New Zealand Winegrower June-July 2021

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Maori Point


Doctors of winegrowing

Wine Tech

AI in the vines

Icehouse Savvy

Boosting wine business

Vintage 2021 JUNE/JULY 2021 ISSUE 128

Vine, wine and market views

JUNE/JULY 2021 / ISSUE 128

Soil too salty? Gypsum is one of those rare materials that performs in all categories of soil treatment: an amendment, conditioner and fertiliser Gypsum in amendment • Displaces sodium binding clay soils • Reduces high soil aluminum levels • Suppresses soil acidification effects of growing crops and prolonged use of acidifying fertilisers

Gypsum in soil conditioning • Reduces cracking and compaction following irrigation and retards soil crusting • Allows soil to dry more quickly after rain or irrigation so that it may be worked sooner • Decreases energy requirements for tillage • Binds organic matter to soil and checks soil erosin • Enhances friendly bacterial action and discourages plant diseases related to poor soil aeration • Condition soil allows for deeper, healthier root development and water penetration

How does it work? Gypsum is hydrated calcium that replaces sodium in the soil. The sulphate allows the sodium to be effectively leached out of the soil giving the soil better ability to flocculate and form stable aggregates to improve drainage and soil quality.

Gypsum in fertilising Soil tests throughout New Zealand shows sulphur deficiency is widespread. Although often overlooked, sulphur is needed in at least equal quantities to phosphorus. Many responses in crops are sulphur due to the sulphate radical (SO4--). • Readily dissociates into free calcium ions (CA††) and sulphate ions (SO4--), major elements

CaSO4 Na+


Soil Cation Exchange

in plant nutrition. • Has an approximately neutral pH and can be used in heavy applications without causing

undue alkalinity in soils

Gypsum in water savings

Ca++ Soil Cation Exchange

• Promotes water infiltration, retention and conservation • Allows water to penetrate the soil without forming puddles or logging • Conserves water by stretching intervals between irrigations

leached Na2SO4

• Tests show that farmland treated with Gypsum require up to 33% less water

For more about Natural Gypsum and soil stabilisation visit


Issue 128 – June/July 2021



Sophie Preece


From the Chair

Clive Jones

44 Women in Wine

Spring Timlin

46 Wellness in Wine

Constellation Brands

52 Postcard

Kiwi of Ampuis


Wine Weather

James Morrison

62 Advocacy Matters

Health and Safety

63 Social Pages

Sauvignon Blanc Day

F E AT U R E S 18

Vintage 2021

They say good things come in small packages, and the 2021 vintage is true to form, with low yields and great quality reported by many. With a relatively relaxed harvest in the tank, wine companies are now grappling with the challenging business of satisfying demand with limited supply.


34 Growing Technology

An autonomous vineyard tractor developed in Marlborough is a “game changer” for the wine industry, says Pernod Ricard Winemakers’ Transformation Director Alex Kahl, describing it as akin to moving from horses to tractors. Oxin is only one of the exciting developments in the field, including the MaaraTech Human Assist project’s Augmented Reality for pruning.

56 Icehouse Savvy

Wine companies impacted by Covid-19 have had to take a new look at how they run, says Gavin Lennox, Group Chief Executive at The Icehouse, which helps boost New Zealand business. Eva Pemper of Eva Pemper wines speaks of her experience of growing her business savvy. COVER PHOTO Dr John Harris, foreground, and Matt Evan in Vintage 2021 at Māori Point. Photo by Richard Brimer. Go to page 32


44 52


E D I TO R Sophie Preece

CO R R E S P O N D ENTS Wellington Wine Country: Joelle Thomson Hawkes Bay: Olly Styles Marlborough: Tessa Nicholson

Beam me up Scotty

Central Otago: Jean Grierson

Sophie Preece EDITOR

Canterbury: Jo Burzynska

A DV E R T I SI N G Upper North Island: Stephen Pollard Ph: 021 963 166 Central North Island: Lisa Wise Ph: 027 369 9218 Lower North Island: Ron Mackay Ph: 021 453 914 South Island: Kaye Sutherland Ph: 021 221 1994

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

P U B L I SH I N G & 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

I REMEMBER when my friends and I dreamt of the day we’d see each other on screens when talking on the telephone, like something sci-fi. Now that’s de rigueur of course, and I long for good old messy-haired phone calls, when you can make a cup of tea while you talk, and no one is the wiser. These days virtual reality, artificial intelligence (AI) and robot workers are increasingly present, including in the wine industry. In last month’s edition of Winegrower magazine, Dr Armin Werner of Lincoln Agritech talked of the Grape Yield Analyser Project, where AI will help growers and viticulturists swiftly predict yields based on inflorescence counts assessed by a machine learning tool. This month, there are more technological advancements in The Science section, including the MaaraTech Human Assist Project’s augmented reality pruning technology, which is to be trialled in vineyards this year. But first, the project will trial a virtual reality platform, to be used to help train pruners before they step into a row. Professor Bruce MacDonald of Auckland University says the final stage will be an autonomous vehicle, which arches over the vines with robotic arms, that will be able to prune and thin, reducing the labour input in wine. Meanwhile, Pernod Ricard Winemakers have collaborated with Marlborough-based agritech start-up Smart Machine, to create Oxin, an autonomous tractor with a “deep knowledge” of vineyard production, that can mow, mulch, remove leaf and trim. “We are moving through the Fourth Industrial Revolution and very proud to be leading the evolution of autonomous vineyard tractors across the New Zealand wine industry,” says Pernod Ricard Winemakers’ Transformation Director Alex Kahl on page 34. If the Kiwi wine world’s 2020 is to be remembered for Covid-19, perhaps 2021 will be the year of technology, fuelled by the labour issues exacerbated by the pandemic.


Sarah Rowley Adams

Joelle Thomson

Bob Campbell

James Morrison

Sarah is New Zealand Winegrowers’ Communications and Digital Advisor, and a teller of Kiwi wine stories. For this edition of Winegrower, Sarah explores Three Fates, a new wine brand being spun by Holly Girven Russell, Casey Motley and Hester Nesbitt.

The Wairarapa faced lower than expected yields in vintage 2021. “This year the smaller yields are a combination of weather conditions from last year and also bud formation from 18 months ago,” Winemaker Wilco Lam tells Joelle, a Wairarapa-based wine writer.

Bob is a Master of Wine, author and educator. In this edition’s Bob’s Blog, he delves into the frustration of taking a special wine to a dinner party, only to have it whisked away unopened. So, what is the appropriate dinner party etiquette?

Sometimes it’s El Niño, sometimes it’s La Niña and sometimes it’s simply El Neither. This month James, from Weatherstation Frost Forecasting, adds Nelson and the Wairarapa to his forecasts for New Zealand’s wine region.

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Go to page 54

Go to page 58

The information contained in this publication is of a general nature only, and is not intended to address specific circumstances of any particular individual, entity or situation. This publication is not a definitive source, may not be up to date and is not a substitute for legal advice. New Zealand Winegrowers Inc and Rural News Group Ltd disclaim liability for any loss, error or damage resulting from use of/ reliance on this publication.

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From the Chair Clive Jones

From the Chair Have your say in the upcoming Levy Vote 2021 CLIVE JONES

THIS COMING September, growers and wineries will once again be asked to cast their votes on the future of the grape and wine levies which fund New Zealand Winegrowers. These votes, which happen every six years, are a requirement under the Commodity Levies Act 1990. Given New Zealand Winegrowers (NZW) has two levies – one on grapes sold and one on wine sold – this in fact means there will be two separate votes which will be held simultaneously. A positive vote will ensure NZW continues to deliver to members in key activity areas - advocacy, research, sustainability, marketing and support of our regions. To get a positive result in the grape levy referendum requires that, of those members who vote, 50 percent by number and 50 percent by value of levy payment must vote in favour of the levy. For wine, the requirement is 60 percent voting in favour. The last time the vote was held, in 2015, the levels of support were all around the 90 percent level – a resoundingly positive result. In February your Board spent a long time considering

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the details of the levy proposals. These will be circulated to members shortly for comment and feedback. In summary, the Board is recommending no change to the key levy parameters that members have been familiar with over the past five years.

That means it is proposed that: • the separate levies on grapes and wine are retained • the basis of the levies – volume for wine and value for grapes – remains unchanged • there is no change to the maximum levy rates allowed – these rates are above the current rates that are actually payable by members, and • the maximum payment for large levy payers is retained, as is the fact there is no minimum payment by any member. The proposal to continue with the current levy parameters reflects the fact that the current levy system is working well, and the Board could find no compelling reasons for change. The process from here is that members will receive the detailed proposals. The Board will then consider any


Clive Jones

feedback received and will settle on a final proposal to be submitted to members. The levy vote itself is scheduled for September. Our first request to members is to give some thought to the draft proposal when you receive it and provide any feedback. Now is the time to make your voice heard. Second, is that growers and wineries exercise their voting privilege vote when the time comes. Every vote counts and it would be great to see a higher turnout than in 2015. Finally, your Board urges you to VOTE – YES in the levy referenda. The past year has demonstrated the value of having an active, focussed and well-resourced NZW advocating for and on behalf of the industry. NZW delivered when the industry needed it most Essential Business status for vintage 2020. Without that, every single grape growing and winemaking business would have been facing a major crisis. But the levy vote

is not just about the past 12 months, it is about what NZW has been delivering every day for the past six years: the information that we all refer to so regularly throughout our grape growing and winemaking businesses: the likes of Vinefacts, the Winemaking and Labelling Guides, Spray Days, Grape Days, market seminars, the Spray Schedule, biosecurity information, and the list goes on. In the next six years, given all the market and regulatory changes we are facing, growers and wineries need this information more than ever. They need NZW advocating with the Government, researching the key issues, focusing on the major sustainability challenges and opportunities and supporting the New Zealand wine category in our key markets. So come September, remember to vote in the levy referenda. And I urge you to vote yes. Clive Jones Chair New Zealand Winegrowers

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s nk size litre ta 0 0 0 3 r e provid 2200 o ds that ithin a e h l ia w t Tangen t turbulence nits) to n u e ll w e o r c x o e w rage nopy (t the ca e spray cove is maxim ll ed with d is fitt to enable fu a e h h s le g z Eac in z y spra ual no individ or bunch line r y p s lowe cano en fan iding iv r d y ll lica prov Hydrau onsumption ncies c ie r c e c effi pow ydrauli major h savings el e and fu s requir earing nd makes b d e iz Overs ance a ainten less m r servicing ie for eas




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News Briefs

RSE Relief NEWS THAT Recognised Seasonal Employer (RSE) scheme workers from the Pacific Islands will be able to travel to New Zealand has been welcomed by industry. “At least some of these workers will arrive in time for winter pruning,” says New Zealand Winegrowers Chief Executive Philip Gregan. “This decision will benefit workers, their families and our wine regions.” The New Zealand Government announced in May that around 300 RSE workers would be able to come in through managed isolation facilities every month from June. Philip says the decision will help the wine industry plan with more certainty for the rest of the year. “The projected labour shortage has been a real concern for some regions, especially Marlborough and Central Otago, and we need this additional labour supply to meet our seasonal peak demands.” However, the increased costs associated with bringing RSE workers into New Zealand will play a part in whether or not some businesses can take advantage of the Government’s decision.

International Sauvignon Blanc Day INTERNATIONAL SAUVIGNON Blanc Day on 7 May saw 35 lifestyle social media influencers around the world invited to “Pour yourself a glass of New Zealand”. New Zealand Winegrowers (NZW) sent each of the influencers two or three bottles of New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc, along with other New Zealand products in conjunction with New Zealand Trade and Enterprise (NZTE), resulting in 249 stories, reels and posts on Instagram, with a reach of 2,127,600. Wine media, trade, lifestyle and wine tourism publications were also invited to make a “toast to Sauvignon Blanc Day”, resulting in a global reach of 50,725,398 by mid-May, with coverage in USA, UK, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and an equivalent advertising value of $846,156NZD. NZTE’s Project Harvest digital campaign - to reinvigorate Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc in Australia - went live on 5 May to coincide with International Sauvignon Blanc Day, and will be live for five weeks (see page 16). NZW also ran campaigns in China, including a Mini-Market in Shanghai for 150 attendees, which included a 30 person seminar on Sauvignon Blanc. There were also retail activations across the two major provinces for New Zealand wine in Canada with both the LCBO and BCLDB running promotions. In the UK, independent retail was the target, with over 60 independent merchants participating in NZW’s Indie Promo, designed to promote New Zealand wine in the more premium and diverse independent sector. Felicity Turner, NZW’s Global Education and Insights Manager, says the wine industry was supported with toolkits to help them spread the Sauvignon word, with 220,530 impressions on social media, 11,368 engagements and 1,817 link clicks. “As a global leader in Sauvignon Blanc we are really proud to be a leading player in the international Sauvignon Blanc celebrations around the world, and keen to make it as easy as possible for our members to undertake global celebrations.”

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Craggy Range

The Vineyard Report

THE VINEYARD Report 2020-2023 is now available on the New Zealand Winegrowers website. The report collates key industry data and statistics annually from the Biosecurity Vineyard Register and is used to inform resources such as the New Zealand Wine textbook, varietal guides, and regional guides. Snapshots of key regional statistics (see page 66) are also produced as part of the report.

Under the Vines JEAN GRIERSON THREE MONTHS of filming for romantic comedy Under the Vines, set in the Central Otago’s wine region, wrapped up in April. The six-part series stars Rebecca Gibney (pictured) and Charles Edwards as two unlikely city slickers who inherit a failing vineyard in rural New Zealand. Despite neither having ever done a hard days’ work in their lives, and both despising the other, they must somehow make the vineyard successful so they can sell up, split up, and get out of there. “I’m a sucker for romantic comedies and the scripts are wonderful - there is so much humour and heart,” says Rebecca. Filming began in February, and Acorn TV has all rights worldwide with the exception of Television New Zealand (TVNZ). Cate Slater, TVNZ Director of Content, says the drama will feel “distinctly Kiwi”, and “will showcase New Zealand’s stunning scenery, a fabulously talented cast and crew, and great scripts”.

BRI Interim CEO The Bragato Research Institute (BRI) has appointed Jeffrey Clark (pictured) as interim Chief Executive. Jeffrey is General Manager Advocacy & General Counsel at New Zealand Winegrowers (NZW), and took up the role in early April. MJ Loza, who had been in the role for three years, moved to Hawke’s Bay in May to take up a position at Aotearoa Fine Wine Estates. “Jeffrey has played an important role in establishing BRI and is very familiar with our operations and the service we provide to NZW’s members,” says MJ. “I am pleased he’s available to take a leadership role at BRI and that someone with his expertise and experience is here for the BRI team over this time.” BRI expects to make an announcement regarding a permanent appointment in the CEO’s role later this year. At NZW, Sarah Wilson will become Acting GM Advocacy (Trade) and General Counsel, and Nicola Crennan will become Acting GM Advocacy (People).

News Briefs

Future Posts RECYCLED PLASTIC post producer Future Posts says the 2021 harvest was the third consecutive season with no reports of broken posts following mechanical harvest or vine stripping. The company is now producing a new vineyard specific 116mm/2.4m post.

Méthode Marlborough Wine Business and Innovation THE EASTERN Institute of Technology’s (EIT) School of Viticulture and Wine Science will offer a new suite of postgraduate qualifications in Wine Business and Innovation, starting from July 2021. The qualifications include Postgraduate Certificate in Wine Business and Innovation, Postgraduate Diploma in Wine Business and Innovation, and Master of Wine Business and Innovation Sue Blackmore, Head of School for Viticulture and Wine Science, says the school recognised a need for postgraduate professional development in wine business, and the programmes were developed following conversations with New Zealand Winegrowers. The school also looked at similar courses offered in California, Germany, and Burgundy. Senior Lecturer Rory Hill (pictured) says the programmes will suit people who already work in the wine sector and who would like to increase their knowledge or move into management positions. “We also encourage people with, say, a business background who wish to enter the industry to enrol.”

THE INAUGUR AL Méthode Marlborough Day w a s a s p a rk l i n g success, with 12 dedicated producers celebrating in style, both online and in a progressive evening in Marlborough. A hundred guests travelled between three venues in two buses on 26 March, learning Photo Richard Briggs about the evolution of sparkling wine production in Marlborough as they travelled. Once at the destination – Wither Hills, Spy Valley, then Saint Clair Vineyard Kitchen – guests toasted the initiative’s success with 12 different sparkling wines, each paired with gourmet morsels. Group Chair Dan Taylor says Covid19 lockdowns seem to have impacted on Champagne sales in the UK, “which have gone off the chart”, perhaps because of “people having more money in their pocket, at the expense of other activities and spending it on something that they have a passion for”. That’s impacting on New Zealand as well, with Sparkling Wine being a growing category in terms of wine exports, he adds. “So the big thing for Méthode Marlborough now is how to continue that growth.”

Corteva Young Viticulturist REGIONAL COMPETITIONS for the 2021 Corteva Young Viticulturist of the Year will be held over the next two months, with the national final in Marlborough at the end of August. “We are excited to be ramping up again for 2021,” says Nicky Grandorge, National Coordinator. “This is an important initiative which gives many passionate young viticulturists the opportunity to upskill and start making a name for themselves within the New Zealand wine industry.” Now in its 16th year, the competition tests young viticulturists on everything involved with running a vineyard and being a successful viticultural leader, from soil nutrition and

trellising to budgeting, biosecurity planning and public speaking. They also have to think on their feet in the BioStart Hortisports race where the challenges are never predictable. DATES: 3 June - Auckland, Waiheke 10 June – Hawke’s Bay 17 June – Wairarapa 1 July – Marlborough 8 July – South Island Regional, held in North Canterbury 15 July – Central Otago 25-26 August – National Final, Marlborough



Winter F.A.W.C

The Whole Bunch

The Food and Wine Classic (F.A.W.C!) is back for its eighth year, and foodies can devour its deliciously hot programme in Hawke’s Bay throughout the month of June. From talented chefs, award-winning winemakers and passionate producers come 46 events overflowing with inspiration, creativity and flair. Winter F.A.W.C will run across four weekends in June as the perfect antidote to the cooler months. November will see the tenth anniversary of Summer F.A.W.C!

The Pinot Noir NZ Celebration is on hold until the global wine community can attend, but that’s not going to stop a bunch of New Zealand Pinot producers from flocking together to share their Pinot passion. The Whole Bunch is a domestic industry dinner party and symposium run by Pinot NZ, as they wait for the global event to become possible again. Held in Christchurch, the Whole Bunch will give the NZ Pinot community a chance to catch up, converse and share what’s so great about New Zealand Pinot Noir. Tickets for producers to attend The Whole Bunch event will be on sale from late May, and all are welcome.

4-6 June to 25-27 June

Grape Days 2021 The 2021 Grape Days events, on in Hawke’s Bay, Marlborough and Central Otago, will have a focus on “Farming for the future: Reducing inputs and environmental impact while enabling sustainable returns”. The events provide a welcome gathering place for industry, and an opportunity to learn about new research being driven for wine.

Hawke’s Bay, 14 June Marlborough, 16 June Central Otago, 18 June

Organic Wine Week

te Pā

We’re back! New Zealand Winegrowers are bringing Spray Days back to the regions this year, with great topics and training opportunities. So bring the whole crew along, there is something for everyone. This year’s topics include: • keeping yourself safe during spraying • sprayer maintenance and setup • mealy bug control • managing Spray Drift • powdery Mildew • understanding chemical rates - from labels to Grapelink • trunk disease – (Northland and Waiheke only) For more, contact Spray Days Coordinator Anna Lambourne at

Young Viticulturist of the Year The 2021 Corteva Young Viticulturist of the Year competition will kick off with six regional competitions around the country, held between 3 June (Auckland and Waiheke) and 15 July (Central Otago). The event wraps up with the national final in Marlborough.

National Final – 25 – 26 August

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9 - 10 September

Spray Days

3 August - 2 September


This annual fixture is all about increasing awareness of organic wine, educating customers on why consuming organic is good for them and for the land, and supporting organic producers. It’s also about delicious food and sublime wines enjoyed with good company.

20 to 26 September

Richard Briggs

Young Winemaker Dates are set for the 2021 Tonnellerie de Mercurey Young Winemaker of the Year competition, with regional events in the North Island (3 September), Marlborough (8 September) and Central Otago (16 September) before the national final in Central Otago.

National Final – 14 October

NZSVO Technical Workshop The New Zealand Society for Viticulture and Oenology 2021 Technical Workshop is on Alternative Varietals. Packed into a single day on 21 October, the workshop will provide an informative and engaging programme, featuring a cross section of speakers from viticulture and winemaking through to market. Tickets will go on sale on 1 July.

21 October

Upcoming Events

Biosecurity Week Biosecurity means protection from the risks posed by organisms to the economy, environment, and people’s health, through exclusion, eradication, and control procedures, says New Zealand Winegrowers Biosecurity Advisor Jim Herdman. “Winegrowers instinctively manage vineyard pests and diseases as part of their core business activity.” But the biosecurity team at New Zealand Winegrowers (NZW) encourages members to also put in place systems and protocols to ensure that no new pests and diseases are introduced to New Zealand vineyards, and to prevent existing pests and diseases spreading from one vineyard to another, Jim says. This year, NZW will align its Biosecurity Week activities with National Biosecurity Week, from 26 to 30 July. “NZW encourages all members to get involved with the week’s activities and take the opportunity to look at ways to improve vineyard biosecurity,” says

Palliser Estate Jim. There’ll be a biosecurity quiz so growers can test their knowledge and be in to win prizes. “For those creative types, new this year is a Biosecurity Display Challenge – use our biosecurity resources to set up a display for your staff and contractors, to increase biosecurity awareness on your site.” There will be updates on nzwine. com and the Kaitiaki Facebook page,

about what the 2021 Corteva Young Viticulturist of the Year contestants have to say about biosecurity. Jim says companies should also consider signing up to the Biosecurity Business Pledge (see page 60), “to join a nationwide network of operations who are making biosecurity a business priority”.

26 – 30 July


The Marketing Place

Storyteller Telling good tales for better sales SOPHIE PREECE

AFTER MORE than a century making great wine, Babich Wines has begun to harvest its stories as well. “If it’s a genuine story, I think it’s an effective way to differentiate a brand and it definitely does work in wine,” says David Babich, Chief Executive of one of New Zealand’s oldest family-owned wine companies. “And in the wine world there are a lot of great stories.” The company’s storytelling delves into the past 100 years, weaving yarns about the places, people, innovations and achievements behind its wine. But it also looks ahead, from stories of Barry,

a precious wild yeast at work in the winery, to the myriad of sustainability initiatives being driven by Babich. “As a brand we want to be seen as modern classic,” says David. “You want to acknowledge your history, but also look to the future.” M o r e r e c e n t l y, t h a t storytelling has been enhanced through Made with Care, a Te Taurapa Tūhono New Zealand Trade and Enterprise (NZTE) global campaign launched in late 2020 to grow awareness, preference and demand for New Zealand food and beverage products around the world. Craig Armstrong, NZTE’s lead for food and beverage,

says recently released research revealed five major challenges being faced by New Zealand exporters. “We weren’t too surprised to see that building brand awareness topped the list of challenges,” he says. “This was further amplified by the need to build a story around a product that will help drive consumer purchasing decisions. While this is reflective of the fact that New Zealand exporters are typically smaller by international standards, it also shows quite clearly why the development of a global food and beverage brand campaign

for New Zealand has been so important.” NZTE ran stor ytelling workshops for wine industry members last month, helping them tap into the Made with Care campaign. The fourhour storytelling workshops included market research findings, use of the campaign to drive demand for New Zealand products, and lessons on defining a brand story with the global Made with Care insights and toolkit. For more on the NZTE Made with Care campaign, go to made-with-care


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The Marketing Place

The Marketing Place

Taking NZ wine to the world: Bringing the world to NZ wine

Wine Tourism THE OPENING of the trans-Tasman bubble in April was an exciting development which will benefit our industry in multiple ways, notably in the wine tourism space. Within days of the re-opening of the Australian borders, wineries across the country were welcoming back international wine tourists. New Zealand Winegrowers (NZW) has more than 270 members who offer winery visitor experiences (cellar doors, winery restaurants, vineyard accommodation and others) throughout the country, and many are firm favourites with our Aussie neighbours. The international wine tourist is a high value visitor, spending 27 percent more than the average holiday visitor, and pre-Covid, 27 percent of all Australian holiday visitors claimed to have visited a vineyard or winery, according to a survey by the Ministry of Business, Innovation, and Employment. With the opening of the trans-Tasman bubble, Tourism New Zealand’s (TNZ) clever ‘Stop Dreaming and Go’ campaign is now live in market, encouraging our neighbours to head over for a visit. The launch video draws on the film Inception and has quirky Australian humour which can be viewed on TNZ’s YouTube channel. Make sure you check it out, some of the scenery might look familiar…

Top tips for getting ready for our Australian visitors: • update your website and social media with opening hours • update your Google My Business listing • update your brand profile at • share any new winery visitor experiences with NZW • engage with your local Regional Tourism Organisation and i-SITE network • list your winery visitor experiences for free on Tourism New Zealand’s consumer website ( • check out the ‘wine tourism’ resources under ‘marketing’ on the • join the NZW Marketing closed Facebook group • ensure your QR code is clearly visible for your visitors. For any questions on wine tourism, please contact Keri at

Sauvignon Blanc Day NEW ZEALAND WINEGROWERS was again at the forefront of International Sauvignon Blanc Day celebrations recently, with retail, media and influencer activity across all of our major markets. Social media activity centred around trade engagement, as well as a toolkit of digital assets provided to members for use in their own activations.

The objectives of #sauvblancday this year were: • to influence and build relationships with our trade and media partners • to provide members with the tools to tell their own Sauvignon story to their trade partners • to be seen in the trade as the global leader behind International Sauvignon Blanc Day. To see more from Sauvignon Blanc Day, go to page 63.

Intel & Insights IN RESPONSE to member feedback on desired topics to cover for our webinar series, we recently held a very wellattended session on ‘New Zealand Wine in the Domestic Grocery Channel’. A full recording is available in the members’ section of, along with bullet points for quick reference. Morgan McCann (Head of New World), Katherine Rich (Chief Executive of the New Zealand Morgan McCann Food and Grocery Council) and Julie Bramley (Research Consultant for IRI), provided a deep dive into the data and trends in the sector, as well as the practical information on how to seize opportunities within this channel. Coming up in the Intel and Insights space, New Zealand Winegrowers are working with New Zealand Trade and Enterprise to produce a Wine Sector Capability Build Programme, designed to bridge capability gaps for wine exporters. The programme activities will kick off in late June with a series of Digital Strategy workshops and a wine-specific Export Readiness workshop. Further detail and registration information will be emailed to members directly, and included in the June What’s Fermenting newsletter.


The Marketing Place

The Social Place Keep it real… But, really? When frost hit Bordeaux last month, we all saw the images of candles and straw bales as producers worked through the night to protect the vines. For anyone working in our industry, this was heartbreaking. But then, there was this wave of tweets and posts from the public commenting on how romantic the candles in the vineyards were... I was shocked. I don’t know that I’ve ever seen the disconnect between “us” (industry) and “them” (everyday drinkers) so clearly as I did in those posts. And it’s made tougher when we consider that some of those same consumers will later

“What works, what misses the mark, and what goes up in flames.”

complain about higher prices and reduced access. How do we bridge this gap? How do we share the stories that show tenacity and determination while maintaining consumer confidence in our products and our brands? “Storytelling” and “authenticity” are two words that get bandied about a lot these days in marketing. Social media has

14   //

5Forests’ guide to connecting

fostered a 24-hour news cycle and a perceived all-access pass to brands. How much should we be sharing? How “real” is too much? How do we balance loyalty building with too much information (TMI)? Although there is no single right answer, let me share with you the advice we give our clients: what works, what misses the mark, and what goes up in flames.

1. When in doubt, stay quiet – and grab your camera Something goes wrong and you don’t know what to say or how to say it? Stay quiet while you figure it out. But grab some photos if you can, because sometimes our biggest challenges present incredible opportunities, and being able to show the process of crisis-tosolution is a great story. 2. Talk to best “friends” first Yo u ’ v e g o t f o l l o w e r s , customers, good customers, and great customers. Consider allocating stories like you allocate your wines: the better the relationship, the more you share (or perhaps the sooner you share). Do your social media followers need the same level of detail that you’d share in a private club member tasting? Heck no. 3. A little drama is fun; a lot of drama is a brand killer Let’s face it, drama gets clicks and clicks make us feel good, so it’s easy to end up in a cycle of


clickbaiting. But customers don’t need all the gore and, in fact, it can make them engage but not buy. Courier drop a parcel once? Ideal opportunity to communicate about packaging, shipping, and customer service. Couriers drop a parcel once per month? That reduces confidence in the order process and can impact sales.

4. But don’t make everything sparkle B e e qually cautious o f becoming a highlight reel. The world can be hard and things don’t always go the way we want them to. Brands who try to fake their way through adversity are soon called out by fans and peers. Sometimes, the simplest acknowledgement - “today was hard” - is enough

to convey vulnerability without divulging unnecessary details.

5. Last but not least, find your line between personal and professional This is the hardest of all, the approach varying based on size, history, organisational structure, finances and goals. Here is the best answer I can give you: set boundaries and be willing to break them. Have a wonderful personal story? Post it on the biz account! A terrible personal story? Mostly keep that to the personal account. A personal story that needs to be shared to make the world a better place for all of us? Forget the rules and be real… Really real.

We keep it fresh. So you can keep cool.

The Marketing Place

Project Harvest Singing the praises of Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc SOPHIE PREECE

THERE IS no other wine region in the world that produces Sauvignon Blanc like Marlborough, says Giesen Group Marketing Manager Angela Flynn. “It’s clear through our findings that we need to continue reinforcing this.” Giesen and Villa Maria both participated in Project Veraison, a Te Taurapa Tūhono New Zealand Trade and Enterprise (NZTE) initiative to research waning interest among Australian consumers for Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc, and to find key drivers for a “reawakening” across the Tasman. The research, completed in 2019, found that Marlborough’s flagship wine is still Australia’s most consumed wine at home, capturing 40 percent of home wine drinkers every month. But 10 percent of those are drinking less Marlborough Sauvignon than they were a year ago. Australia is Giesen’s biggest export market, and “hugely

16   //

important to us”, says Angela. Across the Giesen and Ara Wines brands, approximately 85 percent of Australian sales are Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc, she adds. “Within our portfolio, our Giesen Estate Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc is consistently our biggest seller by volume and a firm favourite for many Australian wine drinkers.” Marlborough Sauvignon played a ma jor role in helping build recognition of New Zealand as a notable wine region, she adds. “But the prestige of the trusty Marlborough Sauv has waned as consumers seek out new wine regions or flavours.” A s the wine categor y becomes more dynamic, Giesen has seen the market demanding experimentation and inspiration, says Angela. And while there are “loyalists who know and love the wine”, there are also younger consumers entering the market “who have no idea where Marlborough is – much less


what Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc is all about”, she explains “This has occurred alongside deep discounting and overfamiliar consumers, which undermines Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc ’s brand equity and has led to a decline in overall value.” Project Veraison leader C a t h e r i n e Wa n s i n k , a Commercial Business Advisor at NZTE, says the research found that 85 percent to 90 percent of Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc is sold on promotion by Australian retailers, with promotional cycles meaning there is always one of the major producers on promotion, sold at $10 per bottle or less. Project Veraison identified six key growth drivers for amping up energy around Marlboroug h Sauvignon Blanc, by showing it to be innovative, unique, social, and intrinsically linked to the place it comes from. Catherine says the project revealed potential for a $100 million boost to

Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc sales across the Tasman by 2022, based on an additional $1 per bottle sold. Last year NZTE launched a Made with Care food and beverage campaign to help producers tell their stories on the world stage during Covid-19. Project Veraison was absorbed within the initiative, helping grow the connection between the wine and its “uniquely Marlborough” provenance, says Catherine. Last month that provenance story was told again, through the Project Harvest digital campaign in Australia, with Sauvignon Blanc winemakers and viticulturists singing the praises of their product. “Right now is the time to tell the story of what makes Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc – and all New Zealand wine for that matter – so delicious and distinctive,” says Catherine. “It is the place - and the people that care, craft and innovate from that place at the edge of the world.”


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The Focus Vintage 2021

New Vintage Three Fates Pg 22

Road Trip

Behind the lens Pg 25

Matriarch of Waiata Debbie Sparks at Tiki Pg 31

Maori Point

Doctors of Winegrowing Pg 32 Harry Panesar at Rapaura Springs

The Focus

Vines and Wines Vintage 2021 – Auckland SOPHIE PREECE

A VERY early harvest paired with a very slow shipping schedule caught Auckland Winemaker Peter Turner on the hop this vintage. “We were in a bit of limbo wondering if or when our barrels were going to arrive in time for the Chardonnay,” says Pete from The Hunting Lodge in Waimauku. “It did take us by surprise and cut our summer a bit short.” The Hunting Lodge starts its vintage with contract winemaking of Matakana fruit, typically in the first week of March. So when Pete realised he’d have the first pick on 22 February, with some barrels still to arrive due to Covidrelated shipping constraints,

he had to reallocate his oak. “In the end, only a couple of cooperages didn’t get here until well and truly after Chardonnay ferments,” he says, relieved that the necessary dry goods did get in. Pete says the Auckland vineyard had a “little bit of a tickle up” from early season frost, impacting on the Chardonnay at budburst in late August. “That’s something we haven’t seen for about 10 years,” he says. Secondary growth came through, but yields were still down “a little bit”. The rest of the season was “great”, with little bits of rain at the right times, and relatively good flowering on everything

bar the Chardonnay, which had an uneven set. “The Sauvignon Blanc and young Albariño vines were actually quite even,” he says. Waiheke had reasonable yields as well, and with their reds in particular, says Pete. The early harvest may be down to the combination of a drought season in 2020 and a mild winter, meaning some vines were “a bit confused”, and didn’t achieve complete dormancy over winter, then sprung into a “really early budburst”, he says. The year was also characterised by “really high sugars, but reasonably high acids as well”, Pete adds. “The sugars were a lot more advanced than the grapes were in terms of phenological ripeness.”

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He has worked on the site for nine vintages – five of them as The Hunting Lodge – and this was the earliest start by a long shot, he says. While the Waimauku whites were in by mid-March, their full vintage – with fruit from Marlborough and Hawke’s Bay – was drawn out, with completion on 16 April. Pete says the resulting wines look great, including those from Auckland and surrounds, as well as Hawke’s Bay and Marlborough, from where they bring in fruit. “We thought 2020 was an amazing vintage, but I think this is definitely on a par with that in terms of quality.”

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The Focus

Vintage 2021 Hawke’s Bay OLIVER STYLES

“IT ’S BEEN an excellent harvest for us in Hawke’s Bay,” says Te Awa winemaker Richard Painter, at Villa Maria’s winery on the Gimblett Gravels. Even a small rain event in the middle of vintage didn’t cause any undue pressure on the team. Meanwhile, a few of the processes and health and organisational requirements of the 2020 Covid-19 vintage were put to use, he says. Richard says the company is quite self-sufficient with machine har vesting and didn’t have any issues with hand picking. It had a solid pre-vintage plan of blocks that were to be hand-picked or machine-picked, and didn’t deviate from that plan. “We didn’t go above and beyond our requirements.” But manpower shortages in the winery were felt keenly this season, with “possibly our most inexperienced crew ever”. Richard says the Hawke’s Bay winery had its highest ever proportion of New Zealand staff and while this created a fantastic atmosphere in the cellar, work pressures were high. Villa, which runs a sixday vintage week, took the three, eight-hour shifts a day of 2020 and tweaked them to

Richard Painter

three ten-hour shifts for 2021. “It worked really well,” he says, “No staff worked more than 60 hours a week.” Richard says generally benign conditions throughout an early and long vintage, with little disease pressure, were a boon to a green crew in the cellar, with few panicked picking decisions and fruit being harvested as and when it was ready. Where the vintage puts Hawke’s Bay in the wider wine market is unknown. The quality is certainly there this vintage although it is possible production will not be able to meet demand, he says. “For us in Hawke’s Bay, we’re probably going to be tight on Pinot Gris and Chardonnay – in terms of volume.” That can be a positive, offering opportunity to try and increase value, he


says. “Hopefully, it can help us chase some more value at the commercial end.” Trinity Hill Winemaker Damian Fischer says Chardonnay and Syrah are the highlight of Hawke’s Bay’s vintage. “Syrah has bright aromatics and great, great texture. The Chardonnay was ripe with high acid and filled with vibrancy.” Cabernet Sauvignon came in “good and ripe” but “a bit edgy” he says. “It’s not green, it’s just not the same as the last couple of years.” Finding staff for the winery was “tough”, but there were fewer issues in the vineyard, thanks to “very good standing relationship with the picking crews”. There’s no reason to be concerned about the quality coming through in 2021,

but how it plays through in overseas markets will be interesting to see, says Damian. Talking broadly across the export markets, he feels it will take a while to rebuild and get momentum off the back of the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic overseas. “We’ve got some good wine coming through the system… But the supply and demand balance hasn’t come into balance. The export markets are weak and we’re going to have to work at rebuilding momentum.” It is encouraging that in addressing this imbalance, Hawke’s Bay is primed on the export scene, with a string of very good to excellent vintages, he says. “As momentum picks up in the future, the region can come onto the market with an enviable run of high-quality wines.”

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The Focus


V I N TA G E 2 0 2 1 w a s “wonderful” and “amazing”, says Amy Farnsworth of Amoise Wines, a small, minimal-intervention Hawke’s Bay producer. “Another drought year – no rain and early again – two weeks’ early,” she says, very happy with the fruit and wines. Labour shortages were one of the biggest challenges faced, with most contracted pickers allocated to larger companies. “So I teamed up with some other smaller producers and coordinated the picks with Dan [Brennan, of Decibel Wines] and Hayden [Penny, of Te Awanga Estate]. Or I just did it myself […] it made for some pretty long days.” But

she found positives in the great sense of community that this brought with it. “It’s a great feeling having someone offer to truck your fruit for you while you’re still picking. I would want to go that way again next year, even if the situation improves.” In wider market terms, Amoise production cannot keep up with demand. Amy says securing organic fruit is potentially becoming more of an issue than picking it. With most growers in large volume contracts with large wineries, it can be hard to make elbow room, she says. “It’s tough to get smaller quantities, even when you’re happy to pay more (per tonne).”

Amy Farnsworth. Photo by Robin Cranford


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The Focus

New Vintage

Three women spinning their own fortunes SARAH ROWLEY ADAMS

From left, Casey Motley, Holly Girven Russell and Hester Nesbitt

IT TAKES pluck to start a wine company in the wake of Covid-19. But three women under 30 have done just that, starting Three Fates Wine in the Hawke’s Bay. The label was forged last year when Holly Gir ven Russell, whose father Gordon is the winemaker at Esk Valley, teamed up with Hester Nesbitt and Casey Motley to lease a hillside vineyard at Maraekākaho. She wanted to create an opportunity for the

trio to create and run their own business “and hopefully inspire others”. Holly grew up seeing the winery as a playground, and school sick days were spent in the car visiting vineyards. She didn’t think she would follow her father’s footsteps, until she graduated from university and found herself working in a call centre, and beginning to assess her life. “I realised that learning about wine was learning about history, art, science, and

flavour - that suited me.” When she moved to London in 2014, Holly worked at the International Wine Show, and then the wine buying team at Marks & Spencer, “which gave me a golden ticket to the wine trade”, she says. “I never looked back”. She returned to the University of Auckland to study winemaking and then began travelling for harvests. Holly had been working in the Yarra Valley when Covid19 hit, so she returned to New

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Zealand with no plans for work. “In isolation, I reached out to the parents of a school friend that I’d heard were looking to step back from their vineyard in Maraekākaho.” They offered a lease on their 1.2 hectare hillside block, but it was more than she could take on alone, so she began to assemble a team. Holly reached out to her friend Hester, who had just returned from an Australian har vest under similar circumstances. Hester had



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The Focus

Holly Girven Russell

been working at First Drop Wines in the Barossa, barely aware of the virus starting to snowball, as harvest was in full swing. Finally, as the state borders closed, she caught the last flight back from Adelaide, a day before the last fruit arrived at the winery, leaving the cellar door staff to do a crash course in winemaking. Hester had a depth of experience across

different countries, was good company and a hard worker, says Holly. “Coming from a farming background, I knew she could bring the agricultural experience and nous I didn’t have.” Holly also anticipated they would need a local person to run the day-to-day on the vineyard. “I had only met Casey a few times but knew she was

passionate about the hands-on the quality of the fruit”. They approach to winegrowing after had a small but clean crop, she her years working at wineries in adds. “Fermentation went well Germany, Austria and France.” with indigenous yeasts taking At the prestigious Domaine De care of the lot; everything is Montille in Burgundy, Casey’s now tucked away in barrel.” passion for the vineyard was Holly says they have been unlocked. She had returned warmly embraced by the to New Zealand to work in the vines at Millton, “I realised that her European way of life learning about wine coming with her. Holly intentionally was learning about chose to work with history, art, science, women, because “I have never worked at and flavour - that a winer y where the suited me.” senior winemaker was female, despite working alongside a lot of incredible Hawke’s Bay wine community female cellar hands”. She is and given plenty of support. proud of their inaugural vintage “Some especially inspiring of Cabernet Franc, Albariño and helpful players have been and Arneis. “You can’t lose Jenny Dobson and Bridget anything when you start with Wilton. Obviously, sharing nothing,” she jokes. The trio a household with rockstar learned quickly and although winemaker Gordon Russell all there were many sleepless harvest has been pretty helpful nights, “we’re delighted with too.”

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The Focus

Vintage 2021 Wairarapa JOELLE THOMSON

DRY R I V E R W ines has always been aptly named, but is especially so now, says Winemaker Wilco Lam, with vintage 2021 highlighting the industry’s dire need for drought tolerant rootstocks. “In vintage 2021 we saw a drop in vigour after many dry years, so in existing vineyards it means we have to prune a bit harder and allow for smaller yields in future years, unless we get a good rainfall season.” When it comes to new plantings, they are looking hard for drought tolerant rootstocks, “but because demand for them is not high enough throughout the industry in this country, we have to pay through the nose for it”, says Wilco. “I think the majority of the New Zealand vineyard area is planted on the wrong rootstock because of water resources, and I think it’s incredibly unsustainable from the root up.” The 2021 vintage was significantly lower than anticipated, in part due to dry weather but also the cool season in November and December 2020, which led to poor fruit set in the Wairarapa region. “If we had proper cropping levels, we would have had spectacular wines because

24   //

Wilco Lam. Photo by Richard Brimer

it was dry and good weather, but not as hot as in the past three years,” says Wilco. “This year the smaller yields are a combination of weather conditions from last year and also bud formation from 18 months ago.” Four weeks of consistent southerlies at the end of 2020 kept temperatures low. “It was quite nagging for a good three to four weeks over flowering and fruiting and, being a dry farmed operation, we see the impact of several dry years in a row, which have exacerbated things,” says Wilco. “This is why we are very keen to get more access to affordable drought tolerant rootstocks.” On the upside, the Dry River Wines team was able to manage vintage without the difficulty of seasonal worker shortages


thrown up by Covid. “Picking wise, we had no pressures this year, but I don’t think that’s industry standard,” he says. “It was really just size-related for us this year.” Vintage itself was similar to 2005 from a cropping

level perspective, he says. “We had such small yields that we will have quite intense wines. The challenges for us in 2021 are in trying to keep prettiness in the wines, purely because of the poor fruit set.”

Luna Estate LUNA ESTATE in Martinborough fared well during vintage 2021, due to good relationships with the winery’s long-term vineyard contractor, along with a relatively low harvest. Winemaker Joel Watson says crops were down by between 30 to 40 percent for Pinot Noir and by approximately 25 percent for both Pinot Gris and Sauvignon Blanc. “You can’t do much about what comes out of the sky so the law of averages generally evens out after we had a good vintage 2020.” He says the quality this year is good, “and the picking weather was also very good because it was dry and temperatures not too hot, which allowed us the luxury of harvesting when we were ready to, and to allow grapes to ripen fully without disease pressures”.

The Focus

Road Trip A 2021 vintage tour SOPHIE PREECE

RICHARD BRIMER worked his first vintage to save money for a camera, having left school at 15 to do a photography apprenticeship. That Hawke’s Bay harvest at Vidal – working alongside fellow cellar hand Tony Bish - was to set the path of his career, including 35 vintages behind the lens and four wine photography books. “Basically, that’s why I started shooting the wine industry,” he says. For vintage 2021, Richard revisited his 1992 vintage tour, travelling from the nor thernmost vineyards of the North Island to the southernmost of the South, in order to capture the people, places, vines and wines emerging from the year. The times have changed – “back in the day there were people picking in jandals in the

James and Annie Millton with the Land Rover Defender of Richard Brimer’s Road Trip

vineyard – you’d never see that now”, he says. So has the transportation, with Richard’s 2021 Vintage Tour sponsored by Land Rover, which provided a gleaming Defender for his journey. The tour started on 15 January at The Landing in the Bay of Islands, but was sidetracked a few times because of Covid-19 scares in Northland and then Auckland, says Richard. His journey was also complicated by the speed of the vintage, as he moved swiftly to keep up with the early start and end of the harvest. “It ripened very quickly.”

With a “mobile glamping unit” attached to the Land Rover, Richard stayed in style on vineyards, while meeting wine folk around the country. The photo tour naturally included Tony Bish, now of Tony Bish Wines in Hawke’s Bay, as well as other friends he’s made in the industry over the past 35 years. “For me it’s more about the people who are in the industry, as opposed to the business,” he says. “Some of the shots are with people at home having dinner, as well as in the vineyard and the winery. I wanted to show the human side of winemaking, not just the picking in the vineyard or

plunging or pump overs. That’s what really interests me.” The result - Road Trip will be a lightly captioned

“I wanted to show the human side of winemaking.” photo book with an essay describing the trip. “It’s quite a personal journey revisiting something I did in the early ‘90s in an industry I really love.”

Vintage 2021 – Gisborne THE 2021 harvest was the latest in a run of kind harvests for Gisborne, says Matawhero owner Kirsten Searle. “The last hard vintage was back in 2012, so Mother Nature has been kind to us,” she says, looking back over the latest season of benign weather, close to average yields and quality fruit. The season started around 22 February, which is the earliest harvest she has experienced in 20 years on the land, beating last year’s already early start by three or four days. “The region did

have a decent frost this spring which was interesting,” says Kirsten, of the biggest frost event they have seen in the region for many years. It “tickled up” a few vineyards, although Matawhero was largely unscathed. And the vines rallied, with crops across the region only slightly down, says Kirsten. “It was pretty much average for us in terms of yields across the board.” Low disease pressure and good sunshine, with just one rain event during harvest, made for “good ripeness and good acid

and pH balance at picking, she says. “It’s a good vintage, with wines that will cellar reasonably well.” As well as enjoying vintage conditions, Gisborne wine companies with cellar doors are enjoying the boost in tourism numbers caused by Covid-19. People who might otherwise winter in Europe are exploring the East Coast, along with its wineries, she says. “People are starting to come back and are reconnecting with the East Coast and Gisborne wines.”


The Focus

Vintage 2021 Marlborough SOPHIE PREECE

WITH BURGEONING demand for Marlborough wine, the lower yields of 2021 require plenty of communication a nd co l l a b o rat i o n w i t h customers, says R apaura Springs Sales Manager Mark Bowers. The company’s sales are predominately in offpremise channels, which have performed strongly over the past year. “Based on market intel and our sales growth, it’s apparent that Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc remains a firm favourite for many consumers in many markets,” says Mark. “We’ve also noticed an upward trend, with demand significantly increasing for our premium wines.” Now, with lower than expected 2021 yields, Rapaura Springs is working closer than ever with its customers, he says. “They will need to manage demand using the various tools at their disposal and to ensure that there is sufficient stock to carry our wines through until the next vintage when we might – maybe - return to more normal vintage volumes.” T hose conversations began at the beginning of the year when the supply limitations became apparent.

Rapaura Springs Viticulturist Matt Fox

“It’s impor tant to work collaboratively, to do what we can to balance supply and demand, and ke ep communications open,” Mark says. “ Together with our customers, we’re looking for opportunities to focus more on value delivery versus volume delivery.” Rapaura Springs Consultant Winemaker Matt Thomson says 2021 was the third of a series of drought vintages, exacerbated by a “huge wind run” to create “massive” levels of evapotranspiration, “so the vines could have been under a lot of stress”. However,

Plant & Food Research weather expert Rob Agnew says lower yields in Marlborough were due to a variety of factors, including inclement flowering co n d i t i o n s , w i t h M a r l b o ro u g h temperatures mostly lower than average from mid-November to the first week of December last year. A late frost on September 30 last year also played its part, coinciding with early budburst for Sauvignon Blanc in some parts of Marlborough. The 2021 har vest won’t only be remembered for light and lovely

26   //


poor f lowering combined with a small frost in some pockets left the company with very light yields. The loose bunches and dry conditions resulted in “incredibly low” disease pressure, says Matt. That means better flavours in pristine fruit, and promises good concentration, and tannin and colour in the red wines. “The exciting part of harvest is ‘what will this give us? What will this wine become in terms of the aging process?’” And from 2021 he expects plenty of intensity and flavour. “We haven’t had hot nights, so aromas should

crops, with the earliest ever harvest finish for many companies, says Wine Marlborough General Manager Marcus Pickens. “It also stands out because of increased costs and labour shortfalls,” he says. International workers were locked out by Covid-19 border closures, but individual companies proved light on their feet in recruiting and training new people from around the country, while also employing foreign cellar hands and vineyard workers who remained in New Zealand during the global pandemic. “The season was also a credit to

be good as well,” he adds, anticipating “an exceptional vintage here in Marlborough”. Mark says the limited supply will present opportunities for wineries and brands with good track records in terms of quality, supply and customer relations. “I’m sure we’ll see some of the brands at the value end being retired or sourced from other regions and increasing consumer prices,” he says. “The real opportunity for us, as wine companies, is to focus on delivering great quality wines, at a higher value, to enhance and protect brand Marlborough.”

industry collaboration, with companies, suppliers and organisations all working together to find and implement efficient solutions,” says Marcus. Meanwhile, Covid-19 precautions were rolled out, to ensure “excellent operating plans for a safe harvest”. Forrest Estate General Manager Beth Forrest says the 2021 vintage story is one of low crops and “exceptional” wines. “For me it was the year for Sauvignon Blanc,” says the winemaker, describing the complexity of Marlborough’s flagship variety.

The Focus

Mahi in Marlborough SOPHIE PREECE

BRIAN BICKNELL is carefully watching the shifting landscapes of hospitality around the world, hoping to gauge the strength of Mahi’s markets. But getting a handle on potential demand is a slippery business in a global pandemic, with waves of lockdowns, ripples of rules and insecurity within the restaurant trade. “It’s very hard to work out how much we needed this year – I think that’s the big part,” says Mahi’s founder and winemaker. “The planning has been nigh on impossible. We talk to our agents a lot and get feedback, but they don’t know what will happen when restaurants open fully.” In markets like Melbourne, where Mahi has been embedded for 20 years, things are recovering, but he fears decades of work may have been eroded over the past year of disconnect. “In some cases you feel like you’re starting over,” says Brian, who is 85 percent reliant on on-premise sales in New Zealand and 90 percent abroad. “I won’t know until I am back over there.” Mahi increased its New

Zealand sales over the past year, “so we are relatively happy at how we have come through”, but that’s only 20 percent of his business “at a stretch”, so Brian is eager to see the impact of England o p e n i n g fo r b u s i n e s s , alongside other countries warming back up to social dining. He’s had some big orders, but is unsure whether that’s simply down to filling depleted cellars, rather than an indication of burgeoning businesss. L ast year Brian took precautionary action when Covid loomed, to ensure he had less of the 2020 vintage, then sold out of some varieties in three months. So this year, with smaller than expected crops, he is erring on the other side of the scale. Despite finding it “pretty much impossible to plan”, he is determined to have enough wine. When it comes to the vintage – early, light and great quality – Brian had a winery staffed by New Zealanders, rather than three quarters international as he’d normally have. They were

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Brian Bicknell. Photo Richard Brimer

all experienced, including a couple of “returns” and the son of winemaker Kim Crawford. He also had his own son Max on board, having returned from a New York winery. “It was a brilliant team – we were very fortunate,” he says. But while quality was up, so were costs, with outgoings like handpicking costing

twice as much, because in some varieties there was as little as half the normal yield. And he’s concerned that estimate models are predicting small crops again next year. “That is a concern. How the industry handles it, no one knows, but I imagine there will be quite a few of the second labels that will go away.”

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Vintage 2021 Nelson NEIL HODGSON

N E L S O N WA S d e a l t a significantly low fruit set and crop this year, says Andrew Greenhough, with yields of Greenhough Vineyards’ home block down by 30 to 40 percent. “However, the quality of the fruit we did harvest was excellent and the signs are that the ‘21 vintage is going to produce some outstanding wines. Just smaller than wished for volumes.” A n d re w, w h o h a s 3 0 vintages under his belt, says milder winter night-time temperatures in 2020 led to a slightly earlier bud burst for the organic vineyard, running six to eight days ahead of a typical year. Weather patterns throughout spring and into the first

Andrew Greenhough



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“The signs are that the ‘21 vintage is going to produce some outstanding wines. Just smaller than wished for volumes.”

week of December were cool and unsettled, with regular rainfall events and frosts in some parts of the region, he adds. “While canopy growth on our vineyard was healthy, conditions were not ideal for f lowering, which was protracted and compromised, resulting in small berries, ‘hen and chicken’ in Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and, unusually, even in Sauvignon Blanc.” That resulted in light bunches and ultimately lower yields. The Greenhough experience is reflected across the whole Nelson region for the 2021 vintage, with reports of excellent quality fruit from small volumes. The region is expecting the total harvest to be 30 to 35 percent down, with some varieties affected more than others. The second week of December saw Nelson temperatures increase as expected, but a severe hailstorm on Boxing Day resulted in leaf and berry damage, further reducing yields in some varieties. However, this was a localised event that did not affect all vineyards across the region. Januar y brought warmer weather, some rainfall midmonth and a cool period for two to three days around the 20th. T hat was followed by dr ying winds and warm conditions that continued t h r o u g h o u t F e b r u a r y, “ w i t h o u t e x t re m e s b u t becoming dry enough on the

free-draining Waimea Plains that water restrictions were about to be imposed”, says Andrew. The dry conditions were relieved by 12mm of rain on 9 February and then another 72mm on the home vineyard from 25 February, accompanied by cooler day and night-time temperatures. “ The loose bunches were in healthy condition so there was no adverse effect from this rainfall. In fact, it resulted in a positive, freshening rehydration.” Harvest for Greenhough Vineyards began on 9 March and was completed with Riesling on 23 March. “Due to the lower volumes, harvest was a relatively compressed and relaxed event which me ant th at we weren’t exposed to the rains which arrived in April,” Andrew says. Andrew says it was a “great growing season”, without the extremes of 2018/19 or 2019/20, when there were drought conditions, a number of heat spikes and warmer night-time temperatures. T he “more moderate, balanced season” makes for wines with freshness and well-defined fruit characters, he says. “Sugars aren’t super high, but they haven’t been for a few years now and we’re finding our wines are better for having lower alcohol levels… Slightly lower pH this year will also give us bright, vibrant wines with nice purity.”

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Vintage 2021 - North Canterbury

Pen Naish and Nicolas Brown. Photo by Richard Brimer


FINDING EXCELLENT crops on Greystone’s hillside vineyards was “great, but also gutting”, says winemaker Dom Maxwell. “Because you could see the potential for quite a fruitful harvest was there.” Unlike those slopes,

“It’s a really strong vintage, which is important for a small vintage.”

which escaped damage from mid-Spring frosts, the lower terraces of the estate yielded far less than anticipated, meaning volumes of the company’s estate wines will be limited. “We expected yields to be down about 50 percent across both of our vineyards and throughout North Canterbury,” he says. “Some spots were far better and some far more in reality,

30   //

but overall, 50 percent down seemed to be about we finished up.” Getting some of the best hillside crops ever, “if not the best”, means Greystone will have good stocks of higher tier wines, and he anticipates heavy demand, thanks to “amazing” quality. “It was the third vintage in a row where we have had superb harvest weather, and the weather preceding harvest as well.” Dry conditions meant the fruit had purity and good flavours, and gave the crew the ability to pick when it was optimum, he says. “That has flowed right through from the tank to barrel and we are really thrilled with the quality involved... It’s a really strong vintage, which is important for a small vintage.” Now there will be a “juggling exercise” to make sure loyal customers and distributors have what they need to get through, and he expects less exploration of new markets. Greystone Wines General Manager of Sales and Marketing Nik Mavromatis


has spent the past two months working with distributors to discuss the best way forward, says Dom, noting that having multiple varieties and staggered releases means they won’t have to absorb the hit in a single year. Initially there will be pressure on some whites, in 2022 the barrel fermented Sauvignon and Chardonnay will be light on supply, and by 2023 Pinot Noir will follow suit. Over at Black Estate, co-owner and winemaker Nicolas Brown says the frost in mid-September and early October d ama ged early bud growth, followed by poor weather at the start of flowering in mid-November, reducing bunch and berry size. Dry, windy conditions in late February exacerbated the situation, causing shrivelled berries, he says. However, low yields with small clusters allowed har vest to move quickly across the three hillside vineyards, “which was useful as brix increased rapidly in some blocks”. He says they were grateful to have attracted a

strong team to assist with hand picking, which started a week earlier than predicted, on 8 March, and was all over by early April. “Since harvest we have seen unusually dry conditions persist, which would mean perfect ripening for any producers with later ripening or late harvest varieties so I would expect some exciting wines made throughout the valley.” Co-owner Penelope Naish says the next challenge is in meeting demand. “ We are going to have to be very careful with how we allocate our wines, but we are a small winery so it’s possible for us.” Many of their wines are sold direct to consumer within New Zealand, but they will be a little more careful with their export markets, and “managing that to make sure everyone gets a little bit,” she says. “It is what it is and as long as we are making quality wine and getting the right margin for it, our business model can work but perhaps we don’t need to do so much marketing.”

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Debbie Sparks and her Tiki family SOPHIE PREECE

“VINEYARD WORK wasn’t my thing ,” says Debbie Sparks, looking back at her first impressions of pruning in North Canterbury. “When I came out it was a dusty hole and I thought, ‘I don’t want to work out here’.” Fast forward 13 years, and the Assistant Vineyard Manager of Tiki Wine’s Waiata vineyard has truly changed her tune – “it’s a beautiful place”, she says at the end of the 2021 harvest. “Because we have been here for so long we have a passion for the land. We don’t own it, but a lot of love goes into this place and it shows with the grapes.” The work continues to engage her, she says, noting that in the past boredom would s e e her leav ing jobs, from fishing boats to factories. “Every job here is interesting to me and I love it… If I knew about this work earlier, I would have been into it.” She also loves working with the owners – Royce and Sue McKean – and her crew, from Vineyard Manager Mark Eder and a team who have been there more than a decade, to the small band of Recognised Seasonal Employer (RSE) scheme workers she’s always looking out for. “I have a really good team, and it makes the job so much easier.” These days that team i n c l u d e s h e r d a u g h te r Ja r n i e z e Ta i n g a h u e McRoberts, who works fulltime with Tiki. “Basically, if you were talking to her, she has been here since she was 12 - pruning and bud rubbing,” says Debbie, whose

Jarnieze Taingahue McRoberts, left, and her mother Debbie Sparks. Photo by Richard Brimer

five children all worked on the vineyard in weekends and school holidays. “It was a big family so money wasn’t always there. If they wanted anything, like first cars and stuff, they pretty much worked for it.” When Jarnieze finished high school at 17, she didn’t know what to do next, so joined Debbie at work . Now 23 and her mum’s 2IC, Jarnieze has competed in a Young Viticulturist of the Year regional competition and realised “she has the passion for it”, says Debbie. “She knows this place inside out.” Debbie’s own work at Tiki started with bud rubbing and pruning, as part of a contract gang. After a couple of

seasons, she started driving tractors, then moved on to harvesters. “I basically drove everything in the vineyards.” She learned from everyone around her, and from bringing up a big family, calling herself the matriarch of Waiata, with a mother’s eyes on the work and welfare of her people. That includes ensuring the wellbeing of the RSE workers, who she considers part of the family. “Recently because five of my boys have been here for a year now, we decided to take them fishing up by Kaikōura. Seeing their faces and spirits lift when they reached the water and could get their seafood was so rewarding.” She also ensures there are hearty crockpot meals

TIKI IS a finalist in the New Zealand Workplace Health and Safety Awards 2021, with winners to be announced on 1 June. The company is one of three finalists in the site safe New Zealand best health & safety initiative by a small business category. Tiki Assistant Manager Debbie Sparks says the entry is for the work the company does to ensure the safety and wellbeing of its Ni-Vanuatu Recognised Seasonal Employer scheme crew.

waiting for the seasonal workers when they get back from pruning, after realising they were resorting to cheap and easy food with little nutrition. This year yields were down in North Canterbury, but with only one day of rain it was the driest, cleanest, and easiest vintage she has done. She still misses being in a harvester come vintage - “now I am driving the computer” - but has also relished the chance to do more than she ever expected. “I would never have thought I had the ability and skills to do a management job. I have been very lucky to have Sue and Royce and Mark Eder to help develop my skills… I have grown heaps,” she says. The chance to pass that on to Jarnieze and her other children makes it even more rewarding. “Because they see it and know ‘if mum can do it, you can pretty much do anything’.” Debbie has no plans to leave this “perfect” office. “I will probably be here until I retire.”


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Māori Point Doctors of Winegrowing REBECCA WILSON Dr John Harris, left, and Matt Evans. Photo by Richard Brimer

SWAPPING MICROSCOPES in the neuroscience lab for microscopes in the barrel hall was not exactly a considered pathway for Dr John Harris and Dr Marilyn Duxson. In fact, the career change was “totally devoid of any planning”, says John – co-owner and

Winemaker at Māori Point in Central Otago. The idea was seeded after a visit in the late 1990s to Forrest Estate in Marlborough, owned by John’s former lab student Dr John Forrest. As the couple drove home to Dunedin, the concept of a family vineyard

continued swirling in their minds. However, as busy scientists at the University of Otago, with collaborations all over the world, dreams of a vineyard were relegated to the backburner, until arrival of an email in 2000 advertising land on the river flats near Tarras.

John and Marilyn took a punt, bought the block, then continued their day jobs. John describes it as a wonderful piece of land: ringed by the Southern Alps and carved by glaciers, Māori Point rises from the banks of the Mata-Au (Clutha River), and is named

Vintage 2021 at Maori Point THIS YEAR, there is no better place for a Pinot Noir grape than Central Otago, says Dr John Harris of Māori Point, describing the “best vintage we’ve ever had”. He calls it “an extraordinary contrast” to vintage 2020, when bad weather during flowering resulted in very poor fruit set. “You couldn’t imagine two such different crops,” he says. “An early warm spring in 2020 saw the vines flowering two weeks early, followed by a cold and wet January, then a steady, warm late summer. For some reason

32   //


everything came together perfectly. When we went to do the colour thin in mid-February the fruit had ripened very evenly, without a lot of fruit thinning required.” John says the vines produced generous crops, and they harvested early in perfect weather. “In fact, the grapes were ripening at a pace that we had to work hard to keep up with them. No botrytis, no mildew, no disease and very few bird issues. Normally we are inundated with waxeyes swooping into the fruit bunches, and then the native falcons gather

to eat the wax-eyes, but that didn’t happen this year.” The result was a harvest of dark skinned grapes and what will be very flavoursome wine, he says. The Māori Point Pinot Noir has now finished fermenting and has been pressed, with initial tastings revealing an “amazingly intense, rich, very fruity, very full on Central Otago style”. Māori Point’s two different Pinot Noir Rosés display flavours like nothing John has ever experienced. “Such intensity - off the scale.”

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for the Māori prospectors who panned for gold there in the 1860s. In 2002 they found the time and head space to plant their vineyard. At first they thought they might carry on with their science roles, but quickly discovered that running two research labs and two teaching careers was not compatible with building a vineyard. In 2007 John swapped his lab coat and microscope for pruning tools and a tractor. It took Marilyn several more years to extricate herself from the university. John says the repetitiveness of working on the land was something both had to get accustomed to, but their scientific backgrounds came to the fore when they started making their own wine in 2013. “Farming is a different mindset – based on experience and tradition and we had to get our heads around that. But in the winemaking, we had skills

that were useful. I also have a very well-equipped lab for the size of our vineyard,” says John with a smile. He now uses his talents with a microscope to look at natural wild yeasts rather than embryonic muscles. “We were over worried about how difficult the winemaking would be, but once we started we couldn’t believe we hadn’t done it earlier.” They count themselves lucky to have Matt Evans at their side since 2011, an experienced winemaker who is now a 50 percent shareholder in Māori Point. John and Marilyn have taken a very hands-off approach with their winemaking – letting the environment and grapes play to their strengths. John says in Central Otago they don’t talk about a regional terroir, but more a difference of altitude. “There were three major glacial periods, the high levels are the oldest, then the

middle levels and then the young soils are at the bottom, where we are as part of the Valley Bottom Cohort. Land at the end of the glacier, where all the rubble resided, is described as sterile media - fairly nutrient free, lacking in trace elements, free-draining soils, which responds terrifically well to being irrigated - just perfect for Pinot Noir,” he says. “The grapes struggle, and therefore produce beautiful intense flavours. It’s just an accident of nature... There’s nothing special we are doing, just the right grape in the right place.” New Zealand has many wild native yeasts, says John. “It’s a mystery where they originated from, but we rely upon them. This natural fermentation style is more common amongst vineyards our size.” Each vineyard has its own yeast population which is distinct to itself, he adds. “There’s a circular nature, having the yeasts in the

fermentation tanks, then the skins go onto the compost, and the fruit flies then redistribute the natural yeasts out to the vineyard again.” John has also been obsessed about becoming chemical free, and has managed to do

“I also have a very wellequipped lab for the size of our vineyard.” that this year. “We’ve never used insecticides, have never had to, but weeds have been a problem. We’ve finally found an undervine mowing machine that actually works, a new Berti machine. So we are incredibly happy about that turn of events.”

Long dry season in Central SOPHIE PREECE

CENTRAL OTAGO had “a tricky little vintage”, says James Dicey of Grape Vision. “It was warm to start, cool and wet in the middle, and hot and dry at the end.” Pinot Noir yields were variable across the reg ion, with inclement weather during flowering and set, driven by cold southwesterlies and rain, s ay s t h e v i t i c u l t u r i s t , who works with blocks around the province. That weather affected some s u b re g i o n s m o re t h a n others, with Gibbston and Bendigo doing particularly well, and Bannockburn and Alexandra taking the biggest hit, followed by Pisa and Cromwell. “We have a

block in Bannockburn that we target at 5 (tonnes per hectare) and we got 2.5 tonnes. In Bendigo we target 6 tonnes and got 7.5.” Meanwhile, white varieties were consistently heavy across the region, he says. “It’s just the Pinot, that fickle and temperamental mistress of a grapevine, which really suffered.” James says there was a “ridiculously dry and hot back end,” to the season, and Otago has declared a drought situation. T he season began with about 100mm of rain at the beginning of January “and then virtually no rain until the end of harvest”. That meant very low botrytis and, with little wind, there was


also very little pressure from powdery mildew, making it a “dream run” in terms of harvesting with ease. The hot spell at the start of ripening included warm nights, which ripened fruit quickly, but the brakes were applied when autumn’s diurnal temperatures kicked in. The long slow ripening process that followed helped the region get through severe labour shortages, says James. Certain tasks

were still compromised to get through the season, and the lack of skilled Recognised Seasonal Employer (RSE) scheme staff exacerbated the challenges of the season, “but we managed it by hook and by crook”, he says. And the quality of the fruit is “outstanding”, he adds. “Low yields and good quality is a well worn trope, but it certainly applied this year, we are very happy with what we are seeing in tank.”


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AN AUTONOMOUS vineyard tractor developed in Marlborough is a “game c h a n g e r ” fo r t h e w i n e industry, says Pernod Ricard Winemakers’ Transformation Director Alex Kahl. O x i n ( p i c t u re d l e f t ) was developed by the wine company and Marlboroughbased agri- tech star tup Smart Machine, to combine viticulture, engineering , artificial intelligence, machine learning and robotics. Oxin has “deep knowledge” of vineyard production and processes to carry out tasks such as mowing, mulching, leaf removal and trimming, and marks the start of a new era of technological advancement in vineyards, says Alex. “We are moving through the Fourth Industrial Revolution and very proud to be leading the evolution of autonomous vineyard tractors across the New Zealand wine industry,” he says. “We believe that this could be a game changer for the wine industry and comparable to the shift in other historical agricultural practices, like when we moved from working the land with horses to tractors.” The Oxin units - named for the strength of an ox, paired with intelligence - represent a radical improvement in the efficiency of vineyard machinery, “while increasing precision, sustainability and safety across vineyard

operations”, says Alex. “They are very robust units and the output of the tasks they do is more precise than what can be achieved using current processes.” That’s in part because the attachments are bespoke to the unit and integrated into the system, ensuring “very precise and very repeatable” results, he says. And because the Oxin units multitask, there are fewer passes in the vineyard. Alex says the project was kicked off in 2018, and got into gear “in earnest” by the end of that year. Its success has been down to a symbiotic relationship between Pernod Ricard and Smart Machine, with the former providing key funding and vineyard expertise, and the latter engineering and software. “We knew the capability we required and they had a very good idea of the platform,” Alex says. “The biggest question was ‘how is the autonomy going to look? And how is the safety going to look?’” Those questions were posed at the start of the project, and throughout the process the technology has met the expectations, he says. “It has always done what it says on the box.” It took around 12 months to go from proof of concept to a prototype, “and from there that prototype had to demonstrate full functionality of what we wanted”, says Alex. Now four Oxin AVTs are being piloted

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in Marlborough vineyards, capable of operating across 850 hectares. They autonomously navigate pre-determined “missions”, allocated by an operator. The vehicles have been taught the topography of the block, as well as other relevant information, and will pause the mission if they come across anything unexpected, until an operator has checked it is safe to continue. When one machine is taught more about a block, all the other units learn the information, says Alex. “The thing that is exciting is the amount of data these things collect as they go.” That’s “huge” and the developers are only now working on how they might better utilise that “rich source of data”, he says. The autonomous and multitasking abilities of the vehicles result in less fuel consumption per hectare than conventional tractors, making them a more fuel efficient and sustainable

Alex Kahl, left, and Andrew Kersley. Photo by Jim Tannock

approach to viticulture, adds Alex. Smar t Machine C hief Executive Andrew Kersley s ay s w o r k i n g i n c l o s e partnership with Pernod Ricard Winemakers has enabled the creation of “a bespoke piece

of vineyard technology with advanced capabilities that has the potential to revolutionise the way vineyards operate”. The company looks forward supporting the New Zealand wine industry more broadly as it innovates to become “future

fit”, he says. Pernod Ricard Winemakers will add an additional five vehicles to its Oxin fleet in spring this year. Smart Machine’s flagship technology will be available for commercial release in summer 2021.


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Callaghan Innovation Technology opportunities in Covid crisis SOPHIE PREECE

The Agritech Connector event included Pernod Ricard Winemakers’ autonomous tractors. Photo by Jim Tannock

COVID-19 HAS escalated the need for greater automated solutions within vineyards, orchards and farms, says Nicky Molloy, Business Innovation Manager for Agritech at Callaghan Innovation. Labour, productivity and sustainability are the most significant global issues in the agriculture sector today, and closed borders have created a “burning platform” for accelerated change, she says. Callaghan Innovation, the New Zealand Government’s innovation agency, held an Agritech Connector Event for the wine sector in Marlborough last month, bringing together key research, tech and industry players, including the robotics and augmented reality developments of the transdisciplinary MaaraTech Human Assist project (see page 38) and the work behind Pernod Ricard Winemakers’ autonomous tractor Oxin, developed in collaboration

with Marlborough-based tech company Smart Machine (see page 35). It was also an opportunity for Callaghan to explain the Government’s Agritech Industry Transformation Plan launched in July 2020 – around accelerated commercialisation in the agritech space, and the “power of purposeful connection”, says Nicky. Callaghan’s aspiration is to have tech companies thinking global “from day one”, she adds. “New Zealand understands that it can’t solve these issues on its own and is joining forces globally to accelerate the pace of change.” New Zealand horticulture technolog y companies and researchers have been identified as “world-leading”, and it’s clear New Zealand has the capability, expertise and attitude to take a world leadership role,” says Nicky. “But we underate ourselves wildly. We get awesome

feedback when we go offshore, but we are not great at telling our story, and we’re not great at getting offshore and pushing ourselves out there.” That means overseas companies with “equal or less technology” get more investment than those here, “because we are not showcasing ourselves in a very good way”. The answer is to “think about what the global offering is, but work locally to solve it”, she says. “If we look at what is happening in New Zealand we have lots of small companies solving small problems with one grower, and not figuring out how to scale.” The Transformation Plan tries to address that. “Our growers are not tech companies. We need tech companies to be tech companies and growers to do growing, and for them to work really well together, in partnership.” T he a g r ite ch events , also being held with other

industries in other regions, are also about “cross pollination” between industries and developing technology, she says. “Trying to get the apple

“Technology plays a pivotal role in enabling growth in high-value agriculture.” industry to see what happens in wine and wine to see what happens in apples.” Technology will also help industries tackle ongoing imperatives, from climate change and sustainability to creating more high-value, meaningful jobs. “Technology plays a pivotal role in enabling growth in high-value agriculture through targeted agricultural technology and robotic solutions.”


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MaaraTech Helping hands in the vineyard SOPHIE PREECE

A $17 MILLION robotics project will trial human assist prototypes in New Zealand vineyards this winter, as well as a virtual reality system to train pruners. The MaaraTech Human Assist Project’s augmented reality (AR) pruning technolog y is nearing completion, promising the opportunity to look through a lens and be guided in pruning decisions by artificial intelligence (AI) trained in ideal pruning metrics. The technology, which will show an inexperienced worker what to cut and where, is likely to be trialled in vineyards later this year, says Professor Bruce MacDonald of Auckland University. Meanwhile, an initial prototype has been developed for a robot platform to travel down vineyard rows, collecting data through photos that can help build a 3D model of grapevines. That information will be key to training the AI, but once fully developed, the autonomous vehicle, which arches over the vines, will

38   //

also carry robotic arms, so it can reach across and do the pruning and thinning itself. Bruce hopes the autonomous platform will also be ready for field trials in 2021. “It probably won’t be very good at making decisions about pruning”, he explains, but the trials will be an important step in refining the design. Meanwhile, one of the technologies drawing the most attention from growers and wine companies - and closest to commercial viability - is a virtual reality (VR) system that trainees can use to learn, and be tested on, pruning decisions, says Bruce. “When we showed the AR idea to growers, they said they wanted to use it for training people before they step into the vineyard and start working… We saw we could take the AR system and use a VR environment.” T he Ma araTe ch team already has a first prototype for the VR system, and is looking for a commercial partner “to get it into the industry because they want


it quite quickly”, says Bruce. M a a r a Te c h H u m a n Assist began in 2018, after the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment’s Endeavour Fund granted $16.8m for a f ive- year transdisciplinary project to research and develop robots and AI technologies for use in horticulture and viticulture in New Zealand. The project is led by the University of Auckland, in collaboration with University of Canterbury, Lincoln Agritech, Plant & Food Research, University of Waikato and University of Otago. Each partner is working on a different aspect of developing the technologies, including building the autonomous p l a t fo r m , c re a t i n g t h e software, integrating image

data to create 3D models of the plants and gathering metrics on how growers decide to prune. The AI can then be trained in the structure of the grapevines, geometry of the cane, and the “rules” growers use for pruning, says Bruce. Meanwhile, the University of Otago’s expertise is being used to analyse the social aspects of the technology, “and how it will be accepted by people, workers and communities”, he adds. “Having a team with expertise in all the areas you need is really important... Our concept is that this kind of technology can be used in horticulture for all kinds of tasks, not just pruning and thinning… Those will be next steps after we see these working really well.”

TOASTING TOP WINES Entries open for the 2021 New World Wine Awards!

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New Zealand’s most consumer-focused wine competition is back, offering wineries an unparalleled opportunity to get their top drops in front of wine-loving shoppers in New World stores nationwide. Now in its 19th year, the New World Wine Awards are well-recognised within the industry for pairing the rigour of an international standard wine show with a retail platform, which sees the top wines enjoy a measurable lift in sales. The awards have a unique focus on wines that retail under $25. Entrants must also have at least 4,000 bottles available to meet consumer demand, whilst the volume requirement is 1,800 bottles for emerging varieties to encourage an even wider spread of styles and producers to enter. The Top 50 medal-winning wines will be rewarded with distribution through more than 135 New World stores across the country and receive

Full competition details, including opportunities for over $25 wines Visit: Entries open: Monday 14 June Entries close: Friday 2 July Enter online at: Enquiries to:

comprehensive publicity support in-store and out. All wineries and distributors are invited to enter, even if you are not a current New World or Foodstuffs supplier. The New World Wine Awards get better with age and can have amazing benefits for brands, so don’t miss out!

The Science

Winery Wizardry Kiwi wine tech goes global SOPHIE PREECE

IT WILL take generational change for some wineries to truly tap into technological advancements, says VinWizard veteran and new co-owner Bob Richards. But in the meantime, other winemakers around the world are able to control their ferments via their phone or tablet, assess the impacts of other treatments, and grow energy efficiency across the operations, he says. V i n W i z a r d ’s w i n e r y automation technology is the

brainchild of New Zealandbased Wine Technolo g y Marlborough, which was last month sold to United States company Wine Technology Inc, based in Sonoma County. New co-owner and Chief Executive Kelly Graves, who will work with Bob to continue the commercialisation and expansion of VinWizard’s “global footprint”, says the technology is “unrivalled” from a capability, cost, and ease of use standpoint.

VinWizard is trialling tank sensors at the Bragato Research Institute research winery, to provide real-time data for brix, oxygen and more.

The company began in the late 1990s when founder David Gill, an electrician, was tasked with fixing failing components

in a winery he was working for, “and he found there was very little there in terms of reliable gear”, says Bob. David looked


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The Science

“The volume and value of wine he is responsible for each year is phenomenal.” nationally and internationally for wine-specific solutions and realised there was a major gap, so started putting together hardware, before teaching himself the code required to create software. “He has a brilliance for integrating software, mechanical, environmental and sensory components,” says Bob, who joined the company in 2004. “This is complemented by a deep understanding of winemaking and the winemaking environment.” For the past 25 years, both hardware and software have been produced inhouse, allowing winemakers around the world to remotely view and control everything from pump-over and stirring to humidity, power usage, CO2 and water consumption. Bob says VinWizard has helped winemakers, brewers, and beverage producers in five continents to save time, energy, water, labour, and money, including Australia’s Yellow Tail, New Zealand’s Kim Crawford, and Chile’s Concha y Toro. David’s technology is assisting wine companies around the world, including many with ultra-premium wine, Bob says. “The volume and value of wine he is responsible for each year is phenomenal.” VinWizard will now hold dual citizenship in New Zealand and the US, but operations will predominantly remain at the existing Renwick facility, says Bob. “Core to our ongoing business model is to maintain and grow our presence in the New Zealand and Australian market, as this is where it all began… We’ve

established a loyal customer base and we will remain heavily invested in local markets.” David will stay on to advance new VinWizard technologies, including the RedOx, level detection, and Brix probes being trialled at the Bragato Research Institute research winery, of which the company is a founding sponsor. VinWizard developed solutions for the research winer y ’s f leet of mobile tanks, specifically designed for the space, and installed a temperature, pump-over, and agitator control system, along with innovative software. The company then went on to undertake three trials at the winery, including a differential pressure sensor to calculate specific gravity and brix, measuring the difference in pressure between two points in the tank. The second trial is an oxidation reduction potential sensor, to let winemakers know when oxygen levels are getting too low in a ferment. The final trial is an electrical conductivity sensor to determine the state of a ferment, providing online data about the ferment curve. Bob says VinWizard ’s “plug-and-play capability” will continue to forge partnerships with complementary technology providers with the aim of growing together. “Be it connecting to refrigeration plant, automated pumpover set-ups, or production s o f t ware , V inW iz ard is extremely f lexible and is intended to integrate, display, and control all critical aspects of a winery’s product.”

IT WOULD BE STINK IF THESE GOT INTO NEW ZEALAND The brown marmorated stink bug is a pest that infests homes, ruins gardens, stinks when crushed, and is almost impossible to get rid of. It could also destroy our fruit and vegetable industries. It’s not in New Zealand yet, and we want to keep it that way. So if you see one, don’t kill it. Catch it, take a photo, and call us on 0800 80 99 66.

Look for black & white banding on the antennae

For more information (including how to identify the bug) visit

Look for black & white banding on the sides of the abdomen

Stink Bugs not shown actual size. (Actual size approx. 1.7cm long)



The Science

Science Snippet

By the Book New identification and management guide for grapevine diseases GRAPEVINE DISEASES of New Zealand is the first book dedicated to the identification and management of grapevine diseases in New Zealand. It has been co-authored by Dion Mundy, a Senior Scientist at Plant & Food Research in Blenheim, and Ian Harvey, a plant pathologist from PL A N Twise Ser vices in Lincoln. The book is extensively illustrated with photographs of both the disease symptoms and the causal organisms, which are

mainly fungi, says Dion, who has written numerous articles and papers on grapevine diseases throughout his career. The book will become the main text for teaching diseases in grapes at Lincoln University, the Easter n Institute of Technology, and Nelson Marlborough Institute of Technology, where Dion is a tutor in the Viticulture and Wine degree programme, based at the Marlborough campus.

Find Grapevine Diseases of New Zealand at

Ian Harvey and Dion Mundy

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The Science

BRIght Ideas Support for world-class research facilities FERMENTATION EXPERT and yeast supplier Fermentis has signed on as a gold sponsor of the Bragato Research Institute research winery, giving it naming rights to the boardroom. Fermentis is a commercial client of the Bragato Research Institute (BRI), having used the winery for yeast trials during the facility’s first vintage in 2020 and undertaken trials in the winery again this vintage. “When the sponsorship opportunity became available, we were happy to show our support for BRI in this way,” says Selena Henshall, Communications Manager, Asia Pacific. “Fermentis undertakes research in many countries.

The equipment and expertise housed here gave us bespoke solutions of international standard.” BRI’s interim Chief Executive Jeffrey Clarke says sponsorship contributions are an important revenue stream for the winery, enabling it to continue work to benefit the industry. “We are delighted to have the support of Fermentis as a gold sponsor.” T he res earch w iner y boardroom has become a focal point for the wine industry and has hosted events as diverse as the Organic Winegrowers New Zealand AGM, an awards ceremony, industry consultation and training workshops, Wine and Spirit Education Trust

Fermentis’ Ruth Leary checking a trial with BRI Winery Manager Dr Tanya Rutan.

seminars, as well as board meetings for New Zealand Winegrowers and BRI. If you would like to discuss research options or other

sponsorship opportunities at BRI, please contact Business Development Manager Augusta van Wijk,





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The People Women in Wine Spring Timlin Pg 45

Wine Wellness A healthy journey Pg 46

Dialogue Disrupter Janiene Bayliss Pg 48

People Pillar

On Giants’ Shoulders Pg 50


Graeme Bott Pg 52

The People

Women in Wine

Spring Timlin on mentorship not martydom SOPHIE PREECE

THE STEEP trajectory of Spring Timlin’s winemaking career was fuelled by mentorship at Matua, where “no question is a silly question”, she says. The winemaking team was always “open and collaborative”, and Spring soaked up knowledge through daily conversations. “I learned by being a sponge – taking in as much as I could.” Now, 10 years after her first vintage job at Matua i n A u c k l a n d , Tre a s u r y Wine Estate’s New Zealand Winemaker, manager, Women in Wine mentor and tireless champion of the Tonnellerie de Mercurey Young Winemaker of the Year competition, gets her greatest sense of achievement from helping others grow and improve. “I have learned about myself that I get this really immense sense of pride when I see someone else achieve something; that’s what I get my kicks from.” Spring was 24 years old, with degrees in sociology and fine arts, when a casual conversation in a bar revealed that winemaking could be a job. It was delightful information, and she leapt into the Graduate Diploma in Viticulture and Oenology at Lincoln University, despite not studying chemistry since she was 15. She swiftly found her feet as a cellar hand at Matua and within two years had moved to Marlborough to take on a winemaking role. Spring is fascinated by production efficiencies and the business aspect of her role, so as her career developed and she soaked up more knowledge, she moved steadily away from the

day-to-day tasks of winemaking and towards the management and business space. In 2017 she jumped at the opportunity to manage the winemaking and laboratory teams, seeing it as chance to stretch into her area of interest while giving back to the industry. She has also been studying for a Master of Business Administration (MBA) through Otago University, for which she’s in her final year, and is able to put her studies into practice, “and to pick up different projects that will help utilise what I am learning”. Her plan is to move more into the senior management space “and be in a position where I can make some more changes”. She’s certainly brought in plenty over the past decade, such as driving change in the culture of winemaking, including what she sees as an unacceptable commitment. “Normalising that it doesn’t have to be the be-all and endall of who you are as a person.” Late last year, Spring was one of the speakers at a Wine Marlborough seminar on the six day vintage week, which followed on from a survey showing extreme working hours in the Marlborough wine industry. Matua has had a six-day working week

for cellar hands since before vintage provided valuable Spring joined the company, and learnings. “Everyone grew that expanded to winemakers and developed from being in 2015. Now, anyone in quite open with each other in operations doing a 12-hour a working environment,” says shift has a day off for every six Spring. Treasury Wine Estates days worked. “The key point is, also established “multiple we want to manage our team’s different options for flexible welfare,” Spring told attendees. working” as a result of that “We wanted to help create a period. work life balance for our team Spring walks the talk, so that we are an attractive working from home one day a employer.” week. “Most people would say S h e h a t e s t o s e e a winemakers can’t work from “martyrdom” expected of winemakers, “I have learned about who were found to myself that I get this regularly work 100 hours a week during really immense sense vintage. “I don’t of pride when I see think that’s working hard. I think there’s someone else achieve something wrong. something.” That’s not a pride thing - it’s a problem.” Having set high standards, home, but there’s a way to do last year’s Covid-19 vintage was everything.”A self-described a huge test of Treasury’s ability introvert, Spring uses the day to care for its staff, she says. “It at home as a mental catchup, was tough year, and you could revive and refresh day, “so I see how taxing it was on each of can be really on my game”, she the individuals… You could see says. “When you are a manager how they were coping or not and an introvert, that can clash coping every day, and you had sometimes… Having that to pick up on those individual mental break is what I need to signals.” Sometimes that was as be the best for my team.” simple as suggesting someone Covid-19 also impacted on grab some fresh air, she says. Women in Wine mentoring, The enhanced sensitivity which Spring joined as a required through the 2020 mentor in 2019. “They say you need to put your own Spring Timlin has been on the organising committee of the oxygen mask on before helping Tonnellerie de Mercurey Marlborough Young Winemaker someone else… In 2020 that of the Year since 2015, when she competed in the first ever was really apparent,” she competition. She says the event gets better every year, “and says. That meant occasionally competitors get more out of it”. The 2021 Tonnellerie de asking to postpone a mentoring Mercurey Young Winemaker of the Year regional competitions session, she says. “It became a are on in September, with the national final on 14 October. two-way street.” For regional dates, go to page 10 Photo on left, Spring Timlin


The People

Well Done

Putting health and safety first at Constellation SOPHIE PREECE Constellation’s Safety Day

GETTING EMPLOYEES on board for a “really robust health and safety journey”, has seen Constellation Brands transform its injury outcomes over the past four years.

It has also resulted in changes driven from the coalface to bene fit the company and its people, says Sergai Davis, Health, Safety, Environment and Wellness

Manager for the wine company, which was shortlisted for the second time at this year’s Good Employer Awards, run by the Ministry for Primary Industries and the Agricultural

The Wellness Programme CONSTELLATION BRANDS’ Wellness Programme includes comprehensive free annual health checks and mole maps, free daily fruit, birthday leave, and three free of charge ‘Safe Rides Home’ via a taxi each year. In April it also introduced a Wellness Allowance, in lieu of the $400 annual contribution to gym memberships it previously offered staff, says Tess Keenan, Communications and Community Manager,

explaining that because so many of their people already have physical jobs, that “didn’t really hit the mark”. The broader allowance means any permanent employee can claim activities up to the value of $400 that have a direct impact on their personal wellbeing, whether that’s through annual sports licenses, nutritionist consultations, dental costs, sports massages, sports gear, or gym and sports club memberships.

and Marketing Research and Development Trust. Constellation Brands New Zealand (CBNZ) began an overhaul of all aspects of its health and safety processes in 2017, when the reported injuries for the financial year were 285 - equivalent to everyone in the workplace getting hurt at least once. Fast forward to the 2020 financial year and the severity and rate of injuries has plummeted by 76 percent, with just 67 recorded injuries. In Dec 2020, the company reached 1,000 days without “lost time injury” across the whole organisation. The work began with a wide-ranging strategy, that



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had staff engagement as a key component. Since then, CBNZ has steadily increased employee awareness, understanding and application of safety practices in the workplace, says Sergai. That’s been supported by technology, including the use of Vault, a management system that allows staff to input hazards and accidents in real-time on a phone or tablet app. Last year they introduced CBNZ ‘Safety Days’ for all employees at the Hawke’s Bay and Marlborough sites, “effectively shutting down its regional operations for an entire day focussed on health, safety and wellness”, says Sergai. Finding new and innovative ways to engage employees in health and safety – and make it more than a “tick the box” exercise - can be “quite a challenge”, he admits, but was delighted at the success of the inaugural Safety Days. Everyone from the executive team to the vineyard crew came along to the “incredibly fun” event, where team building and health and safety education was all experiential, from personal protective equipment and fire safety, to driving under the influence and drug and alcohol training. “Our people spent a whole day off the tools to be fully immersed in all things safety,” he says, adding that the success of the events means they’ll now be an annual fixture, including at head office in Auckland. Staff engagement has also resulted in the development of new health and safety solutions, including a new ‘post pulling’ innovation, says Sergai. Droughts in 2020 led to almost 32,000 vineyard posts being damaged and broken dur ing har vest . The viticulture team would traditionally remove and replace them manually, with an

“onerous” process using picks and crowbars, with potential for injury, as well as the risk of occupational over use syndrome. Last year a couple of viticulture block managers and senior operators worked alongside Sergai and his team to develop a mechanical solution, with a hydraulic sliding arm that attaches to the back of a tractor. That has proved faster and cheaper for the company, while reducing the risk of injury and overuse syndrome, explains Sergai. “It’s a really cool example of our people coming up with ways to do thing better.” The strategy is about more than reducing physical injuries, and over the past couple of years every employee had an opportunity to be trained on bullying and harassment, through Diversity Works New Zealand. Constellation also employed St John to provide mental health training for all employees, then went a step further to upskill some of its own people, who were trained to be facilitators of the ‘Good Yarns’ Mental Health programme. Fifty staff took part last year and all employees will go through the training by the end of this year. The company also rolled out some additional measures last year, in recognition of the impact of Covid-19 on its employees. The ‘Day on Us’ initiative saw employees gifted a day off during the July school holidays. They were also given $80 vouchers to local businesses and encouraged to explore their own backyards. Sergai says health and safety has become a real part of everyday life at Constellation, as evidenced by the huge stainless steel tanks that carry messages about the company’s safety behaviours. “It is just ingrained in our culture now. There is of course always more to be done.”


The People

Janiene Bayliss Celebrating wine’s extraordinary women SOPHIE PREECE

Janiene Bayliss at Ata Mara vineyard

WOMEN IN wine initiatives have grown “like wildfire” around the world, says Janiene Bayliss, co-owner and Director of Ata Mara winery near Cromwell. “The big thing is that globally, the dialogue needed to be changed,” she says, scoffing at the refrain from some that it is all one industry. “We are not, because the representation was never there.” Having two women elected to the New Zealand Winegrowers (NZW) board in last year’s election is evidence that the conversation is changing, says Janiene, who held an event in Central Otago in 2017 with 50 women, having knocked on doors a year before and said, “tell me about your business”. Janiene was recognised in a

recent Decanter feature on 12 wine women around the world, in the UK wine magazine’s celebration of International Women’s Day. The extraordinary line up - from Evelyne Roques-Boizel, President of Champagne Boizel, to Susana Balbo of Susana Balbo Wines in Argentina - comes as no surprise to Janiene, who knows her industry has long been rich with talented women. But she is thrilled to see their voices being heard more, including around the board table. Janiene was living and working in London when she and her husband David Pratt bought a sheep farm in Cromwell in 2000, on the advice of her father, a Southland horticulturist who saw the

potential of wine in the area. They started their conversion to grapes and regularly visited, splitting their life between the two hemispheres. Seven years ago, Janiene came back for the whole season, from October to harvest, and found a community of women with little collegial support or sharing of knowledge. “They didn’t even know their neighbours.” Many of the women she met had come from city upbringings and corporate jobs, before moving to Central to run wine businesses and families, “and it was absolutely mind boggling – the difficulty of doing the simplest of things”. Janiene grew up in the Southland countryside, and knew how to navigate rural

isolation. “I could kick into what it means to be a woman in a rural area and everything that brings: the pastoral care and the collegial aspect and the sharing of knowledge.” She says having a regional group for women saw conversations begin about getting into foreign markets, the high cost of production in the south, and other challenges of rural living. They brought a new voice to the wine conversation, “and that was the dialogue that wasn’t happening”, says Janiene. When it came to higher representation, there was a perception that women in the wine industry were not qualified enough or “amateurish”, she says. “In Central we have nine women who own and




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Carl Butler • +64 27 807 0533 •


The People

established their own vineyards. We have women who have PhDs in the industry.” The numbers at board level simply didn’t add up, she says. “We were looking at hugely qualified women – 25 women winemakers in an area the size of Central Otago.” Now the NZW board, which has had no elected women in the past, includes Misha Wilkinson from Misha’s Vineyard in Cromwell and viticulturist Emma Taylor from Hawke’s Bay. “So we have broken through the vineyard ceiling”. One woman at a board table is a place, two is a presence and three women is a voice, she says. “Those numbers will keep climbing.” Janiene says the strides made are “greatly liberating”, talking of the “enormous support” now available for women in Central Otago, covering everything from learning about business and employment issues to up-skilling with vineyard or winery equipment.

Sometimes it is just the ability to give someone a call and talk through challenges, she says. “Things that are quite simple but actually quite profound.” Janiene now lives in Hawke’s Bay, but when it comes to her

own business, she’s truly valued the advice and support she’s received on how to create more markets and sell more wine globally. Since Covid-19 hit the world, that support has only grown, with meetings every

NZW’s Women in Wine work NEW ZEALAND WINEGROWERS drives Women in Wine regional groups around the country and runs various initiatives and events including the bespoke mentoring programme for women in all aspects of the industry. The organisation began after the 2016 New Zealand Winegrowers’ board elections yielded no nominations for women. Chief Executive Philip Gregan says that simply didn’t compute, given the number of women doing great things in New Zealand wine, so the organisation followed the example set in other countries, where women working in the industry were given support to ensure a greater voice, and to reach their goals within the industry. Now there are thriving regional Women in Wine groups around the country, he says. “Connect, inform, change has always been the focus of Women in Wine New Zealand and it is very positive to see the progress and change which has been made through regional and national networking, education and the successful mentoring programme.”


month for the 200 members, she says. “Now you really need as much support as you can get.” Janiene was delighted and surprised by the Decanter story, where she was placed amid an “extraordinary group of women”, and she already has plans for a dozen wines by a dozen influential women – “the best wine in the world by women”. In the meantime, she continues the business of winegrowing on 16 hectares of the 27ha sheep farm, which requires knowledge in everything from climate, science, soil and vines, to exports, marketing and pricing, while navigating each market’s alcohol laws. Having a strong business background allows her to approach challenges in “solutions mode” but “it is a very complicated and technical business”, she says. “I suppose that is what makes it never boring.”



The People

On Giants’ Shoulders

Paying homage to place, people and Pinot JOELLE THOMSON Gabrielle and Braden Crosby

GABRIELLE AND Braden C ro s b y a re O n G i a n t s ’ Shoulders. The evocative name describes how they feel about

making wine from a vineyard in Martinborough that has long been regarded as one of the best sites for Pinot Noir

in the region. It also pays homage to the winemaking giants they respect in the Wairarapa, including Clive

Paton and Larry McKenna, among others. The Crosby’s 4-hectare vineyard was formerly called

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“We went in with the philosophy that we wanted to make one wine and make it the best we could.”

Pahi and owned by Jack McCreanor, a Wellington doctor who bought the land then planted in strawberries a nd a s p a ra g u s - a s a n investment property in 1975. Jack and his daughters planted the land with an ad hoc mix of grape varieties, including Müller-Thurgau, Pinot Gris and Chardonnay, and did the original grafting thems elves . P ino t Noir represents about 70 percent of the overall vineyard but only about half of the overall crop. There is also half a hectare each of Pinot Gris and Chardonnay. When Jack died in 2015, Gabrielle and Braden bought the land. “We went in with the philosophy that we wanted to make one wine and make it the best we could,” says Braden, who also works as Vineyard Manager at Ata Rangi, around the corner from his own vineyard. That said, the couple are making four wines: a dry Pinot Gris from early picked grapes, which can be challenging in terms of getting the acid balance; a Chardonnay (dry grown since 2016, as is the front original block of Pinot Noir) and also a Pinot Noir and Pinot Nouveau, which tends to be made from the Mariafeld clone - typically used to make sparkling wine due to its higher acidity, bigger bunches and larger berries. Braden and Gabr ielle also regularly invite guest winemakers to work their magic with a small portion of the vineyard. They have

included Huw Kinch, Jannine Rickards and Ben McNab, formerly of Matahiwi and now at Palliser Estate. The 2021 vintage was their sixth har vest from their vineyard and each year provides new opportunities to learn about how the vines react. “ We’re constantly changing how we’re doing things,” says Braden, adding that the soil doesn’t change, but their understanding of it does. “For instance, we’re learning about how the soil is richer at this end of the vineyard and more gravely at the other.” Braden completed a diploma in viticulture in Marlborough and a degree in wine science though EIT, before his first harvest in Marlborough then a move to Mar tinborough. He has also worked in Alsace, California, Canada and the Loire Valley. His first harvest in the Wairarapa was in 2005. Gabrielle is from the Wairarapa and grew up in Greytown. One of the aspects of winemaking they most enjoy has been the time given by friends and family to help with harvest each year. “It’s so humbling receiving everyone’s generosity of time, sharing resources such as barrels and knowledge,” says Gabrielle. “As a new producer making small volumes, we don’t have the resources to pour into these things easily and the generosity of others reminds us again that we are On Giants’ Shoulders.”


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The People

Postcard Letters from abroad

Domaine Graeme & Julie Bott; ©domaine G&J Bott; Photo by Pascal Flamant

A letter from the ‘Kiwi of Ampuis’, Graeme Bott BONJOUR I left New Zealand 12 years ago wanting an adventure in wine, but with no goals or plans to one day own vineyards in

I thought to be impossible. But Domaine Graeme & Julie Bott is proof that anything is possible if you want it enough. Back in New Zealand, I was always interested in Syrah. Working in Hawke’s Bay and on Waiheke was great, “We started making and I remember often wine in our garage, tasting wines from the Northern Rhone. which was only 16m2 The real draw was to and now have a real discover the ‘Holy Grail’ winery in Ampuis at of Syrah, which brought me to Côte-Rôtie. the foot of the CôteJulie is French, and Blonde vineyards.” grew up in this area, but never thought she’d become a vigneron one day. Here, you become France, let alone in Côte-Rôtie a vigneron generation after and Condrieu. It has been an generation, as the appellations absolute adventure - something are so small and land prices are

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so high. We met while we were working for a winemaker in Ampuis and shared the same passion for wine. We are very complementary, as I studied winemaking and Julie did her studies in international trade. When we created our domaine, we did everything together, from building walls and planting, to working the seasons in the vineyard. It started by accident in 2015, when Julie and I were looking to buy our first home and came across a small house on the hillside of Verin, the village just after Condrieu. When we visited the house, I was surprised there were no vineyards planted, as the 3,500m2 block around the house was in the Appellation d’Origine Protégée (AOP) Condrieu. Furthermore, the neighbouring vineyards are Coteau Chery and Chateau Grillet, famous in our region.

When we bought our first house and land, Domaine Graeme & Julie Bott was born. We then set about actively searching for other land in the region and found some to buy and plant in SaintJoseph, Seyssuel and finally in Côte-Rôtie. We feel very lucky to be here and are aware that during our lives we are only caretakers of the land in these appellations; we try to work our vineyards with precision and respect, which is why we are currently under organic conversion. Our ideas of winemaking are similar - to respect the terroir and make the best wine we can. We will only make wine 25 more times, so we need to think about the next generation and the impact our decisions will have. Since 2015, Julie and I have planted 7 hectares of vineyards, starting out with

The People

a wheelbarrow to take all our tools to the steep slopes, as we had no tractor. We remember levels of fatigue we didn’t know existed; working the hillsides is hardcore, but worth it when we taste the wines. We started making wine in our garage, which was only 16m2 and now have a real winery in Ampuis at the foot of the Côte-Blonde vineyards. We would like to buy or plant another 2 to 3ha in Côte-Rôtie and Condrieu, and one day sell some of our wine in New Zealand. There are signposts for New Zealand destinations in the vineyard, which are there to remind me of my roots. The fact that I grew up with another culture and travelled a lot gives me a greater vision on what we are doing. I have been really well welcomed here, having spent many years as an employee and gained the trust and respect

of the local winemakers, who now refer to me as the ‘Kiwi of Ampuis’. The greatest challenge has been creating all of this from nothing, with just the two of us. We have no financial backing, just a very good banker, who thankfully is crazy enough to follow us. We are going into the unknown with 2021, as on 8 April we lost a huge amount of our harvest to frost. In front of our eyes, we watched the best part of the harvest turn to dust. What’s next? We’re raising the second generation of Bott on the land, and she will have the choice to decide what she wants to do in life. And, perhaps trying to find some time to come back to New Zealand to go fishing and see my family. Who knows? We are still at the very start of this story. A bientôt, Graeme

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Bob’s Blog

Bob Campbell

To Decant or Not to Decant? THE LATE Professor Émile Peynaud was not a fan of aerating wine by decanting it, claiming that the action of oxygen dissolved in a sound wine when ready to serve is usually detrimental. The longer the period between decanting the greater the loss of aroma intensity, he claimed. Peynaud believed that only wines with a sediment should be decanted and then only just before serving. If the wine needed decanting to help correct a fault such as reduction the same affect could be achieved by swirling the glass. Fragile old wines should certainly not be allowed much air exposure. I recall a 12-vintage tasting of Chateau Lafite back

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to 1929. Many of the tasters started with the youngest wine and worked back toward the ’29 while a few of us started with the oldest wine first. The 1929 Lafite was at first rather closed and slightly musty, but it opened beautifully with a brief display of fragile fruit and floral characters. In 20 minutes the wine had completely collapsed and tasted of old cigar buts. The golden years for decanters must surely have been in the 18th and 19th century before winemakers were able to effectively clarify wines, most of which would throw a sediment. Today it is becoming increasingly fashionable to replace fining and filtration with a message

on the back label warning that the wine might need decanting. To test the merits of aeration I have, on a couple of occasions, aerated a wine before serving it blind alongside the same wine that had been freshly poured, and invited students in my class to choose a preference. The aerated wine won by a narrow margin in both cases. “Not much difference,” was the response from most of those who took the test. I favour Peynaud’s approach. I seldom aerate wines before tasting them in a large glass which I swirl vigorously to chart the change, if any. A movie reveals more about a wine than a simple snapshot.

Bob’s Blog

MR GRUMPY Dinner party etiquette IT IS frustrating to take a special bottle to a dinner party and have the host murmur thanks before consigning the bottle to his or her wine cellar. The most recent bottle in question was my last bottle of 2011 Bell Hill Pinot Noir. When I handed it over the host said “wow, Bell Hill” or something like that. I mistakenly assumed he would open it. By the time the cheese board arrived It was clear that Bell Hill was not on the menu. I don’t blame the host. It was a terrific dinner with excellent wines that had been carefully matched with each course. When I received the invitation, I should have asked if I could bring a particular wine style that would fit the menu, or instead, bring a bottle for his cellar. If I were the host, I’d write the name of the donor on the bottle and promise to open it when we next met.

The World’s Top 50 Most Admired Wine Brands DRINKS INTERNATIONAL have conducted their annual survey to find out which are the world’s most admired wine brands. They polled wine professionals, journalists, educators and MWs in 48 different countries and asked them to make three votes from the list of previous winners or to put forward their own suggestion if the name is not on the list. I am one of the panel of Academy Members and have been voting since the survey started 11 years ago. The Top Ten Most Admired Wine Brands are: 1. Familia Torres, Spain 2. Catena, Argentina 3. Vega Sicilia, Spain 4. Henschke, Australia 5. Concha y Toro, Chile 6. Penfolds, Australia

7. Domaine de la Romanee Conti, France 8. CVNE, Spain 9. Antinori, Italy 10. Chateau Musar, Lebanon Four New Zealand brands were included in the Top 50. They are: 14th Felton Road 15th Villa Maria 30th Craggy Range 44th Oyster Bay

Felton Road

(The name of the wine has been changed to protect the identity of the host.)


The People


The business of growing BEN WHITTACKER-COOK

Eva Pemper of Eva Pemper Wines. Photo Jim Tannock

WITH THE effects of Covid19 still impacting many New Zealand industries, it’s imperative the wine sector taps into home-grown business knowledge and support. So says Gavin Lennox, Group C hie f E xecutive at T he Icehouse, which was founded 20 years ago to lift the skills and aspirations of owners, entrepreneurs and people who run startup and small and medium-sized enterprises (SME), through capability development, learning and coaching. “As New Zealand wine exports experience 25 consecutive years of export growth, it would be natural to assume everything in the vineyard is rosy,” says Gavin. “However, the events of 2020 have forced many wine-related businesses to take a new look at how they run their organisations.” That’s certainly the case for Volcanic Hills Winery in Rotorua, which lost 60 to 70 percent of its visitors through Covid, due to the loss of international guests. “People don’t expect a winer y in Rotorua, so that’s allowed us to morph into a well-respected

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tour ism attraction that offers something completely different to a traditional winery experience,” explains L arissa Park , who owns the venture with husband Brent. Covid forced the pair to pivot the business towards a more regional focus and diversify their existing range of products, she says. “We launched a second label aimed at functions and the ‘value’ end of the market and are investigating other opportunities to expand our range further.” The change was about being more appealing to the local market, and was supported by Jamie Brock, The Icehouse Regional Lead in Bay of Plenty, and one of its business coaches. Jamie has seen a recent rise in the number of wine-related clients looking for coaching advice and assistance, just like Volcanic Hills Winery. “Realising you need expert help is often the first step to taking a business to the next level,” he says. Larissa says she was “a little sceptical” because the couple had had mixed results with previous coaches. “As a family-


owned business, it’s important to be careful, and finding a coach who understood both the wine industry and tourism was imperative for us.” But they asked a few “complicated questions” early on, “and he came up with what seemed the right answers”, says Brent. “He told us to trust the system and trust in what we do, which was a success pre-Covid, and that really resonated, along with ways to enhance our business going forward, which we are working on now.” Gavin says The Icehouse programmes tackle many of the challenges owners face on a day-to-day basis, including leadership, resilience, financial planning, sales, and developing clear and practical growth strategies. “There are approximately 530,000 small businesses in New Zealand representing 97 percent of all firms. They account for 28 percent of employment and contribute over a quarter of Ne w Z ealand ’s GDP, according to Statistics New Zealand,” he says. “Since 2001, T he Icehouse has worked with more than 5,000 ambitious owner-managers and entrepreneurs and has

winemakers and growers, sellers and viticulturists among its programme alumni.” Larissa says The Icehouse helped the couple focus on a path “which will accomplish short-term success and longterm goals, as well as coming up with some low-cost ideas around marketing and sales which has really helped our online presence”. Simon Stock, owner and founder of Vinoflow, a Blenheim-based crossflow filtration service, participated in The Icehouse’s Taking Your Business Forward (TYBF) programme in July 2020. “A big challenge for Vinoflow is how to grow the business and sales at scale, and meet the extra capacity we’ve got now,” says Simon. “We delivered projections on what we wanted to achieve year-on-year for the next four to five years and how to achieve that growth, which was great. We also tackled health and wellbeing, which is huge, because sometimes in business you put that to the back and don’t focus on it as much as you should. So, all in all, TYBF helped tackle some of the toughest challenges we’re facing.”

The People

Eva Pemper – Icehouse Alumni “I COME from a winemaking family,” says Eva Pemper, of Eva Pemper Wines in Marlborough. “My parents, who are my inspiration, started making wine in a garage in Croatia in the 1980s. Making wine in a war zone is pretty hard and I definitely have their drive and ambition.” It’s an ambition she’s helped stoke through The Icehouse Knowing Your Numbers workshop, which enables participants to develop a better understanding of the important numbers in their business, and how better financial decision making can unlock growth. Eva arrived in New Zealand in 2012 and soon fell in love with its wine, people and places. She says it was important to her to keep her parents’ legacy going here, including in her label, which is taken from the old family label. She has put a lot of hard work into introducing more products, “and it seems to be working”, she says. “The new wines are looking great and I have just expanded the range to include a Chardonnay to accompany the

Rosé and Sauvignon Blanc that I already produce.” The next expansion will likely include Pinot Noir and sparkling wine, which she is also “extremely passionate about making”, she says. “In the next two to three years I would like to see 70 percent of sales coming through exports.” While in that whirlwind of activity, Eva knew she had to make time for capability development, and relished The Icehouse course. “It was amazing to be with all these other people. You learn so much from their experiences,

and there were great people from very different industries all sharing the room,” she says. “As a sole business owner I knew I would have had to do this workshop or something similar at some point, because it’s a skill I just didn’t have and you can’t know everything.” She plans to do more programmes and workshops with The Icehouse over the next few years. “Being a business owner you really need to get talking to people and to learn what you can, but you’re often so busy running your business that you think you don’t have the time.”

New Zealand Wine Scholarship NEW ZEALAND WINE, in conjunction with Xero, is offering five $1,000 scholarships to its members for The Icehouse’s Taking Your Business Forward (TYBF) programmes that start in August and September 2021. Go to

for more information and to apply for your New Zealand Wine scholarships. Each $1,000 goes towards the individual TYBF programme price of $3,495.00 + GST. All applications must meet The Icehouse’s eligibility criteria.


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The Places

Wine Weather Weatherstation predicts El Neither


Neudorf in Nelson

A WARM and settled autumn has given way to winter. La Niña is leaving as global models point in the direction of neutral conditions over winter and spring. We will have to take sea temperatures, Madden-Julian Oscillation (MJO), southern annular mode (SAM) and the Indian Ocean Dipole into account as we analyse what weather may be in store for us over the colder winter months. What has been going on? Rain, specifically the lack of it, has become more of a talking point over the past few months. High pressure moved in late but

has persisted, and the prospect of high rainfall through autumn continued to remain fairly low. Sea temperatures remain above average and this has contributed to higher than average temperatures. What the consistent high pressure has provided is a large range of temperatures ranging from over 30C in early April to a run of frosts about Central Otago late in the month and continuing into early May. A return to neutral conditions may mean an increase in a west to southwest flow over winter. This could increase rainfall along the west coast of the

country but eastern areas are likely to see rainfall remain below average. Cold southerly outbreaks may look promising on the forecast maps but often a southwest flow will push these out into the Pacific Ocean before they can spread very far north. The SAM is forecast to be near neutral, so the number of cold southerly outbreaks is likely to be fewer than normal for a New Zealand winter. All together, things are pointing towards a warmer and drier than average winter. The MJO, which relates to the band of increased convection over the tropics, is currently over

the Indian Ocean and this has been identified as a reasonably strong system but this is forecast to weaken as it moves further east into the Pacific Ocean. This means that the chance of low pressure systems developing to the north of New Zealand are unlikely to be more frequent than normal. New regions to talk about This month we are adding Nelson and Wairarapa to the list of regions covered in this article. It is no surprise that, given the climatic diversity of these areas, they require a more detailed discussion about how

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The Places

the weather will play out over the upcoming months.

Outlook for June and July: Gisborne/Hawke’s Bay Temperatures are likely to remain above average throughout the first half of winter with a mild north to northwest flow. Cool southwest changes may only bring a few showers and have less punch than usual. The highest chance of moderate or heavy rain in the northeast is likely to be from a low moving south out of the tropics or from a cold southerly outbreak that turns southeast as high pressure builds in the Tasman Sea and pushes a ridge across the South Island. Wairarapa Sitting in a real transition zone, Wairarapa has the opportunity to receive rain

from most directions. Some spill over rain off the Tararua and Remutaka ranges is likely from stronger northwest flows, but the best chance of rain this winter is likely from southerly changes or a persistent southeast flow and, again, rainfall totals are likely to be lower than average. Mean temperatures should be near or above average. Nelson Just like the North Island, temperatures are expected to be above average. However, a high diurnal range is expected if the wind f low remains predominantly southwest through early winter. Cool frosty nights may help to keep the mean temperature a little closer to average than other regions. Rainfall totals are expected to be below average and southwest conditions will exacerbate this. If a more northerly flow develops then

there is a chance for some moderate rainfall totals. Marlborough/ North Canterbury Marlborough has managed to receive some precipitation from fronts crossing New Zealand out of the Tasman Sea and this is likely to be the best chance of rain for the region over winter. Cold southerly changes are likely to lose some punch as they spread north, so the chance of rain out of the south is lower than average. Like Wairarapa and Hawke’s Bay, some rain is possible if high pressure builds over the far south and a southeast f low develops. Mean temperatures are likely to follow the trend and remain above average although a large diurnal range is possible about inland areas of Marlborough and also parts of North Canterbury that are sheltered from the coast.

Central Otago Wa r m e r t h a n a v e r a g e temperatures are unlikely to give Central Otago a miss, but overall mild conditions may be broken by periods of frost. With a climate that is probably the most “continental” in New Zealand, there is a good chance that an extended high pressure system could bring a run of cold nights and days through early winter. The combination of high pressure and shorter sunshine means that the air may lose more energy than it gains, resulting in a few days where temperatures str ug gle to climb above freezing. Rainfall totals are expected to be below average, however, any cold southerly outbreaks are likely to bring wintr y conditions before they race off into the Pacific Ocean. James Morrison runs Weatherstation Frost Forecasting Ltd –


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The Places

Biosecurity Update Leading the way – Pernod Ricard Winemakers signs Biosecurity Business Pledge SOPHIE BADLAND Tracey Marshall. Photo by Jim Tannock


Pledge is a partnership which aims to enable all New Zealand businesses to be proactive when it comes to biosecurity best practice. A pledge made in good faith (there is no compliance element involved), it provides a framework for businesses to ensure biosecurity is a core part of their operational activities and connects partners as a network to enable greater collaboration and learning. Pernod Ricard Winemakers recently signed the pledge and are the first wine company to get on board. The New Zealand Winegrowers (NZW ) biosecurity team spoke with Tracey Marshall, Pernod Ricard’s New Zealand Sustainability Manager, to find out more about why they have decided to sign up to the pledge and what it means for the business. W h y d i d Pe r n o d R i ca rd Winemakers decide to sign the pledge?

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“It was a no-brainer,” says Tracey, who first saw an article about the pledge on nzwine. It caught her eye because at the time Pernod Ricard was updating its transitional facility operating manual, and the business had been through some changes which meant they were receiving more international containers into Marlborough. A new operator with overall responsibility for biosecurity had come on board, and there was a need to ensure enough staff were trained as accredited persons. In the vineyard, biosecurity was reasonably well-understood; awareness material was made available to staff, and processes were in place to mitigate the risks posed by machinery and equipment movement between Pernod Ricard sites, which are widely spread across the region. “Looking at the commitments of the pledge, ever ything that we were pledging to do is either what


we are already doing, or should be doing anyway,” says Tracey. “Signing up to these commitments was a way of highlighting to the rest of the senior leadership team and our whole organisation that biosecurity is a business priority for us. We could be hit at multiple levels by a biosecurity incursion – a national level, affecting the whole country, an industry level, or an organisational level. We don’t want to be looking back and thinking, ‘how did that happen?’” Biosecurity Business Pledge

partners are allowed to use the pledge logo and stamps on their branding, communications and marketing material. “I like how the campaign has been designed, the whole ‘this is us’ approach,” says Tracey. “It relates well to the ‘team of 5 million’ theme used during Covid; it’s about bringing people together.” What changes has Pernod Ricard Winemakers made so far as a result of signing the pledge? “It’s given us a platform to raise awareness within our own teams, particularly in the winery,” says Tracey. “There is a requirement for staff awareness and training – we’ve made sure this has been strengthened in our site inductions with new staff or contractors coming on site. They get information about the fact that the site is a transitional facility, what to watch out for, what to report, how to report it.” Signing the pledge was also a prompt for Tracey to check with

The Places

Pernod Ricard’s procurement team to confirm biosecurity is part of supplier agreements. “Are we actually asking the right questions with regards to biosecurity, are we assessing them on that basis? It was good to get the answer back as ‘yes’.” Suppliers to Pernod Ricard have to meet certain supplier standards, which include a questionnaire. If a level of risk is highlighted, the supplier may be put through an EcoVadis assessment, covering sustainability, ethics, human rights, labour, and biosecurity measures, before Pernod Ricard decides to do business with them. On the vineyard front, signing the pledge has prompted a review of Pernod Ricard’s biosecurity-related processes. “We have procedures around just about everything,” Tracey explains. “Whether it’s the movement of vehicles, traceability, or monitoring and

reporting. We’ve got posters up in our staff amenities for awareness, but are they current? When did we last put our vineyard operators through basic biosecurity awareness training? Does that training include new and emerging risks? We are re-looking at everything we are doing, ensuring it’s fit for purpose and up to date. It’s been quite timely to have a good look at how we are actually performing here.” Pernod Ricard Winemakers has recently shifted to the use of Microsoft Teams for internal communications, and Tracey was quick to spot another opportunity to raise biosecurity awareness amongst staff. “We’ve created a Teams channel which is dedicated to biosecurity, so we’re able to post on that straightaway whenever new information comes through. Even things like NZW’s Pest of the Month,

we can get it up on there straightaway and it gets some conversations going.” What’s next for the business pledge and what can businesses expect if they sign up? The first members’ forum for the Biosecurity Business Pledge took place on 25 February and there are now more than 80 New Zealand businesses signed up. The steering group is developing a proposed Programme of Activity based on some of the discussions arising at the forum, structured around themes such as initiating a ‘toolbox’ of common resources to help businesses implement good biosecurity practice, and reviewing biosecurity training needs and training availability for businesses. Continuing to build the pledge as a business network for peer-topeer learning, collaboration, and leveraging the pledge as a means to continue

conversations with Biosecurity New Zealand regarding the regulatory framework are also priorities. N Z W e n c o u ra g e s a l l members to consider signing up to the Biosecurity Business Pledge. Pledge partners are invited to attend regular forums and online catchups, which provide excellent opportunities to learn about what other businesses are doing in the biosecurity space. Pledge members are a l s o re g u l a r l y u p d ate d with what is happening throughout the New Zealand b i o s e c u r i t y s y s te m v i a interactive sessions with Biosecurity New Zealand senior staff. More information about the Biosecurity Business Pledge, including how to sign up, can be found at biosecuritybusinesspledge NZW would like to thank Tracey Marshall for taking the time to share her insights for this article.

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Advocacy Matters

On your Behalf

Advocacy on matters of vital importance to the industry.

Health and safety refresher LARISSA TROWNSON

HEALTH AND safety is an important part of any business – it’s the right thing to do by your workers, and you also have obligations under the Health and Safety at Work Act 2015 (HSWA).

How do I manage health and safety in my business? • Decide that everyone being healthy and safe is important • Make a conscious decision to plan for managing risk • Invest time and thought into health and safety • Remember that health and safety includes mental wellbeing as well as physical wellbeing • Model the right behaviours Identify ways to manage risks • Be prepared by planning • Identify where the risks of harm or illness are • Use a risk and hazard identification register • Work out how to manage the risk before the work starts • Use effective communication to all, for example, by written record • Keep things up to date - new risks or hazards may arise at any time (Covid-19 is a good example of this) Make health and safety an everyday activity • Think about health and safety daily • Involve everyone on the vineyard or winery - this includes any contractors • Make it easy for workers to raise issues or make suggestions • Have site rules, and make sure workers are aware of them What do I have to do? Health and safety does not need to be complicated. Here are the basics – you must: • Be able to show you are managing your health and safety risks • Identify and manage risks to people in your workplace • Monitor the health of workers and workplace conditions to prevent illness and injury • Include workers and family, if relevant, in planning to make the vineyard or winery healthy and safe • Train and supervise people who work in the vineyard or winery • Make sure workers and family know how to manage risks • Have procedures for dealing with workplace emergencies • Have safe and healthy facilities for workers

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• Make sure machinery and systems are safe for workers to use • Provide and make sure personal protective equipment is used where appropriate

Larissa Trownson is Legal Counsel at New Zealand Winegrowers

Why should I? Regardless of your legal obligations, maintaining a healthy and safe workplace is extremely beneficial. An Australian study found that healthy employees were: • More productive than unhealthy workers • Less likely to become sick with ongoing conditions and to take fewer sick days • Less likely to be fatigued and more alert to safety issues and less likely to be injured • More engaged, increasing creativity and innovation • More likely to stay on the job for longer, reducing recruitment and training costs and the resulting productivity losses More information is available at What if something goes wrong? If, despite your best efforts, something has gone wrong then it is important to assess what happened and see whether there are steps you can take to stop it from happening again. In some circumstances you may have a legal duty to notify WorkSafe. More information is available at

More information NEW ZEALAND WINEGROWERS (NZW) has worked with WorkSafe and ACC to provide tools, templates, practical information and resources to help your vineyard and winery build a healthy and safe place to work, such as the Working Well guide, a table of risks for vineyard and winery and checklists. These are available on NZW’s member website (under Advocacy, Health and Safety). WorkSafe also has extensive resources on their website at




Celebrating Sauvignon Blanc Day Fresh, crisp, pure. Taste New Zealand when you pour yourself a glass of Sauvignon Blanc. New Zealand Wine called all Sauvignon Blanc fans around the world to join our annual celebration of our most famous variety online on Friday 7th May.


















Don’t forget to use #nzwine




or tag @nzwinegrowers for your chance to be featured.


NZWinegrower.socialmedia.June_July21.indd 1

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Machinery Updates

Nuts and Bolts

Mark Daniel’s updates on Machinery and Technology

Getting Precise Targeted spray application for precise viticulture growth WHILE TEAM New Zealand may

have mastered the art of taking technology on the water to the next level, on dry ground, BA Pumps and Sprayers and Pernod Ricard Winemakers have adopted the latest spray technology to enter the Australasian market, allowing the partnership to make waves of its own. The BA Smart Sprayer, powered by the Smart-Apply system, is a density-based spray system that utilises sensor technology, providing viticulturists with a more efficient spray application, measurable data and other ancillary benefits. For Pernod Ricard Winemakers, the sprayer’s benefits align with the company’s ‘Vineyard of the Future’ programme and a desire to embrace innovative technology. “It was clear from our first discussions that

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we were aligned in terms of wanting to maximise the potential benefits of this exciting technology,” explains David Allen, Viticulture Transformation Manager at Pernod Ricard Winemakers. “We saw an opportunity to deliver out-of-the-box precision viticulture with targeted application, reducing inputs while potentially improving efficacy.” Researched, developed and field tested at the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture over the past decade, the BA Smart Sprayer has been proven to reduce spray consumption and spray loss beyond canopies, effectively reducing airborne drift by up to 87 percent. John Dixon, Operations Manager at BA Pumps and Sprayers, says the precision of spray application


this system can achieve has significant long-term benefits for vineyards by way of reduced negative inputs, cost savings, and cleaner and safer environments. “Add to that greater data driven insights, allowing better decision making, then you can see why we’re so excited to have this technology available for the New Zealand market,” he says. At Pernod Ricard, the ability to scan, process and deliver the targeted application in a single pass via a user-friendly, tabletbased control platform, saw the company embark on this significant trial, with initial results showing encouraging input savings and data collection benefits, which will be ongoing during 2021. “The potential insights the data captured by the BA Smart Sprayer system could provide,

combining a traditional tractor pass in the vineyard with a scouting and reporting tool, really intrigued us,” says David. “Firstly, the core functionality of the unit clearly has the potential to deliver value through reduced inputs and we agreed this needed to be demonstrated and quantified in New Zealand vineyard conditions.” The system, which can be retrofitted to most vineyard sprayers, utilises LIDAR sensor technology to detect the specific architecture of the canopy, recording digital information including height, width, spacing and density of each plant it passes. Each spray nozzle is then controlled independently for targeted application and spray, using the exact quantity required and in the right place, reducing

Machinery Updates

chemical use to deliver significant cost savings. “The opportunity to leverage the frequency and resolution of the LIDAR data captured to generate insights into vineyard performance is really exciting, alongside working with BA to develop additional reporting tools to deliver value,” says David. “We have integrated the smart sprayer into our operations and began to evaluate the benefits of using the technology and capturing data.”

Cleaning Up NEW HOLLAND says its Clean

Energy Leader strategy continues to extend its scope to explore new areas of innovation through partnerships. The first collaboration is with Italian Barolo wine producer Fontanafredda Serralunga d’Alba, in Piedmont Italy, in a project that aims to achieve carbonfree vineyard operations. New Holland and FPT Industrial are testing a new bio-methane trac-

tor in the vineyards, derived from a standard New Holland TK model, with power from the new FPT Industrial F28 engine, crowned Diesel of the Year in 2020. The tractor being tested

at Fontanafredda forms part of a system, with the aim of accomplishing the first carbon dioxide-free wine production, said to be an important step towards the decarbonisation of the grape growing chain. In another partnership, New Holland, with Italian implements producer Nobili, has developed an innovative concept for the electrification of implements for vineyards and orchards.

Weed Buster isn’t Just a Load of Hot Air motor. Designed to blister weeds and scorch any seeds laying on the surface, the fan blows most of the hot air downwards, with a small proportion directed sideways, to “scorch” any weeds at the base of the vine. The unit is also engineered to recapture and recirculate the hot air, resulting in lower propane consumption and reduced costs. Currently at the preproduction stage, the

burner units can be supplied in 20cm, 30cm, 40cm and 100cm widths, for mounting on rigid frames or hydraulic arms. The designers suggest that the use of hot air, rather than a naked flame, removes the fire risk, creates no soil disturbance and offers working speeds of up to 4 kilometres per hour and a typical cost for propane of around $20 per hectare.






mechanical weed control in vineyards has been shown by Dutch frost control specialists Agrofrost. Calling on over 20 years of propane burner knowledge from frost fighting fans, the Weed Buster comprises a specially shaped hood that houses a patented burner unit with a similarly protected circulatory fan that is driven by a hydraulic


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A Snapshot 2021 New Zealand Wine TOTAL



NORTHLAND 74 ha (<1%) WAIKATO/BAY OF PLENTY 19 ha (<1%)

AUCKLAND 289 ha (1%)

GISBORNE 1,183 ha (3%)


HAWKE’S BAY 4,643 ha (11%)**

NELSON 1,092 ha (3%)

WAIRARAPA 1,096 ha (3%) MARLBOROUGH 28,360 ha (70%)

NORTH CANTERBURY*** 1,479 ha (4%)

WAITAKI VALLEY 65 ha (<1%) CENTRAL OTAGO 2,024 ha (5%)

7,830ha 32,493ha







 2%

*** Since the collection of data for the 2020 – 2023 vineyard register reports the North Canterbury geographical indication boundaries have been accepted which encompasses the areas previously known as Canterbury and North Canterbury in this report.

Top Producing Varieties Red Varieties

White Varieties

TOTAL 7,830ha

TOTAL 32,493ha













73% 14% 6% 3% 1%


78% 10% 8% 2% 1% 1%

*2021 producing area is based on projections for 2021 submitted in the 2020 Biosecurity Vineyard Register **The Hawke’s Bay figures within the 2020 Vineyard Report contained an error that has now been corrected in this document, the 2021 Vineyard Report. The Hawke’s Bay vineyard area was overstated in the 2020 report by approximately 450 hectares. The error largely related to the figures for Sauvignon Blanc.

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2021 VR snapshots-NEW..indd 1

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Research Supplement Regions – Marlborough 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

Research Supplement Information and updates on Bragato Research Institute research programmes. Quartz Reef

CONTRACTED RESEARCH PROJECTS Quality Wine Styles for Existing and Developing Markets Lighter wine (PGP) University of Auckland and Plant & Food Research (Various), jointly funded by NZW and MPI Primary Growth Partnership (PGP) fund

The effect of winemaking decisions on polysaccharide content in wine University of Auckland (B Fedrizzi) Understanding green character in Pinot Noir wine Lincoln University (A Borssato)

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

Pests and Disease

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

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

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

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

Harlequin ladybird in vineyards: monitoring a potentially invasive insect Plant & Food Research (V Bell)

Cost Reduction/ Increased Profitability Precision Grape Yield Analyser Programme 20162021 Lincoln Agritech Limited (A Werner)

Sustainability/Organics Vineyard Ecosystems Programme 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) Viticultural treatments for improving Syrah quality Thoughtful Viticulture (M Krasnow) A comparison of physical means to reduce rot versus chemical means in New Zealand vineyards Thoughtful Viticulture (M Krasnow)

Potential applications of nanotechnology for wine growing in New Zealand University of Auckland (M Kah) Understanding the global market potential for the adoption of Regenerative Agriculture (RA) in New Zealand Beef and Lamb NZ Investigation of subsurface drip irrigation in vineyards Thoughtful Viticulture (M Krasnow)

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) Assessing foliar fertiliser for grapevine frost recovery Bragato Research Institute (L Ibbotson)


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Teeny, tiny, terroir Vineyard practices can affect even the smallest life forms in soil Little is known about the effect agrichemicals may have on the multitudes of bacteria, fungi and small invertebrate animals found in soil – let alone how that might be reflected in a wine’s distinctiveness or regionality (often referred to using the French word terroir). Using DNA sequencing to analyse New Zealand vineyard soil samples, Kiwi researchers have found that different viticulture approaches can indeed have subtle effects on the biodiversity of these tiny life forms. Paulina Giraldo-Perez, Victoria Raw, Marc Greven and Matthew Goddard have now reported their initial findings in iScience, in an article entitled,

“A small effect of conservation agriculture on soil biodiversity that differs between biological kingdoms and geographic locations.”

ecology, with long-term goals that include improved grapevine longevity and reduced reliance on synthetic chemical use.

The researchers, based at the University of Auckland and the New Zealand Institute for Plant & Food Research, summarised sequencing results from 648 vineyard soil samples collected over the first year of a multi-year research programme established by the Bragato Research Institute (BRI) with co-funding from the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment. The soil research is one component of the multi-faceted $7 million Vineyard Ecosystems programme, which seeks to better understand relationships in vineyard

The study encompassed 24 vineyard blocks on the North and South Islands that were managed under (1) a “conventional” approach that allowed the use of herbicides and synthetic fungicides for pest and disease management versus (2) a “conservation” approach of low agrichemical inputs and no herbicide use. Soil samples were collected in spring, summer and autumn over a 12-month timeframe, and at least 170,000 different types of organisms were detected.

Wither Hills

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commitment to keep improving, as new research is undertaken.” Even better, says Matthew, “the results in effect allow us to draw a direct line from the way vineyards are managed to consequences for wine distinctness, as Saccharomyces yeast that drive fermentation and whose types vary by region and affect wine style are more abundant in vineyards under conservation management”.

The choice of vineyard management approach correlated with a small but significant 2-10 percent difference in the abundances of organisms. The sequencing data showed agrichemicals did not have a large effect on soil biodiversity. Nevertheless, the magnitude of impact differed between organism types, locations and seasons. “The difference may not seem large at first glance,” notes corresponding author Professor Matthew Goddard, School of Life Sciences, University of Lincoln (United Kingdom), who also retains a position and laboratory at the University of Auckland. “What’s noteworthy is that differences related to a management approach were detected at all, let alone at comparable rates to the effects of key ecological factors, such as region and time of year.” Results for four more years of soil sample collection and DNA sequencing will continue to be reported as work is completed. The authors note that analysis of

differential abundances, presences and counts of organisms between management approaches over time can help to determine whether vineyard practices can be correlated with differences in biodiversity. For Dr Edwin Massey, General Manager Sustainability for New Zealand Winegrowers, that’s a goal that fits with long-term objectives for the New Zealand wine industry. “For more than 25 years, grape growers have followed the certification programme established by Sustainable Winegrowing New Zealand (SWNZ) to provide a ‘best practice’ model of vineyard management and environmental protection,” says Edwin. “The Vineyard Ecosystems programme is part of our

Vineyard Ecosystems Programme Manager, BRI’s Dr David Armour, believes what’s really exciting about this work is that not only can we detect these differences in soil ecosystems as a result of vineyard management, but that we have made significant progress integrating the web of ecosystem, climate and vineyard management. Armour is referring to the Bayesian network research (reported in New Zealand Winegrower issue 126). “We all know that natural ecosystems are the most environmentally sustainable. And many sectors are progressing towards agricultural systems that are increasingly biodiverse and as sustainable as possible. But you can’t manage what you don’t measure. Most industries growing conventionally are grappling with how to start and how far they can go down this line,” says David. “I’d like to think that between all that we’ve already achieved as an industry through SWNZ, and now with the Vineyard Ecosystems programme, that we are still leading the way. Not only have we been measuring how we manage vineyards, but we are now on the cusp of having a framework to understand how what we do interacts with some of these vineyard ecosystems. This gives us the ability to continue further down the sustainability path.”


CITATION journal/conference: iScience Link to research (DOI): 10.1016/j.isci.2021.102280


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Labour Shortage Pruning Options Key Considerations Extend the pruning season by starting early and finishing late - pruning immediately after harvest extends the pruning season by as much as 25%, reducing the labour demand Spur pruning can save time and cost

ISSUE In the wake of Covid-19, the New Zealand wine industry is experiencing a labour shortage because of the reduced numbers of RSE workers and backpackers entering the country and an increasingly competitive labour market amongst primary industry sectors. Winter pruning of grapevines in New Zealand is still largely a manual task that requires a significant amount of skilled and semi-skilled labour. There is a risk that there may not be enough labour to complete all pruning in time to a satisfactory level of quality. Bragato Research Institute have reviewed the existing research and drawn from industry experience to identify approaches to pruning that should be considered to reduce labour inputs and extend the pruning season.

OUR TAKE Due to the anticipated labour shortage, winegrowers may consider adopting alternative pruning practices to some of their vineyard area:

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Equivalent yields can be achieved on spur pruned vines to cane if a similar or higher number of nodes are retained per vine Early pruning may reduce risk of trunk disease infection due to lower incidence of spore numbers

• Spur and mechanised pruning - Consider a temporary conversion to long 3 – 5 bud spur pruning, which allows mechanical pre pruning (barrel pruning), later pruning and reduced labour - Consider converting to mechanical stripping (KLIMA). The full benefit may not be realised until the 2nd winter after conversion - Reduce the number of canes laid down to reduce wrapping time

- Mechanically top canes to facilitate faster manual stripping • Extend the pruning season by starting early and finishing late Each of these options may result in changes in yield and canopy configuration. Consider using the Pruning and Yield Calculator (nzwine. com/members/research/vineyardresources/pruning-mechanical-thinning/ to model the potential impact of pruning type and yield on financial performance.

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Extending the Pruning Season Early Season Pruning Early season pruning in warmer regions is not normally recommended for vines with an active and functioning canopy as the post-harvest period allows for final accumulation of carbohydrate (CHO) reserves before winter. In cooler regions like Marlborough and Central Otago, leaf senescence is usually observed as fruit ripens and there is little postharvest CHO accumulation.

Given the current labour shortfall, early pruning should be a key consideration. Research has shown that early season cane pruning (10 days post-harvest) has no adverse effect on Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc yield or carbohydrate reserves in the vine trunk (Bennett & Trought, 2011a; Trought, Bennett, & Bolding, 2008). Pruning Marlborough SB immediately after harvest extends the pruning season by as much as 25%, reducing the labour demand. Early season pruning in other regions and varieties could reduce the labour demand by a similar proportion.

Early season pruning and wound susceptibility Recent findings from the Vineyard Ecosystems Programme indicate that spores for fungal grapevine trunk diseases (GTD), Botryosphaeria and Eutypa dieback, are lower earlier in the pruning season. These findings suggest that you can prune in early autumn with no increased risk of GTD infection, if there are no rain events (Sosnowski, Mundy, & van Zijll de Jong, 2020).

flow may effectively displace the initial wound dressing application. Pruning wounds can be successfully protected using a sprayer, to reduce the labour requirement associated with painting by hand (Bragato Research Institute, 2020).

Converting from cane to spur pruning Effect on Yield • The total number of buds retained and bud fruitfulness are the two main factors that will influence yield following a change in pruning type - Spur pruning results in the retention of less fruitful buds from the lower part of shoots which is why long 4 – 5 bud spurs are selected when targeting higher yields • If you can spur prune a vine and retain the same or a slightly higher number of buds compared to its cane pruned equivalent, then similar or higher yields can be achieved in the first season following conversion (Bennett & Trought, 2009; Bennett, Trought, & Skilton, 2009) • For spur pruning or cane pruning, where a lower number of buds are retained, then yields will drop in the first year but may climb in subsequent seasons (Bennett & Trought, 2011b) • Spur selection and placement is as equally important to consider as cane selection and placement. - Thin and weak spurs or canes will produce less bunches and ripening may be delayed - Retaining too many spurs can result in over-crowding and an increased risk of disease - Consider testing alternative pruning methods on a few vines to compare bud numbers before converting the rest of the block

Pruning tools can also spread spores without good hygiene. To reduce the risk of infection, avoid pruning during rain events and clean pruning tools regularly.

The following three resources provide a more detailed overview of long spur pruning, including spur placement and selection. The principles relating to spur selection and placement apply, whether you intend to retain 2, 3 or 4 cordon arms.

As always, prompt protection of pruning wounds is advised. Be aware that sap

• Case Study: Alternative pruning methods for Sauvignon Blanc – Spur

Pruning (see following page) • Video: Four-cordon, long spur pruning: An alternative one-season solution for pruning Sauvignon blanc ( • Long spur pruning handout (nzwine. com/media/15718/handout_spurpruning-min.pdf)

Effect on labour requirements • Spur pruning can save time and labour, particularly if sufficient buds can be retained on a 2-cordon system - A single mechanical pass can be followed by a single manual pruning pass - Although training and supervision is still required, spur pruning is a simpler task compared to head cuts, cane selection and wrapping • Spur pruning can be completed later in the season, even post budburst if required. Late pruning could be a benefit if the site has a risk of frost • The labour saving is reduced if 3 or 4 cordons are retained to achieve the required bud level

Other considerations • A key advantage of spur pruning is the ability to barrel prune the vineyard avoiding the need for manual stripping • Cutting spurs is a repetitive task and steps should be taken to reduce the risk of repetitive strain injuries. These include: - Appropriate training - Allowing for warm up and stretching time - Alternating the use of secateurs with loppers - Use electric secateurs • Decide whether the conversion is temporary or longer term. Factors relating to that decision include:

- Retaining spurs in the head of the vine to facilitate future conversion back to cane pruning - If converting from cane then consider the size of the existing gaps on the fruiting wire between canes. Ideally, in a long-term conversion there should be no gaps between cordon arms to maximise productivity


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- A long term conversion to spur may also require a different approach to wrapping and securing canes in the first winter

Canopy Management & Disease Pressure • Converting to spur pruning can result in a change in canopy structure and bunch architecture. Whether these changes are positive or negative will

depend on your site, variety, and vigour • Monitor your vineyard carefully for disease and consider: - Investing in shoot thinning, particularly for 3 and 4 cordons systems - Optimising the timing and level of mechanical leaf removal - Mechanical shaking to reduce Botrytis risk

Table 1: Summary of differences between cane and spur pruned systems where a clear advantage or disadvantage exists

Spur pruning


Labour input can be reduced

High labour inputs required

Similar yields achievable if sufficient buds retained (long Certainty of yield based on historic performance spurs for higher target yields) Technique may be easier to teach but may be a completely new technique for existing staff

High skill required – but may match existing capability of available staff

Less risk of poor pruning causing a drop in yield

Risk of poor-quality cane selection with untrained staff may limit yields

Ability to mechanically barrel prune

Ability to Klima strip

Single manual pruning pass

2-3 manual pruning passes

Can be pruned early or very late

Can be pruned early, but risk of damaging buds when late

Mechanical pruning If mechanical pruning is adopted, ensure that wire management and other trellising requirements have been considered. The availability of KLIMA and barrel pruning equipment should be investigated for your region.

KLIMA – Mechanised stripping and mulching of canes • Eliminating the need for majority of manual stripping • Spurs need to be cut before mechanical pruning takes place • Fruiting wires need to be on the same side of the trellis as the fruiting wire • Ensure that foliage/lifting wires and the fruiting wires can be freely released from clips or manually remove wires from clips prior to the KLIMA pass • Definite option for blocks this winter

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that already have fruiting wires on the same side and/or KLIMA clips in place - Other KLIMA considerations ~ limited number of machines and operators (book early) ~ some cost and labour required for conversion

Barrel pruning – pre pruning to either fully or partially remove the existing canopy • Wires can be left in place • Reduced requirement for manual stripping – staff are free to focus on manual tidy up (spur pruning) - Existing shoots can either be fully removed to a height acceptable for spur pruning or topped to facilitate cane pruning • Limited number of machines available and cuttings will accumulate under the vine where sweepers are not used

REFERENCES • Bennett, J., & Trought, M. (2009). Converting grapevines from cane to spur pruning — impacts on yield and fruit maturity. Retrieved from https:// grapevines_from_cane_to_spur_ pruning.pdf • Bennett, J., & Trought, M. (2011a). Fact sheet: Marlborough pruning. Retrieved from media/7259/marlborough-pruning_ oct2017_v02.pdf • Bennett, J., & Trought, M. (2011b). Previous season pruning and yield effects on current season yield of Sauvignon blanc. Retrieved from https://www. part_4_previous_season_pruning.pdf • Bennett, J., Trought, M., & Skilton, T. (2009). Influence of training systems and vine management on Pinot noir grapevines 2003-08. Retrieved from nzw_07-217_final1_jeff_bennettinfluence_of_training_systems_and_ vine_management.pdf • Bragato Research Institute. (2020). Fact sheet: Spray application - Protecting pruning wounds on dormant vines. Retrieved from https://www.nzwine. com/media/15749/bri-research-factsheet_spray-application-min.pdf • Sosnowski, M., Mundy, D., & van Zijll de Jong, E. (2020). Optimising management of grapevine trunk diseases for vineyard longevity. Retrieved from https://www. • Trought, M., Bennett, J., & Bolding, H. (2008). Influence of pruning time on yield, fruit composition and vine phenology of Sauvignon Blanc vines. Retrieved from https://www.nzwine. com/media/3506/nzw_07-217_final3_ mike_trought-influence_of_pruning_ time_of_yield_fruit_composit.pdf

ACKNOWLEDGEMENT Thank you to Mark Allen, Allen Vineyard Advisory; NZW Research Advisory Committee; Plant and Food Research; and the Vineyard Ecosystems Programme team.

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Alternative pruning methods for Sauvignon Blanc – Spur Pruning

Pruning Options Option 1: Mothball • Barrel prune 80mm above the top fruiting wire = 10c/vine • Manual tidy up around the posts and remove barrel pruning trash and rachis = 25c/vine

• Total Cost = 35c/vine

Consultant & Researcher: Mark Allen, Allen Vineyard Advisory and Fraser Brown.

Option 3: Remove Doubles • Barrel prune to 250mm above the top fruiting wire = 10c/vine • Manual tidy up around the posts and remove barrel pruning trash and rachis = 25c/vine • Manual declutter of the head and 2 short spurs cut = 20c/vine • Manual cut out doubles = 10c/ vine

• Total Cost = 65c/vine

The following case study illustrates various alternative pruning options developed by Allen Vineyard Advisory for Sauvignon Blanc. Winegrowers should consider a pruning option that best meets their requirements. The winegrowers involved in this case study pruned to Option 5- Full Monty. The costs provided in the following options were specific to this case study and grower.

OBJECTIVE Develop an alternative pruning method for SB that reduces the time and cost associated with 3 and 4-cane VSP pruning, without significantly reducing yield.

Image 1: Barrel pruned vine.

Option 2: Head declutter • Barrel prune to 250mm above the top fruiting wire = 10c/vine • Manual tidy up around the posts and remove barrel pruning trash and rachis = 25c/vine • Manual declutter of the head and 2 short spurs cut = 20c/vine

• Total Cost = 55c/vine

METHOD Mechanised barrel pruning followed by manual removal of excess shoots and spur pruning to either 2 or 4 budded spurs.

Image 3: Barrel prune to 250mm, head declutter, cut 2 short spurs and double shoots removed.

Option 4: Remove unders • Barrel prune to 250mm above the top fruiting wire = 10c/vine • Manual tidy up around the posts and remove barrel pruning trash and rachis = 25c/vine • Manual declutter of the head and 2 short spurs cut = 20c/vine • Manual cut out doubles = 10c/ vine • Manual remove under = 20c/vine

• Total Cost = 85c/vine

Image 2: Barrel prune to 250mm, plus head declutter and cut 2 short spurs.

Image 4: Barrel prune to 250mm, head declutter, cut 2 short spurs, double and under shoots removed.


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Option 5: Full Monty



• Barrel prune to 250mm above the top fruiting wire = 10c/vine • Manual tidy up around the posts and remove barrel pruning trash and rachis = 25c/vine • Manual declutter of the head and 2 short spurs cut = 10c/vine • Manual cut out doubles = 10c/vine • Manual remove unders = 20c/vine • Manual trim of thin or un-lignified shoots to 1 or 2 buds, 2 long spurs retained in the head, end shoots trimmed to 2 buds to reduce congestion and remaining shoots trimmed to 4 buds (can also trim to 2 buds) = 0.25c/vine Total Cost = $1.05 – $1.15/vine

The foliage wires could be left in place

Thank you to Mark Allen, Allen Vineyard Advisory, and his colleague Fraser Brown; Plant and Food Research; and the Vineyard Ecosystems Programme team.

eliminating the need to drop of lift the wires. The spurs create upward pointing shoots, most of which will grow up between the wires. There may be a need for an in and out tuck,


estimated saving of 20c/vine. members

Canopy Management

• 07-217 Final report 1 Influence

Producing vineyards adopting Option 1: Mothball, should expect a dense canopy. Consider shoot thinning or heavy mechanical thin combined with multiple leaf plucking and trimming passes.

Single Pass Spur pruning is a single pass procedure. No wrapping and leap frogging of wrappers. Safer social distancing.

Yield and Profitability Trials have shown between 10 and 15% reduction in yield. A trial block this year produced 16.0 t/ha on 4-cane VSP and 14.5 t/ha on 4 cordon spurs.

of training systems and vine management on Pinot noir grapevines • 07-217 Final report 2 Converting grapevines from cane to spur pruning — impacts on yield and fruit maturity • 07-217 Final report 3 Influence of pruning time on yield, fruit composition and vine phenology • 08-212 Final report 4 Previous season pruning and yield effects on current season yield of Sauvignon blanc • 07-217 Annual report 4 Influence of training systems on Sauvignon blanc grapevine performance 2004-08-annotated • 17-109 Final report Dormancy

Image 5: Barrel prune to 250mm, head declutter, cut 2 short spurs, double and under shoots removed, thin or un-lignified shoots cut back to 1 or 2 buds, 2 long spurs retained in the head, end shoots trimmed to 2 buds to reduce congestion and remaining shoots trimmed to 4 buds (can also trim to 2 buds). Intermittent spacing of shoots between the bottom and top cordon is vital to reduce congestion.

spraying Spray protocols to quantify and optimise spray deposits applied to dormant grapevines • F11-01 Fact sheet Marlborough pruning • Presentation Influence of pruning time on grapevine phenology and

Spacing and number of spurs

• Intermittent spacing of shoots between the bottom and top cordon is necessary to reduce congestion. See Image 5. • 170mm spacing between spurs. • A maximum of 4 x 4 bud spurs per cordon. • 2 x 4 bud spurs plus 2 x 2 bud spurs in the head.

© 2020 Bragato Research Institute, all rights reserved.

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yield Image 6: Awatere Valley March 2020. Vine was pruned to Option 5: Full Monty in the winter of 2019. 4 x 4 bud spurs per cordon and no shoot thinning in the spring.

• F19-01 Fact sheet Spray application to protect pruning wounds on dormant vines • Fact sheet Mothballing • Fact sheet Eutypa & Botryospheria Dieback in Vineyards

DISCLAIMER Bragato Research Institute has prepared this fact sheet for use by the New Zealand wine industry. Material may not be published or reproduced without the permission of Bragato Research Institute. While care has been used in compiling this fact sheet Bragato Research Institute gives no prediction, warranty or assurance in relation to the accuracy of or fitness for any particular purpose, use or application of any information contained in this document. To the full extent permitted by law neither Bragato Research Institute nor any of its employees shall be liable for any cost (including legal costs), claim, liability, loss, damage, injury or the like, which may be suffered or incurred as a direct or indirect result of the reliance by any person on any information contained in this document.

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