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NEW ZEALAND WINEGROWER THE OFFICIAL MAGAZINE OF THE NEW ZEALAND WINE INDUSTRY

Carbon e-mission

Good business with reduced emissions

Soil Services

Making soil a sustainability focus

One Billion Trees

Boosting vineyard biodiversity

AUGUST /SEPTEMBER 2020 ISSUE 123

Regenerative Agriculture Changing the face of our vineyards

AUGUST/SEPTEMBER 2020 / ISSUE 123


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Issue 123 – August / September 2020

Contents

REGULARS 4

Editorial

Sophie Preece

6

From the Chair

John Clarke

52 Women in Wine

Jane Forrest Waghorn

60 Wine Weather

James Morrison

66

Biosecurity

Sophie Badland

68 Not on the Label

Legal Matters with Dentons Kensington Swan

66

Biosecurity

Sophie Badland

74

Bragato Research Institute

NZIER report

F E AT U R E S 17

Emissions Mission

New Zealand Winegrowers is “walking the talk” of climate action through the Toitū carbonreduce programme. It joins companies that are striving to lighten wine’s impact on the planet.

24 Tracey Marshall Photo by Jim Tannock

22 Soil Services

Soil has been made a key focus area for New Zealand Winegrowers’ new Environment Strategy. We look at what that means for growers, and explore a regenerative agriculture trial being rolled out in Marlborough by Pernod Ricard.

26

26 Billion Trees Boost

Vineyards and wineries with native planting plans are being encouraged to explore funding opportunities through the One Billion Trees Programme. Bell Hill has done just that, receiving support for a 3-hectare wetland project in North Canterbury’s Weka Pass.

Cover: Pernod Ricard Winemakers New Zealand Site Manager, Wairau, Matt Murray on page 24. Photo Jim Tannock

47 48

52


E D I TO R Sophie Preece sophie@sophiepreece.co.nz

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

A DV E R T I S I N G Upper North Island: Stephen Pollard stephenp@ruralnews.co.nz Ph: 021 963 166 Central North Island: Ted Darley ted@ruralnews.co.nz Ph: 021 832 505 Lower North Island: Ron Mackay Ph: 021 453 914 South Island: Kaye Sutherland kayes@ruralnews.co.nz Ph: 021 221 1994

C I R C U L AT I O N & SUBSCRIPTIONS Jodi Blair jodi.blair@nzwine.com Ph: 09 303 3527, ext 0 Fax: 09 302 2969 Mobile: 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 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

4   // 

Save our soils

Sophie Preece EDITOR

THERE’S BEEN something of a makeover in New Zealand vineyards in recent years, as the cleancut look of sprayed rows and boundaries loses a little gloss. There are still plenty of brown-striped blocks of course, but they’re increasingly interspersed with a less coiffured look, with rows of insect-laden cover crops and fence lines of whimsical flowers. They appear a little Bohemian, but these cover crops have a serious job to do, protecting soils, reducing herbicide use and attracting beneficial insects. Viticulturist conversations can easily cover the breadth of seeds sown in winter, the best flax to plant alongside a waterway, or indeed the best native ground cover to grow beneath a vine (see Villa Maria on pg 32). Regenerative Agriculture (pg 24) is the buzz phrase of the moment, as land users look to new ways to restore their soil health, posing questions about the ability to reduce chemical inputs, nurture soil microbes, and even sequester carbon. And whether growers are organic or conventional in practice, or a little bit of both, there’s an increasing understanding that soil health is king when it comes to good viticulture. It’s perfect timing then, for New Zealand Winegrowers to make soil one of the six key focus areas of the Environment Strategy and Sustainable Winegrowing New Zealand’s scorecards, to help the industry better understand the science and practice behind healthy soils. “It’s the one thing we have got that we can pass on in a better state than when we found it,” says viticulturist Nick Paulin (pg 22). “If we get that right, the rest of it becomes easy.” This edition of Winegrower has a focus on sustainability, and in particular soil regeneration and carbon reduction measures. We ran a similar theme in April, but the curse of Covid-19 rather stole the limelight, so we decided to continue a celebration of amazing initiatives happenings around the country. Speaking of Covid (although not much in this magazine) the Upcoming Events page is back, after being put in hibernation over lockdown. Some events have been cancelled, but the show goes on for others, in an illustration of the resilience and brilliance of this industry.

CONTRIBUTORS

Charlotte Read

Jean Grierson

Oliver Styles

Marija Batistich

New Zealand Winegrowers’ marketing team has had to adapt the way it works in the face of Covid-19’s many challenges. General Manager Charlotte Read introduces new initiatives from major export markets.

The Billion Trees Programme is a great opportunity for vineyards keen to increase biodiversity while taking climate action. Jean Grierson finds out more.

Olly is a Hawke’s Bay winemaker who also writes for international magazines. In this edition he talks vinyl with winemaker Gordon Russell.

There have been some changes to watch in the freshwater policy space, with recent amendments made to the Resource Management Act. Dentons Kensington Swan Partner Marija Batistich looks at implications for wine.

Go to page 15

Go to page 26

Go to page 47

Go to page 68

NZ WINEGROWER  AUGUST/SEPTEMBER 2020


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From the Chair John Clarke

NZW is your organisation NEW ZEALAND Winegrowers is your organisation… and the organisation for your 1,400 industry colleagues who grow grapes and make wine. If you ever had any doubts, the past 12 months must surely have demonstrated the critical role New Zealand Winegrowers (NZW) plays for all of us. Whether it is responding to Covid-19, other advocacy issues, research, sustainability or marketing, as the representative body of, and for the industry, NZW plays a vital role in our sector. As with any member-based industry entity we know that NZW will function best when members are actively involved in key decisions – and the most important decision is the election of the board that represents your interests, which brings me to the upcoming NZW board election. The elections occur once every two years, with five positions up for election each time. This year the five Member Class Director positions on the board will be contested in September. There will be a real opportunity for new candidates, as four of those positions are held by members who will not be standing again – Dominic Pecchenino (Marlborough), Peter Holley (Hawke’s Bay), James Dicey (Central Otago) and myself (from Gisborne) are all stepping down from the board. NZW members are a diverse bunch, so we are hopeful that a talented and diverse group of people stand for election, in terms of gender, age, ethnicity, region and roles within the

6   // 

industry. So as an industry member, how do you become involved in the election? There are a number of steps to take – all are simple but important. The first, and probably most important, is making sure you are eligible to vote and to stand for election. Each member of NZW, no matter how large or small, has one person – their member representative – who can cast votes in an NZW election. This is the same person who also can stand for election to the board. A list of these member representatives is held at the NZW office – to make sure you are on the list, simply give us a call and we will check for you.

NZ WINEGROWER  AUGUST/SEPTEMBER 2020

S e cond, as w i th any election there is a process of nomination. A member can nominate any other member representative (i.e any other person eligible to vote and stand for election) to stand for the board. The nominations need to be received before they close at noon on Friday 14 August. If you are a member, you need to think about whether you are interested in standing for the board election. If you are, all you need to do is find another member to nominate you and get the nomination form in by the due date. You can find the form and all the details in the Candidate Information

and Election Guide at electionz. com/nzwine2020resource/ If you are not interested in standing yourself, ask yourself if you know another member who you think may be a good candidate for the board. If you do, consider nominating the person, after you have spoken to them of course! Once nominations are in, the campaign begins. This year, as happened in 2018, we will circulate a booklet around the industry outlining the candidates and their views. Candidates will also be offered the opportunity to record a video message and this will be placed on the NZW election resources page of our election manager, electionz.com. Finally, the voting will be held online over a two-week period in September. The system is simple and easy to use and, as this is the election for the Member Class Directors, the election is effectively on the basis that each member is allowed to cast one vote in favour of each of the candidates they wish to support. The five candidates with the most votes will be appointed to the board. NZW aims to represent the best interests of growers and wineries - to create enduring value for members. I can’t think of a better reason to make sure you get involved in the upcoming election. Those elected need to know they have a high level of member support when they take their seat at the board table. Now is the time to get involved in the upcoming election and have your say.


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News Briefs

Outstanding Vintage WITH 457,000 tonnes of grapes harvested, this year’s vintage will help the wine industry meet the high demand for New Zealand wine, says New Zealand Winegrowers (NZW) Chief Executive Philip Gregan. Industry had hoped for a larger harvest in 2020, after smaller than expected crops over the past three years. And while Covid-19 restrictions had a “huge impact” on the way the harvest was run, “they will not affect the quality of the wine”, he says. “We are really looking forward to some exceptional wines coming from this year’s vintage.” NZW is confident Vintage 2020 wines will only enhance New Zealand’s international reputation for premium and sustainable wines, he says. “Positively, the reputation of our wine remains strong in our key international markets, and our wines continue to resonate with both consumers and the trade. While the world has changed, what has not changed is the love that people have for New Zealand wine”. To see harvest data, go to page 73.

Spy Valley

Wine Awards NEW ZEALAND Winegrowers has decided not to hold the New Zealand Wine of the Year competition and the New Zealand Wine Awards dinner in 2020, due to the impact of Covid-19 on the wine industry, and the need to re-prioritise activities. A review of the competition and how it can best add value to the membership will be conducted in early 2021. To give feedback, email events@nzwine.com

NZIWS JUDGING IN the New Zealand International Wine Show will occur from 21 to 23 September, in Auckland. Since its inception in 2005, the show has been the largest wine judging competition in the country, with Bob Campbell MW, joined by Assistant Chief Judges Larry McKenna, John Hancock, Tony Bish and 18 experienced senior judges. Entries close 4 September. NZIWS.co.nz

Smell the Rosés Grape Days 2020

Millton

GRAPE DAYS will not be held as physical events this year, because of the uncertainty caused by Covid-19, including the complexity of inviting international speakers. As an alternative, New Zealand Winegrowers and Bragato Research Institute are exploring ways to bring members research, news and vineyard extension through online platforms or smaller regional workshops. Contact info@bri.co.nz with ideas for the webinars or workshops.

8   // 

NZ WINEGROWER  AUGUST/SEPTEMBER 2020

WHAT BETTER way to usher in spring than spending a day thinking pink? That’s the question posed by the New Zealand Society for Viticulture & Oenology as it invites industry members to its 2020 technical workshop program, dedicated to Rosé. The ‘Smell the Rosés’ workshop will run one full day, divided into four sessions on 10 November, in Marlborough. nzsvo.org.nz/technical-workshops


News Briefs

Grape expectations JUDGES FOR the New World Wine Awards visited Auckland, Hawke’s Bay, Marlborough and Central Otago last month, in a new regional hub format. All Gold and top ranked Silver wines were then reviewed by another panel in Auckland to confirm consistency across regional scoring, determine the Top 50 and award champion titles. Chair of Judges Jim Harré says the judging panel was excited to put early 2020 vintage wines to the taste test. “The warm summer and dry autumn produced amazing fruit all across the country and by early March, many were buzzing in expectation of the great wines to come. However, the harvest – which is already the busiest and most backbreaking time – became even more momentous this year as vineyards and wineries grappled with the challenges of working as an essential service over lockdown.” He says the Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Gris, Aromatic and Rosé classes will feature many 2020 vintage wines, providing the first taste of these new wines in a competition setting. “We look forward to the privilege of assessing the tireless efforts of the industry and celebrating their accomplishments.”

Sydney Comp Cancelled THE SYDNEY International Wine Competition has been cancelled for the first time in its 40 year history, following the renewed closure of the Victorian border. Co-convenor Brett Ling says the likelihood that travel and freight will be severely disrupted for much of the rest of the year means it will be impossible to guarantee arrival of both wines and judges. “We were on track to accept entries from later this month, but the worsening situation in Victoria is likely to see access between states and internationally to New Zealand and beyond severely disrupted.” He says the competition has carried on throughout many tumultuous world and local events over the past 40 years, but the Covid-19 pandemic made it almost impossible to plan ahead. The 41st Sydney International Competition will be back in 2021, he adds. “Hopefully with recent widespread rains across the various growing districts in Australia, and with the hospitality world gradually returning to ‘near normal’, the wine industry will be better placed in 2021 to ensure we have an outstanding level of entries.”

Good trade NEW ZEALAND’S wine sector has welcomed the announcement that New Zealand and the United Kingdom are to begin negotiation of a high quality, comprehensive and inclusive trade agreement. “This is a great opportunity for both countries,” says Jeffrey Clarke, General Manager Advocacy and General Counsel at New Zealand Winegrowers (NZW). “UK consumers were among the first to fall in love with our distinctive wines, and our wineries have worked hard at keeping that excitement alive. As a result, wine is now the most valuable Kiwi export to the UK – accounting for over 30 percent of the value of all

New Zealand exports to the UK, and providing high quality jobs and over $440 million of income for our wine regions in 2019.” The UK currently sits at an “exciting crossroads”, says Jeffrey. “With independence from the European Union, the UK now has a chance to look afresh at its trade rules, and make sure it is doing the best by its businesses and consumers… Wine trade with the UK is currently hampered by costly, pointless EU certifications and complex rules erected to protect EU wineries. The UK now has a chance to sweep away those barriers and enhance its status as a global wine trade hub.”

Spencer Hill Estate. Photo by Chocolate Dog Studio

NZ WINEGROWER  AUGUST/SEPTEMBER 2020  //   9


Upcoming Events

TO HAVE

Pinot Noir Day

EVENTS ADDED

Not that you need an excuse, but International Pinot Noir Day is the perfect day to celebrate New Zealand’s top red wine variety. To educate consumers on the different regional styles of Pinot Noir, New Zealand Winegrowers has designed an interactive quiz for New Zealand and international consumers. #PinotNoirDay

TO OUR CALENDAR CONTACT SOPHIE@SOPHIEPREECE.CO.NZ

8 August nzwine.com/pinot

Organic Wine Week When a wine is as good for the planet as it is for the palate, you know you’re onto a good thing. Organic Wine Week is a celebration of sublime wine and food, served up by passionate winemakers and chefs throughout the country.

21 to 27 September organicwinenz.com

Marlborough Wine Show Celebration The Marlborough Wine Show, sponsored by QuayConnect, pays homage to Marlborough’s wines, places, people and camaraderie, culminating in a celebratory gathering of great food, wine and company.

30 October wine-marlborough.co.nz/events

Young Viticulturist, National Final The 2020 Corteva Agriscience Young Viticulturist of the Year competition ran in regions throughout July and continues through August. The National Final is in the Wairarapa.

7-8 October nzwine.com/young-vit

Young Winemaker, National Final The Tonnellerie de Mercurey Young Winemaker of the Year Competitions are in Hawke’s Bay (4 September), Central Otago (10 September), and Marlborough (16 September). The National Final is in Hawke’s Bay.

6 November nzwine.com/young-winemaker

Toast Martinborough A unique one-day event with an array of vineyard sites and an abundance of wonderful wine, food and music to choose from.

15 November toastmartinborough.co.nz

10   // 

NZ WINEGROWER  AUGUST/SEPTEMBER 2020


Events

F.A.W.C puts best foot forward HAWKE’S BAY Wine’s Car Boot Party is on 13 November, as part of the spring Food and Wine Classic (F.A.W.C) offering. Organiser Maxime Cavey says the event will give consumers the chance to discover, taste and purchase from local producers, “many of whom do not have cellar doors”. It’s the latest in a long line-up of cellar door

events in Hawke’s Bay, helping boost business in the quieter days of Covid-19. They began with a Winter Wine Walk series in June, with attendees on a self-guided stroll of Hastings, sampling wine, food and hospitality, including more than 20 wines from “pop up” wineries. That was followed by a Napier Winter Wine Walk in

Winter wine walk. Photo Florence Charvin for Hawke’s Bay Winegrowers

late July, with a stroll through Havelock North booked in for 26 August. Hawke’s Bay Wine has tied in with New Zealand Winegrowers’ Visit the Vines campaign (Pg 12), and has launched a Winter Cellar Door map and Cellar Door Discovery Card promotion, where consumers collect five stamps

to enter in in a monthly draw. It has also opened a Showcase Cellar Door in Hastings, with members allocated time to step into the space over a 13-week pop up. Hawke’s Bay Wine will also support the Hawke’s Bay Wine Auction, with the pretasting on 19 August and the auction on 19 September. hawkesbaywine.co.nz/

NZ WINEGROWER  AUGUST/SEPTEMBER 2020  //   11


Events

Visit the Vines New Domestic Wine Tourism Consumer Campaign SOPHIE PREECE

CELLAR DOORS have come through lockdown with unexpected learnings, says New Zealand Winegrowers Wine Tourism Manager Keri Edmonds, in the midst of a new Visit the Vines campaign. The country’s Alert Level 2 conditions required spaced-out seated experiences, which started as a burden but ended as a boon for some, and cellar door hosts have reported a slower pace, deeper conversations and good sales, choosing to continue the format after restrictions lifted. “It slows down the number of people that come through, but tends to ensure a richer experience for the consumer and the cellar door host,” says Keri. Samantha White, Customer Experience Manager at Whitehaven’s cellar door in Marlborough, says they have seen a lift in spend per person, and far better business than they had anticipated. Whitehaven is tasting a broader range of

12   // 

wines than usual and serving fewer people at once. “They are more intimate experiences and people are buying more wines because if it.” Samantha notes that it is hard to know whether people are spending more because the Government has urged them to support local businesses, or because of the change in format. “But I have been really impressed by the amount of domestic tourists out and about trying to get the economy going.” Last month Keri visited cellar doors in Marlborough, many of whom were impressed with business not-as-usual. “They have more time to educate the visitors on the wine, and that definitely enriches the experience… People are spending longer, having a better time, and that is resulting in increased sales,” she says. One winery had an 18 percent increase, compared to the previous year, for at least one week of June, and

NZ WINEGROWER  AUGUST/SEPTEMBER 2020

Top tips

• Update your website and social media with opening hours • Update Google My Business • Update your brand profile at portal.NZwine.com • List your cellar door experiences for free at Tourism NZ’s consumer website - register.nz.com • Engage with your regional tourism organisation and i-SITE so they’re across your opening hours • Connect with regional wine association • Check out wine tourism resources on NZwine.com members site • Join the NZW Marketing closed Facebook group • Use #VisitTheVines another reported having more visitors through than the same time last year. The closure of some cellar doors over winter will have helped boost demand for those left in the field, “but there are wineries out there seeing a very positive outcome”, says Keri. “A lot of locals are visiting, there are new domestic visitors and many international travellers still around.” Marlborough has also been enjoying business from international vintage workers seeing the country once their work ended, she adds. “It is really positive to see wineries adapting and creating new experiences.” She’s also found a high level of cellar door collaboration at play in the regions. “They are sharing ideas, to figure out how

enhance the visitor experience.” NZW launched the Visit the Vines - Sip, Dine, Stay, Play - campaign in reaction to the loss of international wine tourists due to Covid-19 border closures. Keri says the campaign is all about inspiring New Zealanders to explore the country’s wine regions, starting with a New Zealand Herald print campaign in June, and social media activity in July. This month it will be showcased in MINDFOOD, and in October things ramp up even further, with a Visit the Vines digital campaign, including a New Zealand wine quiz and domestic trip giveaway. For any questions regarding the Visit the Vines campaign, please contact Keri at keri.edmonds@nzwine.com


The Marketing Place

The Marketing Place

Taking New Zealand wine to the world: Bringing the world to New Zealand wine

Read On

Virtually Perfect

Due to Covid-19, New Zealand Winegrowers’ (NZW) marketing team has had to adapt the way we build and strengthen the New Zealand wine category around the world, retain our connections and provide our members with the most relevant timely information to help make business decisions in these challenging times. As we have moved into the virtual world, we are delighted to share some examples of our new initiatives from our major export markets. Charlotte Read is General Manager Marketing at NZW

The UK team held its first virtual tasting in mid-June, teaming up with the Oregon Wine Board and 67 Pall Mall for a comparative Pinot Noir experience. The Wine from the Edge tasting presented three wines from each country, with samples sent to 59 leading members of the trade media, wine writers, key retailers, educators and influencers. Master Sommelier Ronan Sayburn led the discussion on behalf of New Zealand, with Master of Wine Bree Bostock from Oregon. Around 50 guests participated in the event live, and the recording and presentation were made available for later viewing. These can be viewed at nzwine.com/en/events/winefrom-the-edge

Speed Dating

Kaitiakitanga

During our wine fairs in Canada, we traditionally host speed dating sessions with key buyers and media. This year, we went ‘Off the Beaten Track’ with virtual speed dating with the Liquor Control Board of Ontario (LCBO), allowing New Zealand wineries to share their best stories, and Canadian buyers to glean unique insights. LCBO were keen to explore alternative varieties through the speed dates, so we called on interested wineries to move beyond Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Noir – the heavy hitters that drive sales – and also talk about other highlights in their range. We had an overwhelming response, with 18 wineries involved over three days, each making the most of their 15-minute dates. The speed date tasting was “inspired,” says Rose Finn of Neudorf (pictured). “Efficient, focussed and brilliant for the planet… I would love to see more of them moving forward, as the wine world adjusts to this very new way of life.”

In early July, NZW worked with leading North American wine publication, The Wine Enthusiast, to deliver a webinar on New Zealand wine’s sustainability story. ‘New Zealand Wine – Doing it Right for Future Generations’ looked at the achievements and goals of the industry: producing world-class wines while protecting people and planet. The live presentation reached 490 attendees and the recording is now being shared widely across digital platforms. The central theme of the webinar was Kaitiakitanga, the Māori concept of guardianship and protection, says NZW’s Charlotte Read. “It provided opportunity to reinforce the messages New Zealand is being lauded for around the world right now – that we care for our country and our people.” With many wine producing nations fighting to be the ‘greenest’, the aim was to capture the human side of sustainability from a distinctive angle, she says.

China Online Expo The Fine Wine show in May, hosted by Lookvin, was supported by the food industry’s leading B2B website, 21food.cn. The show provided a platform for both international producers and local suppliers to present their wines, establish contacts and get to know the China market following Covid-19 impact.

The NZW pavilion ranked number one via PC and number two on the mobile app, with more than 43,000 unique visitors and 210,000 page views. While physical events are back on the rise in China, we will continue to review these successful online platforms and provide access to members.

NZ WINEGROWER  AUGUST/SEPTEMBER 2020  //   13


Advertorial

Keeping growers confidently in control likes of Kumulus® and Delan®. And the key to those products staying effective for so long is having other modes of action in the rotation. Each release of new chemistry helps slow the development of resistance and extend the useful life of older The speculation about mutations products.” in the coronavirus that make it a ‘moving target’ and complicate the Another impact of the pandemic development of a successful vaccine has been disruption to international will seem especially familiar to grape trade. growers who have had first-hand experience of mutant pathogens in “A lot of focus has been on the way their vineyards. Suddenly the old the pandemic could affect our export treatments for powdery or downy markets,” Tim says. “But of course, all mildew or botrytis just can’t deliver our primary production also relies on the control they used to because a new imports – both physical crop inputs strain of the disease is less sensitive and the IP behind them.” to them. He has good news on that front. Luckily, when it comes to pest and “Not only are we maintaining supply disease protection our wine industry of the products growers are already has mostly been supplied with fresh using, but we’re constantly investing solutions before the situation gets in new crop protection solutions.” desperate. BASF has been a key driver of that ongoing innovation New agrichemicals targeting powdery throughout the growth of our modern mildew and mealybugs will be soon available to New Zealand growers. wine industry.

“A new insecticide mode of action for mealybug control will offer growers an important addition to the rotation,” Tim Herman says. “Mealybugs cause all sorts of problems in grapes through their infestation of grape bunches and their vectoring of grapevine leafroll virus between vines. The use of older insecticide chemistry is no longer wanted by customers or allowed by regulators and this creates a need for new chemistry to support good resistance management. Our novel insecticide also has a soft touch on beneficials, giving it a good fit in IPM and Sustainable Wine Production. It will contribute to a more robust program into the future.”

“One of the new products puts a slightly different slant on resistance management,” Tim explains. “It is a triazole or Group 3 fungicide, so it’s a new molecule but not a new mode of action. The difference is that it has characteristics that make it much more efficient than older active ingredients in the same mode of action group. It controls strains of powdery mildew that have shifted in sensitivity and, as such, would require larger doses of older triazoles to perform.”

Despite the current worldwide upheaval, Tim thinks our winegrowers can look forward with cautious optimism.

The struggle to contain and ultimately control Covid-19 has reminded us all what an important role scientific research plays in our daily lives, and how often it’s taken for granted until disaster strikes.

“BASF’s been using its global resources to help support the New Zealand wine industry since right back in the nineteen-thirties,” says BASF’s Senior Technical Services Specialist Tim Herman. “Some products have fallen by the wayside, but there are others that have lasted an amazingly long time and are still working now – the

“Not only are we maintaining supply of the products growers are already using, but we’re constantly investing in new crop protection solutions.”

While BASF have launched several innovative treatments for powdery mildew over the decades, the development of novel insecticides marks a significant change for the company.

Tim Herman says new fungicide and insecticide active ingredients are just part of the good news for growers. “New chemistry is always important, and we have more new molecules on the way, including biological solutions, that continue the move to softer compounds that can be integrated with beneficial insects and have minimal environmental impact.”

“So far – touch wood – we seem to have contained Covid-19 pretty well here,” he says. “The ongoing impact on the wine industry is hard to predict, but if we can stay virus-free that will surely only enhance our international reputation as a supplier of ‘clean, green’ produce. I think overseas consumers trust the quality of our food and wine. On the local scene, growers can certainly have confidence that we’ll keep providing innovative solutions to help them meet the highest expectations.”


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CONFIDENCE GROWS HERE When your livelihood’s on the line, and that of the families and communities that rely on you, you need to be 100% confident that you’re not putting unnecessary risk into your system. That’s why growers across New Zealand trust the proven chemistry of BASF to protect their crops.

Read their stories and see for yourself why confidence grows here crop-solutions.basf.co.nz


The Focus Growing Sustainability

Emissions Mission

Crushing carbon emissions. Pg 17

Soil Pillar

Focussing beneath the vines. Pg 22

Regenerative Agriculture

Marlborough pilot project. Pg 24

One Billion Trees

Bell Hill’s weka wetland. Pg 26

Sustainability Guardians

Gathering guardians. Pg 28 Prophet’s Rock


The Focus

Action Stations SOPHIE PREECE

NEW ZEALAND Winegrowers is “walking the talk” of climate action by assessing the current carbon footprint of the organisation and seeking Toitū carbonreduce accreditation. New Zealand Winegrowers (NZW) General Manager Sustainability, Dr Edwin Massey, says the move is about leadership, as the wine industry strives to be carbon neutral by 2050. He says many wine companies are taking action in the “climate space” and it’s an area that’s becoming increasingly important. “We are really keen to focus on this

goal.” NZW is also progressing research projects to quantify the industry’s carbon footprint and identify “typical emissions profiles” of New Zealand vineyards and wineries. That’s a big piece of work that will help members to identify what the key sources of emissions are in their operations, says Edwin. Late last year, NZW amped up its work on sustainability measures to safeguard “planet, people and profit”, says Edwin. Among the initiatives was the launch of Sustainability Guardians (pg 28), tapping into

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the expertise and passion of the industry’s environmental champions. They also made a commitment to the industry becoming net carbon zero ahead of the Government’s 2050 deadline. NZW informed members it would support them through the transition, with an investment in programmes such as climate adaption (preparing for the effects of temperature increase and climate change) and mitigation (reducing carbon emissions). “ T he world ’s climate is shifting,” Edwin informed

them in email correspondence. “An unprecedented global response is underway to avoid the more severe impacts of climate change and prepare communities to transition to a net-zero carbon economy.” The Bragato Research Institute’s climate change re s e a rc h p ro g ra m m e i s developing adaptation strategies, including climate change scenario models for each of New Zealand’s wine regions, as well as a “toolbox” of specific adaption measures for growers and wine producers.

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NZ WINEGROWER  AUGUST/SEPTEMBER 2020  //   17


The Focus

Emissions Mission

Economic and environmental gains through emissions reduction SOPHIE PREECE

company’s head of Legal, Risk and Sustainability says data collected over more than 10 years in the Toitū carbonreduce programme helps the company make sound decisions with positive sustainable outcomes. “The smart suppliers, And new technology and the ones we want a n d t ra n s p a re n c y makes that data to work with, know increasingly valuable, that it is important to she says. “It enables us. It’s a good way of us to do what is right for the environment embedding a longwhile ensuring term relationship.” better commercial sustainability.” Villa joined the carbonreduce information and strengthened programme in 2009, wanting supplier relationships, says Villa to measure carbon emissions Maria’s Karen Titulaer. per bottle and look for areas The New Zealand wine of improvement. In the decade U NDER STA NDING A ND reducing carbon emissions makes for a more resilient business, with better

18   // 

NZ WINEGROWER  AUGUST/SEPTEMBER 2020

since, the company has reduced its emissions by more than 36 percent per 750ml bottle of wine and set a goal of 50 percent reduction by 2025. The carbonreduce programme doesn’t require Villa Maria to take into account the emissions of suppliers to the business, but the company opted to include packaging - a major contributor to wine emissions - as an additional thread. That’s allowed them to build better relationships with suppliers, and to ensure they are on the same page when it comes to sustainability aspirations. “This approach results in great partnerships to resolve big problems,” says Karen. That includes work with Adhesifs to divert 36 tonnes

of Villa Maria labelling waste from landfill to be recycled into tissue paper. “In 2014 we also worked with OI to reduce the weight of our bottles by 16 percent, which reduces the fuel use and carbon emissions associated with transporting our bottles.” In 2018, they started working with their shrink wrap supplier as well, to trial and adopt an innovative, lighter shrink wrap, says Karen. “For Villa Maria customers this is the equivalent to 10 singleuse supermarket plastic bags per pallet not being used.” The company’s relationship with suppliers is enhanced by that interaction, and their sustainability stories are growing together, says Karen. “All of our suppliers for our packaging are located within


and Karen says she still comes across companies with “no interest or understanding of what we need from them”. That occurred recently in discussions with waste contractors, where some had no answers, while the one Villa Maria chose – Waste Management – showcased an “amazing portal”, she says. “I can go in at any stage and understand what is happening with our waste.” A few years ago, Villa Maria also started to look at the impact of freight and realised that when the rubber hit the road - trucking grapes, juice and wine across the country their emissions were seriously impacted. They now use rail freight and coastal shipping wherever possible, ensuring greater efficiency and lower emissions. Meanwhile in the winery, they harness cool nights for temperature control in the warehouse, she says, describing a “night air

cooling” system that imports of transparency make it air into the warehouse where far easier, and this month the wine acts as “a giant chilly Karen recruited a Sustainable pack” to maintain optimum Procurement Advisor to temperatures. Savings are made manage a transparent supply through warehouse forklifts, chain for everything from which have been electric since fining agents to vineyard 2011, and Villa Maria has posts. That resource, along with plans to transition to electric forklifts in all the wineries as well. “I can go in at K aren notes that any stage and when setting out on a understand what carbon measurement programme, companies is happening with need to be clear on what our waste.” they want to achieve, because the data being measured can be “very different”, depending on the Toitū software and increased requirements of certification. engagement, means the data When Villa Maria set off on they gather will be more this route in 2009, tracking powerful than ever before, product emissions would allowing them to be nimble have been very difficult, says and react swiftly to the growing Karen. “You need the whole knowledge pool, she says. supply chain to give you the “That’s making measurable information you need.” Now, differences to our efficiency and technology and the option the environment.”

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22km of our bottling plant (in Mangere). When it comes to business continuity, risk management and innovation, we have those really strong relationships with suppliers.” That means Villa can approach them and ask for help to meet emission reduction targets – like they did with OI’s lighter glass – while suppliers feel confident asking the company to trial new initiatives, she says. As the world’s expectation of corporate climate action increases, it’s important to follow the thread of your supply chain, Karen says. “Last year I started to see pressure from customers like Air New Zealand… their message was, ‘we want to know what your suppliers are doing’. The smart suppliers, and the ones we want to work with, know that it is important to us. It’s a good way of embedding a long-term relationship.” Others don’t,

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The Focus

Carbon Crushers

Cracking down on climate change SOPHIE PREECE

THE SUSTAINABILITY story at Yealands Wines comes with lush native plantings, clucking vineyard chooks and a butterfly valley at the edge of the Pacific Ocean. But their biggest environmental gains are found in more down to earth places, like an enormous mound of steaming compost, rust-red bales of vineyard prunings, interrow cover crops that enhance soil and reduce diesel use, and a rounded roof of gleaming solar panels, transforming sunshine into half a million kilowatt hours. Even less charming , perhaps, but more effective, certainly, are the energy efficient tractors and lightweight bottles introduced in recent years. The last of that list is a biggy, because the wine industry’s largest contribution to C02 emissions comes from glass, says Yealands Wines Chief Operating Officer Mike Insley. “On the farm here it is diesel usage, but when you look at the amount of energy and C02 to make a glass bottle, it’s huge. It’s about 30 percent of the carbon emitted.”

20   // 

By “the farm”, he means the company’s 1,000 hectare (and growing) Awatere Valley estate and the winery at its heart, which has been certified as Toitū carbonzero since it opened in 2008. It was the first winery in the world to be certified by Toitū from inception and remains the only one in New Zealand to

hold the certification, which requires a full life cycle analysis of all its branded products. Reducing emissions is at the core of Yealands’ sustainability initiatives, says Mike. “The biggest challenge facing the industry and facing the world is climate change.” A recent audit by Toitū Envirocare showed a reduction

Marlborough Sustainability Initiative IN FEBRUARY this year, Yealands Wines launched the Marlborough Sustainability Initiative, offering a total of $100,000 of funding each year to local environmental not-forprofits working to improve fresh water quality, preserve sensitive natural areas, and protect biodiversity in the Marlborough district. “It’s our hope that these financial contributions will help them further protect our local environment,” says Yealands General Manager External Relations and Sustainability Michael Wentworth. Six groups received a total of $46,500 in the February round and there’s $53,500 in grants remaining, with a second round of applications opening this month. Funding from the February round is going to help eradicate or control invasive species across Marlborough, expand backyard trapping in Picton, re-introduce the near threatened Yellow crowned Kākāriki and establish monitoring of the Little Blue Penguin/ kororā population in the Marlborough Sounds.

NZ WINEGROWER  AUGUST/SEPTEMBER 2020

of 21 percent in the intensity of Yealands’ emissions over the past five years, with key gains in product transportation and energy efficiency. That’s largely down to some wines being shipped to the UK in bulk and bottled under Yealands labels once there, greatly reducing food miles and carbon emissions. The lighter bottles also made a big difference, with a lighter carbon cost in manufacture and transport, while day-to-day operations on the vineyards and winery increased efficiency gains. A combination of solar, wind turbines and biofuel - via the burning of dried pruning bales - make up a quarter of the company ’s annual energy needs, with energy requirements topped up from Meridian Energ y ’s 100% renewable supply. They’re all big steps and the company has no intention of slowing its environmental climb. Earlier this year, Yealands became the only New Zealand member of International Wineries for Climate Action (IWCA) and


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Yealands Sustainability Manager Tara Smith says t h e To i t ū ce r t i f i c at i o n requires active reduction and continuous improvement, year on year, so while the company can purchase offsets when required, they can in no way rely on them. The carbonzero responsibilities and aspirations are a constant guide, and she is sharply focussed on measurable changes. That means following every supply chain thread back to source, to ascertain emissions, and following every input through to the grave. That includes winery grape marc, which now goes to a new purpose-built, 80-metre long, covered composting facility producing up to 6,000 tonnes of compost for the vineyard each year, adding to soil health and Yealands’ stellar sustainability story.

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NZ WINEGROWER  AUGUST/SEPTEMBER 2020  //   21


The Focus

Soil Pillar

Spilling the dirt on sustainability SOPHIE PREECE Pernod Ricard. Photo Jim Tannock

HAVING SOIL as a sustainability focus for New Zealand wine is “justified, deserved and probably overdue”, says James Dicey of

that some practices deemed to be ‘sustainable’, including tillage, are in fact detrimental. The industry has to guard against

“That is where we should focus our energy. If we get that right the rest of it becomes easy.” Grape Vision in Central Otago. The viticulturist, who is also a New Zealand Winegrowers (NZW) board member, says soil has always been recognised as important within the Sustainable Winegrowers New Zealand (SWNZ) programme, but is now one of six key focus areas. The challenging task ahead is in finding objective measures, says James, who is critical of “snake oil” in lieu of science when it comes to some soil discussions. “There’s a lot what we don’t know,” he says, noting

22   // 

“pseudo science” and make sure soil discussions are “robust, repeatable and based on great science”, he says. Ideally, that science needs to take a holistic perspective, he adds, noting that the Bragato Research Institute’s seven-year Vineyard Ecosystems Project, which looks across a large range of objective measures, is a “really exciting” addition to the industry’s understanding of soil. “I think the Vineyard Ecosystems Project will add to the body of knowledge...

NZ WINEGROWER  AUGUST/SEPTEMBER 2020

but it is not a silver bullet,” he says. “Soils are usually hugely dynamic and have huge variability, depending on the environment they are in.” There is no single answer but there is plenty of robust science to tap into, he says. “We have to make sure that whatever we do there are objective and valid measures which are reliable, repeatable and robust properties for soil health.” Central Otago Viticulturist Nick Paulin says building a soil pillar in SWNZ is an “awesome” move. “It’s the one thing we have got that we can pass on in a better state than when we found it.” It’s easy to walk around a vineyard and think it all looks pretty good, but harder to comprehend the health of the soils, he says. “It‘s the medium in which we grow our vines, so we should be looking after it. And it’s a world we know very little about.”

The more diverse the soils, the more resilient they become, the more water and nutrients they store, and the easier the task of growing, he adds. Nick’s own career has been entirely in organic and biodynamic vineyards, so nurturing soil health has been “ingrained in me from the start”, he says. “That is where we should focus our energy. If we get that right the rest of it becomes easy.” NZW General Manager Sustainability, Dr Edwin Massey, says soil has long been acknowledged as fundamental to the New Zealand wine industry, but feedback from the Scorecard Review Technical Advisory Group led to it being added as the sixth Focus Area in the NZW Environment Strategy. The NZW team is now working to develop a key goal and KPIs for the area, he says. See page 34 for Nick Paulin’s Soil Your Undies experiment


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The Focus

Regenerative Agriculture Planting the seed of soil balance SOPHIE PREECE

Matt Murray on the regenerative agriculture trial vineyard. Photo Jim Tannock

A MAJOR New Zealand wine company is dig ging into regenerative agriculture, with the launch of an 8 hectare vineyard trial in Marlborough. Pernod Ricard Winemakers New Zealand Sustainability Manager Tracey Marshall says the project is a chance for the viticulture team to explore knowledge in regenerative techniques, trial an abundance of cover crop species, build better “soil balance”, and measure the impact on vineyard health. “If you get the soils really active and healthy, there is evidence that the plants will be more resilient as well.” The site is par t of a 60ha vineyard flagged for regenerative viticulture, sitting between one of the company’s large organic blocks and the 9ha Kaituna Wetland, which

24   // 

is a showcase of Pernod’s environmental initiatives. This winter it will be direct drilled in an elaborate seed mix, devised by the company’s viticulturists and Marlborough cover crop

experts Kiwi Seeds. That includes more than 20 different species, all with a specific role to play, from aerating the soil with a tap root, to covering its surface with foliage. “It’s

Electric Moves THE COVID-19 lockdown wasn’t enough to deter Tracey Marshall from her latest sustainability mission, to target renewable energy. Pernod Ricard Winemakers New Zealand moved to 100 percent certified renewable electricity in April this year, as part of an array of measures to align the company with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. Tracey, who is the company’s Sustainability Manager, says New Zealand has nearly 90 percent renewable energy, thanks to hydro, thermal and wind generation. However, that power goes to the national grid where its joins energy from non-renewable sources, including coal, so the company has bought certification from Meridian Energy. That allows Pernod to match their electricity use with Meridian’s 100 percent renewable energy generation and ensure the energy they use is accounted for from renewable source.

NZ WINEGROWER  AUGUST/SEPTEMBER 2020

basically focused on building the soil fungal bacterial balance, which makes nutrients available,” Tracey says. “It allows the plants themselves to become more resilient.” Soil monitoring from here on in will assess the bacteria and fungi balance and activity of the trial block, alongside carbon content changes. She’s speaking right after attending a seminar on Regenerative Agriculture in Blenheim, where more than 70 people – mostly from the wine industry – gathered to hear natural performance regenerative coach Jono Frew and regenerative farmer Peter Barrett talk of the outcomes of work at Linnburn Station in Central Otago. “It made me really, really excited about our plans,” Tracey says.


Matt Murray, who is Pernod Ricard Winemakers New Zealand Site Manager, Wairau, says there’s a growing wealth of information on regenerative agriculture in other sectors, such as pastoral farming, but little in viticulture. “There are a lot of things that won’t adapt directly from animal systems, so there’s quite a lot we can do here and be innovative with.” “Nurturing terroir” is one of the four pillars of Pernod Ricard’s global Sustainability and Responsibility Roadmap, which is aligned with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. The pillars include a focus on regenerative agriculture and biodiversity, “ ter roir map ping ”, and reducing carbon intensity by 50 percent by 2030. All Pernod Ricard Winemakers’ companyowned vineyards – in four wine regions around the world – will develop regenerative

agriculture pilot schemes by 2025, before partnering with farmers to share the information. For Tracey, it is the latest in a long list of sustainability targets she and others in the New Zealand operations have been able to get their teeth into, from vastly reducing waste streams from the vineyards and wineries, to restoring and replanting the Kaituna Wetland, which has just been put under a QEII National Trust covenant. Over the past decade, Pernod Ricard Winemakers New Zealand has planted inter-row crops and, trialled swathes of wildflowers at its vineyards, and extended its organic operations, which now total more than 90ha around New Zealand. In 2016, Tracey instigated an ecology survey to benchmark the health of vineyard soils and waterways. The company has also

given major suppor t to sufficient resources and the Marlborough Falcon knowledge to target scienceConser vation Trust over based goals that align with the past 10 years, and has international best practice. undertaken native planting “We can really target initiatives projects around u n u s e d v i n e ya rd areas and waterways, creating corridors “We like to be at for native birds and the forefront of insects and boosting sustainable practices” biodiversity for their vineyards. “As New Zealanders we like innovate and be early adopters of positive that will make a difference. It is change”, Tracey says of the not just a random ‘let’s do this, company’s dizzying multitude let’s do that’; it is well thought of sustainability initiatives, through, in terms of what we awards, and certifications, will put in place in order to i n c l u d i n g t h e r e c e n t meet our goals.” certification of 100 percent Even minor steps can reap renewable electricity through major rewards when it comes to Meridian (see sidebox). “We improving the environmental like to be at the forefront of footprint of the wine industry, sustainable practices.” says Tracey. “Lots of changes – And she counts herself lucky usually small ones – combine to that Pernod Ricard’s global lead to lesser impacts. They can reach and perspective ensures be quite powerful.”

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The Focus

Bell Hill Biodiversity Billion Tree boost to Weka Pass wetland

JEAN GRIERSON

A WETLAND development and native planting project at Bell Hill Vineyard could see the return of native bird and plant species that have long been lost from the area. It’s been more than half a century since weka were in the vicinity, but Bell Hill Vineyard owners Marcel Giesen and Sherwyn Veldhuizen have an ambition to bring the iconic flightless birds back to Weka Pass. Earlier this year they diverted water through a series of new ponds to establish a 3 hectare wetland habitat to encourage the return of native birdlife, once abundant in the vicinity. The new wetland has been created on land purchased in 2015, adjacent to their existing 2ha Bell Hill vineyard, which Sherwyn and Marcel established on an old lime quarry in the Weka Pass, North Canterbury. It complements some 0.5ha of native plantings already

26   // 

established on the vineyard, which is named for a bellshaped hill with gleaming white lime-rich soil. A unique location on northerly slopes, high density plantings and meticulous winegrowing have ensured Pinot Noir and Chardonnay wines with a reputation of highest quality. Being limestone-derived soils, the ground slumped readily and retains water during the winter, so converting it to wetland was an obvious extension, says Sherwyn. Moa bones were discovered during the excavation for new ponds, adding to the rich historical records they have been accumulating since the discovery of moa fossils at their vineyard in 2001. Sherwyn and Marcel hope planting with appropriate riparian species will establish habitat to bring back a diversity of native species that have become scarce with clearing

NZ WINEGROWER  AUGUST/SEPTEMBER 2020

and draining of land by earlier farming practices to establish pasture. “We felt that having owned Bell Hill for 23 years… we’d got to a point in our lives where we thought about what we want to get out of this place in the next 20 years,” says Sherwyn. “We wanted to have done something special that contributed to the area’s habitat and is an example for others.” The plantings include a mix of harakeke (flax), grasses including makura (Carex secta), and tī kōuka (cabbage trees), extending into kanuka, manatu (ribbonwood) and other nurse trees, with the aim to provide shelter from the severe North Canterbury winds for future re-establishment of forest species such as matai, which once dominated the landscape, and ngaio, mahoe, pokaka and totara. Weka are being bred at Motukara near Christchurch and once the wetland habitat is well established in a few years,

the couple hope to be able to reintroduce them to the region. Bell Hill employed a consultant with local North Canterbury knowledge, and a management plan was developed which included pond design, species selection, and pest and weed control. They were able to source some funding towards the wetland habitat project through the One Billion Trees programme. “It was an advantage to us that the One Billion Trees Programme came about, although we were already on that path” says Sherwyn, who recommends other vineyard owners explore the scheme to see if it fits their objectives. “But you need to be serious and make a commitment, and not just do it for an easy handout,” she stresses. “Vineyards should want to do it regardless of whether they can do it through One Billion Trees or not.”


The Focus

Billion Trees

Opportunities for boosting and protecting native cover JEAN GRIERSON Anton Stadniczenko plants a totara at Craggy Range’s Te Muna vineyard. Photo by Richard Brimer

VINEYARDS AND wineries looking to plant predominantly native trees and shrubs are being encouraged to explore opportunities for funding through a nationwide programme. The Government launched the One Billion Trees Programme in 2018 to increase tree planting across New Zealand, with the goal to double the current planting rate to reach one billion trees planted by 2028. By May this year, almost 150,000,000 trees had been planted. “The approach is for trees to be integrated into the landscape to complement and diversify our existing land uses, rather than see large-scale land conversion to forestry,” says Henry Weston, Director Forest Development, Grants & Partnerships. “The priorities for the programme are now on initiatives that are located in regional areas that most need support and those that provide employment.” Boosting tree cover allows landholders to reduce soil ero-

sion and improve land productivity, water quality and native biodiversity. They can potentially gain new income streams and help New Zealand meet its climate change commitments. One Billion Trees is focussed on lowering the planting barriers currently faced by landowners and providing incentives to support and create wider social, environmental and economic benefits across New Zealand, with the mantra of “right trees in the right place, for the right purpose”, says Henry. In terms of vineyards, grants are available for a minimum area of 1 hectare for indigenous plantings, and up to 300ha, with top-ups available for fencing and ecological restoration par tnership projects. Smaller plantings

can be joined together by a corridor of plantings averaging 30 metres in width (and no less than 15 metres width) to establish the total area. Grants can be applied for at any time, and typically take around two months to process. Mar tinborough vineyard Craggy Range began planting some 150,000 native trees and plants this winter, over 50ha of unproductive land to increase biodiversity, assisted by funding from the One Billion Trees programme (see April/May 2020 Winegrower). And Bell Hill was able to source some funding towards a 3.13ha wetland habitat project in North Canterbury (see facing page). Te Uru Rakāu staff located around New Zealand provide

advice to landholders, organisations and community groups seeking to apply for One Billion Trees funding. Ministr y for Pr imar y Industries Forest and Landuse Advisor Erica Smith – based in Invercargill - said Te Uru Rakāu advisors can sit down with landholders and work through their applications, have on site discussions, and are contactable by email or phone about eligibility. “It is helpful if you can give us as much information as possible about your project when submitting your application, including maps and photos, and details of where they are taken. This helps to build a picture and context of your project and give us confidence of its likely success.”

More on 1BT:

• Website - teururakau.govt.nz/funding-and-programmes/forestry/one-billion-trees-programme • Guide - mpi.govt.nz/dmsdocument/31860-guide-to-the-one-billion-trees-programme-2018 • Email - 1bt@mpi.govt.nz • Call - 0800 00 83 33

NZ WINEGROWER  AUGUST/SEPTEMBER 2020  //   27


The Focus

Sustainability Guardians Environmental champions step up to challenge SOPHIE PREECE

Fromm

NEW ZEALAND Winegrowers is calling on teams of Sustainability Guardians to help “promote and foster innovation” in the wine industry. General Manager Sustainability, Dr Edwin Massey, says the new Guardians programme is open to all members who want to “go further” in ensuring a more sustainable winery, vineyard or wine company operation. “They want to do more. They want to implement best practice and they want all the new ideas.” Those ideas will come from other industry players who are ahead of the game, but also from experts in business, within central and regional government, and across supply chains, “who can really add to

our sustainable practices”, says Edwin. The voluntary extension programme will replace the Sustainable Winegrowing New Zealand (SWNZ) Continuous Improvement Programme, giving wine growers the opportunity to share insights into their biggest challenges, along with their sustainability success stories. There will be no barriers to entry into the programme, which is free and based on NZW’s six focus areas of sustainability, including soil, climate change, and waste. It’s a model already tested by a Marlborough wine industry group (see sidebox), which is working collaboratively to improve waste management,

from utilising winery lees in vineyards to improving the storage and disposal of CCA treated posts, while also analysing the environmental cost of other post options. That group, which began through the Continuous Improvement Programme, has been an excellent example of collaborative improvement, says Edwin. It’s also been an important resource in the development of new vineyard post storage guidelines, which are soon to be released. “That really got us thinking that we could do that across the range of the six focus areas”. He is hoping to see a strong Climate Change Guardians group emerge, to help NZW deliver on

its commitment to the industry being carbon zero ahead of the Government’s 2050 deadline. As well as hearing from others and developing best practice, the Sustainability Guardians Programme is about highlighting amazing achievements, he says. “There are some really great sustainability stories out there, and we want to make recognition easier, and to identify champions, either in a focus area or in overall sustainability.” In 2021 Edwin hopes to launch the Sustainability Guardians awards, “recognising those who are really making a difference”. To find out more or to register as a guardian, go to the Sustainability tab at nzwine.com.

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The Focus

Delving into waste yields sweet results A BOUT of “dumpster diving” was one of the first priorities for a Marlborough Winery Waste group established in June 2018, says Bridget Ennals. The Sustainable Winegrowing New Zealand (SWNZ) Sustainability Guardians Programme Co-ordinator says assessing waste streams helped the group’s members pinpoint key opportunities to improve purchasing, recycling and reusing, to reduce reliance on landfill. The group, which was formed under the SWNZ Continuous Improvement programme, began with around 10 company representatives interested in tackling winery waste. It now has between 20 and 30 companies involved, including some of the region’s largest wineries and key supply companies. Bringing them all together has revealed plenty of waste problems, but also found plenty of solutions, she says. “So many of the answers were already in the room.” Bridget says the initiative was partly about celebrating companies and individuals going above and beyond the SWNZ benchmark, while coming up with an industry standard for winery waste, along with information on what and where waste can be recycled. The group set grape marc aside, as that challenge was being studied widely. But group members were struck by the opportunity to improve disposal of grape lees and other winemaking byproducts typically sent off to landfill, says Bridget. “They were also very concerned by the packaging being used in their companies.” Over the past two years the team has come up with packaging solutions that reduce the waste stream, whether

Bridget Ennals

by ensuring recyclables, or avoiding packaging altogether. One example is Fruitfed Supplies, which has made a tonne of changes in the past few years – or rather 13 tonnes, when it comes to plastic. Blair McLean, who has been on the winery waste group since it began, says convincing a New Zealand supplier of wire to send bales down without plastic and wraps saved around 5000kg of plastic. Changing the delivery of filtration aids from a major supplier, so they come in pallets with straps but no plastic wrap, has saved another 8000kg or so. He has also talked to other supply companies about joining the AgRecovery scheme, to ensure empty containers can be recycled. Blair says the changes are driven by companies seeking zero waste, and Fruitfed’s push to reduce its footprint. “We can have a direct impact and want to work with our suppliers to get them to supply products smarter.” Being in the waste group has allowed him to learn more about what companies want, and to hear about new solutions. When WineWorks told the group about sending its shrink wrap to Nelson to be made into slip sheets, Blair talked Fruitfed into doing the same. He says the waste group has made excellent inroads, and he looks forward to seeing more major companies get on board to help drive it further, faster. Bridget says the waste group has discussed everything from gumboots and other gear left behind by pruning workers, to pallets made from PET bottles, and paper bottles that could conceivably be used for wine. “Every day we have something new come along.”

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NZ WINEGROWER  AUGUST/SEPTEMBER 2020  //   29


The Science

Science and Technology in wine

Native cover

Sustainable vineyard floor. Pg 31

Dirty laundry

Soil your undies challenge. Pg 34

Rootstock

Drought resistance. Pg 36

Hemp Research

Cannabis cover crop. Pg 42

Lobelia angulata


The Science

Native Cover

Hawke’s Bay vines share their digs SOPHIE PREECE

They are using our po

NATIVE PLANTINGS trialled under Villa Maria vines have yielded good results, despite dry conditions and destructive rabbits. The Sustainable Vineyard Floor Project, co-funded by MPI’s Sustainable Food & Fibre Futures grant, was a one-year pilot study at Villa Maria’s vineyards in Hawke’s Bay, with five different species of native plants tested across two different vineyard blocks of Merlot and Syrah, as an alternative to using herbicide. Research Viticulturist

Raquel Kallas says the project results indicate the plantings were “passive”, with little or no impact on vine and soil water status, vine shoot lengths and pruning weights, vine nutrient status, vine yield or fruit chemistry. “Very few statistically significant differences were found, a positive indication that, overall, the undervine plants did not compete excessively with the mature vines for resources in year one,” she writes in her report. That’s exactly the outcome

Leptinella squalida

Raquel was hoping for. “I wanted to see that the vine is behaving just as it would under normal management,” she says, comparing them to adults who’ve never had to share their living space. “Then a flatmate moves in and you could act like it’s ruining your life, or you could learn to live with a flatmate and share your resources,” she says with a laugh. “That’s how I feel about

the vines having the plants under their feet – they will learn to live with it.” Villa Maria planted Carex comans, Lobelia angulata, Leptinella squalida, Coprosma acerosa, and Coprosma acerosa ‘Hawera’ beneath the vines in the trial blocks, as well as two different mixes of cover There are many benefits that owners like a crops consisting of clovers, ● FENCEPRO has a modular build system so you can adapt your post fescues, brown top, plantain, ● Proven to give trouble free operation year after year, even in the m FENCEPROalyssum. Post drivers have incredible resale value - they are very sheep’s burnet, ●and

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They were trialled in a Merlot block growing for Rosé wine and geared for higher yields, and in a Syrah block for superpremium wines from low yielding crops.

the Coprosma was the ripest at 23.5 brix compared to the control at 22.6 brix, “while acids varied little across treatments”, says Raquel’s report. The Carex comans – a hardy tussock grass was in general the second “All other treatments most competitive native in the vineyards brought the yield Meanwhile the Lobelia closer to, or exactly angulata was associated met the manager’s with an increase in yield compared to the control, commercial target although non-significant, when extrapolated to says Raquel. The Lobelia was also the only tonnes per hectare.” treatment to increase vine water status and relative The Coprosma acerosa, a soil moisture compared to the native coastal plant, was the herbicide control, although only plant that significantly that was also statistically nonbrought down yields in the significant. It was also the plant Syrah, with yield per vine lower with the lowest survival rate, than the control by 1 kilogram at 84%. at 2.2kg per vine. “Cluster “These are not hard and fast weight was also significantly conclusions, but the tendencies reduced by 40 grams, to 109g/ observed warrant further cluster.” The fruit grown amid investigation,” writes Raquel

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NZ WINEGROWER  AUGUST/SEPTEMBER 2020


in her summary. “All other treatments brought the yield closer to, or exactly met, the manager’s commercial target when extrapolated to tonnes per hectare.” Raquel says the choice of natives as an undervine crop makes perfect sense, to reduce herbicide use and return indigenous species to the “manipulated environment”. They are equipped to live in New Zealand conditions, so need little “coddling” along the way, and proved resilient to frosts, she adds. The plants took hold in drought conditions – “we couldn’t have chosen a more challenging season”, says Raquel - and the biggest threat was rabbits, a problem exacerbated by the dry year. From the bunnies’ perspective, the natives “just looked like chocolate chip cookies sitting amid the vines”, she says. Her favourite plant - the Leptinella

squalida - had a perfect survival rate, but was the one most favoured by the rabbits, with nearly a quarter of the plants damaged in some way. Because the rabbits dig for the roots, deterrent sprays were not effective, and a shooting and poison programme was used to mitigate the impact. While ridding the vineyard of an introduced pest has its benefits, that was a tiresome distraction to the project, she says. Villa Maria is interested in continuing the trial, Raquel says, and hopes that will include quantification of “positive externalities”, such as soil microbes and beneficial insects, by third par ty scientists. It’s about a holistic approach that looks at ecosystem services as a whole in order to avoid the need for a silver bullet “fix” says Raquel. “We’re running out of those.”

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NZ WINEGROWER  AUGUST/SEPTEMBER 2020  //   33


The Science

Soiled undies

Getting the basics right in soil regeneration SOPHIE PREECE

A CENTRAL Otago viticulturist is airing his dirty laundry, to measure soil health under different management systems. Nick Paulin, of Aotearoa New Zealand Fine Wine Estates, buried two pairs of basic cotton underwear in adjacent rows at Manata Estate, Lowburn, to assess the level of activity in the soil beneath his vines. “The more microbial activity there is, the more the break down in the cotton. The cover crop underpants are disintegrated and the grass row ones are reasonably intact.” Both rows are organic, but one had a ‘traditional’ grass cover, which was mowed. The

other had a cover crop planted in March 2019, with a blend of oats, rye, corn, peas, mustard, kale, red clover and plantain. It grew over winter and was crimp rolled in the spring, to leave the nutrient-rich matter flattened between the vines. In January this year, Nick buried a crisp new pair of white cotton underpants in each row and carried on with the normal vineyard activity, before taking them out five weeks later. “We wanted to see how much microbial activity was going on in the soil, and the cotton undies were the more visual way,” he says. The result was as he’d expected, because the crimped

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34   // 

NZ WINEGROWER  AUGUST/SEPTEMBER 2020

cover crop retained moisture. “If you pulled the thatch off it was always damp. And from what I have seen from general agriculture, crimping creates a much better soil environment for microbes to live in.” The difference was clear as they dug the holes to bury the underpants, leaving the less-degradable elastic band topside. “Pushing the spade in was a heck of a lot easier in the crimped row to the grass row.” He may now follow through with measures of soil compaction, and also plans to send soil samples to the lab for assessment. But the simple and lowcost underpant tests is great for

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its visual evidence of the value of a cover crop and crimping, he says. “The traditional view on vineyards is to look nice and mown and pretty… But that’s probably not the best things for the soil.” The Soil Your Undies Challenge began with The Farmers Guild in California, in order to show the impact and importance of healthy soil, with organic matter and organisms that eat organic matter, including bacteria, earthworms and fungi. Nick was inspired to follow suit when he was told of a Quebec vineyard burying its undies, and thought it an effective way to test the


crimping versus mown sward on the two-year-old block. One of the pillars of regenerative agriculture practices is have soil covered, “and that is what we are trying to achieve”, he says. “To find a different way to utilise that cover crop… rather than mulching it down or tilling it back into the soil.”

He will now trial the crimped cover crops – and buried undies – on some older blocks in different soils. Soil organic matter is a “very easy” thing to change if you manage it correctly, he says. “Conversely, if you manage it badly you can do a lot of damage. It’s really important to understand that.”

The undies at the top were buried beneath a ‘traditional’ grass sward row that was mowed. The ones in the ‘bottom’ image were buried beneath a row that had a winter cover crop crimp rolled in spring.

NZ WINEGROWER  AUGUST/SEPTEMBER 2020  //   35


The Science

Droughttolerant rootstocks Time for a reassessment? NICK HOSKINS

LARGE AND small companies are seeking strategies to reduce their water use and impact on the environment and to mitigate risk in drought years. Could drought-tolerant (resistant) rootstocks play a role in the future of New Zealand viticulture? Judging by the number of enquiries on this topic in recent months, it certainly appears that vineyard managers are very curious. Climate change will affect grape growing. The question is, how? One possibility is by more frequent droughts, but other scenarios include higher temperatures and higher rainfall in some parts of the season. While I don’t have any answers on climate change, it’s important to consider the pros and cons for the various rootstocks planted in New Zealand. New Zealand has a short

history when it comes to rootstocks. It wasn’t until the late 1980s and early 1990s, when phylloxera became widespread, that vineyards were planted using grapevine varieties grafted onto rootstocks. At the time, the focus was typically on early maturity and phylloxera resistance, although two rootstocks – ARG1 and 1202 – did not live up to their billing. Both of them were subsequently found to have insufficient resistance to phylloxera and needed to be removed and replanted. Some growers were faced with a second replant not long after they had replanted own-rooted vineyards – devastating on cashflow and a good reminder of the importance of “getting it right”.

Early preferences Drought tolerance was not a

consideration when choosing rootstocks in a country with a relatively high annual rainfall and abundant supplies of water. Prized rootstock attributes were early maturity, positive effects on fruitset and low to moderate vine vigour. Early maturity was considered important in a climate where late summer/early autumn rainfall often interrupted harvest in the North Island and cooler temperatures and/or frost in the South Island could make it difficult to achieve desired maturity before vines shut down. Rootstocks appear to influence fruitset, although whether

this effect is related to vine vigour, timing of flowering or the rootstocks’ influence on nutrient uptake is not clear. These attributes are still very important in New Zealand, but will they become more – or less – important with climate change? And will drought tolerance become more important than other attributes? Helpful data on the performance of rootstocks in New Zealand is scarce or non-existent but, although the international literature provides useful information, we should be cautious in applying it to New Zealand’s climate, soils, and production targets.

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Look to the parents Are there drought-tolerant rootstocks that are suitably resistant to phylloxera with low to moderate vigour, good fruitset, and early maturity that could be used in New Zealand? That’s a tall order. Any attempt to answer those questions should start with an examination of rootstock parentage, because progeny from the same crosses generally exhibit similar traits. The rootstocks available today are crosses or hybrids from the native Vitis species of America where they survived and flourished in the presence of phylloxera. The key parents are Vitis riparia, Vitis rupestris, and Vitis berlandieri of which most of the commonly used rootstocks are progeny of two of these. The three main groups are: 1. V. riparia X V. rupestris (101-14, 3309, Schwarzmann, etc) 2. V. riparia X V. berlandieri (SO4, 5C, 5BB, etc) 3. V. berlandieri X V. rupestris (1103 Paulsen, Richter 110, Ruggeri). Vitis vinifera has also been used as one of the parents, but crosses of Vitis rupestris with Vitis vinifera were found to have insufficient resistance to phylloxera. Rootstocks 1202 and ARG 1 fall into this category. In some cases, a second cross is made using one of the

38   // 

progenies from these three major groups crossed with Vitis solinis (1616) or Vitis cordifolia (44-53 and 106-8), or Vitis vinifera (41B and 333). In broad terms, the international literature tells us the following: • V. riparia X V. rupestris rootstocks are lower vigour, earlier ripening, with low tolerance to drought • V. riparia X V. berlandieri rootstocks are medium vigour, a little later ripening, and a little more tolerant of drought (individual rootstocks may differ) • V. berlandieri X V. rupestris rootstocks are later ripening, moderate to high vigour, with good tolerance to drought.

Tolerance is key Our experience in New Zealand generally supports these broad categories. Without replicated trials across New Zealand’s regions, varieties, and soil types, however, we have no measurements of the magnitude of these differences. Other traits have contributed to the popularity of particular rootstocks, including: • Tolerance of excess water or poor drainage • Tolerance to lime or high pH • Tolerance to salt or soils high in sodium • Tolerance of compact soils • Influence on flowering and fruitset

NZ WINEGROWER  AUGUST/SEPTEMBER 2020

• Affinity with Vitis vinifera (graft compatibility) • Resistance to nematodes and resistance to root diseases In some cases, these traits may be more important than drought tolerance. For example, a vigorous rootstock that increases management costs in normal years (shoot thinning, positioning, trimming, and leaf removal) and has poor fruitset and lower yield could be an economic disaster in most seasons, with costs exceeding any benefit gained in a drought year.

Thinking ahead There may be rootstocks that are suited to New Zealand, with similar performance to our current stocks and less requirement for water. Malegue 44-53 and Millardet 106-8 are two possibilities that have been propagated and planted by some Kiwi growers with water saving in mind. Just how much water can be saved using these stocks is not clear. Gravesac (V. riparia X V. rupestris X V. berlandieri) may be another rootstock with potential for low water requirement. Unfortunately, there is often conflicting information reported in the international literature. Again, suitable trials conducted in this country would give us some measurements of the drought tolerance and overall performance

of these rootstocks. In New Zealand, we are overdue for a reassessment of rootstock performance, as the goalposts have shifted in recent years. High and consistent yields are necessary if vineyards are to remain profitable in the face of increased costs. This is particularly the case for Sauvignon Blanc but also increasingly for other varieties and wine styles including Rosé, bubbles, and low alcohol wines, all harvested at lower Brix. The choice of rootstock might help growers to achieve desired outcomes and profitability for these wine styles. The industry has become particularly reliant on a single rootstock, 3309, and increasing the diversity of rootstocks may be timely for a range of reasons. Many companies are reducing reliance on herbicides, and rootstocks with deeper root systems and more vigour may counteract increased undervine competition. For now, we continue to have many questions about alternative rootstocks, but little in the way of solid, up-to-date information gained from New Zealand trials. Nick Hoskins has been the Viticulturist at Riversun Nursery for more than 20 years, consulting with clients on vineyard planting, clones, rootstocks, vine health, and just about anything else they require in terms of vineyard advice.


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The Science

Science Snippet What is the Soil Food Web? MICHELLE BARRY

THE SOIL food web can be thought of as the soil biome. Like humans have a gut biome that breaks down food, the soil too has a biome that breaks down organic matter. A healthy soil biome can provide plants with a constant flow of nutrients from soil organic matter and the mineral fraction of soil. Fungi and bacteria release nutrients from sand, silt and clay in soil, making nutrients available to plants in a process that the plant controls. This means that plants get access to the nutrients they need exactly when they need them. Having access to necessary nutrients helps plants to protect themselves

from pests and disease attack, drought and flooding. Figure 1 gives an overview of the soil food web and illustrates some of the interactions within and between different trophic levels. The first level contains photosynthesisers. The plants or their products, in this case root exudates, are consumed and sometimes supported by the second-level microorganisms (decomposers, mutalists, pathogens, root feeders and parasites). At the third level primary carnivores - predators, shredders and grazers - eat the secondlevel microorganisms, and at the fourth level, secondary predators prey on primary

carnivores. A healthy, balanced soil food web provides many benefits beyond supplying nutrients to plants. Benefits include: • Increased nutrient cycling. • Increased soil carbon sequestration. • Increased soil aggregation, which alleviates soil

compaction and anaerobic conditions, and increases water infiltration rates. • Increased water holding capacity and drought resilience. • Increased resilience to soil erosion. Michelle Barry is an Agroecologist & Technical Communications Specialist at Bragato Research Institute.

Figure 1: Relationships and interactions in the soil food web. (USDA, 2020)

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The Science

New agreement strengthens wine training and research A NEW agreement between wine education and science providers “paves the way” for research and collaboration, say those behind the move. The Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) will see the Eastern Institute of Technology (EIT) in Hawke’s Bay, Otago Polytechnic, and the Nelson Marlborough Institute of Technology (NMIT) collaborate on research and student learning with the Marlborough Research Centre (MRC) and the Marlborough-based Bragato Research Institute (BRI). MRC Chief Executive Gerald Hope says the MOU is another milestone towards the development of the campus as the national centre for winemaking and viticulture, following on from the opening of the Bragato research winery in February. “This MOU paves the way for research collaboration between some of the country’s leading wine and viticulture tutors, their students, and the top research scientists and technicians based at BRI.” The MRC currently has a co-funding application with the Provincial Growth Fund to progress the New Zealand Wine Centre to provide an integrated national facility for wine research, education, industry innovation and investment. NMIT’s Director Marlborough, Carole Crawford, said the collaborative arrangement sat well with, and paralleled, the establishment of the New Zealand Institute of Skills and Technology. “This further strengthens the existing relationship between MRC, BRI and NMIT. Both Otago Polytechnic and EIT have long-standing relationships with NMIT, sharing education expertise in the field of grapes and wine, so this collaboration adds further strength for all parties.” The investment into the Budge Street campus would ensure sustainable, state-of-the-art, world-class facilities in Marlborough, “supporting our region and the New Zealand wine industry”, she says. “It’s an exciting time for our stakeholders.” Sue Blackmore, Head of School, Viticulture and Wine Science at EIT, said the new MOU was close to being signed pre Covid-19 but the value brought by involving several composite parts of the newly emerging New Zealand Institute of Skills and Technology was worth the wait. “This is a great step in terms of building collaboration and solidifying existing goodwill. The MRC will receive proposals for collaborative projects and leverage funding from industry and Government. The first projects emerging from the MOU could be in place later this year.

NZ WINEGROWER  AUGUST/SEPTEMBER 2020  //   41


The Science

VinHemp Research SOPHIE PREECE

THERE’S NEW evidence that hemp growing amid grapevines may boost the diversity of native yeasts in the resulting wines. “Compared with other native ferments, the sample from the hemp showed a greater diversity and presence of nonsaccharomyces yeasts at least 72 hours into the ferment,” concluded the VinHemp report released last month. The research, which is co-funded by Callahan Innovations, was commissioned by Kirsty Harkness, who is the first grape grower in New Zealand licensed to grow industrial hemp and to harvest the seed for food products. For the past two years she has been running trials in several blocks of Sauvignon Blanc in Marlborough, with Dr Mark Krasnow, of Thoughtful Viticulture, running a research programme to assess the impacts on soils, biodiversity, and wines. In the first year of her license, the trials were run

42   // 

on 4 hectares of vineyards in the Waihopai Valley, but that expanded to 50ha for the 2019/2020 summer season, thanks to the success of the cover crop. Unlike marijuana, hemp has very low levels of THC, and the plants have had an abundance of benefits on the vineyard trials, says Kirsty, who was impressed with the bee and insect life on the hemp plants, as well as the plants’ ability to thrive in tough conditions, including the very dry 2019 and 2020 season. Those perceived results have been backed by the research, which found that bees from hives near the hemp collected much more pollen than hives located elsewhere on the property. “Presumably, hemp would serve as a ready food source for other pollen consuming beneficial insects as well, and so might indirectly help protect the vines from predators, parasites, and pathogens,” says the report.

NZ WINEGROWER  AUGUST/SEPTEMBER 2020

Soil samples revealed by the VinHemp research show that the presence of hemp did not greatly reduce mineral content of the soil, and “soils from the hemp treatment had higher organic matter, soil carbon, and cation exchange capacity”. The report also notes the plants’ ability to grow in dry conditions, including in compacted tractor tyre tracks, when other cover crop species failed. Kirsty has been primarily focussed on using hemp as a cover crop to improve the health of vineyard soils, but also sees the opportunity for a second income, and is working on a hemp oil cosmetic skincare range. She also sees other opportunities, such as growing the plant to attract weta away from vines in winegrowing areas like the Awatere Valley. But while soil and vineyard health was key for Kirsty, she wanted to prioritise wine company feedback in the VinHemp research, to ensure

the hemp had no negative effects on the wine. She worked with the Babich winemaking team in Marlborough to analyse juice composition, and they found very few differences between the grapes from the trial and control blocks, indicating that the hemp did not greatly affect ripening of the fruit. However, they also picked up an increased diversity in yeast species, leading the winemakers to run a native ferment on the hemp wine, discovering the greater diversity and presence of nonsaccharomyces yeasts. Mark’s research also discovered no cannabinoids in the grapes, which means Kirsty can mulch down future hemp crops after the seed harvest, creating a natural weed mat. Simon Yarrow, Callahan Innovations’ Group Manager Agritech, says the organisation is happy to be supporting research in “this growing and high value space”.


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The People

The Balance

Gordon Russell’s vinyl. Pg 47

David Strada

NZ wines to US palates. Pg 48

Kiwi Folk

Kevin Judd’s wine portraits Pg 50

Women in Wine

Jane Forrest Waghorn. Pg 52

Bob’s Blog

Screwcaps and Mr Grumpy Pg 56 The Waghorn Family


The People

Wellness in Wine

Simon Towns

Getting creative after Covid A COMPANY-WIDE day off is just one of the initiatives rolled out by Constellation Brands New Zealand in the wake of a pressured Covid-19 season. The wine company shut up shop on 13 July to give employees a long weekend in the school holidays, while encouraging them to explore their backyards. It has been an eventful year with a lot of change, “culminating in Covid-19 hitting us mid-harvest”, says Managing

Director Simon Towns. “We got creative, we adapted and thanks to the hard graft from our team we’ve come out really strong. This is our way of saying, ‘great job’. We’re fortunate to have come out of this period strongly, so this is our way of paying it forward.” All the company’s employees - around 300 - were eligible for the ‘Day On Us’. Those below senior leader level who work more than 20 hours per week

were also given an $80 voucher for one of several stores, representing a $16,000 injection into New Zealand businesses. The company is also working with employees to understand how they want to structure their work and life following their experiences of lockdown. Flexible work arrangements under Constellation’s FlexAbility programme were already well entrenched across the company, contributing to a

smoother transition to remote working during the lockdown. Now they are also part of future ways of working, with Constellation’s Auckland-based employees indicating a clear desire to continue with regular remote working. The company is currently trialling two ‘core in-person days’ a week, with teams left to design what suits for the remaining time, taking into account the people, team and business needs.

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The People

The Balance ‘Music nerd’ Gordon Russell talks to OLLIE STYLES about a love of vinyl THE COV ID -19 lockdown was a sharp reminder to Esk Valley Winemaker Gordon Russell of how much he enjoys his commute. The 30-minute drive from Bayview to the Villa Maria site on the Gimblett Gravels is reasonably bucolic, but locked down at the winery, sharing a campervan with a fellow winemaker, it wasn’t the countryside scenery that Russell missed - it was the daily window he gets to listen to music. “I’m a music nerd,” he tells me. I’ve known this since working with Russell several years ago. Afternoon tea at a blending session is a relatively listless affair, but he would be talking music with all the passion of a teenager to any winemaker who cared to listen - and there are a few musos at Villa - Dave Roper and Richard Painter to name two. Russell’s love of music goes back a long way. I ask him

how he started. “When I was a kid, I used to send a money order to England, to independent record stores advertising in the New Musical Express [NME] and six weeks later a record would arrive.” His first record was a ‘45 of the Ballad of John & Yoko, and his collection started with early Beach Boys singles and David Bowie. The first collection, though, he gave away when he moved to London in 1980. He’s still not over it. “There were some punk first pressings in there,” he says. “It would be worth a f***ing fortune now.” Then came the tape era: “I had thousands of tapes” he says, from albums to mix tapes to tape-to-tape records. But fast forward to today and he’s back to vinyl - and Spotify. His vinyl collection currently stands at about 800 records sourced from record shops (where he admits to spend-

COLD STAB IS OVER

ing hours and having to work tea ceremony. “That’s well put,” within a self-imposed budget) he agrees. online orders and purchases And we’re back to the comat live events. “It’s such an mute, and his return home expensive hobby - and that’s after a day at work. There’s the issue.” always music in the house and But the wine industry does half of the time he comes back afford some benefits here. Business trips to the US pro“It’s such an expensive vide Russell with hobby - and that’s access to some “wicked records the issue.” stores - and they’re a lot cheaper”. He admits to stuffing his suitcases with twenty to his partner Pia’s selection. records a time for the return Her preference is more for soul, trip. And what of Spotify? “It’s he tells me. Russell is more of such a great resource. It’s great a rock and indie-pop - with “an for new music,” he says. But awful lot” of reggae. “It’s not records are for pleasure; they’re that we fight,” he says, “it’s just “more soulful”. I suggest that that I can’t wait for her seleclistening to vinyl is a bit like a tion to be over.”

n

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NZ WINEGROWER  AUGUST/SEPTEMBER 2020  //   47


The People

David Strada in San Francisco

Strada Sphere Linking Kiwi wines with US palates SOPHIE PREECE

DAVID STRADA clearly recalls the moment he was asked which part of Australia New Zealand was in, “and my chin hit the table”. It was 1998, the US market was worth a couple of hundred thousand cases of New Zealand wine a year, and the San Francisco-based New Yorker was running his first New Zealand wine seminar in Boston. “The most important lesson I learned was cover the basics initially,” he says. “It was definitely for me - and certainly the rest of the country - a learning curve.” Twenty -two years on, as he leaves his role as US Marketing Manager for New Zealand Winegrowers (NZW), there are more than 9 million

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cases of New Zealand wine sold there each year, in an “unprecedented ” grow th trajectory, driven by Sauvignon and “unmatched by any other

import country”, says David. “No one else has shown that kind of progress.” New Zealand Winegrowers Chief Executive Philip Gregan

Covid-19 NEW ZEALAND WINES could stand to benefit from Covid’s impact on the US hospitality trade, says David Strada. The former US Marketing Manager for New Zealand Winegrowers says as the restaurant trade gets back in gear, they will want to pare back on wine offerings and limit expenses. “Oddly, I think that will work in the favour of New Zealand,” says David, noting that New Zealand wine is typically “undervalued” in the market. They’re also a good fit on-premise and could very well “fill the gap” as restaurants shed high priced options. Ultimately, he wants to see the wines priced higher in the US, by increasing the respect for New Zealand’s best wines, “as opposed to its most common”.

NZ WINEGROWER  AUGUST/SEPTEMBER 2020

says when David began working as a “promotional partner” with the New Zealand Wine Institute in 1998, New Zealand had less than 10,000 hectares of vineyard, produced more Chardonnay than Sauvignon Blanc, and sent $26 million of exports to the USA, “out of a grand total of $169m”. Two decades on, vineyard area has expanded to 40,000ha, Ne w Z e a l a n d p ro d u ce s 12 times more Sauvignon than C hardonnay, “and our exports to the US have climbed 24-fold to over $600m”, says Philip, noting that David put New Zealand wine “front and centre” of everything he did.


The People

It’s been an exciting , demanding and fulfilling role, says David, who admits he went out on a limb in deciding to work exclusively with New Zealand wine. “That could have been seen as a limiting move, but I have had very good timing,” he says. “I’m not sure if any other time in my life has had such good timing. I have identified with New Zealand and the wines and the people.” Just as important as his timing, “if not more so”, was the fact that New Zealand was growing high quality wines of distinctive styles not found anywhere else, he says. “Consumers recognised and responded to this.” He had loved the wines from first sip, including Sauvignon Blanc that was an “exciting” shift from what he was used to. “As soon as you put your nose over the glass you had an idea of what was coming. When you had a taste, you had to sit up straight and it brought a smile to your face.” At a time when more and more wine seemed homogenous, “New Zealand stood out”, he says. David’s role was to explain that to Americans across the country, from the basics of where, to the more complex conversations of how, including cool climate viticulture and new world ethos. It was slow going to start with, and for the first decade he wondered whether he’d chosen a wise path, as the US clamoured for Australian wines, as well as those made on their own shores. But that all changed a decade ago, as New Zealand gained a foothold and sales soared. These days, Americans may not all know a lot of detail about New Zealand, but there’s a “warm fuzzy feeling” about the country, along with awareness of rugby, the America’s Cup and “the

current political leadership” somewhat “burnished” through Covid-19, says David. There’s also a continued appetite for New Zealand wine, including Sauvignon Blanc in a style “that appeals to so many people”, he says. “I can say with confidence that it is not a fad.” But there will be a cap to the volume growth, David adds, noting that total wine consumption has grown in the US over the past 25 years, largely because of an increase in the size of the legal drinking age population. That’s hit a plateau and is not expected to change over the next 10 to 20 years, he says. “New Zealand sales continue to grow, which indicates that sales are coming at the expense of other categories... at some point they will hit a peak. It is critical at that time that the peak becomes a plateau rather than a cliff. And value becomes as important as volume.” As he moves on from his role with NZW, David is planning to work with individual companies to help them create greater success in the US, which may be the world’s largest wine market “but is also the most competitive”. Ratings alone no longer sell a wine, he says – “every single wine has to have an effort to be sold”. In the past few years he had realised that, with the New Zealand category well established, the next step is for Americans to know more about the country’s iconic producers. “I think we need to get to know the people and the places and celebrate that. I am hoping to work with some individual wineries, or groups of wineries, and help them with their presence on the ground now.” T hat was a valu a ble proposition before Covid-19 changed the landscape for New Zealand companies in the US, and now it’s even more vital, David says.

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NZ WINEGROWER  AUGUST/SEPTEMBER 2020  //   49


The People

Wine Folk NEW ZEALAND’S wine industry has been given a clear view down memory lane, thanks to Kevin Judd’s Kiwi Folk photography series. In late April, Kevin posted a portrait and short description of Denis Irwin of Matawhero, “a Kiwi winemaking legend”, on his Facebook page and Instagram @greywacker. When we speak three months later, he’s just posted number 60 – Rudi Bauer – and reckons he’ll get to 100 before he runs out. The photos come from the late ‘90s and early 2000s, when Kevin – then winemaker at Cloudy Bay – was also taking images for the Cuisine Wine Country and others. Known for his moody landscape and vineyard shots, he says shooting portraits was initially intimidating, because he had more than himself to please. “You have be happy with it and they have to be happy with it.” But he’s pleased with feedback on the snapshot of New Zealand’s favourite wine folk in younger days, with fewer wrinkles and, in some cases, more hair. “That adds a bit of interest.” The photo to the right is Kevin Judd in the mid-90s, taken by Steven La Plante.

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NZ WINEGROWER  AUGUST/SEPTEMBER 2020


ADVERTORIAL

Dramatic Changes Required A Shoot Thinning Trial on High Vigour Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc - Part 3 (Final) Chris Henry of Henry Manufacturing championed a trial last season on vigorous Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc evaluating different shoot thinning regimes on spray penetration for disease control and potential fruitfulness.

”The potential benefits of shoot thinning are well known” says Chris. “Enhanced fruit-set, more balanced vines, easier pruning in the following year and improved disease control are some of the expected outcomes”. The results are now in (see table below) and the full

report can be found on www. henrymanufacturing.co.nz. The vigorous Lower Wairau four cane Sauvignon Blanc canopy has proven to be a formidable challenge; simply put, shoot thinning alone does not provide solutions to address less than adequate spray penetration, says Chris.

The quality of the shoots for all treatments showed a similar pattern of apical dominance with the mid canes being smaller than the others (see graph). However, the early ‘Full Monty’ treatment was consistently higher in average size than all the other treatments.

Unfortunately Covid-19 prevented a yield assessment. ‘Full Monty’ treatments had fewer bunches but we do not know if they were larger and whether the vine is more balanced vine as a result. We will have to look at the vine next year to see.

Influence of shoot thinning on shoot size

Control Grab

(Note: shoots were graded 0.5, 1 and 2 to represent very small, small and productive shoots)

Stop & Look Monty early

2.0

Monty late

1.5

RESULTS SNAPSHOT Visual

No visual difference in canopy between treatments after one month

Leaf density

Reduced leaf layer at head for ‘Full Monty’ Reduced leaf layer effect of ‘Full Monty’ along cordon disappeared in 6-8 weeks

Spray coverage

‘Full Monty’ treatment provided improved coverage, but still not adequate

Shoot quality

Early ‘Full Monty’ had improved cane size across the cordon (see graph)

Powdery Mildew

Full Monty treatments were clean at veraison after earlier eradication. Other treatments and control were also low. Control was at 0.6% crop loss.

We used the Point Quadrat Method to determine leaf layer density and Water Sensitive Papers to assess spray penetration. The results indicate that ‘Full Monty’ treatments had reduced leaf layer in the head and temporarily reduced leaf layer along the cordon. This is supported by the wettable paper results which showed better coverage. Powdery mildew assessment was disrupted when severe

powdery mildew infections were found in the block, suggesting a lack of spray coverage from the seven applications up to that point. In the head of the vines, on average, there were (approximately) eight shoots in the control plots, six shoots for the ‘grab’ and ‘stop and look’ treatments, and four shoots for the ‘Full Monty’ treatments. The number of shoots along the cordon were similar across all treatments.

1.0

0.5

0

1

Head end

2

3

Cordon Section

4

5

6

End of cane

WHAT DID WE LEARN? More dramatic changes to Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc growing systems (trellising) are likely to be required if disease is to be controlled with softer/other chemistries that require good contact with leaves and bunches. High vigour Sauvignon Blanc on four cane VSP produces areas of less than optimum fruitfulness in the mid-cane region, and even heavy shoot thinning did not overcome this. Further research into pruning systems that avoid

overlap of shoots is required as well as encouraging the removal of shoots from the head as industry best practice. Our thanks to Mike Trought, Mark Allen, Jason Flowerday, Fabiano Frangi, (Giesen Wines), Will Greig, James Jones, David Manktelow and others for their contributions. Henry Manufacturing will sponsor another season of work to find long-term benefits for this sector of the industry, and invite others who wish to contribute to join our team.

Visit www.henrymanufacturing.co.nz Call Chris Henry on 027 294 1490 email chris@henrymanufacturing.co.nz


The People

Women in Wine

Jane Forrest Waghorn speaks to SOPHIE PREECE about an unexpected family business

Astrolabe is a sponsor, and Jane an interviewer, for the annual Marlborough Book Festival. Photo Jim Tannock

WHEN JANE Forrest told her father she was heading to South Australia so her new fiancé could make wine, he though they were “crazy”. It wasn’t their 1982 move from Christchurch to Adelaide that worried him, or the fact she was marrying at 22, or that - the first in her family to go to University - she was transferring her degree. But the winemaking part was a definite concern, he told Jane, years later. “It just wasn’t a thing in New Zealand,” she says. “But we were young and it seemed interesting and exciting and off we went. And it was an amazing time.” Fast forward 38 years, and Jane and Simon Waghorn’s Marlborough wine company Astrolabe has deep roots, an

52   // 

enviable reputation and two of their three daughters at the helm. That succession plan was something the couple never dreamed of as they set off on a wine journey as students, or when they established their own business as a sideline two decades ago. “It never occurred to us, even once, that it would be a family business,” says Jane, a month after passing the General Manager role to her daughter Libby. Jane grew up in Timaru and went to university at Canterbury, “where I met a boy called Simon Waghorn”. She was studying history and had a vague notion of becoming a journalist. He was studying botany, was a self-proclaimed ‘seaweed geek’, and wanted to

NZ WINEGROWER  AUGUST/SEPTEMBER 2020

be a fisherman. That career plan changed thanks to a student job in a bottle shop, and by 1982 he had a vintage job at Yalumba. The couple married and moved to Australia, and Jane went on to finish her degree at Flinders University, then to undertake a post-graduate degree in library studies, while Simon studied winemaking at Roseworthy. Three years after they shifted their lives away from New Zealand, the arrival of their first daughter Meg (known by the Waghorn family as the Barossa Baby) shifted them back again. “We thought it wouldn’t change our lives, but it did,” says Jane. Simon got a job at Cooks Winery and they moved to

Te Kauwhata, where Jane did some work at the Huntly Public Library and their second daughter Libby (the MüllerThurgau Baby) was born in the back seat of their car, at the traffic lights. Delivering her own child was “cool… retrospectively”, and set Jane on a new career path, involved in antenatal education. She carried that on when they moved to Gisborne and Corbans, where they welcomed third daughter Arabella - the Chardonnay Baby, of course, because at that time Simon was forging a name at for the variety. “It was his first big break,” says Jane, but it was also a “crossroads” for the family. “Simon was in charge of a very large winemaking


The People

facility, we were in Gisborne and all our family was in the South Island.” They were keen to return south and Simon wanted a more hands-on position, she says. So when the couple met Greg and Sue White of Whitehaven Wines, and Simon was offered the position of Foundation Winemaker, they moved to Blenheim. That was January 1995, “and it rained and it rained and it rained until June”, says Jane. It was nonetheless an “amazing time”, she says, recalling her young daughters plunging pinot in their togs and scampering around the small Whitehaven winery. A year after they arrived, Jane and Simon established Astrolabe with some university friends, as a small and autonomous side project. “In 1996 the industry was much smaller, but was starting to burgeon overseas,” says Jane. The world had whet

its appetite for Sauvignon Blanc, “and we were lucky that we were part of that”. Meanwhile, Jane became a sexuality educator at Family Planning and discovered a joy in working with teenagers. A post-graduate course in teaching followed, but on her last study placement she realised her place was with new entrant school children. Jane went on to work at Springlands School and loved it, cherishing the opportunity to introduce 5-year-olds to reading. “They are so excited by education and it’s just the most magic stage.” Being part of that is “just incredible” but, because the woman clearly likes to stay on her toes, Jane took on the role of Marlborough’s Children’s Librarian in 2002. It was another cherished role. “The beautiful thing about the library is there are no barriers. I loved that access to information. I loved the

power of the library to provide access to education but also to literacy.” It was the time of Harry Potter’s introduction to the world, which made it even more exciting. “That was wonderful.” But in 2006, a year after the couple bought their own vineyard, Jane decided it was time to commit to Astrolabe, which had unexpectedly spiraled into a vibrant business, far from the moonlighting they had envisioned. Her role from there on in included ever y thing but growing and making the wine, from marketing to exports. “It was quite challenging and all consuming.” She missed the social commitment of education, but it was “lovely” growing grapes and living on the Astrolabe Farm vineyard. “And I really enjoyed the story telling and entertaining, hospitality side of it. That felt good and exciting.”

BAYLEYS MARLBOROUGH SALESPERSON 2019/2020

In 2009, Simon followed her lead, leaving Whitehaven to work full-time in the business. There were plenty of risks along the way – “a risk to living in Marlborough, a risk to starting Astrolabe, and a risk to Simon giving up work to focus on it” - but he had a clear vision in terms of the wines, and the opportunities have been plentiful, says Jane. Four years ago she became General Manager at Astrolabe, and the Waghorns began to look at Astrolabe closely, working with New Zealand Trade and Enterprise (NZTE) to distill the essence of their story. “We said, ‘if we are going to have a business, how do we want it to work?’ Simon’s winemaking was the fundamental core to that – the uncompromising quality of the wine - but it was also about how we live on the land and the importance of relationships and the value of being part of

BAYLEYS SALES TOP 5% OF PEOPLE 2019/2020

NZ WINEGROWER  AUGUST/SEPTEMBER 2020  //   53


the community,” says Jane. They farm the home block organically, forging a strong relationship with the land, and are committed to fair dealings with partners and growers, forging strong relationships with people too. “It’s about integrity in every aspect,” she adds. When Astrolabe’s founding partners wanted to retire from the business, a friend asked Jane whether they’d considered inviting their daughters to invest and be involved. “I was shocked,” she says. But when she tentatively asked, they all put up their hands. Meg isn’t involved on the ground, but Arabella (pg 55) manages marketing and is apprenticing to Simon, while Libby has just taken over as General Manager. It’s been a “fundamental change”, says Jane. “Initially it felt like a huge responsibility. It’s all very well if Simon and I take risks. But to put your

children and grandchildren’s future into the mix is a burden of responsibility.” However, a few months in, and it’s already feeling embedded and “really exciting”, she says, chuffed to have three of her five grandchildren in Marlborough, and her daughters’ individual strengths brought to the business. The family had worked with NZTE on succession planning and had scheduled a handover to Libby on 1 July. But when Covid-19 hit, they got advice on managing through a crisis, including the importance of clarity of leadership. “I thought, we have to do this now… we need people to know that yes, this is tough, but we are here for the long haul.” Arabella has long had an aesthetic influence on the company, including the new branding for Astrolabe and Durvillea (the latter a nod to Simon’s seaweed geek roots).

Jane and Libby

And now Libby ’s “clarity of thought, intelligence, perspective and understanding” have made their mark as well. “I don’t think I realised how much my children knew about the wine industry. It was sort of like osmosis really,” Jane says, recalling their lives immersed in wine – sometimes literally, emerging pink-tinged after floating around in open top

fermenters of Pinot Noir. Jane is now spending less time at the office and more time on the home vineyard, where she’s part of a group of growers working on a waterway restoration (“that’s really exciting”) and focusing on Astrolabe’s sustainability and organics programmes. “Those are the thing I am really interested in now.”

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The People

Designing the perfect career in wine SARAH ADAMS

AR ABELLA WAGHORN was four when her family moved to Marlborough, and her father Simon became winemaker at Whitehaven Wines. A year after they arrived, he and her mother Jane started Astrolabe as a side project, and by 2009 it was a full-time business. Despite growing up among the cellar, tanks and forklifts, Arabella studied at the University of Auckland’s Elam School of Fine Arts, having decided that following her passions would steer her in the right direction. “If you do what you

like, you will be able to find a job that contains it.” Although she specialised in printmaking, the arts degree was interdisciplinary, so she learned other skills like photography and product design as well. Graduation coincided with the opening of a marketing position at Astrolabe, and the timing couldn’t have been better - Arabella and her partner Finn farewelled their mouldy flat in Grafton and moved to Marlborough, where they “haven’t looked back”. They were able to purchase a

house not long after returning and, with Finn a keen gardener, began building a food forest. “It’s a very different experience to my friends who are still in Auckland with their indoor plants.” The fine arts degree has given her many advantages in her role as brand manager at Astrolabe. Wine marketers’ roles are diverse, and it is unique to have her wide range of skills, including vineyard photography and designing the company’s new Durvillea label. “We can do most things in-house,” she says. During the 2019 vintage, Arabella worked alongside Simon to finesse her understanding of the company’s vineyard sites and stylistic vision. It’s an “old-school” process akin to European wine traditions, where families pass down philosophy and knowledge, says Arabella. This vintage, she worked alongside

him every day, learning when to harvest each site based on Simon’s taste. “It’s not something that someone new could easily do. Flavour memory is a difficult thing to pass on. But we all like the same flavours as a family and I’m learning.” It’s a role that will see her eventually move into winemaking, and the creativity is something she enjoys, as well as watching the wine going from the vine to blending and bottling. “It’s a very satisfying process.” The line between her art, wine and marketing work became blurred with Arabella’s new wine label, Print & Press, with the 2020 vintage set to be its first release. She designed the labels herself using wood blocks and is currently printing them manually on a restored washing mangle in her garage. The brand is small and a labour of love, she says. “It’s both parts of my life coming together.”

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NZ WINEGROWER  AUGUST/SEPTEMBER 2020  //   55


Bob’s Blog

A switch to screwcap Bob Campbell

Warren Gibbson

AFTER A 20-year closure trial, Trinity Hill has switched its entire wine rage to screwcaps. Winemaker Warren Gibbson first started trialing screwcaps on white wines from the 2001 vintage and on barrel-aged red wines from the 2000 vintage. They quickly changed their white wines to screwcap and by 2013 all Trinity Hill wines were bottled under screwcap … except the company’s flagship wine Trinity Hill Homage Syrah. Why not Homage? Warren admits that market pressure was an influence, but they also wanted to be absolutely sure that screwcaps were an effective closure after a couple of

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56   // 

NZ WINEGROWER  AUGUST/SEPTEMBER 2020

decades in bottle. “The immediate goal was to eliminate the obvious cork ‘taint’ issues that were so prevalent at the time, particularly TCA or TCA-like effects, while hopefully retaining more freshness and typicity of the vineyard in the bottle. We were very much aware of other closure-driven issues with natural cork, including oxidation, a general lack of freshness and major variation between bottles, etc. We immediately saw benefits with the elimination of cork taint related issues and over time further positives became apparent.” Outside of the normal benefits considered to be

the result of screwcap closure, they found these other major benefits for ageing and bottling robust red wine styles under screwcap: 1. Less ‘pinching’ of the tannins. A softer, smoother mouthfeel. 2. Better expression of colour plus an openness on the nose and palate of the wine. 3. Earlier drinkability but no negative effects on age-ability. 4. Less SO2 in the wine Homage will wear a screwcap from the 2018 vintage, he says. “It’s now time to move on. Why? Quite simply, it is a better wine for it, both now and in the future.”

40 Vestey Drive, Mt Wellington, Auckland, New Zealand 1060 E: info.nz@mcclabel.com P: 09 573 1690 www.mcclabel.co.nz


Bob’s Blog

MR GRUMPY – online shopping I AM in the process of compiling a list of things that should never be attempted. It is a sort of reverse bucket list that includes obvious things, such as opening a bottle of champagne with a saber, and less obvious things like ordering a 27-course meal at the St Francis Hotel in San Francisco. The latest addition is this: “Whenever you are in lockdown don’t on any account attempt to do your online grocery shopping with your significant other”. It started happily enough. Marion had prepared a grocery list. I logged on to a supermarket website and clicked the online shopping button. It seemed deceptively easy to navigate. Marion is a superb grocery shopper. She can spot a bruised avocado or

overripe melon from 30 paces. She’s got a keen eye for “specials” and knows the location of the most obscure grocery items. Those skills are absolutely no use when you are staring at a 14-inch computer screen. We started with fruit and vegetables. 325 items were displayed 24 at a time. One or two harsh words were exchanged, and the tension rose as we scrolled through the complete list. Marion refused to buy meat without first inspecting it. I could see the specter of vegetarianism looming but managed to talk her into buying some premium beef mince. It was a long, hard and very tense slog but we finally filled our virtual shopping basket before discovering that we should have booked

“I am in the process of compiling a list of things that should never be attempted.”

a delivery slot before we started. We began again. It took longer to fill our shopping basket on the second time round but at least we had a delivery slot. All went well until we tried to go to the checkout. Our order had timed out.

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NZ WINEGROWER  AUGUST/SEPTEMBER 2020  //   57


The Places

In With a Gin JOELLE THOMSON

TE K A IR A NGA Wines, Martinborough Vineyard and Lighthouse Gin will all gain a new home in a multi-million dollar development set to be built in Martinborough this year. The three businesses will come together on one new location on site at Te Kairanga Wines.

The main focus of the new building will be a 100-seat restaurant, private dining area, a tasting room, underground barrel hall and gin distillery, where visitors can see the distiller at work while they sip a G&T. It will also include an outdoor terrace and be set up to host weddings. Production at Te Kairanga Winery is

growing in volume and needs new facilities to keep up, as does Lighthouse Gin, which will become the second brand new distillery in Martinborough, joining Reid + Reid which also opened this year. The development has been designed by architect Charlie Nott, who is well-versed in hospitality venues and

wineries, having also designed Depot Eatery, Best Ugly Bagels and Amisfield Winery, among others. South Wairarapa Mayor Alex Beijen was delighted with the news. “The continued investment in this ver y special region is a real vote of confidence in both tourism and our wine industry,” he said.

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NZ WINEGROWER  AUGUST/SEPTEMBER 2020


The Places Wine News From our Places

Wine Weather

James Morrison’s weather update. Pg 60

Wine Lord

A cider offsider in Nelson. Pg 62

Nga Waka

Growth plans on track. Pg 64

Biosecurity Update

Brown Marmorated Stink Bug. Pg 66

Legal Matters

Changes to Fresh Water rules. Pg 68

Advocacy Matters

Amendments to NZW rules. Pg 70 Aronui Wines in Nelson. Photo by Chocolate Dog


The Places

Wine Weather

Late winter and onto spring JAMES MORRISON

Te Motu

EVENTUALLY, ALL weather patterns change. We move from one long-term trend and into another. Sometimes it can feel

like summer takes a long time to start, and the spring westerlies seem to go on forever. If you grew up in Wellington like I

did, then waiting for the first 20 degrees Celsius day of spring or early summer was a test not just of patience but often a

marathon, enduring endless days of wind and the feeling that winter would never leave. The length and scale of the

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NZ WINEGROWER  AUGUST/SEPTEMBER 2020


drought that affected most of the east coast of New Zealand was quite remarkable, and stretched from mid spring in 2019 right through to the start of winter 2020. For someone like me, the seemingly neverending pattern of high pressure systems left me wondering if I would ever see some “action” weather again. Of course in the mid latitudes things will change, and now this very persistent dry period has mostly broken and a series of depressions born in the Tasman Sea are encouraging rainfall from Gisborne to Canterbury. There are a few climate drivers that are being looked at closely over the next few months and one is the cooling of the Pacific Ocean sea surface along the equator. This cooling is an early indicator that the Southern Oscillation is tending towards a La Niña phase. This is still “early days” however, a La Niña watch has been issued to see how things develop during the second half of 2020. Sea temperatures remain a little above average around New Zealand in both the Tasman Sea and the Pacific Ocean. This is likely to help keep temperatures milder than average but may also increase rainfall totals in some areas. Overall, the chances of a La Niña developing are moderate at best and we are unlikely to see a strong La Niña develop at this stage.

The outlook for August and September: Gisborne/Hawke’s Bay A mix of winter time high pressure systems and Tasman Sea lows are likely to see a wide range of weather conditions over the next couple of months and into early spring. Rainfall

totals are likely to be close to average. Mean temperatures should push above average by late September, but there is a chance of increased cloud cover and that may reduce the chance of frost as we move into mid spring. From late winter and early spring, anticyclonic ridges will still produce conditions suitable for frost development and these are most likely on the back of a cold southerly change or a slow developing northwest flow.

Marlborough/North Canterbury Marlborough and Nor th Canterbury may be a little less affected by the low pressure systems but will still feel the effect of some cold southerly changes and ridging through late winter and early spring. The risk of frost remains until late September. There is a chance that increased northeast flow in late September may help to increase humidity and reduce the frost risk about coastal areas in mid spring. Sheltered inland valleys and basins will still be susceptible to cold nights. Central Otago Southern Oscillation Index (SOI) neutral or weak La Niña conditions mean Central Otago is likely to remain fairly settled. However, any low pressure systems that cross to the south of the country are likely to bring increased rainfall. We are still seeing signs that there is a potential for cold southerly outbreaks through to late September. The number of frosts through this period is likely to be close to normal. Mean temperatures should be close to average also, but day time highs may rise above average from late September. James Morrison runs Weatherstation Frost Forecasting Ltd weatherstation.net.nz

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The Places

Cider Offsider New realm for Winelord WINELORD HAS broadened its realm, with the purchase of Kaimira Estate, a vineyard

says General Manager Blair Gibbs. Winelord was already making its Middle-Earth and Brightwater Gravels wine “As soon as wine tanks labels at Kaimira Estate’s winery are empty of wine they when it bought are ready for the next the Brightwater facility and batch of cider.” surrounding vineyards last August . Since then it’s been replant, Tasteology cellar door, busy days, with cellar door canning line and the perfect specialists Tasteology brought partnership of cider and wine, in to manage the cellar door

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experience, while the winery is brought up to speed, says Blair. T h a t ’s i n c l u d e d t h e installation of a canning line for the company’s Plus Six4 range. Blair says there is a perception that canned wines are cheap and lower quality, but the range is made with grapes harvested and wines made specifically for the range, he says. The wines - Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Grigio, Rose and Chillable Red - are all sparkling, with bright fruit flavours, created specifically for the US market where canned wine is the

category growth leader, he says. The fact that cans can be easily recycled, and are lighter and tighter to ship, makes it a good environmental choice, which appeals to an increasingly conscious consumer, and in particular Millennials, he says. Winelord is owned by Nelson local Rob Grey, who first started converting his dairy farm to vineyards back in 1996. In 2011, his daughter Kylie and her husband Ryan O’Connell moved back to Brightwater and launched Middle-Earth wines with Rob, bringing winemaker

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The Places

Blair Gibbs

Trudy Sheild onto the team two years ago, after which it moved to the Kaimira winery in a contract capacity. The same year, Ryan and Trudy set up Capital Cider, tapping into Nelson’s apple bounty as well as its growing reputation as a cider centre, says Blair. These days Capital Cider is under the Winelord umbrella, and provides a great opportunity to utilise the winery fully, because as soon as wine tanks are empty of wine they are ready for the next batch of cider. He says the dual offering is a refreshing twist for visitors too, including those taking a break from the Great Taste Cycle Trail, which runs past the cellar door. The vineyard replant takes a little more time, with work to replant or regraft much of the former Kaimira Estate, taking the 13 varieties down to six.

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NZ WINEGROWER  AUGUST/SEPTEMBER 2020  //   63


The Places

Nga Waka

Wairarapa winery adds vineyards and cellar door JOELLE THOMSON

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NZ WINEGROWER  AUGUST/SEPTEMBER 2020

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ONE OF New Zealand’s smallest estate agents,” says Roger. wineries is going through huge One of the biggest changes growth, thanks to its new North at Nga Waka is replacing vines American owners. Jay Short and originally planted on their own Peggy Dupey bought Nga Waka roots in 1998. Some Pinot Noir from founder and winemaker was replanted in 2015 and is Roger Parkinson five years now into its third crop. Menago, and have now appointed a doza Chardonnay was also full time general manager and replanted with the relatively begun plans for a cellar door new 548. There is a small block and doubled vineyard holdings. of Riesling at the front of the Jay and Peggy are pro- winery, in a mixture of plantfessionals with rural back- ings, mostly on its own roots. grounds and a desire to be Riesling is the wine with involved in the work as well which Parkinson has carved his as the growth of the business, name, but has always occupied says Roger, who started Nga the smallest part of the winWaka in 1988 and has stayed ery’s vineyard area. He typically on as winemaker. “When Jay makes a bone-dry Riesling with and Peg bought the place, they no residual sugar, modelled on also bought the Croft Vineyard the great Rieslings of South at Pirinoa, just Australia. But south of Marin tough years The new tinborough he balances owners grow high acidity by township… The whole allowing a small grapes in idea was that proportion of California w e ’d k e e p residual sugar; and coffee producing our 5 grams at most. 5000 cases for “In a leaner in Hawaii. domestic conyear this helps sumption and to flesh out the that the new owners would set wine a little.” His first Riesling up an import company to feed vintage was 1993 and the most wine into the United States.” surprising was 1998, when it However, while shipping was as ‘hot as Hades’, but the wine to the States is easy, wine has retained elegance, establishing a market there says Roger. is “a nightmare”, Roger says. He also takes a less is more “Because an importer can’t be approach when it comes to oak a distributor and the struc- in his Chardonnays and Pinot ture of the distribution sys- Noirs, in which he will typically tem in the US also makes it use 20 to 25 percent new oak, tough”. Despite these chal- and sometimes slightly more lenges, expansion plans have in his Lease Block Pinot Noir, progressed, as have those for due to the high quality and a new cellar door, set to open intensity of fruit from that before the end of 2021. leased vineyard. His approach The new owners grow to whole bunch fermentation is grapes in California and coffee similar, with up to 10 percent in Hawaii, with clashing har- “if the fruit is in really good vests for the two crops, so one condition”, and up to 20 perof their key drivers was to find cent on the lease block. “We’ve a vineyard with a harvest that been doing that for at least the did not coincide. “They looked last five years, and in some all around New Zealand and years I won’t do any.... All you liked the great Pinot Noir from end up with is overly structured Martinborough and made con- wine without the fruit weight tact with one of the local real to carry it.”

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NZ WINEGROWER  AUGUST/SEPTEMBER 2020  //   65


Biosecurity

Biosecurity Update BMSB measures successfully reduce risk SOPHIE BADLAND

Brown marmorated stink bug (Halyomorpha halys). Approx 17mm long. Image from Plant Health and Environment Laboratory, MPI

While the threat of invasion by the brown marmorated stink bug still looms large, the 2019/20 high risk season saw a massive 73 percent reduction in the number of live bugs detected at or inside the New Zealand border compared to the previous season. In this update, we take a look at the factors that contributed to this fantastic result. THE BROW N marmorated stink bug (BMSB) is one of New Zealand’s most unwanted exotic pests, and not just for the wine industry. Not only does it feed voraciously on a wide range of horticultural crops, it is also a social nuisance pest in its invaded range overseas, where it overwinters inside people ’s houses in large numbers. Native to China, Japan and Korea, it has spread across the United States and into Europe, devastating many horticultural areas in its wake. It has also recently established in Chile, the first known southern hemisphere population. The high risk season for BMSB in New Zealand is from September to April each year, when overwintering aggregations of BMSB in the northern hemisphere seek shelter in vehicles, machinery, shipping containers and the personal effects of travellers. They are then inadvertently transported across the world, arriving on our shores to warmer conditions likely to be suitable for population establishment. Fortunately, our biosecurity system and strong public awareness about this pest

66   // 

have so far managed to prevent BMSB becoming established in New Zealand. In the 2019/20 high risk season, only 57 live BMSB were detected either at or inside the New Zealand border, compared with 213 the previous year. Biosecurity New Zealand credits several factors for this, including enhanced partnerships with industry and the Australian Government, t h e i m p l e m e n t at i o n o f additional requirements on imported goods, and changes in BMSB population dynamics and climate in high risk countries.

Partnership with Australia Biosecurity New Zealand has been working with the A u s t ra l i a n D e p a r t m e n t of Agriculture, Water and Environment to develop

a scheme for the offshore treatment of specified high risk goods prior to their impor tation into New Zealand. The scheme aligns most offshore requirements and treatment protocols between the two countries, adding more weight to the requirements and making it easier for exporters to comply by not having completely different requirements for the two destinations. The auditing of offshore treatment providers is also undertaken jointly, reducing resource requirements for both countries. Requiring offshore treatment has not only contributed to reducing the number of live BMSB arriving in New Zealand, but has reduced hold-ups in the supply chain, with treated cargo able to be discharged in a timely manner upon arrival.

AWARENESS IS crucial to prevent BMSB from establishing in New Zealand. NZW thanks all those industry members who have called or sent photos to our biosecurity team, or who have called the Biosecurity NZ hotline when they have found a suspected BMSB at their site. We advise members to teach their staff what to look out for, and if they see anything suspicious to Catch It; Snap It; Report It – call the Biosecurity NZ hotline on 0800 80 99 66 and get in touch with the NZW biosecurity team (biosecurity@nzwine.com).

NZ WINEGROWER  AUGUST/SEPTEMBER 2020

Partnership with industry in New Zealand Through the GovernmentIndustry Agreement (GIA), Biosecurity New Zealand and primary industry groups - including New Zealand Winegrowers (NZW) - jointly fund a BMSB awareness campaign. T his season, the awareness campaign culminated in a record number of calls to the pest and disease hotline, a 29 percent increase in visits to the BMSB webpage, and significant media coverage. Industry and Biosecurity New Zealand also cost-shared an expanded post-border sur veillance programme, with BMSB traps at 50 high risk sites throughout New Zealand. An additional 30 sites were also monitored through a collaboration with Plant & Food Research in Tauranga, Hawke’s Bay and Nelson. Traps were inspected for tnightly throughout the risk season and one yielded a confirmed find of a single BMSB near a transitional facility in Auckland, proving their worth and likely avoiding a response situation.


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Additional measures

Global trends

In previous years, high r isk vessels have b e en prevented from docking and/or discharging cargo in New Zealand due to BMSB infestation, and as a result New Zealand shipping, importer and logistics industries have improved their awareness and compliance with any new requirements. In 2019, Biosecurity New Zealand introduced new requirements for the mandatory offshore treatment of high risk goods and all containers from Italy. Untreated containers were denied entry to New Zealand. In response, Europe’s largest shipping line supplying cargo to New Zealand voluntarily set up screening for untreated containers and a fumigation facility in Singapore, to ensure their compliance prior to arrival. In Japan, Biosecurity New Zealand have also worked to set up approved, audited systems for the export of new and used vehicles to New Zealand, which has also assisted in the reduction of BMSB finds on the imported vehicles pathway.

Anecdotal feedback indicates BMSB population levels have dropped in parts of the US, which could have also contributed to the lower numbers arriving in New Zealand. Whether this is a seasonal or temporary change remains uncertain. On the flipside, reports from Europe indicated a likelihood in increased numbers of BMSB overwintering in Europe for the 2019/20 season, as the summer heat wave provided optimal temperatures for multigenerational life cycles across wider areas than has been previously observed. The fact that no corresponding increase in live BMSB detections at the New Zealand border was noted suggests the new requirements are working as intended. Biosecurity New Zealand are currently consulting on further amendments to the import health standards for vehicles, machinery and parts, and sea containers. The updated standards are expected to be available prior to the start of the next high risk season.

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NZ WINEGROWER  AUGUST/SEPTEMBER 2020  //   67


Not on the Label - Legal matters with Dentons Kenington Swan

Legal Matters

Changes afoot for freshwater management

MARIJA BATISTICH, PARTNER, AND EZEKIEL HUDSPITH, SPECIAL COUNSEL, BOTH OF DENTONS KENSINGTON SWAN

THER E H AV E been some changes to watch in the freshwater policy space, with recent amendments made to the Resource Management Act (RMA) on 30 June to establish a new “freshwater planning process”, and put in place new requirements to prepare “freshwater farm plans”. Related announcements for freshwater policy changes made in May this year also signaled new requirements for regional plans under the RMA, with the final details to be confirmed very shortly.

New Planning Process The Resource Management Amendment Act 2020 introduced a new “freshwater planning process” (outlined below) to enable “better, faster, more nationally-consistent water management plans”. This will apply to all ‘freshwater planning instruments’ (defined as new or amended regional

plans or regional policy statements that pertain to freshwater), and is intended to enable councils to meet a new deadline of December 2026 to implement the new national policy (which was announced in May and summarised later in this article).

ers’ (who are appointed by the Minister for the Environment and then assigned to a particular hearing by the Chief Freshwater Commissioner), two persons nominated by the regional council, and one person nominated by local tangata whenua. • The freshwater hearing panel will have powers to commission reports, direct expert conferencing, and allow crossexamination of witnesses; as such this will be a more intensive process than normal ‘first instance’ council hearings. • The freshwater panel provides a written recommendation on the plan or plan change to the regional council (within two years of the plan being notified), and the council can decide to accept or reject that recommendation. • Submitters can only appeal to the Environment Court ‘on the merits’ if (or to the

In brief, the new freshwater planning process will be as follows: • Proposed plans are prepared by regional councils and publicly notified for submissions in the usual way. • Once submissions are received, councils effectively hand the proposed plan and submissions over to a new ‘Freshwater Hearings Commissioner’, who will convene a ‘freshwater hearing panel’ to conduct a public hearing into the proposed plan. A hearing panel will usually comprise two ‘freshwater commission-

extent that) the council has rejected recommendations of the hearing panel. Where the council has accepted hearing panel recommendations, submitters can only appeal those parts of the decision to the High Court on ‘points of law’ (meaning they need to show a legal error in order to be successful – which is a much more challenging process).

Farm Plans The recent RMA amendments als o intro duce d a ne w requirement for farms to have certified ‘freshwater farm plans’ to manage effects of farming on freshwater. While these requirements are likely to be focussed on more nutrient-intensive activities like dairy farming, they will also apply to any ‘horticultural land use’ (which is defined to include ‘beverage crops’, so will include vineyards) of 5 hectares

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Not on the Label - Legal matters with Dentons Kenington Swan

or more. However, this new requirement will only apply to a ‘region, district or part of New Zealand’ that is specified in an Order in Council (yet to be released). The substantive requirements for the new farm plans will also be set out in new regulations that have yet to be developed.

National Policy Announcements Back in September 2019 the Government released a discussion document proposing changes to the national policy directions for freshwater, including (relevantly): • A new National Policy Statement for Freshwater Management (to replace the current NPSFM 2014), with a greater emphasis on ‘Te Mana o te Wai’ and the health of freshwater ecosystems, and a range of new water quality and ecological parameters to be measured

and improved upon. This new Policy Statement will need to be implemented in future plan change processes; and • A new National Environmental Standard for Freshwater (NES) and associated regulations: these will have more immediate effect to prevent further loss and degradation of freshwater habitats, introduce controls on high risk activities, and require real-time reporting for water takes data. Following a submission process, it was announced in May this year that these proposals will proceed with relatively minor changes. Further announcements are expected very soon (at the time of writing) in terms of the final drafting of these documents.

Implications of the new policy for winegrowers The signalled changes in the policy space mostly focus on water quality issues, so may

be more likely to directly affect nutrient-intensive activities like dairy farming or horticulture than they are the wine industry. However, water quality and water quantity issues are inextricably linked. It can be expected that new measures to improve water quality to meet the national policy requirements will continue to put pressure on water allocation (quantity) as well. Already we have seen regional plans taking a ‘sinking lid’ approach to water allocation, requiring vineyards to justify their water takes in terms of modelled ‘reasonable use’ calculations, and generally making any expansion to an existing planted area very difficult. Those trends look set to continue. The implications of the new farm plans for viticulture are not yet clear. While the requirements may be less onerous than for other ‘farming’ activities, this will still be

another regulatory requirement to comply with, and is something to keep an eye on. Finally, the new freshwater process will trade more robust processes up front for reduced appeal rights, in an effort to get freshwater plans resolved sooner. This will be positive insofar as it provides greater certainty with regard to water allocation issues, as currently changes to regional plans that affect these matters can take several years to be processed. On the other hand, a ‘one stop shop’ approach will mean that when making a submission, parties need to put their best foot forward through submissions and evidence, as there will be less ability to address any issues at the appeal stage. We will keep you updated on how matters progress in the freshwater space. For any specific queries, please do not hesitate to contact either of the writers directly.

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NZ WINEGROWER  AUGUST/SEPTEMBER 2020  //   69


Advocacy Watch

On your Behalf.

Advocacy on matters of vital importance to the industry.

A New Zealand Winegrowers Board Election – 14-25 September AT THE front of this issue, New Zealand Winegrowers Chair John Clarke has written about the important role NZW played this year in helping members and the industry manage their way through Covid-19. All winegrowers should want to ensure that after the NZW Board elections this September, the Board will continue to have the range of skills, experience and perspectives it needs to help support the entire industry to adapt, grow, and thrive in these uncertain times. The opportunity for members to elect half of the elected Board Directors arises every two years. This year, five Directors’ terms are ending, and 4 of them will not be standing again. This presents a great opportunity for new members to join the Board. New Zealand Winegrowers is your organisation; make sure you have your say at election time! Every member gets to cast one vote in support of as many candidates as they like – and this means every member, big or small, has just the same chance to influence the outcome.

How to have your say? In the first instance, nominate. The nomination period for Member Class Directors will close at noon on Friday, 14 August. If being on the NZW Board interests you, or you know of the perfect candidate, ensure that you nominate them before the deadline. Information about becoming a candidate and being a Director is in the Candidate Information and Election Guide, which also

includes the nomination form. This is available from electionz. com/nzwine2020resource or you can request information from the Returning Officer, Warwick Lampp of electionz.com on 0800 666 042 or email iro@electionz.com.

What’s next – when do you vote? On 31 August, electionz.com will email to all voting members details of all the eligible candidates for the Board Director positions. Each candidate will provide a profile statement, so you can learn more about their background and experience. The election opens on 14 September, when electionz.com will email all NZW voting members to ask them to vote to elect 5 Board Directors. The voting will be conducted online and will be open for two weeks. If you have any questions in the mean time you can contact the Returning Officer, Warwick Lampp of electionz. com on 0800 666 042 or email iro@electionz.com. Remember, it’s up to you to decide who will govern your industry body for the next four years.

2020 Board Election Nominations close: Members advised of all nominated candidates: Voting opens: Voting closes:

Dates Friday, 14 August, noon Monday, 31 August Monday, 14 September Friday, 25 September, noon

te Pā Wines

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NZ WINEGROWER  AUGUST/SEPTEMBER 2020


Advocacy Watch

The New Zealand Winegrowers (NZW) Annual Members’ Meeting will be held in the Bragato Research Institute winery in Blenheim, and online, on 27 August 2020. At the meeting, the NZW Board will ask members to approve some amendments to the Rules of NZW. Four key changes are proposed Four key amendments are proposed, which are summarised below. The full text of all proposed amendments, and a document providing a more complete description of them, can be found on the NZW Members’ website at: nzwine.com/members/about-us/ governance/annual-members-meeting-2020. 1. Member Representatives: These amendments (to Rules 1.1, 5.2(d) and 9.5(b)) clarify: a. who members may appoint as their “Member Representative” to cast their NZW votes (and specifically, providing a definition of who counts as a “contractor” to a member, eligible to be their Member Representative. This clarifies that by “contractor” we mean someone providing goods or services closely connected with the growing, production or marketing of grapes or wine); b. that members need to appoint a replacement Member Representative if their current Member Representative no longer meets the requirements; and c. that elected NZW Directors must continue to be the Member Representative of at least one member, or they may be removed from the Board.

2. Growers’ levy vote calculation: This amendment to Rules 7.16(a) and (c), and 9.1(d) clarifies that the number of levy votes a grower has should be calculated by counting grape levy paid by the grower on sales of grapes from a single vintage (rather than from a 12 month period that may have spanned two vintages). This is how NZW already interpreted the rule anyway, but the drafting is clarified to make explicit that we are counting levy paid on the grapes of one whole vintage. 3. Procedure for resolving deadlock in appointing Board Chair or Deputy Chair: The current Rules contain no mechanism for the Board to appoint a Chair or Deputy Chair if they cannot agree by the required special majority of nine Directors (out of 12). This amendment to Rule 9.4 provides that if no appointment has been made after three rounds of voting, a fourth round of voting is held, with only a simple majority required (or coin toss, if the fourth round vote is also deadlocked). 4. Removal of ineligible NZW Director: The Rules do not currently allow the Board to remove a sitting Director who becomes ineligible to be elected as a Director (eg, because they are convicted of a criminal offence). This proposed amendment to Rule 9.5 adds to the list of grounds on which the Board may remove a Director, by adding: “ineligible for election as a Director”. A small number of minor amendments are proposed to other clauses, mostly consequential on the above changes. If you have any questions about the proposed amendments, please contact NZW General Counsel, Jeffrey Clarke: jeffrey@nzwine.com.

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Vintage Indicators - Region 2020

All Regions 2020

Total Volume

CHANGE ON PREVIOUS VINTAGE

NORTHLAND

-16%

of Grapes Harvested

457,000 tonnes*  11%

GISBORNE

AUCKLAND

+17%

-21%

HAWKE’S BAY

+16% NELSON

WAIRARAPA

-6%

+2%

MARLBOROUGH

+12%

NORTH CANTERBURY

+22%

WAITAKI VALLEY

+180%

CENTRAL OTAGO

-28%

*Estimated production figures based on the 2020 Vintage Survey.

Tonnage Per Region

% OF TOTAL HARVEST

77.7%

MARLBOROUGH 343,036

9.8%

HAWKE’S BAY 43,247

4.3%

GISBORNE 18,959

2.6%

NELSON 11,572

2.2% NORTH CANTERBURY 9,861

1.9%

CENTRAL OTAGO 8,515

1.0%

WAIRARAPA 4,472

0.3%

AUCKLAND 1,249 NORTHLAND 269 WAITAKI VALLEY 114

Statistics collated from 2020 Vintage Survey

NZ WINEGROWER  AUGUST/SEPTEMBER 2020  //   73


Research

Riches of Research WINE SECTOR research and development is responsible for $41 million in exports each year, according to a new economic report. The New Zealand Institute of Economic

(BRI) this year and released last month. It found New Zealand’s wine research and development is responsible for a $64.5m boost to the national economy per year and is responsible for $37.2m in household con“The result of our sumption. assessment of the It generates 258 new jobs in impact of R&D in the New Zealand and wine sector suggests maintains those jobs each year, a significant $64.5 with a “significant million contribution to contribution to the Marlborough New Zealand’s GDP per and Auckland year.” NZIER economies”, the report says. “Our extensive review Research (NZIER) report - of the literature suggested that Economic impact of research the contribution of research and development in the wine to annual economic growth sector - was commissioned by of the wine industry was the Bragato Research Institute between 20 and 25 percent.”

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NZ WINEGROWER  AUGUST/SEPTEMBER 2020

Wine research is funded by New Zealand Winegrowers’ levies, Government and individual organisations. Programmes and projects are collaborations, which can include universities, Crown Research Institutes, industry consultants and international research organisations. Research has been a significant catalyst in the growth of the wine industry, the report’s authors write, but warn that it has a shelf life and loses impact over time, so the industry must continue to invest in research and development “in order to maintain its prior gains and make new ones”. The report also looked at the economic impact of the BRI, which opened its research winery in Blenheim in February this year. Its contribution to the national economy is approximately

BRI Research Winery. Photo Jessica Jones

$8m per annum, including the economic benefits from 30 new jobs created for the New Zealand economy. But the impacts of wine research go well beyond wine provinces, with wine research yielding a significant economic impact in Auckland, which has the second largest employment in the wine sector after Marlborough. “A large proportion of the increase in job opportunities in large cities is the indirect impact of wine sector activities on a wide range of other services relevant to the wine sector,” says the report. BRI Chief Executive MJ Loza says the report is further evidence of the importance of the primary sector for the nation at large. “The economic benefit is enjoyed right across the country.” To read the full report got to bri.co.nz/news


Research Reports

Research Supplement Information and updates on Bragato Research Institute research programmes. Editors Dr Matias Kinzurk and Will Kerner, Research Programme Managers A regular feature to inform industry people about research projects being undertaken for their benefit. Newly approved projects (when available) are 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 nzwine.com

Quality Wine Styles Pests and Disease Optimising management of for Existing and grapevine trunk diseases for Developing Markets vineyard longevity

Cost Reduction/ Increased Profitability

Lighter wine (PGP)

Precision Grape Yield Analyser Programme 20162021

University of Auckland and Plant & Food Research (Various) Jointly funded by NZW and MPI Primary Growth Partnership (PGP) fund.

Breaking the qualityproductivity seesaw in wine grape production (Pinot Noir Programme) University of Auckland, Plant & Food Research and Lincoln University (Various) Jointly funded by NZW and MBIE

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)

The effect of winemaking decisions on polysaccharide content in wine University of Auckland (B Fedrizzi)

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)

Improving the outcomes of mealybug insecticide use in vineyards Plant & Food Research (V Bell)

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

Lincoln Agritech Limited (A Werner)

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

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

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

(M Legg)

Thoughtful Viticulture (M Krasnow)

Sustainability/Organics Vineyard Ecosystems Programme

Potential applications of nanotechnology for wine growing in New Zealand

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

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

University of Auckland (M Kah)

Climate Change Climate case study – Managing hail damaged vineyards  Bragato Research Institute (L Ibbotson)

Microbial community and vine responses to increasing temperatures in the New Zealand context University of Auckland (S Knight)

Plant & Food Research (V Bell)

NZ WINEGROWER  AUGUST/SEPTEMBER 2020  //   75


Progress Reports

Combining synthetic and analytical chemistry to study Pinot Noir aroma Dr Rebecca Jelley and Associate Professor Bruno Fedrizzi

THE SCIENTIFIC study of wine is an intriguing and inter-disciplinary field that requires a broad and unrestricted knowledge and understanding (Figure 1). Investigating the winemaking process of transforming grape into wine and the subsequent analysis of these steps typically intertwines two main scientific fields; microbiology and analytical chemistry. These fields have been enhanced with the addition and support of synthetic chemistry.

76   // 

The understanding of a particular process, technique, interaction, compound or variable can lead to informed decisionmaking by winemakers to improve wine quality and/ or yields. Wine aroma is an important contributor and driver of wine quality and thus is an area of increasing scientific exploration. The Pinot Noir Research Program led by New Zealand Winegrowers to investigate and understand what

NZ WINEGROWER  AUGUST/SEPTEMBER 2020

constitutes quality Pinot Noir wine and the measures required to ensure consistency is an example of this exploration. It is also an example of the wider interdisciplinary work required to achieve objectives in the wine science field – in this case, sensory, chemistry and viticulture expertise. It is well-known that many wine aroma compounds can exhibit very low sensory thresholds and thus even at

seemingly insignificant concentrations can contribute tremendously to the sensory properties of a finished wine. In order to identify, quantify and track the prevalence of aroma compounds in the various stages from grape to wine or how these species are influenced by winemaking decisions, the synthesis of standards labelled with stable (non-radioactive) isotopes is becoming increasing important. An isotopic label incorporated within the


Progress Reports

structure of a compound simply allows it to be differentiated from the desired aroma compound but only very subtly (often deuterium atoms replace hydrogen atoms). The labelled compound will therefore behave like the compound of interest during experimental extraction, work–up and subsequent analysis. When a known amount of the labelled compound is introduced to the wine matrix or sample prior to analysis, the concentration of its desired counterpart can be accurately determined using analytical instrumentation, specifically chromatography coupled with mass spectrometry. While this may sound straightforward, the process of synthesising an isotopically labelled compound can be far from it. Often these compounds have never been synthesised before (labelled or unlabelled) and therefore the first step is to devise a synthetic route towards producing the compound from (when possible) inexpensive starting materials. The location of the isotopic labelling within this structure is also an important consideration. The use of isotopically labelled molecules is coupled with mass spectrometry, a technique which involves breaking apart the ionised compound and analysing the resulting fragments. In the case of the Pinot Noir Research programme, Research

Aim 3.4 focusses on the analysis of free and bound terpenoids. As part of this project a number of labelled compounds are used for quantification purposes. Figure 2 illustrates d6-ßionone, an example of a labelled terpenoid synthesised as part of this project and how it differs subtly from its unlabelled counterpart in mass spectrometry and chromatography.

Image 1 The interdisciplinary field of Wine Science.

Figure 2: Mass spectra of d6-ß-ionone and its unlabelled counterpart ß-ionone, left. Chromatograms of d6-ß-ionone (blue) and ß-ionone (orange) highlighting the subtle difference in retention time between the two compounds, right.

The integration of synthetic chemistry with analytical chemistry in the field of wine science provides the ability to explore previously untapped avenues in wine science which means it is certainly a collaboration here to stay. Thanks to the application of this newly established method coupled with the use of isotopically labelled molecules, we were able to identify several metabolites (Table 1), both as free aroma active compounds and as glycosidated non-volatile aroma precursors (after enzymatic hydrolysis). Several of these

Compounds

Odour

linalool

floral, lavendar

linalool oxides

floral, wood

a-terpineol

floral, anise

ß-citronellol

sage

nerol

rosses, thyme, mint

geraniol

rose, citrus

ho-trienol

hyacinth

ß-damascenone

floral, fruity, tobacco

vitispirane

woody, spicy

TDN

kerosene

3-oxo-a-ionol

tobacco

Table 1 Metabolites identified in the analysis of free and bound terpenoids in New Zealand Pinot noir wine samples.

terpenoids have never been quantified in New Zealand Pinot Noir wines and will certainly provide

further insight into their impact on Pinot noir aroma and quality. nzwine.com

NZ WINEGROWER  AUGUST/SEPTEMBER 2020  //   77


Progress Reports

Vineyard Ecosystems Project - Undervine Ground Cover Habitat for Mealybugs MEALYBUGS ARE the main insect that spreads (“vectors”) grapevine leafroll-associated virus 3 (leafroll virus), a damaging disease that negatively affects vine growth, berry size, yield, fruit colour and flavour, and can have a detrimental impact on wine style and vineyard profitability. Successful management of the virus includes controlling mealybug populations. Mealybugs produce honeydew as a waste byproduct, and, where honeydew is plentiful, black sooty mould will grow on grape bunches. When sooty mould is severe, it can result in fruit rejection because of the risk of wine taint. Recent research has explored whether undervine ground cover could serve as a substitute habitat that helps keep mealybugs off grapevines. The rationale behind the research is twofold: • A vineyard ecosystem that is managed to exclude most plant communities gives rise to a virtual monoculture dominated by the grapevine. Such management often relies heavily on at least 2 herbicide applications to the undervine area, reducing alternative habitat and host plants for mealybugs. • A vineyard where species diversity is promoted is likely to increase interactions between beneficial species and their prey and hosts, with

78   // 

biological control outcomes contributing to a well-balanced, functioning ecosystem. MOVING AWAY FROM MONOCULTURE Abundant undervine ground cover, especially that which incorporates a cultivar like white clover (Grasslands Huia), provides an alternative habitat for mealybugs in the vineyard. In vineyards with few alternative host plants, grapevines are a monoculture, meaning they are essentially the only habitat mealybugs can colonise. Research results are not yet complete. It seems, however, that maintaining an undervine ground cover provides a longterm, stable, alternative habitat suitable for mealybugs; to date, there has been no evidence of mealybugs on the clover migrating onto the grapevines. RESEARCH SUMMARY Longtailed (Pseudococcus longispinus ) and citrophilus (P. calceolariae ) mealybugs are commonly found in New Zealand vineyards. In recent years, researchers have explored options designed to mitigate the risks of mealybugs causing black sooty mould and/or spreading leafroll virus to healthy vines. Studies have tested whether undervine ground cover could serve as a substitute habitat that helps keep mealy-

NZ WINEGROWER  AUGUST/SEPTEMBER 2020


Progress Reports

PHOTO COURTESY THE NEW ZEALAND INSTITUTE FOR PLANT AND FOOD RESEARCH LIMITED

Longtailed mealybugs on the underside of a grapevine leaf.

bugs off grapevines. Investigations have been undertaken as part of the Vineyard Ecosystems Programme, managed by Bragato Research Institute and co-funded by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Enterprise. A separate Plant & Food Research study has also focused on managing vineyard ground cover plants, mealybugs and leafroll virus. In all of the trial blocks involved in these studies mealybugs observed on vine leaves were not numerous enough to result in fruit being rejected because of sooty mould. Results indicate that some undervine ground cover plants do support mealybugs throughout a growing season. In particular, Grasslands Huia white clover – a commercially available cultivar in New Zealand – appears to be readily

and preferentially colonised by mealybugs and can be sown to augment existing white clover in ground cover. Other plant species commonly found with mealybugs are hawksbeard, and, to a lesser extent, subterranean clover and dove’s foot. VINEYARD ECOSYSTEMS The research conducted in the Vineyard Ecosystems Programme explored the relationships between ground cover, mealybugs and leafroll virus in eight Hawke’s Bay Merlot study blocks over three years. Four of the blocks used “contemporary” management treatments that included the use of insecticide and herbicide, and four used “future” management treatments that did not use herbicide – although one vineyard in the latter group did use insecticide for mealybug control.

PHOTO COURTESY THE NEW ZEALAND INSTITUTE FOR PLANT AND FOOD RESEARCH LIMITED

Ctrophilus mealybugs on the roots of a white clover plant uplifted from the ground in a vineyard.

Mealybug habitat preferences were monitored, and alternative host plants, including several commonly found clover species and hawksbeard, were shown to support large numbers of mealybugs for the duration of 3 full growing seasons. Various monitoring methods (pheromone traps, vine leaf and ground cover plant assessments) confirmed the citrophilus mealybug to be distributed in the trial blocks. Results showed that, when present, ground cover host plants like white clover and hawksbeard supported large numbers of mealybugs, thereby helping to separate mealybug and grapevine populations. By contrast, in vineyards with an unstable ground cover habitat (typically, a result of repeated herbicide use), mealybug colonisation of grapevines was often

greater relative to vineyards with more ground cover plant diversity. Notably, many of the mealybug-preferred host plants were either absent or rarely found in the contemporary blocks. STABLE GROUND COVER The five-year vineyard ground cover research conducted by Plant & Food Research (concluding in 2021) tested the hypothesis that, when sustained on a stable ground cover habitat containing suitable host plants, mealybugs pose a reduced risk of moving onto and between grapevines and transmitting leafroll virus to healthy grapevines. The trial comprises 21 plots (0.4 hectares each) within a single Merlot vineyard in Hawke’s Bay (19 hectares). Fourteen plots have had Grasslands Huia white clover added to the undervine area (UV-C), and seven plots comprise

NZ WINEGROWER  AUGUST/SEPTEMBER 2020  //   79


Progress Reports

an undervine herbicidetreated control (C). The Grasslands Huia white clover has proven itself to be a mealybug “sink” relative to all other ground cover plants sampled from within the block: mealybugs were associated with 30-50% of the clover samples collected, and this association persisted for the duration of monitoring in 2018 and 2019. To date, however, it has not been shown that the number of mealybugs found on vine leaves has been consistently influenced (reduced) by the addition of clover to the undervine area. Nor has virus incidence been reduced in clover-planted plots relative to control plots. In herbicide-treated plots the relative absence of ground cover plants meant that their use by mealybugs was also low, with less than 10% of plant samples found with mealybugs. Various monitoring methods (pheromone traps, vine leaf and ground cover plant assessments) confirmed the citrophilus mealybug to be widely distributed in the plots. Mealybugs were present on vine leaves and on the undervine clover. On a plot-by-plot basis, mealybug distribution was patchy, with six neighbouring plots showing higher numbers of mealybugs on vine leaves and the same plots revealing the majority of leafroll symptomatic vines. With the exception of those “hotspots”, however, monitoring indicated that

80   // 

PHOTO COURTESY THE NEW ZEALAND INSTITUTE FOR PLANT AND FOOD RESEARCH LIMITED

Longtailed mealybug on the underside of a vine leaf.

mealybugs appear to reside on clover persistently and preferentially (over grapevines). In spring 2018, canopy development was impaired in some (but not all) of the undervine clover-planted trial plots. As a result, undervine clover plantings were changed to alternating vine-to-vine intervals (a distance of 1.8 metres), meaning that, from autumn 2019, just 50% of the original undervine clover remained. As part of the ground cover research, a 2018 study explored mealybug preference for five clover cultivars under laboratory conditions. The results suggested that subterranean and crimson clover could also provide habitat for mealybugs and that the nectar produced by flowering clover plants in ground cover could attract mealybug parasitoids, potentially increasing parasitism rates among the mealybug populations.

NZ WINEGROWER  AUGUST/SEPTEMBER 2020

2020 AND BEYOND Interim results of the stable ground cover study indicate the large numbers of mealybugs present on the clover did not result in an increase in leafroll virus incidence relative to areas without clover. More insights into these and other aspects of the five-year study are expected once the 2020 and 2021 data are analysed and the results interpreted. ACKNOWLEDGEMENT This update was written with the assistance of Vaughn Bell, Senior Scientist, Winegrape Entomology & Virology, The New Zealand Institute for Plant & Food Research Limited. It summarises findings from (1) research commissioned by Bragato Research Institute for the Vineyards Ecosystems Programme, co-funded by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) and (2) research commissioned by Plant & Food Research Ltd.

FOR MORE INFORMATION Members of New Zealand Winegrowers can access the following research report by signing in to the members’ area of nzwine.com (nzwine. com/members/grow/ research-programme/ vineyard-ecosystems/ reports/): Bell VA, Avila G, Burgess EPJ, Chhagan A, Cole L, Davis V, Hall A, Hedderley D, Malone L, Sandanayaka M, Taylor T, 31 August 2018, Relating under-vine management, biota and leafroll virus, Vineyard Ecosystems RA 1.2 Annual Report. Additional reading (public access): Sandanayaka WM, Davis VA, Jesson LK, 27 July 2018, Mealybug preference among clover cultivars: testing potential groundcover plants to dissociate mealybugs from grapevines, New Zealand Plant Protection, 710, pp. 248-254. doi: 10.30843/ nzpp.2018.71.138. nzwine.com


Progress Reports

Misha’s Vineyard

Bragato Research Institute Pinot Noir Programme, RESEARCH AIM 4.1 – BUNCH SORTING AND RESEARCH AIM 4.2 – VALIDATION WINES POPULAR ARTICLE Beullens J1, Grose C1, Stuart L1, Yang L1, Yvon M1, McLachlan A2, Rutan T3 – The New Zealand Institute for Plant and Food Research Limited: 1 Marlborough, 2Palmerston North, 3 Bragato Research Institute. INDUSTRY DOCTRINE dictates that high-quality Pinot Noir wine is predominantly defined by the composition of the grapes. There are, however, a wide range of factors that determine a wine’s composition and quality. In this study we attempt to answer the question “can objective classification of bunch morphology, maturity and colour classes give rise to wines that simultaneously increase both yield and quality?”

Bunch morphology necessarily affects grape yield on both per vine and per unit area bases. Comparable yields can be composed of a larger number of relatively small bunches or of a smaller number of larger bunches. In New Zealand Pinot Noir vineyard systems bud numbers per vine are generally tightly controlled. Under these conditions the number of bunches per vine 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. Our research goal was to eliminate fruit ripeness as a variable, which we did through careful bunch selection and sorting techniques. Grapes were harvested during the 2019 vintage from a Marlborough vineyard and bunches were density sorted using a flotation method. A single

density class of narrow total soluble solids range (21.7–22.1 °Brix) was further sorted into five bunch mass classes (<60 g, 60–79 g, 80–99 g, 100–119 g, >120 g). Sufficient fruit was sorted and randomly apportioned to enable replicate ferments for each bunch class. For the parameters measured, large bunches resulted in wines of similar composition to wines from small bunches. The biggest bunch mass class (>120 g) tended to

NZ WINEGROWER  AUGUST/SEPTEMBER 2020  //   81


Progress Reports

have lower juice primary amino acids, ammonium and yeast available nitrogen content and this trend was also observed in lower concentrations of individual amino acids measured in the juice. Different bunch size classes ranging from 60 g to 120 g at identical sugar maturities produced wines of similar composition including phenolic and colour content (Figure 1) with no statistically significant differences. There was, however a trend towards more colour and higher phenolics in wines made from smaller bunch size classes. Results from both 2018 and 2019 indicate that the distribution of bunch sizes encountered and their sorting into size classes would mean that a high proportion of the crop (>70%) would need to be redirected to an alternate product stream to benefit from the small compositional gains achieved by making wines exclusively from the smallest bunch mass class. The small compositional benefits should also be assessed in the context of the vintage effect on wine composition. Monomeric anthocyanin and colour density measurements in 2019 were three-fold higher than in the 2018 wines, which reflected the intense colour observed vintage-wide in the 2019 wines. However, further investigation into the use of berry sorting technologies and winemaking treatments in 2021 will continue to support a greater understanding of grape morphology on

82   // 

Figure 1. Influence of bunch mass classes (<60 g, 60–79 g, 80–99 g, 100–119 g, >120 g) on phenolic and colour concentrations in Pinot noir wine from a Marlborough vineyard site. Error bars are 95% confidence intervals for the mean.

wine secondary metabolite composition. The 2018/19 year of research builds on our knowledge of the effects of bunch morphology class and winemaking treatments on Pinot Noir wine secondary metabolite composition. In this study we also questioned whether small-scale research winemaking practices are appropriate to form and retain secondary metabolites in the production of Pinot Noir wine made at small scale. To that end, research winemaking protocols were further developed to include co-inoculation of lactic acid bacteria for malolactic fermentation during primary fermentation. Wines were successfully made using

NZ WINEGROWER  AUGUST/SEPTEMBER 2020

the newly developed winemaking protocols, producing wines that were comparable with the generically accepted parameters for Pinot Noir wine composition. This is an important outcome for establishing robust, small-scale research winemaking protocols for future implementation within the Pinot Noir research programme. Our proposed next step is to explore methods to output single file streams of berries onto a moving conveyor. These would then pass under an optical sensing system to classify berries by size, soluble solids content and colour. The aim would not be to sort the berries but instead to

derive the crop “population statistics” for key factors such as berry size, berry colour and TSS. This real-time data could then be used by winemakers to decide on optimal winemaking methods as the fruit arrives into the winery. 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. In the future, viticultural studies could be directed towards increasing bunch size while maintaining or reducing the size of berries as a means of breaking the yield-quality see-saw.  nzwine.com


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Profile for Rural News Group

New Zealand Winegrower August/September 2020  

New Zealand Winegrower August/September 2020

New Zealand Winegrower August/September 2020  

New Zealand Winegrower August/September 2020

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