New Zealand Winegrower December 2021/January 2022

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

NZW Fellows

Industry stalwarts

Pick Me!

Attraction campaigns

Women in Wine

Erica Crawford

DECEMBER 2021 / JANUARY 2022 ISSUE 131

Pandemic 2022

Preparing for vintage in a sea of uncertainty

DECEMBER 2021/JANUARY 2022 / ISSUE 131


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Issue 131 – December 2021/January 2022

Contents

REGULARS 4

Editorial

Sophie Preece

6

From the CEO

Philip Gregan

48 Women in Wine

Erica Crawford

52 Good Wine Fugitive

60 Postcard

Angela Osborne

64

Point of View

Sion Barnsley

66 Wine Weather

James Morrison

76 Advocacy Matters

Free Trade Agreement

80

Social Pages

Our People

F E AT U R E S 16

NZW Fellows

From making strides in wine governance to adding sparkle to New Zealand’s wine industry, John Clarke, Steve Smith MW, Andy Frost, Rudi Bauer, and Daniel and Adele Le Brun have worked over many decades for the “betterment of the wine industry”.

22

26 Pandemic Planning

Labour supply is the most pressing issue facing New Zealand’s wine industry in the lead up to the 2022 vintage. With no redundancy in the labour pool, the risk of Covid-19 is a real and present danger to harvest.

40 Microbiological Terroir

Research into the indigenous yeasts fuelling Greystone’s vineyard and winery ferments will help capture the “microbiological terroir” of the Waipara land.

26

COVER PHOTO Argentinian cellar hand Rodrigo Calandria became stranded in New Zealand after the 2020 harvest, and has worked at the Marisco winery ever since. He and other experienced winery workers will be enormously valuable in the upcoming vintage. Photo Jim Tannock. Go to page 32.

40 48

52


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

CO R R E S P O N D ENTS Wairarapa: Joelle Thomson mailme@joellethomson.com Hawke’s Bay: Olly Styles oliverstyles@hotmail.com Central Otago: Jean Grierson jean.grierson@nzsouth.co.nz North Canterbury: Jo Burzynska jo@joburzynska.com

From the Editor Sophie Preece EDITOR

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

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

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

I HAVE driven a few roads around the world where the mantra ‘good brakes; good horn; good luck’ is both bumper sticker and honest warning. It seems a fitting phrase as the wine industry careens towards vintage 2022 with layers of pandemic plans and recuitment policies in place, setting up safeguards for a multitude of scenarios against the backdrop of a global pandemic and changing national regulations. This edition looks at the biting issue of labour shortages being faced by vineyards and wineries around the country, with hand picking a pressing issue in Central Otago, while scant and inexperienced cellar crews are a reality for Marlborough wineries. And, as has been the case since Covid-19 slunk onto these shores, the wine industry is adapting to meet the challenges. Attraction campaigns are rolling out to attract people to the industry, perhaps for an “Aotearoa Experience” in lieu of the classic OE, or as part of a new career plan, or even for campervanners looking for adventure in Central. Whatever the pitch, the reality right now is that the majority of cellar staff will come in various shades of green for vintage 2022. Companies are thinking innovatively about the staff they alreday have, with plans to train and deploy workers from field or bottling line to the cellar floor for vintage, and to boost permanent numbers where possible. Meanwhile, wineries are looking at the Government’s traffic light system and running scenarios on how best to mitigate risk. Because Covid might not be in your region now, “but it’s going to be”, says Philip Gregan on page 27. With plenty of brakes and horns set in place for vintage, wine companies will also be looking for some good luck as they navigate the next six months.

CONTRIBUTORS 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

Sarah Rowley Adams

Joelle Thomson

Jo Burzynska

Bob Campbell

Sarah is New Zealand Winegrowers’ Communications and Digital Advisor, and one of four social butterflies giving tips in the final Social Place column.

This month Joelle, a Wairarapa-based wine writer, looks at what the announcement of an Agreement in Principle for a New Zealand UK Free Trade Agreement might mean.

As well as covering the Lincoln Anniversary Vine to Wine Symposium for Winegrower Magazine, Jo Burzynska presented her own research at the event.

Bob Campbell, MW, is a leading wine specialist, author and educator. In this edition’s Bob’s Blog he checks out value for money when it comes to wine varieties.

Go to page 14

Go to page 36

Go to page 42

Go to page 62

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.

4   //

NZ WINEGROWER  DECEMBER 2021/JANUARY 2022


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From the CEO Philip Gregan

From the CEO Collaborating for Success – Fit for a Better World PHILIP GREGAN Philip Gregan

AS AN industry organisation, New Zealand Winegrowers is built on the premise that for businesses in our sector it makes sense, at times, to collaborate. That of course leads to the question of when and where to collaborate. For New Zealand Winegrowers (NZW) the answer to that question helps inform the scope and focus of our advocacy, marketing, research and sustainability activities. However, our industry is not an island, and the issues that we choose to collaborate on are also of interest to other parties. With collaboration part of our DNA, it makes sense to work with other parties where we have shared interests. As a result, NZW collaborates with a host of other organisations on issues of mutual interest. For example, on labour issues, we work very closely with Horticulture New Zealand, New Zealand Ethical Employers, Apples and Pears New Zealand, Summerfruit New Zealand, New Zealand Kiwifruit Growers and others. On New Zealand trade issues, NZW is a member of the New Zealand International Business Forum, and on global wine trade issues we work with colleague bodies in the United States, Australia, Canada, Chile, Argentina, South Africa, and others through the World Wine Trade Group, and at the International Organisation of

6   //

Vine and Wine. The list of our collaborations is long. One of the most recent and important collaborations is one launched in July 2020 by the Prime Minister: the food and fibre sector roadmap, Fit for a Better World – Accelerating our Economic Potential. The roadmap sets out three ambitious targets to achieve a more productive, sustainable, and inclusive economy within the next decade: • Productivity - adding $44 billion in primary sector export earnings over the next decade • Sustainability, reducing New Zealand’s biogenic methane emissions and restoring our freshwater environment to a healthy state • Lifting employment of Kiwis in the sector by 10,000 over the next four years and 10 percent by 2030. Helping oversee the strategy is the Food and Fibre Partnership Group (FFPG) which includes chairs and chief executives from across the primary sector, Māori agribusiness experts, and Government chief executives. From a wine perspective, Fit for a Better World (or as we say Fit for a Better Wine World) is a very important and positive strategic initiative. While led by the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI), it

NZ WINEGROWER  DECEMBER 2021/JANUARY 2022

provides a framework that is impacting thinking and decision-making across a broad section of Government including Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, Ministry for the Environment, and New Zealand Trade and Enterprise (their chief executives are all members of the FFPG). It also reflects strong input from the private sector. In the first year, significant progress has been made in bringing to life the aspirations driving Fit for a Better World. An update on progress was published mid-year which charts developments in the first year of the strategy (see fitforabetterworld.org.nz). There is a very strong strategic alignment between the initiative and the focus areas of our sector and NZW. While there are some areas that might not be of interest to our industry (biogenic methane being a stand out example) in general terms the issues of interest to our industry are central to strategy. A few examples highlight this: • Recently MPI has produced a report looking at the water issues facing the primary sector. This report, which is a direct output from Fit for a Better World, addresses one of the key issues facing our sector in the future; it makes a compelling read

(see mpi.govt.nz/wateravailability-and-security). • Growers and wineries will hopefully be aware of the proposed new Sauvignon Blanc grapevine improvement research programme. This is a major initiative for the sector and is designed to build resilience in the face of climate change – the strategic alignment with Fit for a Better World is clear. • Similarly, there is a major focus on workforce issues in the strategy. Labour availability and training are clearly key issues for our industry both short-term under Covid conditions with closed borders, and medium to long-term if the industry is to continue to produce high quality grapes and wine, and grow and prosper into the future. Fit for a Better World provides a framework for understanding and supporting clear labour strategies for the primary sector in the future. One year on, Fit for a Better World is starting to prove its real worth for our sector. As such, it is deserving of our ongoing support. From a grower and winery perspective, have a look at the Fit for a Better World strategy, and think about how you can bring its aspirations to life in your business.


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News Briefs

Horsing around

Saint Clair Winemakers Stewart Maclennan and Kyle Thompson. Photo Richard Briggs

Marlborough Wine Show THE WINES at the 2021 Marlborough Wine Show, sponsored by QuayConnect, were “exceptional” says Chief Judge Ben Glover. “The 2021 and 2020 wines were stunning. All the judges thought it was one of the best line-ups they have seen.” He says the Pinots out of 2020 were “just beautiful” and the 2021 Sauvignon Blancs were “out of this world.” Of the 18 trophies awarded, seven went to wines produced this year, including QuayConnect Champion Wine of the Show, which was awarded to Saint Clair’s Wairau Reserve Sauvignon Blanc 2021. The Saint Clair wine was also awarded the WineWorks Champion Sauvignon Blanc trophy.

CHURTON WINES are chomping at the bit to tackle climate change with Clydesdales. The small organic and family-owned Marlborough wine company has employed Xena and Gordon -in the care of French horse plough specialist Emma Rossignol - to manage the soils of its Waihopai Valley vineyard, in lieu of a diesel guzzling tractor. They’re at the tail end of a crowd funding campaign – closing on December 3 – to help raise the $55,000 they need to keep the grass guzzlers going. Sales and Marketing Manager Jack Weaver, whose parents Sam and Mandy Weaver founded Churton, says it is good for the grapes, good for the wine, and good for the environment as well. In a video on the initiative, Mandy says the family sees itself as guardians of the land “and it’s important we look after it”. That includes “always looking at how we can improve our footprint on the land”. To join the helpful herd in the Pledgeme campaign - with perks that range from a few bottles of wine to a Ploughman’s Package, with lunch and vineyard tours for 10 people and two Clydesdales - go to churtonwines.co.nz/pages/horse-power

Indevin buys Thornhill INDEVIN GROUP has purchased a 75 percent shareholding in Thornhill Horticultural Contracting, hard on the heels of its acquisition of Villa Maria Estate Limited in September. Duncan McFarlane, Chief Executive Indevin/Villa Maria, says Thornhill is recognised as an industry leader in labour supply, with a focus on development and training. “We Duncan McFarlane. know those that have worked with Photo Jim Tannock them have always been impressed by the quality of service, commitment and investment they make in their people.” Having highly skilled staff in specific areas that are important to the business is “crucial” in building ongoing growth opportunities and value for New Zealand wine, says Duncan. “It made sense, as one of New Zealand’s largest wine businesses, to invest in a business that is focussed on empowering people for the overall benefit of our industry.” Richard Bibby, who purchased the business in 2009, will move into a board role with Thornhill, with day to-day operations remaining in the hands of Nick Bibby, and Drew Bibby continuing to lead the New Zealand programmes with the Ministry of Social Development and Department of Corrections. Richard says Indevin Group and Thornhill are a great fit. “With Indevin and Villa Maria’s scale, our people will have exposure to more opportunities to move from seasonal roles to permanent positions within the business. This collaboration is a really good thing for the New Zealand wine industry as a whole.”

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NZ WINEGROWER  DECEMBER 2021/JANUARY 2022

Eat.Taste.Central IN 1881 Jean Desire Feraud won Central Otago’s first gold medal for wine in Sydney. And 140 years on, that milestone was marked by special wine tastings, tours of vineyards and a long lunch above the vines, during the Feraud 140 Weekend of Wine in early October. The celebration was a highlight of the annual Eat.Taste.Central (ETC) month-long celebration of food, wine and beverages across Central Otago, with more than 40 venues involved in the campaign, run by Tourism Central Otago and supported by MiNDFOOD magazine, Air New Zealand, Central Otago Winegrowers and the Central App. Te Kano Estate Vineyard’s cellar door in Bannockburn was voted best in the region in the ETC People’s Choice awards, while Carrick Winery and Restaurant won the ETC Judges Award for Chef or Cook (Gwen Harvie). The awards were announced at a long lunch held at The Canyon at Tarras Vineyards.

The Whole Bunch THE WHOLE Bunch Pinot Noir event to be held in Christchurch in February is not able to proceed, due to Covid-19 related restrictions and risks. Chair of the Pinot Noir NZ committee, Helen Masters, says planning for the event has been a great opportunity to tell the unique New Zealand Pinot Noir story. “When the time is right, we will create an inspirational New Zealand Pinot Noir event together.”


News Briefs

Aotearoa Regional Wine Competition THIS YEAR’S Aotearoa Regional Wine Competition formerly the New Zealand Aromatic Wine Competition - welcomed all varieties of wine and international wines. The competition is part of the New Zealand Agricultural Show run by the Canterbury A&P Association. Jim Harré, Chair of Judges, says the changes made to the show “are reflective of the re-emergence of the traditional concept of an A&P show – to showcase and highlight the best of produce”. Marlborough’s Spy Valley Wines, Envoy Johnson Vineyard Riesling 2015, was named as the Regional Champion of Champions Supreme Wine in Show. theshow.co.nz

Upping the ante on organics THERE’S BEEN a 300 percent increase in organic winegrowing in New Zealand over the past 10 years, according to the Organic Market Report 2021. “This growth is driven by passionate growers and winemakers who are enthusiastic about creating delectable wines and being good caretakers of their land,” says Jared White, audit manager of BioGro NZ and board member at Organic Winegrowers New Zealand There are 235 organic vineyards across 2,418 hectares, making up 6 percent of New Zealand’s 40,323 vineyard area. Marlborough’s 1167 organic hectares account for 48 percent of those organic vineyard plantings and 4 percent of the region’s total vineyard area, while Central Otago accounts for 22 percent of the national organic vineyard area, with a quarter of its 524 ha of producing vineyard certified organic. Hawke’s Bay has 282ha under organic management, 6 percent of its total area, and makes up 12 percent of New Zealand’s organic vineyard area, while the Wairarapa has 14 percent of its grape growing area certified organic, contributing 6 percent of the national tally. Pinot Noir plantings account for 37 percent of the organic area, followed by Sauvignon Blanc at 33 percent. Meanwhile, Organics Aotearoa New Zealand (AONZ) has released a strategy that aims to contribute a cumulative $4.7b to New Zealand’s GDP by 2030, while reducing climate and environmental pollution. “Growth in the organic sector is better growth for Aotearoa’s environment, the New Zealand economy and for New Zealanders,” says OANZ Chief Executive Viv Williams. “Our Taking Action for a Better New Zealand strategy focuses on extension services to support more growers to meet organic standards, alongside collaboration with regenerative growers and researchers to deliver the best of both worlds.” The reports can be found at biogro.co.nz and oanz.org

Joiy-ful BRINGING JOIY to the world just got easier, as one of New Zealand’s largest exporters of canned wine leaps into the North American market. Joiy Wines already produces more than 700,000 cans for five markets each year, and is the top-selling canned wine in Canada, on track to double its annual sales volume this year. Now the Wairarapa company has launched a multimillion expansion into the United States, after an approach by retail chain Wholefoods. Chris Archer, Joiy’s Winemaker and co-founder, says success in the US market could see Joiy’s production volumes increase to more than seven million units per annum. “I started out making wine at the age of 17 and I’m proud of how far

Fromm

Cath Hopkin and Chris Archer

we have come,” he says. “Joiy was all about making wine accessible to all people for all occasions, not restricting it to ‘on-the-table’ and the sometimes daunting prospect of opening a full standard bottle.” The international market for canned wines is growing at a rate of 13 percent per annum and is projected to reach over $807 million by 2028.

Sunshine in a can WHEN THE universe gave the Nelson region hailstorms, Tutū made cider. The Nelson cider brand owned by Māori food and drinks company Kono – made the most of the devastating storm that tore through the Motueka region on Boxing Day 2020, in an event that left thousands of export quality Fuji apples wasted on the ground and destined to be stock feed. Packaged into brightly labelled and convenient 330ml cans, Tutū Cider is just one of the Kono products that celebrates hihiritanga – or doing things better. “Hailstorms can turn apples into mush or into the world’s best cider and we opted for the latter,” says Tutū Cider spokesperson Rōpata Taylor. “Utilising rescue fruit from our orchard also feeds into our broader sustainability journey, which will see Tutū Cider and Kono be waste-free by 2028.”

NZ WINEGROWER  DECEMBER 2021/JANUARY 2022  //   9


Upcoming Events TO HAVE EVENTS ADDED

Tonnellerie de Mercurey Young Winemaker

TO OUR CALENDAR CONTACT SOPHIE@SOPHIEPREECE.CO.NZ

New dates have been set for the Tonnellerie de Mercurey Young Winemaker of the Year National Final, with the three regional winners geared up for the competition, which will be held in Central Otago on 3 February. The awards dinner will be held the same evening at The Canyon at Tarras Vineyard. To meet the three contestants, go to our Q&A on page 71.

3 February nzwine.com/young-winemaker

Run the Vines Toast Martinborough Toast Martinborough is a unique one-day multi-site event, with vineyards all offering wonderful wine, food and music choices throughout the day.

16 January

Join the starting line at Paritua Vineyard & Winery, at Bridge Pa, Hastings. Walk or run 5 kilometres, 10km or 15km around the vines, through Sileni Estates, Red Metal and Paritua Vineyards, before grabbing a medal and glass of Paritua wine.

5 February runthevines.co.nz

toastmartinborough.co.nz

Marlborough Wine & Food Festival

Bridge Pa Wine Festival Abbey Estate, Alpha Domus, Ash Ridge, Oak Estate, Paritua, RedMetal Vineyards and Sileni Wines will all host individual events, music, and food and wine matches on 22 January, making the Bridge Pa Wine Festival seven festivals in one. Participating wineries will be connected by hop on/hop off bus service. Please check the website for updates.

22 January

A celebration of Marlborough’s wine, people, food and landscapes, the Marlborough Wine & Food Festival is New Zealand’s longest-running wine and food festival. The 2022 festival will be held in the “heart of Marlborough wine country”, with a move from Brancott Vineyard to the Renwick Domain.

12 February marlboroughwinefestival.com

bridgepatriangle.nz

Young Viticulturist of the Year The Corteva Young Viticulturist of the Year National Final 2021 will be held at Indevin’s Bankhouse Estate in Marlborough on Thursday, 27 January. The National Final Awards Dinner will be held that evening at the Clubs of Marlborough in Blenheim.

27 January nzwine.com/young-vit

Hawke’s Bay Wine Car Boot Party Held as part of Summer F.A.W.C.! (28 January to 6 February) the Car Boot Party is back for a second year, more “souped-up” than ever. More than 35 Hawke’s Bay wineries will roll into the Waikoko Gardens and park up, ready to pour an amazing selection of the region’s finest wines.

28 January fawc.co.nz/events/attend/711453

Photo Kirsten Simcox

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NZ WINEGROWER  DECEMBER 2021/JANUARY 2022

Ripe – The Wanaka Wine and Food Festival Ripe is returning to Wanaka to celebrate the best wine and food from the finest growers and producers across Central Otago. “Ripe is all about celebrating Central Otago producers Photo Andy Woods and their intimate connection with the land, while offering tantalising experiences to satisfy everyone’s taste buds on the day,” says founder Nathan White. The 2022 event will feature 20 wineries, complemented by a selection of local food stalls and entertainment, with panoramic lake and mountain views from the festival’s new venue, Glendhu Station.

19 March ripewanaka.nz


Upcoming Events

New Zealand Wine Week IT’S MORE important than ever that New Zealand wine stays front of mind for trade and media around the world, says New Zealand Winegrowers General Manager Marketing Charlotte Read. The second annual New Zealand Wine Week – to be held from 7 to 11 February - will do just that, with a theme of ‘Bringing New Zealand to You’ in key export markets, she says. “The aim is to keep New Zealand in the global wine conversation, especially during this period of tight supply.” This year’s event will be a hybrid model, utilising digital platforms to bring New Zealand speakers to physical gatherings in the host countries, as well as webinar events to cast a wider net. Charlotte says the week provides

2022 Wine Week: Monday 31 January Dublin Trade Tastings Dublin Tuesday 8 February - Business of Wine in NZ - 2022 and Beyond - Webinar with The Buyer Wednesday 9 February New York and Toronto ‘Live’ Regional Interviews + Walk Around Tasting Wednesday 9 February - London Trade Tasting

a platform for the discussion and celebration of New Zealand wine across major export markets. “The passionate pursuit to making quality wine continues despite the

absence of visitors, and New Zealand Winegrowers are leading this initiative to share the latest happenings in the New Zealand wine scene to our major export markets.”

Thursday 10 February - Pinot Noir Webinar - a virtual masterclass for select trade and media in major export markets

NZ WINEGROWER  DECEMBER 2021/JANUARY 2022  //   11


The Marketing Place

The Marketing Place

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

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SINCE OUR last Marketing Place the New Zealand Winegrowers (NZW) Blind Tasting has become another casualty of Covid-19 postponements. However, we are full steam ahead on preparations for our second New Zealand Wine Week, coming up in February 2022. Themed ‘Bringing New Zealand to You’, we are excited to consolidate activities across our major export markets into this week, to amplify the noise from the New Zealand wine industry. Being able to run hybrid events, with a combination of virtual and physical in-market platforms, is an impactful way to share the New Zealand wine story in our key markets. Read more on page 11. We wish you a restful, happy holiday after a very challenging year, and look forward to bringing you more opportunities to strengthen and enhance the reputation of New Zealand wine in 2022. Charlotte Read is New Zealand Winegrowers General Manager Marketing

Made With Care NEW ZEALAND TRADE and Enterprise (NZTE) has confirmed they will continue their global food and beverage campaign, Made with Care, until June 2022. NZW has worked closely with NZTE to leverage the campaign in our key export markets to help drive awareness and preference for New Zealand wines. The campaign messaging - focussed on valuing people and looking after our land for future generations - perfectly aligns with the wine industry’s dedication to sustainability and ethical production. NZTE undertook consumer research in September to determine the effectiveness of the campaign, and confirmed the messaging is resonating well with consumers. Wine ranked as the most recognised food and beverage product from New Zealand, particularly in Australia and the United Kingdom. Check out the ‘How the Made with Care campaign can help your business’ webinar that NZW ran with NZTE in October by going to the webinar tab at nzwine.com/members/events

Climate Change Story Telling

Organic Wine Week

NZW HAS been virtually sharing our climate story - around our industry’s place in a low emissions future - with our major export markets. NZW Sustainability Advisor Tessa Chilala (pictured) presented to customers of a Washington wine store and at an Australian virtual drinks summit. Tessa provided context on NZW’s commitment to be carbon neutral by 2050 by discussing how the organisation is aligning climate thinking with global efforts, including the 2015 Paris Agreement. She outlined the industry-level response so far, with a focus on the development of the Sustainable Winegrowing New Zealand certification climate section, and initiatives to support carbon reduction across our industry. Tessa rounded off the presentation with stories from some wine industry climate champions, illustrating what climate excellence looks like on the ground in the New Zealand wine industry. NZW was also invited to participate in the virtual Tasting Climate Conference, taking place throughout November, which we will discuss in the next edition. tastingclimatechange.com/en/new-zealand-proactivetowards-climate-change/

NZW WAS delighted to work with Organic Winegrowers New Zealand (OWNZ) to celebrate Organic Wine Week from 20 to 25 September. A week’s worth of thought-provoking activities were conducted, including the hero webinar, ‘The Rise of Organic Wine in New Zealand’. This was a pre-recorded Zoom event and was broadcast across two time zones, with wine sample kits sent to participants in the United States, Canada and UK. Supporting events included two Instagram lives: Christina Pickard of Wine Enthusiast magazine in the US, and The Social Herbivore in Canada. In the UK, a walk around tasting in London was held with 73 organic wines available. The event was attended by a mix of trade, including independent wine merchants, sommeliers, and importers, as well as media with significant coverage received in The Financial Times and Jancis Robinson.com, and across social media. Media coverage from the week was seen in New Zealand, Canada, Japan, the UK and the US, reaching 13 million people and generating an equivalent advertising value of NZ$503,000.

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NZ WINEGROWER  DECEMBER 2021/JANUARY 2022


The Marketing Place

New Zealand wine in the US A NEW ZEALAND research project in the United States has provided rich information for companies wanting to know more about that key market. The collaboration between New Zealand Winegrowers (NZW) and New Zealand Trade and Enterprise (NZTE), conducted throughout 2021, was the first of its kind in the US and was an important part of New Zealand Winegrower’s Intel & Insights for member wineries, says NZW General Manager Marketing Charlotte Read. “Over the past year NZW and NZTE USA have put a lot of effort into aligning objectives and it’s so gratifying to see the results here of what was a shared need to provide wineries with richer information on the US wine market.” Last month Ranit Librach, NZW’s US Marketing Manager, Antonia Fattizzi, Business Growth Advisor at NZTE, and Kathy Byrd, NZTE North America Beachhead Advisor, presented the findings from the USA Research Project, which asked: • Who are New Zealand’s Sauvignon Blanc

New Zealand. Naturally. Held in Brooklyn, September 2019

customers in the United States? • What metro areas consume the highest volume of New Zealand wine? • What does sustainability mean to US consumers? • How does pricing of New Zealand’s Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Noir compare to that of its major competitors? Ranit says all New Zealand wineries looking to do business in the USA should watch the recording, which can be found on the members section of nzwine.com, “to learn the answers to these questions plus much more”.

NZTE also ran four sessions in their Coming to America webinar series, with its goal to help wineries on their journey in the USA. The first workshop series included Brand Strategy sessions, followed Distributor Management . Each session featured Antonia Fattizzi, along with a Beachhead Advisor. The recordings of these videos can be found at nzwine.com/coming-to-America For more information on these sessions, or questions on the US market in general, contact Ranit at ranit.librach@nzwine.com

A huge thank you to all our sponsors for making this competition possible

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The National Final has been rescheduled to Thursday 3 February 2022 and will take place at Amisfield Winery, Pisa Ranges, Central Otago. The Awards Dinner will be at The Canyon at Tarras Vineyard, Bendigo.

NZ WINEGROWER  DECEMBER 2021/JANUARY 2022  //   13


The Marketing Place

The Social Place

Tools for your Business

A socially savvy summer To wrap up The Social Place column for the year, we asked a few social butterflies for advice on platforms, payments, branding and navigating Covid-19 Maria Ottley, Marketing Coordinator at Akarua

What’s key to developing a great social presence for your company? One key element would certainly be to define your brand identity from the outset and ensure you are always planning and posting with this in mind. Who are you? What is your story? What sets you apart from your competition? Wine consumers connect to real life stories, the nitty gritty, and what goes on behind the scenes. So for us, communicating more than just our finished product is key to our strategy. Once a brand identity is known and its core values can be considered, it’s a matter of committing time, setting realistic goals, and ensuring relevant, quality content to keep your followers

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engaged and loyal to the brand. Whilst one person may manage a brand’s presence on social media, it is a team effort to ensure the content needed keeps flowing and is in line with the identity of the brand. We are super fortunate here at Akarua that our wonderful viticulture, winemaking and marketing teams send updates from the front line, meaning we always know what’s happening across our sites, even when we are behind our laptops in the office.

Stephanie McIntyre, digital and communications specialist, Outré Ltd

Do you have a top tip for social connection? Social media remains one of the most cost-effective

NZ WINEGROWER  DECEMBER 2021/JANUARY 2022

forms of communicating with consumers, trade, and media alike. But it is a fickle mistress. No longer is it a free platform and no longer does it play fairly (if you want significant growth). Meaning, to get cutthrough today on any platform, we need to keep on top of trends and algorithms and be willing to back posts with some dollars. My top tip for social media is to refuse to be everything to everyone. Pick one or two platforms that best align with your target audience and do it well. Consistency is everything - commit to a post style, tone, and frequency and be sure to engage with your followers and fellow platform users regularly. Setting KPIs and understanding your target audience is critical and will guide you in determining which channel(s) you utilise, and your aesthetic. Spending quality time on a social media strategy is important as the reach of organic posts is intrinsically linked with your account’s engagement rates. Do you need to invest for success? Yes. At least a bit anyway! Nothing (other than my captivating smile!) is for free anymore and social media

evolved years ago from a family photo album to a business entity. Luckily, it is still costeffective as its reach is wide and far (2.85 billion monthly active users on Facebook and 1 billion monthly users on Instagram). But as a business there is a cost to being on these platforms, with Mr Zuckerberg charging us for ‘accessing his database’. The more you pay, the more your posts will be seen and, unfortunately, if you don’t pay, both Facebook and Instagram’s algorithms will drop your posts down in the feed or even remove them entirely. But, as long as your goal isn’t to double your followers each month, this doesn’t mean you need to spend your inheritance. Let’s be honest, if we didn’t want to see our follower numbers and interactions increase, we wouldn’t have opened a social media account. So to ensure your numbers don’t slide backwards, the odd boost or advert will keep the platform owners sweet. Today, over 3 million businesses advertise on Facebook. It is a game we have to play sadly, but it’s not too daunting. I read recently that $10 will get you in front of 1,000 people. That’s pretty good bang for buck really!


The Marketing Place

Sarah Rowley Adams, Communications and Digital Advisor at New Zealand Winegrowers

What’s the best way to manage your time on social media? Everyone who has used social media knows it is a black hole for your spare time. It’s worth investing in scheduling software and creating a posting calendar. Whether you want plan months ahead or write the post a few days before, scheduling posts in advance

“It’s also a good idea to have a way to save content ideas.” Sarah Rowley Adams saves you mental energy. It also gives you the ability to schedule at the best times for your account, even if they are late evening or early morning. I like to schedule a post for every second day, a fortnight in advance, leaving room for more reactive content. Setting a routine for checking your work social media in your workday is another way to save time. First thing in the morning works best for me. Ten minutes, when used

productively, is enough to catch up on the previous day’s posts, like and comment on a few things and ensures our account stays engaged with its followers. It’s also a good idea to have a way to save content ideas. Inspiration strikes at inconvenient times, and it’s great to have a list of ideas the next time you’ve got creatorsblock. I save posts into a folder on my browser or directly on the platform if it’s while I’m scrolling. A notebook, digital or real, would also do the same job.

Angela Wilson, Marketing Manager at Rose Family Estate

How has Covid-19 changed the way you approach social media? Covid has changed life in everyone’s sphere. The last two years, in my opinion, have seen the biggest change in how consumers shop and search for wine in the 30 years I have been in the industry. Have we changed how we approach social? Not really – however, the social media world has got busier and noisier, and because of this (and new laws on privacy) it’s harder to reach our people. What I would say is it’s more important than ever that the presence you have must be real and represent who you are and what you stand for. And always, always be putting your customers’ shoes on to see what the world looks like from their eyes.

NZ WINEGROWER  DECEMBER 2021/JANUARY 2022  //   15


NZW Fellow

NZW’s 2021 Fellows

From making strides in wine governance to adding sparkle to New Zealand’s wine industry, John Clarke, Steve Smith MW, Andy Frost, Rudi Bauer, and Daniel and Adele Le Brun have made an outstanding contribution. The New Zealand Winegrowers (NZW) Fellows for 2021 have all worked over many decades for the “betterment of the wine industry”, says NZW Chief Executive Philip Gregan. Steve Smith – for service to NZW, WINZ and other initiatives WILD BILLY McRae was known for bootlegged whiskey out of Southland, with Hokonui Moonshine said to compare with Scotland’s best. Fast forward a century or so, and one of Billy’s descendants is known for fine wines instead, with a 40-year legacy in New Zealand’s wine industr y. “I like to be challenged by things,” says Steve Smith MW, perhaps sharing a trait with his notorious ancestor. “My natural instinct is not to do things the way everyone else has done them.” Steve was the first viticulturist in the world to become a Master of Wine, co- founded and steered Craggy Range for 16 years, and launched Smith & Sheth with United States billionaire and environmental philanthropist Brian Sheth five years ago. A

year later, the duo – passionate about forging extraordinary wines from extraordinary places – purchased the iconic Pyramid Valley followed by Lowburn Ferry. “As I was finishing up at Craggy I thought about ‘what is it I want to feel like as an 80 year old?’” Steve says. “I decided that having the opportunity to be a curator of properties like Pyramid Valley and Lowburn with Brian, and to create something pretty special - truly focussed on the fine wine space in New Zealand - really drives me.” It’s a realm that deserves far more respect, “and I spent my career trying to do that”. That career has been punctuated by the influence of mentors, starting when he was 17 years old, and shelved dreams of being an architect too costly for the boy from rural

Steve Smith MW

Canterbury - instead doing an internship at the Ruakura Research Centre in Hamilton, which had just started looking at phylloxera in grapevines. While there, he met Richard Smart, who’d been appointed as Viticultural Research Scientist

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NZ WINEGROWER  DECEMBER 2021/JANUARY 2022


NZW Fellow

became Richard’s Viticultural Technical Officer, working “side by side” with his mentor for nearly eight years. “It was like doing a PhD every day.” The work they did in the 1980s came from Richard’s desire to upgrade the New Zealand vineyard, says Steve, “I was lucky enough to be the one to try and make it work, because he was the mad scientist. There’s a little bit of the mad scientist in me too, so I really embraced that.” After a six month stint in Napa, Steve decided it was time to take a commercial route. Becoming Villa Maria’s viticulturist while George Fistonich was grappling with receivership turned out to be a brilliant choice. “He was another incredibly influential person,” says Steve. “If you ever want to learn about business, go into an entrepreneurial business like George’s, with zero money.” If you were energetic and interested, you could get involved in all facets of the business, says Steve, who dipped into the winemaking side, and also learned about marketing and brand. If working with Richard Smart was akin to a viticulture PhD, then time with Steve Bridges, who was rebranding Villa Maria, was like a marketing one, while George gave him the equivalent of an MBA, says Steve. “It was a really influential

10 years of my life.” In 1995 Steve started work towards a Master of Wine, having decided “the entrepreneurial side of wine was my gig”. The next year he added MW to his name and found doors opening as a result. “The wine world was ready to hear of a different view…through the lens of a viticulturist who loves marketing and wines.” If working with Villa Maria held plenty of challenge and opportunity, so did working with Terry Peabody, who called on Steve to partner in the establishment of Craggy Range in 1998. The vision was to create one of the world’s great wine estates within a generation, and to have wines served in the great restaurants of the world, says Steve, who was given a lot of freedom to forge the business and brand platform for Craggy Range, as a producer of single vineyard wines from the Gimblett Gravels and Te Muna Road in Martinborough. “It was a really significant investment and it was the first business I had ever run, which used to scare the hell out of me from time to time.” It was a “fantastic” 16 years, he says. “We created, I think, something pretty special.” But at the end of it, as Steve stepped back and the family took greater ownership of

the company, he thought he Canterbury and Lowburn Ferry was likely done with the wine in Central Otago, and developed industry. He became Chancellor their Omahu vineyard in the of Lincoln University in 2017, Gimblett Gravels for Smith & helped establish Fit for a Better Sheth, with all three brands World with the Aotearoa New under umbrella company Zealand Agriculture, Food and Aotearoa New Zealand Fine Fibres Sector, and was Chair of Wine Estates (AONZ). the Sustainable Food and Fibres Steve describes Pyramid Future Fund. Valley as a “mesmerising Being outside of wine made property from an aesthetic him realise how special the point of view”, that’s even industry was. “Special because more exciting when seen it captures everything I love. I through a viticulture and also realised I had built a whole wine lens. “There’s something lot of relationships,” he says, there and you see it in the talking of growers and winemakers he’s known for decades, sommeliers “There’s a little bit of he’s forged friendships the mad scientist in with, and partners in the me too, so I really United Kingdom. “The wine industry is full of embraced that.” extremely good people.” Steve Smith MW Over several glasses of wine, he and Brian Sheth decided to build a partnership - Smith & Sheth wines.” The Lowburn and - to recreate the British wine Omahu vineyards are equally merchant model for New as special, he says, describing Zealand wine. That’s allowed the work done at both as edgy Steve to tap into relationships and highly detailed. “These he’s cherished throughout his three properties are, to my career, and revisit “wonderful eye, amongst the world’s old properties” he respects, like finest Chardonnay, Pinot Noir the vineyard of Chris Howell, and Syrah estates. Our vision which he helped plant when he is to capture that potential, was at Villa Maria. “Now he has producing fine wines through nearly 30-year-old Chardonnay the lens of nature that can vines and 25-year-old Cabernet only come from these places, Franc vines.” and have fun doing it. And that The duo then bought right there is my wine purpose Pyramid Valley in North for the rest of my life.”

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NZW Fellow

John Clarke - for service to NZW and NZGGC SOPHIE PREECE

DRIVING A tractor up and down a vineyard gives you plenty of time to think, says Gisborne grape grower John Clarke, who’s put that time to good use during 30 years of governance. John helped represent New Zealand’s wine industry throughout periods of major change, including geographical diversification, growing exports, and the “intense” time of Covid-19. “It’s easy to be wise afterwards. But when I think back to March 2020 it was huge,” says the 2021 New Zealand Winegrowers (NZW) Fellow, recognised for his service to NZW and the New Zealand Grape Growers Council (NZGGC). Following 12 years as G i s b o r n e M ay o r, Jo h n became President of Gisborne Winegrowers. Five years into that term, in 2007, he joined the executive committee of the NZGGC, of which he was President for the last two years of a seven-year commitment.

get new people into governance then some of us needed to get out.” T h e l a s t p e r i o d wa s “intense”, John says, with Zoom meetings in lieu of a board table, as the wine industry grappled with running vintage as an essential service during a Covid Alert Level 4 lockdown. He recalls two or three phone calls a day with NZW Chief Executive Philip Gregan as the wine regions – and particularly Marlborough – managed the complicated business of a Covid harvest. “By and large” the industry did a great job adjusting their businesses to comply with regulations, “so grapes could be harvested and wine could be made”, he says. Beyond the hard work from individual industry players, “that was part of a huge effort from the NZW team to get information out”, he adds, crediting the wine industry for adapting swiftly, while other primary producers grappled with the challenge. John grew up on a farm in Gisborne, and returned to the region after “When I think back studying agriculture to March 2020 it was at Lincoln, and working five years huge.” John Clarke on farms around the country. He and his wife Barbara He was an alternate member bought a 25-hectare farm in of the NZW board from 2007, 1972, grazing cattle on the becoming a full board member hills and planting crops on in 2012 and Deputy Chair from the flats, until the potential 2013 to 2018, while also Chair of a permanent vineyard crop of the Advocacy Committee. caught his attention. John became NZW Chair John planted his first 4ha in 2018, before stepping down of Müller-Thurgau in 1982, from the board in 2020. “I choosing potted grafted vines decided at that point of time it in lieu of the phylloxerawas time to give that side of the vulnerable sticks being planted world a miss,” he says. “I had by most, “which was a bit of a done my time and I was of the new experience, planting those view that if we were going to in a stinking hot summer”.

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NZ WINEGROWER  DECEMBER 2021/JANUARY 2022

John Clarke

Gisborne was growing as a wine region, with Montana, Corbans and Cooks all in place, and the Clarkes grew for Nobilo, “on a drive to expand their area of Müller-Thurgau”. The vines thrived in the deep Gisborne soils. “The first decent crop we had off the 4ha was 40 tonnes to the hectare, which I think contributed a hell of a lot to what happened then”, he says, referring to the “famous or infamous” vine-pull of 1985, “when the industry got a little bit ahead of itself”. That was “a challenge”, he admits, but unlike many around them, the Clarkes didn’t choose to take the money and pull their vines to replant. Instead, they sold the fruit (“more or less gave it away”) at $250 per tonne, riding out the storm. Then an actual storm hit, with Cyclone Bola tearing through Gisborne in 1988, leaving their vineyard damaged by silt, while their home was written off. In 1989, with a growing vineyard, a new house build, and four young children at home, John satisfied the

“governance gene” lurking within him, becoming Mayor at “a satisfying time to be in local government”, he says, 32 years on. “I wouldn’t want to do it now.” When the mayoralty role ended in 2001, the Clarkes began switching all their vines to Chardonnay, and these days the home vineyard, and an expansion across the road, are dominated by that variety, alongside a small amount of Gewürztraminer. There’ve been plenty of other changes, with Gisborne now a small portion of the New Zealand wine package, and increasing land competition from kiwifruit and apples in the region. Meanwhile, John remains trustee of the Bragato Trust, the Chair of Trust Tairāwhita and a member of several other Gisborne boards, including one for a group of Kiwifruit investors. “Although, I’m conscious that it’s probably time to be spending a little bit less time on the tractor thinking about governance, and more downtime with our eight grandchildren.”


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NZW Fellow

Andy Frost – for service to national research SOPHIE PREECE

ANDY FROST has spent nearly 40 years weaving science and research into the practical business of growing and making wine, with groundbreaking consequences for the wine industry. “The term I have come to really like is ‘the pursuit of technical excellence’,” says the 2021 New Zealand Winegrowers fellow, whose work with Montana and then Pernod Ricard saw him play an integral role in wine research, including the multimillion-dollar Sauvignon Blanc programme that transformed the industry’s understanding of its key export variety. The project “laid the foundation for New Zealand’s reputation as having expertise with scientific knowledge, as well as expertise in growing the grapes and making the wine”, he says. Andy was also involved in the more recent Pinot Noir project - Breaking the quality-

Falcon Conservation Trust and long-time member of the Marlborough Biodiversity Forum. That illustrious and industrious wine journey began in 1982, when the justgraduated plant-ecologist applied for a role as trainee winemaker with Montana in Marlborough, where grapes were still pretty thin on the ground. He swatted up on cool climate winemaking, got the job, and within six years was responsible for the company’s sparkling wines, including the beginning of a “wonderful” association with Deutz. Andy also oversaw the development of Brancott’s ‘Letter’ series of wines and produced a trophy-winning Chardonnay from handharvested and whole bunch pressed grapes, after lobbying for the chance to do so. By the early 1990s Andy was Senior Winemaker in Marlborough, “I got a thrill out of responsible for a engaging with the big chunk of New Zealand’s leading best people.” wine export, Andy Frost Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc. productivity seesaw in wine Then in 1997, he was awarded grape production - was a White Winemaker of the Year lead science adviser for the at the International Wine scientific and technical research Challenge in London. programme in the New Zealand In 2001, Andy became Lighter Wines initiative, and Montana’s Research and spent a decade on both the Development and Technical New Zealand Winegrowers Services Manager, as the research committee and the company took a science-based Marlborough Research Centre approach to doing better, board. His drive for better wine allowing him to indulge a science saw him involved in the passion for using knowledge design of the Bragato Research to grow opportunities. Institute research winery and He ’s g ra te f u l to h i s its custom-design micro- “wonderful wife” Bev and fermentation tanks. Meanwhile three kids, who accepted Andy’s passion for conservation that he’d disappear for nearly is at play in the vines as well, four months of every year, as Chair of the Marlborough either through vintage or

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NZ WINEGROWER  DECEMBER 2021/JANUARY 2022

Andy Frost

international travel. He’s also “extremely grateful” that Montana, and then Pernod Ricard, adopted an “incredibly generous” approach to research, yielding gains for the company and the wider industry. During the Sauvignon Blanc Project, Pernod Ricard had the “foresight” to realise the research provided a valuable foundation that they could build on, extending the trials and results to grow the company’s understanding, giving them the ability to “dial up and down” flavour in Sauvignon Blanc naturally, says Andy. That came down to tapping into Marlborough’s natural attributes, the impact of viticultural management, the relationship between machine or hand harvesting and thiols, and the importance of yeast management. “We developed an understanding of those four areas and that put Pernod into a highly recognised leadership role in New Zealand and around the world,” he says. Research is expensive, but it’s also an investment, “and you have to think carefully

in advance and engage with people beyond your own circles”, Andy says. “Whatever you do, you will never employ all the brightest people. If you want to do the best, you have to be partnering with the best.” An open mind has been key to the success of New Zealand’s research programmes, along with research relationships around the world, he says. “I got a thrill out of engaging with the best people.” Andy left Pernod Ricard in late 2019, and these days consults to wine companies with a research focus, while spending more time indulging his love of conservation, including on the falcon trust, which breeds and rehabilitates kārearea. Ask Andy his favourite wine, and you’ll likely hear more about what the land was like, how it was managed, and how a conversation with a winemaker he respects revealed all the things they’d like to try next time to make it better. “That is the wine I most enjoy, because it’s about the people and the knowledge and how they bring that together.”


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NZW Fellow

Daniel and Adele Le Brun - For service to New Zealand bottle fermented sparkling wine KAT PICKFORD

WHEN DANIEL Le Brun first visited Marlborough in 1978, he was “immediately convinced” the region had the potential for great wine. Daniel hails from a long line of winemakers in the Champagne district in France, where his family has been growing grapes since 1684 and making Champagne since 1791. As a young Champagne maker, however, Daniel was frustrated with France’s strict regulations and lack of opportunity, so made the decision to visit friends in New Zealand and check out the winemaking scene down under. He was less than impressed with the first New Zealand wine he tasted in Thames, but after hearing that Montana had planted three vineyard blocks in Marlborough, he travelled down in the summer of 1978. “I was immediately convinced this was the place to be. The soil and the climate reminded me of Champagne in the best vintage years, yet it happens every year here in Marlborough,” Daniel says. “There was no winery infrastructure back then, just bare paddocks with almost desert-like conditions, not a blade of green grass to be seen, just a few dusty sheep and that

was about it.” He set about collecting vine cuttings from vineyards in the North Island, sticking to what he knew from his homeland Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Pinot Meunier – the classic Champagne varieties. After selling some of his vineyards in Champagne, Daniel arrived in Marlborough in September 1980, followed in October by his wife Adele, four-month-old daughter Virginie, two dogs and 50,000 cuttings, which had to be put in cool storage until suitable land was found to plant. The couple bought a site in Renwick for a winery (where Mahi is today) and 12 hectares along State Highway 6 for a vineyard. They then worked furiously to get the vines in the ground in time, says Adele, who remembers pushing baby Virginie along in the buggy in front of her as they worked. They began building the winery in 1983, something the Rural Bank was not so keen to provide capital for, Adele says. “They were very skeptical about grapes and the future of the wine industry in Marlborough.” With his traditional approach to viticulture and winemaking, including close planting, developing an underground

Adele and Daniel Le Brun. Photo Jim Tannock

cellar and planting varieties such as Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier, Daniel soon made a name for himself as the “mad Frenchman”. He took on a second job, developing and managing vineyards for absentee owners, to earn some income while they waited for the day they could release their first wines. That day finally came in 1985, when the Speaker of the House of Representatives and renowned wine buff, Jonathan Hunt, opened their first bottle of wine in the time honoured tradition of sabrage, in front of a party of over 200 guests. The next challenge was

convincing New Zealanders to buy $18 bottles of wine, rather than $3 bottles. “New Zealanders didn’t drink much Champagne back then,” Adele says. “After visiting the Champagne district in France and learning about the process and the time and work that goes into a bottle of Méthode Traditionelle, I realised we needed to educate people so they could understand the tradition and process behind the wine and that what they were buying was a quality product.” That quality also spoke for itself. The first wine, a classic blend NV, was followed by the 1985 vintage Blanc de Blancs,

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NZ WINEGROWER  DECEMBER 2021/JANUARY 2022


NZW Fellow

which caught the eye of the top wine judge in the country. He implored people to “sell their dog and mortgage the house” to buy a case. Two days later they had sold all 1,000 cases. This came despite a series of events that threatened to derail their business. On July 10, 1985, just before the release of their first wine, the flagship of the Greenpeace fleet, Rainbow Warrior, was bombed by a branch of the French foreign intelligence service. As the only French winemaker in New Zealand at the time, the family faced a backlash, Adele says. “On a trip to Wellington on Bastille Day we were called terrorists, a lasting memory for our daughter Virginie, who was five at the time. There were reports of people pouring Bollinger and other Champagnes down the drain in Auckland. The timing couldn’t have been worse, but we managed to turn it around by calling our Méthode

Traditionelle, ‘New Zealand’s Champagne’, and encouraging people to buy it.” In the 1980s, times were tough after the radical economic reform and deregulation of Rogernomics caused mass unemployment and interest rates to rise up to 23 percent. At the same time, investors flooded the newly deregulated sharemarket and fortunes were made. Then on October 20, 1987, the Black Tuesday stock market crash changed everything. “From the economic downturn due to Rogernomics and the stock market crash in 1987, to phylloxera and the global financial crisis in 2009, we’ve dealt with many outside forces that have put the business in jeopardy,” Adele says. “We are now facing the coronavirus pandemic and are fortunate to have our past learnings to draw on.” The family business has been through some financially

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shaky times, down to 30 percent ownership at one point after having to sell shares in the business to free up capital. In 1987 they formed a partnership with Regal Salmon and its managing director at the time, Terry Shagin, who remains a dear friend to this day, Adele says. “We have worked our way

after the bombing of the Rainbow Warrior, for which he was awarded the New Zealand equivalent of a knighthood, the Chevalier Order of Merit for services to France in 1997. In 2006 he was awarded the Chevalier order of Agricole, for services to viticulture. The original wine brand

“There was no winery infrastructure back then, just bare paddocks with almost desert-like conditions.” Daniel Le Brun back up and No.1 Family Estate is 100 percent family owned, which is something we’re very proud of.” There have been some massive highlights over the past 40 years as well. Daniel was recognised by the French Government for his diplomacy work in helping to restore French-New Zealand relations

Daniel Le Brun was sold in 1996 and is now owned by Lion Nathan. Launched on Bastille Day 1999, the family established its current brand, No 1 Family Estate, in recognition of the many ‘firsts’ in New Zealand wine they had achieved. This story ran in Winepress in December 2020 and is republished with permission from Wine Marlborough.

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NZ WINEGROWER  DECEMBER 2021/JANUARY 2022  //   23


NZW Fellow

Rudi Bauer for service to New Zealand Pinot Noir SOPHIE PREECE

A FEW months after landing in New Zealand in 1985, Rudi Bauer felt disconnected and alone, homesick for the culture of Austria. But after a period of “whinging and whining”, the 25-year-old winemaker decided it was his responsibility to adapt, and to offer “new thinking” to New Zealand’s wine story. “You have the choice of, ‘dig yourself a hole and go home’, or ‘be a part of creating history’.” Nearly four decades on, the founder of Quartz Reef has made an extraordinary contribution to his adopted nation, having pioneered the Bendigo subregion, helped forge a reputation for Central Otago wines, and nurtured conversations about Pinot Noir, Central Otago, organic viticulture, and the place of winegrowing in New Zealand culture. Rudi grew up with a farming family outside of Salzburg, and moved to wine country outside Vienna when he was 15. He considered horticulture, viticulture, floriculture and market gardening as career options, and – luckily for New Zealand and its Pinot Noir chose wine. When he arrived at Mission Estate in 1985, New Zealand’s

modern wine story was just beginning, with its Sauvignon Blanc “discovered” in the United Kingdom, along with producers like Hunter’s and Cloudy Bay. “So, I was really just lucky enough to be at the beginning of New Zealand in this extraordinary growing phase,” he says. A six month job at Mission ex tended to four years as assistant winemaker, interspersed with vintages in California and Oregon, which whet his appetite for Pinot production. In 1989, Rudi moved to Central Otago to work with Rolfe Mills at Rippon Vineyard, one of just six wineries across the region back then, “and I effectively grew up with the community,” he says. In 1990 he helped Rolfe transition Rippon to organics, and in 1991 made the region’s first gold and trophy Pinot Noir. The same year, Rudi and his wife Suellen Boag found a hillside paddock on Bendigo Station, in an area once hallowed for the gold-bearing quartz reef that would give their wine its name. In the years since, Bendigo has “grown tremendously” and is now deemed an important subregion, responsible

Rudi Bauer

for a quarter of Central’s production. But back then there was nothing planted in the Cromwell Basin, “there was no Lake Dunstan yet, and I could visualise this land to be one day a vineyard,” Rudi says. He was inspired by 15 hectares of steep slope running in one north-facing stretch, “which you don’t see that often,” and could see the “end goal” of Quartz Reef, “but how to get there, I didn’t know.” He formed a partnership with John and Heather Perriam of Bendigo Station and Champagne-raised Clothilde Chauvet, then delved into the detail, working to understand the soils (arid clay, fine gravel and quartz) and find water,

then bring in 2km of power to access it. “Then the question of what variety? What rootstock? That all followed through after the first impulse.” The further they got in, the further he realised that this land “ticked the boxes and the action got clearer.” Rudi didn’t want to be blinkered by experience, so took his learnings from vintages in Austria, Germany, France, California and Oregon, and adapted them to the unique soils and climate of the site. “Not to copy something, but in actual fact to translate what it means for that land in Bendigo,” he says, comparing the philosophy to his own adaption – and translation -

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NZ WINEGROWER  DECEMBER 2021/JANUARY 2022


NZW Fellow

to New Zealand. He was Winemaker at Giesen Estate in Nor th Canterbury from 1993 to 1997, and in 1998 started planting Quartz Reef, with the first harvest in 2001. By 2004 the vineyard had expanded to 30ha, “which was not the plan,” says Rudi. But the more he learned about the property the more it gave. He is still learning, with the vineyard site much better than he ever expected, and also far more complicated. “There is still a lot to be understood to really express what I call the best definition of Pinot in your class.” From the star t, Rudi wanted a “plan B”, with Pinot Noir unproven in the region, so he leaned on the variety’s “flexibility” to make a safety net of Sparkling Wine, calling on expertise from Clothilde, and from winemaker James Healy, then at Cloudy Bay. A few decades on, Quartz Reef’s

Sparkling Wines are far more than a B-Plan, as the largest premium producer of handcrafted organic and biodynamic Méthode Traditionnelle in New Zealand. In 1999 Rudi was made Champion Winemaker of the Year by the Royal Society of New Zealand, an accolade repeated in 2010, the year he was also the first New Zealand ‘ Winemaker of the Year’ nominee in Der Feinschmecker Wine Awards. In 2019 he took out the Gourmet Traveller Wine New Zealand Leadership Award, and was recently named a 2021 New Zealand Winegrower Fellow for his services to Pinot Noir. Rudi and Alan Brady helped drive the first Central Otago Pinot Noir Celebration in 2000, after the inaugural International Pinot Noir Celebration was postponed, “and I just couldn’t bear it”, he says. The celebration is still

“very important for us as a region”, as is supporting the national celebration, which was postponed last year due to Covid-19. He’s also been a voice for organics since 2007, when Quartz Reef became biodynamic, after several years of planning. “It is a challenging, difficult site and I was very scared I would fail, so it took me a long time to make the call.” Weed control on the rocky steep site is still the biggest challenge, but the decision was the right one, he says, talking of a landowner’s responsibility to look after the land, “in the small lifespan we have,” and improving soil quality and soil health in order to pass it on to the next generation in better shape. It was also the best call for the wines, with Pinot Noir served better by a biodynamic philosophy, Rudi says. “I get a far more distinctive definition of a Quartz Reef single site

Pinot in the glass.” The region’s wine industry is now a balance between the pioneers, who started at 25 and are now in their 60s, and “the young ones” stepping up. “I think generational change is now in motion,” Rudi notes, with many senior winemakers ensuring they “pass on the torch” to the next generation. “Not only leading from an environmental and organic point of view, but from a quality point of view.” Meanwhile, Central Otago’s portfolio is getting stronger, with Chardonnay garnering more attention, and Riesling, Sparkling Wine, Gr üner Veltliner, Pinot Blanc and Pinot Gris increasingly important. “The menu is getting bigger which is kind of nice,” Rudi says, noting that each producer is growing their understanding of what works best for them. “That makes the tapestry more colourful.”

NZ WINEGROWER  DECEMBER 2021/JANUARY 2022  //   25


The Focus Pandemic 2022 Vintage preparation Pg 27

Inexperience Counts Marlborough cellar staff Pg 31

Pick Me!

Central’s attraction campaign Pg 34


The Focus

Pandemic planning

Planning for vintage in a sea of uncertainty SOPHIE PREECE

LABOUR SUPPLY is the most pressing issue facing New Zealand’s wine industry in the lead-up to the 2022 vintage. And with no “redundancy” in the labour pool, the risk of Covid-19 is a real and present danger to harvest, says New Zealand Winegrowers (NZW) Chief Executive Philip Gregan. L ess than a third of Marlb orou g h’s s eas onal labour for vintage 2022 had been recruited by midOctober, which is roughly half the required workforce. The Marlborough Seasonal Labour Update completed in October (see page 31) shows a shortfall of approximately 740 seasonal winery workers, with vacancies eight percent higher than October 2020. Of the staff that are signed up, around a third have no winery experience, while 30 percent have just one vintage behind them. Those ratios are likely to get worse as recruitment continues in a tight labour market, says Wine Marlborough Advocacy Manager Nicci Armour. “We just don’t have the experienced people in the country.”

Philip says the labour shortage heading into vintage is just the beginning, with the pandemic ready to foil the best laid plans. “Covid might not be in your region now, but it’s going to be,” he says. “Coming up to vintage, where time-critical work needs to be conducted, the question is, ‘what happens – how do you operate your business – if staff members get Covid in the lead-up to, or during the course of, vintage?’ Everybody has to be thinking about and planning for this eventuality… That’s why getting people vaccinated is critically important.” C loudy Bay Technical Director Jim White says hand picking will be “the first cab off the rank” when it comes to vintage challenges, with the company planning for 1,000 tonnes in Marlborough and 100 tonnes or more in Central Otago. Hundreds of backpackers have traditionally applied for harvest jobs in Central, compared to the handful opting in this year, he says. Consequently, contractors have asked whether Cloudy

Jim White

Bay would consider machine picking blocks traditionally handpicked, “which is not something we want to do, for stylistic or quality purposes”, Jim says. “We will have to adapt to that as it plays out.” Australia’s open borders mean the company is losing some of its full-time Marlborough winery staff to roles across the Tasman, but Cloudy Bay is in a good position for vintage, Jim says. The crew includes a group of “Covid refugees” who worked the 2020 vintage at Cloudy Bay

and have been kept on by the company ever since, in a mix of vineyard and production roles in Marlborough and in Central Otago. The decision to keep them on was made on humanitarian grounds, when they were unable to travel home, but having experienced staff for the third straight vintage is a boon for the company, he says. Cloudy Bay also deploys bottling line staff to the cellar Photo on left, Dog Point Vineyard Winemaker Murray Cook. Photo Jim Tannock

Worldwide demand for New Zealand wine INTERNATIONAL DEMAND for New Zealand wine shows no sign of slowing, with export value reaching $599 million in the first quarter of the new export year, up nine percent on the previous year. The demand for New Zealand wine is also reflected in an increase in price per litre, with the September quarter 2021 average value up four percent from September 2020. “The ongoing demand for New

Zealand wine has proven that the distinctive f lavours, quality and sustainability of our wines increasingly resonate with consumers around the world,” says Ne w Z ealand Winegrowers Chief Executive Philip Gregan. “It is encouraging to see that during these uncertain times, consumers continue to choose a premium product they know that they can trust.” However, low yields

in the 2021 vintage, down 19 percent on 2020’s crop, are reflected in the three percent decrease in volume of exports in the year to September 2021. “Successfully managing the market impacts of the resulting supply constraints is a key focus for many in the New Zealand wine industry,” says Philip. “Wineries are having to make tough decisions over who they can supply in their key markets.”

NZ WINEGROWER  DECEMBER 2021/JANUARY 2022  //   27


The Focus

for vintage and is looking to train vineyard staff – some of whom have changed from careers like travel – for winery operations after machine harvesting wraps up. “That’s advantageous for us, but will also provide some really good development and training opportunities for our staff.” The company is looking outside the box across the board, Jim says. “We did that for vintage 2020 and 2021, so 2022 will be an extension of that.” Meanwhile, they are also preparing for Covid curveballs, and ready to put deep clean protocols, testing regimes and bubbles in place, he says. “We know the vaccination status of most of our staff, which gives us a great deal of confidence.” Giesen has done most of its recruiting for vintage 2022, and is in “a pretty good position”, says Chief Winemaker Duncan Shouler. “It has been a challenge, same as last year, but we’ve been successful in recruiting from outside the wine industry – people with practical skills who are willing to get stuck in.” The winery’s “highly experienced” full-time cellar crew will be key, he adds. “With less experience in our vintage cellar team, the supervision from our full-time crew becomes vital.” When it comes to the Covid risks to vintage, he says they’ll be prepared, with the ability to change rapidly and keep their people safe. Being “adaptable” in the approach to operations has been a key Covid learning, he says. “Having to change regularly is not a new thing with regards to vintage, but Covid has brought the potential for the need to make very significant operational changes rapidly.” Beyond labour, shipping has been “tricky”, and the company has experienced delays, says Duncan. “But we are keeping up, and will have a pretty empty

28   //

winery come harvest time.” Sluggish shipping schedules are also impacting on incoming goods, and “it’s all been about getting orders in early”, he says. “Suppliers are well aware of the risk of delays to shipments, and so we are working with them to ensure our orders are in early enough to mitigate that risk. Ordering barrels in September has certainly meant we needed to be organised this year.” Me a nw h i l e , e xce l l e n t demand is being driven by the key markets of Australia, United States, New Zealand and the United Kingdom. Some markets have substituted New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc with South African or Chilean alternatives, “so there is risk that buyers and consumers stay with something that is cheaper”, he says. “But we believe we make a high quality, distinctive wine that the world is prepared to search out and still buy in these slightly crazy and uncertain times.” The New Zealand Trade and Enterprise Project Veraison consumer research project, as well as Giesen’s recent US consumer research, show people are willing to pay more for a more premium product, he says. “We can’t wait for vintage 2022 so we can fulfil our growing demand.” Dog Point has also been pleasantly sur pr ised by buoyant sales throughout the global pandemic, despite being largely on-premise before it hit. And that’s across the board, with sales up in Asia, the UK, US, and in Australia in October. “From a market perspective, everything is quite positive,” says General Manager Matt Sutherland. The strength of Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc in particular has reaffirmed its position on the global stage, he adds. “That it’s a fantastic glass of wine and has credibility worldwide.” The groundwork put in

NZ WINEGROWER  DECEMBER 2021/JANUARY 2022

Duncan Shouler

by the company over many years of travelling to markets is paying dividends, he says. “Sometimes you can go on the road for three weeks and you come back and don’t know if you have achieved anything.” Now, the relationships built over years are providing a support network, with wine companies, distributors and customers, “leaning on each other”, he says, calling it “a bit of a think-tank of people and how to problem solve”. The short supply caused by the low yields of 2021 has been an issue, requiring good communication with markets, Matt says. “It does make us think for the future. How do you limit your risk a little bit? That is constantly on our mind.” The company has later release dates than many, and can have a quicker turnaround of the 2022 vintage. “But if we have a small vintage this time, that’s when it will bite.” Meanwhile, they seem set for vintage crew, he says. “Basically, we contacted some good friends and said, ‘what are you up to?’” That yielded great results. “They’re all really qualified and know the ins and outs of business and the styles we do.” Dog Point has also recruited another fulltime “hybrid” staff member, who will work in the vineyard over summer and come to the

winery as a cellar hand for vintage. They ’ve upped their numbers from last vintage and started to talk about what happens if someone catches Covid-19 during the harvest. But it’s extremely hard to prepare when the plans change daily, he says. In the meantime, they’re erring on the side of caution, with the winery shut for tastings, possibly until after vintage. Saint Clair Family Estate Managing Director Neal Ibbotson says there have been plenty of learnings over the past 20 months, including that “change is constant”. The pandemic has also emphasised the benefit of spreading risk by being in all sectors of the market at different price points, and in many markets,” Neal says. “And the benefit of having a good reputation as an employer, and having good relationships with freight forwarders, importers and all the people we do business with.” The company is dealing with short supply and strong demand, but has ensured the customers for its main brands - Saint Clair, Lake Chalice and Delta - receive their requested allocations, he says. Supply constraints carry the risks of losing shelf space or restaurant listings, and having that space



The Focus

filled by other suppliers and countries, “and that we may not be able to get this space back”, he says. But there are opportunities as well, including filling gaps in the marketplace that other companies have not been able to supply, and “marketing the Marlborough brand in our export markets as the highest quality Sauvignon Blanc brand in the world.” They are also increasing prices to offset increases to the minimum wage and living wage, “where we are facing wage increases in some areas of 22 percent”, Neal says. Philip says wine companies are used to dealing with the “normal uncertainties of doing business”, such as the vagaries of nature impacting harvest dates or yields. But for the past 20 months they have managed increasing levels of uncertainty about what the future will hold, exacerbated by low labour supply, a small 2021 vintage,

and shipping challenges. “Running a wine business has never been easy. But it’s just got a lot more complicated and a lot more expensive.” NZW has been working to help bolster the labour supply for vineyard work over the growing season and harvest, and cellar hands for vintage, says Philip (see page 35). “We are also obviously closely involved with the Government to try and get as many workers into the country as we can.” Quarantine free travel for Recognised Seasonal Employer scheme (RSE) workers from some Pacific Island nations has been a “big step forward”, but any boosts in numbers has to be balanced against the repatriation of many RSE workers to their home nations, having been in New Zealand for more than 20 months. “There are also relatively few people on working holiday visas in the country,” Philip adds.

Matt Sutherland and Murray Cook

“The labour supply is very tight and we have seen that with the reduced unemployment rate, which is down at 3.4 percent. Labour is a major, major issue.” The past few years have underscored the importance of people to the wine industry, with mechanisation unable to fill the void of a hollowed out labour supply. “I think the

industry has always prided itself on looking after its people well. And I think that the importance and necessity of doing that has really been highlighted over the past 19 months.” Many employers and employees have “gone the extra yards to make things happen”, he says. “There’s been real dedication on the part of both parties.”

NOW READ IT ONLINE GRAPES WANTED Our family-owned wine brand is continuing to grow. We have strong global demand for all wine varieties and are seeking new supply partners with the ability to grow quality grapes of all varieties. We offer long-term supply options, options fair pricing and payment terms, and favourable cropping. We’re locally-owned, provide expert viticulture advice and operate our own large Marlborough Winery. We want to hear from you. Please contact our grower viticulturist Matt Fox on 027 463 2457 or mattfox@scvl.co.nz

30   //

NZ WINEGROWER  DECEMBER 2021/JANUARY 2022

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The Focus

Green recruits

Wine Marlborough vintage survey LESS THAN a third of Marlborough’s seasonal labour for vintage 2022 had been recruited by mid-October, according to a recent survey. Of those seasonal recruits – bolstering permanent staff numbers only 30 percent have more than a year’s experience, with another 36 percent returning after working their first vintage in 2021. The remaining 32 percent have no winery or vintage experience. “In a typical vintage the ratio of inexperienced to experienced production staff is 1:2½. In V21, this ratio was 1:1 and it is likely that this ratio will be similar or worse in V22,” says the Marlborough Seasonal Labour Update - Vintage 2022. “Those ratios are likely to get worse as recruitment continues in a tight labour market,” says Wine Marlborough Advocacy Manager Nicci Armour. “We just don’t have the experienced people

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in the country.” Companies are investing significantly in training, “with extra cost and extra planning”. The survey results show that 23 percent of the vintage roles will be filled by permanent staff, and Nicci notes that those in supervisory roles will be under pressure. The mood of an industry focus group discussing vintage 2022 challenges was mixed, Nicci says. “Some people are feeling like they are going to be okay. Some are a bit behind.” There is plenty of uncertainty heading into the vintage, she adds, noting conversations around vaccinations and what happens if there’s a case in a Marlborough winery. “It makes it difficult to plan, and normal planning will be compacted into a shorter timeframe – once we have clarity on what the new Covid-19 Protection Framework will mean for winery operations.” Wine Marlborough is planning

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a Marlborough-focussed attraction campaign, feeding into the Ministry for Primary Industry’s Opportunity Grows Here project and the New Zealand Winegrowers attraction campaign. They received input from 17 wineries in November on the key target market for cellar hands and “what messaging might work”. One of the things that came through strongly was the need for diversity and balance, says Nicci. “If you’re working long hours in a high-pressure environment, then a diverse pool of people would be really important.” The resulting campaign will have a sense of the “fun, camaraderie and connection” of a vintage in Marlborough, says Nicci. The campaign will seek to attract young people looking for opportunities to travel, as well as people looking for a career change, “to work with some of the best people in the world, here in Marlborough”.

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NZ WINEGROWER  DECEMBER 2021/JANUARY 2022  //   31


The Focus

Cellar Rockstars Experienced winery staff gold this vintage SOPHIE PREECE

Matt Mitchell and Rodrigo (Rocky) Calandria

RODRIGO C AL ANDRIA’S first New Zealand winery experience was filling vast gabion baskets with rocks at Marisco, during a working holiday from Argentina. Fast forward three years and Rocky – a moniker earned in those boulder stacking days – is a full-time member of the Waihopai Valley winery’s cellar crew, made even more valuable in a year when experienced winery staff are truly thin on the ground. Winery General Manager Matt Mitchell says Marisco started recruiting for the 2022 vintage early, with a much more “multi-pronged” approach to advertising roles, “using every media outlet available to use”. They have also tapped into any opportunities offered with Wine Marlborough

32   //

or the Ministry for Social Development. While each of those prongs has yielded some results, the vintage labour situation is worse than 2021, when there were more international cellar hands still in the country, following the 2020 vintage. “This time around we would have about 50 percent of the people we are looking for. Of those 20 people, we would be lucky if we had three or four who had done harvest previously,” he says. “The experience level is incredibly low.” With that in mind, the induction process for vintage 2022 will be heavily biased towards training, Matt says. The abundance of green recruits will put a lot of pressure on permanent staff like Rocky -

NZ WINEGROWER  DECEMBER 2021/JANUARY 2022

who returned to Marisco for the 2019 vintage, and again for 2020, only to be stranded by Covid-19 and given a fulltime role. The experienced crew will do less physical work and more supervising, “of this largely inexperienced team”, says Matt. It will be a “nervous time” for them all, with cellar hands dealing with raw juice “that has incredibly high intrinsic value”, he adds. But he is grateful that the Marisco wineries have been built with design and technology that reduces the staff requirement and ensures easy transfer of juice. “We are lucky that minimising staffing requirements and simplifying job set were a focus when the building was designed; and at times like this these things pay dividends.”

The 2020 vintage, which saw Marisco lose half its 40 seasonal workers by the end of harvest due to the pressures of the pandemic, showed what could be done with a smaller crew, Matt says. “It really brought home to us that if the remaining 50 percent are committed to doing a good job, we can work on.” Outside of recruitment pressure, the winer y is working on different scenarios and responses under the Government’s traffic light system. “There’s no doubt Covid will touch the wine industry at some stage during harvest,” Matt says. “So, we are having to think about how that will impact… How do we mitigate risk and what sets us up to be in the best shape we could be in?”


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The Focus

Pick Me! Selling Central to seasonal workers SOPHIE PREECE

A vintage crew at Gibbston Valley

SHARING THE splendour of Central Otago has been key to an attraction campaign for the 2022 grape harvest. “We have focused on ways to attract kiwis to work in our region, which we have never done before,” says Central Otago Winegrowers A c t ing C h air m an A ndy Wilkinson on the push to get enough labour. “We had to get a bit more resourceful.” New initiatives include a video showcasing Central Otago as a wonderful place to live and work, made with support from Tourism Central Otago (TCO). The footage shows a harvest amid spectacular scenery, rich with worker camaraderie. “Working in Central Otago vineyards is an amazing experience,” says Andy, who also had a story published in the New Zealand Motor Caravan Association magazine, inviting those on the road to head to the picturesque south.

“We flushed out a whole range of people,” says Andy, who finds it very easy to sell the dream of a life in Central and time amid the vines. “As well as the opportunity to be part of the teams crafting some of the world’s finest wines, you can enjoy the spectacular scenery, walking trails, cycleways, lakes and rivers on those long summer days off. Our crews from across New Zealand and abroad, form long-term friendships that carry the great memories from time spent in Central Otago.” Andy says Central Otago has a great reputation for being collaborative, and the labour campaigns have called on that support network, with TCO, fruit growers and viticulture working together on a common goal. Gibbston Valley Wines Winemaker Christopher Keys says that collaboration isn’t

only working to draw people times that of the wineries, “so to Central Otago for harvest, we want to encourage anyone but also to tempt those already to come here for horticultural working in orchards in the work or from other regions region to stay on for the grape where the picking is more harvest. “To let them know once mechanised”, he says. cherries are done there’s going to be “There’s a camaraderie work in vineyards.” “There’s out here and a real sense m uc h m o re o f of achievement as you an integrated get through the season.” system at play,” he says, referencing Christopher Keys c ro s s i n d u s t r y discussions, as well as liaison with the Ministry Like Andy, he’s sold on for Pr im ar y Indu str ies selling such a “glorious” and Ministr y for Social region at a beautiful time of Development. Christopher year, for the memory-making says university students have experience of vintage. “There’s been “incredible” for spring and a camaraderie out here and a summer vineyard work, but as real sense of achievement as they go back to school, “that you get through the season, will create a bit of a gap”. vineyard by vineyard, vine by W i t h h i g h h a n d p i c k vine, branch by branch, then requirements, the vineyard nurture it through to the wine labour requirement is ten stage. That’s pretty cool.”

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The Focus

Labour campaigns bearing fruit YOUNG KIWIS wanting to replace the traditional overseas experience with vintage in wine country will receive a warm welcome this autumn. “If you can’t do an OE overseas, do an Aotearoa experience in wine,” says New Zealand Winegrowers (NZW) External Relations Manager Nicola Crennan, who clearly recalls her own time picking nectarines in Hawke’s Bay in university holidays. Nicola says the NZW Careers and Seasonal Attraction Campaign, rolled out in coordination with the Ministry for Pr imar y Industr ies ’ Opportunity Grows Here project, shines a light on the seasonal jobs on offer during the summer growing period, or the buzz of harvest, while also exposing opportunities for

building a career in wine. It aims to drive 1,500 page views each month to the Wine Industry Careers page on nzwine.com, while sending traffic to PickNZ and WineJobsOnline. Nicola has been touching bas e w ith w ine re g ion representatives around the country, and says in some cases the combination of students and seasonal workers are giving wine companies greater confidence. However, some regions are still concerned about their ability to attract workers for harvest. “We intend to check in regularly, to see whether further attraction campaigns are necessary.” NZW is also developing “ heat maps ” that show where the need is in terms of numbers and roles, as well as

Harvest at Nautilus. Photo Richard Briggs

an education map that shows where in New Zealand people can study wine-related courses. The campaign works to match advertising to specific labour requirements seasonally and regionally, with summer work in vineyards promoted from October to December, followed by harvest and vintage work from January to March and winter pruning work from March to June. The campaign will also target educational opportunities across the summer. As skill levels rise domestically, along with wine worker

BAYLEYS MARLBOROUGH SALESPERSON 2019-2021

numbers, Nicola says having access to international labour is still vitally important to New Zealand wine. “We think it’s really important to keep that international connection, and particularly on the winemaking side,” she says. “It’s an exchange of skills and experience with our international winemaking colleagues - they come to New Zealand and learn how we produce our wine styles, and the same is true for our younger winemakers. That tradition is longstanding and we will do everything we can to support it.”

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NZ WINEGROWER  DECEMBER 2021/JANUARY 2022  //   35


The Focus

Trade Deal

Good news for wine exports JOELLE THOMSON

HERALDING MORE profits and less administration, the announcement of an Agreement in Principle for a New Zealand UK Free Trade Agreement has been welcomed by wine exporters. “It is a good news story, even if we have yet to fully understand how it is going to play out,” says Trinity Hill Wines Chief Executive Rebecca Poynter. “On the face of it things look great, particularly for those of us established in the market.” T h e n e w a g re e m e n t , announced in November, would remove tariffs on wine exported to the United

but margins are quite tight, even with increasing our sales significantly. The new free trade agreement (FTA) will hopefully help to make exporting a more profitable exercise.” Pa l l i s e r E s t ate C h i e f Executive Officer Pip Goodwin agrees. She saw the new FTA as a way to help New Zealand wine producers keep their price points up. “We’re definitely not going to be giving the saving back to the consumer. We will be clawing back a little from what we save, due to this agreement.” The UK is a highly competitive market, she says. “It is the lowest margin market

“The new free trade agreement will hopefully help to make exporting a more profitable exercise.” Rebecca Poynter Kingdom, which is New Zealand’s second largest export market for wine. Exports to the UK were valued at over $400 million over the past 12 months. Rebecca says volumes of Trinity Hill wines sold in the UK had significantly picked up in the second half of 2021, since that market had come out of lockdown. “It is fantastic for us to see a great uptake in sales with on-premise coming out of lockdown,

36   //

for us and, with the exchange rate, it’s really tough to make decent margins, so this is fantastic news. It will help to make a little more profit from the hard won position we’ve gained there.” The removal of tariffs would also see an immediate ease in the burden of administration currently borne by New Zealand wineries exporting to the UK, says Yealands C hief E xecutive O fficer Tiffani Graydon. “It provides

NZ WINEGROWER  DECEMBER 2021/JANUARY 2022

Tiffani Graydon

ease of doing business, which obviously has a financial benefit to us all, but it’s not a linear equation, in terms of how much more money we make per 100l of wine exported… The agreement basically removes current tariffs that are paid based on importation into the United Kingdom, but exactly who pays the tariff can vary, depending on whether you are sending bottled goods out of New Zealand or wine in bulk.” Yealands exports both bulk and bottled wine to the UK and Tiffani says, overall, the tariff removal is positive for the New Zealand wine industry and the company she represents. “A lot of the detail around timing has yet to be established but it is welcome news, because in the context of any New Zealand business in the supply chain

at the moment there are big challenges, so anything that shines a light on easing the way forward is very positive. “New Zealand wine is a very mature market in the United Kingdom and Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc is very well represented there, so it can only be positive from that perspective.” Both exporters and importers would end up saving from the tariff removal, she says. “Whether you’re in New Zealand or the United Kingdom, everyone is incurring increased costs, so where we can we absolutely want to provide our wines into the hands of consumers all around the globe at the best price possible. This can only have a positive outcome in that regard.” Sarah Wilson gets into the details of the deal on page 76 of this edition.


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The Science Climate Action

Open letter from IWCA Pg 39

Microbiological Terroir

Greystone’s wild ferments Pg 40

Science Symposia

Research around New Zealand Pg 42-46 Yealands


The Science

Decarbonising Wine Wine leaders as climate leaders SOPHIE PREECE

THE CLIMATE emergency is by far the most severe threat faced by grape growers and wine producers around the world, says a group of climate action wineries in an open letter to wine trade executives Twenty-two chief executives and senior leaders of International Wineries for Climate Action (IWCA) have called on industry heads to join “rigorous, science-based efforts” to decarbonise the wine sector and work towards net zero emissions by 2050. “Without rapid and decisive emissions reductions, our future will be defined by almost unimaginable levels of disruption – with devastating consequences for the wineproducing regions that we love and the wines we produce for people all around the world,” they say. M i c h a e l We n t w o r t h , General Manager for Sustainability and Strategic Projects at Yealands Wine Group in Marlborough, says the letter - sent out as world leaders met at the 2021 Climate Change Conference (COP26) in Scotland – comes at a critical time, and the wine community needs to support wider action to limit global warming while also acting within their own companies. Yeal and s has b e en a member of IWCA since it began with 10 companies in January 2020, and Michael says being a part of the global group is powerful. “You have 22 businesses sitting in a room that have each undergone their own sustainability journey…

and through that there is an immense amount of information and information sharing.” The letter says sustainability has long been treated as a public relations exercise, but needs to be taken to the heart of wine industry operations. “The way we respond to the climate crisis can act as a driver of transformational change and a way of future proofing not only our businesses but our agriculture-based sector as a whole. In short, this must be our decade of action.” Companies within IWCA conduct an annual endto-end carbon emissions inventory that encompasses direct and indirect emissions sources, ver ified by an

independent ISO-accredited auditor. They also commit to an emissions reductions plan and demonstrate consistent progress, aligned to sciencebased targets with the goal of achieving net zero emissions by 2050, at the latest. T he organisation has developed a greenhouse gas calculator for United States wineries (see sidebox) and has also joined the United Na t i o n s ’ R a c e to Z e ro campaign, a global initiative to rally leadership and support from more than 6,200 nonstate actors committed to halving emissions by 2030 and achieving net zero emissions by 2050, at the very latest, says the open letter. “Collectively, these ‘real economy’ actors join

120 countries, representing nearly 25 percent of global CO2 emissions and over 50 percent of GDP.” Business leadership today is inseparable from climate leadership, says the letter. “We believe that we each have an obligation to do what we can, within our sphere of influence, to reduce our emissions. We believe that the wine trade can be a beacon of hope and action in the global response to the climate crisis—and serve as a model for other sectors. And we firmly believe that IWCA membership is the most effective way of accelerating an individual winer y ’s decarbonisation efforts, and by extension, the decarbonisation of the broader wine industry.”

Measure then reduce YEALANDS WINE Group is sponsoring the development of a greenhouse gas calculator for New Zealand wineries, and another for Australia’s industry, to help simplify emissions calculations for International Wineries for Climate Action (IWCA) members. “The idea is to remove the barriers and provide a robust process,” says Yealands General Manager for Sustainability and Strategic Projects, Michael Wentworth. The calculator, which was built by consultants, is currently being trialled at Yealands, using data around diesel and electricity use, as well as packaging and freight. “Everything from vineyard right through to having your product sold in market and recycled in market as well,” says Michael. “That helps you set your benchmarks and your targets, in terms of what you are wanting to achieve.”

Yealands will retain the Toitū carbonzero certification it has held since 2008, which requires a full life cycle analysis – from cradle to grave – of all its branded products. That certification ensures the company is on a constant drive to reduce emissions, and last year Yealands’ vineyard teams saved more than 100,000 litres of diesel, “just by changing how we do things in the vineyard”, says Michael, talking of the impact of midrow crops and reduced mowing passes. There are “massive opportunities” in lightweight glass bottles, which have emissions savings in production and freight. The IWCA calculator will “make it easier for other people to get into that space”, says Michael. “What we are hoping is even small operators with the use of this calculator can develop their inventories and take it from there.”

NZ WINEGROWER  DECEMBER 2021/JANUARY 2022  //   39


The Science

Microbiological Terroir The unique signature of Greystone’s vineyard ferments SOPHIE PREECE

RESEARCH INTO the indigenous yeasts fuelling Greystone’s vineyard and winery ferments will help capture the “microbiological terroir” of the Waipara land. “It is really exciting ,” says Lincoln University PhD student Constanza EspinozaIversen, who wants to better understand the unique signatures of the vineyard,

ferments for nearly 10 years, with handpicked grapes destemmed in the vines and fermented in tanks amid the rows, with little protection from the elements. He’s watched with interest the difference between those wines – fermenting at the mercy of the climate - and the ones made in the winery. Wanting to know more,

“We were expecting to see more Saccharomyces in the winery and a wider diversity of non-Saccharomyces species in the vineyard.” Constanza Espinoza-Iversen and the consequences of that microbiology on the wines. “Because when you have different yeasts - different species and strains - they can contribute distinctively to the chemical composition of the wine – the volatile and nonvolatile chemical compounds.” Greystone Winemaker Dom Maxwell has been experimenting with vineyard

Greystone sought a grant from Callaghan Innovation, and the partnership between Greystone, Lincoln and Callaghan “will add real depth to our understanding of the natural processes, the wines and the biodiversity in the vineyard,” says Dom. Greystone began collecting samples in the 2019 vintage and Constanza began her

research that winter. For the past two vintages, she has worked at the vineyard, taking samples from winery and vineyard ferments on 28 consecutive days, in order to understand the growth and demise of an array of yeasts throughout the process. “We were expecting to see more Saccharomyces in the winery and a wider diversity of nonSaccharomyces species in the vineyard,” she says. After each vintage, Constanza returns to the lab to analyse the differences in chemical composition and microbiological diversity during fermentation, as well as sensory analysis of the wines. With the 2019 results now complete, she is starting to form a picture of the different populations at play, as well as their chemical consequence. In the winery ferments, where legacy yeasts - surviving in the environment from previous vintages - combine with the vintage microbiology, there’s a “crazy amount of species”, she says. Those ferments progress in a controlled environment,

with temperatures between 10degC and 20degC, which is relatively benign compared to the outdoor fermenters. As the ferment progresses, sugars drop and ethanol rises, many yeasts die, while others, including the “super resistant” Saccharomyces cerevisiae, thrive. “It’s hostile for many, but Saccharomyces says ‘this is my territory’ and it starts to dominate,” says Constanza. In the vineyard there are no legacy yeasts from previous years, and the ferment relies on the signature of the vineyard and the weather in that particular season. The vineyard yeasts also have to endure a far more volatile environment, with temperatures dropping into minus territory and climbing as high as 30degC, says Constanza. In both environments, the yeast populations each make their mark on the wine, even if they die early on and are consumed by more robust species, “like recycling”, she says. “They each contribute in different ways to the wine.” Some yeasts will contribute to

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The Science

phenolic composition, while others might contribute more to aromatic character, she adds. Constanza is DNA sequencing the samples to identify the different yeast species from the earliest to the latest stages of the alcoholic fermentation. That allows her to identify the predominant species in the different phases “and get an understanding on how the dynamics of saccharomyces and nonsaccharomyces yeast change during this process.” Results of the sensory analysis of the 2019 and 2020 wines are to be released this month, after blind tastings with 40 participants in one group, and a quantitative descriptive analysis (QDA), which requires the training of 15 participants, in the second. “That will be great, to see if wine consumers can pick the difference between the winery and vineyard ferments,” she says.

Greystone vineyard ferment

Constanza studied agronomist eng ineer ing in her home countr y of Chile before heading to Antarctica to research the relationship between a grass Deschampsia antarctica – and the mycorrhizae beneath its roots. She went on to work as a winemaker in several countries, working 15 vintages, including

five in New Zealand. “I love research, but also I love winemaking,” she says. “So, when this opportunity came up, I thought ‘oh my God I need to take this’.” And she is excited to be part of the growing conversation around microbiological terroir, using science to understand the unique signature of place.

“There are so many factors converging during this process to get the final product,” she says. “From soil-plant interaction in the vineyard, to different species of yeast and chemical compounds evolving and transmuting into different flavours, taste and aromas… It’s just fascinating and at the same time a complex process.”

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NZ WINEGROWER  DECEMBER 2021/JANUARY 2022  //   41


The Science

Vine to wine Lincoln University symposium JO BURZYNSKA

FIFTY YEARS ago, Dr David Jackson planted vines at Lincoln University. These became central to assessing the suitability of Canterbury for viticulture and were joined 25 years later by a winery on site. Together these went on to underpin the university’s research and teaching, and were celebrated at November’s Anniversary Vine to Wine Symposium. Guests gathered to reflect on the pioneering wine days at Australasia’s oldest landbased university, and current academics presented research seeking to tackle contemporary and future challenges, from the effects of climate change to context on the wine drinking experience. G ra e m e S te a n s , w h o worked with David and managed Lincoln’s research winery before retiring in 2005, recounted his early trial cultivar plantings. These included varieties successful today, such as Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris and Sauvignon Blanc. However, he says “there was very little enthusiasm

for Sauvignon Blanc” at the judging panels instigated by Danny Schuster, who joined them at Lincoln. “I believe Canterbury is the only place in the southern hemisphere where the evaluation of cultivars for the climate was conducted before the region got established,” Graeme observed. “David did something that was quite unique.” Today, five rows of those 50-year-old vines remain. The same cannot be said of the first vineyard planted by Pegasus Bay’s Ivan Donaldson. The windswept slope in Halswell, where he learned winemaking from Danny, is now real estate. Speaking of his experience as an early winegrower in Canterbur y, Ivan credits Danny and David’s book, The Production of Grapes and Wine in Cool Climates, as becoming a “bible” for Canterbury’s fledging wine industry. Over the years, Lincoln’s wine programme has expanded. In 1991 David Heatherbell, the first person in New Zealand to complete a bio chemistr y de g re e ,

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established its first oenology programme. Mike Trought also came on board, stressing the need for “good science, building an international reputation, and good students”. This saw him establish a more sciencefocussed conference, featuring international speakers, and taking New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc to UC Davis in 1994, where it was dismissed as being too herbaceous. “So don’t believe the experts,” he quipped at the symposium. Speaking as both a Lincoln alumna and a current Principal Research Officer, Wendy Parr praised the integration in research that had occurred between scientists, industry and New Zealand Winegrowers (NZW). This was something

reflected in the symposium’s line-up of speakers, which included members of NZW and an industry panel, as well as Lincoln academics presenting snapshots of their current research. Climate change emerged as a hot topic in contemporary viticulture studies. “What will we be growing at Lincoln in 50 years’ time?” asked Amber Parker, the university’s Director of the Centre for Viticulture and Oenology. An international study in which she’s been involved suggests that while some wine regions will no longer be suitable for early ripening varieties, such as Pinot Noir and Sauvignon Blanc, new regions will open up for these, meaning there

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The Science

will still be an increase in potentially suitable areas. For Merlot and Grenache there’s even the possibility of increasing production under the climate change scenarios explored. Recent years have seen w i l d f i re s b e co m e m o re destructive. As noted by Tim Curran of Lincoln’s Department of Pest-Management and Conservation, days with very high or extreme forest fire risk are predicted to increase by 71 percent by 2040, encompassing a number of the country’s wine regions. As plants can be fuel or fire breaks, Tim’s lab has been investigating grapevine flammability, with preliminary data suggesting cool climate varieties, such as Pinot Noir (which proved inflammable), have particularly low flammability and so might have a role to play in managing this issue. In oenology, Senior Lecturer

Bin Tian presented the project he’s been conducting with Greystone, which sought to promote a better expression of terroir through fermenting grapes in the actual vineyard they came from (see page 40). Comparisons between the winer y and vineyard fermented wines revealed different combinations of yeast strains. Tian has also been investigating whole bunch fermentation with Pegasus Bay, with preliminary data indicating that while whole bunch or stems enhance colour concentration and tannins, higher percentages also increase methoxypyrazines. A relatively recent recruit to Lincoln, Senior Lecturer Damir Torrico has been using virtual and augmented reality technolog y in his investigations of the effects of context on the wine drinking experience. Such simulated environments

might enable easier and less costly measurement of context effects, with findings already indicating comparatively less emotions are experienced in the sensory booths used for much sensory evaluation. He is also using eye tracking

him par t ic ipate in the university’s Oregon exchange, where vineyard visits and participation in a Pinot Noir sensory evaluation programme ignited his interest in wine. More recent graduate speakers already starting to make their

“What will we be growing at Lincoln in 50 years’ time?” Amber Parker technology to investigate what people pay attention to on wine labels. Lincoln’s programmes have spawned numerous prestigious alumni, a number of which returned to talk of their university experience, and subsequent achievements. Felton Road’s Blair Walter was one of these, graduating 30 years ago from what was then a Horticultural Science degree. His third year saw

mark included Cloudy Bay Assistant Winemaker Kelly Stuart, Pegasus Bay Assistant Viticulturist Zoe Marychurch, and Will Bowman, who runs his own Vita label and is Assistant Winemaker at Black Estate. Fittingly, the day ended with delegates gathering for a meal in the David Jackson vineyard, where memories were shared, and plans for new research plotted.

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The Science

EIT Symposium OLIVER STYLES From left, Dr Rory Hill, Dr Victor Ye, Dr Chandré Honeth, and Sue Blackmore

IN ITS most basic form, it’s remarkably straightforward. Take a Sharpie or a Biro to a white tablecloth and draw a horizontal and a vertical axis; label your axes (x = length of flavour and y = body, or some such – the actual labels were never made very clear, presumably on purpose) and plonk your tasting glasses down on the napkin-cumphysical graph. Measure the sample distances from the x-y intersection and you have some raw data on mouthfeel of various wine samples: the closer the samples, the more similar they are. From this, Zhijing (Victor) Ye at Hawke’s Bay’s Eastern Institute of Technology (EIT) is attempting to consolidate a lexicon of mouthfeel tasting descriptors. And cause headaches for restaurant dr ycleaners everywhere. T h i s wa s o ne o f 1 5 presentations given by New Zealand-based scientists and industry innovators presenting their research and findings at EIT’s inaugural Viticulture and Wine Related Research symposium, held at its Hawke’s Bay Campus on 28 October. The one-day symposium,

44   //

dubbed ‘Advancing Viticulture and Wine Related Research’ boasted researchers from EIT, the University of Auckland, Nelson Marlborough Institute of Technology (NMIT), Lincoln University, Bragato Research Institute (BRI) and others. The day was, according to organiser Sue Blackmore, head of EIT’s School of Viticulture and Wine Science, an opportunity for those engaged in current and emerging research, across broad fields, to present their findings. The day was broken down into four sessions, covering viticulture, Pinot Noir chemistry, applied oenology, and wine supply chain and infrastructure. Each presenter was given a 20-minute segment, including five minutes for questions. It kicked off with former EIT lecturer Dr Stewart Field (now at NMIT) presenting his research into the effects of soil temperature (independent of air temperature) on Syrah prior to veraison. Apposite, given current global concerns, the findings so far appeared to reveal a difference in the way the plant developed, but changes in soil temperature showed no difference in

NZ WINEGROWER  DECEMBER 2021/JANUARY 2022

flowering date or veraison, no effect on phenology and no clear effect on flower numbers per inflorescence. Interesting in itself, but, as with many presentations made on the day, it is clear there is more to come. Other highlights included an investigation into nonherbicide weed control, which ended with a prototype microshock electric weeder that looked like some sort of Death Star weedwacker (weda.tech), by the engaging Dan Bloomer at LandWISE; glyphosate resistant weeds; deficit irrigation trials in Hawke’s Bay Syrah (a subject close to a lot of winemakers’ and growers’ hearts); and an ongoing foliar fertiliser trial on a frosted vineyard. Pinot Noir took the limelight prior to lunch, with Billy Yang’s talk on microoxygenation the joint winner of the prize for best talk (along with Chandré Honeth’s deficit irrigation research, mentioned above). Dr Melodie Lindsay presented fascinating research into tannin additions and colour in Pinot Noir, although your correspondent’s interest was piqued by the apparent success of the use of a coffee plunger as

a ferment medium (a boon for backyard winemakers wishing to pursue submerged cap ferments). Applied oenolog y and broader wine industry issues rounded off the day, with (so far) inconclusive research into the relation between sulphur in Sauvignon Blanc juice and mercaptan formation in wines, a fascinating exploration of leaf area’s effect on crop loads in Pinot Noir, and food for thought through the impact of Covid-19 and earthquakes on the wine industry. An assessment of wine sales by the glass by EIT’s Dr Rory Hill capped a well-run day. Sue was “thrilled” at the success of the event and hoped it would help to boost interaction between centres of learning in the New Zealand wine industry. There are plans to make it an annual occurrence but, “it really depends on the situation next year,” she adds, referencing the Covid restrictions that saw several speakers presenting remotely. With a solid (but not stellar) turnout from Hawke’s Bay winemakers and viticulturists, there is surely scope to grow?


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The Science

BRIght ideas

Science from grape to bottle BRENDA WEBB

BRAGATO RESEARCH Winery paraded its vintage 2021 trials and celebrated the science of winemaking at an open day at the Blenheim facility last month. Covid-19 restrictions saw a limited number of local industry people attend, including grape growers and winemakers, but there was a nationwide virtual audience, thanks to livestreaming capabilities. Speakers on the d ay included Bragato Research Institute (BRI) Chief Executive Jeffrey Clarke and Research Winery Manager Dr Tanya Rutan, BioStart Chief Executive Jerome Demmer, Constellation Brands Head of Laboratories, Research and Development Frank Benkwitz , Nelson Marlborough Institute of Technology (NMIT) Viticulture Lecturer Stewart Field and NMIT student Xiuying (Ava) Liang, who is a member of the BRI Research Winery team. Tanya says the open day was an opportunity to let the industry see what kind of trials were being carried out at the institute. Some of that work was for industry suppliers, such as trialling products including yeasts and antioxidants that weren’t available on the market yet. Other trials looked at the effect of undervine weed control options and how different loading on vines affected grape and wine quality. The research winery, with its state-of-the-art facilities, is proving to be an outstanding success for the industry and feedback from those who have used the facility is extremely

46   //

NMIT viticulture lecturer Stewart Field at the Bragato Research Winery open day, where he presented on a study into the effect of hang time and post ferment maceration on the quality of Pinot Noir wine.

positive, says Tanya. “It is designed as a commercial operation with precise scale control – it is an amazing facility for anywhere in the world and is right up there on an international level… We can do trials from the grape through to the bottle.” Stewart spoke about the trial he had headed, which studied the effect of hang time and post ferment maceration on the quality of Pinot Noir wine. The study, undertaken with Lawson’s Dry Hills, aimed to produce a more elegant wine with better flavour and colour. Stewart and his students studied phenolic structure and ripeness in grapes in a Waihopai Valley vineyard, which involved continuous sampling at regular intervals after veraison. Students tagged bunches and each week collected and sampled them, weighing and testing each bunch and berry individually.

NZ WINEGROWER  DECEMBER 2021/JANUARY 2022

A total of 9,000 berries were sampled. A key finding was that sugar loading stopped 21 days after veraison as did berry weight, but brix levels kept increasing, probably due to dehydration, says Stewart. Pinot Noir wine was made with the first pick 31 days after veraison, a commercial pick 45 days after verasion and a late pick after 52 days. “Grapes were destemmed, cold soaked for four days, fermented, hand plunged then pressed,” he says. After an extended maceration, sensorial analysis was carried out by winemakers and staff from both Lawson’s Dry Hills and BRI. It showed that red pigments declined with a long maceration and more time on the skin resulted in more phenolics. An early har vest resulted in high phenolics and lower quality wine scores. Another trial carried out at

the Bragato Research Winery, for Constellation Brands, was the co-fermenting of various fruits, including strawberries and pomegranates, with Pinot Noir grapes. Frank describes BRI as a “sandbox for innovation”, and the trial resulted in a new product, Super Rosé, being made, marketed and sold in Australia The open day finished with a winery tour, so participants could inspect the facility which has been built on a scale and design not previously possible in New Zealand, says Jeffrey Clarke. “It is built to the highest quality, and is sustainable with a recycled water system and solar panels.” The 84 fermenting tanks allowed a wide range of trials to be carried out in tightly controlled conditions, he adds. “The feedback from our trials to date has been fabulous with industry going on to apply their learnings.”


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The People Women in Wine Erica Crawford Pg 48

Good Wine

Fugitive escaping tradition Pg 52

Pyramid Valley Taking on a legacy Pg 56

New Vintage Holly West Pg 58

Postcard

Angela Osborne Pg 60


The People

Women in Wine Erica Crawford on getting elbow room SOPHIE PREECE

Erica Crawford, here and facing page. Photos by Lisa Duncan

ERICA CRAWFORD has taken some knocks over 25 years in the wine business, but she’s emerged stronger each time. “I come with bruises, and I have learned so much from my bruises”, says the co-founder of Kim Crawford Wines and Loveblock, recalling some emotionally “brutal” moments, amid plenty of “fabulous” ones. Together they led her to a vineyard poised on the rolling

golden hills of Marlborough’s Awatere Valley, where she is playing by her own rules. “Loveblock is my project,” says Erica. “It’s really a privilege to live your values and make a change.” Those values – found in the organic and permaculture practices of the farm, and in its exploration of natural preservatives – came from bruises as well, albeit more literal than emotional. In

2002, while working with Kim Crawford wine, Erica was involved in a car accident that damaged her a little but enlightened her a lot. In her health check-ups after the crash, she was told she presented like a 55-year-old businessman, which kick-started a fresh take on life that included eschewing packaged and preservativedoused products. “So, by the time we got to Loveblock, it was a natural progression.”

Kim and Erica’s story began at a Cape Town wine festival in 1987. She was in her early 20s and had been working as a young scientist in cardiac medicine in South Africa, but had decided she was too “distracted” by life outside the lab. “He told me that he was going to marry me, and I told him he was completely mad.” But it turns out he was right, and “one thing led to an another”, she says.

NZ WINEGROWER  DECEMBER 2021/JANUARY 2022  //   49


The People

Nearly two years later they were back living in New Zealand, where Erica worked for a diagnostics company, in the technical realm while also cutting her teeth in business. “They gave me a sales and marketing job and I learned a lot about people, how to manage a team, P&L, stock control and so on. The first boss I had in New Zealand was quite instrumental in my thinking on

stead in 1996, as the couple devised an eponymous brand in their very early 30s. Kim was working at Coopers Creek and building a good reputation, and she had two babies 13 months apart, which she regards as the motivation for setting up Kim Crawford Wines from their family home. With a budget of $20,000, the couple dipped into the unknown, with a virtual model that made wine without owning “It’s really a privilege land or winery. It to live your values and was perfect timing, with New Zealand make a change.” upping the ante Erica Crawford on wine exports, while a generation business.” Among those lessons of wine consumers emerged was the fact that relationships who might not have money were “paramount”, she says. “I to buy an elite and expensive could always do people. I like Chardonnay, “but wouldn’t people. It’s an innate thing.” be caught dead drinking the The skills she learned, and big brands”, says Erica. “There the relationships she could was a spot for an urban brand build, stood Erica in good with a lot of flavour.” She

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also happily wielded a lack of boundaries that came with being an outsider – somewhat at odds with Kiwi reserve – to get the brand noticed. “I didn’t have those natural limitations of what you can or can’t say.” She drove Kim Crawford Wines with “maverick” tactics, such as midnight tastings that sidestepped traditional wine reviewers. The label disrupted convention and Auckland in particular lapped it up, she says. “It was this little thing that took on the establishment. It was the underdog and Aucklanders really took it to their heart.” By 2003, the brand had grown into a strong exporter, and needed to double its 100,000 cases, “but we couldn’t capitalise on the growth”, says Erica. They sold to Canadian wine company Vincor, but stayed working within the business, building sales and exports. “It was a tremendous romp around the world,” says

Erica of the Kim Crawford journey. “God, we learned a lot. And I loved every minute of it.” In 2006 Constellation Brands bought Vincor and two years later Kim left the company, with Erica staying on a few more years in the “fabulous job” of Global Sales and Marketing Vice President, overseeing the integration of Kim Crawford and Nobilo and navigating the global financial crisis. “I learned a lot of things with my time with Constellation. It was people who made my time there,” she says. With their first label behind them, the couple left the virtual model behind as well, and bought a beautiful farm on Marlborough’s east coast, which they started converting to organics. A non-compete period meant they couldn’t start making wine again until 2009, but they developed vineyards, grew grapes, grazed


The People

cattle, nurtured compost and hatched a plan. Meanwhile, Erica became involved in other business, joined the New Zealand Trade and Enterprise Beachhead Advisory Board, and invested in other industries, including natural skincare. “It was a good broadening of experience,” she says. Then in 2014 they launched Loveblock, and “every trade person wanted to link to the name Kim Crawford”, says Erica. “But it was the polar opposite of that operation. With Kim Crawford we owned nothing and there was very little provenance. Now we own all the vineyards and it’s estate designation - we only use our own fruit. So, if we grow, we have to plant some more.” So far, they have 110 planted hectares, with expansion plans afoot. But it’s been a challenging experience on unknown country for vines,

with some hill blocks pulled out because they were simply not viable, and a dilution of organic practices, thanks in part to the havoc caused by brown beetles. “It has been a long journey and a difficult time,” says Erica, who graduated from a Postgraduate Diploma in Viticulture from the Eastern Institute of Technology last year, in order to better understand her soils and what they need. Not done with leaping boundaries yet, she is replacing her dream of growing organic beef among the vineyard (stymied by the lack of an organic slaughterhouse in the South Island) with plans for “tree farming”, to help create “corridors of biodiversity” and make the property carbon positive. Loveblock is also deep in research into alternative preservatives and antioxidants, including a trial at the Bragato Research Winery in Blenheim.

That’s an extension of the commitments beyond the sulphite-free Loveblock TEE label and farm. In 2016 Erica Sauvignon Blanc, which was was inducted into the Business launched in 2019 with very Hall of Fame for Women small production, as a world Entrepreneurs. She is a member first using green tea as a natural “I come with bruises, wine preservative to replace sulphur and I have learned so dioxide. T hat ’s much from my bruises.” been going great guns in Japan, the Erica Crawford United Kingdom and Canada, with a launch into the United States in of the Investment Committee February, says Erica, who plans for the University of Auckland to travel for that “come hell or Business School, and sits on high water”. the New Zealand Winegrowers T hey ’re also working (NZW) marketing committee. with alternative vessels, Erica was also a founding including concrete eg gs member of New Zealand’s and amphora, “and really Global Women and is a mentor embedding ourselves deeper in the NZW Women in Wine and deeper in sustainability programme. “I do think we need and regenerative farming”, to make more elbow room for she says. Meanwhile, Erica’s ourselves,” says this scientist, commitment to governance and businesswoman, viticulturist, equity means she’s constantly farmer, board member and balancing Loveblock with her mentor.

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NZ WINEGROWER  DECEMBER 2021/JANUARY 2022  //   51


The People

The fugitives Nadine Worley and Logie MacKenzie. Photo Lisa Duncan

Good Wine

Escaping tradition with Fugitive SOPHIE PREECE

A COUPLE of Marlborough renegades are rethinking the way we’re drinking, to crush the carbon footprint of wine. Fugitive is the bespoke brand of winemaker Nadine Worley and viticulturist Logie MacKenzie, who’ve paired up to produce an organic Sauvignon Blanc sold only in reusable kegs and bottles. “For us organic was part of the story, but it was looking at the whole life cycle of the wine, and really making a wine that makes a difference,” says Nadine, who’s a wine tutor at the Nelson Marlborough Institute of Technology. “Every time we reuse a glass bottle or refill a keg we can halve its carbon footprint.” The plan is not to be sustainable, “which by definition means staying the same”, she adds. “We felt it was important to widen our view - not only to focus on the health of our vineyard through organics, but also look at the

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wider global impact we have on the planet.” When she started teaching, Nadine thought her sustainability class would be largely about winery efficiency. But her research revealed the carbon footprint of wine was mostly in the packaging, with up to 60 percent of the 1.28kg carbon footprint of a bottle of wine down to the production and shipping of glass, even when recycled. “I have managed to fit alternative packaging into heaps of different courses,” she says. “I love scaring the students with

these amazing graphs.” So, when Logie mentioned that fruit from a small organic vineyard block in Renwick was up for grabs, the duo decided it was time to escape the tradition of 750ml glass bottles. Instead, they’re using steel kegs for use in bottle stores and restaurants, which will be returned to be refilled, and small glass bottles that can be washed and filled for home consumption. L og ie, who is a par t owner of Berakah Vineyard Management, helped the vineyard’s owners convert to

The rap sheet ON AVERAGE a bottle of wine has a carbon footprint of 1.28kg, which is more than driving 10kms. Up to 60 percent of that footprint is down to the glass bottle. An average single use wine bottle releases 0.69kg of carbon per litre, and reusing a refillable keg 50 times can reduce that to 0.046kg of carbon per litre, which is a 93 percent reduction. Information from fugitiveorganic.co.nz

NZ WINEGROWER  DECEMBER 2021/JANUARY 2022

organics five years ago, and says they were really keen to support the Fugitive project. “The fruit has always looked really good and really solid, with a good flavour profile and wide flavour spectrum, which is really important if you are looking to make single vineyard wines,” he says. T he block is just 2.2 hectares, allowing them to start from a small base – “not biting off more than we can chew” – then grow through other organic supply, says Logie. And Fugitive’s prospects are looking good, with plenty of people “super excited” about the concept and brand. “There are a lot of consumers out there who are really interested in the carbon footprint,” says Logie. “For us, we grow organically and make the wine organically, so we needed to have as little environmental impact as we could,” he adds. “It was completing the cycle for us.”


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The People

New GM at COWA JAKE TIPLER’S wine tourism business took him to every corner of Central Otago’s wine industry, celebrating people and place, until Covid-19 desimated his client base. “In some ways I feel like my new role is a continuation of that work,” says the new General Manager of the Central Otago Wine Association (COWA). “I am very excited about where we are now and where we are headed. COWA has a lot of potential and I want to see that come through.”

a high end wine tour company in Queenstown. “Covid put a hard end to that one,” he says “100 percent of my bookings went out the window.” But that blow – coinciding with the birth of his son – brought the opportunity of joining COWA, and helping the region’s wine industry reach its ambitions. “I would like to see Central Otago put amongst the upper echelons of the best wine regions in the world,” he says. That is a process, “and we are definitely well on our way to getting there as a region”, “Central Otago has he adds. “Central achieved a huge Otago has achieved a huge status and status and reputation reputation in the in the time we have time we have been active... I am really been active.” excited to be a part Jake Tipler of that journey.” Covid has Jake trained in winemaking added plenty of hurdles, and and viticulture, before working right now the association in the vineyards at Peregrine is organising events, when for two years. He loved working “timing is all over the show”. with his hands, comparing the He is quietly confident the work to therapy. “But there’s region will have the labour it only so much therapy you needs for vintage, but with the need,” and in 2013 he moved season progressing quickly, into wine tourism, establishing with the warmest start since

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NZ WINEGROWER  DECEMBER 2021/JANUARY 2022

Jake Tipler

2018, there is plenty to do in the vineyard over the growing season, and “extra hands might be required”. COWA has also appointed Anne Pullar as independent Chair of its board, and Jake says the expertise and skills she brings to the role will help drive the region’s success. Anne was formerly Deputy Chief Executive of Central Otago

District Council and head of Tourism Central Otago during a very strategic phase in the evolution of the Central Otago brand, says Jake. “Her ongoing work in the community, extensive network of contacts throughout Central Otago and New Zealand, and her wealth of expertise will be a significant contribution to COWA.”


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The People

Pyramid Valley

Stepping up to a legacy SOPHIE PREECE

FROM T HE wildf lowers rolling down its slopes, to the limestone and clay entwined beneath its vines, it’s easy to see why Huw Kinch is smitten with Pyramid Valley. “It’s a privilege to live in such a beautiful place and bring up my children here,” says the Winemaker and Estate Manager of this Waikari Valley site. “It is a very unique vineyard, with such character. It’s a once in a lifetime opportunity really.” The North Canterbur y land was bought by Mike and Claudia Weersing in 2000, then transformed into an extraordinary organic and biodynamic vineyard that earned a global following of devotees. Claudia and Mike were passionate about the land, and “Pyramid Valley evokes so much passion in the consumers”, says Huw, who knows well the “apprehension” in the market when the land and label was sold in 2017 to a partnership between American billionaire Brian Sheth and Steve Smith MW. “At the end of the day, do you sit there and try and make wine like Mike Weersing and try and think like Mike Weersing? That’s pretty impossible,” says Huw, who came on in the winter of 2018, excited by Steve and Brian’s vision for Pyramid Valley. “And it wouldn’t do justice to the place either, because you can’t try to think like someone else.” Pyramid Valley has just released the first of Huw’s wines, with the 2019 Botanicals Collection sent to Australian reviewers in October, with New Zealand following last month.

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Each of the Botanicals is named for the dominant meadow plant it grows in, with the Lion’s Tooth Chardonnay sprung from a field of dandelions, and the Angel Flower Pinot Noir grown amid yarrow, while plum-hued Fumaria officinalis surrounds the vines for Earth Smoke Pinot Noir. The reception to the new wines has been “really good”, says Huw. “The site is louder than a single person and that is what Mike would want.” A winemaker’s job, especially in a place like this, is to try and capture the best interpretation of site and season, he says. “The clarity of the place is what I like to think about.” Natalie Grace, Brand and Marketing Manager of Aotearoa New Zealand Fine Wines – which runs Pyramid Valley – says “really good” is Huw being “very humble” about the 2019 Botanical wine reception. “I wouldn’t dream of putting words in his mouth, but phenomenal, incredible, exceptional would be a much better fit,” she says. A view of this land and its surrounding hills is a delight, but it’s what’s underneath that drew Mike and Claudia in 2020, following a long search for soils in which the clay and limestone have developed together, as in Burgundy. The active limestone running through Waikari begins in the North Island and stretches down to Waitaki, popping up in Kaikōura on the way. It’s a rare find, but it takes a thick skin to grow wine here, “right on the edge of the climate”, says Huw. Being in a

NZ WINEGROWER  DECEMBER 2021/JANUARY 2022

Huw Kinch and Poppy at Pyramid Valley

“truly cool climate” subregion allows him to make wines that are distinctive and reflect the soil, unmuted by the noise of swifter ripening. But it comes with constant cropping challenges, and Huw’s first vintage in 2019 was 80 percent down, thanks to three weeks of cold southerly rain during flowering. The 2020 vintage was “awesome” and then they were struck by frosts last year. Those blows are softened somewhat by the Appellation Collection, grown on other vineyards, including Pinot Noir at Lowburn Ferry, also owned in a par tnership between Brian and Steve, through AONZ. The collection has wines from other North Canterbur y winegrowers, and a Sauvignon Blanc from Churton in Marlborough. This year that Churton Sauvignon

is fermenting in an egg, which last year held Waipara Mendoza from 38- year-old vines. Meanwhile Huw is exploring the opportunities of a line-up of three-tonne concrete tanks, providing a neutral vessel with gentle temperature changes. The eggs and concrete tanks are part of a winery built over the past year, bringing better temperature control and an array of fermenters, to capture the best expression of time and terroir. The shell of the build is simple – a kitset aeroplane hangar – but a stroll inside reveals investment in all the ways that matter, with a new de-stemmer, press and tanks. The new owners bring budget, but it’s not thrown around, says Huw. “The money is invested in high density vineyards and some really good winemaking equipment.”


The People

On the hills, Huw has spent the past three years filling in the gaps between blocks, “which was part of Mike’s original planting plan”, he says. The Weersings planted 22,500 vines across 2.2 hectares, with 1 metre row spacings. Now there are 60,000 vines across 6.8ha, with the additional 38,000 vines planted at 1.25 metre spacing, to allow for interrow plantings that can be crimp rolled down across the meadow. “The hectarage doesn’t seem big, but there are a lot of vines in that area,” says Huw. The new plantings are predominantly Chardonnay, with the variety now three quarters of the area, and Pinot Noir the remaining quarter. That’s flipped the past ratio on its head, but Chardonnay has proven to be the more consistent player, says Huw. “It’s an amazing Chardonnay site, there’s no doubt about that... Although I think it’s an amazing Pinot Noir site as well.” Pyramid Valley is 80ha in total, with the property managed in coordination with neighbours, and used for hay and grazing, and for barley cropping in 2020, with the new team finding their way through experience and observation, says Huw. There are also 12 Pyramid Valley cows, which graze the ridgeline and provide the manure that’s key to

biodynamic preparations. Biodynamics, which Huw sees as an organic version of regenerative farming, is about adopting a mindset of everything being interconnected, he says. “And every decision you make has influences on everything else.” It’s about farming microbes in the vineyard, he adds. “And if you think about winemaking, that ’s all we ’re doing… Managing microbes in the winery to make wine.” Huw grew up in Australia and went to Charles Sturt University at Wagga Wagga to study wine science after finishing school. Vintages during study, in the mid2000s, took him to various Australian wine regions, as well as California where he tried a Hawke’s Bay Syrah that drew him to New Zealand. Vintages at Trinity Hill with Warren Gibson and John Hancock boosted him into a flying winemaker job in the South of France in 2007. Those connections also hooked him into a job as Assistant Winemaker at Escarpment in the Wairarapa, working for 10 years with Larry McKenna, including the last two of transitioning to organics. “My first vintage was a 12,000 tonne winery in Margaret River and I slowly went smaller and smaller,” says Huw. “My skillset allowed that

Photo Richard Brimer

because I am not a specialist in the vineyard that excites Huw anything.” And over the years most, as the root source of of working wide across a small such distinctive wines. The operation, he’s increasingly biodynamics at play makes connected to the cyclical nature of winemaking. “The money is “It starts each invested in high year when we density vineyards prune and every decision from and some really good pruning all the winemaking equipment.” way through – shoot thinning, Huw Kinch fruit exposure, picking, and in the winery – sure that source is enhanced are all winemaking decisions. and protected. “For me it is To make wine you have to do about observation and trying it from the start.” to build more biodiversity in For all the new toys in the the soils and have a healthier Pyramid Valley winery, it’s ecosystem.”

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NZ WINEGROWER  DECEMBER 2021/JANUARY 2022  //   57


The People

New vintage Holly West

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Holly West. Photo by Richard Brimer

“AS SOON as I entered this industry, I felt like I belonged,” says Holly West, who started working weekends at Matua’s cellar door during her final year of high school. “I always knew that I wasn’t going to get a corporate or desk job; I wanted a job with purpose that I was passionate about.” These days Holly is a cellar hand in a tight-knit team at Te Kairanga in the Wairarapa, while studying an oenology degree part-time through the Nelson Marlborough Institute of Technology. Her teenage self would be proud to know her today, she adds. “The people are great, the wine is delicious, and the sights are beautiful it’s what I used to dream about when I was 18 and working in Auckland.” Growing up in Kumeū, Auckland, Holly felt pressure from teachers because she didn’t have a clear career path in mind. Soon after starting at Matua, she realised the

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cellar door was an opening to multiple opportunities in the wine industry. She was enamoured with the theory side of winemaking and keen to get stuck into the physical work around it, so Holly volunteered to work in the laboratory on her days off and do a couple of days in the winery. This gave her a chance to get a feel for the work and gain some experience. In 2016, the Matua site was due to shut down, so Holly decided to explore other wine regions of New Zealand. She landed a cellar hand role at Craggy Range in Hawke’s Bay, where she tried and fell for the company’s Te Muna Pinot Noir. “This was my first real introduction into Martinborough wine, and I was hooked.” It’s important to Holly to be immersed in the region she’s making wine from - “for me, this connection couldn’t be formed from a distance” – so she moved from Hawke’s Bay to Martinborough. That was “the

NZ WINEGROWER  DECEMBER 2021/JANUARY 2022

best decision that I have ever made”, she says. “I feel very at home working here.” She loves working at Te Kairanga for the unique terroir that is clearly reflected in the region’s wines. “For me it’s all about honouring the land we’re taking from.” She is just as passionate about protecting the environment that gives New Zealand wines their character. Holly hopes the New Zealand wine industry will be carbon negative in future. “It’s a big ask, but we’re taking from the earth, so we have a responsibility to give back and respect our regions.” She explains that while the wine industry emits relatively low carbon emissions compared to others, it doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be doing more. “We’re at the point where we can’t just consider, we need to act to sustain our industry (and history) for the future generations.” So far, Covid-19 has held

Holly back from travelling internationally for vintages, but she plans to work in Burgundy for harvest 2022, and then travel to Alsace and Germany once her degree is finished. Although she’s keen to travel, she appreciates the support she has found in the New Zealand wine industry. “I am very privileged to have two winemakers, John Kavanagh and Paul Mason, who are both generous with time and knowledge.” Holly believes that without the innovation and risk our pioneering winemakers took over the last 50 years, the New Zealand wine industry wouldn’t be where it is today. “The hard work has already been done by those before us. The founders and current generation of winemakers have told and continue to tell their stories from their time, place, and perspective. Now I’m getting ready to share mine.”


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The People

Postcard Letters from abroad

Angela Osborne and A Tribute to Grace

Calling Home - Angela Osborne from California KIA ORA, beautiful homeland. I am writing from the very tail end of vintage here in California, where I arrived following a Grenache dream 15 years ago. In a normal year we would be flying home soon, and dreams of a Kiwi summer would boost our harvestending-fatigue. But instead, we are stockpiling firewood for the winter, and jandals seem a faroff reality. I’m sure that for most wine lovers in the homeland, wine offers one of the only ways to travel in this new world we find ourselves in. For us homesick Kiwis living abroad, we are reaching for a taste of home like never before. My favourite perfume-maker calls his alchemy “armchair travel”, and I dare say winemaking is

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much the same. Now more than ever before. For me, I fell in love with Grenache many moons ago, on what was meant to be a single harvest gig in the United States before coming home to make documentaries. That was vintage 2002, and thanks to my harvest boss (and fellow Kiwi) Nick Goldschmidt taking me to see “how the other 1 percent make wine” at his friend Mick Unti’s winery, I tried my first ever single-varietal Grenache. I was smitten with a variety I knew little about. As luck would have it, the Kiwi spirit works well in this land. Before I knew it, fate aligned some chance meetings and the writing of ‘grace’ on an Encinitas beach, a wine-bar gig that manifested enough

NZ WINEGROWER  DECEMBER 2021/JANUARY 2022

tips to purchase two tons of Grenache, and a harvest job on the Central Coast (where by night I could make Grace in the corner of a friend’s winery), and so A Tribute to Grace was born. Grace Brookes was my nana, and an incredibly dear part of my life, and she taught me the meaning of her name. To me, Grenache offers this incredible expression of yin and yang, though erring ever so slightly on the feminine - which was much like my nana and my mum too. That is how I define grace. Our labels are designed by one of my besties, the gorgeously talented Nicole Sykes. We grew up together on Auckland’s North Shore, and her labels have been my touchstone since day one. Her grace is echoed throughout our aesthetic, and she’s also managed to hone in on the

chakra-balancing colour palette more than anyone I know. Forever grateful am I. We’ll make just over 3,500 cases this year, from Grenache plantings all over the state. Our current span is a little over 900 miles (the road trips are epic) from eastern Los Angeles up to the Sierra Foothills just south of Lake Tahoe, including some really old fruit (planted 1910), and really elevated – at 1,000 metres - with nine vineyards in total. Our business is a family one - my husband Jason and me, and our three wee Kiwiborn, Los Alamos-raised sons. All the vineyards are leased, or tonnage contracted, and each single vineyard expression bears the intention behind the name. There are 13 Graces at present: a Rosé, a Grenache Blanc, a sparkling Grenache (for my mum, called Gracias Madre) and 10 reds. This keeps


The People

the study as dynamic as it is inspiring, whilst covering the entire chakra-balancing colour spectrum. And it also supports our family. That said, I always thought we would have New Zealand roots put down by now - sharing the winemaking dreams with some Hawke’s Bay Chenin, maybe some Gamay, our boys learning surf lifesaving at Waimarama - but the global pandemic has shelved lots of dreams. Instead, we have a Kombivan-shaped tent, and our three-year-old often “drives to New Zealand”. We look at tui out the window, head for hot chips at Bethells, and the homesickness takes just a wee break from the constant yearn. We read the news of New Zealand from afar, I speak to my mum as often as I can, and to friends as often as they can. Our lockdown last year was just shy of six months in total, and

the difficulties were many, as were the lessons in humanity. We lost 90 percent of our business overnight (we were 90 percent wholesale): our tasting room was closed for nearly seven months, and we somehow home-schooled a two, four and six-year-old on a dusty cattle ranch, with only bobcats and red-tailed hawks for classmates. That said, it was our best year as a family: we learned flexibility, we played cards again, Jason taught the boys woodworking, we surfed all summer, and with so much taken away, we somehow grew. So - to our beautiful homeland - please hold in there. You are the golden child on the global stage, and as frustrating as the unknowing is, from our perspective, you are still the luckiest. And until the wings return, I suggest wine. Much aroha from across the Pacific. Angela, Jason, Bodhi, Marlin and Otis Osborne xoxo

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NZ WINEGROWER  DECEMBER 2021/JANUARY 2022  //   61


Bob’s Blog

Bob Campbell

Fine Wine a Hot Investment DRINKS BUSINESS magazine has reported that, after taking a bit of a hit when the pandemic first struck, fine wine rebounded in the second half of 2020 and continues to grow, hitting an all-time high in 2021. While luxury watches and cars rose by 5 percent and 4 percent respectively, the average price of “investment grade” wines rose by 13 percent in the 12 months to June 2021, according to Andrew Shirley, editor of Luxury Investment Index at Knight Frank. Assuming those figures are based on the sale of fine wines, the question remains: are the buyers stockpiling for investment or simply drinking their newly acquired

wines? We know that Covid has prompted us all to increase our alcohol consumption, but I can’t imagine that the arrival of the deadly virus would encourage many people to buy wines for investment. In fact, quite the reverse. Faced with our pending demise, surely we are more likely to drink up than stock up. Rupert Millar, managing editor for Liv-ex, the global marketplace for fine wine, told Drinks Business: “Fine wine provides very low volatility which makes it popular as a long-term investment. What has really boosted fine wine over the past 18 months or so, however, has been enthusiasts drinking up and restocking.

With restaurants and bars closed, holidays out of the question and generous stimulus packages pumping cash into the economy, people have found themselves with extra money to burn and have been treating themselves to luxuries such as fine wine, which can be readily enjoyed at home.” Another explanation for the recent boost in fine wine sales might be a trio of spectacular Bordeaux vintages in 2018, 2019 and 2020, followed by huge shortages this year. It is pure speculation on my part, but surely that would encourage investors to stock up now and take a quick profit when the market finishes its current price surge?

What is New Zealand’s best value wine style? TO GET an objective answer to that tricky question I trawled through my database of wine tasting notes. I sorted every wine tasted over the past two years by wine style and noted the average price in NZD$ and the average score out of 100 points. Here is that list in ascending price. The figure in brackets shows the number of wines tasted in that group. Riesling is the clear winner. It boasts the highest average score (with Syrah) and is only a few dollars more than the

lowest average price. Before I crunched the numbers, I guessed that Riesling would be the hottest candidate. The variety is particularly well-suited to the climatic conditions in Wairarapa and the South Island, with a clearly demonstrated ability to make vibrant, long-lived wine that will put a smile on every Riesling-lover’s face. Sadly, it is a tough sell in the marketplace. My guess is that many people are put off by the fact that New Zealand Riesling

often needs a little residual sugar to balance knife-edged acidity. My wife, Marion, dislikes both the sweetness and the acidity it is supposed to ameliorate. She is not a Riesling lover. Riesling lovers should rejoice at the lack of interest in their favourite white wine. If everyone loved Riesling, we probably couldn’t afford it. As a matter of interest, the price of Riesling ranged from a modest $15.95 to a reassuringly expensive $95.

New Zealand’s poorest value wine style might also be calculated from the chart below. Blended reds (these are, with few exceptions, blends of red Bordeaux grape varieties) has the highest average price of $65.01 and yet ranks fourth insofar as average score is concerned. Prices of the 147 blended reds ranged from a cheap and cheerful $15.99 to a rather serious $550.

Te Whare Ra 2020 “M” Riesling, Marlborough $28, 95 pts

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NZ WINEGROWER  DECEMBER 2021/JANUARY 2022


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The Places

Point of View

Upping the ante on dropping emissions SION BARNSLEY

E V E R YO N E N E E D S t o b e res p onsible for the environment and Lawson’s Dry Hills is no different. But like many things, you have to acknowledge the situation before you can make change. Whilst we felt Sustainable Winegrowers New Zealand (SWNZ) kicked things off with a good base, we felt we could do better and were keen to push for a stronger approach and more accountability. Our journey started many years ago, although from an official standpoint, the first formal accreditation was in 2011 when we achieved I S O14001. T his is the international standard for Environmental Management Systems (EMS) and the most widely used in the world. Our EMS controls all our decision-making in light of any environmental impact. It is a point of reference throughout all our company processes from the vineyard and winery, through to the office and into the market. A natural progression in addition to the EMS was for us to achieve ISO14064, which covers the principles and requirements to be carbon zero. We are independently certified by Toitū Envirocare so we have measured, managed and mitigated our operational emissions including business travel, electricity, vehicles

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and offices. It’s not just about throwing money at it and buying carbon credits – that is not addressing the issue; that’s just sticking a band-aid over it. It is about reducing our carbon footprint as much as possible and being fully accountable. The commitment to these standards didn’t come as a marketing ploy, but from a genuine desire to understand our impact on the environment and to reduce it. You can’t plead ignorance to climate change and greenhouse gases, because the proof is everywhere - whether it’s rising sea levels, rising temperatures, unpredictable weather or grape harvests that start earlier each year. The fact it forms part of our brand story is because it comes from a place of sincerity, and we are proud to have made such effective changes. Having said that, after discussion with some of our export partners who expressed an interest in a brand that featured our sustainability efforts, we launched Inviniti. This has been exceptionally well received. One of the reasons our initiatives have been so effective is the involvement of the whole Lawson’s Dry Hills team. Everyone has ownership, so it’s not just the big stuff like installing 200 solar panels on the winery roof, but the little things, like the worm

NZ WINEGROWER  DECEMBER 2021/JANUARY 2022

Sion Barnsley

farm, composting, recycling, and just thinking twice about everything we do and how we do it (or if we need to do it at all). Everyone feels they can make a difference and that’s important. L eading the company through these voluntar y environmental initiatives is hugely satisfying. While they require ongoing commitment, time and investment, the results are incredibly positive, both for the business and our people. It’s things like winning the wine industry category for the Cawthron Marlborough Environmental Awards this year that also make us proud. It’s great to receive recognition for what we are doing. Many companies talk about native planting, reducing waste or donate money to green causes, but it’s the

independent certification that proves to the world that a complete audit has taken place and actions recommended and taken. It’s only then you can be sure to be making a difference and it’s only then the consumer can be reassured that their purchase does not have a negative effect on the environment. New Zealand can be, and should be, the world leader in environmentally sustainable wine production – an incredibly strong platform for the industr y moving forward. Lawson’s Dry Hills is currently the only New Zealand wine producer to hold both ISO14001 and ISO14064 accreditations, so we look forward to other wine producers making the commitment and achieving the same. Sion Barnsley is General Manager of Lawson’s Dry Hills in Marlborough.


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The Places

Wine Weather Another La Niña JAMES MORRISON

Matawhero

THE CLIMATE “buzzword” for this season is obviously La Niña and, although the data isn’t showing this to be an extraordinarily strong event, there are signs of a classic La Niña in the type of weather being produced. Spring brought the usual early frosts from August through until early October. However, by mid-October the frosts became a rare event in most places and a warmer and more humid northerly airstream developed. Mean temperatures have been near or above average and the night time temperatures are well above normal. La Niña is traditionally associated with an increased risk in ex-tropical low pressure systems moving south and bringing cloud, high humidity and rain to much of New Zealand through mid-summer and early autumn. Warm sea temperatures and low pressure to the north mean that the

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chances of this type of weather have increased and are looking more likely over the next few months.

Outlook for August and September: Gisborne/Hawke’s Bay Mean temperatures are likely to continue to run above average, especially night time minimums. Rainfall has been above average and although some dry periods are likely, there will be an increased risk of further heavy rain events through the first quarter of 2022. If low pressure continues to the north of New Zealand then cloud cover may increase and sunshine totals fall as northeast winds persist. Wairarapa Whilst heavy rain events are possible and chances are higher than average, long settled

NZ WINEGROWER  DECEMBER 2021/JANUARY 2022

periods of weather are also likely with a lighter northerly flow, and rainfall totals may be lower than Hawke’s Bay and Gisborne. Temperatures should run above average and there is also a chance of prolonged periods of settled and quite hot conditions. Nelson Mean temperatures are likely to continue the national trend and remain above average. Conditions may be more humid at times but rainfall should be close to normal. There is also a risk of heavy rain events but these are not as great as the North Island and will be very dependent on where and how low pressure systems form. Marlborough /North Canterbury These areas sit at a bit of a boundary during La Niña. Low pressure to the north pushes cloud south along the coast and creates periods of drizzle.

Inland areas could remain quite dry for long periods and with quite hot conditions about valleys and basins that are sheltered from the coast. Rainfall totals may be closer to average about Marlborough and a little below average in North Canterbury. Humidity levels are likely to be higher, especially along the coast. Central Otago La Niña conditions can bring hot, settled weather to Otago for long periods of time. Rainfall totals are more likely to be below average, but if a low pressure system or humid tropical airstream does push onto the lower South Island, then the chance of thunderstorms increases. Mean temperatures are likely to be above average along with the rest of the country. James Morrison runs Weatherstation Frost Forecasting Ltd – weatherstation.net.nz


The Places

Long Range Forecasts

JAMES MORRISON

SOI, MJO, SAM: These acronyms may be familiar to you or sound familiar when listening to talk about the seasons ahead and long range forecasting. In short, they stand for some of the various long-term climate patterns that create our everchanging weather. Some of these patterns are responsible for headline-making weather stories when severe short-term weather events affect us. However, as a forecaster it is also about being able to understand the long-term potential weather and effects so that we can all be better prepared in whatever industry we are involved with.

SOI – Southern Oscillation Index This index is basically the difference in air pressure at two sites, Tahiti and Darwin. It was discovered in the early 20th century that when high pressure over the eastern Pacific Ocean and low pressure over Indonesia reversed (El Niño), this weakened the trade winds and as a result sea temperatures warm along the equator and towards the coast of South America. This results in a change of weather patterns that tend to bring drier conditions to Indonesia and Australia and

increase the flow of westerly winds over New Zealand. This is why we often have long periods of warm, windy weather along the coast under El Niño. When air pressure over Tahiti is higher than air pressure at Darwin, conditions are considered to be neutral, and this is the “normal” condition. If this difference in pressure becomes exceptionally strong (La Niña), then low pressure systems are more likely to occur in the tropics north of New Zealand and increase the chances of cloud and rain.

MJO – Madden Julian Oscillation The MJO is an area of higher than normal convection that tends to start in the Indian Ocean along the equator. This large blob of unstable air moves eastwards into the Pacific Ocean before petering out after about seven to eight weeks. This is a useful climate cycle to follow because it shows when the area north of New Zealand is likely to be more unsettled than usual. SAM – Southern Antarctic Oscillation

The westerly is our trade wind. Strongest usually in spring, it will show up at any time of the year. The westerly winds can produce record warm in the east and record rain in the west. During an El Niño year the continual barrage of winds from the west can seem never ending. However, it is not El Niño alone that brings these winds. The Southern Antarctic Oscillation gives forecasters an idea of how persistent these winds are likely to be in the weeks and months ahead. Air pressure varies over Antarctica and when pressure is low the SAM is in positive phase. When pressure is high the SAM is in negative phase. This change in pressure basically causes the westerlies that circle the oceans to the south of us to either expand northwards or contract southwards. SAM in positive phase means high pressure dominates the mid-latitudes and the westerlies retreat into the Southern Ocean and only make brief appearances from time to time. SAM in a negative phase means the westerlies push further north and can dominate our weather for long periods of time.

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The Places

Regional finalists Tonnellerie de Mercurey Young Winemaker of the Year The Young Winemaker of the Year competition shines a spotlight on the young talent in New Zealand’s wine industry, says Sherwyn Veldhuizen from naming sponsor Tonnellerie de Mercurey. “Supporting and encouraging their efforts to forge a successful path in wine.” The national final was postponed due to Covid-19 alert levels, but is now to be held in Central Otago on 3 February. In the lead-up to the event we chat to Sherwyn and the three regional finalists. Sherwyn Veldhuizen from Tonnellerie de Mercurey How did you become involved in this event? We have always appreciated the relationships with our wine colleagues we have built on over the time we have been Mercurey agents. Often during our visits, we do not have the chance to engage with the younger members of the winemaking team, so it was a way of connecting to the next generations as well as wanting to introduce the story of a family-owned business, from forest to stave to barrel and toast, and the concept of traditional approaches to winemaking and winegrowing in our everchanging commercial world of wine. This year’s contestants have all competed in the national final

before. Do you feel invested in their success? Yes, very much so. It has been very rewarding to see their commitment and courage to re-enter the competition for the ultimate title and it’s very obvious to us how much they have grown and achieved in the pursuit of the competition. They have pushed themselves on all levels and will benefit from that wherever their careers take them. We have opted not to be involved in any of the judging and I am happy not to have to choose between these three great contestants.

Marcel Giesen Sherwyn Veldhuizen. Photo Nikki Boon

humility to know you never stop learning, motivation to achieve and explore.

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NZ WINEGROWER  DECEMBER 2021/JANUARY 2022

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The Places

Peter Russell; Winemaker at Matua in Marlborough When and why did you become interested in winemaking? I became interested through a love of flavour which started one Christmas mixing cocktails! From there it grew into a passion of being able to create new flavours and textures which people enjoy, something that winemaking lets me express myself with. And what makes you good at it? I think it’s the ability to be creative while also respecting that I get to deal with

some amazing fruit that people have poured their passion into growing and the results speak for themselves. What are the most exciting developments in the industry in your region? We are in a period of growth and high demand so inherently new and exciting innovations, technologies and ideas are popping up all over the place, so Marlborough really is the place to be. Please sum up the Tonnellerie de Mercurey

Peter Russell

Young Winemaker of the Year competition. Exciting - gives the next generation a time to showcase ideas and talent of the future.

Jordan Moores, Assistant Winemaker at Valli in Central Otago When and why did you become interested in winemaking? It’s always been in the background of my life. My mother and father both did a wine education programme at university, so in my crawling days I would be sniffing corks, and since the age of 12 I was always allowed a glass of wine with Christmas dinner. But at university was when I really got interested in wine. I was studying microbiology and I had no idea where I was

going with my degree. My friends said they were going into the wine industry. So, my mum and I went on a trip to Hawke’s Bay and I loved it. I signed up to EIT the next week and have been obsessed ever since. It’s the perfect balance between art and science. It gives me freedom to visualise on a non-factual basis, to build stuff in the sky, to use language to describe what I taste, see and smell. But, it can also be traced back to factual, scientific evidence.

Jordan Moores. Photo Anna Allan

There are too many truths in wine; as frustrating as that might seem, it’s actually remarkably liberating.

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NZ WINEGROWER  DECEMBER 2021/JANUARY 2022

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The Places

And what makes you good at it? I’m constantly making mistakes and I’m always putting my hand up. I might completely fail at it, but I try to own my mistakes. I talk it through with my friends, bosses and mentors, and learn. I’ve found mentors not only within my company, but outside. Diversity of thought is important, and so it’s

important to find different mentors. Everyone needs guidance, a reality check, an ego boost, some hard words and some self-assurance. Find people who share with you and challenge you. What are the most exciting developments in the industry in your region? Soil health and how it translates to

viticulture and winemaking. Plus red wine maceration techniques. Please sum up the Tonnellerie de Mercurey Young Winemaker of the Year competition. A place to put yourself out there and learn while a whole industry is right there helping you succeed.

Ben McNab, Assistant Winemaker at Palliser in Martinborough When and why did you become interested in winemaking? The curiosity with wine has always been there, but my interest was cemented when I first worked harvest in 2013. The relationship between earth and wine, the aromatics of ferment and the balance of science and art captured my passion. I like to pursue things to their end and so the journey began. And what makes you good at it? I enjoy learning from others and am fortunate to work within a team of passionate and knowledgeable people who collaborate to meet common goals. Working together with amazing

vineyards and subsequent fruit, we harness learnings from previous vintages and focus on detail to create wine that cautiously strays from tradition and embraces modern style. What are the most exciting developments in the industry in your region? I find recent expansion and succession incredibly exciting for our region, vineyard acreage is growing and further adopting organic practices, whilst direct to consumer experiences are higher value with recent investment in restaurants and entertaining spaces. Winemakers are maturing into their vineyards and fruit, giving them unparalleled ability to

Ben McNab

craft wines of incredible quality and true sense of place. A small, but younger wave of talent in our vineyards and wineries is bringing new perspectives, energy and flare that can only raise our bar higher. Please sum up the competition. An opportunity to embrace personal and professional development that helps vitalise an entire industry.

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NZ WINEGROWER  DECEMBER 2021/JANUARY 2022  //   71


The Places

Residential Rules Central Otago vines giving way to houses Wooing Tree

JEAN GRIERSON

VINES ARE giving way to housing in Central Otago as Cromwell’s township grows. Eight hectares of 20-year-old grafted vines, mostly Pinot Noir, were dug out over winter from the highly visible Wooing Tree Vineyard, opposite Cromwell’s big fruit sculpture. Housing demand means the site is now worth far more as subdivision than as vineyard land, says Steve Farquharson who, with his wife Thea, has

partnered with Veros Property to develop more than 300 houses on the 25ha Wooing Tree Estate. He says it’s a “win-win” that has enabled former co-owners Jane and Geoff Bews to exit the wine business, whilst Steve and Thea will continue the Wooing Tree wine brand with grapes grown mostly off-site. Fast-track approval through the Covid-19 Recovery (Fasttrack Consenting) Act has

allowed the new (third) stage of the development to proceed earlier than anticipated. “Sections are selling that fast that we decided to crack on with another stage,” says Steve. A range of commercial activities, new cellar door, cycleways and a pedestrian and cycle underpass connecting to the Cromwell town centre are planned. “Our new business partners are sympathetic and supportive of the vineyard

brand and have helped Wooing Tree facilitate continuation of our wine business,” says Steve. “It’s enabled us to stay here in Cromwell on the Wooing Tree site and build a new cellar door on the highway.” The iconic pine tree and a one-hectare noise and visual buffer of organically managed vines will remain. “People love the idea of living by the vines,” he says. To date at last half of the

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The Places

buyers have been Cromwell locals, but there has been strong interest from all across New Zealand. The development ticks the boxes for small section size and affordability, as well as close proximity to lake, town centre, and the newly developed cycle trails. Steve says the property was a derelict wasteland surrounded by orchards for 100 years, prior to planting the Wooing Tree Vineyard 20 years ago. “It’s really only been in the last eight years that the town has developed and we’ve had houses built next to it.” Twenty thousand vines were transplanted to the new Pink Moon Vineyard (formerly Charcoal Gully) some 12km away, doubling the planted area there, so Wooing Tree’s production volumes should be similar to before. Steve expects there will be similar pressure for development on neighbouring orchard land in the future. Alan Brady planted the first grapes at Gibbston four decades ago this year. Early on it was envisaged there would be competition for the land resource and a Gibbston Character Zone was created in the 1990’s to ensure development didn’t compromise the valley ’s productive potential. “That piece of planning has held up quite well and protected the

vineyards, with one or two exceptions,” says Alan. “There has always been an attraction for living near vineyards… It’s romantic but it’s not always good for the industry.” Resident Timbo Deaker says the community has been working to protect productive vineyard land from residential encroachment. They have employed resource management lawyers to help their case. “When you go to Burgundy you see how the vines and villages can live together.” He says new developments around Gibbston Valley Resort are sympathetic with the community vision. “The QLDC (Queenstown Lakes District Council) are really on board and I think what the council and Gibbston Valley Resort have achieved and are proposing at that end of the valley is a very proud piece of wine tourism for New Zealand.” T h e G i b b s to n Va l l e y Lodge & Spa, which opened last year, offers boutique accommodation in 24 luxury villas overlooking the vines. Earthworks are now well under way towards the next stage comprising a nine-hole golf course, 85 residential houses, 180 visitor accommodation units and vineyard expansion on the northern side of the highway, linked by an underpass.

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 biosecurity.govt.nz/stinkbug

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

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

MPB0160

NZ WINEGROWER  DECEMBER 2021/JANUARY 2022  //   73


The Places

Biosecurity update Exotic pest update: spotted lanternfly SOPHIE BADLAND

A PL ANTHOPPER native to China and Vietnam, the spotted lanternfly invaded South Korea in 2004 and then Berks County, Pennsylvania in the United States, in 2014. It has since spread into all of the states neighbouring Pennsylvania, and there have also been detections in many other places, including Oregon and California on the west coast. Julie Urban (from the Department of Entomology at Penn State University) recently joined a group of New Zealand industry representatives and researchers for a webinar detailing the ongoing response to spotted lanternfly in the US. When asked how worried New Zealand should be about this invasive pest arriving here, she warned: “I think spotted lanternfly should be considered as much of a priority as BMSB (brown marmorated stink bug).”

Impacts in the vineyard In South Korea, the spotted lanternfly was noted as a pest of grapes, apples and stonefruit, with the largest economic impact due to the deposition of honeydew (a sticky excrement produced by feeding on plant sap) on grapevines and fruit clusters, encouraging sooty mould growth and rendering fruit unsaleable. It is thought that

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since about 2008, an increase in parasitoid populations in South Korea has helped to control the spotted lanternfly outbreak somewhat and less damage and loss is being reported. In the US, sooty mould is not an issue; anecdotally, this is because a lot more fungicide is applied than in South Korea. The higher sugar content in the predominantly table grape varieties commonly growing in South Korea is also thought to be a factor. In the US, significant damage has been reported due to swarms of lanternfly feeding in large numbers on vines. This feeding causes increased susceptibility to winter injury, interferes with photosynthesis, reduces starch concentration in roots, reduces yield in subsequent years post-feeding damage, and in some cases causes the death of vines. Much of the spread is thought to be human assisted through the movement of vehicles, containers and equipment. Spotted lanternfly is an excellent hitchhiker and a challenging pest to manage and contain for several reasons: • It lays eggs on inanimate surfaces (buildings, posts, stone, containers, vehicles) as well as host material. The egg stage also lasts eight months, providing ample opportunities for transport

NZ WINEGROWER  DECEMBER 2021/JANUARY 2022

Spotted lanternfly egg masses on a vineyard post in Pennsylvania. Most posts in the vineyard looked like this.

to new areas. • Egg masses are covered with a sludgy proteinaceous coating and look like dried mud, making them very difficult to detect. • Nymphs and adults are voracious feeders on many hosts and frequently host-switch; they can be unpredictable. First to third nymphal instars feed on herbaceous tissues, fourth instars prefer woody hosts, and adults feed on a range of hosts over a four -month period, so are able to do a lot of damage. Grapevine is a key host of all life stages, but the lanternflies constantly move in and out of vineyards. • Feeding preference is relative to what is in the area and it is very hard to predict where they might move; constant shifting results in patchy distribution. • Lanternflies move across landscapes, from crops to managed parks and backyards, to natural or managed forested areas. Controlling them in vineyards alone can have little effect. Several insecticides work, but sprays need to be applied frequently due to s h e e r n u m b e r s a n d re-infestation. The most effective insecticides are also

pyrethroids, neonicotinoids a n d o r g a n o p h o s p h a te s , which disrupt integrated pest management (IPM) programmes for established pests and diseases.

Risk of entry into New Zealand A pest risk analysis was carried out by the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) in March 2020. The risk assessment found that the most likely ways spotted lanternfly might enter New Zealand are via inanimate pathways (such as shipping containers or vehicles), on forestry products or in passengers’ personal effects. The life stage most likely to arrive is egg masses, but the risk of them being viable is considered low due to the conditions they would undergo during transpor tation. However, if they are viable, the likelihood that a population could establish is considered moderate to high, and New Zealand’s climate is thought to be suitable to sustain populations. Egg development is thought to be temperaturedriven, but there appears to be a lot of variability in egg hatch rates and timing both in the field and in the lab, so more research is needed to better understand influences on egg hatch rates and possible manipulations. Further information about


The Places

Nymphal and adult spotted lanternfly life stages. Adults are approximately 2.5cm in body length. Image credit: Laurence Barringer, Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture.

the spotted lanternfly situation in the US and research being undertaken is available at StopSLF.org.

Member awareness is crucial, especially if importing While spotted lanternf ly adults and nymphs are quite distinctive and easily

recognisable, the egg masses can be very difficult to spot visually. This means they could be imported on a range of goods and not picked up prior to import, or at the border. The incursion into the US is thought to have occurred because egg masses were brought into a stoneyard on imported stone from Asia. New

Zealand Winegrowers (NZW) urges members to ensure all vineyard and winery staff are aware of what to look for (the NZW Vineyard Pest and Disease Identification guide has some good images of all spotted lanternfly life stages) and ensure all imported vineyard and winery inputs are inspected upon arrival. If

anything suspicious or unusual is noticed, call the Biosecurity NZ hotline on 0800 80 99 66 and send an email to biosecurity@nzwine.com with a photo. The NZW biosecurity team will also be developing a more detailed fact sheet on spotted lanternfly which will be available to members next year.

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www.vintechpacific.co.nz NZ WINEGROWER  DECEMBER 2021/JANUARY 2022  //   75


Advocacy Matters

On your Behalf

Advocacy on matters of vital importance to the industry

Agreement in principle with the UK: What does this mean for NZ wine exporters? SARAH WILSON

IN OCTOBER , the New Zealand Government announced it had reached an agreement in principle (AIP) with the United Kingdom, essentially confirming that a free trade agreement is on the way once all the details are finalised. The text still needs to be confirmed, but we expect it to include a specific annex dealing with matters related to wine. Based on the AIP, we expect the final agreement will include a number of key benefits for winegrowers. Tariffs: Once the agreement enters into force, all tariffs on New Zealand wine exports to the UK will be removed immediately. Tariffs vary at the moment depending on the wine type and the alcohol percentage, but currently, for a 13.5 percent bottle of still wine, would be approximately £0.09. For sparkling wine, the tariffs are much higher (approximately £0.20 per bottle). Wine is in a more favourable position than some other goods under the AIP there will be staggered tariff removals for some goods, such as beef and some dairy products under the deal.

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VI-1 forms: Cur rently, shipments of wine to the UK are required to be accompanied by a VI-1 form. The form has been carried over from the European Union (EU) requirements following Brexit. To obtain a form, New Zealand wine exporters need to have their wine undergo a chemical analysis, demonstrating that the product complies with various EU requirements. By abolishing VI-1 forms for the UK market, this will remove the need for the chemical analysis for consignments go i n g to t h e U K o n l y. However, if wine is going to be re-exported from the UK to the EU, a VI-1 will still be required, to be accompanied by a second VI-1 from UK authorities. Winemaking practices: The UK has agreed to work towards comprehensive recognition of each of New Zealand’s winemaking practices. While the details are still to be worked through, we have raised with officials some key restrictions that we know impact winemakers who send wine to the UK/EU markets. New Zealand Winegrowers (NZW) would also support

NZ WINEGROWER  DECEMBER 2021/JANUARY 2022

the UK joining the World Wine Trade Group (WWTG), as we use that forum to work closely with other winemaking countries, particularly on the subject of winemaking practices. L abelling: We continue to engage with officials on labelling. Our goal is to ensure wine labelling requirements do not impose unnecessary costs or create trade barriers for New Zealand wine exporters. In particular, we would like to see a back label that is acceptable to regulators in both the EU and the UK markets. The key challenge is likely to be the importer declarations. This is also a subject we are raising in the EU FTA negotiations.

Where to from here? NZW regularly engages with the Government to advocate for winegrowers’ interests and to ensure that matters specific to industry are adequately addressed in the agreement. We do not yet know the timeline for when these changes will take effect but will let winegrowers know more information as soon as it becomes available. Once the

deal is agreed, it still needs to go through a parliamentary approval process (so expect a timeframe in months rather than days/weeks). The UK Government has also announced a review of excise tax, with proposals to increase excise significantly for s ome w ines (ba s e d on ABV ). These are still being consulted on, but if implemented would not take effect until 2023. As an aside, negotiations with the EU for a free trade agreement are ongoing (and completely separate from the UK negotiations). We will report updates as we get them. If you have any questions, please contact the NZW Advocacy team at advocacy@nzwine.com


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Machinery Updates

Nuts and Bolts

Mark Daniel’s updates on Machinery and Technology

Organic vineyards say cheers to Fendt Greystone Viticulturist Mike Saunders

THE GREYSTONE Vineyards operation covers 50 hectares across two properties in the Waipara winegrowing region of North Canterbury, including the Greystone and Muddy Water Vineyards. Greystone and Muddy Water wines have won multiple awards and recently claimed the sustainable vineyard of the year award at the 2020 New Zealand Organic Wine Awards, with around half of the wine produced exported, primarily to China and Australia. Pinot Noir grapes, Greystone’s primary crop, is well-suited to the vineyard’s limestone soils, while Chardonnay and Riesling grapes are grown on the slope. Gewürtztraminer, Pinot Gris and Sauvignon Blanc are grown on the flatter ground, which has a dry clay and gravel soil. Greystone is 100 percent BioGro organic certified, with a company philosophy around how they treat the plants, the

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land, and the environment, particularly around reducing the use of fossil fuels; saving production costs and being better for the environment. A major switch in 2020 saw the arrival of Fendt tractors, with German engineering and AGCO’s back-up service cited as major factors in the decision to convert the fleet of three tractors, says Greystone Viticulturist Mike Saunders. “For me, one of the biggest things is the ownership structure offered by AGCO, with the tractors being leased under a full-maintenance arrangement that removes so much hassle. We used to spend a long time with our own staff servicing the tractors, but when we set out to prioritise staff time, we realised that maintenance is not a speciality for us, so we let the experts come in to maintain them, resulting in greatly reduced downtime.” Greystone leased a larger Fendt 209P tractor in October

NZ WINEGROWER  DECEMBER 2021/JANUARY 2022

last year, before adding two smaller Fendt 209V models earlier this year. All feature Fendt’s renowned stepless Vario transmission, mated to a 3,300cc, 3cyl engine that pumps out a maximum of 94hp/389Nm torque. The 209P features an overall width of around 1,680mm, while the narrower ‘V’ versions are a slender 1,131mm wide. The Vario transmission allows the drivers to use a joystick to set the speed, from where the tractor’s management system controls the engine speed to the most economical point for the task at hand, with the benefit of reduced fuel consumption. Alternatively, the driver can manually control the forward or reverse speed using a foot pedal. “It takes a day or two for the driver to get their heads around the Vario transmission, but once you have the hang of it, you don’t want to go back,” says Mike. “Fendt’s Vario transmission also contributes

to the safety of the drivers, as they offer a lot more control and confidence on the hillside vineyard’s narrow rows.” The larger 209P tractor mainly operates on the larger Greystone vineyard, some of which is laid out on 2.5 metrewide rows, running a 1,500litre sprayer and harvesting equipment. The narrower 209V tractors float between the properties, working on the narrower 2m-wide rows undertaking weeding, mowing and mulching operations. “The Fendt tractors fit in well with our operational philosophy, as Greystone does not use herbicides, so the rows need to be managed carefully with undervine weeding and mowing. It’s a very careful process with a need for precision and stability in the tractors, allowing us to do the work without taking the vines out with the weeder - a task the Fendts allow us to do with ease,” says Mike.


Machinery Updates

Braun Alpha mulchers have landed BYRNEBUILT ENGINEERING, based in Renwick, Marlborough, started out in 2003 to service the rapidly expanding local grape industry. Offering an extensive range of engineering services for the sector, in 2009 they formed an association with German specialist manufacturer Braun, to service undervine cultivation units. More recently, in 2020, Byrnebuilt were appointed exclusive importers and distributors for Australasia, offering them access to the wider Braun product range. In operation for more than 60 years, Braun-maschinenbau, based north-west of Stuttgart, specialises in the production of specialised equipment for the mechanical control of grass, pruning and weed control in vineyards and orchards. A recently landed shipment in Marlborough sees the arrival of the Braun Alpha 2000 mulcher range. Designed for moving grass or mulching vineyard and orchard prunings, the machine features a unique telescoping body system that allows “on the move” cutting width adjustment. The construction of the Alpha sees a heavy-duty central section fitted with external wings that can be extended or retracted hydraulically through a range of 250mm on each side. A triple overlapping blade system is fitted to ensure a suitable overlap as the bodies move. Featuring a central gearbox, with twin planetary units that move on ‘u’-shaped channels, the driveline uses heavy-duty solid hexagonal shafts, removing any issues typically associated with belt drive layouts. Offered in a range of sizes, with up to 500mm of movement each, they include models that cover 1,400mm to 1,900mm, 1,500mm to 2,000mm, 1,650mm to 2,200mm and 1,900mm to 2,500mm. Standard features include 6mm thick high-grade steel mowing bodies, front mounted support/anti-scalp wheels and a rear roller assembly, both featuring maintenance-free bearings, alongside an integrated mounting system for auxiliary units such as undervine stem cleaners or sprayer nozzles. While each of the mower wings can be adjusted “on the move” by the operator, an optional control system using sensors can be used to move both wings asymmetrically for fully automated adjust to suit row widths. A semi-automatic function allows the sensor to adjust the mower head nearest the vine or tree, while the operator manually adjusts the other wing. This configuration is said to be useful for operations on sloping ground. www.byrnebuiltengineering.co.nz

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Celebrating our people The success of our industry depends strongly on the commitment and passion of the people behind it, through each step of the growing, production and sales and distribution chain. We are celebrating the people that make our industry so special.

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A regular feature to inform industry people about research projects being undertaken for their benefit. Newly approved projects (when available) are briefly summarised and longer reports will describe what has been achieved so far. When completed, each project will be reported in full detail with references, on nzwine.com

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

Brightwater Vineyards

CONTRACTED RESEARCH PROJECTS Quality Wine Styles for Existing and Developing Markets Breaking the quality-productivity seesaw in wine grape production (Pinot noir Programme) University of Auckland, Plant and Food Research and Lincoln University (Various) jointly funded by NZW and MBIE Exploring the chemical space in Vineyard Ecosystems (VE) Programme juices and wines University of Auckland (B Fedrizzi) Prevenation of quercetin instability in bottled wine Villa Maria Wines Limited (E Taylor) The effect of winemaking decisions on polysaccharide content in wine University of Auckland (B Fedrizzi)

Central Otago mealybug and grapevine leafroll virus management Bragato Research Institute (L Ibbotson) Weevils in New Zealand vineyards Bragato Research Institute (L Ibbotson) Trunk Disease: Applied research and extension FY22 Bragato Research Institute (L Ibbotson)

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

Understanding green character in Pinot noir wine Lincoln University (A Borssato)

Long spur pruning as an alternative to cane pruning for Sauvignon blanc in Marlborough Bragato Research Institute (L Ibbotson)

Pests and Disease

Sustainability/Organics

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

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

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

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Investigation of subsurface drip irrigation in vineyards Thoughtful Viticulture (M Krasnow)

NZ WINEGROWER  DECEMBER 2021/JANUARY 2022

Understanding the global market potential for the adoption of regenerative agriculture (RA) in New Zealand Beef and Lamb NZ Microbial responses to undervine treatments Bragato Research Institute (M Barry) Science review of cover-cropping in vineyards Bragato Research Institute (L Ibbotson)

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)


Research Supplement

Timing of mechanical shaking to reduce botrytis bunch rot in Sauvignon blanc Mark Krasnow Ph.D., Director Thoughtful Viticulture Ltd.

THERE HAS BEEN MUCH work in New Zealand looking at using mechanical shaking as a non-chemical way to reduce bunch rot at harvest. The theory is that shaking after set knocks floral trash and aborted berries out of the bunch, meaning that this material is less likely to become trapped inside ripening bunches, potentially serving as an inoculum point for botrytis. Many years of studies have shown, in general, a 50 percent decrease in rot at harvest from shaking (Allen and Haywood, 2017; Trought et al., 2014). In most of the previous work, the shaking was done when the berries were pea sized (around 30-40 grams bunch weight). Shaking at exactly this growth stage is a challenge for growers wishing to treat a large vineyard area with limited machinery. This study was undertaken to understand how wide of a window of opportunity there is between set and bunch closure to get a good result from mechanical shaking. The trial involved three Sauvignon blanc vineyards in Marlborough, and was run for three successive seasons (2018-19 through 2020-21). Three shaking times were tested, and one row was shaken at each time: peppercorn sized berries (EL stage 29, 5-10g bunch weight), pea sized berries (EL stage 31, 30-40g bunch weight), and just before bunch closure (EL stage 32, 50-60g bunches). Around a month separates the early shake from the late shake. All treatments, shaken and control, received a standard botryticide spray programme (SB2 used an organic spray programme). In all vineyards the harvester set up was completed by Mark Allen, a consultant experienced with mechanical shaking machinery set up, and directly involved with much of the previous research work.

Figure 1: A plastic bin with the collected “trash” removed from an appropriately calibrated harvester. Most of what is removed are floral parts and unpollinated berries, with few leaves and no bunches or parts of bunches. Photo Mark Allen, Allen Vineyard Advisory

Harvester settings were optimised to remove floral trash from the bunch, but did not knock off shoots, bunches, or berries (Figure 1). The aim is to shake the vine hard enough to reduce botrytis inoculum, but not so hard as to reduce yield. At harvest there was never any significant effect of shaking, regardless of timing, on berry weight or brix, indicating that shaking can be carried out with no negative effect on fruit ripening. Final yield was not significantly affected except for SB1 in 2021 where the late shake had lower yield than earlier shaking times and the control. There was no significant effect on yield of the first two shaking times (Table 1). These data show that shaking is generally safe to carry out from set to bunch closure with minimal chance of reducing yield when the harvester is appropriately set up for light shaking, targeting trash removal only. In terms of rot at harvest, shaking

generally had either no effect or reduced rot (Table 2). The only exception to this trend was SB3 in 2018-19, where all three shaking times had more rot than the control (Table 2), however, there was powdery mildew on the fruit in that vineyard that year, which could have affected the results. All three seasons of the trial were very dry leading up to harvest, with only a single severe infection period (IP) between veraison and harvest (Broome et al., 2014). This is fewer severe IPs than is typical for Marlborough, where the long-term average is between two and three during ripening (Rob Agnew, personal communication). Thus, for all three seasons of the trial, rot pressure was much lower than normal for Marlborough, which might have obscured differences that would be larger in a more typical year. When there were significant differences in rot, the timing of the shake that had the least rot differed from vineyard to vineyard. At SB2 in 2019, the early and

NZ WINEGROWER  DECEMBER 2021/JANUARY 2022  //   83


Research Supplement

Table 1: Yield (kg/vine) from the three years of the trial.

Vineyard

SB1 SB2 SB3

Treatment

2018-19

2019-20

2020-21

Control

5.6

3.6

5.4 a

Early shake

4.0

4.0

5.0 a

Middle shake

4.2

3.4

4.3 a

Late shake

4.7

3.8

3.4 b

Control

10.2

N/A

5.6

Early shake

12.0

N/A

6.0

Middle shake

11.5

N/A

5.7

Late shake

11.0

N/A

6.1

Control

5.5

N/A

8.2

Early shake

4.8

N/A

8.2

Middle shake

4.8

N/A

7x7

Late shake

5.4

N/A

7.1

No harvest was possible at SB2 and SB3 in 2020 because of Covid-19 lockdowns. Values in bold with different lower case letters from a vineyard denote significant differences at the p=0.05 level.

Table 2: Rot severity (% of berries affected per bunch) for the three

Vineyard

SB1 SB2 SB3

Treatment

2019-20

2020-21

Control

1.0%

0.3%

0.1%

Early shake

1.2%

0.3%

0.1%

Middle shake

1.1%

0.2%

0.1%

Late shake

1.1%

0.2%

0.2%

Control

3.0% a

N/A

0.3%

Early shake

0.9% bc

N/A

0.3%

Middle shake

0.8% c

N/A

0.1%

Late shake

1.4% b

N/A

0.2%

Control

1.9% b

N/A

1.2% a

Early shake

3.8% a

N/A

0.7% b

Middle shake

2.9% a

N/A

0.6% b

Late shake

2.2% b

N/A

0.6% b

middle shake had less rot than the late shake and control, however at SB3 in the same season the early and middle shake showed the highest rot (Table 2). In general, however, the effect on rot was similar regardless of shaking time, indicating that the period during which shaking can be applied with positive effect is wider than previously thought. Shaking the vines causes physical trauma to the berries, which are flung around and bang into one another, wires, and canes. Recent work has shown that the shaking

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2018-19

process itself induces a biochemical response inside the berry, whereby defensive compounds are synthesised in response to shaking (Schwenkel et al., 2021). This biochemical response can help explain the reduction in rot seen in this, and past shaking studies, as these “induced” berries would be harder for botrytis to infect, and for rot to spread from berry to berry when an infection does occur. To test whether there is also a skin physical response to shaking, skin break force (toughness) was measured in this study at three points

NZ WINEGROWER  DECEMBER 2021/JANUARY 2022

No harvest was possible at SB2 and SB3 in 2020 because of Covid-19 lockdowns. Values with different lower case letters from a vineyard denote significant differences at the p=0.05 level. Red text denotes significantly higher rot and green text denotes significantly lower rot from the shaking versus the control.

during fruit ripening: post-veraison, mid-ripening, and harvest. Often there were no differences between the shaken and control berry skin toughness. However, when differences were seen, the shaken fruit had tougher skins than the control. This was especially pronounced in the 2019-20 season, where every vineyard had significantly tougher skins between at least one shaking time and the control at some point. Unfortunately, this was the season when only one harvest was possible due to Covid lockdowns, and the


Research Supplement

Table 3: Summary of the effect of shaking time on skin hardness.

Vineyard

SB1 SB2 SB3

Sample

2018-19

2019-20

2020-21

Post-veraison

No differences*

No differences

No differences³

Mid-ripening

No differences*

Middle shake tougher on control

No differences³

Harvest

No differences*

Early and middle shakes tougher than control

No differences³

Post-veraison

No differences*

Middle shake tougher than control

No differences

Mid-ripening

No differences*

Early and middle shakes tougher to control

No differences

Harvest

No differences*

ND

No differences

Post-veraison

No differences*

Early shake tougher to control

No differences

Mid-ripening

No differences*

Early and middle shakes tougher than control

No differences

Harvest

No differences*

ND

Late shake tougher than control

Asterisks denote 20 berry samples per treatment replicate, which were increased to 50 for 2019-20 and 2020-21. ³Denotes a replacement for the original SB1 vineyard, which was frosted in 2020-21.

one harvest undertaken showed very low rot incidence and no difference between treatments. In 2020-21, the one vineyard that showed significantly tougher skins from late shaking (SB3), also showed the least rot in that treatment, indicating that a physical toughening of the skins in response to shaking might also help reduce rot. This response might at least partially explain the rot reduction seen in past shaking trials. A summary of the skin hardness data from the three vineyards over the three years of the study is shown in Table 3. The findings of this work support those of previous studies on mechanical shaking, in that shaking can reduce the botrytis severity at harvest without negatively affecting yield or fruit development. They expand on earlier work, showing that there are similar benefits to shaking after set or before bunch closure as when shaking at the “ideal” pea sized stage, meaning a wider window of opportunity for growers wishing to shake large vineyard

Literature cited Broome, J. C., English, J. T., Marois, J. J., Latorre, B. A., & Aviles, J. C. (1995). Development of an infection model for Botrytis bunch rot of grapes based on wetness duration and temperature. Phytopathology, 85(1), 97-102. Haywood, A.J., and Allen, M. (2018) Botrytis control in grapevines by mechanical shaking. Final report to the New Zealand Winegrowers. Retrieved from nzwine.com. Schwendel, B. H., Anekal, P. V., Zarate, E., Bang, K. W., Guo, G., Grey, A. C., & Pinu, F. R. (2021). Mass Spectrometry-Based Metabolomics to Investigate the Effect of Mechanical Shaking on Sauvignon Blanc Berry Metabolism. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry. Trought, M., Neal, S., Mundy, D., Grose, C., Pineau, B., Beresford, M., McLachlan, A., Albright, A., Allen, M. (2014). New opportunities for sustainable grape thinning: Final report, June 2014. Retrieved from nzwine. com areas. Therefore, based on the results of this trial, growers can still get a beneficial response if they start shaking as early as 5-10g bunches, and can continue to get benefit from shaking until just before bunch closure. Shaking appears to reduce rot in several ways, including floral trash removal, induction of tougher skins, and the elicitation of a biochemical

defensive response. Further study into the cellular effects will enhance our knowledge and potentially enable growers to gain even more benefit from this practice. The author would like to sincerely thank Rob Agnew from Plant & Food Research for assistance with the Broome model data.

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Research Supplement

The polysaccharides of New Zealand Pinot noir wines: the influence of yeasts on their content and profile Hayden Jones-Moore, Dr Rebecca Jelley and Associate Professor Bruno Fedrizzi THE ROLE OF YEASTS is complex and strongly associated with wine quality: the selection of yeasts can modify and improve the technological and sensory properties of wine. Yeasts have the ability to improve wine colour by the metabolic formation of stable colour pigments, enhance aroma by the production of volatile compounds, and enrich wine with polysaccharides, which facilitate colloidal stability to

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improve clarity, stability and enhance the ‘body’ of the wine. Overall, it is important for winemakers to have an understanding of how yeast can influence key parameters of wine, in order to assist with the creation of particular styles of wine or even improve quality, elaborating their selection and range. Wine polysaccharides are large,

NZ WINEGROWER  DECEMBER 2021/JANUARY 2022

complex chains of simple sugars. The cell walls of both grape and yeast tissue contain polysaccharides which are introduced into wine during maceration, fermentation and ageing processes. Polysaccharides have previously been reported to exist in wine at concentrations between 0–2 g L-1, however, this is highly dependent on the variety, vintage, climate, processing techniques and


Research Supplement

Figure 1. Polysaccharide profiles of six New Zealand Pinot noir wines. HMW – High Molecular Weight; MMW – Medium Molecular Weight; LMW – Low Molecular Weight. Values with the same letter do not differ significantly with a Tukey (HSD) test, p < 0.05. NOTE: Only values within the same polysaccharide category can be compared between different yeast.

stage of the winemaking process, with red wines tending to have higher concentrations of polysaccharides than white wines. To date, there has been very little to no research focussed on the polysaccharides of Pinot noir grapes or wine, thus this research project supported by Bragato Research Institute (BRI) is investigating the polysaccharide profile (the types and sizes) of New Zealand Pinot noir wines and how winemaking decisions can alter this profile. During winemaking, yeast modify the polysaccharide profile by either (i) indirectly influencing the polysaccharide profile of wine through the release of enzymes, which assist in breaking down the complex, ‘tightly woven’, cell wall network, releasing polysaccharides or (ii) directly through the release of polysaccharides during fermentation

or during autolysis (programmed cell death of yeast) when wines are aged on yeast lees. Our research group is studying the influence of yeast on the polysaccharide profile of Pinot noir wines. Figure 1 highlights results from a recent experiment where New Zealand Pinot noir juice was subjected to fermentation and inoculation with five different commercial, active-dried strains of S. cerevisiae yeast, followed by malolactic fermentation and cold settling. Alongside these five wines, a control experiment was subjected to the same conditions but contained no yeast additions. The polysaccharide profile of the finished wines was then quantified. Except for low molecular weight (LMW) polysaccharides, wine fermented using R71 yeast had consistently higher polysaccharide

content in comparison to the control wine, and all wines except those fermented with R82 yeast had a greater total concentration of polysaccharides compared to the control. These findings suggest that the addition of commercial dried yeast strains during fermentation can influence the polysaccharide profile during winemaking. The use of non-S. cerevisiae yeast strains in winemaking is an area of increasing research interest in recent years. Research has primarily focussed on their use in co-inoculation with S. cerevisiae yeast, which has been reported to have positive influences on other quality parameters such as aroma and colour. This is a growing area and is another viable direction in which winemakers can improve, enhance or tailor their wines.

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Research Supplement

Microbial responses to undervine treatments Michelle Barry and Kate Orwin

INTRODUCTION WINEGROWERS ARE INCREASINGLY CONCERNED about the impact of weed management practices in the undervine area on soil health, specifically soil microbial health. Winegrower concerns about the effect of weed management in the undervine area on soil health exists alongside concerns about the impact of practice change on yield and fruit ripeness/ composition. Application of herbicides containing glyphosate is the most widely used tool to limit plant and weed growth in the undervine area. In recent times the negative effect of glyphosate on human and environmental health has been publicised, causing winegrowers

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to consider alternative methods of weed control. One such method is undervine mechanical weeding. This method eliminates the need for chemical intervention but increases diesel consumption and labour requirements. Continuous physical disturbance of the soil under vine is not without its disadvantages. Negative effects of undervine mechanical weeding include soil compaction and declines in soil structure and soil biological communities. Lately it has become common practice to combine glyphosate applications with biological stimulants in an effort to mitigate the negative

NZ WINEGROWER  DECEMBER 2021/JANUARY 2022

effect of glyphosate on soil biology. This project compared the effects of herbicide, undervine mechanical weeding and herbicide buffered with biological stimulants on soil biological communities. Many studies have explored the effect of weed management practices in various agricultural production systems on soil health, but no studies have compared the effect of commonly utilised weed management practices in the undervine area in Aotearoa New Zealand. This project is a response to both winegrower concerns about the impact of undervine management practices on soil microbial


Research Supplement

Treatment

Buffered Herbicide

Herbicide

Mechanical Weeding

Control

Treatment effect

Block effect

Yield per row (kg)

623.1 ± 5.39 ab

627.1 ± 14.1 ab

675.6 ± 2.14 a

538.7 ± 12.1 b

*

NS

Yield per ha (t)

9.16 ± 0.79 ab

9.22 ± 0.21 ab

9.94 ± 0.31 a

7.92 ± 0.18 b

*

NS

Brix (˚Brix)

21.23 ± 0.25 a

21.43 ± 013 a

21.55 ± 0.44 a

21.53 ± 0.09 a

NS

NS

TA (g/L_

13.74 ± 0.35 a

12.97 ± 0.08 a

13.33 ± 0.41 a

13.64 ± 0.18 a

NS

*

pH

2.84 ± 0.017

2.87 ± 0.004 a

2.82 ± 0.010 b

2.83 ± 0.017 b

*

*

YAN (mg N/L)

108.5 ± 24.08 a

135.0 ± 6.42 a

138.0 ± 21.71 a

130.3 ± 17.49 a

NS

NS

Note

Yield per row (kg) was taken on from the on-harvester's scale for each row (0.068ha). Numbers follow "±" are standard error (n=4). ANOVA was carried out for each index separately for all treatments and no shared letters denotes statistcally significant difference (P=0.05) between treatments using Tukey's HSD. NS: Not Significant (p>0.05): *: P<0.05; **: P<0.01; ***: P<0.001.

Table 1

communities, and exploring the ability of buffered herbicide applications to decrease the negative impact of herbicide applications on soil microbes.

THE TRIAL The objective of this study was to understand the impact of different ways of controlling undervine vegetation in a Marlborough vineyard, over a growing season. This report details the impacts on the soil microbial community. The effect of the treatments on yield and juice parameters was also investigated, but is considered a secondary aim of the project. The trial was undertaken on a vineyard in the Lower Wairau, Marlborough. The varietal grown in the vineyard is Sauvignon Blanc. The vines are 21 years old, and the vineyard is unirrigated. Pruning consists of fourcane vertically shoot positioning (VSP). Previous weed control in the vineyard trial site consisted of a herbicide in combination with biological products. Different rows within the vineyard were randomly assigned to treatment, and organised in blocks, with four replicates of each treatment. Treatments consisted of a control (no soil disturbance but undervine vegetation was mown), herbicide, buffered herbicide (herbicide plus the addition of substrates including fish

This project compared the effects of herbicide, undervine mechanical weeding and herbicide buffered with biological stimulants on soil biological communities. hydrolysate, fulvic acid and EM), and weeding (cultivation). Soil samples were taken before treatments were applied in mid-September, two weeks after application (late September), and in mid-March 2021. Aggregated soil samples were collected from each row in the trial (along a line transect). A soil core (150mm deep) was taken from the undervine area at intervals of 20 meters, with a total of 15 cores taken along each line transect. Soils samples were freeze-dried, and then analysed for phospholipid fatty acids (PLFA) and neutral fatty acids (NLFA). All results are presented as ng/g of PLFA or NLFA. Bunches were collected for juice analysis 48 hours ahead of the scheduled harvest date and analysed for Brix, pH, YAN, and TA. The yield from each experimental unit (row) was recorded during harvesting.

RESULTS – SOIL The timing of sampling had stronger

effects on soil microbes than treatments did, with a strong shift from gram-negative bacteria and fungi in spring to gram-positive bacteria in autumn. (See Figure 1, p90). Gram-positive bacteria, including actinomycetes, were most strongly influenced by treatments in autumn, six months after treatments were applied. Gram-positive bacteria, including actinomycetes, tended to show a lower biomass in the control and herbicide treatment than the buffered herbicide and weeding treatments. Arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) were negatively influenced by the addition of herbicide (regardless of whether it was buffered or not) and by physical soil disturbance within two weeks of application and this effect persisted for at least six months. Buffering the herbicide had positive effects on bacteria but not on fungi or AMF.

RESULTS –JUICE AND YIELD Aggregated results for yield, brix, pH, YAN, and TA are presented in Table 1. Treatment was found to have a strong effect on yield, with the strongest response observed between mechanical weeding and yield. The weakest response was observed between the control and yield, which can be attributed to the change in undervine management. A treatment effect was also observed on pH. Herbicide had the strongest effect on pH, while mechanical

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Research Supplement

weeding and the control had a similar effect (more acidic). A block effect was also recorded for this metric. No significant treatment effects were observed.

DISCUSSION AND CONCLUSION - SOIL Seasonal variation had much stronger effects on microbial community structure than treatment did, largely driven by a shift from a high relative abundance of gram-negative bacteria and fungi in September to a high relative abundance of gram-positive bacteria in March. This possibly reflects a shift in nutrient availability with time, as gram-negative bacteria and fungi are both associated with low nutrient availability. Alternatively, results may affect changes in water availability, as gram-positive bacteria are thought to cope with drought better than gram-negative bacteria. However, fungi are also thought to cope better with drought than bacteria, yet declined in abundance with time (along with the fungal:bacterial ratio). Treatment effects varied for different components of the soil community. This likely reflects differential sensitivity to the direct effects of chemical (i.e, herbicides) and physical (i.e, weeding) disturbances, and the indirect longer-term effects of treatments on soil moisture and nutrient availability. The strongest effects of treatment were for AMF, which showed a negative response to herbicide application and weeding that was still present six months after treatments were applied. The negative effects of herbicide addition are consistent with previous studies, as is the negative effect of physical soil disturbance. Reducing undervine vegetation had a detrimental effect on arbuscular mycorrhizal fungal abundance, potentially reducing the benefits grapevines receive from this mutualism.

DISCUSSION AND CONCLUSION - JUICE AND YIELD Previous studies have noted a decline in yield following conversion to undervine mowing

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Figure 1: Principal components analysis of the relative abundance of all measured PLFAs. Blue symbols represent the first sampling time before treatments were applied (mid-September), red the second sampling time in late September (two weeks after treatment application), and green the third sampling time in mid-March (six months after treatment application). Filled squares = control, filled triangles = buffered herbicide, filled circles = herbicide, and open triangles = weeding. Symbols that are closer together indicate more similar microbial community structure.

for weed control. The increase in yield under mechanical weeding could be attributed to a release of soil N caused by the disturbance of soil structure due to cultivation (the weeding mechanism). Soil disturbance is known to destabilise, and release protected pools of soil N. The soil at the trial site had not previously been subjected to mechanical weeding so the effect of this treatment on soil N mineralisation and availability is likely. Yield effect from mechanical weeding has been investigated by several studies. There is little consistency between the findings of different studies. The effect of this treatment is equivocal and highly influenced by pedological, topographical and seasonal factors. The purpose of the project was to investigate the impact undervine management practices have on soil microbial communities. The effect of the treatments on yield and juice parameters was investigated as a secondary aim of the project. With one year of data the study cannot conclusively determine if mechanical weeding has a positive impact on grapevine yield. This reflects

NZ WINEGROWER  DECEMBER 2021/JANUARY 2022

the findings of other studies. The effect on pH is impacted by both block effect and treatment effect. Further investigation is required before meaningful comments can be made on the effect of the treatments on pH. Further interrogation of the effect of undervine management on yield and juice warrants investigation in itself.

Gram-positive and gram-negative bacteria are indicators of carbon, water, and nutrient availability. They’re big groups and cover a range of direct interactions with plants, including positive interactions and negative ones via pathogens. Arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) form mutualistic associations with plant roots and assist with nutrient solubilisation and accessibility as well as drought and disease resistance.


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