New Zealand Winegrower June-July 2022

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Winegrower Official magazine of the New Zealand wine industry


Vintage 2022

Regional review

Weta Work

Research project

Sensory Scientist Dr Wendy Parr

Sustainability Report JUNE/JULY 2022 ISSUE 134

Taking care of our planet, people and future

JUNE/JULY 2022 / ISSUE 134

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Winegrower Official magazine of the New Zealand wine industry

ISSUE 134 – JUNE/JULY 2022






Editorial Sophie Preece


From the CEO Philip Gregan

54 56

Women in Wine Dr Wendy Parr


New Vintage Sam Rouse

62 64

Postcard Toby Buck


Wine Weather James Morrison

70 72

Advocacy Matters Election year

The Profile Larry McKenna

Point of View Nadine Worley

Social Pages Vintage 2022

Features Review 16 Vintage It was a vintage beset by challenges, but the 2022 harvest appears to have yielded as many good moments as grim.

Sustainability Report 24 NZW Above and beyond action from New Zealand wine companies and individuals is helping to deliver lasting change, says a new sustainability report.



COVER PHOTO Biodiversity work at Kaituna Wetland in Marlborough is just one of the ways Pernod Ricard Winemakers is following a road map to a better future, says Sustainability Manager Tracey Marshall. Photo Jim Tannock. Go to page 28.

Family Business 46 The Generational legacies run rich

within New Zealand’s wine industry. This edition continues a series on family-owned wine companies, with the stories of Spy Valley, Soljans, Pegasus Bay and Marisco.

EDITOR Sophie Preece CORRESPONDENTS Wellington Wine Country: Joelle Thomson Hawkes Bay: Olly Styles Central Otago: Jean Grierson Canterbury: Jo Burzynska ADVERTISING Upper North Island: Stephen Pollard Ph: 021 963 166 Central North Island: Lisa Wise Ph: 027 369 9218 Lower North Island: Ron Mackay Ph: 021 453 914 South Island: Kaye Sutherland Ph: 021 221 1994 CIRCULATION & SUBSCRIPTIONS Jodi Blair Ph: 09 303 3527, ext 0 Fax: 09 302 2969 Mobile: 027 700 2371 New Zealand Winegrowers PO Box 90 276, Auckland Mail Centre, New Zealand PUBLISHING & PRE-PRESS Rural News Group PO Box 331100, Takapuna, Auckland 0740 Ph: 09 307 0399 Location: Top Floor, 29 Northcroft Street, Takapuna, Auckland 0622 Publisher: Brian Hight Managing Editor: Adam Fricker Production: David Ferguson, Rebecca Williams Published by Rural News Group Ltd under authority of New Zealand Winegrowers Inc. Unless directly attributed, opinions expressed in the magazine are not necessarily those of Rural News Group and/or its directors or management, New Zealand Winegrowers Inc. or its constituent organisations. Published every second month. One free copy is mailed to every member of the New Zealand Winegrowers Inc, the New Zealand Society of Viticulture & Oenology and the New Zealand Vine Improvement Group, and to such other persons or organisations as directed by the owners, with provision for additional copies and other recipients to be on a subscription ISSN 1174-5223

From the Editor There’s a reason some reach for the salt when told of sustainability stories, because we’ve all been served up the inedible sort on occasion, with more greenwash than we can swallow. But there have always been authentic and accountable stories as well, told by people who are passionate about protecting the place they work in, the planet they work on and the people they work with, trying to create a better future. No grain of salt required. In casting around for case studies to illustrate the data in the New Zealand Winegrower (NZW) 2022 Sustainability Report, I found myself talking with industry members from small companies and large, family owned to corporate - with a steadfast focus on sustainability. A focus on reducing or eliminating carbon emissions and reducing waste, boosting biodiversity above and below ground, treasuring waterways and protecting wellbeing. It has never been a better time to be an industry on the front foot of guardianship, with a climate crisis crashing down on us, and consumers demanding authentic, accountable, certified stories of sustainability. NZW Market Manager reports in this month’s Marketing Place (page 12) note the importance placed on sustainability by attendees at recent tastings around the world. The people I spoke to for this edition are at the forefront of change, and are providing an example for companies with far more to do. “You need these people who take the first steps and are proud of the commitment they have made and are happy to share their stories,” says NZW General Manager of Sustainability Dr Edwin Massey in discussing the sustainability report on page 25. And it’s clear that while we’ve come a long way, there’s still a long journey ahead. “The New Zealand wine industry has rightfully earned its place as one of the most progressive wine producing nations in the world”, Edwin says. “But the real work is ensuring we not only sustain but elevate our position with an enduring commitment to continuous improvement.” Sophie Preece EDITOR


Maike van der Heide Maike is a freelance writer, proofreader and many other wordrelated things. In this edition Maike continues the family business series. Go to page 46

Neil Hodgson Neil is a Nelson-based wine writer and made his way over the hill to Golden Bay to meet with extraordinary sensory scientist Dr Wendy Parr. Go to page 54

Joelle Thomson Journalist, author and wine writer, Joelle also works as a wine adviser in Wellington. In this edition she talks with Wairarapa Pinot Noir legend Larry McKenna. Go to page 56

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From the CEO Reviewing NZW Governance, Representation and Levies PHILIP GREGAN In the lead-up to the 2021 levy votes, the New Zealand Winegrowers board received feedback from some members that while they broadly supported New Zealand Winegrower (NZW) and its activities, they were concerned about specific issues around the levies and representation on the board. Given the timeframe in place around the levy votes, the board decided it could not address those specific concerns before the 2021 levy votes. However, it agreed to conduct a review of governance, representation and levy issues following the levy votes, in order to consider those matters. The board agreed that if necessary, following the review, changes might be needed to the NZW rules and/or levy orders. In levy-funded industry organisations like NZW, these matters lie at the very heart of organisational structures and activities and are central to ongoing support from members. As such the review is important and the issues being considered need to be thought through carefully. So, what are some of the key issues? Who does NZW represent? NZW aims to be representative body for the New Zealand grape and wine industry. That means currently NZW represents all growers (effectively anybody who sell grapes) and all winemakers (effectively anybody who produces and sells wine). However, the scope of NZW representation could be narrower or broader. For example, NZW could chose to include contractors, bottlers, distributors or retailers in its definition of the New Zealand grape and wine industry, or could exclude very small growers and/or wineries. Who NZW represents is a fundamental question. Once defined it then can influence funding and representation arrangements, as well as the scope of NZW activities.


How do you elect a representative Board? In industry organisations boards generally have combined representation and governance functions. If all members were similar (in scale, business model etc) ensuring a board representative of the industry (so it can represent the industry) would be a simple exercise. However, NZW has a highly diverse membership – diverse in terms of growers and wineries, size of business, region and subregion, business models, market focus etc – which means ensuring the board is representative is not a simple exercise, especially given the board needs to be of a manageable size. There are clearly many ways the NZW electoral system could be organised, but whatever system is agreed, it needs to be supported by a broad cross-section of members. One thing is certain, no system will be perfect. Prior to the current system, board membership was split seven places to wineries (three to large, two to medium and two to small), and five to growers (split regionally). This produced diversity, but there was debate about where the (arbitrary) divisions between the winery categories should be set, and as Marlborough became larger, about its level of representation in the grower grouping. It also split growers and wineries into separate groupings, despite the fact that many businesses pay both grape and wine levies. Given these concerns, when NZW was formed the philosophy became, ‘We are all Winegrowers’. On that basis the distinction between growers and wineries was dispensed with, as were the arbitrary size and regional divisions. Instead, an election system was instituted on the basis of five directors elected on a one member one vote basis and another five on $1 levy payment


one vote. Those directors go on to appoint two unelected directors creating a board of 12. This system was deemed appropriate when NZW was formed, but is it the right formulation for the future? The review will consider if it is still appropriate or needs to reflect current or future changes in our industry. All the levy questions and issues Then there are a whole host of questions related to the levies such as: could we have just one levy, not the current two? Why is the grape levy value based and the wine levy volume based? Why don’t winery grown grapes pay a levy? Why is there no minimum levy payment? And why is there a maximum payment? The current levy systems reflect a lot of history that has brought us to where we are today. There are a range of possible formulations for levy systems which can, for example, be based on the area of crop or the volume or value of a product. The current system has worked until now, but is it the right system for the future? If the system is changed there will likely be winners and losers in any change - ie those who pay less than under the current system, and those who pay more. Remember, however, that if we remain under the Commodity Levies Act, then any change to the levy regime needs to be supported by a majority of members (by number) and by a majority of the grape and wine value/volume. NZW is going to take time to consider these questions and more over coming months. Members input into the review will be critical so watch out for notification on upcoming local meetings and information on the review as it is made available.

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Women in Wine New Zealand Winegrowers has launched the 2022 Women in Wine Mentoring Programme, open to women of all ages and roles within the industry, from sales and marketing to viticulture and winemaking, general management to laboratory work. Applications are open until 10 June, with the programme getting underway in August.

Green World Awards Putting a vineyard stream back on course is just one of the ways Yealands is mitigating its environmental impacts, says its General Manager of Sustainability Michael Wentworth. “I believe that Yealands Wine Group is a model of innovation in sustainable wine production,” he says. “By ‘thinking boldly and treading lightly’ we established a culture of experimentation long before it was ‘cool to be green’.” Yealands won two gold trophies at The Green World Awards 2022 in Dubai, including in the Carbon Reduction category, for a strategy geared towards being ‘carbon positive’ by 2050, with a 50% reduction by 2030. The company has achieved a 34% drop in emission intensity since 2012, having been certified Toitū carbonzero since its establishment in 2008. Innovations have included grazing babydoll sheep in the vineyard year-round to replace mowers, a winery covered in solar panels, and the burning of vine prunings in place of LPG, providing heat to the winery. Having recognised “the very real threat” to the wine industry’s livelihood, the strategy has evolved in recent times to target emission elimination rather than reduction, says Michael. They have also increased the scope of influence, “moving beyond our vineyard boundary and into the global community”, says Michael, referring to Yealands joining the International Wineries for Climate Action (IWCA) in 2020, to share, learn and benchmark Yealands against the world’s best. The second gold was in the Regeneration category, for Yealands’ Station Creek Regeneration programme. Station Creek is the main tributary running through the centre of the estate vineyard in the Awatere Valley and was moved during initial development to optimise planting land. Returning it to its original path has involved removing vines, establishing the primary channel, regrassing and planting native trees, with expectations of more than 20,000 natives planted over 17 hectares by 2023, many of them propagated on site. Once complete, the focus will move to erosion prone hillsides, coastal and sensitive habitat protection and wetland restoration. Michael says the project is down to a “genuine desire to return the water course back to its original state and improve water quality”, but also because they learned over time that “nature reverts to its natural state”. By reinstating the original course and reintroducing native flora and fauna, they have much more “resilient and healthy vineyard”, he adds. Michael is speaking about IWCA at the Tackling Climate Change webinar series in June. See page 10. For more stories of sustainability in New Zealand’s wine industry, go to page 24.



Tui. Photo Dan Burgin

Tweets for Toi Toi Toi Toi Wines is helping The New Zealand Bird Atlas take flight, with sponsorship of the citizen science project. The Atlas - running between 2019 and 2024 - aims at mapping the distribution and relative abundance of all bird species present in New Zealand. Toi Toi Wines’ sponsorship will support six Atlas trips to survey remote areas of the country and gather vital bird observation data. “We expect that this sponsorship will ensure greater coverage of the back country parts of New Zealand, as the project needs complete coverage of the entire country,” says Kevin Joyce, Founder and Owner of Toi Toi Wines.

Sober Curious Demand Giesen has added a no alcohol Merlot and Riesling to its 0% alcohol range, following a huge amount of consumer feedback, says Group Chief Winemaker Duncan Shouler. “After the release of the alcoholremoved Pinot Gris and Rosé, our consumers were screaming out to us via our social channels for a 0% alcohol red and a 0% alcohol version of Giesen Wines’ best-selling Riesling. It was really a ‘consumers asked, we listened’ moment.” The low or no alcohol category has seen a huge drive from the ‘sober curious consumer’, with predictions of no/low alcohol products increasing globally by 31% by 2024. In 2021, Giesen invested more than a million dollars into spinning cone technology to remove the alcohol from wines, and it is now working 24/7 to keep up with demand.


Wellbeing in Work Businesses without a wellbeing programme are more likely to see employees leave, according to new research. The Skills Consulting Group Work Wellbeing Index survey of more than 1,800 New Zealand workers reveals 55% of workers who aren’t offered a wellbeing programme in their workplace say they are likely to look for a new job within the next year. “Businesses need to sit up and come to grips with the impact of what not having a wellbeing strategy could do to their bottom line,” says Jane Kennelly, Skills Consulting Group General Manager, Wellbeing. “The cost of recruitment and training new staff can be significant.” It is “Ok-nomics coming home to roost,” says Jane. “This is a concept that reinforces if staff ‘are OK’ and feel valued, rewarded, and listened to, they will create a culture of success. Staff who don’t will have the opposite effect. Ignoring this principle could seriously cost your business.” The report outlines the key drivers that can support the development of a wellbeing culture, including showing genuine care, enabling the care of self and team wellbeing, managers showing genuine care, and formal wellbeing programmes. Businesses with a Diversity, Equity and Inclusion programme also have higher levels of wellbeing within their workforce.

Jake Tipler

Digital Marketplace The Central Otago wine industry is to be part of the Digital Clusters Initiative pilot programme. Drawing upon the commercial expertise of BNZ, and digital marketing and technical capability of Zeald, the initiative will build a bespoke digital marketplace to sell Central Otago Wines domestically and internationally. This new marketplace will provide a new sales channel that can integrate with wineries’ existing sales infrastructure, while helping to open untapped markets and unlock the potential of digital technology. Central Otago Winegrowers (COWA) General Manager, Jake Tipler says the pilot project brings some much needed good news to the wine region, “after a rocky couple of years due to Covid”. He says it has “excellent potential” to boost direct-to-consumer sales nationally and internationally, “which can help grow brand recognition and profit margins and ensure the long viability of our wineries”. Catherine Douglas, Sales and Marketing Manager for Carrick Winery, says the boutique wine brand is excited about having access to strong digital expertise and the opportunity to scale through collaboration. “This initiative will allow us to achieve what we may not have been able to achieve on our own.” Starting with a two-and-a-half-year pilot programme, the Digital Clusters Initiative will partner with three business groups to build them into digitally-advanced “clusters” to show what’s possible when state-of-the-art e-commerce and digital collaboration tools are put at the heart of Kiwi business communities. The next stage of the project will see Zeald working with COWA to produce a marketing and branding plan for the marketplace, while onboarding each of the wineries and loading up their products. The marketplace is scheduled to launch in September.

Jean Desire Féraud Ric Oram has written his fourth book about the history, people and places of Central Otago vineyards, called Account of Monte Christo. It tells the story of French immigrant Jean Desire Féraud, who helped pioneer viticulture in the region in 1864, along with his neighbours, and fellow Frenchmen, the Bladier brothers. The brothers left town the next year, but Jean continued to develop his Monte Christo orchard and vineyard near Clyde, going on to make cordials, bitters and wines. All that remains of his work is his “manufactory”, now the oldest winery in New Zealand, says Ric. The winery is about to be restored into a tasting room for the new iteration of Monte Christo Winery, owned by Dunedinborn Stanley Paris, with work to begin in July. The new initiative includes a 40-metre long underground cellar and a new winery to be developed next year on the neighbouring Monte Christo Berry Farm. Bragato Research Institute recently confirmed that Feraud’s legacy lives on beyond the building, with a descendant of his vines located at the winery and identified through molecular testing as Trollinger, or Black Hamburg. Account of Monte Christo is published by Ric Oram;



Upcoming events


To have events added to our calendar contact Due to uncertainty around COVID-19, there may be changes to some of these events. For more information, please use the contact supplied or go to

Winetopia also plans to hold a new Date The Maker event, where visitors will get a few minutes up close and personal with winemakers. • Wellington, 1-2 July, at TSB Arena • Christchurch, 26-27 August at Te Pae Christchurch Convention and Exhibition Centre • Auckland, 28-29 October at Shed 10, Queens Wharf

Lawson’s Dry Hills Field Day 19 July, 2pm-4pm Register by 12 July at


Tackling Climate Change

Learn more about the Sion Barnsley sustainability efforts of Marlborough’s Lawson’s Dry Hills, which won the wine industry category in the 2021 Cawthron Marlborough Environment Awards. The field day will highlight work on reducing carbon emissions, as one of the few wine companies to achieve the rigorous ISO accreditation for both sustainability and carbon neutrality. They are also leading the way in recyclable and biodegradable packaging, generating solar power and water conservation.

2; 9; 21; 30 June

A Sustainability Guardians webinar series throughout June aims to provide an overview of what to consider when trying to reduce your carbon footprint. The four lunchtime sessions will cover greenhouse gas emission reports, strategies to reduce carbon emissions, autonomous tractors, carbon offsetting, glass circularity, decarbonisation and an overview of some of the funding options available to assist change. • 2 June, 1pm – Understanding your emissions and strategies to reduce your carbon footprint. • 9 June, 1pm - Carbon offsetting – What this involves and how you can become involved. • 21 June, 1pm – The benefits of the circularity of glass, decarbonisation and International Wineries for Climate Action. • 30 June, 1pm – Green Star rated buildings and accelerating the reduction of carbon emissions through investment funding. webinars/

2021 Young Winemaker National Final 22 June 2022

The postponed 2021 Tonnellerie de Mercurey Young Winemaker of the Year National Final is set to take place in Central Otago on Wednesday 22 June, with Jordan Moores, Peter Russell and Ben McNab to compete at Amisfield Winery, with the Awards Dinner to be held at The Canyon at Tarras Vineyard, Bendigo.


Corteva Young Viticulturist June – July

The 2022 Corteva Young Viticulturist of the Year regional competitions will be held throughout June and July, with the national final to be held on 30-31 August in Marlborough.


July – October

Winetopia presented by Singapore Airlines will have American novelist and filmmaker Rex Pickett at two of its events. The author of Sideways, which was adapted into a 2004 box office hit, is in New Zealand to write a follow up book, and will be interviewed on the main stage over a glass of Central Otago Pinot Noir by Kiwi comedian Ben Hurley at the Wellington and Christchurch events.


Research Symposium

1 September

The Eastern Institute of Technology School of Viticulture and Wine Science will hold a research symposium on 1 September, following the success of last year’s inaugural event. The symposium – Advancing Viticulture and Wine Related Research – welcomes two keynote speakers, Professor Hirini Matunga from Lincoln University and Professor Paul Kilmartin from Auckland University, and will also consider research themes from viticulture, wine science and technology, wine business and wine tourism. Head of School Sue Blackmore says it is an opportunity for experienced, emerging and student researchers to present their work to a wide audience, with the symposium to be live streamed.


Grape Days 2022 Winegrowers, makers and scientists will gather throughout New Zealand in June, for the annual Grape Days events in Hawke’s Bay, Marlborough and Central Otago. Grape Days are provided as part of the research programme funded by the New Zealand Winegrowers’ levy, delivered through Bragato Research Institute (BRI), to canvas cutting edge science and industrydriven research pertaining to the wine industry. This year’s line-up stretches from trunk disease to weevils, carbon emissions to vineyard waste, and alternative pruning methods to responding to hail and frost in vineyards. Each of the three events kicks off with a view of the “interesting times” of vintage 2022 and the 12 months ahead, from New Zealand Winegrowers Chief Executive Philip Gregan, followed by BRI Chief Executive Jeffrey Clarke’s summary of the research outlook for 2022 and beyond.

Mahi Wines

Nick Hoskins will share learning highlights from the Vineyard Ecosystems project, Bridget Ennals will discuss the rising costs of landfill waste, and Charles Merfield will look at living with insects through agroecology. BRI Viticulture Extension and Research Manager Len Ibbotson says the line-up will offer an exciting mix of new knowledge from applied research and expertise from guest speakers to address a range of local industry priorities. “I’m particularly excited about the grower-led session, where a

group of industry experts will share their insights and experience on a range of topics including downy mildew, looking after our people, reactive versus planned management and improving soil health.” • Hawke’s Bay - 13 June, Napier Conference Centre • Marlborough - 15 June, ASB Theatre Marlborough • Central Otago - 17 June, Pisa Moorings, Cromwell

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The Marketing Place Taking NZ wine to the world: Bringing the world to NZ wine

Read On Kia ora tātou, While our members were busy with the 2022 harvest, we were busy on a campaign to turn heads to New Zealand wine. Pour Yourself a Glass of New Zealand coincided with the Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Gris and Chardonnay days all falling in the month of May. As part of this, it has been fun to make some noise around New Zealand’s petition for a white wine emoji (see page 14) to accompany its red running mate on the world’s keyboards. We’ve seen great media interest to date. At the time of print we had reached nine million people and been on Seven Sharp on TV1. The New Zealand Winegrowers (NZW) team has also been excited that after two long years, in person events could take place again in the United Kingdom, Ireland, United States and Canada. Read on to hear how our market managers got on leading New Zealand wine tastings in their respective cities. Ngā mihi, Charlotte Charlotte Read is General Manager Marketing at NZW


New York

It was a beautiful spring day in New York City on 3 May, and the local trade and media were excited to re-engage with NZW after a long pandemic-induced break. Simply and elegantly presented, a large range of New Zealand wines were offered in the private dining room overlooking the sculpture garden at The Modern, the restaurant of the iconic Museum of Modern Art. There were several major wine events happening that same day in the competitive Manhattan market, but what stood out about the guests who came to the tasting was their intense focus on the wines themselves. Many guests methodically tasted through the entire line-up of over 60 wines and took extensive notes, their astute comments and questions clearly showing their familiarity with New Zealand wines and the sophistication of their palates. Some common sentiments that were expressed by the group of retailers, sommeliers, social media influencers and wine critics were value and sustainability. Several attendees reported interest from their clients in organic and sustainable wines. Ranit Librach (NZW United States Market Manager)



On 5 May, in downtown Toronto, NZW was joined by the New Zealand High Commissioner to Canada as we held our first live trade and media tasting in more than two years. We were one of the first countries to kick off the spring event series, with our tasting in the beautiful 17th floor Globe & Mail space, overlooking the Toronto skyline. The room was set up as a selfpour walk-around tasting, organised by wine region, with more than 80 North and South Island producers configured to follow the north to south flow of the room. With a diverse selection of Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Pinot Gris, Syrah and several other interesting varieties, we were able to depict the complexity of not only the regions and subregions but also the strength of varieties across the country. We were also able to clearly identify organic, biodynamic and/or vegan wines, which seemed to be of keen interest to the trade. We had more than 250 top trade and media come through during two sessions, and they were all eager to embrace our environmental efforts to go paperless, learning how to use our virtual catalogue on Bottlebooks. Melissa Stunden and Andrea Backstrom (NZW Canada Team)


London and Dublin

It was wonderful to welcome the UK trade back at a live event again with the London Trade tasting held on 4 May. We had more than 250 guests and exhibitors in attendance who were able to explore 350 wines from 83 producers from across the length and breadth of the country. There was strong attendance from the trade press and multiple retailers, and great interest in the wines, with the full spectrum of 28 varieties on show from Albariño to Zweigelt, and even a Tannat. Additional features at the fair included an organic wine bar, with 70 wines on show and a white wine feature table showcasing 16 wines. Before the tasting, Chris Stroud (NZW) and Tim Fogarty from New Zealand Trade and Enterprise presented a trade briefing to buyers and media, highlighting growth opportunities for New Zealand wine. We also went back to Dublin and celebrated our 25th anniversary tasting there on 9 May. The event opened with a masterclass hosted by John Wilson, focusing on New Zealand white wine to coincide with the Pour Yourself a Glass of New Zealand campaign, before the main tasting with 27 producer tables and a further 10 wines available on the Organic Feature table. The show was open to 180 consumers in the evening. Chris Stroud and Sarah Shepherd (NZW UK team)


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White Wine Emojency! It’s became increasingly apparent that digital keyboards are missing a vital emoji, says New Zealand Winegrowers Global PR Manager Juliana Foster, who’s leading a campaign to raise a glass of white wine on screens worldwide. If a picture is worth 1,000 words, what’s the significance of an emoji? In this modern world, everyone has such a short attention span that when you’re scrolling through social media, no one tends to sit down and read a bunch of text when you can get your message across with just a couple of emojis. Emojis are meant to be fun and lighthearted and convey a broad range of emotions or messages efficiently and in a way that words sometimes cannot. So, having a white wine emoji can help us communicate our New Zealand white wine message more effectively and efficiently in a time poor world. How long have you been focused on a white wine emoji? The campaign for the white wine emoji officially kicked off on 1 May and will be running all month. The petition for the white wine emoji is being used to highlight New Zealand white wine, which accounts for 93% of our wine exports. New Zealand’s top three white wine exports – Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Gris and Chardonnay – all celebrated their ‘special’ wine days in May, and we at New Zealand Winegrowers thought it was the perfect time to campaign for the white wine emoji and shine a spotlight on New Zealand white wine.


Who gets to decide? The Unicode Consortium gets to make the decisions around emoji submissions and what is approved and declined each year. The consortium is a non-profit corporation devoted to developing, maintaining, and promoting software internationalisation standards and data, and are tasked at protecting the global keyboard. They’re the emoji bosses! Has it been requested before? From my understanding a winery in the United States has made a submission previously. We are not told why their application failed, but the Unicode Consortium have a specific set of selection factors such as usage level, distinctiveness, and whether the proposed emoji fills a gap in existing types of emoji. Since a red wine emoji already exists, a white wine emoji is seen as a colour variation, which is not grounds for creation of a new emoji (as stipulated by the Unicode Consortium). The addition of a white wine emoji has to be carefully considered, as it might open the door to many emoji colour variations. So, we’re thinking of a change in glassware used as well as colour, among other factors we are proposing. Why is now the right time? The rise in use of technology during the pandemic has highlighted that the white wine emoji has been missing from our digital keyboards since the creation of emojis in the late 1990s. The red wine emoji is a highly present and frequently used icon on every smartphone in the


Juliana Foster

world and it has been a way for the global wine industry to promote the red part of their production and products, but how do we convey our white wine stories? With our top three wine exports celebrated in May, it was the perfect time to campaign for the white wine emoji while highlighting New Zealand white wine. Emojis that have been declined within the last two years are not eligible for rereview and the last submission for a white wine emoji was made in 2019, so now we are able to make a submission again. Tell us about the petition and industry support The petition is one way we are communicating the New Zealand wine message to the world via this ‘emojency’. New Zealand’s quest for the white wine emoji has been capturing headlines across the world, and in turn shining a spotlight on New Zealand wine and the New Zealand wine industry. The petition will form part of the submission proposal to the Unicode Consortium which closes on 31 July each year. The more the industry gets behind and shares the petition, not only will we gain more signatures and illustrate to the Unicode Consortium the demand for the white wine emoji, but it will continue to shine a spotlight on New Zealand wine. Finally, what’s the perfect use of a white wine emoji? There are so many examples! But one I’d definitely use is: NZ <white wine emoji>

The Social Place


Q&A with ??????? Tom Steward fromTracey and ??? Green

Scroll Stoppers Tightening the web on international tourists As New Zealand prepares for the return of international visitors, tourism operators - including winery cellar doors - need to ensure their websites are ready. Tom Steward, co-owner of boutique digital marketing agency Trigger, and Tracey Green, owner of business and marketing consultancy Directional, recently worked with Destination Marlborough to help operators tighten their web. It’s important that everything is current, says Tom. “That your website looks its best and you have that 2022 perspective on what your website should be saying and looking like.” Tracey adds that the international market has different buying patterns compared to the domestic. “Review your product offering, marketing collateral and ensure your shipping and distribution details are up to date.” Here are more of their insights: Your website needs to: • be easy to navigate • have flawless storytelling • have a strong unique selling point for your winery • implement a good strategy for gathering reviews and managing them for future potential customers • ensure the click to purchase is quick and efficient. Getting traffic and ensuring they stay there • Start with leveraging your Google My Business and understand how to optimise the platform to drive traffic. • Use all your social platforms to drive traffic. • It’s imperative that your website is mobile friendly.

Tom Steward and Tracey Green

• The attention span of the website visitor has become shorter, so it is important to captivate them and deliver the key content they are looking for immediately. The first third of your website is the most valuable; it needs to have a call to action and be captivating. Making people scroll down a page limits your conversion and loses their interest. What’s changed since 2019? • It’s a new playing field – audience expectations have changed, and content needs to be updated. • Travellers are looking for immersive experiences and opportunities to connect with those making the product. • They want to know who you are and your story as they make purchasing decisions. Sharing information on your staff, your winemakers and your history is important. • Visitors are more tech savvy - they have spent a lot of time on digital devices over the last two years, and if a website doesn’t speak to them immediately, they

will move on. • Make sure you have real time updates on any operational changes to cellar door openings or other experiences available at the winery. These need to be on your website, Google My Business and on any other third-party websites you have listed on. Wine companies do some things well… They are great at making wine look glamorous, with beautiful imagery. They also do fantastic outdoor advertising - you can walk into any airport and see multiple stunning advertisements for wine and wineries. …but they could do better People are looking for more authentic stories from all producers, so it’s important to provide more storytelling about the wine and the people behind it, and most importantly their sustainability story.

Tracey and Tom’s top tips Google My Business - regular updates - post specials - add images - respond to reviews - have a strategy to get more reviews.

SEO (search engine optimisation) - adding content - blogs - images - external links.

Leveraging social media - frequency of posts - storytelling - scroll-stopping imagery.

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Vintage 2022

Wendy Stuckey at Spy Valley Wines. Photo Daniel Adriatico

Labour shortages, rain excesses and Omicron threats challenged several of the country’s wine regions during vintage 2022. But with tanks full, demand strong and an “exceptional” late summer enjoyed by many, the harvest appears to have yielded as many good moments as grim. SOPHIE PREECE

Northland Marsden Estate founder and Winemaker Rod MacIvor saw some of Northland’s best ever fruit in the 2022 harvest, as well as some of its worst. He is summing it up as an “exceptional vintage”, held up by coastal vineyards that delivered some of the highest sugar levels he’s seen from the region. But he also saw the impact of 12 days of “humidity through the roof ” in February, that hit vineyards another step back from the sea. As an example, in a single day he saw one parcel of Syrah fruit at 28 brix and another at 18, typifying the grim to great contrast of the season. Rod makes wines for around 30 wine companies, from Mangawhai in the south of the region to Kaitaia in the north, and says access to coastal breezes defined the success of the vintage. In general, he sums the season as a good one, which marks four in a row for Northland. “Over 30 vintages I have seen three in a row pretty regularly but not four in a row, so we’ve had a pretty good run.”



Sophie Vincent, Marsden Estate


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Auckland An “excellent” 2022 vintage came hard on the heels of three others for Auckland, “in a magnificent chain of four superb quality harvests”, says Kumeu River Winemaker Michael Brajkovich. The winter of 2021 was relatively mild, but quite wet, so the soil was well hydrated, says Michael. “Spring came early, and fortunately we managed to avoid any frost damage.” Spring growth was “lush and rapid”, requiring vigilant leaf removal, and flowering was ahead of a typical year. A “quite dry” January allowed for

excellent ripening conditions, and early February rain and high humidity were following by sunshine for the start of harvest on 8 February. “About that time there was also the threat of Cyclone Dovi bearing down on us from the northwest,” says Michael. “Fortunately for us, the cyclone sailed past Auckland, well to the west, and we also managed to avoid any significant rainfall in its wake.” Harvest began with Crémant, with the table wine harvest starting a week later, “which was still very early by any historical standard”, says Michael. With no

rain, the hand picking team had “lovely conditions”, with “beautifully pristine” fruit arriving at the presses, he adds. “It is a very expensive process, but well worth the cost and effort for the quality it brings.” Harvest wrapped up on 13 March, well before the substantial rainfall that came the following week. Michael says the Chardonnay wines are a standout for him, as “shining examples of the Kumeu style”, and Pinot Gris is also very strong this year “with high sugar levels, and with some botrytis influence producing rich and textural wines”.

Hawke’s Bay This season was a challenging one, with too much rain at all the wrong times, says Paritua Winemaker Jason Stent from Hawke’s Bay. But it was also “an excellent learning opportunity” that has yielded some good results, including “fantastic” white wines. “Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc looks really good; Rosé looks lovely,” Jason says, noting that the region’s premium winemakers have faced some difficult vintages, learned a lot of lessons and developed tools “much more varied and better” than those on hand 10 to 15 years ago. Viticulture has progressed a great deal too, so the region is better able to juggle the disease and logistical pressures of a challenging year. Plentiful grass under the vines was an advantage at Paritua, Jason says, noting that it helped absorb some of the water, reducing the potential for berries to swell quickly. They also ensured good fruit exposure to the sun and the wind, with a lot less leaf in


Jason Stent at Paritua

the fruit zone, he says. It was the company’s first fully organic year in the winery, which limited its options compared to previous vintages, but some excellent organic products proved very effective, he says, talking of tannins used to help stabilise colour, as well as warmer ferments than usual with shorter and


warmer macerations in some cases, to get a little more extraction. It was not a year to have a fixed approach to growing or making wine, says Jason, talking instead of “seat of the pants” reactions to unique challenges. “And I think the team did a very good job here.” For more on Paritua, go to page 36


Wairarapa There was a “lot of excitement” in Wairarapa for most of the season, with “amazing fruit set” in spring and a “brilliant” start to summer, says Dry River Winemaker Wilco Lam. Then three weekends in a row of February rain put a dampener on the year’s Pinot Noir prospects. Work at the sorting table protected the quality but hit the volumes of the red, says Wilco, who is nonetheless Wilco Lam. Photo by Richard Brimer excited by the outlook for Dry River’s white wines, “which made the season for us”. Pinot Gris, Gewürztraminer, Chardonnay and Riesling are “phenomenal really”, he says. “So they are making up for everything.” Wilco says the season shows how fragile Pinot Noir can be, and how much work goes into growing and making high quality examples, although “the good years are fantastic”. The “niggly” rainfall was followed by clear weather, allowing for a more relaxed tail to harvest, leaving him “super excited” about the whites. Chardonnay is top of that list for him, particularly since demand in the past few years has been “exponential”, with supply unable to meet demand. “We see how strong that variety is,” he says. “Hopefully with a year like this, more people can enjoy it.”

Gisborne Growers with more than three decades experience in Gisborne’s wine industry “have never seen a season like it”, says the Chair of Gisborne Winegrowers of vintage 2022. “It was tough,” says Mark Thompson of a region beset by double and triple the normal rainfall for January, February and March, ramping up disease pressure in a year Covid-19 was already causing stress. But growers who kept crops down, and had vigilant spray programmes, had far fewer issues than those who targeted big yields, and didn’t drop compromised fruit in a timely manner says Mark, the Client Winemaker at GisVin. With demand from growers to get fruit in, and at least 20% of staff away with Covid at any one time, one of the greatest winery challenges was in managing expectations, says Mark, talking of daily calls from concerned growers. The season took its toll on industry members, with staff “shattered” by harvest’s conclusion, following massive hours of relentless work, he says. But despite all the challenges, the ultimate result is some pretty amazing wines. “That’s a tribute to the team in the winery being able to throw the book at a few of the parcels of fruit coming in”, says Mark, noting “standout varieties” of Chardonnay, early Sauvignon Blanc and some Gewürztraminer. And he’s positive about the outlook of the Gisborne wine industry, which is “in very good hands” with new growers putting down roots in the region.




Marlborough “A really tricky season,” says Hunter’s Wines Senior Winemaker James Macdonald of vintage 2022. “We had a warm spring and hot, dry January then extremely wet February, so started seeing a bit of botrytis, particularly with Pinot Noir.” The company was able to harvest affected fruit early, for Sparkling wine and a Rosé, “which was a luxury”, says James, left with the best of the fruit for his Pinot Noir. It was a season that demanded that kind of nimbleness. “You had to be flexible to get everything in.” He says they were beginning “to think the worst”, when stunning weather showed up for March and April, changing the outlook for the final leg of harvest. Like many other producers in Marlborough, desperately low on stocks after very light 2021 yields, Hunter’s went into spring with expectations of another small crop, says James. Good flowering and growing conditions turned that into a slightly bigger crop, then rain pressure dropped it back to average. But the winery was full, “so we were happy”, he says. “We think the balance is about right between what we have markets for and what we have. You can’t ask more much more than that.” And he’s keen to get wine bottled and on the water at the end of May, “as long as ships play ball”. Sauvignon looks very good and is set to be a “crowd pleaser”, but Chardonnay is the standout variety for James, having proved “bullet proof ” in the tough season. That’s had some people scratching their heads, as it can be sensitive in rain-afflicted years, “but this year it sat there looking pristine, so we got to full maturity and hand picked a lot of it and made some really good wines sitting in barrel now”. The hardest part of the season was the

lack of skilled labour, he adds. “We didn’t realise how reliant we are on trained young winemakers coming from all over the world to bring in our fruit. It makes such a difference when someone knows what a hose is and what a pump is.” Like in many wineries this vintage, “winemakers were dragging hoses around, working 12 hours a day in the cellar like everyone else”, he says. “Just to get through.” They have accepted that it’s a long-term challenge, “because it’s hard to say when those people will return to our shores”, and Hunter’s is looking at growing technology and gaining efficiencies in the winery to mitigate the impact. Labour shortages bit in the vineyard too, with Covid isolation cutting the hand pick crew from 40 to four on one of the harvest days. “A morning pick turned into a three-day harvest”, he says of the shortfall in pickers, while noting that those there did an “amazing” job. “They didn’t have any supervisors or managers, and we couldn’t go near them either.” Spy Valley Wines had its largest vintage for several years, with 2,438 tonnes. “Towards the end it became a game of chess, moving juice and new wines around the winery very strategically so that all tanks and barrels were full, and we could fit everything in,” says Chief Winemaker Wendy Stuckey. That was done with a mix of full-time crew and higher number of inexperienced harvest crew than typical, “but they were young and enthusiastic”, she says. “We worked around the clock for several weeks; the team rallied and we made it through.” Plant & Food Research weather expert Rob Agnew says “timing was everything” for Marlborough’s 2022 vintage, noting

Spy Valley. Photo Daniel Adriatico

growers “dodged a bullet, but not entirely”. December rainfall coincided with flowering, creating latent botrytis infection that was awakened on some blocks by February rain, impacting early Sauvignon Blanc going through véraison, the onset of ripening in grapes. The subsequent “very dry” period, from 20 February to 20 March, was a “godsend” that mitigated the impact, says Rob. “If it had continued to be wet over that four-week period it would have been very ugly.” Wine Marlborough General Manager Marcus Pickens says wine companies are delighted by a fruitful harvest, following the low yielding 2021 Marlborough vintage and continued high demand for the region’s wines around the world - particularly its iconic Sauvignon Blanc. “Markets are eager to get their shelves and wine lists restocked with Marlborough wine and this higher yielding harvest was perfectly timed to satisfy that demand.” It’s been a year of challenges, with supply pressures, labour shortages and global shipping issues causing companies stress, which was exacerbated by Omicron and weather threats this harvest, he says. “While these things look set to continue to disrupt us, there’s a lot of relief that we successfully navigated vintage 2022.”

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Nelson The vintage gets a “pass mark” “We’re pretty happy from Nelson’s Neudorf Estate, with what we’re says General Manager and Winemaker Todd Stevens. seeing in the barrel Despite being nervous about “decent rain” over harvest, they at the moment.” didn’t leave any fruit behind. “It Todd Stevens was block by block at that point, depending on the clone or variety; some are more susceptible than others,” says Todd, calling it a season for the nimble. “For us it’s about hanging fruit out as long as you can.” They had just one block where disease pressure forced their hand, with “exceptional” weather from late February a welcome chaser to the rain. Having Covid-19 “lurking around” was another stress on the season, with a constant threat of “losing a big chunk of your labour force in one foul swoop”. It was always at the back of his mind, but the company managed to “dodge that bullet”, he says. The 2021 harvest was a small one for Nelson, with a combination of frost and poor flowering knocking yields, as well as the hail that hit some blocks, so it wasn’t hard to beat volume wise, says Todd. With a “significant step up”, he’s hopeful they will have enough wine to satisfy their markets. The whites look particularly good, with the Chardonnay the season’s winner at this stage, says Todd. “There’s still some water to go under the bridge, but we’re pretty happy with what we’re seeing in the barrel at the moment.”




North Canterbury A combination of good luck and good planning resulted in a much better Waipara vintage than expected, says Pegasus Bay Winemaker Mat Donaldson. “Everyone is saying in retrospect, ‘it was challenging, but we made some really good wines in the end’.” Flowering was “patchy” in North Canterbury, resulting in far less fruit thinning than previous years, and “the perfect fruit weight for the season”, says Mat. “If we had more crop we wouldn’t have got to the ripeness.” Rain between flowering and fruit set led to signs of botrytis in Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, resulting in careful picking decisions, based on condition rather than brix or phenological ripeness. They harvested those varieties earlier than typical, but Mat expects to make good 2022 Pinot Noir. “Sometimes the vintages that are not perfect make more interesting wines”, says Mat, comparing wines from the likes of 2020 to supermodels, that are “almost too perfect”. That’s especially true of Pinot Noir, he adds, intrigued by the imperfections offered by 2022’s harvest. He’s happy with the botrytis in his

Pegasus Bay’s 2022 harvest team

Riesling, which dried out in beautiful late March conditions and reached phenological ripeness before harvest, and predicts “some really nice Rieslings” from the season. The late spell of exceptional weather meant it “turned into a good vintage in the end”, he adds, talking of Sauvignon Blanc hanging on the vine in the late summer sunshine. All in all, a year that could have been grim, but wasn’t, he says. “There was a bit of luck, but also good planning and resourcefulness to bring the fruit in quicker.” Labour was a complicating factor leading up to vintage, but Pegasus Bay had three overseas work visas accepted as harvest

approached, with one French and two Italian vintage workers - all experienced at the winery - flying in two weeks before harvest. Having already bolstered the cellar with New Zealanders, the three extra experienced staff members were a boon as Omicron threatened numbers, says Mat. They mitigated Covid’s threat in the vineyard as well, laying off contract hand pickers part way through to protect their permanent team, ultimately losing just four people in the vineyard to a week of isolation, along with Mat’s “right hand woman” in the winery.

crops were abundant once again, says Fraser, delighted with both quantity and “outstanding” quality across all varieties. The season had a great “kick start” with good soil moisture in late 2021, as well as a warm December, followed by “a nice run all the way through”. A tight labour market was the only rub, he says, but Peregrine managed to get through with just a “light” tickle up from

Covid-19. “It certainly had an impact, but we managed to work around it.” Fraser is buoyant about the region’s outlook, with “fantastic demand for the finished product” and a growing understanding of which sites work best. “Things are looking really good for Central Otago wine.” Misha’s Vineyard Winemaker Olly Masters says the season has potential to

Central Otago Central Otago has enjoyed its third good vintage in a row, “and 2022 was probably for us the best of the lot of them”, says Peregrine Wines Chief Executive Fraser McLachlan, calling it a “fantastic” season for the Gibbston, Bendigo and Pisa subregions the company harvests from. Last year Central Otago bucked the trend of low yields suffered by most of New Zealand’s wine regions, and this year’s

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be “one of the best” in terms of fruit and vine health. The Bendigo company started hand-harvesting on 28 March, with Pinot Noir for Rosé, and continued for the next month across varieties and blocks, reporting a “dream season” in terms of fruit quality and vine health with yields above the long-term average. Condition held on well, largely thanks to vines holding on to leaf longer than is typical, says Olly. “Juice acid levels and pHs have generally behaved as expected given the warm season and come into line with flavour and tannin ripeness, malic acid levels have generally been lower due to the warm end of season, whilst sugar levels have also generally been a little lower than we often see, which is nice as this also allows for a little more elegance in the final wines.” Misha’s Vineyard Manager Michelle Dacombe says the biggest concern of the season was staffing, with a lack of consistency in workers. “A huge issue has been the availability of workers locally and being able to hold onto people for any length of time with other vineyards and orchards offering very competitive pay,” she says, noting that many of the overseas workers they did manage to attract are struggling with being away from family, and working in a different field than they may have trained in. “Trying to build a good work environment whilst being productive has meant giving plenty of time off to casuals and occasionally leaving a task with less than desirable results as we haven’t managed to get back to it,” she says. “Thankfully, this hasn’t affected the fruit quality.”



The Focus 25 I

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26 I

Climate Action Felton Road

28 I

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Leading Culture Rippon’s people

32 I

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Growing Greener Above and beyond action from New Zealand wine companies and individuals is helping to deliver lasting change, says a new sustainability report. “From plants to people and cellars to communities, we all play our part to put sustainability first.” The following pages showcase some of the champions helping our industry grow greener.

NZW Sustainability Report 2022 SOPHIE PREECE Efforts to protect people and place are at the heart of New Zealand’s wine industry, says the New Zealand Winegrowers 2022 Sustainability Report. “To our industry, sustainability means growing grapes and producing our world-famous wines in such a way that we can do so for generations to come.” The recently released report shares insights from the Sustainable Winegrowing New Zealand (SWNZ) programme, which accounts for more than 96% of all vineyard area in New Zealand, showcasing data from 1,840 vineyards and 310 wineries. The data offers a “unique opportunity” to tell New Zealand’s wine sustainability story “at a time when caring for people and place is so aligned to our customer’s values”, says New Zealand Winegrowers (NZW) General Manager of Sustainability, Dr Edwin Massey. Ranit Librach, NZW’s United States Market Manager, says purchasing patterns of consumers and buyers have “definitely shifted” over the past two years. At a recent New Zealand wine tasting in New York, buyers talked of an increase in customers asking for sustainable wines, and “a top retailer mentioned that one in five are asking”, says Ranit. Edwin says it is important to have empirical and certified evidence of sustainability stories, noting the threat posed by greenwash in the market and in engagement with regulators. NZW’s new report measures and communicates progress across six key focus areas of

Misha’s Vineyard

sustainability - climate, water, waste, soil, plant protection, and people. The industry body has committed to the wine industry being carbon zero by 2050, and all SWNZ members now receive personalised greenhouse gas reports. The report indicates that 58% of wineries and 41% of vineyards are already implementing specific initiatives to minimise their carbon footprint, including 55% of wineries using lightweight glass bottles.

“You need these people who take the first steps and are proud of the commitment they have made and are happy to share their stories.” Edwin Massey Edwin notes the “journey to 2050 is a long one”, with plenty of challenges ahead, “but the report highlights that we are starting in a good place. People are starting to engage with this issue”. The motivations to do so are myriad, including markets demanding reduced emissions and regulations ensuring a high-carbon business is also a high-cost business, says Edwin. “Everything we do that produces emissions will become more expensive.” Some wine companies, large and small, are leading the way in reducing and mitigating greenhouse gases, and those “champions” are key to the journey, he adds.

“You need these people who take the first steps and are proud of the commitment they have made and are happy to share their stories.” Another highlight of the report is the “depth of data” surrounding water use, and the steps being taken to protect and conserve the resource, says Edwin, with 92% of vineyards and wineries running initiatives to conserve or reduce water use, alongside efforts to protect and enhance waterways. Those actions are “extremely important” given the Government’s environmental reform agenda and protection of te mana o te wai, he says. The work being done by SWNZ members is showing “real leadership” in New Zealand’s primary sector, he adds. Virtually all SWNZ vineyards (99%) use nonchemical methods as one of their strategies for managing pest and disease, and 81% of vineyards worked to promote soil health in the last season. Meanwhile, 98% of vineyards and wineries are undertaking waste reduction, recovery and recycling programmes, pushing towards NZW’s target of zero waste to landfill by 2050. “The New Zealand wine industry has rightfully earned its place as one of the most progressive wine producing nations in the world,” says Edwin. Having 96% of members in SWNZ and 10% certified organic “is an achievement we can be proud of ”, he adds. “But the real work is ensuring we not only sustain but elevate our position with an enduring commitment to continuous improvement.” Read the full report at sustainability-report

96% of New Zealand’s vineyard area is SWNZ certified. NZW Sustainability Report




Felton Road. Photo Andrea Johnson

Felton Road - climate action in the fast lane SOPHIE PREECE Sustainability and climate action can be awkward bedfellows, says Nigel Greening, as he navigates the complicated business of reducing emissions. “They often fight, and they often have significantly competing interests,” says Felton Road’s owner, using sequestration as an example. “If I am trying right now to sequester some carbon, I might be better off planting pines than natives.” On the flipside, he’s seen wine companies abroad “wave their hands in the air” for being biodynamic, while using heavy glass bottles, or spraying their vineyard using a helicopter to reduce compaction. “It’s more nuanced than ‘are we sustainable?’” It’s a balance Nigel has grappled with for the past 15 years, and is front of mind now the prestigious Central Otago winery has become the second New Zealand company to join International Wineries for Climate


Action (IWCA). That collective’s rigorous accountability standards will, for example, see Felton Road calculating the travel of wine tourists to and from its cellar door, and using an algorithm to glean the carbon cost of refrigerating their wines in personal and commercial cellars around the world. Felton Road has been cutting emissions and growing environmental initiatives for the past 15 years, largely as a by-product of winemaker Blair Walter’s abhorrence of waste. “For example, when we are pressing off our fermenters, they start with shovel and end with a spoon,” says Nigel. “It’s not a big spoon. It’s a little spoon.” One of Blair’s rules is not to waste more wine at vintage than you can drink at a sitting, adds Nigel. “The idea is nothing is wasted. All of our lees goes to be distilled and we make brandy, and the pomace from the lees gets composted. There’s literally no


part of the wine process that isn’t recycled, reused or composted.” There’s no wastewater treatment facility, because “we never put anything down our drains”, says Nigel. Water from the winery – invariably found pure in testing – is used to irrigate arid hillsides, where Boer goats graze on rose brambles planted by 19th century gold miners, who sought vitamin C from the hips. While many neighbouring farms now spray their roses, the Felton Road brambles are deemed a resource, feeding goats that in turn fertilise the pasture, allowing highland cattle to now graze these hills as well. Felton Road has long packaged its wine in lightweight glass packaging, “before most other wineries”, all cardboard is 100% recycled, and “we have an enormously finnicky waste management programme”, says Nigel. “We measure everything that is


thrown away in this company.” That means just 1.4 tonnes of rubbish went to landfill in the past year, which is less than a typical four-person household. Again, much of that was not driven directly by carbon goals, but by Blair considering waste an “obscenity” says Nigel, talking of one example where the interleaves on bottle pallets are now sold to a local trucking company instead of being sent to landfill, in a triple win. Meanwhile 120 solar panels on the winery roof produce 60% of Felton Road’s energy requirement, including for two electric cars. It’s significant progress, and makes the continued reduction of emissions, as is demanded by Gold membership in IWCA, very tough, says Nigel, clearly relishing the challenge. “We don’t have many things we can play with.” Nigel has previously eschewed certification, “fairly horrified” by the option to offset emissions by buying credits in lieu of actual greenhouse gas (GHG) reductions. But the strict vetting of the IWCA – whose members commit to reducing GHGs, improving land stewardship, protecting biodiversity, and

being socially responsible and locally engaged businesses – immediately appealed. “It forbids any kind of offsetting towards your carbon performance. If you are going to give a carbon figure, it is a carbon figure without offsets.”

“It’s more nuanced than ‘are we sustainable?’” Nigel Greening The IWCA’s target of being carbon neutral by 2050 has strict parameters, with third-party verification of the three GHG scopes – scope 1 being direct emissions from owned or controlled sources, scope 2 indirect emissions from purchased energy and scope 3 all other indirect emissions in the value chain, including staff commutes and travel, and the movement of those cellar door guests. “Suddenly you realise

that’s a challenge,” says Nigel. “That’s what I love - they are on my wavelength.” He is inspired by the work of companies like Familia Torres, a founding IWCA member that has been battling the climate crisis for decades. “They have a greater commitment than any other winery I have looked at closely,” he says. And he joins their ilk with some trepidation, given Felton Road has no “low hanging fruit” left to pick. “We have done most of the easy stuff already. So, we will be jumping on the thing in the fast lane, rather than the slow lane.” Cutting flights is one step, and the other is to buy more land and plant a forest, again balancing the concept of sustainability with climate action. “Is it feasible to grow something compatible to that ecosystem or not? We don’t have those answers yet… There’s a lot of research to be done and we want to get this right.”

58% of wineries are implementing specific initiatives to minimise their carbon footprint. NZW Sustainability Report

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Tracey Marshall at the Kaituna Wetland. Photo Jim Tannock

Pernod Ricard’s sustainability roadmap SOPHIE PREECE Tracey Marshall can frequently be found in cross-globe video calls, discussing the carbon, circularity, waste and wellbeing targets of Pernod Ricard’s 2030 Sustainability and Responsibility Road Map. But her favourite topic of conversation is far closer to home, amid Marlborough’s flourishing Kaituna wetland, where 13 years of planting and pest work are rewarded with an abundance of trees, raupō, birds and insects. “We do have a lot of vineyard land here in Marlborough and one of the biggest impacts of vineyards is the loss of biodiversity”, says Tracey, who is Sustainability Manager for Pernod Ricard Winemakers New Zealand. “It’s really rewarding from a personal and community perspective - it’s so visible, and it helps in so many ways.” The wetland has long been a focus for the company and a passion project for Tracey and her colleagues, so reaching the stage where maturing trees are becoming reproductive is


extraordinarily rewarding, she says. And given its significant scale - with five hectares of the 9ha wetland now protected by a QEII National Trust covenant - it’s become a shining example for Pernod Ricard businesses and affiliates of a commitment to protecting land in the communities they work in. The wetland is surrounded by other environment-enhancing initiatives, including organic vineyards and a 60ha regenerative viticulture project. “It’s becoming a really cool place to visit, because you can see everything happening,” says Tracey of the Kaituna Vineyard. The “fairly meaty” regenerative viticulture block is exciting, because of the amount of data they can collect, she adds. “Again, we are looking for scale. Not putting aside a little corner and calling it a trial.” Some of the practices in place, such as interrow cropping and beneficial plantings, are already in use on their other vineyards,


“but it’s about expanding on that and saying, ‘let’s take it further’,” Tracey says. They are learning how to measure the impact of actions, including through a regenerative index where they can record scores. New Zealand soils are relatively young and fertile, so there’s less work ahead in terms of nurturing organic matter, compared to many other wine regions around the world. “We are already in a good space about that. So, it’s about retaining and improving, but also with a focus on more opportunities above ground, with supported biodiversity and insect life and so on.” The project is aligned with the 2030 Road Map, which aims to have regenerative agriculture pilot projects within all Pernod Ricard’s vineyards, in eight wine regions, by 2025. The Kaituna wetland work – as well as substantial plantings on other vineyards - is also on track, given a target that all the group’s global affiliates will have a strategic biodiversity project by 2030.


“It’s really fit for purpose in the era we are in now and building on a lot of what we have done,” says Tracey of the Road Map, which has numerous new commitments across four key pillars: nurturing terroir, valuing people, circular making and responsible hosting. “It has really accelerated and set some quite meaty goals, particularly around carbon and climate change, biodiversity and communities.” Among the targets, which support the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, is that 100% of its packaging will be recyclable, compostable, reusable or bio-based by 2025, following on from the 2021 ban of all promotional items made from single-use plastic. Meanwhile it has committed to reducing the overall intensity of its carbon footprint by 50% by 2030, with a target to reach net zero overall by 2050. That will be achieved through reducing emissions within their own companies via new technologies and alternative energies, while working with the supply chain to help lower the overall carbon footprint, including through packaging, agricultural materials and transportation, says Tracey. Strategic plans are measured and

reported, and they look ahead at what outcomes of each action will be, so “we are not just aiming in the dark”, she adds, enthusiastic about such a “disciplined approach”. Sustainable Winegrowing New Zealand and New Zealand’s natural resources, along with their longstanding biodiversity programme, gives Pernod Ricard Winemakers New Zealand a bit of a “head start” in some areas, helping them achieve goals that other regions are still grappling with. For other targets, such as waste minimisation, it can be more challenging. “We have certainly achieved a massive reduction and made some major progress, but we still have that last little bit where there’s just nowhere it can go in New Zealand.” She is grateful for the learnings shared by partners around the world, and says collaboration is key. “We get access to new and emerging ideas, technology and trends.

It feels really good being in a wee town like Blenheim and working in a global context.”

Responsib’All Day On 16 June, 18,000 Pernod Ricard employees around the world will put down work and pick up tools for the annual Responsib’All Day, working for people and planet in more than 100 local communities around the world. In New Zealand, 400 staff will plant 5,000 natives across the country, working with Conservation Volunteers New Zealand to plant thousands alongside Papakura Stream in Auckland and Owhiro Stream in Wellington, while also planting around company wetlands and vineyards in Hawke’s Bay, Waipara and Marlborough.

2,950 hectares of vineyard area have been contributed for biodiversity protection, restoration, or enhancement, such as planting wetlands and native trees.

NZW Sustainability Report

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It covers vineyard specific machinery and trellis systems, as well as learning around the wider industry and is partially covered under the FREE* Apprenticeship and Training Fund.

* Free training only available up until Dec 2022 for eligible programmes. If the programme duration goes longer, some fees will apply. Visit for more information.




Nick Mills

Connecting people and place at Rippon SOPHIE PREECE As winter draws Rippon to its “lowest ebb”, its community gathers for Matariki, in celebration of nature’s new year. “As a farmer, as a winegrower, your season starts not at the Christian new year, but at the winter solstice, when your vines are completely at the bottom”, says Nick Mills, from the rammed earth hall on his family’s biodynamic Wānaka vineyard. “That’s the time you get together and tell stories, and you reflect on the year or the years gone by, and you imagine what the new year can be. And you have aspirations and set some ideas and values.” Staff gather in this same hall, literally surrounded by the soil of Rippon, and voice all those aspirations, ideas and values to the land and to each other, says Nick, winner of the Leadership category of this year’s Gourmet Wine Traveller New Zealand Winemaker of the Year Awards. “It is basically building a culture that in turn maintains a relationship with that singular piece of land.” The innovative bill that gave the Whanganui River the legal rights of “personhood” in 2017 exemplifies the philosophy at Rippon, says Nick, who regards the land as an individual, with all the rights that entails. At the vineyard’s Farm Voices conference in spring, staff lie in a paddock “and listen to Rippon”, with a focus on one of the earth’s elements each year. Last spring was “air”, and the conference included staff working


with a music teacher to sing in harmony in the hall. Not necessarily in their comfort zone, “certainly not in mine”, says Nick, but extraordinary, nonetheless. Then there’s the harvest party in autumn, at the end of the winegrowing cycle, in a celebration of fertility and passion, when staff throw compost out on the soil to call in the year ahead. The rituals are daily too, and on winter mornings Rippon workers warm themselves around a brazier, shaking hands and connecting. They might talk about what they have to do, or just shuffle feet and say nothing, and “sometimes there is a snippet of wisdom someone brings along; something special might appear out of an otherwise pretty mundane act”, says Nick. ”I guess that’s a time to look each other in the eye and know what we’re dealing with… It is that understanding that we are all working towards a higher goal.” In summer the morning greeting will be followed by 60 or 90 minutes of hand hoeing, “which is taking that collective energy and connecting with the land”, Nick says. “I think it’s really valuable for people to sweat a little bit and use their backs and stick their hands in the dirt every day.”

The integral connection of people to place echoes the tūrangawaewae of Māori culture, and the notions of terroir Nick grew up with in France, informed by Cistercian and Benedictine traditions. And it echoes the experiences of people on Wānaka Station more than a century ago, established by the current generation’s great grandfather Percy Sargood in 1912. It was extremely isolated, with no access to diesel, and 80% of the arable land was farmed to feed the horses required to work it. “That’s pretty self-sustaining,” says Nick. There were orchards and gardens to feed the community, with a bread oven in the middle, where staff would come together to eat. These days Nick, and the wider family behind the estate, work to nurture a continued symbiosis of community, culture and terroir. At this month’s Matariki celebration, new staff here for the pruning season will experience the perfect induction to Rippon’s ways, with a roaring fire, lots of stories, poetry, “perhaps even the odd song”, says Nick. “If you set up the space and opportunity for something special to happen, there’s a high probability that it will. I think that’s probably how we roll in all our work”.

79% of people working in the New Zealand wine industry want to continue doing so. NZW Sustainability Report


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Ovine & vine at Pyramid Farm SOPHIE PREECE

Richard Hunter

jumped at the opportunity. Richard walked (and walked and walked) the eight sheep paddocks, with 30 vertical metres from the top to the bottom, analysing slopes and aspects. The final vineyard layout – with eight blocks, ranging from 2.4ha to 9ha, each with different row orientations – was also designed with safe

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decided to undertake a second vineyard development on their property. The first 50-hectare block was developed in 2016 by Sileni, for whom Richard was working at the time. When Chris asked the viticulturist to lead the family’s own 44ha development, with little cultivation and no contouring, he


Viticulturist Richard Hunter stepped outside the box and into the blocks when transforming Avon Valley sheep paddocks into productive Sauvignon Blanc crops. He and Pyramid Farm owners Chris and Julia Dawkins were adamant there’d be no contouring of the Marlborough landscape, 250 metres above sea level, where three generations of Dawkins have protected and nurtured the soil. “I don’t see what right I have to do that quite frankly, when I came to a farm that’s been farmed really well for the last 70 years, and where through good management they have beautiful soils”, says Richard, who has long lamented the ironing out of landscapes and subsequent loss of topsoil. “I said, ‘if I ever got the opportunity to work myself with an owner on the same page, that’s what I’ll do’.” He found that opportunity at Pyramid Farm in 2019, when the Dawkins family


tractor routes in mind. When it came to the drains beneath them, Richard insisted Chris make the decisions, calling on the knowledge and instinct earned over a lifetime on this land. The block was planted in August 2020, and two years on it’s beautiful to behold, with rows cascading down hills and over terraces, while vines flourish in settled soils, ready for their first harvest next season. Respecting the lay of the land is just one of the ways Richard and Chris are thinking outside the box, with blocks subdivided into 1.5 to 2ha “intensive grazing zones”, using an Eco Trellis Post they designed alongside New Zealand Tube Mills, “allowing us to retrofit a permanent sheep fence”, says Richard. That allows them to call on 1,500 breeding sheep for grazing and leaf plucking, section by section, future proofing for viticulture without herbicide, says Richard. “What we want to do is have a vineyard that’s ready for a wine company, ahead of time.” Subsurface irrigation means less water use, and also saves the infrastructure from damage from grazing. “Whilst the use of sheep is not as readily available to others as it is to us, what I

will say is that we are trying to develop a vineyard to the strengths and resources we have at our disposal.” And demand for the fruit is abundant, partly because of the shortage of Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc and partly because wine companies are excited by the prospect of fruit harvested from different aspects, gradients and soil types, says Richard. But it’s also because of the innovate ways the farm is future proofing for “nil herbicide” while taking care of its land, he says. “The more you talk to people about what you were doing, the more they like it.” Chris Dawkins has spent his lifetime building on the work of his father Jack, who bought the property in 1954 and set about rectifying its rundown state. The vineyard blocks all honour Jack’s vision, with each named for one of his experiences in World War II, from Cassino to Abbassia. Julia and their four children are equally passionate about the land and its soil,

as well as the regenerated native bush flourishing along the Avon River, the native planting around dams, and the mixed species forestry covering 15% of the farm. Judges in the 2019 Cawthron Marlborough Environment Awards, where Pyramid Farm won the Supreme Award, commended the economically and environmentally viable operation, calling it a model for other farmers. Chris and Richard are now pondering the potential of another block of grapes on Pyramid’s river terraces, but that will be dependent on finding substitute grazing land for the sheep, says Richard, acknowledging that Chris is still more excited by ovine than vine. Fortunately, he’s excited enough for the two of them, calling the work a privilege. “Seeing how well the vines perform in this environment and the positive way it is met by the consumer you definitely know that you’re on the right track.”

46% of vineyards reduced their use of herbicides. NZW Sustainability Report

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Causing a stir at The Wrekin SOPHIE PREECE A young cow frolics in a paddock in the upper Brancott Valley, then gallops to the fence to see the treats in store. Gracie is no ordinary Jersey, admits Jan Johns, whose raised her from a calf and considers her part of the family. And though looking like she’s not got a care in the world, head cocked in expectation of warm words and fresh hay, Gracie plays a remarkable role at The Wrekin, as the sole source of poo buried in cow horns. The Wrekin is not certified biodynamic, but cow pat pits, and the rhythmic then chaotic - stirring of preparations, according to the lunar cycle, are key to this extraordinary property. On the surface, visitors to The Wrekin see a happy cow and a picturesque patchwork of vines, interspersed with an olive plantation and duck-laden pond, park-like hillsides of oaks and sequoia, groves of native trees, and a backdrop of golden hills, where Jan and her husband Andrew farm beef and superfine merino. But beyond the naked eye are vine roots that dive deep, thanks to being mostly dry-farmed; a supercharged microbiology, thanks in large part to Gracie’s poo preps; a line of buried barrel and brick compost brews, metamorphosing manure, eggshell and basalt; and a thriving earthworm population beneath the vines. “The soil is alive, and I think the place is more alive,” says Jan. “The soil is better, and we think the grapes are better.” The Johns bought the land in 1997, moving from city lives soon after to satisfy Andrew’s life-long desire to go farming. They were drawn by the sculpted tawny hills, by an 1873 homestead that recalls the days of settler farmers, and by 2,000 olive trees, which seemed a good prospect at the time. They soon realised the romantic dream of growing olive oil was a world away from the reality, although the olive harvest is now a key event in their calendar, with friends and family gathering beneath the trees. Fortunately, the land had much more to offer than olives and grazing. They’d not long been at The Wrekin when Ivan Sutherland – a pioneer of Marlborough’s wine industry – dropped Andrew home from a sailing mission in the Marlborough


Jan Johns

Sounds and looked at the gentle hills around the homestead. “He said ‘you should put grapes in here’,” says Jan. They hooked into research, talked to winemakers and in 2002 planted 10 hectares of Pinot Noir, determined to develop the land without disturbing the fragile soil structure. Viticulturist Jeremy Hyland helped in the design, carefully selecting an elaborate array of 10 clones and numerous root stocks to mitigate the variation of slopes, row direction and aspect. He’s continued to do that as The Wrekin has expanded into other varieties – Chenin Blanc on a hill above the pond and Chardonnay in a space ceded by olives – with rows and varieties selected according to contour and aspect. “It is definitely one of the most complex vineyards in the country”, says Jeremy, who clearly adores its every corner. Jan has always been interested in organics, but didn’t start working towards certification until 2012, because wine companies weren’t interested in organic fruit, associating organics with “messy” vineyards and bad wine, “and all that carry

on”, she says. “In those days people thought orange stripes down vineyards were cool.” That was still the case when she attended a biodynamics course to extend her own knowledge, and was urged on by an inspiring lecturer, who explained that it wasn’t enough to do organics for herself, “we had to do it for society”. Although Jan was already well down the “pathway of organics”, The Wrekin needed some “oomph” to get certified, and to delve deeper into biodynamic practices, she says. “And Jeremy is the oomph I needed.” The viticulturist has been involved since 2001, but joined the Johns full time in 2017, a year before certification. He had long been “intrigued” by biodynamics, and spent time with New Zealand’s biodynamic godfather James Millton while working in Gisborne. “But I never had the time to do it - I never made the time to do it,” Jeremy says. A health scare in late 2015 gave him that time, and also made him look differently at the other places he’d worked, and the fruit he’d sampled over the years. “Now I feel queasy when I smell chemicals.” He notes that organic certification can

81% of vineyards undertook specific activities to promote soil health in the last season. NZW Sustainability Report



be achieved “by doing nothing” except excluding chemical inputs. At The Wrekin, “nothing” has certainly been powerful – with no earthworks, no water (unless vines are in peril) and no chemical inputs since 2012. But biodynamics is about working up from that, and working to improve, says Jeremy. “I felt it was the natural way to go - the next step, if you like.” So he brought his ‘oomph’ to the operation, and in turn is fed by the enthusiasm of the owners, staff and visiting vintage workers, and by the classes of biodynamics students who come to see the work being done at The Wrekin. “The energy feeds off itself,” says Jan. And the proof is in the pudding, with a 2018 survey revealing The Wrekin’s earthworm count higher than any other organic vineyard in the country. Winemaker Hätsch Kalberer used The Wrekin fruit at Fromm, and makes The Wrekin Pinot Noir for the Johns’ own label. He calls the Upper Fairhall Valley vineyard one of the rare estates that is not a monoculture. “There’s a vineyard here and a vineyard there, and a lake between - it’s very thoughtfully put together,” he says. “You can see that there is someone at the other end that really cares.” As soon as they had certification, people like Hätsch were “knocking on our door”, Jan says. “I didn’t know that would happen.” She converted to organics for philosophical reasons, “but now it’s expected premium wine will be organic”. She loves that these days winemakers show up to stir a preparation and talk thoughtfully about the moon and microbiology. Jan also loves the science behind the biodynamic principles they follow, “which I didn’t understand before”, and the sharing community it has attracted. “They are expansive outward thinking people, who are also caring for the planet,” says Jan. “Biodynamics is way more about soil science and taking it to the nth degree than we ever thought. And it just makes sense.” The full version of this feature ran in the June 2020 edition of Winepress

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

The Wrekin Winery Making wine on site was a natural next step at The Wrekin, where a small gravity fed winery is now tucked into a hillside surrounded by vines. That means Winemaker Hätsch Kalberer can process fruit within cooee of the harvest, protecting the microbiological signature of this biodynamically farmed land, and offering more flexibility and resilience to the operation. The winery was built last year, but shipping delays (including one box remaining in a French port) meant they just squeaked in for the 2022 harvest, says owner Jan Johns. “The basket press arrived the week before harvest started.” Other necessary equipment arrived after harvest, but in time for fermenting, she notes. The winery started small, with seven tonnes of fruit processed for The Wrekin’s own label this year, given the nick of time nature of the equipment arriving, says Jan. Designed to leave as light a footprint as possible, the winery is “very basic”, with wastewater used on the land, grape marc composted on site, and no need for trucks to come and go. Meanwhile, it allows those working on the land – “all fascinated” by winemaking – to follow their fruit through the process, “in a European sort of way”, says Jan, herself intrigued by the simplicity of turning good grapes into good wine.

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

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





Paritua. Robin Cranford Photography.

Custodians at Paritua SOPHIE PREECE Managing the land and vines with a century-long outlook is business as usual at Paritua, says Winemaker Jason Stent. “We are custodians of the land and will be doing our best to improve our vine health and soil health. We want this to be a viable project in a 100 years’ time as well.” This year was Paritua’s first fully organic vintage, with the winery and 54 hectares of vineyard certified by BioGro, in a process that began in the early 2000s, but was knocked off track by the global financial crisis and a challenging period in the company’s culture. In 2018, with the right team in place, they kicked back into it, transitioning the entire vineyard at once, rather than tackling it piecemeal. The outcome has been healthier biology and structure in the soils, better performing plants, and a keen engagement from the people of Paritua from the winemaking and viticulture team

to management, as well as partners in other countries, says Jason. “We really believe in this and are doing our best to be good citizens of the world really.” That ethos is threaded through the growing and making of wine, and also in a focus on recycling and composting, and their current research into Tōitu carbonzero certification. They also plant wildflowers interrow, which helped with water uptake in the recent wet vintage, and also attract beneficial insects into the vineyard, providing a more diverse habitat, says Jason. “We’re just trying to be good people, I guess. And that is reflected in the feedback we are getting in from our

customers overseas.” He says the organic journey has been positive for their vine husbandry and their wines, as well as their markets, where they are taking “a lot more ownership of our wines” as a result. Jason says the camaraderie of the Hawke’s Bay community – within and beyond the wine industry – has been key to the success of their transition, with the likes of Villa Maria, “leading the charge on organics for a long time”, always willing to answer a question or offer advice. “It’s very easy to pick up the phone and talk to someone about an issue or a problem you are trying to figure out.”

10% of New Zealand wineries hold organic certification NZW Sustainability Report

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Making their marc on soil health SOPHIE PREECE When Rapaura Springs bought a vineyard in an arid and windswept pocket of Marlborough’s Blind River, building soil health became their focus. “We knew we had a pretty serious task in front of us, to try and remedy the situation of the soils,” says Viticulturist Matt Fox of the fragile land, contoured and overworked before the 2018 purchase. Spreading grape marc from the Spring Creek winery onto the soils has been a double win, boosting the organic matter of Blind River Vineyard, while redirecting a biproduct of winemaking that can otherwise become a waste stream. “It’s a great natural fit,” says Matt, noting that the marc – the stems, seeds and skins left over from winemaking – is taken to the site daily during vintage, and dumped on purposebuilt pads, before being spread , with areas most in need of organic matter targeted. Within weeks you can hardly see the marc, so quickly is it taken up by the soil, he says. Meanwhile, Rapaura Springs is using

mixed species cover crops to improve soil health, with different grasses and legumes chosen for different tasks, from fixing nitrogen to attracting beneficial insects, says Matt, who is an Organic Winegrowers New Zealand representative on the New Zealand Winegrowers Sustainability Committee. The main focus at Blind River is to enhance soil quality “which ultimately leads to better quality wines”, he says. Back at the winery, Rapaura Springs has long had a focus on protecting the resource of its namesake, including through a wastewater bioreactor that reduces biological oxygen demand (BOD) to 50ppm, which is a fraction of the Marlborough District Council stipulation

of a BOD count of 5,000ppm. The water is then sent through a membrane filter to remove the particulate matter, with solids collated for mulch and the treated water used for irrigation. “Our brand is named for the Rapaura Springs that flow through our home,” says the company’s Global Marketing Lead Joanna Glover. “These springs originate in the Southern Alps. The purity of this water is a reminder that we have a duty to protect our water and take care of our land.” She says people increasingly want to understand what they’re consuming, where it comes from and how it is made. “The sustainability of our production process is an important part of this equation.”

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Bird’s Eye Drones in the vines


PhD Precis Many microorganisms, especially bacteria, have a bad reputation because of their association with diseases, says Damola Adejoro. “However, the fact is that only a tiny proportion of microorganisms cause problems,” says the Lincoln University PhD student researching the microbiome structure and function of “disease-escape grapevines” - grapevines thriving in an environment where there is heavy pressure of grapevine trunk diseases. What led you to this PhD programme? I was interested in knowing how to make use of the good microorganisms and reduce the harmful impacts of the bad ones. Fuelled by the bad reputation of microorganisms, I decided to study microbiology. During my MSc at the University of Ilorin, Nigeria, I focused on the industrial application of fungi, in line with my passion for utilising microorganisms. When the opportunity for this PhD position in New Zealand came my way, I was excited about its potential because it fitted seamlessly with the enthusiasm I had as an undergraduate student of microbiology. Why are grapevine trunk diseases such a concern? According to recent figures from Fresh Facts, wine exports contribute $1.9 billion to the New Zealand economy – second only to kiwifruit among horticultural products. However, grapevine trunk diseases (GTDs) are one of the gravest threats to the continued profitability of wine producers, not only in New Zealand

but also in other grape growing regions across the globe. These diseases are caused by a complex of fungi, and their control is difficult. Unfortunately, there is currently no approved fungicide for their eradication. What are you doing to address the trunk diseases problem? Due to limited control options for GTDs, researchers have sought alternative control strategies, including sustainable biological controls. In my research, I am trying to manipulate the microbiome, or the whole microbial community of the grapevine trunk, as a means of controlling GTDs. The microbiome is crucial to the health and productivity of plants. Recently, a key international work identified grapevines that could escape Pierce’s disease, and this was linked to microbiome function. Anecdotal evidence from New Zealand growers and data from grapevine trunk disease mapping in Hawke’s Bay and Marlborough have also suggested that some grapevines can escape trunk diseases. These healthy vines growing robustly among diseased vines are defined as disease-escape grapevines. My study is aimed at identifying the collections of microorganisms within these disease-escape grapevines and seeing if we can use them to protect other vines against GTD fungi. How do you do that? We firstly identified candidate diseaseescape grapevines across vineyards in the Marlborough, Hawke’s Bay and Canterbury regions, took samples from these vines and their diseased neighbours and then compared their microbial communities.

I employed two methods to identify the microbial community. Firstly, I grew and identified microorganisms in the lab. Secondly, I used DNA metabarcoding to simultaneously identify numerous microorganisms (more than we can ever grow in the lab) in the communities. These two approaches complement each other, giving us both a tonne of data about the microbial communities, and also providing microbial isolates that we can study as inoculants. What’s next? I’m currently doing pathology assays on grapevine plants inoculated with the microorganisms from disease-escape vines. We will monitor the growth of the microorganisms over a season to see if they can establish and keep out trunk disease pathogens. By the end of my research, we’d like to have a cocktail of the beneficial microbes that together can reduce the damage caused by GTDs. What support have you had for this work? My research is funded by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment’s Strategic Science Investment Fund (SSIF) through Plant & Food Research Ltd, Lincoln. My research is supervised by Professor Eirian Jones (Lincoln University), Associate Professor Hayley Ridgway (Lincoln University and Plant & Food Research Ltd, Lincoln) and Dr Simon Bulman (Plant & Food Research Ltd, Lincoln), with Dion Mundy (Plant & Food Research Ltd, Blenheim) in an advisory role. Photo facing page Damola Adejoro

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Wētā Work Burrowing into the behaviour of ground weta SOPHIE PREECE Luring wētā away from the “buffet” of budburst is a potential outcome of research into the native insect munching Awatere Valley vines. The project, funded by the New Zealand Wine Futures Fund (NZWFF), seeks to develop an environmentally and economically sustainable solution to the growing problem of ground wētā, Hemiandrus bilobatus, grazing tender foliage in spring.

“We are trying to understand what the insect is after feed-wise at that time of the year.” Dr Jessica Vereijssen “That’s a real challenge,” says Dr Jessica Vereijssen, a crop protection entomologist at Plant & Food Research, who is used to working with introduced pest species like the meadow spittle bug, a potential vector for Xyella fastidiosa. “With a lot of the horticultural pests we work with, the last option - if you can’t find a solution - is always to spray them with a pesticide. With the wētā, we have to make sure it stays alive and that we don’t affect it.” The three-year project will build on work already done by Lincoln University and Massey University, and on the existing management tool of wrapping plastic sleeves around vine trunks to deter wētā from accessing the shoots. The plastic sleeves are costly to install and maintain, and they result in a significant waste management issue, so the new project will look at practical and environmentally sustainable alternatives, such as planting a crop between the vines, providing a sweet food source at budburst to disrupt the vine grazing. “We are trying to understand what the insect is after feed-wise at that


Dr Jessica Vereijssen

time of the year, in the vines,” says Jessica. “And whether we can change its behaviour, by luring it away, for example, from the vines and providing it with a more suitable habitat and more suitable feed.” Professors Mary Morgan-Richards and Steve Trewick of Massey University’s Wildlife and Ecology Group, co-authors of Ecology and systematics of the wine wētā and allied species, with description of four new Hemiandrus species, have already gained good insights into the natural behaviour of the wētā in some Awatere vineyards and will be an important part of the project team, says Jessica. The new project, starting 1 July, will build on their learnings, in discussion with impacted growers and also Mana Whenua, perhaps learning how Māori interacted with wētā in traditional gardens. Like much of her work, it will require the enquiry and deductions of a detective, says Jessica. “I love that. Where do they go? Where do they sleep?” Researchers will watch the wētā behaviour over budburst, then again in February, to see whether they clamber up vines at other times of the year. “It’s a really simple question, but we don’t know that. If

they are always in the vines, is it possible they are providing a biological control of, say, mealybugs? If we lure it away, would it increase the mealybug problem in vineyards?... These are things we would like to find out, through talking to people and observations as well.” Jessica says it’s important that any solution is practical and economically viable for growers to implement, while also protecting the interests of the insect. The NZWFF is funded through New Zealand Winegrowers levies and project managed by Bragato Research Institute (BRI). The wētā project has co-funding from Indevin, Pernod-Ricard, Yealands and Hortus to support a Massey University PhD student. BRI Project Manager Stephanie Flores says the proposal was a great fit for the Futures Fund, where the requirement was novelty. “Plant & Food Research is a key research partner, and we’re excited to be working with Jessica for the first time,” Stephanie says. “She brings experience working in various crops throughout New Zealand, as well as a fresh approach to wine research that brings together social science, ecology and financial sustainability.”

The ground weta vineyard project is one of two initiatives starting this year thanks to funding through the New Zealand Wine Futures Fund. The second is a University of Auckland project looking to upcycle grape marc using advanced microbiological methods.



Rigorous Research Kiwi MW wins global accolade SOPHIE PREECE An “outstandingly good” research paper has seen New Zealand Master of Wine Sophie Parker-Thomson win the Quinta do Noval Award 2021. Sophie’s paper – What is the relationship between the use of Sulphur Dioxide and Biogenic Amine levels in wine? – was deemed the best work by a new Master of Wine by The Institute of Masters of Wine. It was “an excellent piece of research”, says Judge Christian Seely, managing director of AXA Millesimes, Quinta do Noval’s owners. “At first sight, the very rigorous scientific approach seemed somewhat alarming, but it turned out to be compulsive reading, fascinating, with some original insights and thoughtprovoking ideas. Extremely well researched and rigorously argued, I thought it was outstandingly good, and for me was without question the best of the papers submitted.” Sophie could not travel to London for the ceremony, but attended via video link, saying she was “overwhelmed” to receive the award. “This was a daunting paper to research and write but the significant public interest element and importance of this topic to the industry was undeniable,” she told award attendees.

Sophie Parker-Thomson

In the October 2021 edition of Winegrower Magazine, Sophie noted that while S02 is frequently blamed for wine intolerance, clinical studies demonstrate that sulphites are a health risk to 3% to 10% of diagnosed acute asthmatics, with their reaction almost always respiratory. Meanwhile, symptoms of biogenic amine (BA) toxicity “mirror” those of wine intolerance, “including headaches, nausea, rashes, and flushing”, according to her report. “It is evident that BA presence in wine is indeed a demonstrable threat to human health and safety that needs consideration and management.” The report concludes that “the issue of BAs needs to be brought into the open, and the industry needs to do its part to ensure that wines being sold are safe for consumers to drink”. Sophie says there’s been a great deal of

interest over the past year in the findings of her report, and that interest has been renewed, “from all over the globe”, since the award announcement. Sophie was raised in Gisborne and Central Otago, and was a lawyer before the wine industry attracted her to Marlborough for the 2011 harvest. In 2013, she and her husband Matt Thomson founded Blank Canvas, crafting small-batch fine wines from single vineyard sites. They also run a consultancy – Lock, Stock and Barrel – offering wine industry services from vine to bottle. Sophie has expertise on the quality and subregional diversity of New Zealand wine, and sits on the Appellation Marlborough Wine (AMW) committee and the Gimblett Gravels Winegrowers Association executive. To read Sophie’s report, go to




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Birds’ Eye

Drone surveillance in vineyards TONY SKINNER The unique attributes offered by vertical take-off and landing drones are transforming a range of civilian roles, from firefighting to traffic monitoring and now vineyard management. Marlborough-based company GCH UAV is proving what can be achieved using drones in conjunction with advanced sensors and analytic software. The company has been operating in the province since 2017, providing aerial mapping, vineyard analytics and multispectral/thermal imagery services to vineyards. Operations Manager Colin Aitchison, himself a drone pilot, says it offers the ability to view a vineyard from above with unprecedented levels of detail. “What is interesting about working with vineyards is the diversity of what people are requesting. What might be super important for one vineyard isn’t even on the radar for the next. But once we are up flying, they are finding all sorts of value in the data.” Operating under the brand of Vineflight for its viticulture work, the company

can create a digital replica of a vineyard through aerial mapping. After the data is processed, customers are presented with an accurately georeferenced map and 3D model for use in third-party GIS software. As well as reducing operational costs and time in the field, the digital replica allows managers to understand the terrain better, more accurately measure rows or blocks and monitor change over time. GCH UAV has also partnered with two software companies, Aerobotics and VineView, for more advanced vineyard analytics. By capturing footage of a vineyard using multispectral or thermal imagery, GCH UAV can help growers conduct analysis on such areas as crop cover removal, individual vine count, missing vine count, canopy gap measurement, vine level vigour, and vigour zones. The Vineyard Analytic system allows vineyard managers to assess vine health, identify missing vines and identify the extent of disease or stress. Scheduling

harvest activities and making fertiliser and water management decisions can also be carried out with greater insight, says Colin. “There was a lot of hype a few years ago that this type of technology would be a massive game changer for vineyard management. But it is just another tool to help them troubleshoot and sanity check what they see on the ground. Sometimes, having that bird’s eye view can explain what they are seeing on the ground and give them that bigger picture.” In one example of its work, Cloudy Bay contracted the company during two growing seasons to undertake aerial imaging of 430 hectares of vineyards. In a testimonial, Cloudy Bay Viticulturist John Flanagan said the maps they produced were an invaluable tool for ongoing vineyard management. “The service they provided has given us a very good understanding of the vigour and growth of our different blocks, which has helped to formulate customised management plans for specific sites.”

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From left Josh Pointon, Jessica Wood and Maciej Zimny


Designing a new wine language JO BURZYNSKA “Wine language has become old fashioned and outdated, meaning that we are no longer communicating effectively about wine in a world where modern trends are important.” That’s from Maciej Zimny, owner-Director of Noble Rot Wine Bar, and now Chief Wine-olojist at the newly launched Wine-oji Services. To address this perceived failing, he and fellow Noble Rot sommeliers Josh Pointon and Jessica Wood have developed Wine-oji, an emoji-style visual wine tasting language. Based on the trio’s experience selling wine, the system seeks to describe “wine without words” using emoji graphics to convey different elements of a wine. These incorporate the structural components of sweetness, acidity, body, oak and finish, rated from 0 to 5, a wide range of aroma/ flavour characters and food matches. Mouthfeel characters are not explicitly included, given Maciej reports little interest in these from his customers, or the younger generation of drinkers. The system is envisaged as being both a training tool, and an accessible way for wine producers to communicate about their wines to consumers and the trade. “The main challenge in communicating


wine attributes using words is the complexity of the language used to express what’s in the bottle,” says Maciej. He considers the language used by wine reviewers is often too personal or vague to be meaningful for consumers, while formal tasting notes are too complex for new wine drinkers to understand. He also notes the “lack of scalability” of written descriptions, when conveying characters such as acidity. Visual wine descriptions have a number of advantages over written ones, Maciej notes: “A visual application transcends spoken language and can therefore be understood in any country. It presents exactly what’s in the bottle in a modern, visual way and, by breaking down its stuffy reputation, simplifies a beverage which is notoriously complex yet widely consumed. A visual profile also saves time in identifying wine’s individual components; for example, levels of acid or oak, or whether the wine is vegan.” He suggests that the ability for consumers to make clear visual comparisons between wine profiles might encourage experimentation with a wider range of similar varieties, while the number of Wine-Ojis used presents an easy indication of wine complexity. “And of


course, for many people images are much more memorable than words.” As an educational tool, Wine-oji has created visual profiles of Classic Wine Styles of New Zealand and The World, to “gamify learning about regional wine flavour profiles”. The modern wine language of Wine-oji can be used for staff training, cellar door activities “or while sitting at home sipping wine”, Maciej explains. “Because the profile presents exactly what’s in the bottle, everyone can learn to pick individual characteristics and learn about a wine’s structure, making it a very accessible tool for wine novices and experts alike.” “Wine producers are able to provide a visual representation of their wine across their digital marketing platforms and website for selling wine online,” Maciej adds. “At the cellar door, point of sales are enhanced through using printed Wine-oji material for staff training and customer tasting. The Wine-oji profile helps wine drinkers identify individual aromas or flavours without the pressure of guessing the wine’s characteristics incorrectly, making the whole process more engaging and fun.”



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The People 47 I

Family Business Wine generations

54 I

Women in Wine Dr Wendy Parr

56 I

The Profile Larry McKenna

62 I

The Postcard Toby Buck

64 I

Point of View Nadine Worley


The Family Business The stories of New Zealand’s family-owned wine companies weave brightness and texture into the fabric of our industry.

The secret to success at Spy MAIKE VAN DER HEIDE When the youngest generation of the Spy Valley Wines’ founding family were little, a tractor ride was a popular before-school thrill, and vineyard-fresh grapes a delicious snack. They were idyllic days, and not without purpose, says their mum Amanda Johnson, Spy’s Managing Director. Working in Spy’s Marlborough vineyards, and chatting to visiting international distributors at home, was the starting point of learning the business from vine to glass. “It made them appreciate the global nature of wine and potential.” Now youngest son Max, 21, can be found in the driver’s seat of machines he once considered toys, while sister Amy, 19, helps on the bottling line and brother Henry, 23, hones his marketing skills in Auckland, with sights set firmly on a wine industry future. All but two of their eight cousins have worked summer holidays in the business, which began in 1992 when Amanda’s parents Bryan and Jan Johnson bought the former Timara Lodge - “dad was an avid gardener” – surrounded by 100 acres of scrub, river gravel and grass that could only be lightly grazed. Bryan, a life-long risk taker, investor and businessman, but not a farmer, had seen Marlborough’s wine industry gaining momentum and, against all advice, planted grapes, selling to Corbans until 1999. More land was gradually added and planted, the iconic Spy Valley winery built, and family and friends encouraged to try the wines. The hard graft of those early days are highlighted in Amanda’s memory by “amazing parties with my dad, with help from our then Timara Lodge manager, held to celebrate harvests”. They were

From left, Max, Amanda, Bryan, Amy and Henry

community affairs, with the local fire brigade serving drinks, oompapa bands, and “dad on the piano at the Cork & Keg late into the evening”. The winery opening was a “doozy” with almost 600 guests and bands, she adds. “From the beginning, when we first planted our vines and Peter Masters managed our vineyards, people were always important. Marlborough felt small then and everyone seemed to know everyone – relationships were important and enduring.”

“Working together as a family has bought us closer and we enjoy robust conversations around the dinner table.” Amanda Johnson Once her children were older, Amanda became more involved in the family business, hosting distributors, planning and working at events, travelling and human resources. She also came up with the iconic name Spy Valley – a quirky nod to the Waihopai Valley spy base - when the business moved to producing wine. She loves that her children grew up entrenched in the business, know the staff well, interact with trade and customers with knowledge and authenticity, and are “ambassadors” for the family business. “Working together as a family has bought us closer and we enjoy robust conversations around the dinner table about what is happening in the industry, our achievements celebrated and our concerns shared.” Henry, who did his post-graduate thesis

on canned wine, has childhood memories imprinted with the smell of barrels while walking around the winery, cold mornings checking on harvest, muddy utes and tractors. Summer holidays were spent tending to vines, planting, pruning and driving. From 18, he hosted tastings in the cellar door, developing “a real passion and admiration for the wines”. He says the siblings’ involvement naturally led to promoting Spy’s family values in the winery and beyond. That included one day giving a tour to a cruise ship group, which saw him introduce Amy, in the kitchen washing glasses, Amanda and Bryan walking through the door and his brother and two cousins emerging from a day of work on the vineyard. “It was pretty comical, to say the least, some might have thought it was staged.” Throughout its growth, Spy’s values have always extended to their staff and their families, says Amanda. “We have built a great team here and I feel really well supported by our senior leadership team. We have a great bunch of staff that feels like an extended family. I think that is what helps our team here stay connected – I was raised in a household that really cares about family. We have a lot of cross functional staff who are so willing to put their hand to whatever tasks are required to get the job done.” Today, three generations continue to be involved, with Bryan, 82, consulting and advising on most matters, and knowing all staff, their children and their hobbies by name, says Amanda. “We are focused on sustainability here at Spy and this includes creating a sustainable business for the next generations.” Photo facing page Amanda and Bryan Johnson




A five-generation wine family MAIKE VAN DER HEIDE Tyler and Amber Soljan were just five years old when they stepped into a bin full of grapes, and into five generations of family tradition. “I quite vividly remember standing on our deck trying not to fall out of the bin,” says Amber, adding that particular wine, while very special, wasn’t offered for sale. Their hands-on entry into the wine industry from an early age was one shared by their grandfather, Soljans Managing Director and Head Winemaker Tony Soljan, despite being two eras apart. As the only five-generation winery in New Zealand, there is simply “no escaping” involvement in the family industry, says Tony: “That’s standard practise in any winemaking family.”

“The Croatian heritage is important and should always be recognised.” Tony Soljan While Tyler remembers running around in the vineyard “being probably not too helpful”, Tony recalls walking on top of vats, crunching down the grapes in 1950s Henderson that was, at the time, “the wine centre of New Zealand”. He was “amongst a whole community of winemakers”, he says. “It was great, an absolutely superb place to grow up, magic”. And despite many changes, the industry’s culture of working to help each other out hasn’t changed, he adds. Tony’s grandfather began the proudly Croatian Soljan legacy on New Zealand soil in 1927, when Bartul Soljan and his family arrived in Aotearoa from Stari Grad, Croatia. The family planted the first vines in 1932 under Bartul’s Pergola Wines. His son Frank started the Soljans Labels in 1937, eventually passing his passion for wine on to his children Tony, Rex and Raewyn. Another generation later, Tony and his wife Colleen’s daughters Tonia and Lisa went their own ways career-wise, becoming a teacher and a barrister respectively, but grew up in the winery getting hands-on experience, just like those before. Today, both maintain a presence in the company


Amber, Tyler and Tony Soljan

on the board of directors alongside Colleen. For Tonia’s children Tyler and Amber, now in their 20s, the decision to remain in the family business was a topic of serious conversation when they were younger, hampered by the fact neither particularly liked wine. “If we don’t find an interest here, then what happens?” Amber remembers wondering. But things changed, and now Tyler is “obsessed” with wine, perfect for his role in management and sales. The progression into the family business was different for his generation than those before, he says. “For Tony, it was get your experience as young as possible, whereas for us, we have been pushed and encouraged to do the study and get the qualifications first.” Amber says she too “never liked wine massively” but had a fascination for the communication side of the industry,


including label design and photography. “(Soljans) gave me an opportunity to explore those spaces and then go on to learn more about it.” With a communications degree, she now works part-time for Soljans and at NZME, “trying to absorb what I can and bring back what I can in the future”. For Tony, seeing the fifth generation come through is “is a unique privilege... And that comes back to our strong family ties. We’ve got a history of winemaking that we’re proud of ”. Working with family has natural benefits, he says. “Very often, the most convenient time for us to meet is after work, at dinner... That means there’s always a constant, every conversation progresses. You can implement it over the weekend and by Monday it’s happening.” While immensely proud of Soljans’ long legacy, Tony’s careful not to let the past hold back the future.


“We’ve come along at the right time,” adds Tyler, talking of new areas the industry never had to focus on historically. “We’ve come in with that youth side and allowed that focus to shift slightly. It’s brilliant for us to easily shift across that way slowly over the years rather than having everything change at once. It’s given us a good direction that not only takes on what we’ve done over the last 85 years but also has plans to continue for another 85, which is important for us.” In 2015, the whole Soljan clan travelled to Croatia to visit the cobbled streets of their ancestors, a reminder of where they, and many other now Kiwi families, came from. “The Croatian heritage is important and should always be recognised... If it wasn’t for the Dallies, you wouldn’t have the wine industry you have today,” says Tony. That, and the family business’ five generations, “gives us an immense sense of pride in everything that comes out of Soljans”, adds Amber. “It’s not just a company, it’s not just a wine label – it’s way more than that, and it’s got so much more than that behind it. It’s just really cool to say, my family’s been doing this for so long, and it’s bigger than just a bottle of wine.”





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From left Mike, Mat, Chris, Ivan, Paul, Ed and Belinda Donaldson.

The wine family of Pegasus Bay SOPHIE PREECE The year Edward Donaldson was born, his parents planted one of the South Island’s first vineyards, with a “fruit salad bowl of varieties” in Halswell. It was 1975, and for the next decade his father Ivan, a neurologist and associate professor, taught himself to make wine in

the garage of their Merivale home, with a young Ed often lured in to help. “It was quite painful to us,” he says of chores he and his three brothers found in the makeshift winery. “We wanted to be with our mates, but had to hold a hose instead.” Back then winemaking was purely a

hobby for Ivan, who was consulting fulltime at the hospital, lecturing at Canterbury University, writing a medical book, and running his own private practice in the evenings. But after 10 years of weekend winemaking, he and his wife Chris decided to push Canterbury cool climate viticulture



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further, buying a block of land in Waipara, named Pegasus Bay for the 50km coastline stretching from there down to Banks Peninsula. The four Donaldson boys helped take cuttings, and to plant the vineyard in 1986, with the first vintage made back in the garage in 1991. The following year Ed’s eldest brother Mat, newly minted from Roseworthy’s wine school, took the helm at the winery. Thirty years on from that winery launch, all four boys are involved in the business, with each slipping into their own niche. Ivan and Chris do less these days, with he the family’s vineyard liaison, working closely with the viticulturist, and she involved in the extensive gardens at Pegasus Bay, alongside Head Horticulturist Paula Kelly. Mat remains Winemaker, Michael is Local Sales Manager, youngest son Paul is the winery’s General Manager, Ed’s wife Belinda manages hospitality and Paul’s wife Rach looks after the sales of a Pegasus side project, Scoundrels and Rogues Craft Cider, made by Paul at the winery. Meanwhile Ed, who recalls a childhood talent for selling everything from fudge to family members’ possessions - “including

my brother’s rubber collection” - found a perfect fit as Marketing Manager. “That’s probably been key to a reasonably harmonious relationship,” he says. “We are all doing things we want to do.” There was “absolutely zero pressure” for any of them to get involved in the

“We decided a long time ago we didn’t want to get any bigger; we just wanted to keep making better wine.” Edward Donaldson business, he adds. “But there was always the opportunity.” And despite lamenting long garage or vineyard hours when they were younger, they all came to love being on the land, and part of the family business. Having seven family members working side by side – six of whom have been involved in one way or another for around 45 years – means they are “very much on

the same page as far as the direction of the business goes”, says Edward. “We decided a long time ago we didn’t want to get any bigger; we just wanted to keep making better wine.” With a 40-hectare home vineyard growing fruit for the Pegasus Bay label, another 20ha further inland growing for Main Divide, and other fruit bought for the latter label, the company crushes around 400 tonnes on average, although that varies from vintage to vintage. That’s big enough that they can all make a living off it, says Ed, “but not so big that we lose our focus on quality and what we want to do in the vineyard and the winery”. There can be a lack of diplomacy when working with family, allowing for forthright conversations that keep them true to the vision, he says. “Because you know each other so well you don’t hold back.” And they all have “skin in the game, so to speak”, he adds. “Being owners of the business as well, we are all incentivised to do the very best we can.” That can make it hard to switch off, but they are all “passionate” about the wine and land and business, he says, “and that it is something we hope will go on for generations”.


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A feeling of true legacy MAIKE VAN DER HEIDE When Marisco Vineyards Winemaker Emma Marris heads overseas with her family’s wine this year, she’ll take a “feeling of true legacy” with her, just as her father Brent did 30 years ago. Both follow in the wine pioneering footsteps of Brent’s late father John, whose 1973 visits to buy land for grapes in Marlborough are well-told. In just 10 days he found 2,900 acres of land for Montana to purchase under an alias, finally settling on 1,200 acres to be converted to vineyards. He was quickly sent back to buy more, securing a further 800-acre site for their future winery for only $180,000. Montana’s grapes famously kicked off Marlborough’s commercial wine industry. In 1978 John became one of their first contract growers with a crop of Muller Thürgau. He was their Operations Manager and Viticultural Advisor for 10 years and pioneered the region’s first irrigated vineyard.

Brent and Emma Marris

The rest, as they say, is history – the enormity of which hit Brent in the 1990s, the first time he left New Zealand shores with Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay from his own brand, Wither Hills. “It




dawned on me that we really do have something quite unique and special – wines that people not only want to try but adore,” says Brent, now Marisco Vineyards Proprietor and Chief Winemaker. During



those early travels he would reflect on how the world saw Marlborough, and his family business, which made a lasting impression. “A lot of the people I met overseas are people that became friends, with businesses that I’m still dealing with today, and that was 30 years ago.” In 2006 Brent established The Ned label, and in 2013 he bought Marlborough’s historic Leefield Station with wife and Marisco Vineyards co-owner Rosemary. Emma, 28, the eldest of their four daughters, who like Brent went to The University of Adelaide (formerly Roseworthy Agricultural College), joined Marisco Vineyards in 2017, while sister Georgia, 25, has become an Assistant Brand Manager for the company. The family legacy, says Brent, has been organic, grown from the earliest days of watching their Auckland-based daughters thrive in the Marlborough outdoors, even more so as Leefield Station was planted. Those idyllic scenes shaped their way forward: “Not only with the land and what we were creating around it with the business, but also with the girls really truly, passionately loving it all and excited about the future.”

Brent and Rosemary consciously slowed all decision making, ensuring legacy was at the forefront. Discussions at the dinner table invariably turn to wine, says Brent. “When we sit down for dinner and open a bottle of wine, rest assured we’re still talking about work. And there’s something quite special about

“It dawned on me that we really do have something quite unique and special.” Brent Marris that as well. Sharing the day together is quite exciting... our children see and feel the family vision.” For Emma, who recently launched an eponymous wine label, early memories are of riding harvesters, tasting ferments, digging out Pinot tanks and riding bikes through the winery. Her interest in wine came early, seeping into school projects

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from science to design. A passion for art and science was perfectly captured by the wine industry, which “seemed like a really perfect fit”. She has worked more closely with Brent in recent years, particularly during harvest. While they “definitely have strong personalities”, their love of wine ultimately makes it fun. “There’s nothing more exciting than getting out into the vineyard and tasting the fruit or being in the winery and tasting ferments every day. Tasting ferments together has become a wonderfully treasured ritual for both of us through harvest, somewhat soothing yet productive.” As borders reopen, Emma is looking forward to heading back out to the marketplace to meet some of the people to whom her dad has presented new vintage wines over the past three decades, and may even remember her biking around the winery as a child. For Brent and Rosemary, their early decision to talk about legacy with their daughters has paid dividends as they watch them enjoy the world of wine, with pride. “It was a decision to back ourselves, to control our own destiny.”

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Women in Wine

The sensory science of Dr Wendy Parr NEIL HODGSON When I spoke to Dr Wendy Parr recently, she was enjoying wonderful late autumn weather on the limestone hills above Port Tarakohe in Golden Bay. The recently retired wine scientist lives at this piece of paradise with her husband, ecologist Philip Simpson, who she says has been a huge support and sounding board for her research. “We work incredibly well together and support one another as much as we possibly can. I think that’s the key for both of us being able to contribute to research in such different fields.” Over the past 20 years, Wendy developed a reputation as an outstanding researcher in her specialty area of sensory science and became a key member of a large Sauvignon Blanc multi-disciplinary and multiinstitutional project, established to identify the sensory and chemical components that make New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc unique. Her international wine research journey started when Wendy, who has an initial PhD in psychology, was working in the areas of memory and judgement, becoming increasingly interested in wine and wine tasting. She was intrigued by “what kind of memories do these people have to be able to taste a wine and say ‘chateau such and such from 1964’, or something similar”, and started thinking about the tasting process from a scientific point of view. She wanted to know what mental processes were being triggered, what was going on in the mind of the taster. With Philip, a highly respected botanist with a number of books published (he is considered the authority on tī kōuka, our native cabbage tree), she established a special one-hectare vineyard on these Golden Bay limestone hills in 1999, in a small project to make Chablis-like Chardonnay. At about the time Philip was publishing his first book through Canterbury University Press, Wendy was tiring of being an academic in Wellington, so decided to go to Lincoln University to learn how to be a winemaker and “do a little thesis on what this wine memory is all about”. After the first year of study, the university offered her a scholarship to continue to PhD level in wine science, giving her the opportunity to study, in depth, how people


Wendy Parr, right, with Dominique Valentin on a tasting trip down the Côte d’O

could remember smells and tastes and what mental processes were taking place when they tasted wines. When I first visited them about 18 years ago, Philip walked me around the vineyard, pointing out the micro-conditions being developed, from a small creek teeming with healthy organic life to the trials they were doing with clones and rootstocks on the tiny block. On a single hectare they had four varieties composed of many clones, using the site to put Philip’s ecology skills into practice and further develop Wendy’s sensory skills. “Having our own tiny research block helped us understand the impact the environment has on the flavours and structures of wine,” she says. Wendy has been part of several important international research teams, and a key question for her has always been, ‘how do people interpret flavour or structural components of wine?’ “This extends to the impact this has on a range of criteria and what we have to do differently as a wine producing nation to alter the subtle characters of a wine, without compromising our base flavour components that express a wine’s personality or identity,” she says. “This is a topical area currently for producers who make Sauvignon Blanc, with a focus on characters that could be easier to sell in emerging markets. “Having our own tiny vineyard let me explore some of these things in a real-world environment at home rather


than just as an academic.” After communicating with other international sensory scientists, psychologists and wine scientists, in 2001 Wendy received New Zealand Royal Society and INRA (French Research Institute) awards, allowing her to travel to Burgundy, where she and others found they had many ideas in common. They have been collaborating ever since, with Wendy travelling to France each year to spend time at Universities of Burgundy and Paris VIII. As a member of the government-funded Sauvignon Blanc research team, and later the national Pinot Noir research project, she has had the support of dozens of wineries in New Zealand, especially Marlborough, who have sent wines to France, Brazil, Chile, the United Kingdom, and Austria for her to use in her overseas research, teaching, and workshops. “This generous industry support continued throughout my other national and international research projects, including those investigating abstract aspects of wine such as perceived minerality, complexity, and quality.” While some of her science colleagues in France have spent time in New Zealand too, she has also participated in research projects in many parts of the world. “I was invited to talk in many countries including Austria, Chile, Brazil, Canada, China, Australia, and the UK.” Wendy says highlights of her international career include “an invited professorship at


University Paris VIII, an invited tasting, organised by University of Burgundy colleagues, at Domaine de la RomanéeConti in 2014, being invited in 2011 to join Chaire UNESCO en Culture et Traditions du Vin, based at the University of Burgundy, and having many opportunities to meet and share ideas with some of the world’s most acclaimed wine critics and wine scientists. I feel very privileged to have been offered these opportunities.” As she hangs up her research coat for the final time, Wendy is quick to acknowledge the help and expertise of others. “Without the support of these wonderful wine industry professionals, especially those in Marlborough who enthusiastically attended our tastings and shared their expertise with us, I and my research colleagues wouldn’t have been able to make the contribution to wine research that we have, and we certainly wouldn’t have had so much fun whilst doing it.” Professor David Heatherbell, now retired from Lincoln University, and Andy Frost, formerly of Pernod Ricard, were “great mentors”, with Andy also linking Wendy to Pernod Ricard’s Research Centre in Paris. She also thanks New Zealand Winegrowers

“Having our own tiny research block helped us understand the impact the environment has on the flavours and structures of wine.” Dr Wendy Parr

Wendy Parr and Philip Simpson in the Chatham Islands

Chief Executive Philip Gregan, and the industry body, “for helping fund my invited talk at the Institute of Masters of Wine in London in 2016, and for funding my initial research projects”. Then there are the wine writers and critics, including Jane Skilton, Emma Jenkins and Joelle Thompson in New Zealand, Phil Reedman in Adelaide, and Julia Harding and Sally Easton in the UK, Wendy adds. “And research and education colleagues at Lincoln University, Marlborough Research Centre, NMIT, and

Plant & Food Research in Marlborough, especially my wonderful collaborator Claire Grose.” Dr Wendy Parr - double-doctorate - is a thoughtful person who has made a difference to the wine industry in New Zealand and has contributed to significant international wine research, all from her little piece of paradise in Golden Bay. Her quiet wisdom will be missed by her research colleagues and winemakers alike, “but my love of wine will always be there”.





The Profile Larry McKenna JOELLE THOMSON Pinot Noir was bigger than Texas in the minds of Martinborough Vineyard’s founders when Larry McKenna arrived in 1985 to be the winemaker and 20% shareholder. It was one of the first four wineries in what was a fledgling wine region, while Larry’s only exposure to Pinot Noir production was during his tenure at Delegat, where he produced it for another winery. Skip forward 37 years and Larry has forged a reputation as one of this country’s top tier Pinot Noir winemakers, and has founded and sold his own winery - The Escarpment - which he left at the end of April. So, how did a South Australian born and raised on the heady taste of Shiraz find himself in a remote, rural cool climate wine region producing Pinot Noir? The answers lie in his heart; he came to New Zealand in 1980 in pursuit of a Kiwi girlfriend, Sue, who became his wife. Larry’s first job in wine came the same year, when an old school friend and fellow winemaker, John Hancock, offered him a place at Delegat. The two of them attended Roseworthy Agricultural College together - John to study winemaking and Larry to study agriculture, hoping to work in dryland agriculture centred around livestock. Instead, the best opportunity that presented itself was making wine in New Zealand. “I really just came here chasing Sue and thought I’d work here for a vintage then drag her home to Australia. But then I worked that year and stayed. I’ve never looked back.” In 1985 Larry was drawn to Martinborough Pinot Noir, attracted to the idea of starting something at ground level. “And I’ve never really been a Cabernet Sauvignon person, so Pinot Noir made a lot of sense to me.” The Martinborough village was pretty barren when he arrived, with no restaurants, only two takeaways and two pubs. But the region itself was appealing. It’s in the rain shadow of the Remutaka Range, with a climate cooler than South Australia, but with similarly low rainfall and drought, and


Larry McKenna

relatively close to the coast. These factors resonated with Larry when the Milne brothers invited him to join them in the early days of Martinborough Vineyards. “The Milne brothers were Derek, a soil scientist with the DSIR, and his younger brother Duncan, who was a dynamic person and ran the business. Both were very influenced by St Helena and Danny Schuster in Canterbury, and I would credit Derek as the one who recognised that the Martinborough district could be good for Pinot Noir.” There was also very little wine made in New Zealand from Vitis vinifera grape varieties at the time, so it was exciting to be able to produce purely vinifera wines.


The grapes planted in the early days of Martinborough Vineyards included Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Gewürztraminer and Riesling, but Pinot was deemed to be the most promising from the start. “We wanted Pinot Noir to be our hero, so it got every priority and it was very successful right off the bat. The other one that was really exciting to me was the Gewürztraminer; it was very powerfully flavoured, as was the Chardonnay... I could never get my head around Sauvignon, so we were never really very successful with it.” The turning point for Larry’s personal winemaking approach to Pinot Noir came in 1990 after a trip to France, where he worked vintage for such luminaries as


Domaine Dujac, D’Larlot and Aubert Villain’s property in Buzeron. “The other thing that helped was that Gary Farr (a fellow Australian winemaker) was at Dujac at the same time so we got to do the vintage together and we’ve been very good friends ever since.” When he returned home, Larry started using whole bunch fermentation, extended fermentations and pre-ferment maceration as tools in his approach to Pinot Noir. He also went to Oregon for a Pinot Noir Workshop and celebration; a visit that created a pivotal change in his thinking. Wild yeast fermentations, whole bunch ferments and time in tank were the key attributes that gave his wines their early stylistic point of difference. “A lot of people said that the use of whole bunch created wines that were too herbal, too green and too tannic, and we learnt how to handle its use more delicately. The flavours from whole bunch are controversial. It’s a bit of a dichotomy. You’re either in or you’re out. We’re always in at 50% or more to express its character.” Larry left Martinborough Vineyards in 1999 and began planting grapes nine kilometres west of the village in the windswept, dramatically beautiful Te Muna

valley. The soil types are the same as in and around Martinborough village, but Te Muna is geographically distinct with higher winds and cooler nights – extremely advantageous to the growing number of wineries and vineyards there. These include Big Sky, Butterworth, Craggy Range, Equilibrium and Te Hera, as well as other smaller producers such as Te Muna Valley Wines, owned by Colin Caruthers QC and journalist Deborah Coddington. When Larry and Sue founded The Escarpment Vineyard with an Australianbased couple, the aim was to continue what Larry had learnt at Martinborough Vineyards. He wanted to delve into high

density plantings and expand on what he’d seen in Burgundy. When his marriage dissolved and the other partners needed their money back, The Escarpment Vineyard was sold to South Australian winery Torbreck in 2019. Since then, he has remained as General Manager, overseeing the construction of a large new winery building. Leaving now, after more than two decades with the winery, Larry will have a break in Australia before he resumes a new role looking after a small vineyard south of Martinborough village. He may have retired from The Escarpment but not, he insists, from wine.

Desert Island Wishlist

Wine: I always say it needs to be two wines – a Chardonnay and a Pinot Noir. Perfect balance. Easy to say Burgundy but the best of New Zealand is very close these days. Meal: Any seafood or game meat. Duck certainly is my favourite - either Peking duck from the Flower Drum, Melbourne or my own Wairarapa wild duck (or crayfish) risotto. Album: Two artists from my youth that keep showing up on the play list; guess they are very formative years. Sid Rumpo, First Offence, and Little Feat, particularly Sailing Shoes but all their albums are great. Book or Magazine: Of course, always difficult to answer but if I can cite an author rather than a book I totally enjoy Derek Hansen, particularly the four books in the “Lunch with” series.

Anna Young | Diploma in Oenology (Wine Science) Graduate







New Vintage One to watch – Sam Rouse SARAH ROWLEY ADAMS Sam Rouse is the first ever recipient of the Gourmet Traveller Wine Young New Zealand Winemaker of the Year award, open to those under 35. “This award was a real surprise for me. It was so incredible to be acknowledged for doing what you love,” says the Assistant Winemaker at Dry River Wines in Martinborough. Sam grew up in Waikanae and became set on joining the wine industry when his high school career advisor suggested viticulture. “From then I couldn’t get the idea out of my head.”

“We are stewards of our land at Dry River, and we do our absolute best to treat it right. We are trying to make the best wine we possibly can and a huge part of that comes from being great farmers.” Sam Rouse Determined to have a degree first, he studied biochemistry at Otago University, before enrolling in a postgraduate viticulture and oenology programme at the University of Auckland. As soon as he started the course, based on Waiheke Island, he was “hooked”. Sam kickstarted his winemaking career at Villa Maria in Auckland, then worked his first vintage overseas at Domaine BottGeyl in Alsace. He had applied for a job at Dry River Wines early on in his career, but missed out on the role, “so I kept learning and travelling”. That led him to a number of overseas vintages - Domaine Francois Villard in Saint-Michel-sur-Rhône and


Sam Rouse

Domaine Stephane Ogier in Ampuis. In 2017 he took up a once-in-a-lifetime offer to do a vintage at Napa’s Screaming Eagle, which he describes as an “unforgettable and formative learning experience”. When the assistant winemaker role came up at Dry River Wines in 2018, Sam applied again. “I’ve always been inspired by Dry River Wines and its prestige,” he says, noting it was one of few wineries he would have moved home for. Chief Winemaker Wilco Lam remembered him and hired him right away, and he joined a tight-knit team of six, just a short drive from friends and family on the Kāpiti Coast. Dry River is organically farmed and practices low-intervention winemaking to produce wines that capture each vintage, says Sam. “We are stewards of our land at Dry River, and we do our absolute best to treat it right. We are trying to make the best wine we possibly can and a huge part of that comes from being great farmers.” In 2021, Sam launched his own label,


Samuel Mark Wines. His first release, 2020 Bloom, an aromatic blend of Riesling, Pinot Gris and Gewürztraminer, has sold out. The wine is a collaborative brand designed to inspire other winemakers in the region, and the first one was a collaboration with Wilco. The brand reflects Sam’s love of making and talking about wine with others. “We are here for the love of fermented grape juice and it’s exciting.” The next vintage of Bloom “is looking good” and will be available early next year. He has more plans in store: “I want to take this brand down a different path, but people will have to wait and see what that will be.” Gourmet Traveller Awards Panel Chair Jane Skilton MW wrote about Sam: “with great overseas experience to draw on and an ongoing thirst for learning and evolving his craft, Rouse is showing an intent to create quality wines that respect their Martinborough origin. He has thoroughly deserved this award and I will be following Rouse’s future career with interest.”

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Bob’s blog

Mr Grumpy Keep it clean

Use of the word “clean” in wine promotion has come under fire in the United States. The US Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) has now ruled the term “clean” is prohibited if it suggests that a wine has health benefits, or that health risks are reduced. A winery cannot claim that their wine is “clean and healthy”. I agree with that ruling from an organisation that doesn’t always get it right. They once prohibited the importation of Château Mouton Rothschild into the US because it had a tasteful reclining nude on the label. “Clean”, they ruled, can be used if it describes how a wine tastes, for example, “a clean, crisp Riesling”. Clean is such a bland, insipid and, when it is used to describe wine, vague word that it should be banned outright. It also implies that any wine not described as “clean” must be dirty. That is only partly true.

Smell rehabilitation

My daily routine starts at around 8am with a wine tasting. Most days I taste a maximum of 24 wines, starting in the morning when I am at my freshest best. That routine may soon be disrupted in the likely event that I will contract Covid-19. Among the side effects that I can expect to suffer is a total loss of my sense of smell. I am fully vaccinated and have had a booster shot which should mitigate or even avoid the severity of the virus, but in my business even a slight reduction in my sense of smell (known as anosmia) would be a game-changer. In an effort to understand more about what would hopefully be a temporary condition, I searched the internet and found an article published by The Drinks Business, revealing that help may be at hand. The Portuguese wine group, Sogrape, has teamed up with the University of Aveiro to produce a sensory kit that they hope will help to rehabilitate people who have lost


American oak barrels are a good source of vanilla-like aromas.

their sense of smell due to olfactory diseases like Covid-19. The 100% plant-based kit, called Top COVID, contains raw Portuguese materials including rosemary powder, tangerine peel, pomace powders from local Baga and Touriga Nacional grapes, aniseeds, ginger powder, oregano leaves, and more. Miguel Pessanha, board member and oenologist at Sogrape, told Drinks Business that “it’s not just wine fans and those who work in the wine industry such as sommeliers who may feel the kit’s benefits. Other professions such as chefs and perfumers could find it a godsend too”. It is thought that the kit may be commercialised in the future, perhaps with the addition of aromas more familiar to those in target markets. The New Zealand kit, for example, might be more effective with Marmite, feijoa and kiwifruit. During my search I also discovered an article in Drinks Business which reported that scientists had identified the world’s most universally loved smell. Researchers from the Karolinska Institute in Sweden and the University of Oxford had exposed


235 people from nine different cultures to 10 scents “deliberately chosen to represent all odours found in the world”. The obvious question is, how can 10 scents possibly represent all odours found in the world?

The 10 scents in order of preference were: 1. Vanilla 2. Peaches 3. Lavender 4. Cloves 5. Rose 6. Mushrooms 7. Sweaty goats (hands up anyone who has smelt a sweaty goat) 8. Green peppers 9. Pungent garlic/decaying fish 10. Sweaty feet Most of the chosen scents can be found in wine. American oak barrels, for example, are a good source of vanilla-like aromas. Perhaps it should all be included in the Top COVID kit?


We are delighted to bring to the market this Central Otago award-winning Pinot Noir winery and vineyard “Grasshopper Rock”, this is one of the World’s southernmost vineyards. Grasshopper Rock takes its name from an endangered grasshopper, Sigaus childi, found near the vineyard. Grasshopper Rock is well known in the high-end market, a premium brand built by wine lovers for wine lovers with over 20 years of Pinot Noir dedication. A fantastic history has built this brand into a national and international wine label. This exceptional Pinot Noir is included in the “Fine Wines of New Zealand” family. Online sales direct to consumers continue to increase alongside major trade partners in New Zealand, Australia, UK as well as Canada, and Hong Kong. Covering 10.49 hectares with 7.8 hectares of vines, the vineyard has been in operation since 2003 with the first vintage produced in 2006. Committed solely to Pinot Noir production this vineyard stands out due to the extremely consistent high-quality grapes from vines established on free draining soils alongside high sunshine hours and cool night time temperatures. This opportunity would suit someone who is passionate about Central Otago Pinot Noir as an add on to an existing winery/vineyard or an owner operator/investor looking to develop their passion and continue taking this wine to the world. Please call Geoff or Greg for a confidential discussion. You will be required to complete a confidentiality agreement in the first instance.

Price - $4,480,000 (inc stock) Geoff Pridham 027 232 1516 Greg Dunn 027 293 0377 Licensed REAA 2008 |


Postcard Toby Buck writes home from Amsterdam

Roadside stall selling fruit and preserves in Bolgheri, Tuscany

It’s been a weird couple of years in Europe. All quiet for a long minute then, suddenly, all back on. Back in New Zealand in March 2020 I’d been picking the last of the Cabernet fruit in Hawke’s Bay with mum and dad and nephews and nieces; doing home delivery wine runs to Te Mata Estate customers around Havelock and Hastings. It was a sunny and strange time, the end of a great vintage, with no traffic on the roads. Within the month though, through a temporary ‘air corridor’ in Singapore, I flew to Amsterdam where I’m now based. It’s been two cold winters since, with months of lockdown, and restaurants just now opening - finally and properly, it feels. They’re getting ready for the Dutch sun terraces here, big open outdoor bistros, which are super popular. People are out, tourists are back, and a lot of Pinot Grigio is getting enjoyed. Initially, with so much closed here, some of my work was on pause too. At the same time, I was also keen to learn everything I could in Europe, while I had the chance. At times you couldn’t fly, but a lot of people were driving across borders. Through industry contacts I got to Antinori and Ornellaia in Italy for tastings and tours. On a trip with friends, a vineyard at Elba caught my interest - in particular, their


reintroduction of the heritage vine Aleatico to impossibly dry soils. I also got up to Piedmont to see New Zealand winemaker Jeff Chilcott at Marchesi di Gresy. He’s their Kiwi-in-residence, and one of my favourite explainers of wine. The whites he made too, and even a Merlot, were a surprise and spectacular. Occasionally people compare Te Mata Estate and Hawke’s Bay wines to Italian wines - that flick of fennel in the whites and liquorice in the reds. I’d especially wanted to visit Sassicaia though; in 2012 wine writer James Suckling compared Te Mata Estate Coleraine directly to their modern red blends. A cheap flight in September to Pisa in Italy, a €10 train down the coast, and I was able to pitch up and nosey around Super Tuscans on a rental bike; taking my time to learn about the region. Bolgheri felt like Hawke’s Bay to me. It smelt the same. Same as Bordeaux or Northern California. There’s some thread of coastal Cabernet that seems to run through all of them. Pine trees and baked dry gravel on dusty roads, the last-of-summer heat that rises from hills sloping down to a sparkling coast. The Sassicaia team was picking that week, and I had a good chance to ask a million questions about Cabernet blends, their DOCG, and their culture. It


was a real privilege. They said I was the third Kiwi to visit, and first to see their new harvest setup. I was also there to meet Priscilla Incisa della Rocchetta, the owner and chair of the Prima Familia Vinae (PFV). Antinori are a part, as are the Symingtons in Portugal. The PFVs 2022 focus is on sustainability and Sassicaia have been rewilding sections of marshland next to the winery. The area has lots of wild boar, which can do damage, and so there’s some pretty solid fences around. One person I talked to says they’ve even seen wolves again, more than once, loping downhill between the rows as they’ve been working in the vineyard. All this captures my imagination, a bit too easily I suspect, but Sassicaia’s wines really are incredible. Not too hot, and very, very, balanced, with this rich, saline, polished core of fruit. Pretty incredible. Understated, but delicious and super elegant. They were amused I’d turned up on a bicycle. It’s a few kilometres of rough dirt tracks, then busy small roads, from Cecina where I was staying, but I loved the adventure of getting there and the independence. After my last day visiting, I took time to slowly explore the smaller side roads around the winery, stopping at stalls


to buy fruit and relishes. One person gave me an extra apple when I ran out of cash. I think I may still be in love with them. Since December, Europe’s slowly started to open up even more. I got to London for work tastings, a Kiwi Christmas gettogether at The Laundry in Brixton, and helped move boxes, price wine, and work the stand at the New Zealand Wine Cellars outdoor sale. Now, in 2022, even bigger tastings are open. There’s been some concern with event holders about striking the right balance between safe distancing, and brands wanting a strong turnout, but I’ve found people engaged and keen to talk about New Zealand wine. I’ve just got back from a tasting in Barcelona that was 3,300 people and unmasked, though many people still did wear them. With French harvest volumes down, and the quality so high of New Zealand wine right now, our product is really being greeted with more enthusiasm than ever. There’s demand, despite the freight costs. I have a map of New Zealand on my phone, with a pin in Hawke’s Bay, since I’m constantly having to show people where it is I’m talking about. “This is New Zealand,” I

The New Zealand Pavillion of the World Expo in Dubai. Photo Nick Grobler

say. “Down below are penguins. Northwest are Australians.” So, despite all the madness and challenges of lockdown, I’ve been really lucky. It’s been an odd experience, but an adventure too. I usually don’t share photos of travel on the gram since I get too self-conscious, especially with the lockdown continuing back home. But I’ve loved having a minute to follow my own curiosity and restlessness, wherever it takes me. It’s all been useful experience. It’s Wednesday morning here in Amsterdam. The local cafès are putting their metal chairs and tables out onto the

pavement. They’ll be full by midday, then have a lull, then pick up again into the evening. Friday and Saturday will be even bigger. Despite headlines, and there still being things to worry about, there’s also a lot of people here just happy to be out of the house. Everyone’s still keen to connect, share stories, and enjoy good wine while the sun shines. Best regards from here, TB Toby is Te Mata’s Amsterdam-based Sales and Marketing Manager


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Fugitive co-founders Nadine Worley and Logie Mackenzie

Point of View

Is it time to re-think the 750ml glass bottle? NADINE WORLEY When I started tutoring at Nelson Marlborough Institute of Technology, after many years of winemaking in Marlborough, one of my first classes was to teach the environmental impact of wine to third year winemaking and viticulture students, as part of their sustainability paper. I started researching, thinking “oh I know what I need to teach - I have been filling out those SWNZ (Sustainable Winegrowing New Zealand) report cards for years. It’s all about minimising winery electricity and diesel in the vineyard”. But the more I researched

and read up, the more I kept seeing the same thing - by far the biggest contributor to a wine’s carbon footprint is the glass bottle. I discovered the best way to assess the environmental impact of any product is to do what is called a Life Cycle Assessment (LCA), which takes into account all stages of a product, from growing and production, to transport and end use. All these LCA studies from around the globe showed 40% to 60% of wine’s carbon footprint was in the glass bottle, and even more if transport is included All this information was a bit of a shock;

how could I have not known this and why was the industry largely not talking about it? This was a few years ago, and since then there has been much more discussion around alternatives and the excessive weight of some glass bottles, mostly thanks to Jancis Robinson, MW, and Richard Smart. But it still felt like a non-issue in the New Zealand wine industry. Almost all wine is packaged in the same way - a 750ml single use glass bottle with a rectangular (mostly) white wine label. This is wonderfully simple and works



Reading the magazine online has never been easier.


perfectly if the wine is going to be shipped around the world and cellared for 20 years. But we know this is not how most wine is consumed. Whether we like it or not, much of New Zealand’s wine is now considered a fast-moving consumer good (thank you supermarkets). And depending on which study you read, 70% to 90% of wine is consumed within one or two weeks of purchase. So why are we still packaging all wine like it is first growth Bordeaux? We all love the ease and tradition of the glass wine bottle. Its invention revolutionised the wine industry – it allowed Champagne to maintain its fizz and for wine to be sent around the world. But that was 400 years ago, and wine is essentially still packaged the same way. Meanwhile, the way people drink, technology, and our environmental consciousness has changed. Is it time we rethink the single use 750ml glass bottle? The quality and technology of alternative packaging options like aluminium cans, Tetra pack, bag in box and kegs is continuing to improve. Such types of packaging offer customers more options in volume and, not surprisingly, their carbon footprint is significantly less than single use glass bottles. As an example, the carbon footprint of wine

packaged in a 500 gram glass bottle is about 1.2 kgCO2e/L, compared to a two-litre bagin-box at 0.66 kgCO2e/L or 0.54 kgCO2e/L for a 20L stainless keg reused 50 times. “But glass bottles are recyclable”, I hear you say, “and many of these alternatives are not”. True, the recyclability of some of the alternative packaging options still

“By far the biggest contributor to a wine’s carbon footprint is the glass bottle.” Nadine Worley needs improvement, especially in rural New Zealand. However, a 10% increase in recycled content in a new single use glass bottle only reduces the overall carbon footprint by 2%. All glass production (including recycled glass) uses a huge amount of energy and releases significant emissions from the melting process. Personally, I believe refillable options are an obvious choice; each time we refill or reuse anything we instantly halve its carbon footprint, whether that is a refillable keg

or glass bottle. Refillable options allow the wine industry to cut its carbon footprint while allowing consumers to keep the glass bottles they’re familiar with and the ability to purchase a volume that suits them. There have been successful refillable wine bottle trials around the world, most notably is reWINE, a project by the Catalan wine industry collecting, cleaning, and reusing glass bottles around the region. And the Californian government recently signed a law allowing consumers to bring their own wine bottles to be refilled at local tasting rooms. In New Zealand we have Green Bottle NZ offering the wine industry a glass bottle return service. Alternative and refillable packaging options will never suit all wines and situations and glass bottles will always have a place in the wine industry. But for many wines, especially those sold locally, it offers a true alternative that benefits customers and the environment. Nadine Worley is a lecturer at Nelson Marlborough Institute of Technology (NMIT) and co-founder of Fugitive Wines, New Zealand’s first organic wine brand using only alternative refillable packaging.

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Wine Weather

Greystone in North Canterbury

A long La Niña phase, with increased sea surface temperatures

JAMES MORRISON The Southern Oscillation is a bit like a stuck record these days. The La Niña phase has been with us since August 2020, with fewer westerlies, increased cloud for prolonged periods of time, high humidity, large rainfall events, long dry spells, and persistent northeast winds. All of these in abundance over the past two years, and the question now is whether the situation will change over winter or if we are in for more of the same for the rest of the year. A few months ago, many climate commentators were optimistic that this La Niña phase would weaken over winter 2022 and a neutral phase would dominate into spring and summer 2023. Now it seems that the brakes are being applied to that optimism and there are increasing rumours that this La Niña may continue into 2023. This is a long period of time to be stuck in one type of climate pattern. However, a look at the past 70 years reveals that this is


not a unique situation. Long La Niña phases have occurred in 1954 - 1956, 1973 - 1976, and 1998-2001. Therefore, the chances of another La Niña winter and spring are looking realistic. Combined with very warm sea temperatures around New Zealand, all the indicators are there for a mild winter. That doesn’t mean that we won’t see snow or the cold southerly outbreaks but, it is likely temperatures will recover quickly through early winter at least. Recording the weather: Over the past 10 to 15 years there has been an exponential rise in the use of online weather stations recording and uploading weather observations to the web, either for personal or professional use. The quality of many of these automated weather stations (AWS) has improved and with companies like all of the information recorded


on the vineyard is now at our fingertips. I have studied thousands of lines of data from my own weather stations, as well as those from the national climate database. For much of the 20th century the observations were taken manually by either meteorologists or volunteers. This process involved a trip out to the weather station in all types of weather to read and reset the thermometers and empty the rain gauges. A cold, rainy morning would occasionally lead to a thermometer flying out of the hand and breaking somewhere across the grass, or the bleary eyed observer may accidentally stand on the grass minimum thermometer! Airports are one of the most obvious locations for a local weather station but over the past 160 years they were often found at schools, hospitals and research centres, and some can still be found in local town parks and botanic gardens. All of these records were filled out into a monthly sheet called


a 301. The sheets were then sent in and our climate record was created. The past 40 years has seen a significant increase in the automation of weather observations. Many of the sites that required observations to be recorded manually have been closed. But, automatic weather stations that were once the domain of organisations like NIWA and MetService are now dotted across farms, vineyards and backyards all over the country. It is information from these sites that is now providing a valuable tool for managing the impacts of our weather from season to season. Outlook for April and May: Gisborne/Hawke’s Bay Arguably Gisborne and Hawke’s Bay have felt some of the biggest impacts of La Niña over summer. As winter arrives, sea temperatures remain well above average and this is likely to bring above average temperatures through until late winter. There may be a return to westerlies for a time and this will bring a few cold changes, but frosts are likely to be fewer over the first half of winter and chilling units may be below average. Rainfall is expected to fluctuate but remain close to average overall. Wairarapa Following the trend of its northern neighbours in the east, Wairarapa is likely to see above average temperatures through the first half of winter. The occasional southerly blast may bring some colder weather, but with warm seas, the temperature onshore is likely to recover quickly. Rainfall totals are likely to be close to normal, but there is still a chance of a heavy rain event. while there may be slightly fewer frosts than average, incoming high pressure systems should bring some chilly nights.

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Nelson Warm sea temperatures extend south onto the upper South Island, and Nelson will see above average temperatures continue through early winter. Rainfall totals are likely to be near average and will be driven by any low pressure systems that form in the Tasman Sea. If there is a shift to increased westerlies then Nelson may become drier than average. The number of frosts may be close to average. Marlborough/North Canterbury The influence of the humid northeast flow is diminished along the east coast of the South Island. With more settled conditions expected, temperatures are likely to be a little above or close to average. This may be in part due to night time minimums being around average and the increased chance of the number of frosts being about normal for June and July. Rainfall totals may vary and while cold southerly outbreaks will bring some rain, dry periods may continue right through until spring. Rainfall is likely to be near or a little below average, especially inland. Central Otago It is unclear whether we will see an increase in cold southerly outbreaks over the winter. With high pressure suppressing the westerlies in the Southern Ocean, it is likely that the traditional southerly blast will be less frequent. With a milder northerly flow temperatures are likely to remain above average. I would still expect plenty of frosty nights through winter. Rainfall totals are expected to near or even a little below average through June and July. James Morrison runs Weatherstation Frost Forecasting Ltd –

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Dr Piotr Trebicki discusses his study on Australian native vectors of Xylella fastidiosa.

Biosecurity Research Update Sharing learnings across the Tasman

SOPHIE BADLAND Recently, I was lucky enough to be able to attend the Plant Biosecurity Research Symposium in Adelaide, the wine capital of Australia. The Symposium was hosted by the Plant Biosecurity Research Initiative (PBRI), a collaboration between Australian primary sector research and development groups, industry organisations and government. New Zealand has a similar collaboration known as B3 (Better Border Biosecurity), which includes Crown Research Institutes, universities, government departments, the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI), Department of Conservation (DOC), and some primary sector organisations. B3 has a memorandum of understanding with PBRI, so there were several New Zealand based researchers also presenting at the symposium. As an added bonus, the symposium was held at the National Wine Centre. The centre was built in 2001 and designed to be a showpiece for all things Australian wine. Situated on the corner of Botanical Park in central Adelaide, it has its own vineyard on site and has won many architectural awards for the use of natural light, metal and wood. Visitors can do a guided tour taking them through the history, culture and science behind Australian wine, culminating in a visit to the largest wine tasting room in Australia, which showcases 120 different


wines from 55 of Australia’s wine regions, dispensed automatically from Enomatic servers. The centre also has a huge cellar storing wine for online sales, the Wined Bar and Café, and the conference rooms where we were based for the duration of the symposium. The offices attached to the centre include the Wine Australia Head Office, and VineHealth Australia, which is the industry biosecurity authority for South Australia. This provided a great opportunity to meet with VineHealth CEO Inca Lee, and Wine Australia’s Biosecurity Programme Manager, Craig Elliott, in person. Both have a wealth of experience and involvement in wine industry biosecurity activity and there is plenty to learn from the Australian experiences with the likes of phylloxera and fruit flies, managing on-vineyard biosecurity processes and preparing for future incursions. Throughout the symposium there were a range of presentations covering themes of preparedness, diagnostics, surveillance, sustainable management and technology. The following summaries cover some of the highlights and most relevant presentations from a wine industry perspective. Treasury Wine Estates: Biosecurity Insights from the Vineyard Ben Harris from Treasury Wine Estates


(TWE) was the opening keynote speaker and outlined why biosecurity is taken so seriously by their business. They have several heritage vineyards, with vines still on their own roots – phylloxera is therefore a huge threat to these vines, some of which are used for propagation programmes trying to improve resilience. Sustainability is a core value; the less use of pesticides that needs to occur the better. It’s also important to protect the wine communities that form around their vineyards and rely on them for a living, as well as those businesses further down the supply chain. TWE are focused on improving biosecurity awareness and education amongst their staff, monitoring people and equipment movements and developing best practice standards. Current projects include a biosecurity online training induction module, rootstock trials, and they recently completed a phylloxera outbreak simulation for senior leaders across the business, to assist with response planning and gap analysis. Native Insect Vectors of Xylella fastidiosa Dr Piotr Trebicki from Agriculture Victoria has been looking at potential native vectors of the exotic pathogenic bacterium Xylella fastidiosa, responsible for Pierce’s disease of grapevines and several other diseases in different host plants. A similar project


is underway in New Zealand via Plant & Food Research. The Australian project aims to identify the critical times of year when vector populations peak (and hence rapid spread of the pathogen could likely occur), examine their biology and feeding behaviour, movements and range – all key information to ensure appropriate vector control actions can be taken if an outbreak of Xyllela was to occur. So far, the project has found Bathyllus albicintus to be the most likely Australian vector candidate, the meadow spittlebug Philaenus spumarius not having yet arrived in Australia (as it has in New Zealand). Potential Control and Management Options for Xyllela fastidiosa Continuing with the Xylella preparedness theme, Dr Gavin Hunter from CSIRO presented the findings of a review of international literature, done to identify the most suitable existing control and management options likely to be applicable to Xyllela in the Australian context. The recommendations fall under three broad categories: farming practices, chemical control, and biological control, although biological control options are still very

limited. The findings will be used to update Xylella preparedness plans and have generated recommendations for future research. Diagnostic Preparedness for Xylella: In-field detection tools This Trans-Tasman collaborative project has been developing in-field detection capability for Xylella, which will eventually take the form of commercially available test kits that can be used by biosecurity field officers and perhaps agronomists. The tests will use LAMP and RPA assays and have now been broadly validated for use in an Australian setting. Grapevine Trunk Disease Management Dr Mark Sosnowski presented on current best practice and future opportunities for the management of trunk disease in vineyards, highlighting the development of diagnostic tests (qPCR, LAMP), exploration of clonal and rootstock susceptibility levels, and re-trunking/remedial surgery. Future opportunities include development of alternative, more sustainable wound protectants and the inclusion of grapevine

trunk disease prevention in grapevine nursery standards. Financial threat of BMSB to the Australian Wine Industry In a study funded by Wine Australia, Dr Hamish McKirdy assessed the financial threat of brown marmorated stink bug (BMSB) to winegrowers on the basis of yield loss, avoided foliar insecticide applications, and labour, machinery and monitoring costs. Using a bioeconomic model to simulate the spread through wine regions and resultant costs over a 30-year timeframe, he concluded that BMSB cumulative damage costs could be approximately $318 million over 30 years. Overall, the symposium highlighted that there is a huge amount of work being undertaken in the plant biosecurity field across New Zealand and Australia relevant to the wine industry, with many other excellent presentations also showing the value of working collaboratively to achieve better biosecurity outcomes. Sophie Badland is Biosecurity & Emergency Response Manager at New Zealand Winegrowers

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Advocacy on matters of vital importance to the industry

Larissa Trownson

NZW election year – how to get involved Later this year, all New Zealand Winegrowers members get to vote on the election of five Levy Class directors onto the New Zealand Winegrowers Incorporated (NZW) Board. The Board’s role is to govern and provide strategic direction to NZW, as your national industry body. As part of this, it directs the spending of your levy money – so it is important that you get involved. NZW members can stand for the Board, and vote on who makes it onto the Board – both are very important. What is this year’s NZW election for? The Board has 10 elected members who serve a four-year term: • Five directors are elected by members on the basis of one vote for each dollar of levy paid by that member (“Levy Class” directors). The terms of the current Levy Class directors end in October this year, so a new Levy Class election is needed. • The other five directors are elected by members on the basis of one vote per member (“Member Class” directors). The most recent vote for the Member Class directors took place in 2020, and their terms run until 2024. Two directors are also appointed by the elected Board and serve a two-year term. These appointments will take place after the next elections. Who may stand as a candidate? To be nominated as a candidate, a person must be appointed by any NZW member to exercise its voting rights (i.e, a Member Representative). In addition, they must not be disqualified under the Companies Act 1993 from being a director of a company or currently declared bankrupt. Nominations will be open from July to August. More information, including how to nominate a candidate, is still to come, but


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“It’s never too early to begin thinking about the election, and who you want to govern your national body. Get involved!” now is the time to start thinking and talking to your colleagues: • Who do you want to represent your industry’s interests? • Who is good at seeing the bigger industry picture, and asking perceptive questions? • How can we ensure the Board reflects the diversity of our membership? • Who do you know that you might want to nominate to stand? • Are you interested in standing yourself? What is the commitment required to be on the Board? The Board meets six times a year for around a day and each director is also expected to serve on two Board committees. The most important requirements of


candidates are that they care about the future of the industry and are prepared to contribute their skills, experience and perspectives. Directors are expected to work in an open-minded way with the other directors for the benefit of the whole industry, not their particular interests. What are the next steps? There is a lot of time until the election, which will take place in September. It will be run by, an independent election management services company which has run many of NZW’s previous elections. NZW will be putting out plenty of information about it in the second half of the year and keep you updated, but it’s never too early to begin thinking about the election, and who you want to govern your national body. Get involved!

If you would like any more information, feel free to contact the NZW Advocacy Team at advocacy@ The ‘Levy Class Directors Election 2022’ webpage on the NZW members website will also be regularly updated – just search “election”.


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Vintage 2022 Although vintage 2022 faced the twin challenges of Covid-19 and labour shortages, it was great to see abundant grapes, beautiful scenery and happy




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Nuts and bolts

Mark Daniel’s updates on machinery and technology

Technology targets agrichemical dangers The health of agricultural workers exposed to harmful airborne chemicals is under the spotlight, with one company introducing new technology to limit exposure and help meet the need for increased protection. A Massey University study found agricultural workers have the highest incidence of leukaemia of all New Zealand occupation groups, likely because of their exposure to chemicals. There are also reports of vineyard workers refusing to operate tractor sprayers due to potential health risks such as cancer and respiratory diseases, says Landlogic CEO Alan Cottington. “Companies have been raising their

concerns about the lack of protection for some time, but until now, there hasn’t been an effective option on the market. We are aware of four operators who refused to drive spray tractors as they were concerned about the health risks. It is not uncommon to drive down the road beside vineyards and farms, and smell the spray, and we are hearing reports from operators that they are finishing work to find their clothes smelling of chemicals.” The Canterbury-based company has introduced a new retro-fit cabin air filtration system to the market in a bid to increase worker safety. Manufactured by Netherlands-based Freshfilter, the cab

overpressure system is designed to meet strict European standards. In production since 2004, an independent laboratory analysis of the system confirmed it is more than 99.95% effective at protecting against harmful airborne contaminants, exceeding the current international standards for HEPA filters. Designed to be retrofitted to existing vehicles, at a cost of $7,000 to $9,000, the system uses patented airflow technology that offers protection from contaminants, including agrichemicals, asbestos and dust. This is achieved using a combination of positive cabin air pressure, alongside highgrade HEPA and charcoal filters delivering

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purified air into the cab and preventing contaminants from entering. A digital touch screen display provides the operator with real-time information on hydrocarbon, contamination and air pressure inside the cab, working with a text message system that alerts site managers if high levels are detected. Alan says that while there is a focus on reducing spray drift to protect the environment and the health of any neighbouring residents, “solutions to protect the spray operators have been minimal, until now”. Yealands Wines is the first company to adopt the system in New Zealand, with the Marlborough winery installing units on its fleet of 14 spray tractors. Vineyard Manager Dave Collingwood says operator safety is paramount. “As far as we are concerned, we want to be sure our staff are working in a safe environment, so now we are able to promise all our operators that they will not spray without a Freshfilter system.” Dave says the alternative option was to purchase an entire fleet of new tractors, which can be cost-prohibitive. Alan notes the recently updated New Zealand NZS 8409:2021 standard sets out

New supplier delivering solutions New machinery supplier, Landlogic, specialises in sourcing product and technology solutions for the primary industries, while working alongside growers and producers to solve identified industry challenges. Chief Executive Alan Cottington says they are able to adapt to the varied demands of customers by sourcing products to suit niche operations, “rather than pushing them into an existing product line that doesn’t necessarily meet their unique needs”. This year, producers are struggling with the shortage of trained Recognised Seasonal Employer (RSE) scheme workers, who would traditionally arrive in autumn for pruning work in vineyards. To help this problem, Landlogic has imported the requirements for using agrichemicals in the workplace and recommends using well maintained filtered cab ventilation “if possible”, although there appears to be no specific requirements governing exposure levels. The onus is on the PIC (Person in Charge) who should check

several KMS Rinklin Pre-Pruners/Barrel Pruners that offer the opportunity to significantly reduce manual pruning requirements and existing worker fatigue. Comprehensive product testing is carried out when new ranges are being evaluated for New Zealand conditions, working closely with overseas suppliers to make any modifications, with the company currently testing a KMS Rinklin overspray recovery/recycling sprayer in Marlborough. “Feedback and development are extremely important to us,” says Alan. “I encourage producers and operators to get in touch with industry challenges and machinery needs that need solving.” with the vehicle supplier as to the levels of protection offered. “While many modern machinery cabs have good heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems, the filtration standards are often overlooked or misunderstood, potentially putting operators at risk of exposure.”

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Key Performance Indicators

JUN MAR 2022 2020

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

Total Value of Exports

Growth Markets


fob value










$674.3m 10% $443.1m 4% $346.0m 14% $134.0m 8% $35.4m 43% $36.5m 26% $20.4m 21% $14.8m 14%

NZWine KPIs_JPEG_PRINT_ongoing_2022.indd 3


Packaged Wine Export

Unpackaged Wine Export



154.2 mL


106.8 mL


Unpackaged white wine price

Packaged Price





Domestic Sales, Volume

41.7mL 14%

All figures are for the 12 months to the date specified, figures are in $NZD unless otherwise specified

19/05/22 2:53 PM


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

Cloudy Bay

Research Supplement

Information and updates on Bragato Research Institute research programmes.

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 & Food Research and Lincoln University (various) jointly funded by NZW and MBIE Exploring the chemical space in Vineyard Ecosystems (VE) Programme juices and wines University of Auckland (B Fedrizzi) Prevention of quercetin instability in bottled wine Villa Maria Wines Limited (O Powrie) The effect of winemaking decisions on polysaccharide content in wine University of Auckland (B Fedrizzi) Understanding green character in Pinot Noir wine Lincoln University (A Borssato) Exploring reductive aromas in Pinot Noir University of Auckland (B Fedrizzi) Precipitation of calcium tartrate and other compounds in wine University of Canterbury (K Morison) Effect of bentonite addition prior to cold soaking on Pinot Noir wine colour, tannin and aroma profile Lincoln University (B Tian)

Pests and Disease Improving remedial surgery practices for control of grapevine trunk disease to increase vineyard longevity Linnaeus (E van Zijll de Jong) Improving the outcomes of mealybug insecticide use in vineyards Plant & Food Research (V Bell)

Understanding the global market potential for the adoption of Regenerative Agriculture (RA) in New Zealand Beef and Lamb NZ The effect of herbicide, buffered herbicide and under-vine weeding on soil biological communities and other measures of soil health Bragato Research Institute (M Barry) Science review of cover-cropping in vineyards Bragato Research Institute (L Ibbotson)

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

Sustainability/Organics Vineyard Ecosystems Programme University of Auckland and Plant & Food Research (various) Jointly funded by NZW and MBIE

Evaluating ecologically sustainable ways to disrupt the Hemiandrus bilobatus - vine association Plant & Food Research (J Vereijssen) Development of an anaerobic chainelongation bioprocess for grape marc valorisation University of Auckland (S Yi)

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)





Digging a little deeper: Using potted vines to explore the role of roots in vine balance in Pinot noir Amber Parker, Romy Moukarzel, Olaf Schelezki, Brian Jordan, Mike Trought

Vineyard management seeks to optimise yield and quality. Unfortunately, current Pinot noir viticulture practices often fail to increase yield without compromising wine quality. This is often referred to as the ‘yield-quality seesaw’ where there is an apparent trade-off between the higher yields, resulting in lower concentrations of flavour and aroma compounds in fruit. Under stress conditions there may be the opposite response, resulting in decreased yield and increased flavour and aroma compounds. However, production needs to dig deeper than considering grape yield alone. While yield may be up and down, regulated in response to production targets, the balance between fruit, root, and shoot production also plays a key role in striking an optimum yield-quality equilibrium. This vine balance is essential to ensure yield and

The balance between fruit, root, and shoot production also plays a key role in striking an optimum yield-quality equilibrium. composition targets are not only met in the current season, but also provide sustainable optimum growth and development conditions in the seasons to follow. Integral to this is the role that sources (vine parts that produce or store carbohydrates) and sinks (vine parts that require carbohydrates) play in directing this balance.


Plants exhibit a functional equilibrium between vegetative and reproductive growth. This equilibrium reflects above and below ground conditions and may be influenced by soil fertility and moisture, leaf area and climate. Mike Trought (2017) developed the

concept of the theoretical balanced triangle framework between the three key grapevine sinks, the fruit, shoots, and roots (Figure 1a). The idea is that vines have a given capacity to fix carbohydrates from photosynthesis which results in growth of these sinks. Environmental conditions or management practices may tip this balance in favour of one or the other components and this can be illustrated in changes in the size and shape of the triangle. Site capacity is a key factor in determining the maximum size of the triangle with planting density, training systems, and soil properties modulating

Figure 1. The balance triangle and changes in dry matter partitioning in response to increased site capacity, over cropping and site fertility. Figures are from left to right (a) the influence of site on vine capacity; (b) the influence of vine yield on overwintering root and shoot reserves; (c) a fertile site, encouraging shoot growth; (d) an infertile site increasing root growth. 78



Figure 2. Potted vines in the glasshouse with different pot volumes (4 and 7.5 L) and different percentages of gravel (0 and 50%).

this (Figure 1a). For example, overcropping may result in reduced overwintering carbohydrate reserves (Figure 1b). Under conditions of low fertility vines may increasingly invest available carbohydrates into root growth at the expense of limited shoot growth with the attempt to satisfy the need for nutrients (Figure 1d). In contrast, fertile soil conditions result in available carbohydrates being allocated towards shoot growth (Figure 1c). Each scenario represents a different vine balance situation under similar capacities. Changing one source or sink often affects several components and once we understand the differences in sink growth and

balance, we need to understand the consequences for berry composition.

USING POTTED VINES TO EXPLORE THE ROLE OF ROOTS AS COMPETING SINKS In the vineyard it is challenging to quantify how root growth influences vine balance and source-sink relationships, and the subsequent consequences for the yield-quality relationship in grapevines. We also know that the soil properties and planting density influence the ability of roots to grow and occupy below-ground space and, in turn, influence overall vine size and fruit composition (Bramley et al. 2011, Trought and Bramley 2011). A potted vine system enables us to manipulate

root volume to investigate its role as competing sinks for photosynthates (and growth) with shoots and bunches. We can control vine size by choosing the pot volume and the above-ground canopy management (e.g, number of shoots we leave on the vine to grow). We can create differences in soil texture by altering the percentage of gravel in a pot to also generate a model system to investigate how this soil property may influence root size and the role of roots as competing sinks.


As part of the Pinot noir programme, vines were grown in 4litre and 7.5L




Leaf dry weight also increased with pot volume and in the absence of gravel. However, shoot dry weight also substantially increased with increased pot volume but was not affected by gravel.

Figure 3. Dry weight of root, shoot and leaves in response to changes in pot volume and soil texture measured at harvest.

pots (different potting mix volumes) in combination with soil textures of 0% gravel (potting mix only) and 50% gravel with potting mix (Figure 2). Lateral shoots were removed on vines retaining a main shoot and its leaves. We destructively harvested whole vines, separating and quantifying growth of the bunch, the shoots, and the roots. This approach enables us to investigate how the competing sinks of roots are influencing vine balance.


Our results of leaf, shoot and root dry matter measurements suggest that pot volume and soil texture influenced carbohydrate investment within the vines (Figure 3). The total dry matter of each plant part was greater with no gravel irrespective of pot volume, although the overall gains in dry weight were larger in the 4L pots, in response to no gravel. Importantly, the competing sinks of roots were visibly larger in response to increased pot volume and potting mix volume (no gravel) (Figure 4). Leaf dry weight also increased with pot volume and in the absence of gravel. However, shoot dry weight also substantially increased with increased pot volume but was not affected by gravel.


When our potting mix volume was greatly limited (4L 50% gravel) the greatest change in proportional allocation of carbohydrates was observed with greater root growth at the expense of shoot growth (Figure 5). The 7.5L pots with 50% gravel have approximately a similar potting volume to that of 4L 0% gravel and it was observed that proportions of partitioning were very similar as result. When soil volume increased at a given pot volume (e.g, 4L no gravel compared with 4L 50% gravel), a greater proportion of allocation went to the above-ground growth (Figure 5). Interestingly, despite varying vine capacities and allocation differences, yield remained unaffected (data not shown). This indicates that trade-offs in balance are driven by the ability of roots to grow (competing sinks) as a function of pot volume and soil texture and that vegetative growth is predominantly affected. In 4L 50% gravel the roots were the most limited for potential volume to grow; however, the yield was the same as other treatments. This indicates that retaining the same yield may have come at the expense of partitioning to other competing sinks. Due to the requirement to keep bunches fresh (not dried) for other chemical analyses, we have applied an appropriate conversion (30% fresh weight, Petrie et al. 2000) to


estimate the bunch dry weight. This enables a comparison of the total proportion of dry matter produced by the vines over the growing season. The greatest change in proportional allocation of carbohydrates still corresponded to root growth at the expense of shoot growth when potting mix volume was reduced. However, the dry weight fruit estimates indicated that at lower soil volumes (4L 0% gravel but especially 4L 50% gravel) there may be some preferential allocation to fruit at the expense of shoots (Figure 6) to maintain a minimum level of yield.


Our model system allows us to study one or two variables at a time, to tease out which aspects affect vine balance and the yield-quality seesaw. Our pot volumes represent a model system for planting density, prescribing a fixed area in which roots can grow. Therefore, we have a means to quantify how planting density influences root growth and vine balance. In our model system, the competing sink of roots led to no changes in yield in response to increased root volumes driven by pot volume or soil texture. As our vines were well watered and


Figure 4. Root mass differences in relation to potting mix volume (no gravel).

not severely root restricted, they may not have had severe stress which could elicit changes in yield. Field studies on different soil textures have indicated that stony soils in Marlborough resulted in increased yield (Trought et al. 2008) and earlier ripening (Trought and Bramley 2011), and the balance triangle may change as a result. Our estimated dry weights indicate some increased partitioning to fruit in the context of stony soils.

Figure 5. Proportional changes in vegetative growth dry matter partitioning in response to changes in pot volume and soil texture measured at harvest. NEW ZEALAND WINEGROWER I JUNE/JULY 2022 I



REFERENCES Bramley, R. G. V., Trought, M. C. T., and Praat, J. P. (2011). Vineyard variability in Marlborough, New Zealand: characterising variation in vineyard performance and options for the implementation of Precision Viticulture. Australian Journal of Grape and Wine Research 17, 83-89.

Figure 6. Proportional changes in dry matter partitioning in response to changes in pot volume and soil texture measured at harvest. Fruit dry weight estimated based on a 70% reduction of fresh weight.

However, the effects observed in the field are likely to comprise more than just a response to soil texture. The field study changes could be attributed to the role of other physiochemical and biological soil properties or simply that the field vines have greater capacity to carry higher yield over time. Overall, we observed an increase in vegetative growth in response to increased pot volume, and this may mean that vines could carry more yield in future years. It could also mean that vines become more vigorous. This is supported by field results where vines grown on less stony soils were larger (as assessed by cross-sectional trunk areas) and carried greater yields (Bramley et al. 2019). It also points to a practical interpretation of what could be ideal in the vineyard - a deep soil that allows for large root volume, but with precisely managed deficit irrigation to manage year to year balance between fluctuations in yield and vegetative growth.


The root of our problem is that, by trying to optimise the yield-quality seesaw and understand vine balance, we often forget to go below ground. Potted vine systems are a model system that presents the opportunity to explore these challenges. Since this trial has confirmed that we


Overall, we observed an increase in vegetative growth in response to increased pot volume, and this may mean that vines could carry more yield in future years. can successfully increase the size of competing sinks (roots), which leads to changes in our vine balance (overall increased vegetative growth, but no increase in yield) in this model system, we can now extend the investigation to explore potential effects on the grape composition in response to changing the yieldquality seesaw. This will allow us to better understand the limitations of tilting the yield-quality seesaw at different vineyard conditions in practice while maintaining a sustainable vine balance.

The Pinot noir programme is a multi-year partnership between New Zealand Winegrowers and the Ministry for Business, Innovation and Employment that is managed by the Bragato Research Institute. The programme aims to grow returns through disassociating quality from yield in New Zealand Pinot noir production.


Bramley, R. G. V., Ouzman, J., Trought, M. C. T., Neal, S. M., and Bennett, J. S. (2019). Spatiotemporal variability in vine vigour and yield in a Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc vineyard. Australian Journal of Grape and Wine Research 25, 430-438. Petrie, P.R., Trought, M.C.T., Trought, and Howell, S.G. (2000). Growth and dry matter partitioning in Pinot Noir (Vitis vinifera L.) in relation to leaf area and crop load. Australian Journal of Grape and Wine Research 6, 40-45. Trought, M. (2017). Grapevine triangle: an aid to understanding grapevine balance. Practical Vineyard & Winery June, 53-58. Trought, M. C. T., and Bramley, R. G. V. (2011). Vineyard variability in Marlborough, New Zealand: characterising spatial and temporal changes in fruit composition and juice quality in the vineyard. Australian Journal of Grape and Wine Research 17, 72-82. Trought, M. C. T., Dixon, R., Mills, T., Greven, M., Agnew, R., Mauk, J. L., and Praat, J. P. (2008). The impact of differences in soil texture within a vineyard on vine vigour, vine earliness and juice composition. Journal International des Sciences de la Vigne et du Vin 42, 67-72.



New guidance on managing grapevine trunk disease with remedial surgery Eline van Zijll de Jong (Linnaeus Ltd) and Mark Sosnowski (South Australian Research and Development Institute) As the average age of vineyards across New Zealand increases, growers and managers are increasingly recognising the effects of grapevine trunk disease on both vine productivity and longevity. One option that can potentially “renew” and extend the life of infected vines is remedial surgery. This procedure involves removing the trunk above the graft union and growing a new shoot to replace the old trunk. A current project in the Vineyard Ecosystems Programme seeks to provide best practice guidance on managing trunk disease with remedial surgery. In New Zealand, trunk disease is typically caused by fungal spores of eutypa dieback (ED) and botryosphaeria dieback (BD) infecting the vines through pruning wounds. Once vines are infected, these fungi kill the woody tissues as they move through the xylem vessels towards the rootstock. This progressively slows the movement of water and nutrients, causing stunted growth and death of shoots, a decrease in fruit yield and quality, and eventual vine death. The disease can be widespread in the vine trunk as evidenced by internal trunk staining and dead tissue, by the time external dieback symptoms are visible. While remedial surgery can extend the life of infected vines, it is dependent on the removal of infected wood and growth of watershoots (new shoots to re-establish a trunk). New findings from this Vineyard Ecosystems project shows that growers should make remedial surgery cuts as low as possible to remove infected

Dieback symptoms in cane-pruned vines (top) and spur-pruned vines (bottom)

wood. This is a change from previous best practice, based on Australian research, which advised growers to cut at least 20cm below internal trunk staining symptoms caused by the disease.


Three trials were established in 2019, in mature commercial vineyard blocks that ranged from 18 to 21 years of age. One trial is in an

organic block of Sauvignon Blanc in Marlborough, and two are located in conventional Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon blocks in Hawke’s Bay. In each block, remedial surgery is being performed in winter and spring over four years, and the health and productivity of the vines is being compared before and after treatment, and with untreated controls. Data is being collected on




Grapevine trunks with brown wood staining typical of trunk disease in trunk cross-sections (left) and extending down the trunk from the head (right).

watershoot recovery and crop yields, as well as progression of the disease and presence of trunk pathogens.


A major objective of the project was to develop recommendations on the height to perform remedial surgery cuts. The research behind this objective sought to identify which potential pathogens were present, their distribution in trunks, and how far in advance of internal staining they could be detected. Researchers have found that both ED and BD pathogens can move well in advanced of the staining. Using destructive sampling, the pathogens were not only shown to occur more than 20 cm ahead of the staining, but also to enter and infect


from multiple points, such as spur wounds or watershoot wounds.

the second growing season following remedial surgery.

These findings complement Australian research, which detected the pathogens up to 20cm in advance of the staining in oneyear-old canes, but this is the first comprehensive report of trunk disease pathogen progression in grapevine trunks.


While cutting as low as possible reduces the likelihood of pathogens remaining in the vine, intervening earlier when staining in the trunk is less severe improves vine recoveries. There were no differences recorded in vine recoveries between those cut in winter and spring. The long-term life of the remediated vines is yet to be determined, but there was a rapid recovery in yield by


Now in the third year of the project, data will continue to be collected from the trials to inform researchers’ understanding of the progression of disease in the trunks. This data will be used to develop a subsampling method for growers to assess the extent of internal trunk disease staining in vineyard blocks and improve the efficacy of remedial surgery. Ongoing evaluation of remedial surgery, with a particular focus on understanding the effect of internal trunk staining at the time of remedial surgery on pathogen transmission, and the recovery, health, and productivity of vines, will provide growers with more decisionmaking support on whether to rework or replant vineyard blocks.


AT A GLANCE Research into remedial surgery to combat grapevine trunk disease is ongoing, with observations below. The most recent findings will be presented at Grape Days. This current project, as part of the Vineyard Ecosystems Programme, aims to answer the following questions. When should I intervene? As early as possible, and don’t use the canopy as a measurement of the problem inside the vine. The current research suggests the extent of staining and pathogens spreading in the trunk cannot be estimated from symptoms in the canopy only. Where should I cut the vine? For remedial surgery to be successful, infected wood must be removed, but these cuts must be a sufficient distance from the graft for watershoot growth. Previous best practice guidance was 20cm below staining, which has now been amended to as low as possible. Researchers are finding that the fungi associated with botryosphaeria dieback and eutypa dieback can move ahead of internal staining in the trunk over distances greater than previously recorded. It can also enter the trunk via spur and watershoot wounds. What time of year is best for remedial surgery? In Australia, remedial surgery is usually carried out in winter. At the start of the Vineyard Ecosystems project, there were anecdotal reports that the watershoot recoveries may be variable in winter and higher in spring. After two growing seasons, so far, there are no significant differences in vine recovery between vines cut in winter or spring. Detection of the fungal pathogens associated with botryosphaeria dieback and eutypa dieback in advance of brown staining in grapevine trunks. The positions that tested positive are marked with a plus sign and not detected with a minus sign. The distance (mm) of the position from the margin of brown stained wood is indicated.

The most up-to-date information on this project will be provided at Grape Days in June, with a recording of this presentation available on to all New Zealand Winegrower members.

The Vineyard Ecosystems Programme is a multi-year partnership between New Zealand Winegrowers (NZW) and the Ministry for Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) that is managed through the Bragato Research Institute (BRI). The programme is intended to increase the long-term resilience and profitability of the New Zealand wine industry by developing new researchbased approaches to pest and disease management that will result in significant increases in vine longevity.

What’s the end impact on vine productivity? It’s still early days in the research but there have been no obvious signs of trunk disease in the reworked vines. Trunk disease, however, normally builds up progressively over time before any visual symptoms are apparent. While out of production for the first growing season following remedial surgery, by the second year - in vineyard blocks where the disease was widespread - the yield in the reworked vines was similar to the untreated control vines. The yield will continue to be monitored in the trials over the remaining years of the Vineyard Ecosystems project.




Berry shrivelling M. Carmo Vasconcelos (Extension Specialist Bragato Research Institute) In combination with biotic and abiotic stresses, physiological disorders significantly impact grape berry quality and vine productivity. Berry shrivel can reduce yields by 30% in poor years. Berries grow mostly at night, and they often lose weight during the day, particularly during times of water stress. Daylight berry shrinkage is a common occurrence before véraison. After véraison, berries can shrink as a result of severe drought. Four distinct shrivelling disorders have been identified in grapes: sunburn, late-season dehydration, bunch stem necrosis, and sugar accumulation disorder, also known as berry shrivelling. Some distinguishing visual symptoms, location in the bunch, condition of the rachis1, and berry composition help distinguish them (Figure 1).


Sunburn occurs only on berries exposed to direct sunlight; it is caused by high temperatures and ultraviolet rays, and the results vary depending on the severity of the

stress. The physical appearance of sunburnt berries depends on the cultivar and development stage. White and red grapes exposed before pigment build-up starts (véraison) acquire a brown discolouration that ranges in intensity. Sunburned véraison and early post-véraison red cultivars frequently have poor colour development. They may stay pink for the rest of the season. The wax covering the berry skin changes structure from crystalline to amorphous, giving post-véraison berries a shiny appearance. Berry cracking and complete shrivel may follow depending on the severity of the stress. Sunburn occurs when previously shaded berries, low in sunscreen compounds2, are suddenly exposed to the sun. Sunburn symptoms might become more severe after late-season leaf removal. It may be prevented by limiting the fruit’s exposure to direct sunlight, particularly in the afternoon when temperatures are higher. In areas prone to sunburn, bunch zone leaf removal should be less aggressive or avoided on the west

Figure 1. Diagnosing the type of berry shriveling disorder.



side of the canopy in north-south orientated rows. More aggressive leaf plucking should be concentrated on the east side of the canopy, receiving light in the morning when the temperatures are cooler. In east-west orientated rows, leaf removal should be restricted to the south-facing canopy (Southern Hemisphere).


Dehydration in the late season shrivels berries near the end of the ripening phase, resulting in fruit with lower turgor3 and weight but increased sugar content due to water loss. As a result, dimples appear in the shape of little polygonal indentations throughout the oncestretched skin over the flesh. The dimpled berry resembles a golf ball, which is the most distinctive characteristic of this type of shrivelling (Figure 4). The pedicel4, and bunch stem have no visible physical or pathological damage, which helps distinguish it from bunch stem necrosis. This problem is common in Syrah but also occurs in other varieties. Late season dehydration (LSD)


Figure 2. Pre-véraison symptoms of sunburn in Zweigelt (left) and Riesling (right). Photos by Karl Bauer

develops as a result of berry water depletion caused by transpiration and a xylem5 backflow to the vine that exceeds the berry’s water and solute import. LSD development is cultivar specific, and it is increased by hot and dry growing conditions.

followed by a reduced or complete cessation of assimilate transport to the berries. The effect on berry ripening is dependent on when necrotic lesions occur, and the altered berry composition has an impact on wine quality.

humid climate, soil with high water reserves, excessive irrigation, soil rich in potassium, excessive potassium fertilisation, young vines (superficial rooting in the horizon enriched with potassium), and limited rooting depth (temporary asphyxia).

LSD in Syrah is associated with the commencement of berry cell death, which occurs about 90 to 100 days after anthesis when the fruit’s fresh weight is at its peak, and sugar build-up inside the berry has slowed or plateaued.

The disorder starts with the appearance of dark patches of dead cells on the rachis (Figure 5, left) that then extend to form a continuous girdling band or ring, causing the berries supplied by that portion of the rachis to shrink and dry up. As a result, the berries are unable to develop and are often lighter due to shrivelling, have lower sugar, potassium, and anthocyanin levels, but higher organic acids, mainly tartrate and calcium levels, as well as a lower pH.

Cabernet Sauvignon and Gewürztraminer are particularly sensitive. At the level of the rootstock, the antagonism potassium/magnesium seems to have a significant role in the expression of BSN. In general, rootstocks that are efficient in potassium uptake assimilate magnesium poorly. Rootstocks with low magnesium uptake should be avoided.

Hypoxia (low oxygen) in the berry flesh (mesocarp) has been shown to contribute to the onset of cell death. High temperatures and insufficient irrigation have been demonstrated to aggravate the level of cell death and berry dehydration, which may be mitigated by shade. The affected berries have an organised decrease in cell viability, associated with a concentration of flavours, aromas, and total soluble solids (TSS). LSD enhances colour development in red wines but reduces the wine’s ageing potential. Wines prepared from LSDaffected grapes were shown to have cooked or dried fruit flavours and were more alcoholic and astringent.


Bunch stem necrosis (BSN)6, also known as stiellähme, desséchement de la rafle, or water berry, is characterised by rachis necrosis

The causes of this disorder remain elusive. It has been associated with low temperatures throughout the bloom period, excessive vine vigour, over-cropping, severe hedging, heavy or frequent rainfall (high humidity), calcium or magnesium deficiency, and excessive nitrogen supply. Nitrogen metabolism, and especially ammonium toxicity, seems to be implicated in BSN development. A possible source of ammonium may be the breakdown of amino acids to supply carbon for respiration during times of insufficient photosynthesis. Conditions favouring BSN include

Sprays with magnesium salts during véraison and soon after have been reported to lower BSN occurrence in Europe.


Sugar accumulation disorder, folletage, or traubenwelke, also known simply as berry shrivel (BS), is characterised by low turgor, flaccid berries, low berry weight, high acidity, low pH, low sugar concentration, and, for red cultivars, a low anthocyanin7 content. BS symptoms arise after véraison when the seeds are completely ripe. Hence, this physiological disorder does not hinder proper seed development. At the onset of véraison, sugars




Figure 3. Post-véraison sunburn on Cabernet Sauvignon. Left: delayed ripening with poor colour development. Centre: shiny exposed berries. Right: berry shrivelling. Photos by Markus Keller

begin to accumulate in the berries. In BS berries, sugar accumulation ceases a few days before symptoms appear on the fruit. The principal organic acids found in grape berries are malate and tartrate. BS has little or no influence on the final concentration of these acids. BS is distinct from bunch stem necrosis, which begins with necrotic patches on the rachis and pedicel8, and late-season dehydration, which is characterised by high sugar concentration. There are no symptoms pre-véraison. Recent research has shown that genes responsible for changes occurring at véraison and triggering the ripening process, which are the master regulators of ripening initiation in grape berries (known as switch genes), are down-regulated in BS berries as if the ripening signals are missed. It was also reported that various phytohormonal biosynthetic pathways (ABA, auxin, and cytokinin) are increased in BS berries following véraison, but ethylene and brassinosteroids are inhibited. It was hypothesised that the BS was caused by loss of function of the rachis phloem9 which stopped supplying assimilates to the berry. Although there is evidence for phloem degeneration in BS berries, recent research showed that cell death occurs first in the berry flesh and in cells around the seeds. It then expands outward as symptoms deteriorate and only after occurs


Figure 4. Late-season dehydration symptoms. Reproduced from Zhang and Hansen (2017)



Figure 5. Bunch stem necrosis symptoms. Left: necrotic lesions on rachis (Riedel, 2008). Centre: Symptoms on Lemberger (Rupp, n.d.). Right: Symptoms on Grüner Veltliner (photo by Karl Bauer)

ENDNOTES 1 The stem structure of a bunch 2 Shaded berries do not synthesise sufficient flavonols and xanthophylls to prevent sunburn 3 Turgor is the property that causes live plant tissue to be stiff. Fluid in a cell exerts pressure on the cell membrane, which pushes it towards the cell wall. Leaves and berries wilt due to a decrease of turgor, which is caused by the loss of water from plant cells.

Figure 6. Berry shrivel symptoms. Photos by Karl Bauer

in the rachis vascular system. The berries closest to the bunch tip are the first to be impacted and show the most severe symptoms. However, all berries on symptomatic bunches show delayed ripening. The Austrian variety Zweigelt is particularly susceptible to this disorder known as Zweigelt Krankheit (Zweigelt disease) in Austria. Symptoms of BS have been recorded in a number of varieties, including Pinot noir, Gamay, Cabernet Sauvignon, Grüner Veltliner,

4 Branch of the rachis that attaches to the berry

Sauvignon Blanc and Chasselas. Because the causes of BS are still unknown, there are no direct control measures. In high-risk situations, the effort must focus primarily on indirect control methods: avoid excessive vigour (soil management, fertilisation, choice of rootstock, leaf/fruit ratio balance), avoid over-cropping (balanced leaf/ fruit ratio), avoid excess water supply (irrigation management), and select less susceptible grape varieties in high-risk situations.

5 Vascular tissue that transports water and dissolved nutrients from the roots to the rest of the plant while also providing physical support 6 Injury which results in the premature death of cells or organs, appearing as dried brown tissue 7 Red/blue/purple pigment of red varieties 8 Short stem or stalk structure connecting the flower or berry to the rachis 9 The vascular tissue in charge of transport and distribution of the organic nutrients




FURTHER READING Further reading (Bonada, Sadras, Moran, et al., 2013; Bonada, Sadras, & Fuentes, 2013; Bondada, 2014; Bondada & Keller, 2012a; Bondada & Shutthanandan, 2012; Bondada & Keller, 2012b; Caravia et al., 2015; Chou et al., 2018; Christensen & Boggero, 1985; Crespo-Martínez et al., 2019; Deloire et al., 2021; Fang et al., 2011; Fuentes et al., 2010; Griesser et al., 2020; Hoff et al., 2021; Keller et al., 2016; Krasnow et al., 2010; Krasnow et al., 2009; Kührer, 2021; Laurent et al., 2021; Riedel, 2008; Rupp, n.d.; Savoi et al., 2019; Spring & Siegfried, 2007; Suklje et al., 2016; Tilbrook, 2010; Xiao, Liao, et al., 2018; Xiao, Rogiers, et al., 2018; Zenoni et al., 2020; Zhang & Hansen, 2017; Zufferey et al., 2015) Bonada, M., Sadras, V., Moran, M., & Fuentes, S. (2013). Elevated temperature and water stress accelerate mesocarp cell death and shrivelling, and decouple sensory traits in Shiraz berries. Irrigation Science, 31(6), 1317-1331. Bonada, M., Sadras, V. O., & Fuentes, S. (2013). Effect of elevated temperature on the onset and rate of mesocarp cell death in berries of Shiraz and Chardonnay and its relationship with berry shrivel. Australian Journal of Grape and Wine Research, 19(1), 87-94. Bondada, B. (2014). Structural and compositional characterization of suppression of uniform ripening in grapevine: a paradoxical ripening disorder of grape berries with no known causative clues. Journal of the American Society for Horticultural Science, 139(5), 567581. Bondada, B., & Keller, M. (2012a). Morphoanatomical symptomatology and osmotic behavior of grape berry shrivel. Journal of the American Society for Horticultural Science, 137(1), 20-30. Bondada, B., & Shutthanandan, J. (2012). Understanding differential responses of grapevine (Vitis


vinifera L.) leaf and fruit to water stress and recovery following re-watering. American Journal of Plant Sciences, 3(09), 1232.

Sauvignon grapes from Shanxi vineyards. Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture, 91(4), 749757.

Bondada, B. R., & Keller, M. (2012b). Not All Shrivels Are Created Equal--Morpho-Anatomical and Compositional Characteristics Differ among Different Shrivel Types That Develop during Ripening of Grape (Vitis vinifera L.) Berries. American Journal of Plant Sciences, 3, 879898.

Fuentes, S., Sullivan, W., Tilbrook, J., & Tyerman, S. (2010). A novel analysis of grapevine berry tissue demonstrates a variety/dependent correlation between tissue vitality and berry shrivel. Australian Journal of Grape and Wine Research, 16(2), 327-336.

Caravia, L., Collins, C., & Tyerman, S. (2015). Electrical impedance of S hiraz berries correlates with decreasing cell vitality during ripening. Australian Journal of Grape and Wine Research, 21(3), 430-438. Chou, H.-C., Šuklje, K., Antalick, G., Schmidtke, L. M., & Blackman, J. W. (2018). Late-season Shiraz berry dehydration that alters composition and sensory traits of wine. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, 66(29), 7750-7757. Christensen, L. P., & Boggero, J. D. (1985). A Study of Mineral Nutrition Relationships of Waterberry in Thompson Seedless. American Journal of Enology and Viticulture, 36(1), 57. content/36/1/57.abstract Crespo-Martínez, S., Sobczak, M., Różańska, E., Forneck, A., & Griesser, M. (2019). The role of the secondary phloem during the development of the grapevine Berry Shrivel ripening disorder. Micron, 116, 36-45. Deloire, A., Rogiers, S., Šuklje, K., Antalick, G., Zeyu, X., & Pellegrino, A. (2021). Grapevine berry shrivelling, water loss and cell death: an increasing challenge for growers in the context of climate change. IVES Technical Reviews vine and wine. Fang, Y., Meng, J., Zhang, A., Liu, J., Xu, T., Yu, W., Chen, S., Li, H., Zhang, Z., & Wang, H. (2011). Influence of shriveling on berry composition and antioxidant activity of Cabernet


Griesser, M., Savoi, S., Supapvanich, S., Dobrev, P., Vankova, R., & Forneck, A. (2020). Phytohormone profiles are strongly altered during induction and symptom development of the physiological ripening disorder berry shrivel in grapevine. Plant Molecular Biology, 103(1), 141-157. Hoff, R., Bondada, B., & Keller, M. (2021). Onset and progression of the berry shrivel ripening disorder in grapes. Australian Journal of Grape and Wine Research, 27(3), 280-289. Keller, M., Shrestha, P. M., Hall, G. E., Bondada, B. R., & Davenport, J. R. (2016). Arrested sugar accumulation and altered organic acid metabolism in grape berries affected by berry shrivel syndrome. American Journal of Enology and Viticulture, 67(4), 398-406. Krasnow, M., Matthews, M., Smith, R., Benz, J., Weber, E., & Shackel, K. (2010). Distinctive symptoms differentiate four common types of berry shrivel disorder in grape. California Agriculture, 64(3), 155159. Krasnow, M., Weis, N., Smith, R. J., Benz, M. J., Matthews, M., & Shackel, K. (2009). Inception, progression, and compositional consequences of a berry shrivel disorder. American Journal of Enology and Viticulture, 60(1), 24-34. Kührer, E. (2021, 8 Mar). Traubenwelke. Österreichischer Weinbauverband. Retrieved 12/04/2022 from

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