reach 2.5m litres, while value was just shy of NZ$37.5 million, up 18 percent y/y. The average FOB price per litre stands at $14.83, more than double New Zealand’s global average of $6.68. Looking in more detail at varieties by volume, white wines make up 42.5 percent of exports at just over 1m litres, dominated by Sauvignon Blanc (835,000 litres).   While red wines represent the majority of exports, the share has dwindled over the past 10 years from well over 70 percent to the current 57.5 percent. Red wine exports are relatively evenly split between Pinot Noir (460,000L), Cabernet and blends (450,000L) and Merlot (400,000L).  Syrah exports to China make up a further 145,000L, representing approximately one third of New Zealand’s total exports of this increasingly recognised varietal. (All data is from NZW for the year ending June 2018)

What effect does the Chinese preference for red wines have on New Zealand wineries who are considering exporting into mainland China? As the data shows, New Zealand red wines are in demand in China and can command high prices. However, don’t let that fool you – increasingly sophisticated consumers purchasing wine to drink with friends are shifting the dial slowly towards whites such as Sauvignon Blanc.


Market visits are now a regular part of winery reps’ travel schedule, and a small number of producers have taken the step of committing to establishing local sales teams to help grow their businesses. Despite this enthusiasm, China remains a demanding market that is constantly changing. Wineries that are active here know how hard it can be to keep track of who’s who, with platforms and key players regularly shifting to meet new trends. China offers great opportunity, but also demands attention and focus to perform well.

Wineries that are most active in China tend to have a focused offering of both red and white, in particular those offering a choice of Merlot or Pinot Noir to pair with the expected Sauvignon Blanc.

How have New Zealand wineries embraced the China market? We have seen a great deal of enthusiasm, with well over 150 wineries exporting to the market on a regular basis.

Moving forward – what advice would you give to New Zealand wineries who are considering expanding their export markets into China and Asia? While the landscape is shifting towards meeting the needs

of consumers, the majority of distributors in China are still focused on moving volume without the capacity to build brands. Very few companies are able to maintain nationwide distribution, so be prepared to start small with non-exclusive partners and grow using their distribution network. As far as is possible, try to get a clear idea of where your product will be distributed and what marketing investments will be made, including your travel obligations for market visits and sales calls. Do your due diligence about any company that approaches you, and expect to be firm and bargain on pricing and volume targets. Ensure you work out China-specific prices and your walk-away point before entering negotiations. Finally, protect your IP and make sure your brand names (and Chinese translations) are registered in your name. Fortune favours the well-prepared!

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China Focus

ProWine China While 750 wineries took part in the 6th ProWine China, only three came from New Zealand. COMPARE THAT with well over 50 Australian wineries taking part, in a stand that couldn’t fail to be noticed as it took up one side of the Shanghai Expo Centre’s halls. Marius Berlemann, Global Head Wines and Spirits ProWein hopes New Zealand will take future opportunities to take part in what has become the largest wine show in mainland China. “The surrounding countries to New Zealand, you will see have a large presence, bigger than ever before. Every country

is enlarging and I hope New Zealand will follow the same track.” One of the biggest issues facing New Zealand wineries, is that unlike their Australian counterparts, they have to pay for themselves to attend. The Australians, hard on the back of reaching AUS$1 billion worth of wine exports to China, had their large stand funded by their government. As did a number of other countries represented at ProWine China, as the world competes to get their wine in front of some of the country’s

1.4 billion people. In terms of creating a show that provides a footprint into the Chinese market, Berlemann says many producers attending ProWine may already have a distributor, but are looking to expand their market presence. “It is not about coming to Shanghai and finding one importer, because there are hardly any importers which are able to cover the entire country. So you might want to finish the show with four importers, to expand your market.” As with ProWein Dusseldorf,

the China show is limited to trade visitors, not consumers. Berlemann says that up to 60 percent of the 18,000 visitors in 2018, came from mainland China, not Shanghai where the event was held. New Zealand based Babich Wines have been in the Chinese market for the past 15 years, and in 2018 opened their first office and warehouse in Shanghai. John Lang, sales and marketing director says it was a natural follow on to take part in ProWine China. “It has been a long build, a The Babich Wines Shanghai team, from left: Steve Bao, John Lang, Cai Lei and Joanna Li.

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NZ WINEGROWER  FEBRUARY/MARCH 2019


journey where we have been learning along the way. This year marks a special year for us, as we have committed to an office and a team and an official company based out of Shanghai.” Lang says China is unlike any other market in the world and anyone planning to enter it, has to leave their pre-conceived ideas at home. “What works in other countries isn’t likely to work in China,” he says. “The channels are different, the buying behavior is different, what the consumer looks for is different. That is why I look at it as a longterm learn, because you have to have a model that you can change and adapt.” He says in traditional markets the path to the consumer is t hroug h a distributor, who then sells to traditional channels. “Come to China though and

some of our biggest customers are putting wine into corporate channels or private channels or gifting channels. People may think that is not a serious channel but actually it is the main channel, so that is an adjustment of thinking. Your brand may not be on a wine list in a hotel and you think you are not doing well in China. But actually you have sold a container of high end wine into a huge corporate, who are using it for Chinese New Year gifts and that kind of thing. That is an amazing business to get. It is hard to sustain, so you always have to be open to new business and be prepared to chase it and service it.” The two other New Zealand companies present at ProWine China were Vinultra and Te Awanga who were unfortunately listed in the programme as coming from China. tessa.nicholson@me.com

Supported by government, Australian wine was one of the largest exhibitors at ProWine China 2018.

NZ WINEGROWER  FEBRUARY/MARCH 2019  //   25


China Focus

Would you drink Chinese wine? There are 48 million wine drinkers in China, making it one of the world’s largest markets. They are also large producers, and Lee Suckling asks the question, will China ever be realistic competitors in the market? THERE ARE six main wine regions in China, Ningxia being the most talked about today. It’s gaining a reputation for red wines of quality, with winemakers like Emma Gao trying to change perceptions of locally-made Chinese wine within her country. “The image of Chinese wine is mass produced without much care, it’s not sophisticated,” Gao says. “I wanted to change that.” Gao’s vineyard Silver Heights is based in Northwest China, at the foothills of the Helan Mountains. It’s an area forming the border of Inner Mongolia’s Alxa League

and Ningxia, which is protected by the namesake mountains from both Mongolian desert and freezing Siberian temperatures. The soil in Ningxia is dry and rocky, making it difficult to plant traditional crops such as rice and corn in. However, Gao’s family discovered it was ideal for grapevines. “For us it’s more important quality than quantity,” Gao explains. “My ambition was to start a winery with wine to stand with wine from Australia or California.” In the first year Gao produced just 10 barrels because the area was so underdeveloped.

Now, Silver Heights is spread over 70 hectares, and Gao’s 2009 “Emma’s Reserve”, a 100 percent Cabernet Sauvignon blend, is one of the most prized Chinaproduced reds. When asked why she named the wine after herself, she reveals Emma is also her daughter’s name and she hopes to pass on her winemaking passion to her. “One generation is not enough to do wine well,” Gao explains. “We can only plant the grapes well. The next generation will continue to do better. I hope Little Emma’s “Emma’s Reserve” will be better than today’s wine.”

Silver Heights vineyard owner, Emma Gao.

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The harvesting of grapes at Silver Heights.

Kiwi winemaker David Tyney consults in Ningxia. He told NZ Winegrower there are currently 58 wineries in the area, with significant international investment coming in from the likes of LVMH and Pernod Ricard, who are keen on a piece of Chinese-made wine’s future. Thirty thousand hectares are planted but only 15,000 tonnes are being crushed each year. As Tyney notes, the Ningxia region has a long way to go: the young vines are not on stream and older plantings lack a good strike rate. Vineyards also lack marketing expertise to tell a palatable wine story. But there are some diamonds in the rough. Grace Vineyard, which operates in the Chinese Shanxi province (and also has vineyards in Ningxia), celebrates 22 years in business in 2019. CEO Judy Chan says her wines are known as some of the best in China. “I think the biggest achievement for the winery is that we made something impossible possible: we built a family-owned winery that focuses on quality with a team who didn’t have any experience in the wine industry,” she says. Her primary vineyards located between Taihang Mountain and Lu Liang Mountain have 200 hectares planted. She targets the domestic Chinese


market, and her initial goal was to create a business that didn’t harm the environment as much as traditional Chinese production. In the mid-1990s, a respected government official from Shanxi’s department of production materials told her that because Shanxi was severely polluted, it would be beneficial to the region to see more ecofriendly production in place. The region had already been criticised for producing fake

alcoholic beverages, but Chan insisted in promoting Shanxi as part of her wine story and ensured her vineyards refused cheap bottling contracts from other brands looking to make quick money. Chan received a lot of criticism and contempt throughout China in the beginning, but gradually wine professionals began to warm to her. Grace Vineyard received significant boosts in reputation when

Cathay Pacific Airways and the Peninsula and Shangri-La hotel chains began to stock its wines. Chan admits that the climate of many parts of wine-producing China, which have hot and dry summers and moderate, humid winters, isn’t as favourable for winegrowing as it could be. It’s difficult to produce quality wines in Shanxi, let alone create wines that are distinct in Shanxi’s terrior (which is Chan’s goal). Like Emma Gao, Chan too hopes her daughter and granddaughter will push this closer to reality during the rest of the 21st Century. Within China, around 80 per cent of all wine consumed is red and Cabernet Sauvignon is the most widely-grown grape, followed by Merlot and Carmenere. Most winemakers, such as Gao, study oenology in France and favour Bordeaux methods. With the likes of Gao and Chan put aside, China lacks enthusiasm to be a real player in the wine market. Only about 20 percent of its local product is exported. Increasingly, however, Chinese winemakers are using

the expertise of scientists and wine professionals from other winemaking countries – like Tyney – to help improve their winemaking. Although deficiency in viticultural expertise was an early problem during the rise of modern-day Chinese wine (i.e. during the last decade or so), today lack of enthusiasm, investment or science isn’t actually what’s holding Chinese wine back. Anybody who has visited China (and tasted what makes up the majority of locally-grown product) will understand that the quality and age of Chinese soil isn’t ready to make the complex flavours the Western wine-drinking world expects. Maturation can only improve with time, and despite quality exceptions such as Silver Heights and Grace Vineyard (both of which don’t focus on export), Kiwi winemakers can expect Chinese wines to remain rather flat and one-dimensional. As such, China probably won’t be serious competition in our lifetime. lee.suckling@gmail.com

Emma Gao’s vineyard Silver Heights is based in Northwest China, at the foothills of the Helan Mountains.

NZ WINEGROWER  FEBRUARY/MARCH 2019  //   27


NZWRC News

Virtual research winery underway TESSA NICHOLSON

THE NEW Zealand Winegrowers Research Centre (NZWRC) is breaking ground in terms of technology, as phase one

of the research winery begins. Establishment Manager Tracy Benge says six “bespoke” wine tanks have been designed

and built and will be ready to begin trials, this vintage. The tanks will be housed at the NMIT teaching winery,

The tanks can be used for 200 litre fermentations, or add the inserts for four 17 litre trials.

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in Blenheim after a MOU was signed between the two organisations late last year. Currently NMIT have two 500 litre tanks within the winery for teaching purposes, while Plant & Food have an adjoining microvin unit, which contains two and seven litre ferments. The bespoke tanks will hold 200 litres, but the novel or “bespoke” quality Benge says, is that they provide the Centre with a “two in one” deal. “Within each 200 litre tank we can do four small ferments, thanks to inserts that can be placed within the tank.” Which means that with fermentation controlling the entire tank, each of the inserts undergoes the exact same conditions, reducing variability. “The reason we have gone for four inserts is because most research trials are based on triplicates plus a spare,” Benge says. The inserts are removable, meaning that while small trials of 17 litres (the amount each insert holds) can be undertaken, once they are removed, the tank


We want to get this virtual winery up and running, and identify any issues or improvements.

Tracy Benge

returns to a 200 litre vessel. Both the 200L tanks and 17L inserts can be used for either red or white wine, with built in agitators and plungers, as well as automated Brix measurement. As far as she knows, there are no other tanks like this in any research centre throughout the world. Six have been built, and they will be used in two separate trials this vintage, which will be managed by

Plant & Food Research (PFR). “This means our collaboration between NZWRC and our partners PFR and NMIT will be operational from February 2019 and will allow us to test the model on a small scale, before a full-scale research winery is built”. The first trial will be with Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Noir (juice provided by Indevin and Pernod Ricard) concentrating on fermentation efficacy. Replica trials will be undertaken based on the supplier wineries’ 5000 litre tanks. “We will mimic their winemaking in our tanks to give us that commercial comparison,” Benge says. The second trial will be related to storage. “We want

to check these tanks in terms of impact on storing wine.” Two different lids have been designed. One will be a variable lid that moves up and down removing any ullage. This will be compared to a fixed lid to review the effectiveness of the seals and identify if there is any oxygen exposure. All the tanks will be automated, and VinWizard are developing fermentation monitoring and control technology that will include some newly designed density metres, not yet in production. The technology aspect is important Benge says. “Part of our successful bid to MBIE for a research winery was that it would also be a

technology hub, so it allows us to trial new pieces of technology as they come onto the market.” Another objective is to make these tanks accessible to the industry, for wineries wanting to conduct trials of their own, whether it be new winemaking products or techniques. While the virtual winery is phase one, the second phase once these trials are completed, will see a full research winery built in the future. If the purpose-built tanks are successful, she says 150 will be produced. “That is longer term, another year or two. First though we want to get this virtual winery up and running, and identify any issues or improvements, before moving on to that.” A Communications Plan is being developed to cover the trials, so expect to see more on the outcomes of the trials over vintage. tessa.nicholson@me.com

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Bird Scaring

How to keep the birds at bay TESSA NICHOLSON

of birds of prey flapping above the vines are a good way of scaring off smaller foraging birds. As they fly in the wind like a real bird of prey, they are effective, although for larger blocks a number would be necessary to cover the entire area. Gas Guns have been around for decades now and are still effective if used correctly. Charlie Johnson of Maintrac says the secret to success is randomizing the spacing of THE TRIED AND TRUE: shots and having three shots in quick succession. Light weight plastic 1/2 replicas DU-WETT WINEGROWER PAGE 180W X 120H MM THERE IS no denying birds can do serious damage if left to forage at will on ripening grapes. Bigger birds will remove whole berries, while others such as silvereyes will peck at the berry to get to the juice, leaving the fruit prone to disease. At a display in Marlborough recently, representatives from Maintrac Group demonstrated some of the tried and tested as well as the newly developed bird control methods.

The new look of bird scaring – drones.

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“The first shot will startle the birds; the second will make them lift off and the third will make them fly away. Also have the time delay as long as possible to stop the birds getting used to them.” Portable gas guns that remain static are best for smaller blocks of one to five hectares, while the rotating gas gun on a tripod can cover between four and 25ha, depending on terrain. With gas guns, growers must check for regulations of their region’s councils, as there are some strict conditions on where and how they can be used.

STATIONARY SOUND UNITS These use natural bird distress and alarm sounds, along with predator and harassment sounds to deter birds. Ideal for smaller blocks or areas where gas guns cannot be used. “We have a large bird sound library, so can program the sound card to target the specific bird

species causing the problem in the area, this makes these units very effective. We also recommend combining sound units with predator kites, as the visual presence of a predator combined with the predator sounds, creates a very realistic and threatening environment for the birds.” Fog Force Deterrent. This is best utilised in a preventative scenario, especially around shelter belts that harbor large numbers of birds. “The idea is to get the wind blowing the fog across the area you want to cover and have the birds flying through the fog itself. When they are flying birds breath 20 to 30 times faster, which is why you want them flying through the fog. As they fly they breath in the fog which irritates their beak and mouth. It isn’t harmful, but it does cause pain and annoyance.” Eventually the birds will associate the pain with the area and leave. Pyrotechnics. These are banger and screamer cartridges fired from a small launcher pistol. “Pyrotechnics are a safer and more cost-effective option to shooting. They are also ideal for use in conjunction with Fog Force to get the birds flying through the fog.

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THE NEW Hand held lasers have become an important tool in the arsenal of airports, removing birds from runways, to prevent damage to planes. The same lasers can be used successfully in vineyards. Johnson explains how they work. “Birds see the ultra violet light which is in the laser beam. Whereas humans usually only see the end point, birds see the whole beam as a solid object, and when this is moving around it creates a threatening area.” Looking very much like a hand pistol, Johnson says all lasers must be treated with

NZ WINEGROWER  FEBRUARY/MARCH 2019  //   31


They may be old school, but plastic bird replicas are still effective in smaller spaces.

the same caution as you would treat a gun. They can only be sold if guaranteed to be used for industrial use, such as bird scaring.

effective ways of deterring birds and can be used at all times of the day. The combination of the natural harassment noises and the random movement of the drone which can either be flown manually or pre-programmed, makes it a very effective bird deterrent.” Johnson recommended setting a range of different flight paths, and having different patterns per block, to ensure birds don’t become immune to it. “Set it on its way, it will cover your block and come back to land when it is finished.” Flying at 5 to 15metres above ground has proven to be the most effective scenario he said. For those that have structures

AUTO LASER These are probably the more likely candidate for bird scaring in vineyards. Set on a pole, the laser rotates sideways and up and down to your preprogrammed settings. The higher you base the auto laser the better, Johnson says. Plus it works better in low light, such as at dawn and dusk – the times when birds seem to descend to feed. Depending on the terrain, an auto laser can cover on average between 10 and 15 ha.

such as wind machines within the vineyard, you can geofence around them to ensure the drone doesn’t collide with them. Johnson also recommends a speed of around 30kph as ideal. “But if you have high bird pressure, you would slow your speed right down and do a couple of passes over that one area, then speed up for the rest.” The drones can last between 40 - 55 minutes per battery charge (depending on the model of drone). Regulations mean that unless you have permission under civil aviation rules and regulations, you need to be in visual sight of the unit at all times that it is in the air.

CONCLUSION: The sooner you start targeting birds in the vineyard the better. Don’t wait until they are having the feast of their lifetime – try and get in before the berries start to ripen. Dawn and dusk are the best times to scare birds off, as those tend to be the most popular feeding times. Remember that there is no one size fits all, when it comes to bird deterrents. You may need to investigate two or three in combination. “It is best to utilise something that affects birds’ sight and then something that impacts on birds’ hearing.” tessa.nicholson@me.com Fog Force deterrent makes it uncomfortable for birds to stay around.

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Agenda Event

Marlborough Wine and Food Festival It’s an institution that has been taking place every year since 1985. The Marlborough Wine and Food Festival will take place on February 9 at Brancott Vineyard, offering guests wines from more than 40 wineries and food from 25 differing stalls. SAMPLE PINOT Noir, Riesling, Sparkling, Rosé, Chardonnay and of course Sauvignon Blanc. Match it with oysters, whitebait or clams. Or maybe venison, burgers or dumplings. Take part in a Master Class, learning more about Organics or maybe how well Sauvignon Blanc matches with cheeses. Listen to entertainment on one of two stages. Vote for the Supreme wine and food match. Visit the culinary Pavilion and watch renowned chefs be put through their paces. Support home cooks who will take on a professional chef preparing a meal from the same mystery box. Or simply just lie back, enjoy the sun and atmosphere and be part of New Zealand’s longest running festival.

Marlborough Wine and Food Festival 9 February 2019 Brancott Vineyard wine-marlborough-festival.co.nz

NZ WINEGROWER  FEBRUARY/MARCH 2019  //   33


Women in Wine

Mentoring programme a great success TESSA NICHOLSON

THE REASONS for applying to be part of the Women in Wine mentoring programme may have differed for the 16 women taking part, but the outcomes were all the same. Success. Established last year, the mentoring programme matched eight younger members of the New Zealand wine industry with eight women who have been a part of it for a number of years. The goal was to provide ambitious women with a skill set to help them move forward confidently. Jane Hunter, owner of Hunter’s Wines, says her own introduction to the world of wine management, was the reason she applied to be a mentor. “I have had a number of mentors and I certainly wouldn’t have got over my rocky, unexpected launch into the management of the wine industry if I hadn’t had some mentors to help me along.” Admitting to being a “little apprehensive” at the beginning,

Some of the mentors and programme managers , from left: Katherine Jacobs, Nicky Grandorge, Priscila Muir, Tracy Taylor, Natalie Christensen, Jane Hunter, Kate Radburnd, Fiona Fenwick.

she said she was pleasantly surprised to find that she got as much if not more out of the programme as her mentee. “It was so uplifting to see the enthusiasm and energy that a younger person has for the industry. You have to think; ‘oh well the future’s going to be in good hands.’”

Priscila Muir saw the opportunity to be a mentor as a challenge – “something outside of my comfort zone that I thought it would be great to be a part of.” As the quality assurance manager for Indevin in Gisborne and Hawke’s Bay, she also saw the opportunity to offer mentoring to a field of the industry that often isn’t in the spotlight. “You always think about

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NZ WINEGROWER  FEBRUARY/MARCH 2019

wine makers or wine growers, or marketing people when you talk about the wine industry. I know so many people who are cellar, QA or lab, who don’t feel comfortable of taking this extra step of wanting to be involved, so I wanted to give it a go.” Like Jane, she also found she got much more from the programme than she had expected. “It is a two-way experience. It’s easy to think that the mentor


will just be giving, but they get so much as well. It is a learning situation for both of us.” As for the mentees, both Kat Jackson (assistant vineyard manager Chard Farm) and Sophie Harris (winemaker Te Awanga), their goals before the programme began, were reached and surpassed. Jackson says she was hoping the programme would help provide some guidance on improving her management skills, from someone who had been there and done that in the past. “I was keen to learn how to deal and work with other people, so that it works for everyone.” She says her greatest take away from the programme was; “To keep your head up, there are people who have been there before you and there will be people after you as well. So support each other in that. You are not the only person out there

and you are not on your own.” Harris was wanting to branch out and form more connections within the wine industry. She certainly has achieved that via the mentoring programme. In her very first session, she mentioned to her mentor that she was keen on getting into wine judging. Mentor Kate Radburnd took up that idea very quickly. “She is heavily involved in that side of things, so it meant I got the opportunity to be an associate judge at the NZ Wine of the Year Awards which was great.” It opened up her horizons and also provided her with contact with a vast number of industry personnel. This year she is already booked in to be an associate judge at the Royal Easter Show. For her, Harris says, she has gained in confidence, not only for herself, but also for those steeped within the industry.

“I am more confident that a lot of people in the wine industry who have been here longer, are willing to help and give their time and expertise. Most of them want to help you on your way.” The 2019 Women in Wine Mentoring Programme is currently open for applications, both for those wishing to mentor, and those wishing to be a mentee. They close on February 10. Applications are online www.

nzwine.com/en/contact-us/ourcommunities/women-in-winenz/mentoringprogramme      Any woman, working in any role in the wine industry and whose company or organisation is a member of NZ Winegrowers, can apply. If they don’t have a personal login to the members’ site, there will be a button to click to get one.  They just need to provide details of where they work. The plan is to open up the programme to both men and women in the future.

A meeting of minds, mentors and mentees; Clockwise from bottom left; Haidee Johnson, Priscila Muir, Kate Radburnd and Sophie Harris.

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Women in Wine Mentoring Programme Nicky Grandorge is the national coordinator of the Women in Wine Initiative and tells us more about the mentoring programme established last year. What have you learned from the first mentoring programme? Having a bespoke mentoring programme for the wine industry has proved very powerful. Not only have the mentors and mentees benefitted from meeting each other, but keeping the programme within the industr y has really increased networking opportunities.  Connect is part of our motto and we have seen mentors introduce mentees to more wine industry people in their region, which has really given them confidence and helped them gain more recognition.  Bringing all the mentors together for training and feedback sessions has also developed strong relationships around the country, which strengthens the industry as a whole. It is exciting to see the pilot

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reaching their goals. The mentor does not solve the mentees problems but gives them the skills to create their own toolkit which they can then use to network, upskill, progress, solve problems or deal with different situations on their own.

What is the responsibility of a mentee?

programme has been a success and that very little needed to be changed for it to be rolled out in 2019, so we’ve also seen the benefit of involving a mentoring professional (Fiona Fenwick) to help us set up a robust programme that will be able to develop and grow easily in the future. The plan is to open up the mentoring to all members at some point in the future – ie to

NZ WINEGROWER  FEBRUARY/MARCH 2019

both women and men.

What is the role of a mentor? A mentor is an experienced and tr usted individual. Someone who is  inspiring.  Someone who trains the mentee to tap into their own capabilities.  The aim is to help the mentee learn to think for themselves and be proactive in

The mentee is someone ambitious, who sees the big picture, has goals and wants to discover the skills to grow and make things happen. The mentee therefore sets their own goals, decides what they want to achieve on the way and creates their own plan to get there.  Ultimately the responsibility is on the mentee to set and reach their own goals and deadlines with the support of the mentor.


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Women in Wine

Jenny Dobson WORDS: OLIVER STYLES

“ W H E N I tur ned up in Burgundy they still had signs outside cellars saying ‘interdit aux femmes’ [no women allowed]. I asked Jacques Seysses [owner and founder of Domaine Dujac] about this - he was a welleducated man, he wouldn’t be so superstitious - and he said, ‘well, you know, they think that a woman has a different pH and she might turn all the wine in the cellar to vinegar...’ Come on, Jacques, I said. Then he said, ‘well, you know, when a woman has her period, if she goes in the cellar, they say the wines will referment every month.’ The last excuse he gave was that a woman might be a distraction in the

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cellar and that someone might fall from a barrel or not look where they were going. In my first vintage there they didn’t let me foot-stomp the grapes. In my second vintage, I was allowed... but only when all the old workers were busy in the vineyard.” Jenny Dobson is running me through the inexorable march of equality in the land of Liberty, Equality and Fraternity in the courtyard of Unison - one of her numerous clients. We’re in the middle of the Gimblett Gravels, at a wooden picnic bench, the back of my neck is very much sunny-side up and I can feel a bead of sweat progressing rapidly down my

NZ WINEGROWER  FEBRUARY/MARCH 2019

flank. But Dobson is one of those people I could listen to all day. Since my arrival, it has taken us 45 minutes get round to the interview proper. She’s shown me around, we’ve tasted a few wines, and we’ve chatted about growing Fiano (she has an eponymous project since 2014), spray drift, vine propagation, tannin management, sealing paste for wooden-doored Botti, and oxygen management in red ferments. Dressed in workboots, shorts and T-Shirt, clambering over tanks to pull samples, mixing chemicals on the rudimentary lab bench, she could pass as a cellarhand. And, for

one of Hawke’s Bay’s (if not, one of New Zealand’s) most experienced winemakers, there is still a sparkle in her eye - a passion for what she does that burns undiminished. Those who work in Hawke’s Bay know that she is irrepressible at a tasting - she always something to say, and I’m sure this is simply an extension of that passion. It’s infectious. Jenny spent a good 15 years in France, from the late 70s to the mid 1990s, finishing off with 10 years at Bordeaux Cru Bourgeois Chateau Senejac where she was Maitre de Chais (a title that encompasses the roles of cellar master and


Jenny in the vineyard at Chateau Senejac.

assistant winemaker). “I got as far as I could get in France as a woman and as a foreigner” she says. She and her family moved back to New Zealand, via Western Australia, 1995. “When Marlborough was

about 5,000ha and Hawke’s Bay was about 5,000ha under vine.” They looked at all the wine regions but Hawke’s Bay was the “logical choice” because of the Bordeaux connection. I ask her about the attitudes

in France towards women working in wineries in the early 80s. This is when I get the tale about the signs outside some cellars in Burgundy. “But I didn’t have too many issues in France,” she says. “Maybe

because I was a foreigner as well...but attitudes [since then] have changed enormously. I don’t think people bat an eyelid when they see a woman in the cellar or running a chateau now. Maybe they’ve moved faster than New Zealand?” I ask her about that. Women in Wine is undoubtedly a great step, she says, but it can’t be exclusionary. In many ways, she is keen to stress, much of the progress in gender balance has happened without it being forced. “I’ve seen enormous changes in the last 40 years,” she says. The acceptance of women working in cellars “just happened”. Where there are issues, however, is when women move up the ladder from a cellarhand role. She thinks it’s a generational thing – many of the people at the top level in wine haven’t come up working next to many women in the cellar. “I think there will be a

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Roots, Shoots & Fruits Soil Health, Plant Health, YOUR Health natural change in attitude,” she says, citing condescension, a resistance to women being taken seriously at higher levels in winemaking, even a feeling that women are challenging [those in higher positions]. Dobson is keen to point out that getting first jobs in winemaking is equally hard for both genders. She would like to know though, “how many women go through education courses, then how many find permanent jobs in the industry.   It’s a difficult balance, though. Dobson is clearly worried about the scheme being “isolationist” and a tendency of coverage to “put women on a pedestal that they don’t deserve”. She’s worried about a pushback. “We’re just winemakers,” she says. And we’re back to talking about how she used to dole out 50L of wine (the ‘Vin de consommation’) to each worker at Senejac every month. They clamped down on the volume in the 90s, she tells me. But they got around that by insisting that women got it too.

Q&A WITH JENNY DOBSON Q What do you love about the NZ Wine industry? The vibrant, dynamic, open minded, and positive nature of the people who are part of the New Zealand wine industry. Q What is the vintage that stands out most to you? Of my vintages in France 1990 – the wines had such wonderful aromatics and natural balance. In Hawke’s Bay, 2013, every red grape variety I worked with was of outstanding quality. Ripe tannins and flavours with moderate sugar levels. The Merlot grapes were the best I have worked with. The red wines from 2013 have finesse and power, drinkability while young, and the potential to mature with complexity and elegance. Q Who has been your greatest mentor ? Jacques Syesses from Domaine Dujac who helped me develop my

winemaking philiospohy and Steven Spurrier who gave me the opportunity to educate my palate. Q What is the best piece of advice you have been given? From Monsieur Robert Plageoles (Domaine Plageoles Gaillac). Nature is a far more powerful force than man; hence a winemaker must be humble but believe in the wines they make. Work with, and respect nature. Q What is your advice to any woman thinking of entering the wine industry? Expect to work hard and get your hands dirty. Be passionate and determined. Open minded and inquiring. Learn about vineyards, grapes and soils. Develop your knowledge of wine through tasting and don’t forget to take notes.

Jenny spent a good 15 years in France, from the late 70s to the mid 1990s.

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NZ WINEGROWER  FEBRUARY/MARCH 2019


Regions Marlborough

Dealing with grape marc IT IS an issue for all wine regions in New Zealand. What do you do with the detritus of the annual harvest? In Marlborough alone, the total of grape marc produced every year is around 60,000 tonnes. It has become a major issue for wineries, given the move by some to turn into compost has resulted in leachate into soil and nearby waterways, ending up with

several prosecutions. Pacific Rim Environmental Services Ltd is a new company that believes it has the innovation to remove the danger of potential leachate by reducing the moisture content from the marc. Grape marc is comprised of approximately 8 percent seeds, 10 percent stems, 25 percent skins and 57 percent pulp, which is where the majority of

moisture comes from. Pacific Rim Environmental Services says that if the moisture is removed, then the grape marc can be stored safely. “It can then be further processed for use as a convenient form of clean-burning fuel, fertiliser, or animal feed, for use within the wine industry and by other industries and domestic environments,” the company says.

A full-sized trial is to be undertaken this vintage, with the company having already identified appropriate land and a partner winery to take part. Equipment has been sought to ensure the trial can begin as soon as the harvest begins, and a storage facility is currently being built. “Subsequent post-processing can take place during the winter.”

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2018 in Pictures @DOMAINETHOMSONWINES

@27SECONDSWINE

@CRMATTSTAFFORD

We’re toasting the highlights of #nzwine in 2018. Discover these posts and more from @nzwinegrowers on Instagram.

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MILLION IMPRESSIONS

2018 saw a new record of viewed content across all our social media channels

50

#SAUVBLANCDAY

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9.

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THOUSAND ENGAGEMENTS

These are all the comments, likes or re-tweets of our posts in 2018

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THOUSAND USES OF #NZWINE

#nzwine was actively typed into a post on social media

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Tag @nzwinegrowers and #nzwine in your wine related images and we will feature the best posts in each issue. @YOUNGVITICULTURIST

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NZ WINEGROWER  FEBRUARY/MARCH 2019

@MAUDEWINES

@NAUTILUSESTATE


The top posts 1.

In summer, Artemis enjoyed the sunshine in #PinotCentral at @domainethomsonwines.

2.

February saw the launch of @27secondswine, a Canterbury label which is donating 100% of its profits to an antitrafficking charity.

3.

During harvest, this grinning grape had no idea he was about to be squashed at @craggyrange. Thanks for the photo @crmattstafford.

4.

In the words of Van Halen - go ahead and jump! Repost from @greywackevineyards.

5.

After a busy few months in the #nzwine industry, many of us were wrapping up vintage 2018! The last bunch from @burncottagevineyard.

6.

On March 8 we celebrated International Women’s Day with the launch of Women in Wine initiative across New Zealand.

7.

May 4 was International Sauvignon Blanc Day! We toasted

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

New Zealand’s favourite style across the world #sauvblanc. 8.

In May, #nzwine took centre stage at @vinexpo Hong Kong on the event’s 20th anniversary!

9.

@alanisko snapped a beautiful shot of autumn in Marlborough on his visit to NZ.

10. Over the quieter winter months, we dove into #nzwine’s Pillars of Sustainability. Photo cred: @closhenrivineyard. 11. In September, spring arrived with blooming vines … before you know it, we’ll be crushing those grapes! Photo from @rabbitranchwine. 12. In October we celebrated a New Zealand first, @ForrestwinesNZ successfully created the world’s first sustainably grown, naturally lighter Pinot Noir and was available in a number of UK retailers. 13. We kicked off the summer season with #cellardoorday on the 17th of November! 14. The @hawkesbaywineauction raised $265,500 for Cranford Hospice in November. 15. November was rather chilly, and while “we were convinced that summer was just around the corner, Snovember is in full swing!” @gibbstonvalleywinery 16. Annabel Bulk, Young Viticulturist of the Year took out her second competition, New Zealand’s Young Horticulturist of the Year 2018. 17. @maudewines celebrated their Pinot Noir being named the @NZWineoftheYear Champion Wine! Congratulations to the Maude team! 18. The Royal New Zealand Ballet visited Blenheim for two shows and spent their time off visiting @Nautilusestate.

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NZ WINEGROWER  FEBRUARY/MARCH 2019  //   43


Vineyard News

Uniquely New Zealand TESSA NICHOLSON

WITH 27 million sheep in New Zealand it is not surprising that a number will end up in amongst the country’s 37,000 hectares of grapes. These days it is taken as normal practice, one that has grown considerably over the past decade. But while we may take that for granted, other wine producing nations are not quite as quick to follow suit. In fact, according to researcher Meredith Niles from University of Vermont, New Zealand is unique. “Recent estimates suggest that 59 percent of vineyards are integrating sheep in some way,” she says. “This is really significant, because it is literally not happening at that level anywhere else in the world. For example, there are only three vineyards in the entire state of California that are integrating sheep into their vineyards. What you are doing is quite unique, it is very innovative and it is at the forefront of what is possible in other regions.” Niles has been studying the effects, benefits and implications of integrating sheep for the past three years. She was motivated after finding that no research had been

undertaken on the environmental or economic benefits, or how widely the practice had been adopted. Her scientific paper (released in late 2017) is a result of indepth interviews with 15

Marlborough growers, who collectively represented 8 percent of the Marlborough plantings and 5 percent of New Zealand’s. There was an even divide among the growers utilising their own sheep and those who were bringing sheep in. The cost for the sheep (when it was charged) was between 25 and 45 cents per sheep, per week. Every grower had sheep among the vines over the winter

months, while 13 percent used sheep for leaf plucking and one grower had sheep among the vines from later January through until veraison. When it came down to quantifying benefits, the growers were unanimous about the positive impact sheep had on the grass levels in the vineyard. “What we found was that 100 percent of growers said there was a mowing benefit,” Niles

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said. “Two-thirds said there was a positive benefit from a reduction in herbicide use.” Other benefits listed by growers included frost protection – with the sheep keeping the grass levels low in times of potential spring frosts. Having sheep required less nitrogen to be used in the vineyards according to some growers, while others mentioned the drop in fuel usage and the marketing potential of integration. “We quantified some of the cost savings and asked the growers how much money do you anticipate you have saved,” Niles said. “On average across all farms, the growers mowed 2.2 fewer times annually.” That resulted in an average savings of US$10,394 per farm through fuel and labor costs (at current exchange rates that is NZ$15,595). “There were about 1.3 fewer herbicide applications annually which resulted in savings of

Recent estimates suggest that 59 percent of vineyards are integrating sheep in some way. It is literally not happening at that level anywhere else in the world. For example, there are only three vineyards in the entire state of California that are integrating sheep into their vineyards. about US$56 (NZ$84) per hectare or an average of $US4,931 (NZ$77,399) from input costs and labor”.” In terms of herbicide usage, farmers mentioned to Niles that sheep were particularly good at targeting deep-rooted and woody weeds like mallow that often even herbicides would not be able to kill. Overall, having sheep in the vineyard created savings according to the scientific paper, on average for farmers using both practices of US$12,405 or

NZ$18,610 annually – a substantial amount. There were challenges Niles noted, as growers said there is the potential for sheep to damage wires and vines, especially if they get spooked. There was also the chance the sheep would nibble on irrigation lines and drippers, but some growers had found burying the irrigation lines mitigated that issue. There was also the need to consider chemical withholding periods for the sheep who have been in vineyards. Overall though,

growers indicated that the benefits outweighed any potential costs. Niles’ research is on-going as she now wants to study further economic and environmental benefits of integration “Not just the mowing and herbicide benefits, but really getting into more detail. What does it mean for the ecosystem if the industry is putting on collectively much less herbicide? What is it doing for bio-diversity? What are the potential labour costs and savings of these systems.” She is also keen to take the research to other regions especially those with red varieties, to determine if using sheep for leaf plucking is a viable option. Niles is keen to hear from growers who have or have not integrated sheep, and about other issues that could be included in future research. You can contact her at; mtniles@uvm.edu tessa.nicholson@me.com

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Industry News

Wine in a Can NEIL HODGSON

SELLING WINE in a can is nothing especially new, it just hasn’t been embraced by wine producers, but is it time to look at canning wine as well as selling it in bottles? One producer who is looking very seriously at this option is Winelord Limited but you won’t see their Middle-earth wine in a can. They are looking at the option of putting wine in a can under a different label, a label designed to appeal to particular sectors of the wine consumer market. Why are they doing this? Winelord Limited winemaker Trudy Sheild and marketing man Ryan O’Connell recently joined forces with their respective partners to form Capital Cider Co, a cider maker focusing on using winemaking

techniques like wild ferments and barrel ferments and more recent apple varieties rather than traditional cider apples. Their ciders will be available on tap and packaged in cans using a high-tech canning line they are importing from overseas. This of course leads to the conversation about what else can they use the canning line for, with obvious choices being local craft beers made by others and possibly wine. There are plenty of benefits to putting wine in a can, like being fully recyclable, making them eco-friendly, they are highly portable making them perfect for taking on that tramp, great for taking on boats, selling at festivals and many other outdoor activities.

Ryan says; “Wines in a can won’t replace wine in a bottle but they have their place in the market. In the USA we are

seeing more wines available in cans and people in the millennial age group are more receptive. In many ways it

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is like when screwcaps were introduced to wine, people were wary of them but now screwcaps dominate the market, wines in cans will slowly grow in popularity. “You buy a bottle of wine and pour it into a glass, you buy a can of wine and you can pour it into a glass, or if you want, drink it out of the can at the beach. That is a real option and I like the fact you can get a half bottle or smaller serve so if you are a couple you can have your own choice - I want a red, you want a white. A can means you can have a fresh wine of your choice every time.” When it comes to the product in the can, be it wine or something else there is no light-strike and less oxidation because it has a true seal, cans are easier to recycle, they have a very small foot print because they crush down and are very light to transport compared to bottles. But what about the effect on the wine? Trudy said she has tried a number of wines from cans and the research she has done suggests the product gets

CANS THE WAY OF THE FUTURE? A QUANTITATIVE survey undertaken in America is showing that wine-in-a-can is something the industry cannot ignore. If they do so, they may be losing out on a large portion of the future market. The findings of a survey of nearly 1000 people was undertaken by Susquehanna University and Texas Tech University. Given the wine-in-a-can market is experiencing growth rates of more than 50 percent in the States, the survey was timely. And while many may think it is a fad that appeals only to one small segment of the market, the results show that is not the case. “Gen Z, millennials, Gen X and baby boomers are all buying wine in a can at the same level,” the survey report states,

to market as the winemaker intended. “Cans are used for a wide range of things, from fruit and vegetables to meat and pasta ready-made-meals, to soft drinks, beer and cider. So why not wine? “I also don’t see any significant wine production or quality risks. We will be making the wine in exactly the same

“although Gen Z and millennials have a higher awareness and trial activity.” Demand for this form of packaging has existed for over 80 years, ever since the first wine-in-a-can was produced in 1936. Yet due to lining issues it failed to catch on until Barokes (Australia) solved the can coating issue in 1996 with its patented Vinsafe technology.   The trend of producing wine in cans is strengthening, with dramatic double digit year-on-year growth in the States alone. Early adopter producers of wine in a can see it as an extension of their wine into new markets as opposed to a mere substitution or cannibalisation of traditional bottled wine.

way, just putting it in a different container.” According to Ryan if they produce wine in a can they will do it under a brand that is a bit more relaxed and make it fun, aiming at the younger market. “It is about casual lifestyle rather than casualness around the quality of the wine. The wine quality will always be paramount. I can see wines in

a can being an introduction to quality wines rather than RTD’s. It could be the start of their journey into experiencing quality wine from New Zealand, and Nelson for that matter. “We have a state-of-the art canning line coming to us and we need to make the most of the asset, so looking at wine in a can is an obvious next step.” neil@hodgson.net.nz

NZ WINEGROWER  FEBRUARY/MARCH 2019  //   47


Bob’s Blog

Famous wine scandals Opinion BOB CAMPBELL MW

BRUNELLO BLENDERS (2008) IN 1990 I asked a producer of Chianti

WINE, LIKE art, is an attractive medium for forgers. At the top end a well forged bottle of ancient Bordeaux can return tens of thousands of dollars while at the more commercial end of the market winemakers can gain an edge on their competitors by stretching or adulterating vast numbers of relatively inexpensive bottles. My three most memorable scandals. AUSTRIAN ANTIFREEZE (1985) Imagine two Austrian winegrowers. One is on the sunny southern side of a hill while the other is on the cooler northern side. Wine grown on the well-exposed site is riper, richer and has potentially

more alcohol. It commands a better price than the thinner, greener wines from the other side of the hill.

Classico what percentage

Easily fixed says the man with the cooler vineyard. I’ll thicken it up with diethylene glycol. And he did. It worked. The wine was worth more. Unfortunately, diethylene glycol, an ingredient in antifreeze, is poisonous. Eventually someone died, a scandal was born, and Austrian wine sales tanked. Australian wines sales also suffered because people confused it with Austria.

by law to be 10%). “None”

When you sip a glass of Austrian wine don’t say “Prost”, say “Frost”.

Thomas Jefferson’s bottles (yeah right) 1985 THIS IS my favourite. If a German manager of pop groups edged up to you in a pub and said “Psst, wanna buy a 1787 Chateau Lafite once owned by Thomas Jefferson” you probably wouldn’t show a lot of interest. But when the recently deceased Hardy Rodenstock submitted the same wine to Christie’s in London it fetched the then equivalent of NZD$300,000 and set a world record, which still stands. For chapter and verse on this particular scandal I recommend “The Billionaire’s Vinegar” a thoroughly entertaining record of the sort of greed, stupidity and one-upmanship that led to “wine collectors” paying huge sums for wines of dodgy provenance. Most got exactly what they deserved.

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of white grapes he used in his wine (then required he replied brazenly, “but I tell the officials’ 10%. It is better for the wine”. That’s the Italian way. It was no surprise to learn that winemakers in the exalted region of Montalcino had been blending a grape used to make Lambrusco into wines that were supposed to have been made from Sangiovese. Investigators discovered that one large producer had been blending Merlot into his Brunello di Montalcino for 25 years. Brunello di Montalcino was banned in the US; a large volume of wine was declassified. No one has yet been punished. The officials are probably driving new Alfa Romeos. Life and wine sales have pretty much returned to normal in Montalcino. Perhaps it was better for the wine?


Tune in, turn on and drink less wine IF NEW ZEALAND legalises medical marijuana, which seems likely, what affect is that likely to have on wine sales? Ten states in the US have legalised marijuana for recreational use while 33 states have legalised medical marijuana. A joint study (pun unintended) by researchers at two US universities and one in South America claims a reduction in alcohol consumption in the US appears directly related to the rise in medical marijuana laws. Using Nielsen data from 90 alcohol chain stores between 2006 and 2015 they compared alcohol sales in states that do not have medical marijuana laws with sales in states that do have medical marijuana laws. Over the 10 years studied the counties located in medical marijuana states showed almost a 15 percent

reduction in monthly alcohol sales. The researchers concluded that marijuana and alcohol are strong substitutes for each other. They share almost the same audience. The impact of legalised marijuana on wine sales seems likely to be considerably greater as it will be used by a far greater number of people. US wine consumers spent US$41.4 billion on wine in 2017. Adult recreational marijuana use is estimated to be US$7.7 billion in 2019 and US$14.9 billion by 2021. The US is our largest wine export market. A fall in wine consumption is likely to have a negative effect on our wine exports. The legalisation of medical marijuana, and particularly recreational marijuana, could prove to be an even greater threat to our wine industry. Joint study: http://bit.ly/2R7JOLB

Ban Big Bottles PHIL HANDFORD, managing director of Central Otago Pinot Noir specialist, Grasshopper Rock, recently sent me a carefully researched document which he had prepared after observing shrinking glaciers during his many flights between Auckland and Queenstown. “Every time I fly this route and look down on the retreating glaciers, I am reminded of climate change. The last two vintages, the very cold 2017 vintage and the extremely hot and early 2018 vintage, left us wondering what effect climate change will have on the vineyards of Central Otago. There is good climate data available to study.” The complete document can be found on Grasshopper Rock’s website https://www. grasshopperrock.co.nz/blog/ post/35052/Climate-change/

Hanford demonstrates that climate change is a reality and that the life cycle events of the grapevine during the growing season; such as budbreak, flowering, veraison and harvest; will be earlier as the mean temperature increases. “In terms of managing for increasing temperatures, we are fortunate to be so far south that any increase in temperature can be managed with careful canopy management and harvest decisions.” “Some suggest weather events will be more extreme. The local historical data shown does not suggest things are becoming more extreme. There have previously been extreme vintages like 2017 and 2018.” The effects of climate change can be slowed if we reduce greenhouse gas emissions. According to the California

Sustainable Winegrower Alliance the largest contributor to the carbon footprint is the glass bottle at 29% of the carbon footprint. The next largest contributor is biogeochemical field emissions at 17%. Bio-geochemical field emissions is the footprint associated with greenhouse case emission from biological cycles associated with applying nitrogen fertiliser, cultivation, composting and other management practices. Hanford writes, “We use Light Weight Traditional Burgundy bottles which weigh 417 grams. The standard Premium

Burgundy bottles (545 g) are 31% heavier and are common in Central Otago. The Grand Burgundy bottles (702 g) which some use for their top end wines are 68% heavier than the light weight bottles. Not only can we reduce our carbon foot print significantly by reducing glass weight, we also reduce shipping volumes with the smaller cases size as a result.” Wine drinkers can make their contribution toward a reduction in the carbon footprint of wine by boycotting wines packaged in heavy bottles. It will make a difference.

NZ WINEGROWER  FEBRUARY/MARCH 2019  //   49


Regions Marlborough

Saint Clair founder Neal Ibbotson and his mother Dawn – the namesake for the company’s new bubbly.

Dawning of a new bubbly JOELLE THOMSON

IF A wine was going to be made to celebrate the 104 years of life of Dawn Ibbotson, who celebrated her latest birthday in December last year, it would have to be one that spent a long time aging and retained a youthful style when released. Saint Clair’s new bubbly, Dawn, fits the bill perfectly. It’s a traditional method bubbly made from hand picked, whole bunch pressed Pinot Noir and Chardonnay grapes, which were aged on lees in bottle after their second fermentation for 35 months.

That’s a long stretch, by anyone’s measure. It’s just as well really, because Dawn is a vintage wine and its three years of lees aging give this wine a greater intensity of autolysis character; the breakdown of yeast lees following the wine’s second fermentation. This extended time on lees results in pronounced flavours, thanks to the release of manoproteins from the breakdown of yeast lees. The first Dawn Methode Traditionelle was made in 2012 and released in time for

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its namesake’s 100th birthday in 2014. The second vintage was 2013 and the third vintage, 2014, was released in time for Dawn’s 104 in December 2018. Her son, Neal Ibbotson, is the founder of Saint Clair Family Estate and the newest member of Methode Marlborough, which is a group of like-minded Marlborough sparkling winemakers, who have set rules for their sparkling wine production. Their rules include making bubbly using the traditional method (as for champagne) with a mini-

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mum lees aging of 18 months and only from the three most used traditional champagne grapes – Chardonnay, Pinot Meunier and Pinot Noir. Dawn Ibbotson was born in Gore in December 1914. She studied at and gained a Bachelor of Home Science from Otago University, later working as a teacher and spending 66 years of married life in Dunedin. She was a tramper, gardener, public speaker and lover of the land, says her son, Neal Ibbotson. mailme@joellethomson.com

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Mechanical News

New machinery for the vineyard MARK DANIEL

N H launches Braud 9000 series grape harvesters NEW HOLLAND Agriculture has introduced the new Braud 9000 series to its portfolio of selfpropelled grape harvesters, with the 9090L and 9090X, said to combine Braud best harvesting with new features designed to deliver high-quality, clean grapes. Rod Gardner, New Holland Brand Manager for New Zealand comments “the new Braud 9000 series maintains the proven features like the Noria crop transportation system,

the Shaking Dynamic Control system, and the premium Opti-Grape™ cleaning system, while introducing new features, such as the side conveyer with destemmer, designed to increase efficiency and productivity.” The sidearm conveyor allows the harvester to work continuously, without having to stop to unload the hoppers, with the largest model in the line-up, the 9090X suited to vineyards with a row spacing of 2.45m or wider.

The addition of the optional SOCMA patented destemmer which eliminates 99.56% MOG in the field, delivers cleaner, premium grapes to the winery, saving time and labour while also improving wine taste and quality. The washing process now features wireless remote-control to provide effective, time-saving washing, with the picking head wash time reduced by a unique pre-washing system featuring a strategically positioned water

supply pipe, nozzles positioned to key areas, and fewer debris accumulation areas. The IntelliView™ IV colour touchscreen monitor fits on a sliding rail on the cab pillar to best suit the operator, while also allowing connection to compatible multi-function implements, so the system can automatically set work pages for easier control and management of the machine. An optional Row Tracking System (RTS)

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system uses GPS technology to map the rows on the monitor, displaying harvested rows, missed rows and overlaps, which is said to be particularly useful during night work or

spraying operations. Power is provided by a FPT NEF Industrial 6-cylinder Tier 3 common rail electronic engine of 175 hp, without the need for EGR emission control

EGR valve solution, while the operator is cossetted in a quiet cabin with the Blue Cab™ 4 filtration system for safety, an ergonomic multifunction handle for control of the

harvester, plus features such as Bluetooth® radio, auto air conditioning, and the AutoComfort seat that includes heating and ventilation as standard.

Collaboration increases capability INITIALLY DESIGNED to assist fertiliser spreading trucks operating on steep New Zealand hill country, TracMap’s GPS guidance and job management system has evolved significantly since its inception in 2005. Offering job tasking and reporting capabilities makes it easy for users to increase efficiency, reduce risk of errors and keep staff safe. TracMap have released significant product updates, launched a revolutionary new hardware platform, TML, and been selected as a Finalist in the Australian Wine Industry Impact Awards. By working closely with customers during the design phase, TracMap uses close customer contact and feedback to ensure targeted development, with the overall goal of

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increasing the capability and competitiveness of growers, farmers and contractors. Lincoln Grocke, Director of LG Vineyard Services based in the Barossa Valley has enjoyed the benefits of the two-way communication, “they listened to our suggestions and ideas for innovation to improve efficiencies within the system. It’s pretty much a total gamechanger for our business. The fact that we capture so much data and statistics means that we can actually use the information to plan our next job in that same vineyard and have the additional benefits of real-time live tracking and that collaboration with the team.” D e s i g n d e c i s i ons for TracMap’s new touch-screen unit, TML, began with input from the Australian viticulture

NZ WINEGROWER  FEBRUARY/MARCH 2019

industry, followed by extensive testing in the wider horticulture and agricultural sectors, prior to the launch in September 2018. Viticultural contractors appear to have welcomed the new units season realising the benefits offered in operational efficiency and the ability to provide proof of placement to their customers. The additional benefit of having a real-time overview or where each operator is, and how they are progressing offers assurance and peace of mind, and the time and resources saved can be spent on developing their businesses. Australian grape growers’ who equipped their harvesting fleets with TracMap for the 2018 vintage, found benefits in being able to accurately implement

split picking. Harvest maps can be created, and crops harvested or left for later depending on crop quality or maturity. This granular data, combined with yield data recorded using load cells allows for planning in real-time, simplifies job and task management and vastly improves operational efficiency. Further recent releases by TracMap include expansion of application capabilities, allowing jobs to be calculated, tasked and reported on a linear metre basis, instead of the standard per hectare rate. Live job sharing, speed and rate reporting are also customerdriven features, where vehicles working on the same job can see the application coverage rates of other vehicles while out on the job reducing errors, overspray or missed areas.


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Tractor for Tight Spaces ITALIAN SPECIALIST tractor manufacturer SAME, part of the SDF Group, used the recent EIMA 18 Expo in Bologna, to roll out its latest Frutteto modelthe CVT AutoSteer. Intended for use in vineyards or compact orchards, the tractor is notable for its four-wheel steering system, allowing easier operation in tight confines, because of a tighter turning circle, while still maintaining the same track and wheelbase dimensions of a typical “conventional” tractor. A new rear axle design means the rear wheels can now achieve a 20 degree “steering” angle, that works in conjunction with an electronic control unit to offer three different operating modes. The operator can select Proportional Steering, that as the

name suggests, works in proportion to the front axle to reduce turning radius, without affecting the tractors overall stability. Crab Steering can be selected to help maintain a straight course when traversing sloping ground or operating in difficult tight spaces. Delayed mode causes the rear axle to work in proportion to the front, with a slight delay, while the angle of the rear wheels can also be manipulated manually throughout the operating range. As one would expect, the axle can also be locked at any angle, with straight-ahead for road travel. Fitted with an “in-hose built CVT transmission, the Frutteto can be operated at precise speeds to suit the task at hand, with the additional benefits of cruise control and reduced

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engine speeds offering considerable fuel savings. Additionally, the tractor can be optioned with a hydropneumatic front axle suspension system dubbed “ActiveDrive” offering improved operator

comfort and increased traction in difficult terrain. Obviously impressing the event ‘s judges, the Frutteto CVT came away with a gong, in the shape of the Best Specialised Tractor of the Year 2019.

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Industry Profile

The soil man – Keith Vincent OLIVER STYLES

“IT’S A shame we don’t value the knowledge and experience that those guys have,” Steve Smith MW tells me. I was talking to him for the purposes of another piece on Hawke’s Bay I was working on, but I wanted to get his thoughts on a man called Keith Vincent. I’d previously spent over two hours talking with Vincent – a soil scientist. His contribution to my piece was the foundation of two paragraphs, and a quote, 19 words long. At no point did I have the space to mention his back story and his impact

on the industr y which, while understated, has been big. Educated in Wellington as a soil scientist in the late 1970s, his magnum opus remains the soil map of Marlborough’s Southern Valleys. Commissioned in 1985 by the Catchment Board to aid planning decisions, its impact on the burgeoning wine industry in the Wairau was considerable. He moved to Hawke’s Bay in the early 90s, taking up several soil-related jobs in the region. One of the first jobs was with

the Regional Council on the allocation of water resources in the area. “But they [the Regional Council] didn’t listen to us, even though we were working together,” he says, closing that episode. Further studies included the injection of pesticides (and herbicides) into soil and later monitoring their presence at sites further down the anticipated water flow in order to gauge an understanding about groundwater flow and the persistence such compounds – “that formed the basis for many

a good scientific paper,” he says, ensuring I mention colleagues Jim Watt and Murray Close. Unpublished works include a stint with Jim Watt at Makahu Saddle, in the Kaweka Ranges, examining water movement through the volcanic ash soils there. “It was fascinating digging soil profiles down through the litter layer,” he says. “There’s a point where you get to the air fall ash [from the Taupo eruption] and this was falling hot, burning the leaves, and you see this layer and you think,

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Soil man Keith Vincent.

‘shit, this is New Zealand’s archeology.’” But the main reason I was talking to Vincent was about his impact on viticulture. His links to Marlborough didn’t end with his move – he helped and advised Ruud Maasdam and Dorien Vermaas in setting up Staete Landt, his clients in Hawke’s Bay included Gary Wood (then at Pernod Ricard) and Steve Smith MW (who moved from Villa Maria to Craggy Range in 1999). By the late 90s, Vincent’s branch of Landcare Research was shut down and he set up Soil Selection Services Ltd in 1998. His first consulting job was “with an overnight bag, a spade, a tape measure and a notebook … fast forward, and at the end I was using GPS, everything was on computer and I had a nice truck.”

The discipline is a demanding one. Numerous pits are dug throughout a property, often with an excavator and in between these, numerous, smaller pits may be dug with a hand auger or spade going down 1 or 1.5m. The soil profiles at each hole are noted and the geological notes added and the whole is combined to produce a report on the soil profile of a certain site. He mapped Keltern for Villa Maria, began some of the early work on Kereru Road (Mangatahi) and worked with Smith on the Craggy Range plantings at Te Muna in Martinborough, as well as the Gimblett Gravels site. He continued to work on soil profiles for viticulture until 2008. “The simplest way to explain it is that I couldn’t work on

“It was fascinating digging soil profiles down through the litter layer. There’s a point where you get to the air fall ash [from the Taupo eruption] and this was falling hot, burning the leaves, and you see this layer and you think, ‘shit, this is New Zealand’s archeology.’” my own anymore,” he says. “Because it’s a pretty lonely job. It’s also when you bring the data home – in many ways that’s the loneliest aspect, in the office on your own all the time.” So he went to Waikato University and obtained a BA in Computer and Mathematical Sciences in 2014. “But it seems that nobody wants an old soil scientist cum computer expert,” he says, laughing. As well as his work on southern valleys of the Wairau,

he is just as proud of the 10 years spent mapping soils in the burgeoning New Zealand wine scene – mainly in Hawke’s Bay. “He’s bloody good,’”says Smith. “Elwyn Griffiths – who produced all the original [Hawke’s Bay] soil maps – was Keith’s mentor. It’s a great shame he has to do something else for a living. He’s so valuable. His discipline will come back into vogue – it’s the value of soil.” oliverstyles@hotmail.com

NZ WINEGROWER  FEBRUARY/MARCH 2019  //   57


Regions Wellington Wine Country

Frost wreaks havoc in lower North Island JOELLE THOMSON

TE HERA Estate Vineyard is small by anyone’s standards and its output is destined to become even smaller this year after a spring frost wiped out approximately half of its potential grapes for the 2019 vintage. Spr ing f rosts are an unfortunate fact of life for vineyards on Te Muna Road, nine kilometres west of Martinborough township, which is home to the five hectare Te Hera Estate. Owner John Douglas says his windmill is the sole reason the vineyard is a viable economic

proposition, but that the flavours of the grapes and wine make the risk all worthwhile. “We always have frosts. It is a constant issue, particularly here in Te Muna where we all have frost protection, mostly windmills or helicopters, depending on the size of the vineyard,” he says. “The reason this latest spring frost just became too cold for the windmills to become effective was that the inversion layer was really high, which made things tough. Normally you have a cold

layer of air that windmills bring the warm air above to raise the temperature to about 2 to 2.5 degrees but it was too cold for the windmills to be effective. I was measuring sometimes minus 3.” Douglas says that he would have no crop at all in extreme weather conditions, if it wasn’t for frost protection. He understands that the general loss in Te Muna after last year’s spring frost was about 50 per cent overall. “There are parts of my vineyard that are okay and parts

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NZ WINEGROWER  FEBRUARY/MARCH 2019


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that are just devastated, so it’s all a bit disheartening really. “I’m slowly getting over my devastation and working with what I have got. It’s difficult to say exactly what the percentage loss will be for the 2019 vintage, but I’m guessing somewhere between 50 to 60 per cent loss overall.” Others in the Wairarapa were also affected by spring frosts in 2018, including Martinborough Vineyards. Winemaker Paul Mason says he estimates a relatively modest fruit loss of between five and 10 per cent, which was a lucky near miss, given the severity of the frost. “It was our coldest frost since November 2006. Some parts of town got hit fairly hard whilst other parts were untouched. Te Muna and Lake Ferry Rd (south of town) in particular were very cold,” says Mason. “It was a strange night. Forecasts were for a low of 1-2

C and it had been a warm still day, so we weren’t expecting it to get that cold. At about midnight our warning alarms activated and by 3am our wind machines were going and the helicopters were up.” Like Douglas, he says the relatively high inversion layer made it more difficult than usual to frost fight. “Our helicopter pilot had to fly higher as the morning drew close, just to find warm air.” Mason considers Martinborough Vineyards lucky to escape relatively unscathed, compared to others in the region. “It really depended on where your vineyards were though, but for us it was mostly superficial with damage to vine leaves and, to a lesser extent, shoot tips. Douglas says: “There are always risks when you’re growing grapes for a living but the upside is the wine quality.”

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Hot off the Press

Non-volatile signature compounds of woody trunk diseases DION MUNDY

PLANT & FOOD RESEARCH VINEYARD HEALTH PROGRAMME WHY/BACKGROUND/ISSUE EUTYPA AND botryosphaeria dieback are major grapevine trunk diseases (GTDs) worldwide, causing significant yield and quality reduction in affected vineyards. In southeastern Australia, up to 100% of vines in older vineyards are diseased, and yield losses of 860 kg/ha have been reported. In California, the cost of trunk diseases has been estimated at US$260 million p.a. These diseases also threaten the sustainability of New Zealand vineyards and are

becoming an increasing problem as our vineyards age. In New Zealand, GTDs are estimated to cause a 14% reduction in vineyard profitability overall. As Sauvignon Blanc vines are particularly susceptible to eutypa dieback, the 24,000 ha of vines in Marlborough are at risk.  Detection and quantification of GTDs remain challenging. Although qualitative and quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction (PCR) techniques are becoming more practical and are widely used for many pathogens,

these methods are destructive, and remain time- and labourintensive. The New Zealand grape nursery industry would like to provide world-leading planting material which is tested for trunk diseases before growers receive it. Early detection of latent internal infections with new technologies will allow nurseries to screen all plants before delivery. There will be significant flow-on benefits to growers developing or redeveloping vineyards, who will know they are planting

high-health plants. Certification of nursery stock/propagation material as fungal disease-free is an objective of the current review of the New Zealand grafted grapevine standard.

WHAT WE HAVE DONE AND FOUND SO FAR Our analyses of volatile and non-volatile compounds from woody vine tissues are identifying key metabolites associated with GTD infections, and establishing their sensing thresholds in plants. We are using mature grapevines of

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known infection status, and uninfected controls, from the New Zealand Winegrowers Vineyard Ecosystems (VE) research programme. We are integrating existing disease survey data from the same vines with measures of sensitivity of detection of these metabolic compounds, and with existing assessment and mapping approaches (visual plant scores, isolation, PCR, genetic sequencing) to decide which compounds, or sets of compounds, can provide the most effective characteristic signatures of GTDs. We have also analysed singlenode cuttings of grapevines inoculated with 500 Eutypa lata ascospores using detached cane assays and tested for successful infection. Three classes of compounds have already been identified as potential signature compounds for GTDs. Several plant stress metabolites are good identifiers

of both early- and late-stage infection: abscisic acid, its derivative dihydroxyphaseic acid, and an as-yet unidentified compound labelled MW 288.157. The unique fingerprint chemistry of E. lata in particular could be used for rapid identification of this fungal disease. Stilbene phytoalexins, previously reported in grape leaves and fruits, have also been identified as potential signature compounds in these woody samples. During our discovery work we have detected possible signature compounds for other fungi too, and some compounds we believe are indicative of general grapevine responses to pathogens. This three year project continues for one more year where we will explore practical methods for cheap, sensitive and accurate field detection of these compounds. Grape vine trunks removed due to trunk disease.

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Enhanced early detection of grapevine leafroll disease KARMUN CHOOI

WHY/BACKGROUND/ISSUE IN HAWKE’S Bay Merlot, financial losses because of grapevine leafroll virus are estimated at $57,618/ ha when a vineyard reaches 100% infection. Early disease management significantly reduced financial losses: a potential annual saving of $4,236/ha could be achieved if infected vines were removed within one year of infection instead of after six years. Currently, in-field detection of leafroll virus in red berry cultivars relies on visual inspection of vines for the characteristic foliage changes. However, these symptoms can take time to develop, and more importantly, virus-infected white berry cultivar vines (the bulk of New Zealand’s production) remain visually symptomless, requiring time-consuming and expensive laboratory testing to detect disease. Internationally, precision agriculture is a rapidly expanding field, especially analysis of images taken by satellite/unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). Our aim is to identify virus-infected grapevines early, using noninvasive, accurate, cost-effective, and sustainable remote-sensing methods, providing information not available to the human eye. A remote sensing approach to disease management is based on the premise that the disease alters the plant physiology; that then leads to unique disease energy signatures that are distinguishable from the signatures of healthy plants. Our

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Karmun Chooi

own and overseas studies have shown leafroll virus infection does alter plant processes, including photosynthesis and primary and secondary metabolism in leaves, and results in reduced vine growth and berry yield, delayed berry ripening, and negative impacts on berry characteristics such as sugar accumulation, titratable acidity, and anthocyanins.

WHAT WE ARE DOING? A Hawke’s Bay vineyard with known leafroll virus is our initial research site. Selected grapevines are imaged at regular intervals both throughout and across growing seasons. Imaging data are being analysed for distinguishing features useful for disease detection, before or after symptom expression, and on non-symptomatic vines. The resulting information should in future be able to be used to

NZ WINEGROWER  FEBRUARY/MARCH 2019

diagnose disease in real time, either with smartphones/ cameras carried by hand or mounted on tractors or UAVs; providing early, rapid, nondestructive diagnosis of virus disease in vineyards. This is the first trial of the application of remote-sensing technology for detection of a viral disease in New Zealand. At the end of the first year of this project, substantial progress has already been made. We have completed two rounds of spectral imaging, using three forms of remote sensing technology: red-green-blue (RGB) imaging, multispectral imaging, and hyperspectral scanning. We have started testing image-processing techniques on these data. Collaborations with other key research groups, SkySquirrel Technologies and the Smart Robotic Viticulture team

at University of New South Wales, have been established; and co-supervision of two University of Auckland students will assist with these tasks. Machine learning and spectral imaging can now identify most infected red vines, and are being improved in accuracy and applied to white vines. In the final year, the 2018-19 season, one of these detection methods will be ready for initial evaluation in a commercial vineyard setting Plant & Food Research (PFR), in consultation with the New Zealand Winegrowers Research Centre, 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.


International Opinion

Our most expensive wines DON KAVANAUGH – WINE-SEARCHER

Mention New Zealand to the average international wine consumer and they’ll likely mention Sauvignon Blanc or Pinot Noir, as though the country is some odd lovechild of the Loire Valley and Burgundy. THERE’S A reason for that: Sauvignon makes up around 60 percent of plantings in the country (and a huge 86 percent of wine exports), while Pinot Noir accounts for 9 percent of all New Zealand wine and 6 percent of exports. So, you’d expect those two varieties to be front and center of pretty much all of New Zealand’s wine statistics. Well, that is until you come to the most expensive wines from the Land of the Long White Cloud. Expensive is, of course, a relative term. Expensive in South Africa, for example, is very different to expensive in, say, Napa – De Toren’s Black Lion Shiraz from Stellenbosch commands an average price of $226 a bottle; Screaming Eagle Cabernet will set you back a sobering $3642 on average. However, New Zealand prides itself on its ability to wring out the maximum price it can for its wines. Its exports

might not amount to much in terms of volume, but they stack up well in terms of money earned, thanks to the wine industry’s collective decision to chase value rather than volume on the world market. This year marked 23 consecutive years of export growth for New Zealand wine, with a pleasing rise of 2.5 percent in value, despite flatter than usual volumes. Even allowing for that, though, New Zealand offers some quite impressive value. The country’s “best” wine (i.e. the one with the highest aggregated critic score) is Framingham’s F-Series Riesling Trockenbeerenauslese, with a handy score of 95. It currently costs an average of $94 a bottle (or it would, if it came in 750ml bottles) and has never had an average price higher than $115. Trinity Hill’s 94-point Homage Syrah, a Gimblett Gravels blockbuster that has wowed international critics,

will set you back a modest $82 on average. Even one of the country’s most-respected wines, the Te Mata Coleraine Bordeaux blend has an aggregated score of 93 (although past vintages have hit 97 and 98 from individual critics) and a welcoming average price of just $72. So value is inherent in the wines of New Zealand, at least from an international point of view. And the most popular Kiwi wines listed on WineSearcher are comfortably within everyday drinking price range. Indeed, the five most searched for New Zealand wines feature two Sauvignon Blancs and two Pinot Noirs, varying in average price from $57 (Ata Rangi Pinot Noir) to just $16 for the Kim Crawford Sauvignon Blanc. All of that ties in with what I mentioned earlier about the best-known varieties: Kiwis make great Sauvignon Blanc in Marlborough and great Pinot in Central Otago (actually they

make pretty good wine all over the country, but they are famous for those two). Well, that’s until you come to the list of the country’s most expensive wines. No Marlborough. No Otago. No Sauvignon Blanc, for pity’s sake! Instead, we find the list dominated by B ordeaux blends, and Auckland – well the Waiheke Island and Matakana subregions, at least. Waiheke has always been an expensive area of origin for wine, since it was first planted in the 1970s. A boom in vineyard plantings in the late 1990s and early 2000s merely led to a greater variety of expensive wines becoming available, so it’s no surprise to see the island feature on this list. Matakana, however, is a different story. This tiny region, an hour north of Auckland city, has threatened to become a more typical, cellar-door-heavy wine region at various stages in the past 25 years, but it remains defiantly lifestyle in nature,

Wines six and seven, described as “cult” wines come from Providence in Matakana.

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rather than commercial. This would account for some of the high prices asked by producers in the region, but inconsistent quality has meant an element of caution among consumers. However, its ambition is clear from the three Matakana wines on this list. Pinot Noir makes an appearance, but the wines are from Martinborough and Canterbury; both good regions for Pinot, but unlikely candidates, given the star power of Marlb oroug h and Central Otago.

DESTINY BAY MAGNA PRAEMIA, WAIHEKE ISLAND Founded by the Spratt family, Destiny Bay produces

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The number 10 most expensive wine in New Zealand is listed as Church Road Tom Merlot Cabernet, from Hawke’s Bay.

the most expensive wines on Waiheke, which is saying something. The Magna Praemia is a blend of Cabernet, Merlot, Cab Franc, Malbec and Petit Verdot and the name is Latin for “great rewards”, pre su mably i n reference to its a g i n g a b i l i t y. Or possibly the producer margin, as this wine weighs in at an average price of $300 and carries an aggregated critic score of 92.

STONYRIDGE LAROSE, WAIHEKE ISLAND

NZ WINEGROWER  FEBRUARY/MARCH 2019

The Larose Bordeaux blend has always been a pricy number, ever since it first appeared back in 1987. The vines that make it are more than 30 years old now, and the wine has something of a cult following. For an average price of $204, you get a critic score of 91.

PROVIDENCE PRIVATE RESERVE MERLOT-CABERNET FRANC-MALBEC, MATAKANA Inspired by Cheval Blanc, Jim Vuletic started making wine in Matakana 25 years ago, after a long career as a lawyer. Better known overseas than in New Zealand, this wine has seen a dramatic price rise in the past year, with its average price leaping from $146 to $194. DESTINY BAY MYSTAE, WAIHEKE Back to Destiny Bay and a wine named for a group of Greek philosophers who were also dedicated followers of the

wine god Dionysus. Mystae is a blend of predominantly Cabernet and Merlot and will set you back an average of $189, a relative bargain compared to its big brother.

MAZURAN’S VINTAGE PORT, HENDERSON Once upon a time, New Zealand mostly made fortified wines, with local versions of Sherry and Port all the rage. These days it’s rare to see those wines, but Mazuran’s have never been worried about fashion and the West Auckland-based descendants of Croatian gumdiggers still make magnificent examples of what is now a disappearing style of wine. At an average price of $166, it’s not cheap, but it is a slice of history. PROVIDENCE FOUR APOSTLES AND PROVIDENCE SYRAH, MATAKANA The other two wines from


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Destiny Bay on Waiheke has two wines in the top 10 most expensive.

Providence are also selfdescribed “cult wines”. The Four Apostles is a blend of Merlot, Cab Franc, Malbec and a lick of Syrah with an average price of $140, while the straight Syrah (average price $138) is from 25-year-old vines. All Providence wines are aged for two years in new oak before release.

but Bell Hill is his own project, alongside Sherwyn Veldhuizen. The vineyard is in the North Canterbury region, an area that was originally touted as one the most promising spot for Pinot in New Zealand. This wine bears that theory out, with an average critic score of 94 and a tidy average price tag of $118.

KUSUDA PINOT NOIR, MARTINBOROUGH Born in Tokyo, Hiroyuki Kusuda became fascinated by wine as a teenager and eventually gave up the law to pursue his passion for Pinot in New Zealand. This flagship wine has an aggregated critic score of 93 and an average price of $134.

CHURCH ROAD TOM MERLOT CABERNET, HAWKE’S BAY Tom McDonald was a pioneering Hawke’s Bay winemaker, and this wine is a tribute to his memory. Made from Gimblett Gravels fruit, it isn’t produced every year, and only three vintages are currently available. It scores 91 and has an average price of $117, just edging out another Bordeaux blend from…Waiheke. This article was first published by Wine Searcher, and is reprinted with their consent.

BELL HILL PINOT NOIR, CANTERBURY Marcel Giesen is better known as part of the Giesen wine family of Marlborough,

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NZ WINEGROWER  FEBRUARY/MARCH 2019  //   65


Sector Update

MyFarm investigates viticulture sector TESSA NICHOLSON

T H E PA ST six years has seen increased growth in the New Zealand viticultural sector, according to MyFarm Investments, but future longterm growth will depend on other varietals outside Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc. The Viticulture Sector Up d a t e h i g h l i g h t s t h e e x p o n e nt i a l g r o w t h o f Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc since the early 2000s. “Indeed, the total Sauvignon Blanc growing area has expanded five-fold over the past 15 years (compound growth of 11% y/y),” the report states. “Coupled with an upward trend in yields this has seen total production expand more than 10-fold to around 300,000 tonnes mark over the same period (compound growth of 17% y/y). In contrast the supply of other varietals has only grown three-fold to around 120,00 tonnes during this period (compound growth of 6% y/y). In determining if New Zealand will have enough wine to satisfy demand, the report states that the majority of greenfield development since 2012 has been undertaken by larger vertically integrated wineries. Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc has led that charge, with the companies using the variety to support other sales activity “The sector’s consolidation and expansion by larger wine companies now sees 17 companies account for 68 percent of total exports.” But land in Marlborough is fast running out, with an

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Bulk wine exports accounted for 53 percent of total volumes sent to the UK in 2018, yet the amount that finds its way into a ‘private brand’ is reportedly only around five percent. This is the lowest percentage in this category of all major wine suppliers to the UK market. estimated 5 to 6,000 hectares of viable vineyard land still available. There is some thought that what is left will be all planted by 2025. MyFarm Investments says for the sector to continue to grow beyond this period, it will need to find a more profitable blueprint for other varietals in other parts of the country. “Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc has fueled the lion’s share of the sector’s growth so far, but there seems little reason why Pinot Noir from Central Otago, or any other varietal from another region couldn’t experience the same kind of international success/growth. But it isn’t solely about market success either as the returns for growers (i.e. yields and other agronomic factors) need to be attractive enough to encourage investment too.” There are challenges ahead the report states. They include; labour availability and the impact of minimum and general wage increases, general weather risks and the associated disease and pest risks that accompany this, biosecurity breaches leading to the introduction

NZ WINEGROWER  FEBRUARY/MARCH 2019

of a new pest or disease, access to water – especially in Marlborough - and the erosion

of “Brand Marlborough.” It has been an on-going concern to many in Marlborough about the increase in exports of bulk wine, which could in turn erode the region’s brand equity. However, the report says a number of multi-national wineries are currently exporting in bulk to achieve better logistical packaging and tax efficiencies. “The repackaging of bulk products offshore doesn’t necessarily mean lower returns, as long as it ends up in premium


Marlborough’s Sauvignon Blanc growing area has expanded five-fold over the past 15 years.

packaged wine segments,” it says. “The fear for the New Zealand industry has been the risk that spikes in bulk export volumes could drive increased supply into lower-value private brands in key export markets.

“This doesn’t appear to be happening in a systemic way at present. This is best highlighted by New Zealand’s largest bulk wine destination, the UK (40% of all bulk exports in 2018). Bulk wine exports accounted for 53

percent of total volumes sent to the UK in 2018, yet the amount that finds its way into a ‘private brand’ is reportedly only around five percent. This is the lowest percentage in this category of all major wine suppliers to the

UK market. “Further, private branded sales of New Zealand wine have been growing in recent years and remain at retail price points materially above other competitors.”

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Regions Hawke’s Bay

Homage set to double JOELLE THOMSON

IT’S HIGH in price, small in production and set to grow following high quality grapes from the 2018 vintage. It is Homage, the flagship wine of Trinity Hill in Hawke’s Bay. The announcement that Homage will double in production was made by Philip Kingston, CEO Of Trinity Hill Wines, speaking at the release of the new 2017 vintage of Homage. “We will be close to doubling the amount of Homage we make from the 2018 vintage, due to the outstanding weather, although, as the volumes are still small, Homage will continue to be a highly allocated wine,” said

Kingston. The trigger for a doubling in production was two-fold. First and foremost, the quality of grapes from the 2018 vintage was outstanding, say both Kingston and winemaker Warren Gibson. There were also more grapes available, due to a strong quality focus in the vineyard, which is now coming to fruition. Export and local demand were also strong for the wine. “We are currently turning away export orders for the 2016 and the last 10 years of vineyard investment have provided grapes of the quality that Homage needs, so the time is right to increase production.”

The growth in production would also help to balance the winery’s available supply of Homage, due to the relatively small amount made from the challenging 2017 vintage, in which cool weather significantly reduced crop numbers. One of the biggest changes to Homage was made in 2010 with the introduction of whole bunches to the ferment and a deliberate reduction of new oak influence on the wine. “When we introduce whole bunches into the ferment, it changes the texture of the tannins and how dense it feels in the mouth,” says winemaker Warren Gibson. In a cool vintage, whole

bunches were minimal. Techniques such as whole bunch fermentation had to be made in response to vintage and it was not something the winemakers would stick to a formula for every year “This method r e p r e s e nt s f i n e tuning and vintage responsiveness on our par t rat her than a fixed long term change in winemaking methods.” There had also been a reduction in

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NZ WINEGROWER  FEBRUARY/MARCH 2019


the use of new oak used in the wine, which allowed the fruit flavours to come forward, and the type of oak used had been decreased for the same reason. Winemakers Warren Gibson and Damian Fischer say they looked at the amount of oak and the type of oak back in 2008 when they were putting Homage into almost 100% new French oak. “We have intentionally decreased the proportion of new oak in the wine over the last eight to 10 years and are happy with the result,” says Gibson. The wine was not made every year. When a vintage was not considered up to scratch, the grapes destined for Homage become a lower priced Syrah.

Trinity Hill, Hawke’s Bay.

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Education News

Gisborne gains back industry course A V I T I C U LT U R E a n d winemaking programme is set to resume at EIT Tairawhiti (Gisborne) this year, thanks to some collaboration between the institute and the wine industry. Members of the industry were disappointed when the programme was axed in 2017 due to a lack of enrolments. They say the programme was not marketed widely enough, with many enrolments previously coming from other parts of New Zealand and overseas. EIT has taken their concerns on board and formulated a Level 3 certificate programme that better meets the industry’s needs. It will be marketed more widely than the previous programme, on-line and in industry publications. “ This is ver y positive news for us,” says Gisborne Winegrowers president Annie Millton. “We are all very excited and will do our best to fill the seats and get some heart and soul back into the viticulture and winemaking programme here,”

These aspects are becoming a very important part of the wine industry in New Zealand, says Millton. They will also make the EIT programme unique in this country, she says. The programme would be hands-on and practical. “We want our local graduates to hit the ground running.” The industr y training components would be timed to coincide with the vintage, said EIT acting head of viticulture an d w i n e m a k i ng Je n ny Robertson. “The programme will be

“We want our local graduates to hit the ground running.”

Annie Millton

she said. “There are many jobs in the industry and many of them have traditionally been filled by graduates from EIT, quite a few of them from overseas. We need good people which is why this programme is so important to us.” Following rationalisations in the industry nationwide

over the past few years, the future for Gisborne was again looking positive. Chardonnay in particular was making a strong comeback. The new programme will include a strong emphasis on sustainability, including organics and biodynamics.

based at EIT’s rural studies unit, but vineyards will be the main classroom,” she said. The new programme will start in July. It will be run in two parts, with intakes starting in July and February. It will be fees free for New Zealand residents.

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Regions Wellington Wine Country

Craggy doubles vineyards in Martinborough JOELLE THOMSON

C R AG G Y R A N G E has doubled its land holdings in Martinborough with the acquisition of a 110-hectare block of land at the north end of Te Muna Road, nine kilometres west of the township. The acquisition comes following demand for the company’s Martinborough Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Noir, most of it driven by brand recognition in the United States. Former chief winemaker Matt Stafford said at the time, the company plan was to take selections from their favourite vines on the existing Craggy Range Te Muna vineyard to cultivate and plant in the new

block, particularly for Pinot Noir. “We have found that our Craggy Range Aroha Pinot Noir (the top label) has emerged from a special spot of soil on Te Muna

Road and who knows what these new grapes will provide? We will find out as we go.” The new top shelf wines were likely to be labelled Donald Block, in memory of

the former land owner, farmer John Donald, and his family. Final plantings were forecast to go into the ground in 2020. mailme@joellethomson.com

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Book Review

Rabbits to Reds by Ric Oram (logo.rico@gmail.com) REVIEWED BY TESSA NICHOLSON

IN RABBITS to Reds, Oram continues his in-depth look at the vineyards of Central Otago’s sub regions, this time focusing on the Cromwell Basin. An area that prior to the creation of the Clyde Dam which created Lake Dunstan, was mainly Crown land leased for sheep farming. How grapes became a part of the landscape is an interesting story, that goes way back to the 1860s. But it took the dam to

provide the chance for husband and wife partnerships to consider the area suitable for large scale vineyards. Although large scale is perhaps a little exaggerated, given the largest one company owned vineyard in all of Central Otago is just 94 hectares, the majority are way smaller. This is hard land, besieged by rabbits and at times harsh weather. Oram details how the

Cromwell basin was the last sub region of Central Otago to plant vines, but now is home to some of the best-known producer names. Labels like Mt Difficulty, Felton Road, Terra Sancta, Akarua, Quartz Reef and Carrick all began life in the Cromwell Basin. How they turned from pastoral leases to small vineyards, and why so many individuals from throughout

New Zealand (and overseas) were woed there by their love of Central Pinot, is a story well worth reading about. At times it is difficult to get your head around the differing vineyards as Oram provides details of each label and winery in paragraph lots. But for a history of this remarkable area that encompasses, Pisa, Bannockburn, Bendigo and Lowburn, it is a valuable resource.

NOW READ IT ONLINE GENERAL NEWS PEOPLE PROFILES AND MUCH MORE... REGIONAL UPDATES OPINION

www.nzwinegrower.co.nz 72   // 

NZ WINEGROWER  FEBRUARY/MARCH 2019

Reading the magazine online has never been easier.


Regions

Wellington Wine Country

A deeper shade of Rosé JOELLE THOMSON

WAIRARAPA WINEMAKER Jannine Rickards released the first two vintages of her new wines, branded Huntress, late last year. The wines are a 2017 Pinot Noir and a 2018 deep coloured Rosé. The Rosé is made from certified organic grapes grown in Gladstone, in the central Wairarapa, where she works full time as winemaker for Urlar Vineyard. It breaks the mould in style and colour. The wine is bone dry but falls midway between being a pink wine and a Pinot Noir, in terms of style.

“I thought it would be really nice to have a Rosé that’s a bit deeper in colour, totally dry and a different style than many out on the market now,” she says. The wine is labelled with original artwork depicting native New Zealand birds, drawn by Martinborough artists Dusty and Lulu. The 2017 Huntress Pinot Noir is the result of a cool vintage, which was a tricky one to start with for a Pinot, she says. “I don’t think I’ll come to a set way to make this wine. It will be what feels right in each season and what style of flavours the vintage gives me.” mailme@joellethomson.com

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NZ WINEGROWER  FEBRUARY/MARCH 2019  //   73


Not on the Label

LEGAL MATTERS WITH JENNI RUTTER, PARTNER AT KENSINGTON SWAN

Europe creeps closer… SINCE JUNE 2018, New Zealand has been negotiating a free trade agreement with the European Union (EU). A proposal for reciprocal recognition and protection of geographical indications (GIs) is currently on the table. A GI is a name that identifies a product as originating in a territory, region, area or locality in that territory where a given quality, reputation, or other characteristic of the product is essentially attributable to its geographical origin. The New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT) is encouraging New Zealand wines and spirits producers to nominate product names to put forward to the EU for GI registration and protection in the EU. The EU will consider any names that are officially recognized as GIs in New Zealand under the GI (Wine and Spirits) Registration Act 2006 or the Trade Marks Act 2002. There is no fee attached to making a nomination. MFAT also invites producers to submit objections to the recognition and protection in New Zealand of any EU GIs. Producers can consult the lists of wines and spirits GIs the EU is seeking to

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protect by viewing the list on the MFAT website at https://www.mfat.govt. nz/en/trade/free-tradeagreements/agreementsunder-negotiation/eu-fta/ consultation/. If the protection of a GI on the list might negatively impact you as a New Zealand grower or producer, you should consider submitting an objection to MFAT. Producers should be aware that the EU is seeking broad protection, and is negotiating to have the listed GIs protected in New Zealand in relation to any products, including ingredients. Wine makers would therefore be wise to consult the list of foodstuffs GIs as well. The EU is seeking protection for the listed GIs to prevent their use even when the true origin of a wine is indicated, or it is made clear that the product is in the “style” or “type” of the GI name.

NZ WINEGROWER  FEBRUARY/MARCH 2019

AN OBJECTION CAN BE MADE ON THE FOLLOWING GROUNDS:

• the name is identical, or confusingly similar, to a trade mark or GI that is the subject of a pending application or registration under either the Trade Marks Act 2002 or the Geographical Indications (Wine and Spirits) Registration Act 2006 • the name is identical, or confusingly similar, to a trade mark or GI currently in use in New Zealand, the rights to which have been acquired through good faith use in New Zealand • the name is homonymous with a GI that is the subject of a preexisting good faith pending application or registration under the Geographical Indications (Wine and Spirits) Registration Act 2006 and that has a different geographical origin

• the name is used in New Zealand as the name of a plant variety, including a wine grape variety, or an animal (including fish) breed • the name is used in New Zealand as the common name for the relevant good • use or protection of the name in relation to the relevant good would likely offend a significant section of the community, including Māori. If you would like more information the process or assistance with lodging your objection or nomination, please contact intellection property experts Jenni Rutter or Charlotte Henley at Kensington Swan. All nominations and objections should be submitted by email to EU-FTA@mfat.govt.nz by 19 March 2019. For further information on the necessary content and format of nominations and objections, consult the MFAT guidelines available online at the above link. For further information about New Zealand GIs see the IPONZ website at https://www.iponz.govt.nz/.


Cover Credits

CREDITS FOR FRONT COVER PHOTOS; LEFT TO RIGHT, TOP TO BOTTOM:

nzwineuk – nzwinecellars  @nzwineuk Nautilus - @nautilusestate AND @nzballet NZWG NZWG – Maude Wine – NZWY 2018 winner NZWG   Gibston valley @gibbstonvalleywinery Villa - @villamariawines NZWG – BM Stink Bug The food farm nz  @thefoodfarmnz Toast martinborough  @toast_martinborough     NZWG - Cellar Door Day NZWG Villa - @villamariawines Rockferry @rockferrywines Terrasancta @terrasanctawine NZWG – USA event

Bohemian wines @bohemianwines NZWG – SauvBlanc Day 2018 KevinPhotography.nz  @kevinphotography.nz – Kevin Ryan Matt Stafford @mrmattstafford   Palliser @palliserwine NZWG – USA Event Burn cottage  @burncottagevineyard NZWG The Darlings wines  @thedarlingwines   NZWG – Europe Event Charteris @charteriswines NZWG – Young Winemaker of the Year Waivino tours  @waivino_tours_waiheke NZWG – USA Event   Astrolabe @astrolabewines Misty cove @mistycovewines Whitehaven @whitehavenwines Carrick @carrickwines Indevin @this_is_indevin

SUPPORTING THE NEW ZEALAND WINE INDUSTRY WITH INNOVATIVE, WORLD CLASS LABEL SOLUTIONS. NOW PRINTING IN NEW ZEALAND. Let us help you create an augmented reality experience for your brand. Call us to learn how we can add value to your next label requirement. Tony Delia 021 364 132 / Craig Cuff 021 242 4016 40 Vestey Drive, Mt Wellington, Auckland, New Zealand 1060 E: info.nz@mcclabel.com / P: 09 573 1690 www.mcclabel.co.nz

NZ WINEGROWER  FEBRUARY/MARCH 2019  //   75


FOR STATISTICS QUERIES CONTACT MOLLY COUTTS MOLLY.COUTTS@NZWINE.COM

SEPT 2018

Key Performance Indicators

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

Total Value of Exports

$1.72

Growth Markets

Billion

fob value

$518.5m USA

2%

$390.8m UK

1%

$364.0m AUSTRALIA

Packaged Wine Export

Bulk Wine Export

Volume

Volume

154.3 mL

NETHERLANDS

CHINA

GERMANY

102.2 mL

0.4%

Bulk white wine

Packaged Price

22%

price

1%

4%

$3.90/L

$45.9m

$8.56/L

$40.2m

Domestic Sales, Volume

$25.6m

54.1m L*

3%

19%

1%

193%

$14.7m HONG KONG

0.4%

5%

$131.8m CANADA

2%

24%

*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 nzwine.com

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 Lincoln University C Winefield

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The role of microbes in regional Pinot Noir quality and style University of Auckland M Goddard

Exploring the chemical space in Vineyard Ecosystems (VE) Programme juices and wines University of Auckland B Fedrizzi

Untargeted aroma compound chemical analysis of Pinot noir Hills Laboratory R Hill

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

Pests and Disease Optimising management of grapevine trunk diseases for vineyard longevity South Australian Research & Development Institute M Sosnowski

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

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

Developing powdery mildew best practise in New Zealand vineyards

Grapevine trunk disease; young vine ecology, diagnostics and preventative treatments New Zealand Viticulture Nursery Association Incorporated (VINA) N Hoskins

Cost Reduction/Increased Profitability Precision Grape Yield Analyser Programme 2016-2021 Lincoln Agritech Limited A Werner

An automated grape yield estimation system – The Rod Bonfiglioli Scholarship Massey University M Legg

Sustainability/Organics Vineyard Ecosystems Programme

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

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

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

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

A Lambourne - Supported by MPI Sustainable Farming Fund

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Research Progress Reports

PROGRESS REPORTS The role of microbes in regional Pinot Noir quality and style Sarah Knight1, Jess Ryder1, Soon Lee1, Neill Culley2, Diana Hawkins1, Katie ParishVirtue2, Bruno Fedrizzi2 and Mat Goddard1,3 1 School of Biological Sciences, University of Auckland, NZ 2 School of Chemical Sciences, University of Auckland, NZ 3 School of Life Sciences, University of Lincoln, UK 17-107 PINOT NOIR is New Zealand’s largest red variety and is surpassed only by Sauvignon Blanc in total production – and it’s growing. Pinot Noir is produced across New Zealand with each region boasting high quality, distinctive styles, intriguing and engaging consumers. With the start of the joint MBIE-NZWRC funded Pinot Noir Programme in 2017 the New Zealand Wine Industry has an exciting opportunity to advance its understanding of Pinot Noir quality and production. This project aligns itself with the wider Pinot Noir and Vineyard Ecosystems Programmes to extend our understanding of

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how microbes may influence and contribute to Pinot Noir quality and regional distinctiveness. Microbes impact wine quality at all stages of the grape growing and winemaking process. In the vineyard they contribute both positively in their nutrient cycling roles, and negatively in their potential to cause vine and fruit diseases. In the winery, microbes (particularly yeast) are essential to the winemaking process, converting sugars in grape juice to ethanol and a suite of compounds important to the flavour and aroma of wine. Different species and strains of microbes have dif-

NZ WINEGROWER  FEBRUARY/MARCH 2019

ferent effects and therefore influence wine quality in different ways. Previous research from the Goddard lab shows evidence of regionally distinct microbial communities as well as differences between grape varieties; however the vast majority of our knowledge lies with Sauvignon Blanc and we are lacking data for Pinot Noir. Pilot data on Pinot Noir suggests there are differences in yeast communities between West Auckland, Martinborough, Marlborough and Central Otago but sampling was limited to one vineyard in each region and thus more investigation is required. If

this regional differentiation in microbial communities is verified for Pinot Noir, microbes could potentially affect wine sensory characteristics and quality differently in each region. To investigate the microbial communities associated with Pinot Noir vineyards and winemaking in New Zealand we sampled six vineyards in each of Martinborough, Marlborough and Central Otago during the 2018 vintage as these regions cover over 80 percent of New Zealand’s Pinot Noir production. The 18 sites were selected to cover the geographic span of each region and to align


Research Progress Reports

with the wider MBIE Pinot Noir, and MBIE Vineyard Ecosystems Programmes to ensure cohesiveness between the research programmes and the data collected. The microbial communities were extensively sampled from each vineyard block. Soil, bark from the vines and fruit were collected up to two days before commercial harvest and transported to the University of Auckland. The fruit was hand-destemmed and spontaneously fermented under controlled wine making conditions. From each of these ferments samples were collected from three time points: 1) juice prior to fermentation; 2) early ferment at approximately 18°Brix; and 3) late ferment as the rate of fermentation slows. For soil, bark, juice and early ferment samples, DNA will be directly extracted and sequenced using Illumina Next-Generation Sequencing technologies to allow us to quantify the microbial communities present. Late in the ferment it is expected that the microbial species diversity will be low but there will be a diverse collection of different Saccharomyces cerevisiae strains. Therefore, single colonies were isolated from the late ferment samples and the species were identified. From each wine sample 20 S. cerevisiae isolates have been genotyped to allow us to distinguish between the different strains. These microbial analyses are ongoing.

Wine samples were taken from each of the spontaneous ferments and analysed for a suite of yeast derived compounds using HSSPME/GC-MS. The compounds detected include a range of esters, norisoprenoids, terpenes and C6 compounds. Statistical analyses using PERMANOVA were conducted to investigate whether the wines chemical profiles differed between the geographic regions and no statistical difference was found (F2,17 = 1.18, R2 = 0.136, P = 0.296). A PERMANOVA, or Permutational Multivariate Aaalysis Of Variance, is a non-parametric statistical test with permutation that allows us to consider all of the chemical compounds in one test. We can visualise this data using a Constrained Correspondence Analysis (CCA) seen in Figure 1. Here, the closer two points are to one another, the more similar the chemical profiles of those

wines are. We can see some minor separation between the geographic regions with a few of the wines but not all. Some Central Otago wines tend towards the top left of the plot, Marlborough wines towards the bottom right and Martinborough wines towards the top right; however, there is a lot of overlap and most of the wines are located more centrally which is consistent with the non-significant result from the statistical analysis. The compounds measured in this analysis focus on a range of yeast-derived compounds that develop during fermentation as we are interested in the microbial contribution to Pinot Noir flavour and aroma. Therefore, the nonsignificant result does not suggest there is no regional distinctiveness in the wines overall as the chemical profiles here are not a complete representation of the full flavour and aroma profiles of the wines. What we are

interested in is whether any of the differences between the wines can be correlated to the microbial data we are generating. With all of these analyses combined, we will be able to compare and contrast the microbial communities and S. cerevisiae populations associated with each of the geographic regions and statistically test for any differences. This will help us understand how microbes contribute to the regionally distinct styles of Pinot Noir in New Zealand, adding to the New Zealand Pinot Noir story and engaging consumers. Additionally, by combining the microbial data with the chemistry of the wines produced, we can develop our understanding of the role of microbes in the quality of New Zealand Pinot Noir. Even an outcome showing that microbes play no or an insignificant role would be valuable, as this information will inform growers and winemakers of where best to concentrate resources and efforts. The full analysis from this project is due to be complete at the end of 2019.

nzwine.com/research

Figure 1: Constrained Correspondence Analysis (CCA) for the chemical profiles of the spontaneously fermented Pinot Noir wines, coloured by geographic region. The closer two points are to one another, the more similar the chemical profiles of those wines.

NZ WINEGROWER  FEBRUARY/MARCH 2019  //   79


Research Progress Reports

Exploring the chemical space in juice and wine for the Vineyard Ecosystems programme MANY MICROBIAL communities call the vineyard their home, and because of this they are transferred into grape juice naturally during harvest practices. The presence of these microbial communities in juice, which establish for short periods of time prior to the onset of primary alcoholic fermentation, can influence a wine’s chemical composition. With this in

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mind and the fact that wine is the final product to be sold and consumed, we have set out to further understand how vineyard ecology connects to and influences the quality of a wine. The chemistry of a vineyard ecosystem plays a crucial role in determining many factors including its microbial distribution, disease pressure, and so forth. However, very little is known about the relationship between

NZ WINEGROWER  FEBRUARY/MARCH 2019

applied viticultural management regimes and the resulting chemical composition of associated juices and wines. This is now the focus of a new research project being undertaken at the University of Auckland (UoA) that makes use of samples produced from the New Zealand Winegrowers’ Vineyard Ecosystems (VE) programme. The VE programme is a body of research running from 2014 to 2021, initiated

by New Zealand Winegrowers and co-funded by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment. This initiative encompasses research expertise including viticulture, microbiology, entomology, pathology, virology, elemental chemistry, analytical chemistry and environmental science. The VE programme focuses on pest and disease management, reduced reliance on chemical interventions and a strong science foundation for sustainability creden-


Research Progress Reports

tials. This wide-ranging research programme aims to better understand the many interactions and holistically evaluate and describe the nature of networks in vineyard ecology, which in turn will help to increase vineyard longevity and profitability. This UoA project, spanning over three years, will contribute to the chemical research portion of the VE programme. During this time, we aim to employ a targeted approach to study the effect of naturally placed microbes during fermentation and how they influence a wine’s chemical composition. Currently, the majority of the New Zealand wine industry can be divided into one of two viticultural management regimes;

namely Future (no use of synthetic herbicides) or Contemporary (use of synthetic herbicides), both of which are considered within the VE programme. During this project, grapes and wines from 22 vineyard blocks, (located in either Marlborough or Hawke’s Bay), across several varieties, (Sauvignon Blanc, Merlot and Pinot Noir) will be monitored. The two major lines of enquiry that will be examined during this project are described as follows: Monitoring juice composition prior to the onset of primary fermentation. The grape juices will be profiled using various analytical techniques. Measured metabolites, of up to 28 compounds, will include

aroma precursors, amino acids, as well as basic chemical parameters. The characterisation of the juices’ chemical composition will allow significant differences between the vineyard management regimes, regions and varieties within the VE programme to be determined. Comparison of the chemical composition of wines in spontaneous fermentations. Spontaneous fermentations will be carried out. Resulting wines will be profiled for secondary metabolites of up to 42 compounds including aroma precursors, fatty acids, esters, and various other aroma compounds using in-house analytical methods. The chemical characterisation of these spontaneously fermented

wines will highlight any effects relating to the juice microbial communities and juice composition between different vineyard management regimes, regions and varieties. To date, state-of-theart analytical methods to measure these primary and secondary metabolites in juice and wine have been employed. Adding to this, a direct method for the analysis of amino acids, aimed at quantifying them without the use of a derivatising agent, has also been developed. This method allows for the direct detection of a

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Research Progress Reports

Figure 2: Examples of five amino acid chromatograms, with their names and chemical structures, from the developed Liquid Chromatography coupled to Mass Spectrometry (LCMS) method

Figure 1: Concentration of 3MH (3-mercaptohexanol) and 3MHA (3-mercaptohexyl acetate) in the experimental wines made from the grape juices collected from all regions from the Contemporary and Future viticultural practices

number of amino acids with minimal sample preparation steps. Overall, this combination of techniques has been successful in quantifying 19 amino acids, 2 aroma precursors and up to 42 aroma compounds throughout the VE sample set. Data collected from these methods are currently undergoing various statistical analyses with preliminary examinations between the vineyard management regimes and the juice and wine chemical signatures to be performed in the near future. All data generated from these experiments will be transferred into the VE programme database, which already features datasets such as soil parameters and so forth. Importantly, this data will provide us with an objective measurement for the connection between soil

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chemistry and grape and wine chemistry – something that has not been previously undertaken in New Zealand. Results obtained from this project will add value to the

NZ WINEGROWER  FEBRUARY/MARCH 2019

story behind New Zealand wine and to the overall vision of the VE programme. In turn, this information can be used by the New Zealand wine industry to make better informed decisions about operations in the field and how these practices may influence a finished wine. We are excited to work alongside the VE programme as this research represents a fundamental shift in the way we under-

stand how vineyard ecology relates to wine quality. We believe that both the wine industry and the scientific community will find interest and value in the results from this novel research project. Finally, this work strengthens the New Zealand Wine’s “Pure discovery” story by further linking the renowned quality of New Zealand wine with the unique terroir of Aotearoa.

nzwine.com/research


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