New Zealand Winegrower February/March 2020

Page 1


Que Syrah Syrah

The winning ways of Hawke’s Bay wines

New Frontier

Innovation hub at new BRI research winery

Wellness in Wine

Finding balance in an increasingly pressured industry


Coming up Rosés

The stellar rise of New Zealand Rosé


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O-I New Zealand

Contents REGULARS 4

Editorial Sophie Preece


From the Board Clive Jones


Calendar Wine events in New Zealand


Bragato Research Institute Innovation at new winery


Women in Wine Jen Parr from Valli


Biosecurity Sophie Badland


Not on the Label Legal Matters with Kensington Swan


Advocacy Jeffrey Clarke

14 F E AT U R E S 18

Rise of Rosé Exports of Rosé are nearly 10 times more than they were in 2010. Meanwhile, “the category in New Zealand is ballistic”, says Two Rivers’ Jason Yank. Winegrower looks at the success of Two Rivers, and at other winners in the New Zealand Wine of the Year Awards.


Mealybug Warnings


As mealybugs gain a foothold in Central Otago, grape growers are being urged to be vigilant for signs of Grapevine Leafroll-associated Virus Type 3 (leafroll 3) in vines.


Wellness in Wine Wine Marlborough recently conducted a survey of winemakers, to better understand levels of workplace pressure in an increasingly intense industry. In the first part of a new series on Wellness in Wine, Winegrower looks at early results, as well as some inspiring examples of work-life balance.

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E D I TO R Sophie Preece

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

Wellness in Wine

Central Otago: Jean Grierson

Sophie Preece EDITOR

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

C I R C U L AT I O N & SUBSCRIPTIONS Jodi Blair Ph: 09 303 3527, ext 0 Fax: 09 302 2969 Mobile: 027 700 2371 New Zealand Winegrowers PO Box 90 276, Auckland Mail Centre, New Zealand

PUBLISHING & P R E - P R E SS Rural News Group PO Box 331100, Takapuna, Auckland 0740 Ph: 09 307 0399 Location: Top Floor, 29 Northcroft Street, Takapuna, Auckland 0622

IT’S NINE years since Tessa Nicholson took over as Editor of New Zealand Winegrower magazine, bringing her passion for the wine industry, its places and its people to these pages. In the years since, she has written and commissioned thousands of stories, helping wine communities around the country stay connected with each other and with research and developments that impact on the industry. Tessa has left me huge shoes to fill, but will fortunately continue to write for Winegrower. For this month’s edition, she’s explored the major impacts of climate change on a German wine growing region, as well as results from a survey undertaken at ProWein Dusseldorf last year, in which more than 90 percent of smaller producers had already seen impacts on climate change. The rest of the stories are closer to home, with profiles on some of the winemakers behind winning wines in the recent New Zealand Wine of the Year Awards, and an update on the new Bragato Research Institute winery in Blenheim. This month’s edition also launches a new Wellness in Wine series, in search of work-life balance. As grape growers and winemakers head into Vintage 2020, with its long days, long nights and long weeks of excitement and slog, balance could seem a bit of a pipe dream. But that kind of excess needs to be followed by down time for people to perform at their best. Bradley Hook from the Resilience Institute, who will provide some tips throughout the year on how to “bounce and recover”, says the human body and brain evolved to work in bursts of intensity, followed by rest and recovery. The people behind Wine Marlborough’s new winemaker survey are concerned that the job’s recovery time is not what it once was. The results show winemakers love their roles and expect a big push over vintage. But, it also raises some red flags, including difficulty in balancing work and life. That’s something to keep in mind as you go into, or come out of, vintage this year.

Publisher: Brian Hight Managing Editor: Adam Fricker Production: David Ferguson, Rebecca Williams

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

ISSN 1174-5223




Claire Finlayson

Jean Grierson

Bob Campbell

Marija Batistich

Winemaking is about letting the land and environment speak through the wine, says Peregrine’s Nadine Cross. Claire Finlayson talks to her about accountants, organics and Otago.

There’s a pheromone trapping programme across six sites throughout Central Otago, as mealybugs get a foothold in the region. Jean Grierson finds out what growers should look out for.

In case of emergency don’t break glass! Bob Campbell looks at how to get through a crisis with the right wine, glass and corkscrew or two.

The Resource Management Act 1991 is about to go through some substantial changes. Kensington Swan Partner Marija Batistich looks at what that could mean for the wine industry.

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From the BOARD

Vintage Pressure CLIVE JONES

BUSY, BUSY, busy. The countdown is on for the first vintage of the new decade and the one thing we can guarantee is it will be the best of the decade - so far, of course. Looking back on the past 10 vintages, they have come in all shapes and sizes, with various challenges and curve balls sent our way. I am sure the next 10 vintages will tell a similar story. One thing is certain - they don’t seem to be getting any easier. Vintage brings out a unique set of challenges, with the pressure on to get the grapes harvested and processed as quickly and efficiently as possible, to capture the maximum potential of the season. Harvest and winery crews can be stretched to breaking point, both physically and mentally, as the pressure comes on. Of course, vineyard operators have already been working through their busy growing season. With increased pressure from the likes of powdery mildew and a more variable weather pattern, it does seem that there is a requirement to do more rather than less for both mechanical and manual vineyard operations. This means more tractor passes and increased labour costs, as well as working around the variable weather patterns. Similarly, our cellar doors have (hopefully) been inundated with visitors seeking a wine experience as part of their summer holidays. “I am sure there For many wineries, this a key source of income and used to be a quiet we all know the best way period each year to get a customer for life is to give them a unique to enable a catch experience that they will up, but these days remember forever. this just doesn’t In reality, if you are not busy these days it seem to happen.” is more than likely you have just forgotten to do something. I am sure there used to be a quiet period each year to enable a catch up, but these days this just doesn’t seem to happen. But the old adage of ‘harden up and just get the job done’ doesn’t cut it anymore. Maybe we got away with it when we all had a good length of time to recover after a busy period, but these days it is easy to jump from the frying pan into the fire. We need to make sure we are looking after our people, and look for any signs that cracks are starting to appear. Make sure your staff are in good health and have support when the pressure comes on, and remember that they will need time to recover after working

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hard. More and more we need to be conscious of the ‘people’ pillar of sustainability, and we must look after their well-being. One of the great strengths of the wine sector has always been the sense of camaraderie - we enjoy each other’s company and we like to hang out together and help each other out. Let’s continue to learn from each other and share ways to relieve the pressure points, while we continue to make great wine. This edition of Winegrower Magazine introduces a Wellness in Wine series, dedicated to ensuring our people thrive in this industry, despite the busy times. That’s something to keep in mind as the 2020 harvest approaches. Best wishes for the vintage of the decade. New Zealand Winegrowers board member Clive Jones is winemaker and winery manager for Nautilus Estate.














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News Briefs

Pinot people unite

Green Company of the Year PERNOD RICARD Winemakers has been announced as Green Company of the Year by the Drinks Business Green Awards 2019. The company, with wine brands spanning Australia, New Zealand, Spain and the US, was runner up in the category at last year’s awards, and demonstrated that its green initiatives are being implemented across all areas of the company, down to individual employees. According to the awards recognition, the firm moved to 100 percent renewable electricity in Australia in November last year – the first wine company of its size in the country to do so. In New Zealand, Pernod helped to restore more than 10 hectares of native wetlands in Marlborough, with more than 10,000 plants now thriving. Judges were impressed by a company-wide banning of plastic straws and a move towards the use of lightweight glass in Australia and New Zealand, which has reduced Pernod’s carbon emissions associated with glass by 30 percent. “Our judges felt the entry offered ‘the best of both worlds’ – local thinking with a global reach.” New Zealand Winegrower’s General Manager Sustainability Edwin Massey says it is fantastic to see companies like Pernod Ricard recognised for their efforts. “They are taking a lead role in environmental initiatives that help protect the places that make our wine so special.”

OWNZ Chair CLIVE DOUGALL of Deep Down Wines is the new Chair of Organic Winegrowers New Zealand (OWNZ). “I’m excited and honoured to be elected into this role,” says Clive. “It’s clear the tide has finally turned with consumers starting to demand organic wine.” The OWNZ executive board also elected Mandy Weaver of Churton Wines (Marlborough) as Deputy Chair and welcomed new board members, Mike Saunders of Greystone Wines (North Canterbury) and Fabiano Frangi of Giesen Wines (Marlborough).

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PINOT NOIR NZ 2021 promises to be an in-depth exploration of the “complexity and breadth of New Zealand’s remarkable Pinot Noir culture”, says event co-chair Penelope Naish, General Manager of Black Estate. “Across the three days, attendees will have multiple opportunities to meet, talk and taste their way around our participating wineries.” Tickets go on sale on 10 February, and Pen and fellow chair Helen Masters, Winemaker at Ata Rangi, expect hot demand for this “slice of Pinot heaven”. There are 120 New Zealand Pinot producers from eight different wine regions lined up for the event, which will be held in Christchurch from 23-25 February, 2021. The Pinot celebration will celebrate 20 years in 2021. It takes place every four years, and attracts interest from wine authorities, influencers and innovators from all over the world. The 2021 iteration is the first time the event will be held in the South Island.

Mentoring programme APPLICATIONS TO join the Women in Wine mentoring programme close on 9 February. The programme is open to women of all ages working in all roles within the wine industry, including sales and marketing, cellar door, general management, operations, logistics, laboratory, administration, viticulture, cellar hand and winemaking. The programme aims to match one woman with an experienced female mentor from the wine industry within their region, subject to the number of applications received and suitable matches available. The mentoring programme is a Women in Wine initiative, while the New Zealand Winegrowers (NZW) mentoring programme - open to all members regardless of gender - will run again later in the year. To apply for the Women in Wine mentoring programme, applicants must work for an organisation that is an NZW member. Find out more on the members pages of

Diemersdal Estate’s Marlborough Sauvignon SAUVIGNON BLANC specialist Diemersdal Wine Estate in Durbanville, South Africa, has added a Marlborough wine to its range, harvested from the Dillons Point sub region. The Diemersdal Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2019 was made in Marlborough, around 11,000km from Diemersdal’s winery, as part of winemaker Thys Louw’s desire for a diverse range of exceptional Sauvignon Blanc styles under the one label. “Despite having made Sauvignon Blanc for 20 years and being familiar with New Zealand’s exuberant, tropical style of wines, my eyes truly went open when I first visited New Zealand in 2016 and got the chance to experience Marlborough’s commitment to Sauvignon Blanc,” says Thys. He returned to Marlborough early in 2019 for the International Sauvignon Blanc Celebration, and took the opportunity to team up with Marlborough winemaker Ben Glover to initiate a new project. The final results are exactly what he was looking for, he says. “The Dillons Point area of Marlborough is renowned for producing stunning pungent wines of power, finesse and vibrancy… This is one of the aspects about Marlborough that truly stands out - no matter where you are, no matter what the name of the producer reads on the bottle, if you taste a wine made in that part of the world, you know you are tasting Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc.”

Festive share

HAWKE’S BAY Winegrowers’ members, families and associates came together before Christmas to sort parcels ready for children from all over the region. The event, coordinated by Craggy Range, produced more than 5,500 Santa sacks, up from 1,500 in 2018, when the event was launched through the Children’s Christmas Foundation. The initiative is aimed at making a difference to the lives of children experiencing hardship in the Hawke’s Bay community.

Leadership Award

JAMES MILLTON took out the 2020 Leadership Award at last month’s Gourmet Traveller Wine New Zealand Winemaker of the Year awards. “James’ leadership when it comes to organics in New Zealand is unquestionable,” the organisation said on social media after presenting the award. “His vineyard, his wines and his personal example have given many other growers the motivation to become organic or biodynamic, and for this reason he’s regularly referred to as the country’s father of sustainable farming practices.” Late last year James and his wife Annie were made New Zealand Winegrowers Fellows at the New Zealand Wine of the Year Awards. Jason Flowerday of Te Whare Ra Wines in Marlborough was awarded the 2020 Viticulturist Award and Jen Parr of Valli won Winemaker of the Year. To read about Jen, go to pg 46. Winegrower Magazine will profile James and Annie Millton in the April/May edition.

Rosé Workshop THE NEW Zealand Society for Viticulture and Oenology (NZSVO) is holding a workshop on Rosé on 28 July at the Marlborough Vintners Hotel in Renwick. The programme will include a variety of speakers who will explore market influence, viticulture and winemaking, as well as technical trials and comprehensive tastings. NZVSO Executive Officer Joanna Glover says the group is keen to include relevant Rosé trials in the workshop programme and are looking for volunteers willing to conduct winery or vineyard trials and share their findings at the July event. Email to find out more. There’s a profile on Rosé producer Two Rivers on pg 18 of this edition, as well as a look at new Rosé notes created for the New Zealand Winegrowers’ website, in recognition of Rosé’s rapid export growth and “ballistic” domestic demand.



Marlborough Wine & Food Festival With more than 40 wineries, an array of food producers, chef Peter Gordon in the culinary tent and Katchafire on the stage, no wonder this is Marlborough’s premier event.

8 February

North Canterbury Wine & Food Festival Good things grown and made in North Canterbury, served up at a free-range family festival of music, dance and deliciousness.

8 March

Tickets on sale for Pinot Noir NZ 2021 A Pinot lover’s paradise, with 120 New Zealand producers from eight wine regions, along with excellent food, robust discussions and tastings of New Zealand and international Pinot Noir.

Tickets on sale from 10 February

Wairarapa Wines Harvest Festival Gourmet on the grass, with wine, food and entertainment.

14 March

Whitehaven Graperide A bike ride through wine country, out to the Marlborough Sounds, then back to wine country.

28 March

Dog Point Classic Kiwi Picnic Picnic fare created by Marlborough’s Arbour Restaurant, matched to Dog Point Vineyard wines and enjoyed with music under the olive trees.

29 February

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Market Highlight Canada Our Canadian team are excited to get started on a busy 2020! We have a number of stimulating educational programmes and events in place to engage the market and share our New Zealand wine story. Whilst the market can be a challenge, we are here to support you! The Canada Guide to Market will be published early this year, providing an overview of the wine market, nationally, and by province. This alongside upcoming events aim to assist your progress in Canada. Education is key, and for the upcoming Canadian masterclasses we are excited to partner with Véronique Rivest and Brad Royale, who will be hosting sommelier sessions on Sauvignon Blanc with discoveries from ISBC as well as New Zealand experiences on Organic, Biodynamic and Natural Wine producers.


New Zealand - Our Regions 29 April - 6 May 2020

Vancouver, Halifax & Toronto The upcoming cross-Canadian tour is a great opportunity for you to collaborate with fellow wineries from many regions across New Zealand - with a key focus on regional diversity. Be sure to register and celebrate your region’s unique story. Added elements, including a targeted screening of A Seat at the Table, aim to engage the best of the best trade to come along and discover the unknown about our beautiful New Zealand. For info on these and upcoming events visit

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Syrah Tasting

Syrah! A BLIND tasting of 48 2018 Syrahs from around New Zealand showed the country’s best can compare with their Rhône counterparts, says Maxime Cavey of Hawke’s Bay Winegrowers. The December blind tasting, hosted in Hawke’s Bay, was held at the request of Master of Wine Richard Hemming (pictured), who wanted to compare the 2018 vintage to a previous tasting of 2018 Rhône Syrahs, says Maxime. The Singaporebased wine writer and educator told her the New Zealand wines, in general, gave a really good impression, “and the best can comfortably be compared with the Rhône, both in quality and, in many cases, stylistically”. The influencer, who writes

regularly for JancisRobinson. com, is now keen to set up an aged tasting, and to undertake another blind tasting and Rhône comparison. “He was joined the blind tasting by Simon Nash MW, Emma Jenkins MW and Oliver Styles. All were impressed and are eager

Classic Reds HAWKE’S BAY will host New Zealand Winegrowers’ Classic Reds Symposium at the end of February 2021, following Pinot 2021 in Christchurch.

to repeat with the vintage 2019 wines, so early plans are afoot to schedule this for late February 2021.”

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The Focus

New Zealand Wine of the Year Awards

Villa Maria

Hawke’s Bay Syrah. Pg 14


Winemaker Nadine Cross. Pg 16

Two Rivers

A Rosé obsession. Pg 18

Seifried Estate

Sauvignon success. Pg 22

Church Road

Champion cellar door. Pg 24

Villa Maria’s Ollie Powrie


The Focus


VINTAGE 2018 was a perfect storm for Villa Maria in Hawke’s Bay, with autumn rain forcing harvest, while cellar hands dodged teams of tradespeople. “It’s not typical to have electricians still in the crush pit when fruit is coming in,” says Group Chief Winemaker Nick Picone of the first vintage in an unfinished winery. “It was chaos.” But that pressured vintage, with its hot start, rainy slog and fine finale, produced wines that have showcased Hawke’s Bay’s unique and distinctive character, says Nick. The Cellar Selection Syrah Hawke’s Bay 2018 won the 2019 New Zealand Wine of the Year Champion trophy, while the Champion Wine of Provenance trophy went to the Reserve Gimblett Gravels Syrah, Hawke’s Bay 2006, 2013 and 2018. Then, the Villa Maria Reserve Hawke’s Bay Chardonnay 2018 won Winestate Champion Chardonnay and Champion Wine of the Year 2019, chosen out of 10,000 wines judged across the year.

14   //

“We’ve had an amazing year really, in terms of Villa Maria successes, and Hawke’s Bay in particular has been in the spotlight,” says Nick, who won New Zealand Winemaker of the Year in the Winestate competition, where Villa Maria was also awarded New Zealand Wine Company of the Year, claiming the title for the 17th time in 22 years. Hawke’s Bay’s success in the awards is good for New Zealand as a whole, says Nick. “We know and respect the fact that Sauvignon Blanc is our engine and our reputation nationally. But I think it’s also important for New Zealand to show the full depth of what we can achieve - the diversity, but also the quality that can be found in other regions with other varietals. It makes New Zealand more complete as a wine producing proposition, I guess. It adds value and depth to the New Zealand story.” Nick says 2018 was one of the hottest summers on record


in Hawke’s Bay, and certainly hotter than the past 10 years. “I think it was the heat of the summer that ultimately set up the results of that vintage.” But it was followed by autumn rains from early March, creating the “perfect storm” for a pressured harvest in a brand new winery, with Vidal, Esk Valley, Villa Maria and Te Awa suddenly under the same roof and sharing the same resources. Chardonnay was harvested in nine days, with all the intensity of hand picking, whole bunch pressing and juice straight to barrel, while the aforementioned electricians scurried out of crush pits, and tanks were hoisted into position. “There was a lot of escalation and a lot of rain,” says Nick, who describes the vintage as seeming to conspire against them. But then the furore was over and the sun was shining. “The second half of that vintage was awesome. The rain finally buggered off and we had beautiful blue skies and finally dried

off again. It allowed the reds that opportunity to finish off what they had started in the summer months.” Meanwhile, the Chardonnay fruit, picked in haste, was exceptional, and likely better than it would have been had they had the luxury of leaving it on the vine longer, says Nick. When it comes to the Syrah, he says Hawke’s Bay produces a style that is unique and distinctive, thanks to the climate and the “fit of the grape to the terroir”. The trick is to balance its rotundone peppery characteristics with ripe fruit and ripe tannins, so the wine isn’t too “edgy” but retains its personality, he says. “We have that in spades. It’s all about harnessing that and then bringing consumers along for the ride.” The champion Cellar Selection Syrah Hawke’s Bay 2018 is sourced largely from Bridge Pa vineyards, with the final third coming from the Gimblett Gravels, says Nick “I think it’s a really nice combination of

Opinion Piece

the sweetness and fragrance of that Bridge Pa sub region, with a bit of richness and structure from Gimblett Gravels.” He says Hawke’s Bay winemakers are increasingly building some of Pinot Noir’s attractiveness into their Syrah, with less extraction, less oak and more whole bunch, “aiming for perfume and fragrance and subtleness rather than size”. In the late 1990s and early 2000s, Hawke’s Bay Syrahs were big, tannic oaky wines, as were its Pinot Noirs, he says. “It’s a maturity thing. We’re on this journey and we’ve already had some really nice evolution in the wine styles. We are learning that less is more.” Nick has been with Villa Maria for a good stint of that OLIVER journey,STYLES starting as a teenager with the company more than I20WORKED vintage in years Hisfirst father, owner New Zealand of in 2011, if I and operator Vince’sand Vinehear the songs Joey or Bay, Caroline yard Tours in Hawke’s gave by bandfor Concrete BlondeasI himthe a taste the industry,

wine. “We are doing things that are quite different at the other end of the spectrum.” The recent award successes will make a difference, but Syrah is a niche market and sales are tiny on a global stage, says Nick. “Let’s face it, the biggest challenge internationally is to turn up with anything other than Sauvignon Blanc.” Pinot Noir has a window of lborough and over the next opportunity in international four years worked his way up circles, and Pinot Gris is makto winemaker, before mov- ing some good ground, “but ing to the Auckland wineryWines in are everything is a slow Framingham not onlyelse renowned forburn their up music the winery, also that 2006, and taking theinrole and a but hand sell”, hestaff says. That members make up a local band. of North Island Winemaker, includes Chardonnay, which then Head Winemaker in 2008. he sees as producing some of Now back home in Hawke’s Bay, the greatest wines being made he’s Group Chief Winemaker, in New Zealand. “We have real and retains a hands-on focus potential with premium Charon Villa Maria’s Hawke’s Bay donnay, but it’s an incredibly wines. He says New Zealand’s crowded category. This will be oldest wine growing region a long game, but it’s just a matFlight the Conchords album or thatbefore sticks the in the mind, may beofnumber two in volume, tertwo of time quality of belong to Ata theMarlyear situating and a long wayRangi, behind the winesthe andyear. the international later. In fact, if brings not an aalbum, Coming from vintages in borough, but it whole endorsements begin to open where the best one nearly every vintage hasZealand a song Europe, lot to the story of New new doors.”

“I think it’s also important for New Zealand to show the full depth of what we can achieve - the diversity, but also the quality that can be found in other regions with other varietals.” did a memorable glass of Esk Valley Merlot when he was 16. In 1996, after leaving school, Nick completed a one-year certificate in Grape and Wine production at Eastern Institute of Technology (EIT) in Hawke’s Bay, prior to his first harvest at Esk Valley the following year. Several vintages at Esk Valley and a stint in California followed and, increasingly sure he was on the right path, Nick am transported back toin Martincompleted a Degree Wine borough Vineyards, late at night, Science at EIT. waiting for the to finish. By 2003, hepress was assistant Boxer by The andMarthe winemaker at National Villa Maria

The power of music in the winery






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The Focus

Nadine Cross at Peregrine

Peregrine hunts perfection A wine career adds up for Nadine Cross


CRUNCHING NUMBERS in a sunless office isn’t the usual prelude to a career in winemaking. But it yielded just enough cooped-up-ness to render a young Nadine Cross, now winemaker at Peregrine, rather career-chafed: “I never intended to be an accountant. Sitting in the middle of an airconditioned office and finishing each day without knowing what the weather had been like outside, was crazy.” The memory of a childhood spent in gumboots on an Otago Peninsula sheep farm added to that chafing – as did a holiday job while at university, taking guided tours of the local albatross and penguin colonies. The

16   //

impetus to switch careers and carve out a more land-leaning job was further hastened by the sudden death of her father. “I thought, shivers, life’s short. You’ve got to be doing something every day that you enjoy.” It was around this time that Central Otago’s vineyards were starting to bloom. She’d clocked the wine industry’s growth while on family trips to that region and this helped spur her grape-wards. In 1996, after three years at a Dunedin accountancy firm, she handed her resignation to the managing partner: “When I told him I was off to study viticulture and winemaking at Lincoln his eyes lit up. He said, ‘wow that’s


fantastic’, which was the last thing I thought he’d say. He also said he’d just bought some land at Bendigo and that one day I could be his winemaker – which at that time I thought was just a joke because I was intending to get involved in the business side of things.” This wine-simpatico boss was Lindsay McLachlan – a man who says he spent 25 years pretending to be an accountant before establishing Peregrine in Central Otago. He never forgot that conversation with his fellow accountancy defector; 13 years after she’d left his accounting firm, Lindsay phoned Nadine to see if she was ready for that winemaking job. By then she’d fin-

ished her studies, fallen under the spell of the production side of the industry and cut her wine teeth in France’s Loire Valley, California’s Sonoma and Napa Valleys and in Marlborough at Seresin, Selaks, Villa Maria and Wither Hills. She was very ready. After nine years with Lindsay and the crew, Nadine is still well-smitten with the winemaking path. Little wonder too, for Peregrine is going through an especially purple patch. No stranger to old and new world awards, the team scooped three trophies at the 2019 New Zealand Wine of the Year awards: Champion Organic Red Wine for Peregrine Pinot Noir, Central

Otago 2017; Champion Organic White Wine for Peregrine Riesling, Central Otago 2018; and the QuayConnect Champion Open Red Wine trophy for the Saddleback Pinot Noir, Central Otago 2018. Nadine says the wine industry is about a real team process. “There are lots of us involved in what we put out at the end of the day – in the vineyard and the winery.” The organic trophies were particularly gratifying for team Peregrine. “It’s been a huge effort and a vision driven by Lindsay 10 years ago about how he wanted to manage his land.” Cosseted by a team of cows, sheep, goats, pigs and chooks who add ground-clearing, bug-chomping and manure production expertise to the mix, the Peregrine soil is extremely happy. The full Peregrine range became certified organic in 2017, after a decade-long conversion period. With several

“It’s about the health of the soil, the health of the vines, the health of the people working in the vines, and the family living on the land.”

reformed accountants in the Peregrine mix, there’s plenty of commercial nous there to ensure the business has sustainable organic legs. But it was for a whole raft of reasons that Lindsay chose the organic path. Nadine says it’s about the health of the soil, the health of the vines, the health of the people working in the vines, and the family living on the land. “It’s all of those benefits. Twenty-five percent of Central Otago is now managed organically – which is huge. It’s really exciting for the region.” Peregrine has never tooted

its organic status very loudly, says Nadine. “For us, the quality of the wine is the main thing and then people find out that we’re organic. We haven’t pushed it as a marketing thing. We’ve got great sites, it’s a family business, and we’re making amazing wine – that’s our main message. And then, by the way, we’re organic.” For Nadine, winemaking is about letting the land and environment speak through the wine. “It’s about getting the best quality off all the little sites that we have. I guess my job is about making a lot of really small deci-

sions about things that impact on that overall quality and on what we’re reflecting from the land. We talk about ‘vine age’ but there’s viticulturist age and winemaker age as well. For me, some of the best high-quality wines in New Zealand have that combination of vine age and a knowledgeable viticulturist and winemaker. Some of the younger people I see coming into the industry are very quick to want to move ahead and be the winemaker somewhere, and I think, ‘don’t do that – you can learn so much from people’. The first 15 years of my career were about learning from lots of people.” Her biggest challenge in winemaking? “Lately it’s my teeth! Teeth issues from swishing wine around my mouth for 25 years. That’s what I’ve been telling my assistant: get yourself some dental insurance right now or you’ll be sending your salary to the dentist!”

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The Focus

Dave Clouston amid Syrah, one of the varieties used in the Two Rivers Rosé.

Coming up Rosés SOPHIE PREECE

THE SMALL, intense berries of Marlborough’s 2019 Pinot Noir vintage were a blessing for some and a blow for others. “It was great for Pinot Noir and really, really challenging for Rosé,” says Two Rivers winemaker Dave Clouston, who worked swiftly to stop the deeply red fruit from tinting his Isle of Beauty Rosé, known for its quiet blush. I f a ny Ne w Z e a l a n d winemaker was ready for the task, it was this one, thanks to two decades of steadfast dedication to the style, including three vintages in a remote corner of Corsica, distilling old world ways. In 2004, Dave returned to his

18   //

home province, determined to approach Marlborough fruit with a Mediterranean perspective, and become “New Zealand’s greatest Rosé producer”. The deeper colour of the 2019 Rosé - still a pale beauty against many of its Kiwi counterparts - did little to dampen the ardour of wine judges. The wine (formally known as L’Ile de Beauté after the aforementioned Corsican corner) was named Champion Rosé at the recent Cathay Pacific Hong Kong International Wine & Spirit Competition, and trophy winner at the 2019 New


Zealand Wine of the Year Awards. In the latter, the wine faced far more competition than any other year, with 98 Rosé labels on the table, compared to 68 in 2015. Many of those would have been the “fruit bombs” long associated with the style in New Zealand, and Dave is impressed the judges rewarded the Isle of Beauty’s far more subtle and savoury character. “It’s great for New Zealand Rosé that they are looking past what they traditionally looked for, which was a bit of sweetness and a bit of fruit.” New Zealand Rosé was traditionally dark in colour,

high in alcohol and sweetness and often made from Merlot grapes unable to hold enough acidity, resulting in peaches and cream qualities, says Dave. When he returned to New Zealand, he looked instead to top tier Pinot Noir from Marlborough’s Southern Valleys, to make bone-dry and prettily pale Rosé, with savoury complexity in lieu of strawberry sweetness. In 2015, Two Rivers bought its Brookby Hill Vineyard, where close plantings on steep, clay slopes were exactly what he’d been searching for. The resulting wine has been devoured by the domestic






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market, with 100 percent growth year on year from 2013 to 2017. Increased competition on the domestic market has eased that trajectory, with Two Rivers Commercial Director Jason Yank noting that “every man and his dog is making Rosé these days”. But the company is still ramping up its production. “We are making more Rosé than we did last year and we are probably double what we were two or three years ago… We might not grow the same way we have in the past few years, but there is still growth.” Dave has spent time in Provence over the past two years, working with winemakers in order to per fect his offer ing. “I like that every other New Zealand winemaker will be in Burgundy or Sancerre and I’ll be the only Kiwi winemaker in Provence, learning about the origin of Rosé, then bringing it back to New Zealand and implementing it with our fruit source in Marlborough.” He was there with his young

20   //

family in 2018, and travelled to Provence again last year with Jason, to attend a technical conference at which Two Rivers was the only new world wine. Lined up against more than 60 pale pink Rosés, he admits his was a deeper tint, but notes it also stood out for natural acidity and aromatics. “On a global scale, we have to educate people that New Zealand doesn’t only do great Sauvignon Blanc and some really good Pinot… it also does great Rosé.” He returned from the visits resolved to follow the best Provençal producers by using more than a single fruit source. “To get a more complex and complete Rosé a sophisticated Rosé - you need a multiple of varieties.” That’s meant planting up a storm at Brookby Hill, so the Rosé blend can draw from Cinsaut, Mourvèdre, Grenache and Vermentino, Syrah, Roussanne and Viognier, as well as Pinot Noir. Each variety plays a part, whether that’s acidity, savoury


FEBRUARY 5 marked New Zealand Rosé Day, with the summery climes calling out for pink drinks. However, Two Rivers Commercial Director Jason Yank says these days Rosé is “on point” in winter too. That is not all that has changed with the new and fashionable Rosé, in a style that is a drier, paler and more sophisticated version of its previous self. It is also no longer perceived as a women’s only club, because “men drink pink”, says Jason. The New Zealand Winegrowers 2019 Annual Report shows exports of Rosé reached 5.195 million litres last year. That is more than double the 2.389 million litres of 2017, and nearly 10 times that of 2010, when New Zealand exported 0.559 litres of Rosé. Rosé is now the fourth largest New Zealand wine export and, while a minnow compared to Sauvignon Blanc’s 231m litres, isn’t too far behind Pinot Gris at 8.67m litres, and beats Chardonnay (5.088m litres exported in 2019) for the first time. Exports tell just a fraction of the story, because the powerhouse behind New Zealand Rosé growth is the domestic market, says Jason. The 2019 Isle of Beauty Rosé blend was finalised in June and the company was shipping out around the country by the end of July, answering the call from suppliers who’d run out of stock, he says. “The category in New Zealand is ballistic. It sounds cliché but we are struggling to keep up with demand.”

characters, floral notes or fruit weight and texture, and “the wine has more concentration and structure as a result”, says Dave. Crafting the awardwinning 2019 vintage was a world away from making Sauvignon Blanc, where he simply picks the fruit and keeps it as pure as possible, with little manipulation. “Rosé is like a blank canvas, like Chardonnay.” While Rosé is a “tiny sliver” of exports compared to New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc (see Think Pink side box), that’s not the story at Two Rivers, which sells similar amounts of the two. In fact, Rosé is close to outdoing its Sauvignon sibling under that label, although the style is still dwarfed by Sauvignon Blanc in Dave’s lower priced Black Cottage label. The focus for Two Rivers Rosé to date has been the domestic market, because high-end Pinot Noir

fruit makes the Rosé expensive to create, limiting demand on the international stage, where it is up against wines from Provence, says Dave. “It is a bit like Chile making premium Sauvignon Blanc - they are up against Marlborough.” But Two Rivers is one of several producers flying the flag for New Zealand Rosé around the world. And, he’s confident that being recognised as New Zealand’s best Rosé producer will allow his label to make headway on the international market. “People look for a country’s best version - your Chardonnay, Kumeu River; Sauvignon Blanc, Cloudy Bay; Pinot Noir, Felton Road… these iconic producers.” His goal has long been for the world to hear ‘New Zealand Rosé’ and to think ‘Two Rivers’. “That’s a massive company focus - our goal is to be the benchmark for New Zealand.”

The Focus

Diverse, but distinctly New Zealand, Rosé Rosé is of increasing importance to New Zealand’s wine portfolio, and increasing in prevalence on wine lists around the country. With that in mind, New Zealand Winegrowers has added Rosé to the style guide on, with this introduction by EMMA JENKINS MW. NEW ZEALAND makes a wide array of Rosé wines, from fresh and fruity to savoury and textural. Typically, they’re lightbodied, fruit-focused and just off-dry in style, made to be enjoyed within a year from vintage, lightly chilled to set off their refreshing crispness and vibrant berryfruit. The majority of New Zealand Rosés are made from Pinot Noir, although a diverse array of other varieties are employed throughout the various regions. Fruit quality is paramount for Rosé, to maximise finesse and varietal expression. Regardless of the variety being used, grapes

are handled as gently as possible as they make their way from vineyard to winery. Most New Zealand Rosés are fermented in stainless steel tanks to preserve their freshness, fruit purity and te Pa Family Vineyards. aromatic intensity. Rosés come in a rainbow of pink hues, from palest salmon to deep watermelon. The final shade of pink relates to the grape variety as well as the length of skin contact permitted between juice and pigmentrich grape skins. New Zealand makes both still and sparkling Rosé, providing delicious aromas and flavours of ripe strawberries, raspberries and

25 25 years

crushed cherries, sweet citrus, watermelon, honeydew melon, spices and fresh herbs. There’s a Rosé to suit most food types and occasions, and while well suited to frivolity, they can also offer substance and sophistication. Rosé is great on its own as an aperitif or you can just add canapés - smoked salmon blinis, fresh sashimi or goat cheese tartlets are especially good

matches. Rosé suits savoury tapas, light pasta dishes and will happily partner many Thai, Indian and Mediterranean-style dishes. Salad Niçoise is a classic match and Rosé works well with many seafoods, particularly salmon. Rosé is a surprisingly versatile wine style, straddling as it does red and white wine characteristics, making it a popular option for consumers.

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The Focus

Seifried’s Sauvignon reigns supreme


The Seifried siblings - Anna, Chris and Heidi.

SEIFR IED ESTATE’S 2019 Sauvignon Blanc is so laden with award stickers, it looks set to topple over. “It’s almost getting a bit tacky now,” says Anna Seifried with a laugh, contemplating the five gleaming discs overlaying the label, including Champion Sauvignon Blanc and Champion Open White Wine at the New Zealand Wine of the Year awards. But she and brother Chris, Seifried Estate Winemaker, have no intention of hiding this light under a bushel, because having New Zealand’s best Sauvignon Blanc is a golden opportunity for the company

22   //

and for Nelson, both of which can be overshadowed by Marlborough’s dominance. Chris loves taking a wine to market and being able to show the Nelson style - often a buyer’s first look at a wine from the region - while explaining its “nuances”, he says. “Particularly when it comes to Sauvignon Blanc. Some buyers can be very critical of a lesser-known region, so it can take some convincing for them to even look at ours. But once they get a glass in their hand, we let the wine speak for itself.” And he says retailers are increasingly ready to “de-risk”,


by balancing their shelf-load of Marlborough Sauvignons with wines from other regions. “That’s opening doors and this awards recognition helps bring attention to Nelson.” Judges said the Sauvignon which they also named Nelson’s best wine - is “a beautiful amalgam of crisp, crunchy herbaceous freshness, along with guava and other tropical fruits. All this held together with fresh, vibrant acidity and great length.” Put simply, it is a “stunning” wine, says Deputy Chair of Judges Ben Glover. That’s despite the fact that uncontrolled fires were

blazing in the Tasman region in February 2019, near some of the Seifried vineyards. That put the team on edge and ruled out using mowers or tractors for nearly three weeks. The hot summer also meant there was little access to irrigation, and the subsequent quality of wines have provided learnings around “turning off the taps and not concentrating on volume so much”, says Chris. The Seifried wine story began in 1971, when Hermann and Agnes Seifried - a young, just-married couple - bought land in Moutere, with plans to “make wine on Saturday so


they could drink it on Sunday”, says Chris. They grafted their own vines at the kitchen table late into the night, and in 1973 planted their first vines. Money was tight and nothing was outsourced, so by the time they harvested their

the puzzle together,” says Chris. “It’s a challenge, but it’s a great challenge.” The three Seifried children all travel to far-flung corners of the world to share the Seifried story, and have built 15-year relationships with

“I really enjoy pulling all the pieces of the puzzle together. It’s a challenge, but it’s a great challenge.” first crop in 1976, Hermann had taught himself to weld by transforming milk tanks into wine tanks, though a little rough around the edges, says Anna. “Hermann is an advocate for ‘if you can’t do it yourself, then learn’.” Fast forward 46 years, and that mentality is still strong at Seifried. Chris, Anna and their sister Heidi have all come home to work in the company with their parents, and relish the fact that almost everything is an in-house job, from vine nursery and estate vineyards through to making, bottling and labelling the wines, before taking them to market. “I really enjoy pulling all the pieces of

some distributors. That familyowned, family-run, niche segment runs strong in Nelson, and is both an advantage and a disadvantage for the region’s wine companies, says Chris, who is a board member on Wine Nelson. “They don’t have the international connections and the marketing team, or brand building and sponsorship opportunities,” he says. “The guy you meet in the cellar door on a Saturday morning will probably be the winemaker, will possibly be the mower guy, will possibly be doing the pruning. That quaintness is quite nice, and quite artisan, and what sets our small region apart.”


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Wine of the Year

Cellarbration Top tips from winning cellar door SOPHIE PREECE

CELLAR DOOR staff can learn a lot from a little undercover shopping, says Brent Pilcher, Pernod Ricard Winemakers’ N a t i o n a l B r a n d Ho m e s Manager. The team at Church Road Winery cellar door, winner of New Zealand Winegrowers’ inaugural New Zealand Cellar Door of the Year Award, take a sneak peek at other operators in the region, under the guise of an average wine tourist. The mystery shopping offers a fresh perspective, “because we are walking in the customer’s shoes”, says Brent, who also oversees the cellar door operation at the Brancott Estate Cellar Door and Restaurant in Marlborough. “We are going out to see people who are doing really well and people who are not.”

24   //

Pernod’s cellar door teams also use a past myster y shopper questionnaire as a guide to strengthening their performance, he says. “What is it the customers are wanting to see and what are the expectations of our business? It has aligned itself so well with what we want to do as a company.” Learnings are put into play at Church Road, where a major goal is to provide an experience that convinces visitors they should stay in Hawke’s Bay for two or three days, in order to discover the breadth of the region’s wine offering, says Brent. “The whole industry will benefit from that and we are trying to play our part.” It is clear from the questionnaires that cellar doors, indus-


try wide, have a common failing in not connecting with customers for the long term, he says. “We are exceptionally good at showing people our wine, but we are not good at asking them to buy it, or in connecting them with future contact through a wine club database and newsletter… Those are the areas that we consistently struggle with and we have used that very much as a focus.” Church Road Winer y ’s dedication to creating an exceptional experience for wine tourists has seen it win the Hawke’s Bay cellar door competition two times in the past three years, followed by the national accolade. Comments at the New Zealand Cellar Door of the Year Award, presented at the New Zealand

“When you have a culture of innovation and a legacy of pioneering as part of your overall brand, you have a responsibility to honour that and to portray it to your customers.”

Wine of the Year Awards, noted that the cellar door celebrated wine “in the past and present with an eye on the future, with a wide range of different, immersive and interactive experiences available for visitors”. Those experiences include a range of tasting menus, from Prestige to Provenance, and a winer y tour that explores barrel halls, caves and an underground museum, portraying the 120-year history of the vineyards and winery. Another tour looks at the versatility of the grape, from wine to pressed juice, and from balsamic vinegar to barrel aged spirits, which are all made on site at Church

Road. They are offerings that celebrate the winery’s unique place in the wine world, says Brent. “When you have a culture of innovation and a legacy of pioneering as part of your overall brand, you have a responsibility to honour that and to portray it to your customers.” Being attached to the winery also means winemakers take the time to come through and talk to staff about the wines, and the seasons and soils they hail from, and to work in with the chef to ensure the menus make a hero of the wines, says Brent. “This is the space we get to play in and we are fortunate that we have a stunning facility.”

Church road Summer Sunday Sessions.

Live Summer Sessions Every summer a stellar line-up of Hawke’s Bay talent plays live on Sunday afternoons at Church Road Winery. Pernod Ricard Winemakers’ National Brand Homes Manager Brent Pilcher says hundreds of locals and visitors flock to the leafy grounds of the estate to settle on picnic rugs, dine on platters, sip on Church Road wines and listen to acoustic performances. Session three of the Church Road Live Summer Sessions is on Sunday 16 February, from noon to 4.30pm. Session four, which wraps up the season, is on 15 March. Admission is free, but there is no BYO alcohol, other drinks or food.



RESEARCHERS AT Japan’s RIKEN Centre for Sustainable Resource Science have found a potential answer to drought stress in a surprisingly common source. Among several different acids tested, low concentrations of acetic acid (vinegar) produced drought tolerance in each of five different plant species tested. The team’s work identified a conserved drought-responsive network in plants that is controlled by a single gene. T he researchers showed that drought causes plants to produce more acetate, which stimulates jasmonate production and chemically modifies the proteins that package the plant’s DNA.

These factors send the plant into a drought-tolerant state. Remarkably, the whole trigger system could be bypassed by applying acetic acid directly to the plants - effectively pr iming the plants for drought. Research leader JongMyeong Kim says transgenic technologies can be used to

create plants that are more tolerant to drought, but they also to develop simple and Darrelneed Lizzamore less expensive technologies. “We expect that external application of acetate to plants will be a useful, simple, and less expensive way to enhance drought tolerance in a variety of plants.”

This work is a significant step forward for the new field of epigenetics, which studies how and when genes are switched on/off in response to environmental and developmental cues. Although genetic changes take multiple generations to achieve, for example via breeding, epigenetics could provide growers tools to rapidly alter the physiolog y of mature plants, without chang ing their genetic code. Read the full paper at: nplants201797 • Darrell Lizamore is the Principal Research Scientist, Grapevine Improvement, at the Bragato Research Institute.


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The Science

Science and Technology in wine

Research Winery Innovation hub. Pg 28

SWNZ Review Scorecard review project. Pg 32

Leafroll Virus Central Otago on guard. Pg 34

Hail research Learning from experience. Pg 36

Climate Change Rheingau’s changing landscape. Pg 38

BRI tanks. Photo: Jim Tannock


The Science

Crown Jewel

BRI winery at research frontier SOPHIE PREECE

WITH ITS stainless steel egg fermenter, long line of worldfirst tanks, customised ferment probes and automated cleaning station, New Zealand’s new research winery is a breeding ground for innovation. “It’s breaking all the rules and pushing the boundaries,” says

VinWizard’s David Gill of the Bragato Research Institute (BRI) winery, which opens in Blenheim later this month. “There’s nothing like this winery anywhere in the world… there are pockets of innovation but nothing on this scale. That’s why I wanted to be part of it.”

V i n W i z a rd , a w i n e technology company based in Marlborough, is customising its software for the facility, and for the BRI’s hundreds of world-first fermentation tanks, which enable the option of four smaller trials within each tank, allowing for flexibility

and commercial replicability in fermentation trials. The adapted VinWizard software will enable researchers to dock the tanks in any position then select a tank type to change the features available, says David. “For example, if it’s a white tank, the tank has the option


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BRI Chief Executive MJ Loza and Establishment Manager Tracy Atkin. Photos by Jim Tannock.

of our agitator control, but if it’s a red tank it has automated pump over. If it’s a multi tank with inserts the agitator runs continuously.” The technology will also enable researchers and winemakers to control processes remotely. The tanks themselves have been designed by BRI and industry experts, and made by Crown Sheetmetal in Blenheim. Several were trialed at the NMIT teaching winery last vintage and the results compared to the same fruit fermented in 5000 litre tanks in commercial wineries. BRI Establishment Manager Tracy Atkin says the great

success of that process gave them confidence to order 84 additional 200l tanks and 196 17l inserts, which will be ready for the upcoming vintage. Like VinWizard, Crown Sheetmetal is a foundation sponsor of the research winery, and has worked alongside the BRI to develop the tanks. It has also lent the winery a prototype 250l stainless steel egg fermenter to trial in the 2020 vintage. Crown’s Operations Manager Crichton Purdie says the research trial will look at the impact of the egg’s kinetics on winemaking and wine styles, and seek feedback on the perfect shape,

volume and configuration. He says manufacturing a sphere out of stainless steel is not a new concept, and egg shaped terracotta vessels have been around for hundreds of years. “However, we think there’s an opportunity to work with the institute to develop the perfect shape stainless tank.” Tracy says the winery is already at the frontier of wine research facilities globally, and is set to become a hotbed of innovation, with Plant & Food Research set to run trials there this vintage, and tanks available for industry to test new products, techniques and technology. “Supporting the

industry with winemaking innovation is a key driver”, she says. Several commercial companies, domestic and international, have expressed interest in getting involved, she adds. “The use of the tanks to trial wine products for companies will create an income stream for the winery to help it remain financially sustainable, while helping develop new and valuable technology for the industry… This winery will be a world leading testing ground for innovation.” The BRI Research Winery has its official opening on 27 February.

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The Science

New Frontiers – Q&A Bragato Research Institute Chief Executive MJ Loza has had a busy 18 months, helping drive the establishment and development of the national wine research centre, based in Blenheim. With a team of experts on board and a new research winery about to open, the future looks bright for the BRI. He shares some of the excitement. How has the Bragato Research Institute (BRI) changed the outlook for wine science in New Zealand? BRI will add to the wine science capability in New Zealand with a focus on both science excellence and industry impact. Working closely with existing research providers is key - we’re all too small for duplication. We need to build expertise in our own niches and work collaboratively. Where we think BRI can have the most impact is in the link between science and industry – bringing New Zealand and global expertise together, focused on our industry’s priorities. How does New Zealand sit on the world stage for wine research? I’d say we’re a small but important player and make a valuable contribution to global viticulture and wine science, and also that we’re well connected internationally. There are specific areas where New Zealand is at the forefront of research and development - for example, around Sauvignon Blanc genetics and cool-climate Sauvignon Blanc production. The Goddard Lab’s work at University of Auckland was the first to show differences in yeast communities across different locations – terroir at the micro-

30   //

bial scale if you like. Work at Lincoln University and with Plant & Food Research developed a unique understanding of grapevine epigenetics (how environmental factors cause genetic responses in vines) and produced more than 2,000 new Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Noir clones - the only country to actively generate new nonGMO clones. The UV work done from Professor Brian Jordan’s lab at Lincoln is regarded as world-leading. What have been some of the major science initiatives in recent years? The Lower Alcohol Wine programme is coming into its last year of seven and has given industry a suite of tools to enable production of highquality wines that are naturally lower in alcohol. We’re seeing wines from the programme win medals against full-strength competitors. With impressive growth in low/no alcohol segments, the results of the programme put New Zealand at the forefront of this opportunity. Vineyard Ecosystems is about understanding the overall vineyard ecosystem and interrelationships to enable more sustainable production. We’re in year five of this seven-


year programme. The Pinot Noir programme aims to deliver tools to improve Pinot Noir yields without reducing quality. Understanding the drivers of quality is a key first step. The Spray Days programme, delivering best practice for powdery mildew control, is an excellent example of practical research and development with immediate impacts for sustainability and profitability. The mechanical thinning trial is another good example of that type of work, validating efficacy and cost savings, and investigating added benefits for disease prevention. Plus, there’s a myriad of projects that support more sustainable production (for example, Dr Mark Krasnow’s work on irrigation), dealing with Mealy Bug (Dr Vaughan Bell), Grapevine Trunk Disease (Dr Robin MacDiarmid, Dion Mundy, Dr Mark Sosnowski) and many more. How will the BRI research winery impact on the ability to progress innovations in the industry? It’s

critical that we keep our consumers front of mind. Understanding impacts of different techniques in the vineyard and winery on final wines is a must The research winery provides the opportunity to take trials though to finished wines in a tightly controlled experimental environment, giving confidence that any difference seen in the wine is due to experimental variables, not a random winemaking impact. The winery also provides an opportunity for BRI to conduct commercial trials for companies, providing important connections, and an important revenue stream. As well as conducting research, the winery is an experiment in and of itself – we’ll be trialling new equipment, and developing, trialling and modelling ways to improve the sustainability of winery operations. What’s the most exciting thing happening in wine science right now? Being exposed to science as a non-scientist, I’m amazed not just by the research and

development that has been and is being done, but also by what we still don’t know. As we learn more, we identify new questions – that’s the nature of science. I think it’s exciting that we’re starting to explore the microbial world in, on, and under vines, to understand how microbial communities contribute to naturally healthy and productive vines. There are also opportunities coming out of new genomics technologies to understand, improve and manage crops. Scientists in New Zealand and overseas are collaborating to use this data in revolutionary ways for capturing natural genetic diversity, precision breeding, plant stress adaptation and pathogen control. Cloud data analysis is starting to move these tools from the lab and into the field. At the other end of the spectrum, there’s a significant opportunity to ensure the

“Climate change will be BRI’s largest single programme of work, spanning mitigation options through to adaption strategies.” information we have from our own work, and work overseas, is packaged up and communicated to the industry so it can be used to deliver value. We’re already seeing real benefit and industry support for our tech transfer and extension work and I’m excited to see this ramp up this year. Advances in computing, data management, communications, imaging and sensing technology are allowing the development of exciting technologies that are beginning to change the way we manage vineyards. Examples include yield assessment, evaluation of plant water

stress, apps for health and safety and fleet management, autonomous machinery and precision sprayers. What is the biggest challenge ahead for the industry and how can BRI help navigate it? Uncertainties relating to climate change, global markets, and production costs are at front of mind for many producers. BRI must continue to work very closely with industry to understand their priorities and align our research programme with these. Climate change will be BRI’s largest single programme of work, spanning mitigation options through

to adaption strategies. We’re looking at both short and longterm options, but also possible opportunities. There’s no one silver bullet. It will require work in a wide range of areas. As well as doing some of that work, BRI will play a key role in co-ordinating a much broader programme across science disciplines and providers. What’s your favourite spot in the research winery, and why? I think the conference room will be a special place. With a view through to the research winery, you’ll be able to see the tanks and the research winery in action. It will be a place we will make available for industry use, for education, and where we can host industry members, partners, and visitors. The conference table being made from recycled totara cuve staves is a beautiful nod to our history while we focus on the future.





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The Science

Sustainability Focus Composting at Dog Point Vineyards. Photo Jim Tannock.

SUSTAINABILITY IS critical to ensuring New Zealand can protect the places that make its famous wine, says New Zealand Winegrowers (NZW) General Manager Sustainability Dr Edwin Massey. A new scorecard review project will make Sustainable Winegrowing New Zealand (SWNZ) more relevant and better for members to engage with, he says. “It will also ensure we remain world leaders in sustainable wine growing.” The SWNZ programme has been a “flagship” sustainability initiative for two decades, and still enables the industry to claim a leadership position around the world, says Edwin. “However, it is time to take stock and look at how it can be enhanced, which is why we kicked off the scorecard review project in November.” The review aims to reshape the SWNZ scorecards around five key focus areas - people, waste, water, pest and disease, and climate change. “Narrowing the focus but going deeper

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Five key focus areas SUSTAINABILITY INITIATIVES have been revised to concentrate on five focus areas - water, waste, pest and disease, climate change and people. In an email sent out to members last month, NZW General Manager Sustainability Dr Edwin Massey said each focus area has its own specific goal: • Water - be a world leader in efficient water use. • Waste - minimise the environmental impact of the materials we use. • Pest and disease - understand, reduce and mitigate impacts of existing and potential pests and disease. • Climate change - reduce carbon emissions. • People - be an industry of choice for workers. For more information go to

into these key areas will make the scorecards more relevant for members and help us to display the evidence to consumers and regulators that our activities are truly sustainable,” says Edwin. A PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) review highlighted that sustainability needed to be a “core value” across all NZW’s activities, to protect its places


and enhance its social license to operate. It also highlighted the importance of diversity for the vibrancy and sustainability of the wine industry, he says. “I am looking forward to engaging with the different regions to find out: How can we improve? What we are doing well? Where are the opportunities? And how we can work together to protect our inter-

ests and help each other?” A Scorecard Technical Advisory Group (STAG), made up of growers, winemakers and other stakeholders from across the country, will help enable the change, including international benchmarking of the new scorecard questions, says Edwin. “This benchmarking process is about wanting to be the best we can be to future-proof our certification programme and ensure its relevance for members.” That will require pushing boundaries, says Edwin. “We know it’s time to sharpen our focus and purpose, and this project is an excellent opportunity to take industry members on this exciting journey with us.” The next edition of Winegrower Magazine has a sustainability focus, including stories on industry members standing up for sustainability. Please contact sophie@sophiepreece. if you have an initiative big or small - to share.


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The Science

Spotting Leafroll THE SYMPTOMS of Grapevine Leafroll-associated Virus Type 3 (leafroll 3) infection are quite marked on red wine varieties, with reddening in the interveinal area of leaves, especially in the latter part of the season, from veraison leading up to harvest. White varieties are also susceptible, although the symptoms are harder to identify and usually require laboratory analysis. Whilst vines may be virus-free at time of planting, all grape vines are susceptible to leafroll 3, which will ultimately cause reduction in fruit yield and quality.

Marilyn Duxson with mealybug monitoring pheremone traps.

Mealybug warnings JEAN GRIERSON

AS MEALYBUGS gain a foothold in Central Otago, grapegrowers are being urged to be vigilant for signs of Grapevine Leafrollassociated Virus Type 3 (leafroll 3) in vines. Mealybugs, a vector of the virus, have been a pest in New Zealand orchards for more than a century, in vineyards in Hawke’s Bay for many years, and are now seriously infesting grape vines in many parts of Marlborough. It was previously thought – or hoped - the insect pest wouldn’t survive the cold winters and harsher Central Otago climate. An information workshop was held in Cromwell last October, facilitated by the Bragato Research Centre (BRI) and Central Otago Winegrow-

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ers Association (COWA), and a mealybug monitoring programme launched. The monitoring programme aims to ascertain the extent of infestation, following grower reports of mealybugs found in grape bunches at harvest last year. In the workshop, growers were shown how to identify the two main species of mealybug affecting grapes - longtailed and citrophilus - where they can be found (usually the underside of leaves), and the threat to the local industry. That threat is primarily through mealybugs’ role as a vector of the incurable leafroll 3, but secondly because of the rejection of fruit at harvest due to the presence of insects and sooty mould.


Plant & Food Research Senior Scientist Vaughn Bell told growers that mealybug can live on various plants such as clovers, haresfoot trefoil, and hawksbeard, as well as grape vines where they over-winter under bark or on the roots. They emerge in summer, when all life cycle stages can be found on the undersides of leaves and along the main leaf veins, where they suck the sap. Juveniles, or crawlers, have no wings but are easily spread in the wind and, if infected with leafroll 3, will pass the virus on to the next vine they feed on. Vaughn said the virus has led to the loss of whole vineyard blocks in Hawke’s Bay, and encouraged Central Otago

growers to start planning a programme of identifying, marking and roguing vines showing leaf colouration associated with the virus (Spotting Leafroll 3 sidebox). BRI has funded the pheromone trapping programme across six sites throughout Central Otago, while a further 10 volunteer sites have been set up by growers through COWA to try to map the presence or absence of mealybug across all sub regions. Vaughn said only limited results were available yet, and the cool start to the season perhaps delayed the appearance of the pest. However, the presence of populations of the pest were confirmed on at least two of the

monitoring sites in different sub regions of Central Otago. Meanwhile, some locals believe mealybug is firmly established in parts of the region and probably has been for some time. One viticulturist confirms he observed mealybugs throughout several blocks in Gibbston last year, both on properties he manages as well as neighbouring properties. “It’s clearly in the Cromwell Basin as well as in Gibbston,” he says. “I would suggest they are everywhere.” Several tonnes of fruit were discarded at harvest time as they were tainted by sooty mould, and one vineyard block had been withdrawn from organics transition so insecticide could be applied to get on top of the problem. He says other growers, vineyard managers and contractors should be more honest and open to conversation about infestations in the interests of sharing information and developing pest management guidelines for the region. “We’ve been dealing with a completely different beasty down here,” he says. “Mealybug is living in a different and harsher environment and, being so cold this year, it’s not a good example to base our control decisions on.” Another viticulturist says he volunteered for the monitoring programme as some blocks of vines he manages were known to have the leafroll 3 virus, and he was conscious they would be at risk of the virus spreading if mealybugs were present. Scientist and grower Marilyn Duxson, who is on the BRI Research Advisory Committee, is coordinating the distribution of pheromone traps through members of COWA. She says there’s been a general belief across the Central Otago region that mealybug isn’t there, so growers have avoided roguing vines with the virus. But she began a roguing programme to remove virus-

affected vines last winter, after “positive identification that mealybug was in the district”, and urges other growers to be far more vigilant looking for mealybug as well as virus signs, and tagging vines in coming months. She says the fact that many vineyards are organic and there hasn’t been widespread use of insecticides previously could be a good thing and mealybug may be managed so long as the virus threat is contained. “Start planning to remove those virus-infected vines and you will sleep easier at night,” she said. Vaughn hopes more growers will volunteer to include their vineyards in the monitoring programme, now that BioGro has given express permission for the traps to go into organic registered vineyards. He emphasises that the results would be completely anonymous at all times. BRI Viticulture Extension and Research Manager Len Ibbotson encourages all growers to look closely at their vines and fruit leading into the harvest period and to use fact sheets on the New Zealand Winegrowers website to identify mealybug or virus, taking particular note if a virus appeared to be spreading. He says the message from experience in other regions is to use a “softer chemistry” approach to controlling mealybug. “We made it very clear that if you’re not seeing mealybug in your vineyard, then don’t spray,” he says. “Broad spectrum insecticides kill beneficial insects such as parasitic wasps, and it may be better to maintain a diverse habitat of groundcover species offering mealybugs alternative habitat and reducing the risk of virus spread. Insecticide use to control mealybug is one tool in a very large toolbox to manage the issues associated with the pest.”

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Hail damage research A NEW research project will help inform vineyard recovery strategies following hail, after three separate events hit New Zealand vineyards last spring. Approximately 600 hectares of vines in Hawke’s Bay were damaged by an October hailstorm, with further damage in Central Otago and North Canterbury in November. The Bragato Research Institute (BRI) has launched a two-year

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project to learn from the experiences of the vineyard managers affected, and fill the knowledge gap around hail events, says project leader Len Ibbotson. He says there is limited information around recovery strategies following frost as well, but vineyard managers looking after a vineyard in a frost-prone area are likely to deal with the problem each season, and therefore have


information and systems in place to manage and prevent damage. “For hail, there are no prevention strategies employed in New Zealand vineyards. They tend to be quite random events. There is much more chance you are going to encounter a hail event and have never dealt with it before,” he says. “That provides motivation for me to work with growers affected, learn from them, and docu-

ment their experiences.” Len says it is likely that each year there will be a hail event in one of New Zealand’s wine regions, although not in the same place. “The random nature of hail means it is important to broaden the information base available to growers, so they can react quickly and make decisions,” he says. “It is really hard on growers and their teams when

There will also be a series of field trials in some vineyards to measure and evaluate the impact of hail damage. you see all the hard work of a season undone by a weather event.” The research project was started after a meeting in Hawke’s Bay on 15 October, when BRI and the New Zealand Winegrowers sustainability team members met with hail-affected growers and the local Rural Support Trust. “This research has come from that workshop, meeting with growers, and the fantastic work the Rural Support Trust does for growers and farmers in difficult times,” says Len. The research project will continue through to August 2021, and a group of eight growers affected by hail - four in Canterbury and four in Hawke’s Bay will take part by recording

Hail damage in Hawke’s Bay vineyard.

field notes during the season, participating in interviews, and offering aggregate yield and relevant financial data for this growing season. Len says the information will enable their management decisions to be evaluated and linked to harvest outcomes. There will also be a series of field trials in some vineyards to measure and evaluate the impact of hail damage, along with various post-hail treatment options. Vines will be monitored for two seasons to capture any potential carrythrough of hail effects into

“The random nature of hail means it is important to broaden the information base available to growers.” the second season and evaluate interventions that growers may consider after hail damage. The BRI has produced a draft scorecard for growers to help assess their vines after hail damage. When completed, it will offer growers a tool for evaluating and recording damage following a hail event,

and may also help evaluate frost damage, says Len. The draft is available now, with feedback coming in from winegrowers who have trialled the resource. “I would like to have a final draft of that this winter, so it is ready and able to be used in the field for the next season.”

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The Science

Climate change in Rheingau TESSA NICHOLSON

FAMOUS FOR its Riesling, grown on slopes leading down to the Rhine River, Rheingau is one of Germany’s renowned wine regions. The first grapes were planted by Cistercian monks in the 1100s, but these slopes are now under threat because of climate change. Kloster Eberbach, the country’s largest vineyard owner, has some of the steepest slopes in Germany. But those slopes are gradually being turned into terraces, due to weather extremes threatening the vines themselves.

Vineyard manager Stefan Seysahrt says 2019 was the latest to threaten the livelihood of the winery, with extremes that saw hail, 40 degrees Celsius-plus days, and rainfall of 341mm in three days in the middle of summer. That rainfall dislodged more than two tonnes of topsoil from the sloping vineyards, which had to be manually retrieved and placed back around the vines in an effort to save them. As a result, Kloster has begun a terracing programme

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More than two tonnes of topsoil were lost during a heavy rain event at Kloster Eberbach vineyards last year.

that will remove the threat of further land degradation. Vines have to be removed, causing a loss of production, the hills have to be re-contoured and replanted, and the orientation of the vines has to change. Drip irrigation is being installed as well, for the first time in the history of the sites, to counter the high temperatures the region now experiences during summer. New varieties such as Sauvignon Blanc and Cabernet Sauvignon are also being introduced, although Stefan hopes

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Riesling will remain the dominant variety. The changes are dramatic, but then so too is the impact of climate change in this small German region. Professor Claudia Kammann from Geisenheim University says data shows how much the temperature has impacted in the past few decades. “Since 1955 we can see leaf emergence has come earlier. It has progressed 1.8 days per decade - over that entire period that is two weeks. In some occasions it is much

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The impacts of increased C02

The re-contouring of the land is a long-term project for Germany’s largest vineyard owner, Kloster Eberbach, as slopes are replaced by terraces.

earlier and we are moving into the period when we still have night frosts.” Earlier grape harvests have occurred many times before, but Claudia says the frequency of them is increasing. “Records show that between 1770 and 1987 early harvests were recorded every 66.7 years. From 1988 to 2018 that frequency rose to every 3.8 years. Since 2003, early harvests have occurred eight out of 16 years,

every second year, on average.” Despite being renowned as a cool climate grape growing region, in 2019 Rheingau’s average temperature was 18C - close to the average temperature of the Napa Va l l e y a n d A u s t r a l i a ’s Adelaide Hills. According to Geisenheim researchers, the 18C benchmark is touted as the average for Rheingau by 2050 if climate change doesn’t slow down.

GEISENHEIM UNIVERSITY is conducting a unique programme to determine the impact of CO2 on grape vines. Free Air Carbon Dioxide Enrichment (FACE) will determine what higher concentrations of CO2 have on vine cultivation, physiology, pest infestation and wine quality. The levels of CO2 the vines are being exposed to is equivalent to those experts predict for 2050, if levels continue to rise. When compared with the control block within the same vineyard, the vines exposed to higher CO2 levels are growing faster and stronger. Professor Claudia Kammann says there is more biomass to be pruned and the leaf area is larger. “The amount of grapes you can harvest grows - but not because of more grapes… because of larger grapes.” Bunch numbers are the same, but the bunches are larger and tighter – causing more disease threats. Water usage is higher with increased CO2 and pests are also impacted - grape moths introduced into the blocks saw one extra gestation in the high CO2 vines and, perhaps more frightening, the larvae were 25 percent larger than those in the control blocks. The research programme began in 2014, and Kammann says they have yet to determine the impact on sugar, acids and quality of wine.

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The Science

Climate change impacting wine industry TESSA NICHOLSON

CLIMATE CHANGE is the third greatest threat to the international wine industry, according to a survey undertaken at ProWein Dusseldorf last year (2019). The survey conducted by Geisenheim University interviewed 1,700 participants, ranging from producers to exporters, importers to retail. In total, the

of climate change be for you?” More than 90 percent of smaller producers said climate change had already impacted, and 75 percent of large wineries agreed. The impacts described included a change in the sensory characteristics of wine and the need for new winemaking techniques to deal with that. Volatility in grape supply was considered a “Volatility in serious issue, espegrape supply was cially for larger winerconsidered a serious ies and cooperatives, as was the volatility issue, especially for of quality and pricing. Extreme weather larger wineries and events such as hail, cooperatives.” late frost or heavy rain during harvest is respondents represented 46 dif- seen as playing the major role ferent countries. in the volatility issues and most Geisenheim Professor expect it to become even more Simone Loose (pictured) said pronounced in the next decade. they wanted to know how There was concern among proimportant climate change was ducers that the volatility will to the wine industry, com- lead to declining profits and, pared to all the other threats while most want to be able to and challenges it faces. “And we act to mitigate climate change, wanted to know over the next they are worried dropping prof10 years, what do you expect, its will stymie their efforts. and how strong will the impact While the survey talked

only to those attending ProWein, respondents were asked if they believed there would be an impact on consumers and, if so, how. The consensus was that consumer behaviour was likely to change. Simone says the danger is that consumers may turn away from wine as a beverage of choice altogether,


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especially during summer, where she says the chances of a consumer wanting to drink a heavy red wine in temperatures of more than 40C are unlikely. To read more about the ProWein Business Report on the special topic of climate change go to Geisenheim University’s site at

The People

Wellness in wine

Winemaker Survey Checking in on wellbeing. Pg 42

Switching off Forrest Estate’s shorter work week. Pg 43

The Balance Finding a wine-life balance. Pg 44

Resilience Institute Building self awareness. Pg 45

Women in Wine Valli winemaker Jen Parr. Pg 46

Andrew Brown. Photo: Jim Tannock


The People

Wellness in wine

Wine Marlborough work-life balance survey SOPHIE PREECE

THE COMPRESSED harvests, challenging vintages and rapid growth of Marlborough’s wine industry could threaten the wellbeing of its winemakers, say industry members. Nautilus Estate’s Clive Jones, who has worked in the industry for 28 years, including 20 in Marlborough, says he and others are concerned that the intense period of vintage isn’t followed by an inbuilt recovery period, leaving some winemakers under pressure for interminable periods. “What used to be considered a really exciting time of year is suddenly becoming quite hard work and quite a drag. We wanted to tease that out a bit and see how people were coping with increased pressures in workloads.” Saint Clair Senior Winemaker Stewart Maclennan says the issue seems to be symptomatic of the region’s massive growth. More and more people are talking about being under

the pump and under pressure, he says. “It’s become apparent to us, and to other people, that there’s a conversation about workload and recovery here.” Stewart and Clive are part of a small group that approached Wine Marlborough, resulting in a winemaker survey sent out late last year, asking about working hours, work-life balance, and respondents’ willingness to talk to their employer about being overloaded. Advocacy Manager Vance Kerslake says he hoped for 50 responses, but had a surge of replies on the first day, nearly 50 in the first week and 99 in total. “That shows the level of interest in the topic.” If the rapid response was a surprise, so were the comments, applauding the initiative as being timely. He says many of the responses, which are anonymous, were from people who had worked in the Marlbor-

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ough industry for a decade or more. They were typically very positive about the New Zealand wine industry, about Marlborough wine, and about Marlborough as a good place to be a winemaker, he says. “But the job does come with pressures and a lot of people feel under pressure quite a bit of the time.” Most people were happy with their current job, but around a quarter were looking for a different position, says Vance, adding that some level of churn is normal. And while people acknowledged that long hours and intense pressure at certain time of the year were expected of a winemaker, they were “a bit hesitant” over

whether they had good worklife balance, he says. “Overall, the feeling is that the annual workload is not really reasonable.” Stewart says winemaking has always involved long hours and big days. “It’s part of the tradition and part of the passion.” But, in other parts of the world, that might be offset by long lunches and a day off on Sunday, and in Marlborough there was historically a good break after the adrenaline of vintage. Without it, the increased pressure of vintage, “coupled with an increased inability to recover sufficiently from that”, is something the industr y needs to guard against.

The results of the winemaker survey will be discussed at a seminar at 3.30pm, 20 February, at the Marlborough Research Centre Theatre. RSVP to Vance at

The People

Time out Taking time to smell the Rosés WORDS: SOPHIE PREECE

WELLNESS INITIATIVES have to be about more than ticking a box, says Forrest Estate General Manager Beth Forrest, who is determined to “lead with love”. Beth cut Forrest Estate back to a 38-hour week last year with an expectation that staff will leave two hours early on a Friday to take time for themselves, whether that means playing golf or cooking dinner. “We say pack up and go home. Get out of here - I don’t want to see you.” The initiative is about protecting work-life balance, she says. “We have always talked about Forrest as a family and that has always extended to our staff… For us, wellness is about holding on to what that means for family in the demanding modern world.” Beth, who is also a board member for Marlborough Winegrowers, says wine is

a busy industry with big expectations, and it’s not often that people will work an eighthour day. “In a small team like ours, everyone is really dedicated. They all go above and beyond.” For some, that means long days in the vines or winery, and for others it’s travelling, or doing business at night on a nor thern hemisphere schedule, she says. “There are busy periods in all parts of the industry where people are expected to go above and beyond. But you have to remind yourself that you are actually allowed to have a life.” That includes learning to turn off the phone, says Beth, acutely aware of her own compulsion to check emails before bed and first thing in the morning. In a board piece written for Winepress, Wine Marlborough’s magazine, Beth

“We have always talked about Forrest as a family and that has always extended to our staff.”

talked of managing work and life in a “far more demanding world”, where constant and global connectivity are an expectation. “The belief that we should be ‘on’ constantly, ready to function, lead and inspire at 100 percent full throttle at all times is impossible and totally exhausting.” S he says her big gest realisation when taking on the role at Forrest is that you cannot be work-focused all the time. “You are better off putting in 45 hours and loving it - be in the zone and give it everything - then go home

and turn your phone off if you want to.” Enabling people to take time off can be hugely beneficial for the business, with solutions struck when people switch off, she adds. “It’s amazing. People forget the power of your subconscious thought.” Forrest Estate is also exploring the power of moving meetings, where people talk work while they walk in the vineyards, rather than be stuck in an office. “Things that get you out of the office for five minutes - soak up the sunshine and have a chat.”


The People

The Balance

In part one of a series focused on finding a healthy wine- life balance, Framingham’s ‘new’ winemaker Andrew Brown talks to Sophie Preece of family, music and surf. A NDR EW BROW N clearly recalls the first time he saw the Kaikōura coastline, as a South Otago farm boy heading to an athletics meet in Nelson. The 14-year-old thought “wow”, and by his early 20s was back, working for a dolphin swimming company and trying to catch a wave at Mangamaunu, a surf spot north of the township. Fast forward 18 years including two as a Kiwi Experience bus driver, one getting a post graduate degree in wine and oenology, and 15 being surprised that winemaking was a viable career - and he’s still “in awe” of the white capped Kaikōura range, rising steeply from the blue sweep of the Pacific Ocean. “We love that coastline,” says Andrew, now based in Blenheim with his wife Julia and three young kids.



For the past three years, Andrew has worked for Waipara Hills, and frequently travelled to the winery in North Canterbury, via Mangamaunu. Often he’d be up early to secure a surf report and a surfboard from an old Kaikōura mate, then head off pre-dawn for a surf en route. He’s not very good, he admits. “It’s one of those sports you never master unless you live right next to a beach, or a break.” But he loves the ritual, the anticipation of finding surf, and the ethos of the culture. Last month Andrew left Waipara Hills to take up the role of Head Winemaker at Framingham in Marlborough, stepping into the big shoes of Andrew Hedley, who spent 18 years in the role building an “awesome legacy” for the wines, says ‘Brownie’, as he’s known


there. It’s something of a return home for the winemaker, who spent seven years as Assistant Winemaker at Framingham, after spending five years in Oregon, Central Otago and the Alsace region of France, racking up vintages. He says the move to Waipara Hills provided great experience, working with a dedicated crew of people in a region he rates. But he’s relishing the opportunity to get back to Framingham, a small company with a devotion to music, art and “honest wines”, including the Riesling he loves. Andrew is also “stoked” to be working with Viticulturist James Bowskill, again, although their band The Renwick Nudes - has drifted apart over the past few years. Since 2008, Andrew has been singer and guitarist in a

series of bands, from the Dead Parrots to the Subregionals and the Renwick Nudes, and now a new unnamed three piece. He says music provides him with a creative outlet, and he’s attended countless parties via the stage. “It was a great way to socialise, and didn’t really impinge on family time, because it’s after the witching hour.” Surfing and music are hobbies that keep his work and life in balance, and wine was originally a hobby too, far from his degree in parks, recreation and tourism management. “It was more of an interest and I pursued it and it led me down this path,” Andrew says. “I came into the wine industry not thinking it was a career path, but 15 years down the track, it most certainly is.”

The People

Bounce and recover THE HUMAN body and brain evolved to work in bursts of intensity, followed by rest and recovery, says Bradley Hook from the Resilience Institute. “Vines that are cared for produce better grapes. Humans that care for themselves enjoy improved health, motivation and clarity of mind. Like vines, we are more productive. We’re also happier, more connected and fulfilled.” Resilience is part preparation and part real-time response, says Bradley. “For example, if I prioritise sleep, then I will enjoy improved emotion regulation the following day. As a result, I am more likely to be able to exert impulse control - for example,

Practical Tip Create space for micro-pauses throughout the day. If you don’t already, a simple breathing exercise can help you signal to the body that you’re ok and that the freeze, fight, flight response are not needed right now. This can reduce inflammation, improve focus and cultivate a sense of calm. Breathe out for five seconds and in for three. Repeat for a minute.

to resist unhealthy food - plus have the motivation to go for a walk. The feedback loops are virtuous and self-reinforcing. Going for a walk means I might sleep better the next night.” Often one small tweak cre-

ates momentum that makes all the difference, he says. “Elite sportspeople are meticulous about training, recovery and gathering feedback from coaches and mentors. The rest of us do the best we can while balancing workloads, families, social lives and the constant

lure of screens.” • Brad Hook is a partner at The Resilience Institute (resiliencei. com) and author of a new book - Resilience Mastery: 11 Keys to Upgrade Human Performance. Brad will provide Winegrower Magazine with regular tips on staying well in wine.

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The People

Women in Wine Jen Parr on Central Otago’s people, places and Pinot SOPHIE PREECE

JOINING VA LLI in 2015 was a “Cinderella story” for Jen Parr, who describes it as “finally finding a shoe that fits”. Gourmet Traveller WINE’s 2020 New Zealand Winemaker of the Year says the Central Otago company’s dedication to wines of honesty, integrity and a sense of place is perfectly aligned with her own winemaking p h i l o s o p h y. “ T h e m o s t important thing about Valli is it really is about wine quality, and making the best wines we can from the individual places where we grow grapes. Wine always comes first at Valli, and every decision we make is about whether we believe we have achieved the right quality and the right expression of the individual harvest. We hold true to that.” Originally from Oregon, Jen was living in London, and selling financial software around Europe and South Africa, when she decided on a career change.

46   //

London was like a “candy shop for adults” when it came to the range of wines available, and she was spending most of her earnings on wine classes, wine books and wine, including a lot of Central Otago Pinot Noir, and Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc. She was jaded with city living, yearning for nature, and at a crossroads at work, so decided on a life in wine. “I wanted to be immersed in something that had personal meaning,” she says. With a university debt just paid off, Jen rejected the idea of a postgraduate degree, trusting that her journey of winemaking wouldn’t be about “hard science”, but instead about people and place. So she worked three harvests a year from 2002 to 2007, learning from winemakers who inspired her, while hatching a plan to live in New Zealand. It took 70 letters to New Zealand wineries to finally get


a job for Villa Maria’s 2003 vintage, which only increased her excitement about the industry. From there she went to Craggy Range in Hawke’s Bay for two harvests, and to Muddy Water in North Canterbury for one, before landing a job as assistant winemaker with Olssen’s (now Terra Sancta) in Bannockburn. “That was the beginning of the journey,” says Jen, who’s as smitten with Otago - including its skiing, mountain biking and tramping - as she is with its wine. “It’s a dream place to have a good work-life balance and really take advantage of the things that are here in front of me.” She became head winemaker at Olssen’s in 2009, and in 2015 joined Grant Taylor at Valli, seeing the opportunity to “make wines that share my philosophy and wines that share my reason for being in this industry”. That philosophy is grounded in “real honesty

and authenticity”, with the “best expression of a place in a season”, she says, although cautious about the word ‘best’, because character can be polished right out of a wine. “To me it’s the freckles and the scars - those things are important, and especially in Pinot Noir.” While Bordeaux varieties can be beautiful faultless “supermodels”, Pinot Noir is more “bohemian”, Jen says. “It needs to have obvious character differences. Things that stand out.” If three winemakers with fruit from the same season and site make the same wine, somebody is doing something wrong, she says. “One person’s connection to a place will produce something different to someone else.” Gourmet Traveller WINE Chair of Judges Bob Campbell MW talks of Jen’s “enthusiasm, obvious intellect, willingness to learn and desire to pass on her knowledge to others”,

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and believes she will make a big difference to New Zealand wine in general and Central Otago wine in particular. “The award honours both her contribution and potential to the development of quality winemaking in this country.” Grant Taylor calls her “the most thoughtful winemaker I know”. The small team of three winemakers at Valli “just click” together, he says. “I don’t even think the Rolling Stones in

their heyday worked together as well as we do.” Jen’s contributions to the wine industry in Central Otago are “legendary”, Grant adds. As well at work at Valli, wine judging, consulting for several wine companies, and running a small barrel import company, Jen has served twice as the Chairperson for the Central Otago Pinot Noir Celebration, helped organise the national and Central Otago Winemakers Workshops, and

was a Women in Wine mentor of Chard Farm’s Katrina Jackson (see page 48) in the pilot programme. Those efforts are part of “trying to make your life and your work something that helps other people”, she says. “We make wine for a living, so you have to think outside the box in terms of how life’s work can make a difference to others.” Part of that is by working closely with nature to produce wine that people love, and use to celebrate and remember a moment in time, she says. “And I think part of it is being a good leader and mentor, and helping other people on their journey.” Her own experiences have taught her how much difference it can make to have someone give an hour of their time. “You look back and think, ‘if it weren’t for that day in that job with that person, my outcomes would have been so different’.” More recently, she’s

taken a step back from leadership roles, to make space for the energy coming up from “the next wave of really enthusiastic people” in Central’s wine industry. Jen has no plans for her own label, calling it an admirable and noble goal, but one that has never been on her radar. Instead, she sees herself as an “enabler”, helping Valli and other small companies make “honest wines with character and interest… That for me is a good enough goal to have”. As for the future of Central Otago, she says it’s done truly remarkable things in three decades of commercial wine growing, thanks to “the uniqueness of the place and the uniqueness of the people that it draws”. But there’s still a long way to go, “which is equally exciting”, she says. “I don’t know that you ever ‘arrive’ on a wine journey, but you refine your destination.”

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The People

Escaping the ‘work bubble’ In the first of a series of profiles to celebrate International Women’s Day in March, SARAH ADAMS talks to Katrina Jackson at Chard Farm in Central Otago. K AT R INA JACK S ON inherited a love of wine from her parents, who toured cellar doors with her as a child. At 15, she saw wine was a career option at Lincoln University, with the combination of science and the outdoors a “huge drawcard”. Katrina began studying in 2014 and had the opportunity to do an exchange with the University of California, Davis. “I was sponsored through university by The Nikolas Dow Memorial Trust - amazing people I still keep in contact with,” she says. The

Dow Family are connected to Chard Farm, so Katrina applied for a vintage position there. After that, she did a vintage at Niepoort Vinhos in Douro Valley, Portugal. But just before she left for Europe, Chard Farm offered her the Assistant Vineyard Manager position. Katrina is still new to the industry, but has embraced it with open arms, putting her hand up for ever y opportunity. She entered the Young Viticulturist competition, “a challenging

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and rewarding experience”, and last year was partnered with Jen Parr from Valli (see page 46) in the 2019 Women in Wine mentoring programme. “It was nice to be able to get out of my little ‘work bubble’,” she says of being a mentee. “Not only did I get advice, I also tasted some delicious wines with her too.” Katrina was also selected to attend the inaugural New Zealand Winegrowers Young Leaders Forum last year, a career highlight for her. “It was an honour to be

selected… discuss potential and current problems within our industr y and star t helping to come up with solutions.” Her favourite thing about working in the wine industry is the people. “You meet people from all over who have ideas, stories and who share the passion for the same thing - wine.” Her advice for others new to the industry is to ask for help when needed. “Know your limitations and ask others around you - it’s a team effort.”

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Bob’s Blog


Bob Campbell

A Wine Survival Kit ARMAGEDDON APPEARS to be looming if heat waves, bush fires and volcanic activity are any indication, or so my daughter believes. Following instructions from a Civil Defense website, she has assembled an impressive collection of items to prolong the life of her family when normal services cease. My favourite is a hand generator that produces enough electricity to charge a cellphone and light a torch.

I HAVE enough wine to last me around two years if trapped in my house. If I have to abandon house my ration is just six bottles. For that reason I now own three two-bottle neoprene wine bottle holders. They are light, offer some protection against breakage and help insulate the wine from temperature extremes. What to put in them? Because I might be unable to chill my wines while on the run I would stick to reds. Should I choose my oldest reds and risk the chance of cork taint or go for more reliable youthful bottles that are sealed with screwcaps? Perhaps fortified wines would be a wise choice because they’ll stay fresher for longer once opened? Roman legionnaires needed wine to kill the bugs in the water of the countries they invaded and favoured high alcohol reds because they lightened the load.

My short list is as follows: 1982 Chateau Cos d’Estournel 2005 Chateau Angelus 2008 Ata Rangi Pinot Noir 2017 Felton Road Pinot Noir 1977 Taylors Port 1991 Quinta do Vesuvio Port

Water into Wine A Lund’s “London Lever”, patented 1855, from Fromm’s corkscrew collection.

2 x corkscrews IF I had to abandon the security of my home right now and take just six bottles, at least half would be sealed with a cork, simply because they are mature reds that I purchased before screwcaps were available. My favourite double-action corkscrew with Tefloncoated worm has a reasonably decent knife that might be useful in a survival situation. It’s important to pack two corkscrews. I learned that on a wine industry fishing trip many years ago when our only corkscrew was dropped overboard before the first cork had been completely removed. One bright spark thought he could remove the cork by bashing the bottom of the bottle with his shoe. That didn’t work. Instead we had to remove the bottle necks by breaking them on the railing before letting the shards of glass sink to the bottom and pouring carefully.

Stemless glasses TO KEEP volume to a minimum I’d choose stemless glasses. I do have some light and indestructible plastic wine glasses but think that would be a step too far. My favourite stemless glasses at the moment are the deliciously light but scarily fragile Jancis Robinson glasses. They are very good but too risky when fighting off rabid dogs and looters. I have some robust Speigelau tumblers that are both durable and a pleasure to use.

50   //


WE’VE HAD wine coolers, spritzers, Clayton wine. Trending now are low alcohol wine, no alcohol wine, orange wine and natural wine. What’s next? The answer just might be Wine Water. What is Wine Water? It’s a style that’s still finding its feet but is basically an alcohol-free water with a wine-infused flavour and even a few healthful natural anti-oxidants. It can be still or sparkling and is low in calories. Israel’s Gaelil Mountain Winery, for example, offers a range of still and sparkling Wine Waters marketed under the O.Vine brand. They include varietal waters such as Chardonnay Wine Essence Water and Cabernet Sauvignon Wine Essence Water. O.Vine is alcohol free, naturally sourced, low in calories, has only 4g of natural sugar per serving, contains no preservatives, added colour or sulphites and is Kosher. It was awarded a “Best New Water Concept” at the 2018 Global Bottles Water Awards, Evian, France. Check out their website: Because Wine Water is alcohol free it doesn’t carry the burden of alcohol taxation and can be sold in non-licensed premises. Who is most likely to drink it? The “sober-curious” according to website While I cannot claim to be curious about sobriety, I am keen to try this new product, although I must confess that a vaguely wine-tasting water doesn’t have a lot of appeal. My wife and daughters disagree. They think it sounds great. The term “low in calories” has a magic ring to them and, I would imagine, to a significant percentage of the world’s population.

New Zealand’s top selling wine IT’S BECOME fashionable to dislike Sauvignon Blanc, according to dinner party chatter recently. At a table of eight people five vehemently refused to touch a drop of it even if they were trapped on a desert island and that’s all there was to drink. Two of us professed to like Sauvignon Blanc and one felt ambivalent about this country’s top export wine. Taste in wine is subjective. Everyone can like or loathe whatever wine they choose, but this small survey runs counter to national sales figures if I’ve crunched the numbers correctly. New Zealand’s 2019 vintage yielded 302,157 tonnes of Sauvignon Blanc grapes. According to the latest export statistics 86 percent of that figure is likely to be exported. That leaves 42,301 tonnes of Sauvignon Blanc destined for the local market. It also makes Sauvignon Blanc our most popular wine by a hefty margin. Pinot Noir, the runner-up, produced 26,944 tonnes of grapes in 2019, and that’s before export figures are deducted. Chardonnay, then Pinot Gris follow close behind. Sauvignon Blanc pays the bills, put New Zealand on the world wine map and is a clear leader in the domestic consumption stakes. I think it deserves a little more respect.

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The Places

Master glass Lifting the bar on wine bottle labelling SOPHIE PREECE

THE CREATION of an industryapproved guide for label application is a “huge step forward” for the packaging sector and New Zealand wine, says WineWorks Managing Director Tim Nowell-Usticke. In opening New Zealand’s first Wine Packaging Forum, held in Blenheim late last year, he talked of wine packaging being tucked in a “forgotten dark corner” of the New Zealand wine industry for the past 20 years - “somewhere down by the bike sheds”. That’s despite the fact that in five minutes on the bottling line, wine leaps up in value from less than $3 to $9 per litre. “We think that where we are now is not good enough for

52   //

an industry that exports $1.6 billion worth of products and provides the biggest value-add step in the whole wine supply chain,” he told the audience, made up of screwcap, label, glass and bottling line experts. “It is a very significant value creator for what is probably the most exciting export industry New Zealand has.” Many in the industry want to lift the professionalism as well as the profile of the sector, Tim said. Cases of poor packaging performance in the market or on the bottling line often led to “circular finger pointing”, with blame laid at the feet of the bottle, the label and the application. But such


Tim Nowell-Usticke

faults could be minimised by tapping into pockets of expertise in the industry “that are screaming out to be shared”, in order to ensure best practice in production and procedure. “We all want our wine industry to succeed, and we ourselves want to succeed by lifting the bar.” The forum concluded with the release of the ‘Guide to

optimal outcomes for label application’, which sets best practice in terms of bottles, labels and application, and was developed through collaboration from competing glass manufacturers, bottling lines, and labelling companies, Tim said. “The truth is that there are industry problems where we are better together.”

The Places Wine News from our Places

Wine Weather James Morrison’s weather update. Pg 54

Everyday Wine An appetite for organics. Pg 56

Vintage Update Hawke’s Bay and Marlborough. Pg 58

Biosecurity The Lanternfly. Pg 60

Legal Matters Changes to the RMA. Pg 62

Advocacy Election year is here. Pg 64

Fromm Winery


The Places

Wine Weather Warm end to spring then cool start to summer JAMES MORRISON

Millton Vineyards in summer.

A WELL-PUBLICISED event in the atmosphere over Antarctica, called a sudden stratospheric warming, put forecasters and climate scientists on alert late in 2019. The concern was that this event could lead to an increase in cool southerly outbreaks bring pushed further north than usual and with a higher frequency. October turned out to be one of the coolest for several years, but that flipped as November became one of the

54   //

warmest. December was decidedly average across New Zealand as temperatures stalled and the first half of January felt markedly cool, with several cold mornings across most regions being a noticeable feature. Over the past three months, rainfall totals have been low from Gisborne to Canterbury, while Otago has been an exception, with quite a wet December in the south. We are now seeing a few subtle changes in the main


climate drivers. Firstly, the southern annular mode is near neutral, which indicates fewer cool southwest changes over the next few months. There is a chance that the Tasman Sea may become more active for the development of low pressure systems, as increased moisture moves into the Tasman Sea from the north. The southern oscillation index (SOI) remains in a neutral phase, but with a slight

tilt towards El Nino conditions. Sea temperatures remain below average around New Zealand. T h e t ro p i c a l c yc l o n e season is well underway. Under neutral conditions, the frequency of cyclones forming is near average, along with the chances of an ex-tropical cyclone reaching New Zealand. Cooler than average sea temperatures around New Zealand may help to weaken any sub tropical lows as they reach our shores.

The outlook for February and March is a little mixed across the regions: GISBORNE/HAWKE’S BAY High pressure systems are likely to centre over the upper North Island during February and help keep the east coast drier. As we move into March there is an increased risk of low pressure systems forming in the north Tasman Sea and moving east past East Cape. This could increase the risk of rain events during March. Temperatures remain near average with quite mild days during February but night-time temperatures still running a little cool. If conditions become cloudier during March, then nights should be milder and help to lift mean temperatures. Wind flows may remain light inland but a northeast flow is expected to develop at some stage. MARLBOROUGH/NORTH CANTERBURY Rainfall has been low about Marlborough and Canterbury for the past three months

and little is expected to change in early February. Cool night time temperatures are expected to continue and these pull the mean temperature down. Well sheltered inland areas may see some very warm day time temperatures under high pressure systems, however coastal areas are likely to be affected by quite cool sea breezes. The chances of rainfall and increased cloud cover rise during March along with an increase in the northeast flow. Rainfall totals are likely to be subject to the path that any Tasman Sea low pressure systems take.

CENTRAL OTAGO Historically the driest part of New Zealand, Central Otago has been reasonably wet this summer, with some parts of the region recording over 100mm in December. This has been due to an increase in southwest conditions and frequent fronts crossing

the lower South Island. The southwest flow has been weakening recently and should continue to do so. Mean temperatures have started rising above average through late January thanks to slow moving high pressure. Temperatures are likely to stay this way during February. We may see quite a large diurnal range in temperature. Cool nights and very mild days could bring a 20 degree C-plus difference between daily minimum and maximum temperatures. Rainfall totals are likely to be quite low as high pressure dominates. Like the rest of New Zealand, the risk of rain events increases during March. The nature of these events is more likely due to a low pressure system forming in the Tasman Sea then running across the lower South Island. Mean temperatures may drop closer to average during this time. • James Morrison runs Weatherstation Frost Forecasting Ltd

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The Places

Only Natural The stellar growth of organic wines


Ashleigh Barrowman at Everyday Wine. Photos by Adrian Vercoe

ORGANICS HAS moved from the obscure to the everyday, says Wine Diamond’s Dan Gillett, who launched two natural wine ventures late last year. Everyday Wine on Wellington’s Cuba Street opened in September, its timber shelves and bare brick

a beautiful natural wine bar on Karangahape Road in Auckland, with an earthy aesthetic and enormous selection from local and international organic producers. B o t h b u s i n e s s e s a re testament to his confidence in the growing consciousness of consumers when it comes to the contents of wine and “the cost to “They are really the earth”. There’s also interested to learn, a dawning awareness of how many premium and happy for us New Zealand brands to guide them, have been organic for which makes it years, choosing the philosophy to improve so much fun.” their wine’s quality and ASHLEIGH BARROWMAN their stewardship of the land, he says. Organic and natural wines have been at the walls lined with gleaming bottles fore at Scotch Wine Bar in of wine, each grown organically Blenheim since Dan bought or biodynamically and made it five years ago. “I think with low or no intervention. In back then people were really December, Dan launched Clay, interested in trying things

56   //


that were new. That’s how it got started.” Six months later, he launched the New Zealand arm of Wine Diamonds, a natural and organic wine distribution business founded in Japan. The uptake of organic wine isn’t an overnight success story, because a small core of producers and merchants have been banging this drum for a long time, he says. “But over the past four years it has gone from a few people interested, to now, where if you had a good restaurant you wouldn’t open without at least one or two natural wines on your list.” The change in market attitudes is filtering down to producers, and Dan is aware of wine companies that previously maligned non-intervention winemaking and organics now jumping on the bandwagon. Meanwhile, the appetite for organics is spreading to more consumers, including those who stroll into Everyday Wine

for a look. “It doesn’t take long. We have seen it in other countries and other markets. Before you know it, it will be commonplace.” Winemaker Ashleigh B ar row m an, w ho hel ps customers navigate an array of unfamiliar labels at Everyday Wine, says there’s an element of “classic Kiwi culture” at play in the push for organics. “Once people get on board with something they really get on board.” People are increasingly coming in to ask if the store has organic wine or vegan wine. “They are really interested to learn, and happy for us to guide them, which makes it so much fun,” she says. “They come in and say, ‘I don’t recognise any of your labels’, and we say ‘that’s great, let me talk you through them’. They are happy to go off your suggestions and often come back and tell us about their experiences.”

On Tap EVERYDAY WINE and Clay both have wines on tap, including a summer season of Jumpin’ Juice Sav Plonk. The “super bright, easy drinking” natural wine was produced by Dan and Ashleigh, in collaboration with Australian natural winemaker Patrick Sullivan. “We just wanted to have a really good natural Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc and we couldn’t find anything in the market that we wanted to push,” says Ashleigh. They also knew they wanted it on a keg system, so Everyday Wine customers can fill a 1 litre bottle and Clay clientele can enjoy a glass of wine without the waste-guilt associated with glass. The wines on tap are on rotation, and Dan and Ashleigh have developed a system with nitrogen to keep the wines fresh, and a middle tap of CO2, to evacuate the oxygen in the bottle before the fill. “People love it. It’s perfect for people living in a city, who don’t want to have a lot of waste around,” says Ashleigh. “We’re hoping this harvest there will be more New Zealand winemakers open to making a wine to go under keg.”


The Places

Vintage update Hawke’s Bay Q&A with Peter Hurlstone V I N TAG E 2 019 w i l l b e remembered for… a n exceptional vintage across all varieties. One out of the box and some have even claimed it as the vintage of a lifetime. The wines that have been released look amazing, but the best of them, including barrel fermented Chardonnay, Merlot, Cabernet, red blends and, of course, Syrah - all signature Hawke’s Bay varieties - are yet to be released. There is great anticipation prior to these wines reaching consumers and they

will get to see some fantastic wines. How was flowering in lead-up to Vintage 2020? Conditions over flowering were very good, with warm and relatively settled weather. A warm November helped with initiating healthy bunch numbers. The vines are looking really good and well balanced in terms of vigour, which bodes highly for another great season. Chardonnay crops appear to be down slightly across the region, but this will only mean

Vines at Mahi in Marlborough.

increased concentration and help support ripening. How has hail impacted on growers? The hail storm that hit the region was isolated to specific areas. Canopies have recovered well, however those growers

impacted are faced with varying degrees of lost yield. What challenges/ opportunities are ahead? The major opportunity is maximising what has been a good season to date. With a good weather forecast for March, it is

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a real opportunity for another award-winning vintage for the region. The key challenges are not specifically isolated to this vintage - labour availability and labour costs are of concern, as is increasing pressure on water resources. Vineyard irrigation systems are highly efficient but there are pending changes to how this resource is managed regionally, which will have impacts on growers into the future. What are growers hoping for in upcoming weeks? Warm and dry conditions. We have had good weather throughout flowering and are off to a great start to the season. Continued warm and dry climatic conditions will enable the vineyards to reach their optimal potential. It’s a simple recipe – sunshine! • Peter Hurlstone is deputy chair Hawke’s Bay Winegrowers.

Marlborough Q&A with Stu Dudley Vintage 2019 will be remembered for… the big dry. With less than 10mm of rain through January and February, Marlborough vineyards were very dry leading into harvest. Coupled with a mixed fruit set, this resulted in some lower yields across all varieties, but also resulted in some outstanding fruit quality. Near perfect harvest conditions meant that compared to some of the challenges with rain in 2018, Vintage 2019 was one to remember for all the right reasons. The high fruit quality has resulted in excellent wine quality across all varieties, Pinot Noir being a real standout with some amazing colour and concentration. How was flowering in leadup to Vintage 2020? Although growing degree

days were above the long term average, there were several rain events through flowering, especially about the upper and northern Wairau. However, in general most varieties have set well, with increased berry numbers compared with last year. This will be welcome to many growers as bunch counts were slightly lower across the region. How did frosts impact? There were a few frost events very early in the growing season that affected vineyards in various pockets of Marlborough. As they were quite early on, it was mainly Chardonnay and Pinot Noir affected. Although some individual blocks may be down, the majority of the vineyards remained untouched and overall yields will only be slightly impacted.

What challenges/opportunities are ahead? We are now (late January) in our fourth week without any significant rain, so it will be interesting to see how canopies are maintained and how the fruit develops. The forecast now is for some hot temperatures, which are much needed as since fruit set Marlborough has been tracking downwards in growing degree days. Powdery mildew pressure was definitely high through the Christmas window again, following the wet December, so vigilant protection programmes were needed to stay on top of it. What are growers hoping for in upcoming weeks? Same as in Hawke’s Bay! See Peter’s response above. • Stu Dudley is deputy chair of Marlborough Winegrowers.


from the Napa Valley

GRAPES WANTED On the back of our stunning run of success we have seen strong global demand across all varieties and in all markets. We’re seeking new supply partners with the ability to grow quality grapes of all varieties. We want to hear from you. We offer long term supply options, favourable cropping levels, better than average prices and payment terms. We’re locally owned, provide expert viticulture advice and operate our own 12,000 tonne Marlborough Winery.

Milled from a Napa Valley American Oak wine tank, this one-of-a-kind, custom designed, exceptional conference or tasting room table can be a real conversation piece for your winery. Or perhaps your in-house restaurant. The top is one solid piece of wood composed of the tank staves which once aged an award winning Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon. Measuring 244cm long x 107cm wide, (8ft long x 3.5ft wide), it can comfortably seat 10 people. The leg design was fashioned from a Santa Fe New Mexico gate. The leg sections are separated by a trestle wood beam also milled from wine tank. As distinctive as your brand, let this piece speak for itself in your winery. Currently disassembled for easy moving and stored in Nelson. Asking $2000 or make a reasonable offer. Contact: Karen Work –

If there are options you’d like to discuss, please make contact with our grower viticulturist Matt Fox on 027 463 2457 or


a real opportunity for another award-winning vintage for the region. The key challenges are not specifically isolated to this vintage - labour availability and labour costs are of concern, as is increasing pressure on water resources. Vineyard irrigation systems are highly efficient but there are pending changes to how this resource is managed regionally, which will have impacts on growers into the future. What are growers hoping for in upcoming weeks? Warm and dry conditions. We have had good weather throughout flowering and are off to a great start to the season. Continued warm and dry climatic conditions will enable the vineyards to reach their optimal potential. It’s a simple recipe – sunshine! • Peter Hurlstone is deputy chair Hawke’s Bay Winegrowers.

Marlborough Q&A with Stu Dudley Vintage 2019 will be remembered for… the big dry. With less than 10mm of rain through January and February, Marlborough vineyards were very dry leading into harvest. Coupled with a mixed fruit set, this resulted in some lower yields across all varieties, but also resulted in some outstanding fruit quality. Near perfect harvest conditions meant that compared to some of the challenges with rain in 2018, Vintage 2019 was one to remember for all the right reasons. The high fruit quality has resulted in excellent wine quality across all varieties, Pinot Noir being a real standout with some amazing colour and concentration. How was flowering in leadup to Vintage 2020? Although growing degree

days were above the long term average, there were several rain events through flowering, especially about the upper and northern Wairau. However, in general most varieties have set well, with increased berry numbers compared with last year. This will be welcome to many growers as bunch counts were slightly lower across the region. How did frosts impact? There were a few frost events very early in the growing season that affected vineyards in various pockets of Marlborough. As they were quite early on, it was mainly Chardonnay and Pinot Noir affected. Although some individual blocks may be down, the majority of the vineyards remained untouched and overall yields will only be slightly impacted.

What challenges/opportunities are ahead? We are now (late January) in our fourth week without any significant rain, so it will be interesting to see how canopies are maintained and how the fruit develops. The forecast now is for some hot temperatures, which are much needed as since fruit set Marlborough has been tracking downwards in growing degree days. Powdery mildew pressure was definitely high through the Christmas window again, following the wet December, so vigilant protection programmes were needed to stay on top of it. What are growers hoping for in upcoming weeks? Same as in Hawke’s Bay! See Peter’s response above. • Stu Dudley is deputy chair of Marlborough Winegrowers.


from the Napa Valley

GRAPES WANTED On the back of our stunning run of success we have seen strong global demand across all varieties and in all markets. We’re seeking new supply partners with the ability to grow quality grapes of all varieties. We want to hear from you. We offer long term supply options, favourable cropping levels, better than average prices and payment terms. We’re locally owned, provide expert viticulture advice and operate our own 12,000 tonne Marlborough Winery.

Milled from a Napa Valley American Oak wine tank, this one-of-a-kind, custom designed, exceptional conference or tasting room table can be a real conversation piece for your winery. Or perhaps your in-house restaurant. The top is one solid piece of wood composed of the tank staves which once aged an award winning Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon. Measuring 244cm long x 107cm wide, (8ft long x 3.5ft wide), it can comfortably seat 10 people. The leg design was fashioned from a Santa Fe New Mexico gate. The leg sections are separated by a trestle wood beam also milled from wine tank. As distinctive as your brand, let this piece speak for itself in your winery. Currently disassembled for easy moving and stored in Nelson. Asking $2000 or make a reasonable offer. Contact: Karen Work –

If there are options you’d like to discuss, please make contact with our grower viticulturist Matt Fox on 027 463 2457 or



Spotlight on Spotted Lanternfly SOPHIE BADLAND

AS COUNTRIES around the world continue to grapple with the spread of the notorious brown marmorated stink bug (BMSB), another invasive insect has landed in Pennsylvania and is threatening vineyards and forestry areas. The spotted lanternfly, Lycorma delicatula, was first detected in Pennsylvania in 2014. Five years on, it has spread invasively to at least five other states and been sighted in several more. Similarly to the damaging BMSB, the spotted lanternfly is native to China and populations there are kept in check by natural enemies. These natural parasitoids are not present in the US, leaving spotted lanternfly free to breed at will. “They’ve got a buffet out there,” says Heather Leach, an entomologist from Penn State University. “They can eat all of these plants and there’s nothing taking them down. So they’re having a good time, they’re having a party, right?”

In the southeast of the state, which has been hardest hit, the spotted lanternfly invasion is costing growers and forest landowners USD$29 million a year directly, with secondary costs representing a further $21m.

Damage While the spotted lanternfly’s most-preferred host is tree of heaven (Ailanthus altissima), grapevines appear to be a close second, and the insects have quickly become a nightmare for Pennsylvanian grape growers. “We’ve never had a situation like this in 40 years,” says John Landis of Vynecrest Vineyards and Winery. “If it starts to decimate your vines, it can cause people to go out of business. It definitely kills vines.” In some vineyards, lanternflies blanket the vines and surrounding trees in swarms numbering into the thousands. Growers report significant damage from feeding, including failure

Spotted lanternflies cluster on a grapevine in a Pennsylvanian vineyard. Credit: Wines Vines Analytic

of vines to set fruit in the year following feeding damage and increased susceptibility to frost and colder temperatures, as well as vine death. Vines that have sustained intense feeding pressure produce tertiary, non-fruitful shoots the following year, if they survive at all. Most feeding occurs on the shoots, although later in the season spotted lanternflies start to feed on the trunk and cordon. While feeding, lanternflies take in large quantities of sap, filter out useful proteins and nutrients, and excrete the excess sugars and water as honeydew. Honeydew accumulates around areas of spotted lanternfly infestation, and is attractive to bees, ants, wasps, flies and other insects. Build up of honeydew encourages the growth of black sooty mould, a

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black fungus which can act as a barrier to photosynthesis if it colonizes the leaves of vines.

What do they look like? Despite the name, spotted lanternflies are actually plant hoppers. Adults have black bodies with distinctive red and white hindwings, and the forewings are grey with black spots. Wings are often closed, as spotted lanternflies tend to jump more than they fly, although adults are capable of flight. Adult females lay egg masses containing between 30 and 80 eggs at a time. Eggs can be laid on any smooth surface including inorganic objects such as walls, vehicles and machinery, outdoor furniture or equipment, meaning they are easily transported from one area to


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another. They look like dirty smudges and can be difficult to detect. Once the eggs hatch, lanternflies go through four juvenile stages before becoming adults. Young nymphs are black with white spots, while the older ones are red with white spots and black stripes.

Host range As well as grapevines and tree of heaven, spotted lanternflies have been recorded feeding on more than 65 other plant species. Nymphs appear to have a larger host range than adults. Several recent studies have indicated that while spotted lanternflies will feed widely on many species, certain hosts may be required for development through the lifecycle from egg to adult. Other key host species include rose, black walnut, butternut, willow and maple.

Control methods In Pennsylvania, weekly monitoring for spotted lanternfly is recommended in vineyards, particularly once adults are around. Tree of heaven is used as a sentinel tree; growers check nearby stands of tree of heaven and also target these for potential treatment. More research into biological control options is underway as there are no known natural enemies present in the US. Spotted lanternfly can be attacked and eaten by some generalist predators, but this isn’t enough to control breeding populations. Two species of fungal pathogen show the most promise, and researchers continue to evaluate the possibility of bringing in natural enemies of spotted lanternfly from China. The USDA are currently testing some of these in quarantine facilities to determine if they are suitable for release. Cultural control takes place in the form of other host plant

removal. In Pennsylvania, vineyard owners are encouraged to remove tree of heaven surrounding vineyards or treat it with a systemic insecticide. Egg masses are also targeted for destruction; they are scraped off trees, fences, rocks and other surfaces and either physically destroyed by smashing or placed in an alcohol solution. Some insecticides have been shown to be effective against spotted lanternfly (chlorpyrifos for egg masses, dinotefuran, bifenthrin, and thiamethoxam for adults and nymphs), however research is ongoing into population thresholds, application timing and efficacy of products. Some of these products cannot be used in New Zealand.


Look for black & white banding on the antennae

What about NZ? The spotted lanternfly is not yet present in New Zealand, and as of mid-2019 there had been no detections at the border, which is positive. However, spotted lanternfly remains on the New Zealand Winegrowers’ (NZW) Most Unwanted list due to the potentially high impact it could have on the wine industry if it arrives here. It is most likely to arrive here as hitchhiking egg masses on shipping containers, vehicles and machinery, or garden furniture. The Ministry of Primary Industries is working to identify the containers and cargo that eggs could be present on, and ensure they are treated prior or inspected on arrival. NZW encourages all members to keep an eye out for spotted lanternfly and educate vineyard staff, so they are aware of what it looks like and what to do if they see one. Keep the Biosecurity New Zealand hotline number clearly displayed on site and encourage your team to Catch It; Snap It; and Report It to 0800 80 99 66 if they see this or any other unwanted pest or disease.

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


0800 80 99 66


Not on the Label - Legal Matters with Kensington Swan

Coopers Creek.


THE RESOURCE Management Act 1991 (RMA) is about to go through some substantial changes. The changes are ambitious, not just the minor tweaks that have occurred to date.

released an Issues and Options Paper (which can be accessed on the Ministry for the Environment website) raising the key issues to be considered and addressed by the review of the RMA. The paper invites feedback on the issues raised in early February 2020. “There is a question The key issues are on how the resource very broad and open the door for major consent process changes to the curcan be improved rent legal framework. to deliver more This will no doubt have implications for efficient and the viticulture induseffective outcomes.” try in the near future, especially when combined with the recent Government direction In November 2019 the (policy) on highly productive Resource Management Review land - see our article “Valuing Panel (appointed by the Min- Highly Productive Land” in the ister for the Environment) October/November 2019 edi-

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tion of Winegrower Magazine. In a statement about the Issues and Options Paper, Minister for the Environment David Parker said that the RMA has been underperforming, and noted that “it costs too much, it takes too long and has not protected the environment. That is not an acceptable outcome in a country that values the protection of the environment while properly housing our people.” Below are a few examples of key issues raised that are likely to impact viticulture going forward: Climate change – feedback is sought as to whether the RMA should integrate with the Climate Change Response Act (the main legislative framework for climate change) and whether the RMA should specifically address climate change mitigation. One option includes

a requirement for plan rules and/or consents for activities which emit substantial greenhouse gases to consider climate change implications. Government direction – what role should the Government (as opposed to local councils) have in protecting the environment and managing urban development? The Government is seeking to protect highly productive land by policy, however not all land used for grape growing would fit the narrow the classification of “highly productive land.” The key consideration here is how much power can and should the Government have in relation to environmental issues, for example in protecting productive land from conflict with more sensitive land uses. Such issues can be

region specific, requiring special regional knowledge and differing between locations. Consenting process – there is a question on how the resource consent process can be improved to deliver more efficient and effective outcomes. The current resource consent process, as a result of several amendments over the years, has become unduly complex for more substantial applications. There needs to be a balance struck between appropriate public participation (where it is needed), and an efficient and straightforward process for consent applicants. Two separate Acts – should the RMA be split into two separate pieces of legislation, so that environmental protection is completely separate from land use planning? The rationale behind doing so is to acknowledge that the natural and built environments have very different characteristics and as a result the current inte-

grated approach in the RMA has (arguably) led to poor outcomes for both the built and natural environment. However, there is a risk in splitting the legislation that it could create inconsistent approaches, this could impact on new resource consent applications and create uncertainty for those wishing to expand existing, or create new vineyards and associated infrastructure. Perhaps having a more clearly defined split in one piece of legislation is the answer to avoid those pitfalls?

How to have your say It is important that feedback from all sectors is received given the wide-ranging issues identified. This is a chance for the wine industry to provide its view and in particular, raise the specific issues for key regions. Any comments must be submitted by Monday 3 February 2020. Marija or Louise at Kensington Swan are happy to answer any questions you may have or assist you in making your views heard.

Draft national policy statement for indigenous biodiversity A DRAFT National Policy Statement for Indigenous Biodiversity was released by Government late 2019 and is open to the public for feedback. This is a national (Government) level document that introduces policies on biodiversity to apply across the whole of New Zealand. There will be a focus on significant natural areas with the highest level of biodiversity. There will be stricter controls in order to manage adverse effects on biodiversity from activities at a national level (including the requirement to avoid many activities e.g. vegetation clearance, which would extend to vineyards). There are more lenient approaches for things like nationally significant infrastructure and mineral extraction, but no such approach specifically provided for productive land or the requirements of the wine industry which could well be affected. Submissions must be made on the draft by 14 March 2020. To have your say, visit the Ministry for the Environment Website.

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Advocacy Matters

On your Behalf.

Advocacy on matters of vital importance to the industry.

It’s Election Year! JEFFREY CLARKE

2020 IS going to be a year of many votes: you get to vote to choose the New Zealand Government, to vote in two referenda (end of life choice, and cannabis), and New Zealand Winegrowers (NZW) members get to vote to elect five directors onto the NZW board. The board is there to govern and provide strategic direction to your national industry body. It directs the spending of your levy money, so it is important that you get involved, and have your say about who is on that board. What is this year’s NZW election for? The board of NZW has 10 elected members (plus two who are then appointed by the elected board): • Five directors (‘Levy Class’ directors) are elected by members on the basis of one vote for each $1 of levy paid by that member. The most recent vote for those five Levy Class directors took place in 2018, and their terms run until 2022. • The other five directors (‘Member Class’ directors) are elected by members on the basis of one vote per member. The initial Member Class director election was in 2016, and the terms of those five directors finish in October this year, so now an election is needed. In the 2016 Member Class election we had eight candidates, but disappointingly, none of them were women.

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Fromm Vineyard

In the 2018 election (for Levy Class directors), only two of eight candidates were women. This pattern was one of the drivers for the formation of Women in Wine New Zealand. In 2020, we really hope to see a good, diverse range of candidates - across gender, ethnicity, regions and industry roles - standing and being elected as Member Class directors. But the choice is yours, so now is the time to start thinking and talking to your colleagues about: • Who do you want to represent your industry’s interests? • Who is good at seeing the bigger industry picture, and asking perceptive questions? • How can we ensure the board reflects the diversity of our membership? • Who do you know that you might want to nominate to stand? • Are you interested in standing yourself?


What’s the commitment required to be on the board? The board meets six times a year for a day, and each director is also expected to serve on two board committees. The most important requirements of candidates are that they care about the future of the industry and are prepared to contribute their skills, experience and perspectives, but leave their own particular interests at the door. Directors are expected to work in an open minded way with the other directors for the benefit of the whole industry. How much support would someone need to get elected in 2020’s election? The way the Member Class voting system works is that each member gets to cast one vote towards as many of the candidates as they like. The five candidates who get the most votes are all elected for a four-year term on the board. In the 2016 Member

Class election, there were about 1,420 members eligible to vote, but only 424 members voted. That means that almost 1,000 members didn’t vote. The fifth-ranked candidate was elected to the board with just 139 votes. So if you are looking for a 2020 challenge here’s one: Between now and October, could you persuade more than 139 people to vote in this year’s election, and to give you a tick? There is lots of time until the election, and NZW will be putting out plenty of information about it in the second half of the year, and keeping you updated. But it’s never too early to begin thinking about the election, and who you want to govern your national body. Get involved! • If you would like any more information, feel free to contact Jeffrey Clarke at Jeffrey@




Summer in the vines Nothing beats a kiwi summer, and that includes being out on the vineyard. Check out some of our favourite summer snaps on #nzwine





















Discover these posts and more from @nzwinegrowers and #nzwine on Instagram.



NOV 2019

Key Performance Indicators

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

Total Value of Exports


Growth Markets fob value









$584.2m 11% $443.3m 10% $359.5m 3.0% $129.8m 1.0% $54.5m 92% $29.5m 26% $27.5m 37% $12.3m 14%



Packaged Wine Export

Bulk Wine Export



160.3 mL


115.7 mL


Bulk white wine

Packaged Price



no change



Domestic Sales, Volume

49.9m L 4% All figures are for the 12 months to the date specified, figures are in $NZD unless otherwise specified *Source: NZ Customs Service, Statistics NZ

Research Updates

Research Supplement Information and updates on Bragato Research Institute research programmes. Editors Editors Dr Dr Matias Matias Kinzurik Kinzurik and and Will Will Kerner, Kerner, Research Research Programme Programme Managers Manager A regular feature to inform industry people about research projects being undertaken for their benefit. Newly approved projects A regular feature are to inform people beingwhat has been achieved so far. When completed, each (when available) briefly industry summarised andabout longerresearch reports projects will describe undertaken their benefit. projectson (when available) are project will for be reported in fullNewly detail,approved with references, briefly summarised and longer reports will describe what has been achieved so far. When completed, each project will be reported in full detail, with references, on

Quality Wine Styles for Existing and Developing Markets Lighter wine (PGP) University of Auckland and Plant and Food Research (Various) Jointly funded by NZW and MPI Primary Growth Partnership (PGP) fund.

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

Breaking the qualityproductivity 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

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)

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)

Prevention of quercetin instability in bottled wine Villa Maria Wines Limited (E Taylor)

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

Improving remedial surgery practices for control of grapevine trunk disease to increase vineyard longevity Linnaeus (E van Zijll de Jong)

Impact of grapevine trunk fungi in hot water treated planting materials on young vine health Linnaeus (E van Zijll de Jong)

Investigation into the relative abundance and species of mealy bug parasitoids in Gisborne vineyards Plant and Food Research (V Bell)

Cost Reduction/ Increased Profitability Precision Grape Yield Analyser Programme 20162021 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

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)

Viticultural treatments for improving Syrah quality Thoughtful Viticulture (M Krasnow)

A comparison of physical means to reduce rot versus chemical means in New Zealand vineyards Thoughtful Viticulture (M Krasnow)

Climate Change Climate case study – Managing hail damaged vineyards Bragato Research Institute

Thoughtful Viticulture (M Krasnow)


Progress Reports

Harvest at Escarpment.

Microbes and regional Pinot Noir quality and style Sarah Knight1, Jess Ryder1, Diana Hawkins1, Soon Lee1, Neill Culley2, Katie ParishVirtue2, Bruno Fedrizzi2 and Mat Goddard1,3 School of Biological Sciences, University of Auckland, NZ School of Chemical Sciences, University of Auckland, NZ 3 School of Life Sciences, University of Lincoln, UK 1


PINOT NOIR is produced across New Zealand with each region boasting high quality, distinctive styles, exciting and engaging consumers. How microbes contribute to these sought-after wines can be inferred from research on other grape varieties but requires confirmation from dedicated investigations. Here we set out to address two main objectives: 1) Characterise the microbial communities and populations associated with Pinot Noir in three wine growing regions in New Zealand, and 2) Investigate if these communities and populations have a bearing on wine quality.

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Martinborough, Marlborough and Central Otago were targeted as these three regions combined cover over 80% of New Zealand’s Pinot Noir production and the 18 study sites were aligned with the wider MBIE Pinot Noir and MBIE Vineyard Ecosystems programmes to ensure cohesiveness between the research programmes and the data collected. Over vintage 2018, samples of 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. The microbial communities and populations present in these samples were interrogated using a mix of molecular methods including Illumina Next-Generation DNA sequencing, Sanger sequencing and Microsatellite genotyping. Wine samples from the spontaneous ferments were analysed for a suite

Figure 1: The coffee plunger setup for the experimental lab ferments. 200mL of juice and 50mL of grape solids were used for each ferment.

of yeast-derived compounds using HS-SPME/ GC-MS. The compounds detected included a range of esters, norisoprenoids, terpenes and C6 compounds. Microbial community analyses revealed soil and bark samples to be the most diverse, harbouring thousands of bacterial and fungal species as approximated

Progress Reports

by Amplicon Sequence Variants (ASVs). While less diverse, the juice and mid-ferment samples from the spontaneous ferments shared approximately 25% of bacterial species and 40% of fungal species identified, supporting evidence that microbes performing spontaneous fermentations originate in the vineyard. Delving deeper into the differences between the microbial communities unearths a complex picture of differentiation and connectivity. Both the type of sample and the geographic region the samples were collected from exhibited significant microbial community differentiation. The type of sample was the strongest predictor of microbial community composition for both Bacteria and Fungi, being 3-4 times stronger compared to region, but region also has a significant effect. This is in line with previous research undertaken in the Goddard lab and internationally. Genetic differentiation was also evident between the Saccharomyces cerevisiae strains isolated from the different regions, reinforcing patterns observed in Sauvignon Blanc in New Zealand. It’s all very well showing there are different microbial communities in different regions associated with Pinot Noir, but what does that mean for the wine? The spontaneous ferment of grapes is performed by a succession of many microbial species, mainly yeast. Different species and strains

Figure 2: Constrained Correspondence Analysis (CCA) for the chemical profiles of the experimental wines made by inoculating live yeast communities isolated from each of the vineyard sites into homogenised Pinot Noir juice and solids. Points are coloured by geographic region and include 50 percent ellipses. The closer two points are to one another, the more similar the chemical profiles of those wines.

contribute distinct flavours and aromas during fermentation, so it could logically be extended that regionally distinct microbial communities would contribute regionally distinct flavours and aromas to wine. This has been experimentally demonstrated in Sauvignon Blanc using regionally sourced strains of Saccharomyces cerevisiae, but has not been considered for the whole yeast ferment community until now. Using live yeast isolated from the early stages of the spontaneous Pinot Noir ferments performed in 2018, synthetic communities of 94 yeast were constructed for 17 of the vineyard sites above. A homogenised batch of Pinot Noir juice (including grape solids) was sterilised in the lab and divided into 350mL coffee plungers, each coffee

plunger having 200mL of juice and 50mL of grape solids (Figure 1). In triplicate, the synthetic yeast communities were inoculated and the must fermented, plunging the grape solids once a day in line with commercial practice. Wine samples were collected at the end of fermentation and analysed for a suite of yeast-derived aroma compounds using HSSPME/GC-MS. Overall, the region the synthetic yeast communities were isolated from explained 11% of the total variation in wine chemistry (F2,42 = 5.6, P = 3.0 x10-4; Figure 2). The aroma compounds of most importance to this differentiation include ß-damascenone, linalool, a-terpineol, ethyl isovalerate, isovaleric acid, isoamylalcohol, isoamyl acetate, methionol, ethyl isobutyrate and 1-butanol.

Given the same juice was used for all experimental ferments, these differences can be attributed to the yeast communities inoculated and highlights the importance of our microbial communities to the production of distinctive wine styles. The research profiled here provides a detailed characterisation of the microbial communities associated with New Zealand Pinot Noir and objectively demonstrates that these communities contribute to distinct regional wine styles. This reiterates the importance of understanding and conserving microbial communities and suggests doing so may have tangible economic consequences. By having a better understanding of the forces influencing microbial population and community differentiation, particularly in the face of a changing climate, management practices can be devised to control and conserve ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS We thank New Zealand Winegrowers and the Bragato Research Institute for funding for this project and Plant and Food Research for help collecting and processing samples. Thank you to our industry collaborators: Amisfield, Ata Rangi, Constellation, Escarpment, Felton Rd, Giesen, Martinborough Vineyards, Mt Difficulty, Palliser, Peregrine, Pernod Ricard, Quartz Reef, Te Kairanga and Wither Hills for allowing us access to their land and providing samples.


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UC Davis collaboration to determine factors that affect colour in Pinot Noir wines Grose C, Sherman E, Oberholster A, Yu-Te Tseng, Stuart L, Yang L, McLachlan A, Yvon M, Gunson A THE ISSUES Pinot Noir wine colour development is a concern for the New Zealand industry. Highly coloured wines are generally produced from riper grapes (24–26 degree Brix, with typically higher alcohol content (>14 percent v/v). Our previous work determined that anthocyanin concentrations peak several weeks before optimal harvest Brix values, indicating that anthocyanins are not limiting good colour development in wines made from less-ripe grapes. Additionally, winemakers are concerned about perceived ‘unripe’/‘green’ tannins in New Zealand Pinot Noir. Their (untested) hypothesis is that highly coloured wines, especially those with large amounts of anthocyanin-tannin polymers, are perceived to be less green. SOME SCIENTIFIC BACKGROUND Monomeric anthocyanins are primarily responsible for the red colour of grapes and young wines, but development of pigmented polymers is critical for the stable red colour as wines age. Studies have shown differences in grape tannin content and composition based on maturity,

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including different ratios of skin to seed tannins. Concentrations of monomeric anthocyanins decrease while polymeric pigments (anthocyanintannin polymers) increase as wines age. The development of stable polymeric pigments has been linked to the amount and source of tannins: seedderived tannins enhanced pigment formation, but excessive amounts were detrimental. Pre-ferment tannin composition, more so than grape anthocyanin content, may be key for Pinot Noir wine colour development. Grape harvest maturity not only affects phenolic composition of ferments and resulting wines; ripeness is important for sensory properties like flavour and mouthfeel too. Industry experience suggests you cannot make a high quality New Zealand Pinot Noir from 20 °Brix fruit simply by adding sugar to raise it to 24-26 °Brix. New Zealand may be quite different from other countries: the benefits of less acidity and green characters that come with longer hang time in New Zealand are possibly greater than those in warmer climate regions like California that easily and quickly achieve fruit with very high Brix values. While


Anita Oberholster

the impacts of tannin molecular structure and concentration have been previously linked to astringency generally, researchers face significant difficulties in linking specific astringent sensations to wine polyphenol composition. Even in California, harvest maturity depends on the weather and other factors (e.g. labour), and grape maturity can significantly influence wine composition and thus wine style. Higher maturity is linked to more complex aroma profiles, as well as changes in tannins extracted. It will be of tremendous value to understand the impact of grape maturity on the link between grape and wine composition. Additionally, linking wine composition and sensory attributes can aid in identifying markers for specific wine styles.

OUR APPROACH Using grapes from Marlborough and from California, and applying must manipulations at different harvest times, this collaborative study with UC Davis investigated the respective roles of juice and pomace on the chemistry and sensory properties of wines, especially their influence on colour and perception of ‘green tannins’ as grape ripening advances. Juice and pomace were separated. The pressed juice was reunited with the pomace to produce the control wines. To produce the manipulated wines, the juice was substituted with a common single juice from an earlier harvest. To determine the relative contributions of juice and pomace to wine composition and the development of colour more fully, treatments also included fermenting pomace with a synthetic juice solution, and fermenting the juices without pomace. KEY RESULTS – NEW ZEALAND WINES The hypothesis – that less mature fruit produce less coloured wines - was disproved for New Zealand 2018 vintage conditions. Fruit anthocyanins were similar across all harvest dates, and in the result-

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ing wines. The lightest colour wines were actually produced from more mature grapes. Under more favourable vintage conditions these results might have differed: the Marlborough 2018 vintage was challenged by weather events and disease pressures, resulting in lower than planned fruit soluble solids contents at each harvest. This probably played a role in the small differences in must and wine composition observed. Botrytis bunch rot pressure at final harvest was very high across Marlborough, which may have affected wine colour development. For New Zealand wines, total phenolics, both monomeric and polymeric, were more influenced by juice composition (other than sugars) than by pomace composition. Wine anthocyanin content, on the other hand, was most related to wine alcohol concentration, and therefore pre-ferment sugar content, with pomace a secondary influence. Wine colour was influenced by time of harvest and by must manipulations, and was detectable by our sensory panel, with the effect of lowmaturity juice most pronounced for less mature pomace. Colour extraction when the skins and juice were less mature was not as great as when the juice was the same maturity as the pomace, showing that the juice contribution to wine colour development is important. The difference in wine hue between the control and manipulated

The Californian wines were made in automated ferment vessels at the teaching and research winery at University of California, Davis (UC Davis).

wines at each harvest became smaller with increasing maturity, because of an increase in orange and yellow pigments in the control wines at each harvest. We measured 44 preferment must parameters and 22 finished wine chemical parameters. Multivariate analysis found no significant relationships between pre-ferment must composition and finished wine composition and colour. The ratio of concentrations of polymeric phenols to total monomeric anthocyanins seemed to correlate with the wine colour measurements; however, this hypothesis will require further assessment. KEY RESULTS – CALIFORNIAN WINES The more mature grapes

produced the most highly coloured wines. Similar to New Zealand, harvest dates did not influence anthocyanin concentrations, but did affect total phenolics and tannins, which could have influenced pigment stabilisation. Anthocyanins were most influenced by pre-ferment sugar concentrations and therefore wine alcohol content, just as in New Zealand; however, at very high alcohol concentrations (>14% v/v) there was no increase in wine anthocyanin concentration with increasing alcohol. In contrast to the New Zealand wines, the treatments did not show that monomeric polyphenols were influenced by juice composition, but polymeric phenols were. The Californian 2018 vintage was also chal-

lenging because of extreme heat waves, and resulting very fast increases in grape soluble solids contents. Harvest targets were missed, and differences between harvest dates were smaller than might have been expected with longer maturation phases. Notwithstanding, fruit with higher soluble solids content did result in wines with more colour, owing to higher extractability or solubility of some phenolics and tannins during fermentation. Differences perceived by the sensory panel between wines from different must manipulations were smaller than expected. This may have been partly due to the close harvest dates resulting in minimal changes in skins, seeds, and grape cell wall compositions, and thus primary metabolites making a larger contribution to perceived differences among the wines from the different treatments. WHERE TO FROM HERE? The experiments across two vintages (New Zealand and California) provide some insights into the relative influence of Pinot Noir grape maturity on wine chemistry and sensory properties. However, owing to the significant impact of seasonal/ environmental conditions in 2018, further targeted research is required to understand the specific roles of grape skin, seed and juice metabolites in determining final wine composition and in particular wine colour intensity.


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NZ Lighter Wines - Research Update from the Sensory Side WHEN PROGRAMME Manager David Jordan wants to showcase NZ Lighter’s lower-in-alcohol wines to the media or retailers, often as not he’s going to host a “triangle tasting”. Tasters are told they will be sampling three selections: two are alike and one is different, and their job is to pick the odd one out. All the wines feature the same variety and the same vintage and are from the same wine producer. The only major difference? The NZ Lighter wine will feature a lower alcohol by volume (ABV) - often as much as 25% to 30% less alcohol. The tasting is ‘blind’, and participants receive either two glasses of the lighter-

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strength wine and one glass of the regular - or, conversely, one glass of the lighter wine and two of the regular. Wine writer and educator Bob Campbell participated in a triangle tasting in early 2019. As he noted in his 23 May 2019 post on The Real Review (therealreview. com), he had little difficulty in identifying the lighter wine selection, in this instance a 2018 Stoneleigh Lighter Sauvignon Blanc, versus its regular-strength counterpart. The surprise, however, was that he preferred it, noting that the lighter wine “was softer than the regular wine, perhaps because it


may have been slightly sweeter, although the wine wasn’t obviously sweet”. Jordan has come to expect responses like Campbell’s, noting that tasters often struggle to tell which wines are lower in alcohol. In early November 2019, at a series of triangle tastings held in Marlborough for visiting Australian media and retailers, once again a number of the participants noted their preference for the lighter Pinot Gris and Rosé offerings. “The number-one barrier to purchasing a lighterin-alcohol wine is a preconception on the part of the consumer that the quality and flavour will

suffer - sadly, that was true for some of the dealcoholised wines launched by our competitors,” says Jordan. “We believe that lighter wines must offer a ‘like-for-like’ experience that satisfies the flavour and quality expectations of premium wine drinkers - and lighter wines from New Zealand certainly do that.” NEW WINE CATEGORY NZ Lighter (nzlighter. wine) represents a new, multi-branded category - New Zealand wines that weigh in at less than 10% ABV but more than 8.5% ABV (the minimum required in most markets for a product to be called “wine”).

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Established through a seven-year research and development initiative led by New Zealand Winegrowers and co-funded under the Ministry for Primary Industries’ Primary Growth Partnership (now part of Sustainable Food & Fibre Futures), NZ Lighter represents the largest R&D initiative ever undertaken by the New Zealand wine industry. The $17-million programme began in 2014, aiming to position New Zealand as number one in the world for highquality, lower alcohol and lower calorie wines. The research challenge was to demonstrate how such wines could be produced naturally, giving New Zealand wines a point of difference that appeals to premium wine drinkers. With contributions from industry levies and direct investment by 18 participating companies, the programme focuses on all aspects of lowerin-alcohol wines, covering everything from sustainable vineyard and winemaking practices to sensory assessments to market access aimed at driving export growth. SENSORY PERCEPTION Market research for the programme has demonstrated that consumers are increasingly interested in wines with lower alcohol levels but don’t want to sacrifice the bright, fresh and fruity characteristics they expect from varietal wines made in New Zealand. In the early days, achieving the right balance of ripe flavours with acid, residual sugar and alcohol proved chal-

“Sensory trials and analysis have helped winemakers understand that there is more than one route toward the creation of a lighter wine.” lenging - particularly with the focus on natural production (as opposed to alcohol extraction techniques). Enter the sensory assessments commissioned by the programme. Largely run by Plant & Food Research, the trials used a combination of trained assessors and wine experts alongside evaluations from consumers partial to Sauvignon Blanc. The objective was to aid in understanding how the flavour characteristics were experienced and the degree of consumer satisfaction with the wines. Initially, researchers focused on the sensory characterisation of lighter wines. First up were explorations of New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc in terms of varied alcohol content, followed by trials to assess the influence of harvest date, canopy trimming at veraison, post-fermentation sugar additions and/ or deacidification - all approaches that were being investigated by the research teams involved in vineyard and winery techniques. The objective was to establish baseline knowledge about the sensory differences between lighter and regularstrength wines - a world first. Using a selection of

2013 commercial wines, researchers altered the alcohol content of New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc to vary from 9.5% ABV (typical of NZ Lighter wines) through to 12.2% ABV (typical of standardstrength wines). Compared to a standard alcohol content (12.2% ABV), the lowerin-alcohol wine (9.5% ABV) was perceived by assessors to have decreased sweetness, bitterness, viscosity/ full-bodiedness and aftertaste duration. The lighter wines were also perceived to have a less smooth mouthfeel and a reduced perception of heat on the palate. Importantly, however, there were limited effects to the specific flavour characteristics of the lower-ABV offerings and for some of the tasters the flavour was preferred. Damian Martin, Science Group Leader, Viticulture and Oenology, at Plant & Food Research, observes, “Up until this point, it was widely assumed that lighter wine meant less flavour, so this was a pivotal moment to find that the characteristic New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc flavour expression had been preserved at reduced alcohol levels”. BRIX NOT THE DECIDING FACTOR Sensory trials then

turned to harvest timing, a key research parameter for the programme. Compared to harvest at standard fruit maturity (around 21 Brix), lower alcohol Sauvignon Blanc wines produced with early fruit harvesting (about 18 Brix) showed less desirable sensory properties. Consistent with expectations, the resulting wines had increased acidity, vegetal and citrus characters, along with decreased sweetness, full-bodiedness, smoothness, length of palate, fruit and mineral flavours. A revised vine-trimming regime and several post-fermentation interventions were investigated to see if such treatments could compensate partially for the ill effects: Compared to grapevine canopies of full size, canopies trimmed to half their size at veraison were shown to result in lighter Sauvignon Blanc wines that had fewer green/vegetal flavours but still retained a relatively similar fruity expression. No other effects on the taste and mouthfeel properties of the wines were found. Post-fermentation sugar addition and/or deacidification also reduced some of the less-desirable effects of lower-thantypical fruit maturity. The sensory effects were similar to those expected from greater fruit maturity at harvest, although they were smaller in magnitude. Once again, the flavour attributes remained more or less unchanged.


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TWEAKS IN THE WINERY Sensory results have been presented annually at programme workshops for participating companies. Held every October since 2014, the workshops not only highlighted research findings - they often included wines (either research micro-vinifications or commercially produced offerings). Early tastings revealed how sensory effects changed with manipulations in the vineyard or winery. By highlighting the differences, the sensory research helped winemakers to identify and make the adjustments that would enable them to offer the allimportant “like for like” experience that consum-

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ers were looking for in lighter wines. Winemakers acted quickly to incorporate these findings into practice. Even in instances where a certain vineyard technique, such as canopy management, was shown to improve some of the flavour characteristics of lighter wines, some winemakers chose to make adjustments in the winery instead. As reported in a previous article in New Zealand Winegrower (“Winemaking Options for Lighter Wines,” Research Supplement, October/November 2018, page 126), at least one company has returned to an early-harvest regime supplemented by a tailor-


The 18 New Zealand wine companies participating in the NZ Lighter initiative are: Accolade Wines, Allan Scott Wines, Constellation Brands, Forrest Wines, Giesen Wine Estate, Indevin, Kono, Lawson’s Dry Hills, Marisco Vineyards, Mount Riley Wines, Mt Difficulty Wines, Pernod Ricard, Runner Duck Estate, Spy Valley Estate, Villa Maria, Whitehaven Wine Company, Wither Hills, and Yealands Wines.

made approach in the winery - including yeast selections that help to reduce malic acid. “Sensory trials and analysis have helped winemakers understand that there is more than one route toward the creation of a lighter wine,” Jordan observes. “There is no silver bullet. Participants are using a range of inputs in the vineyard and the winery,

thanks in no small part to the contributions from research throughout the life of the programme.” CONSUMERS RESPOND Subsequent trials indicated that New Zealand wine consumers’ sensory perceptions were a close match to those expressed by trained and expert assessors. Increases in perceived bitterness, viscosity,

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Figure 1. Segment of the revised ballot, showing the graduated range used by panellists to assess sensory characteristics of NZ Lighter wines.

BUILDING A BETTER BALLOT In the first sensory investigations conducted in 2014 for the NZ Lighter research programme, a set of lighter and regular-strength New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc wines were evaluated, and the results highlighted profound sensory differences between the two wine styles. By 2017, however, the sensory properties of commercial lighter wines had evolved to match more closely those of their fullstrength counterparts; a similar evolution had taken place in wine chemistry, with the pH and titratable acidity (TA) of the lighter wines becoming aligned with those of regular-strength Sauvignon Blanc wines. Only the alcohol by volume and the higher residual sugar concentrations remained to differentiate lighter wines - and those characteristics were deemed positive attributes. To ensure that expert panellists were still generating reliable sensory data, researchers revised the sensory test protocols, and, most importantly, reviewed and defined the key sensory attributes to be used to characterise and compare wines in the future.

drying mouthfeel, heat, and length of palate, along with a reduction in perceived smooth/soft mouthfeel, were associ-

A new ballot resulted, which reflected the range of terms typically used by wine experts to describe NZ Lighter and regularstrength Sauvignon Blanc wines. Definitions were established for each of the 18 sensory attributes and concepts and were included on the ballot form. In addition to good varietal expression, “ripe greens”, encompassing a specific category of herbaceous flavour nuances, and “fresh, mouthwatering” acidity were revealed to be key defining characters of Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc wine. Wine experts’ judgments of complexity and Marlborough typicity were also revealed to be exactly the same for NZ Lighter and regular-strength styles. The revised sensory evaluation ballot and sensory test procedure generated positive feedback from the 15 wine experts who first used it - a number of whom held winemaking roles at companies participating in the NZ Lighter programme. Andy Petrie, Winemaker at Wither Hills Winery in Marlborough, took part in the process. “Benedicte Pineau, one of the leads on the sensory research

ated with increasing wine alcohol content from a lower to a standard level for New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc wine.

team, coordinated a couple of sessions for wine practitioners and sort of ‘mind-mapped’ all of our input. The process was very collaborative, and the really good thing about it was that it was all practitioner focused,” he says. From there the group prioritised important characteristics, followed by a “calibration session” to nut out the generally understood meanings of terms such as “aromatics” or “herbaceous”. The sessions led to the revised ballot featuring not only sliding scales for a number of terms (see the sample shown in Figure 1) but also “tick boxes” to highlight notable attributes as defined by the team. “As a winemaker, you develop your own process for tasting wine over time, so it was really useful to break down the tasting process as a panel and take on board each other’s experience,” Petrie adds. Since then, Petrie has occasionally utilised the ballot for in-house tastings by the winemaking team at Wither Hills because, he notes, “it’s useful to get everyone on the same page about what they’re tasting and what we’re aiming for”.

In addition, the lowerin-alcohol wines were characterised by consumers as being less complex than wines of

systematically increased alcohol concentration. Included in the consumer study was a comparison of wines with low


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(5.8%) and high (10.1%) residual sugar (RS) levels. Of the two commercial lighter wines tasted, the one with the higher RS content was generally preferred. Consumers enjoyed Sauvignon Blanc wines that were sweeter and with less acidity and bitterness. Consumer responses to the lighter Sauvignon Blanc wines tasted in the sensory study were positive. The wines were well accepted and were not reported as tasting unfamiliar, suggesting that they were not deemed greatly different from the more familiar regularstrength wines. Although only a small number of consumers participated in the sensory research, nearly one-third of the group expressed a marked preference for the lighter wines. Those consumers were predominantly female and tended to consume Sauvignon Blanc wines less frequently than the balance of the group. “Consumer research has consistently sup-

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ported the findings of the sensory science, and we see this not only in the surveys that the programme has undertaken but also when we offer samples of NZ Lighter wines — the conversion-to-sales rate is better than for other wine styles, indicating the immediate appeal and satisfying a desire for lower-in-alcohol wines,” adds Jordan. ASSESSMENTS GET AN OVERHAUL Not all of the vineyard or winery trials showed significant differences in the resulting wines when they were put before sensory panellists. In 2017/18, the researchers decided to make a few tweaks of their own by reviewing the assessment criteria for tasting panels and how panellists reported their impressions (see sidebar, Building a better ballot). Research conducted on a set of eight within-brand pairs of commercial 2016/2017 lighter and regular-strength Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc wines generated three


key results: By this point, the NZ Lighter Sauvignon Blanc wines had evolved to more closely match their regular-strength counterparts. Despite the two wine styles still being characterised, on average, by different taste and mouthfeel properties, many of the wines shared similar overall sensory properties, including regional typicity. The differences in basic chemical composition between commercial NZ Lighter and regularstrength wines had been reduced, with the pH and titratable acidity of the lower-in-alcohol wines in line with the regularstrength wines. The NZ Lighter Sauvignon Blanc wines now encompassed different sensory variants in perceived aroma intensity, predominating flavours, acidity and sweetness, along with judged levels of freshness, complexity and Marlborough typicity. LIKE-FOR-LIKE EXPERIENCE Since then, NZ Lighter wines have come of

age. Thanks in no small part to the information gleaned through the sensory assessments, participating companies are now confidently crafting wines with lower ABV. They are using a wide range of inputs in the vineyard and the winery while respecting consumer expectations of enjoying the same fresh, fruity characteristics they’d experience in a regular-strength wine of the same variety and vintage. As Bob Campbell noted in his write-up of the NZ Lighter tasting, “Five years ago I regarded low alcohol wines as a curiosity. Now I see them as a welcome and viable extension to the New Zealand wine list.” Note: New Zealand Winegrowers’ members can access the reports on sensory research for NZ Lighter wines by signing in to the members’ area of Visit the Research Programme area under the Grow menu and look for NZ Lighter Wines.

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Improving the outcomes of mealybug insecticide use in vineyards Vaughn Bell, The New Zealand Institute for Plant and Food Research Limited Andrew Blakeman, AJB Solutions NZ Limited

MEALYBUGS ARE economically important insect pests in vineyards. A byproduct of their feeding is honeydew, which can lead to the development of black sooty mould on vine leaves and bunches. If mealybug infestations are severe and black sooty mould affects wide areas of the vineyard, contaminated fruit can be rejected for harvest. Mealybugs are also responsible for the spread of grapevine leafroll-associated virus 3 to healthy vines. Leafroll virus is the most important and most widespread viral disease of grapevines in New Zealand. Again, if its influence is widespread in a vineyard, there are negative implications for yield: it can delay harvest, reduce sugar accumulation and lower fruit quality. Ultimately, wine quality may be downgraded. To minimise the influence of black sooty mould and leafroll virus, it is important that mealybug numbers in the vines remain low. For many wineries, achieving and sustaining this result means it is important to develop and implement an effective insecticide plan. With the aim of reviewing and improving mealybug insec-

ticide results, the Bragato Research Institute recently approved funding for a research project for a period of three years. The project has four primary objectives: With a focus on the mealybug insecticide active ingredients, buprofezin and spirotetramat, we will review the best practice recommendations outlined in fact sheets produced by New Zealand Winegrowers and the chemical companies. From objective 1, we will develop an inventory of the key recommendations from each fact sheet for each active ingredient, to compare them and to identify inconsistencies that might cause confusion for end-users. We will identify 10 commercial vineyard blocks situated in Marlborough. We will work closely with the growers for the duration of the study to support them to optimise spray management outcomes, including sprayer setup. Annual vine leaf assessments per site per year will estimate mealybug abundance. This will be either a measure of spray management success or a catalyst to review/change the spray programme. We will use the les-

Photo by Matt Fox

sons learned from the above objectives, and the resulting broad-based data set, to inform the development of a nationwide technology transfer programme aimed

at optimising spraying strategies. We are currently working to identify suitable study sites, with numerous parties approached to gauge their willingness


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to participate. In the years leading up to this project, the grower response to mealybugs will have differed between sites. There will be those where mealybug insecticides have never been applied to the vines or if they have, applications were incomplete and therefore not in accordance with recognised best practice. At other sites, the use of mealybug insecticides will have included active ingredients such as buprofezin (e.g. Ovation®, Mortar™) and/or spirotetramat (Movento®). Both these active ingredients are compatible with integrated pest management, so they are unlikely to have disrupted beneficial insects important to mealybug biological control. In a third category

of sites, a mix of active ingredients will have been applied to the vines. Spray diaries will record the use of socalled ‘softer’ chemistries such as buprofezin and spirotetramat, plus one or more applications of broad spectrum active ingredients such as prothiofos (e.g. Tokuthion®) and chlorpyrifos (e.g. Lorsban®) for mealybug management, or lambdacyhalothrin (e.g. Karate® Zeon) for grass grub control. The application of these latter products, particularly over multiple years, is incompatible with biological control and might explain the mealybug outbreaks observed in at least some Marlborough vineyards in recent years. By reviewing several years of spray diary data from each study site, we will gain an overview of

Healthy vines

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what chemistries, if any, were used against mealybugs. Advice specific to each participant will aim to remedy any spray application deficiencies identified. Also, by checking the spray equipment and its setup, we will evaluate whether it is fit-for-purpose, based on factors such as vine planting density. If necessary, changes will be recommended. Having interacted closely with each participant to review their insecticide spray programme and sprayer setup, the ultimate measure of the project’s success will be the fate of mealybugs in vines in the target area per site. By aiming to resolve the inadequacies identified, the expectation is that the changes implemented by each prac-

titioner will reduce the numbers of mealybugs in the vines. The review of fact sheets and results from the anonymised study site will be the platform upon which a comprehensive technology transfer programme will be developed. Starting in Auckland in mid-2020, the ‘Mealybug Spray Day’ annual road trip will visit various winegrowing regions throughout the country, in what will be interactive events. Presenters will share insights, anecdotes and lessons learned during the study. Hence, having drawn on the good and bad experiences of others, the project will deliver mealybug management recommendations to benefit study participants and the wider sector.

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Overview Martin D - Plant & Food Research: Marlborough THE BASIC idea that is being tested within the Bragato Research Institute (BRI) Pinot Noir Programme is that the apparent link between wine quality and vine productivity can be broken. To break this quality/ productivity seesaw for Pinot Noir we will need a full understanding of the nature of quality through sensory, in-field and chemical measurement and how these attributes vary when novel techniques are trialled, whether in the vineyard or the winery. The programme starts at the pointy end of the value chain with very challenging research into understanding what Pinot Noir ‘quality’ means for both the consumer

and the wine expert. At the other extreme end of the Pinot Noir production process single berries will be grown under tightly controlled environment and nutrition conditions in the lab to develop a deep understanding of factors that influence grape berry composition. To link these extremes of the programme, work will establish response curves for known key grape constituents (e.g. phenolic composition, aroma precursors) located in or near grape berry skin from intensive sampling and detailed compositional analysis of grapes from controlled experimentation. Expert guided machine learning (artificial intelligence) techniques will

Figure 1. Relationship between mean berry total soluble solids (TSS) and vine yield.

play a role in integrating results from all aspects of the programme into measurable definitions of quality. Field validation and optimisation experiments in commercial Pinot Noir vineyard blocks will be used to

develop new viticultural and winemaking tools and techniques. Wines from these field trials will then be returned to the expert panel and consumer studies to test the effectiveness of these new tools.


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Research Aim 2.5 – Ideotype Vines Martin D1, Scofield C2, Rutan T1 - Plant & Food Research: 1 Marlborough, 2Clyde THIS RESEARCH attempts to objectively describe the appearance and behaviour of an ideal vine for specific Pinot Noir production goals. In particular the study is looking to identify vines within a given vineyard block that have both above average yield and above average fruit quality potential. If these vine types are successfully identified, future work will attempt to understand why certain vines outperform others with the goal of developing management tools to fix underperforming vines. In 2018 visual selection of 20 unmanipulated Pinot Noir vines of differing yields and capacities were associated with harvest and berry composition measurements, photography and manual image analysis techniques to assess vine to vine variation in performance characteristics across 12 vineyard sites in three regions. Care

was taken to ensure that the genetic material and pruning and training systems were as comparable as possible between vineyards. Importantly results to date have not shown a relationship between yield and the total soluble solids content (TSS) of the berries (Figure 1). This was true irrespective of whether the yield was expressed in kg per vine or kg per metre of vineyard row length. This lack of relationship applied to the entire sample set across all the vines in all the study sites (N = 220) and equally between vines within every block studied. Yields per vine varied widely within every vineyard in the study irrespective of whether the vine was targeting higher yield and an affordable price point wine, or whether the vineyard was targeting high-priced iconic wines. These results are

Figure 2. Relationship between cold-soaked juice threonine concentration and wine total anthocyanins, the codes on the right hand side are the vineyard codes.

extremely important within the context of the programme because they demonstrate that it is possible to achieve a minimum technological maturity (TSS and titratable acidity) for Pinot Noir at moderate to high yields per metre of vineyard row length. Across all the vines in the study some 49 (22%) achieved a yield of greater than 1.75 kg per metre of row

length and good technological maturity. Conversely, the majority of vines studied (68%) did not achieve the target metrics, suggesting that factors other than yield were responsible for the under-performance. This result supports the underlying hypothesis of the wider Pinot Noir Programme, which states that it is possible to break the yield-quality seesaw.


Research Aim 2.6 – Ideotype Wines Martin D1, Grose C1, Scofield C2, Rutan T1 , Stuart L1, Yang L1- Plant & Food Research: 1 Marlborough, 2Clyde THIS RESEARCH attempts to make and analyse Pinot Noir wine from single-vine grape lots in order to determine vine

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and winemaking factors that influence, in particular, wine phenolic composition. A key aspect of our experimental approach is


to focus on differences in performance from vine to vine within the same site. This greatly reduces the influence of factors such

as region, site and vineyard management on vine performance and subsequent wine composition so we can better under-

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stand what other factors might have a predictable and consistent effect on wine quality attributes across a wide production base. Using a newly designed tube fermenter system we were able to achieve good alignment of key wine attributes between single-vine and commercial block-scale wines thus providing positive signals that the fermenter system was functioning in a repeatable and consistent manner. The first year of study has affirmed what winemakers have known for a long time: that grapes of very similar soluble solids content can produce wines of widely differing compositions, in particular, their phenolic content. The absence of between-region or between-vineyard effects on 47 of the 50 vine,

Figure 3. Pinot Noir bunch photograph taken on the Compac Sorting InSpectraTM cabinet.

juice and wine parameters measured supports our experimental approach which has essentially isolated region and vineyard as factors that strongly influence wine composition. Vine leaf area to fruit weight ratio (LA:FW) would appear not to be a key factor influencing differences in juice total soluble solids content or

other major wine compositional parameters, especially phenolic composition. In 2018 there was also a highly significant negative correlation between juice Primary Amino Acid (PAA) and several key individual amino acids, in particular threonine (Figure 2), and wine total anthocyanins. This result is important

to the programme because it suggests that vine nitrogen status could be a major driver of differences in wine colour rather than higher yields or denser grapevine canopies that can indirectly arise. The results also suggest that a trade-off between wine colour potential and wine aromatic potential may occur in Pinot Noir winemaking.


Research Aim 4.1 – Bunch sorting Martin D1, Oliver R2 - Plant & Food Research: 1 Marlborough, 2Ruakura BUNCH MORPHOLOGY necessarily affects grape yield on both per vine and per unit area bases. Comparable yields can be comprised of a larger number of relatively small bunches or by a smaller number of larger bunches. In New Zealand Pinot Noir vineyards, the number of bunches per vine within a given vineyard is comparatively stable from year to year, and yield variations are driven more

by the number of berries per bunch and/or the average berry mass, which together determine the bunch mass. The goal of this work is to develop bunch sorting technologies to rapidly and objectively classify Pinot Noir bunches to determine if larger bunches have the same potential as small bunches to produce high quality wines. In this study, manual

measurements, photography and manual or semi-automated image analysis techniques were used to assess the variation in bunch and berry morphology on grapes from Pinot Noir Abel Clone grown in Marlborough. The best bunch image results were achieved with a conventional digital camera above a Compac Sorting InSpectraTM machine vision cabinet

(CSIS). The 2D photograph image analysis has, however, limitations in its ability to assess bunch morphology. A general relationship between bunch mass and bunch image area was nevertheless found. Unexpectedly bigger bunches with high berry numbers did not show a wider distribution of berry sizes than bunches with relatively few berries. This result does


Progress Reports

however need to be validated in future seasons Grapes produced from sorting methodologies in RA4.1 will be a resource for RA4.2 – Validation Wines, in which we will produce a series of novel validation wines made from highly characterised grape bunch lots. In 2018 about 300 Pinot noir bunches were sorted for density using a flotation method. A single density class was further sorted into four

bunch mass classes of very similar soluble solids content, and fruit were supplied to RA4.2 for replicated winemaking.

Figure 4. Influence of different bunch mass classes at a similar soluble solids on colour density in Pinot noir wine.


Research Aim 4.2 – Validation wines Grose C1, Stuart L1, Rutan T1, Yang L1, Yvon M1, McLachlan A2 Plant & Food Research: 1 Marlborough, 2Palmerston North THIS RESEARCH continues to build our knowledge on characterising the effects of bunch morphology class and winemaking techniques on secondary metabolite composition of Pinot Noir wine. At Plant & Food Research a series of novel validation wines were made from highly characterised grape bunch lots that were generated from density sorting methodologies in Research Aim 4.1. The novel wines will enable us to better understand the role different bunch morphology classes have on finished wine composition. During the first year of experimentation we wanted to determine if small-scale research

82   //

winemaking practices can be used to successfully study the formation and retention of desired secondary metabolites in Pinot Noir wine production. Also if making validation wines from sorted bunches of differing mass classes but similar berry soluble solids content have differing wine phenolic composition. The outcomes from this research will determine if we can simultaneously increase both yield and quality using bunch sorting techniques. Key results showed wine composition from wines made using the newly developed winemaking protocols for the 1.5 and 2 kg tube fermenter system were


comparable to the generically accepted parameters for Pinot Noir wine production. This is an important outcome for establishing robust, small-scale research winemaking protocols for future implementation within the BRI Pinot Noir programme. Bunch morphology class had no effect on juice composition however primary amino acids were less abundant in smaller bunch classes. Wines produced from different bunch mass classes with a similar total soluble solids had similar compositions. However small differences were observed in key wine colour parameters, with colour density 26% higher in

wines made from smaller bunches (Figure 4). Finished wines were successfully subsampled in to 60ml glass vials using the “Wine in Tubes” system (George Michel Wine Estate, Marlborough) and stored at low temperatures (02˚C) for further analytical phenolic and volatile chemistry analysis, providing additional important results for the wider BRI Pinot Noir programme. Results from the first year of research show there may be opportunity to use bunch sorting methodologies to modify secondary metabolite composition of Pinot Noir wines and in particular wine colour.

Safe to use late season.

HML32, Protectorhml, HML Potum and HML Silco can be used up to two weeks before harvest.

Deal with any late season powdery mildew using the HML32, copper fungicide (Nordox is recommended) and HML Potum (potassium bicarbonate) spray mix.*

Minimise late season botrytis with Protectorhml at the 2 litre/100 litre rate.

* See website for an alternative spray mix with HML Silco and sulphur.

Minimise late season botrytis and enhance maturity for improved fruit quality and harvest options using HML32 by itself at the specific timings for white and red grapes. (See our website or give Chris a call)

Henry Manufacturing Ltd For more information about the recommended spray programme from flowering to veraison, visit Call Chris Henry on 027 294 1490 email or contact your local technical advisor.




Granular Seaweed Fertiliser An organic seaweed fertiliser derived from fresh, Ascophyllum nodosum. OceanFert® is BioGro certified.



The ONLY organic pruning sealant on the market.

Rich in organic matter, amino acids, polysaccharides, phytohormones and macro & micro nutrients.

Provides a natural water proof barrier against devastating trunk diseases.

For use in all horticultural and vegetable crops, ornamentals, nurseries, lawns and turf.

Great results on Eutypa Lata (grapes) and Psa-V (kiwifruit).

Naturally derived soil conditioner supports plant growth, increases crop yield and quality.

“Craggy Range have used InocBloc Prune 'n' Paste on our premium vineyards in Hawkes Bay and Martinborough with great success. We have found the field performance of Inocbloc to be excellent and have confidence in the product.” Daniel Watson National Vineyards Manager - Craggy Range

Supports plants against abiotic and biotic stress. Improves soil pH, texture, aeration and drainage. Enhances soil microbial activity. Promotes greater root growth and development. Guaranteed Analysis Alginic Acid

_ 4.0% >

Organic Matter

_ 45.0% >

Total Nitrogen

1.0 - 3.0%

Phosphorous (P2O5)

1.0 - 3.0%

Potassium (K2O)

0.5 - 1.5%

N + P2O5 + K2O

>_ 5.0%

Ca / Mg / S

>_ 10.0%

Fe / Zn / B / Mo



200g brush top, 400g brush top, 5kg refill pump pack

25kg and 1,000kg bags

Contact Grosafe to find your closest distributor

Grosafe Chemicals


20 Jean Batten Drive Mt Maunganui New Zealand

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ph: 0800 220 002 or email:

InocBloc™ is a registered trademark of Safesan Co Ltd. HSNO Classification: 3.1D, 9.1C | EPA Approval Code: Surface Coatings and Colourants (Combustible) – HSR002657 OceanFert® is a registered Trademark of Grosafe Chemicals

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