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24 R E GUL A R S

4 Editorial


Bio Security Threats

Tessa Nicholson


Regional Viewpoint

Paul Donaldson – Waipara

Since Psa devastated the kiwifruit industry, there have been many wondering if a similar event is on the horizon for the wine industry. What are the treats facing us and how do we prepare for them?


In Brief

News from around the country


Earthquake Lessons

The swarm of earthquakes that hit Marlborough earlier this year were a wake-up call not only for the region, but for all wine producers. There were common themes in the damage incurred and winery engineer Paul Gibbs says there are lessons to be learned.

66 Not On The Label


The Water Battle Lines are Drawn

Water will become one of the industry’s most valuable assets in the years ahead. Already the battle over who is allowed to take what, is looming in Hawke’s Bay. Mary Shanahan investigates.

44 Sommelier’s Corner

Cameron Douglas MS

48 Bob’s Blog

Bob Campbell MW

Legal Matters with Marija Batistich, Bell Gully

73 Calendar

Wine happenings in New Zealand

76 Research Supplement

The latest science and research projects funded by NZWinegrowers Cover Shot: Fromm Winery, Marlborough. Supplied by NZWinegrowers




SWNZ Benchmarking

Comparing yourself against other businesses is one of the best ways of determining if you are on the right track. SWNZ benchmarking for wineries and vineyards is allowing members of the wine industry to do just that.




E D I TO R Tessa Nicholson


CO R R E SP O N D E NTS Auckland: Joelle Thomson Gisborne: Christine Boyce Hawkes Bay: Mary Shanahan Nelson: Neil Hodson Canterbury: Jo Burzynska Central Otago: Max Marriott

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

C I R C U L AT I O N & SUBSCRIPTIONS Lorraine Rudelj Ph: 09 303 3527 Fax: 09 302 2969 New Zealand Winegrowers PO Box 90 276, Auckland Mail Centre, New Zealand

PUBLISHING & P R E - P R E SS Rural News Group PO Box 3855, Auckland 1140 Ph: 09 307 0399 Location: Top Floor, 29 Northcroft Street, Takapuna, Auckland 0622 Publisher: Brian Hight Managing Editor: Adam Fricker Production: Dave Ferguson, Rebecca Williams

Published by Rural News Group Ltd under authority of New Zealand Winegrowers (jointly representing Wine Institute of New Zealand Inc and New Zealand Grape Growers Council 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 or its constituent organisations. Published every second month. One free copy is mailed to every member of the Institute, the Council, the New Zealand Society of Viticulture & Oenology and the New Zealand Vine Improvement Group, and to such other persons or organisations as directed by the owners, with provision for additional copies and other recipients to be on a subscription basis.

ISSN 1174-5223

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t was the second largest Bragato confer- sharpshooter which decimated Californian ence held in the history of the event. vineyards, has made its way to the Cook Close to 600 people, including del- Islands. Given the high volume of traffic egates and trade, converged on Mar- between there and New Zealand, the chances lborough for a conference that looked back of it making its way to our shores are high. But there are others including the Spotat the past, in order to prepare for the future. If there was an over riding message to ted-winged Drosophilia, the Brown Marmcome out, it was no one can be complacent as orated Stink Bug, the European Grapevine the industry moves forward. From viruses to Moth and Vine Mealy Bug to name a few. The cost of an incursion would be in the wood diseases, chemical resistance to yield estimations, clones and rootstocks to under- millions of dollars, NZW CEO Philip Gregan vine management – the conference delved said. Any delay between discovering somedeep into what is important for growers. thing strange in your vineyard and notifying But the big one to emerge on the last day experts, means the cost rises exponentially. was the potential Whether the indusof a bio security No one can be complacent as the try could cope with threat. Researchsuch a financial industry moves forward. From viruses burden remains to ers are closely monitoring what to wood diseases, chemical resistance be seen. Eradication the biggest threats to yield estimations, clones and are and why. For rootstocks to undervine management. may seem like the the first time this answer – but as issue we take a New Zealand has look at the five big ones, what they are, what learned from other countries, that’s an easy they could do and most importantly what thing to talk about, not so easy to achieve. they look like. So if nothing else this month, please Having heard the consequences of Psa take time to look at the major risks to New on the kiwifruit industry, the fear of what an Zealand. Ensure your staff know what these unknown pest or disease could do to our wine pests look like and if you or them see anyindustry was palpable throughout the room. thing faintly resembling them – ensure that Vigilance is ever important when it comes to you get in touch with the powers that be, preventing such a disaster. Especially given whether that is MPI, NZWinegrowers or the the majority of threats could arrive in New Exotic Pest and Diseases Hotline. Zealand as a hitch hiker. In other words they On a completely different note, this could come in via aircraft holds, on ships, month we also take a look at the lessons shipping containers and imported cars to learned from the recent Marlborough earthmention just a few. quakes. While the damage was devastating The wine industry needs to be pro active for those wineries involved, it could have in preventing these threats. Hoping it won’t been far worse if the quake had been centred happen isn’t an option. As Peter Baines, the closer to Blenheim. A winery engineer who founder of Hands Across the Water said in visited the region shortly after the August his highly motivational speech, “Hope is not 16 event, says there were common themes a plan!” in the damage and there are lessons for all We are aware that the Glassy-winged wine regions to take from it. ■




he last 12 months have been a real turning point for the industry. The end result is a greater level of optimism than at Bragato a year ago. In the past year a strong sales performance combined with the smaller 2012 vintage has brought some much needed tension back into the supply demand balance. Grape prices have risen and profitability of growers has improved markedly – this is great news for the industry’s key supplier base. On the wine side there was something of a swing back to packaging product in New Zealand, while for bulk wine exporters there was a definite rise in value. The dollar also appears to be relenting against the US currency, this is very good news in one of our key growth markets. There is now a cautious optimism that pervades in the sector. This was reflected in the results from our recent Members’ Survey. 87% of respondents said they viewed the business outlook for the next 12 months as okay or better. Even the most negative group in this survey, our small wineries, still had an optimism rating of 79%. These scores reflect the dramatic change in industry confidence that the past year has brought. It is of course important we do not get ahead of ourselves, but we are much better to be pulling back on confidence than pulling out vines.

Our Members’ Survey also highlighted the value that growers and wineries place on the information that NZ Winegrowers provide to them. All groups were uniformly positive about the value of that information with 95% viewing the information provided as okay or better. This is a very strong pointer that information such as our grape price data, the vineyard

in place. There were lots of other changes as well – we downsized our Australian office, we refocused our London office in Europe and we opened a new office in Hong Kong. We are putting together a Primary Growth Partnership application and, in the next few weeks we are investing further in our Advocacy team when we open an office in Wellington for

However, we cannot rest on our laurels as the forces opposed to the responsible and enjoyable consumption of wine (and other products containing alcohol) are becoming ever more strident.

register, recent viticultural monitoring reports, the monthly export data are important tools in business decision makiing for growers and wineries. Less positively there was a clear ‘do better’ message for Sustainable Winegrowing from the Survey. There is clear support for sustainability, but there was some consistent and significant negative ratings around Sustainable Winegrowing New Zealand. In the year ahead we will address the issues of compliance, cost, and relevance to ensure this programme retains the support of the industry. The Members’ Survey was just one aspect of us doing business differently consequent to the new Strategic Plan we now have

the first time. One of the key initiatives last year was our involvement in the Cheers! Programme. Cheers is an initiative with brewers and distillers in New Zealand to promote better behaviours around the consumption of products involving alcohol. I believe the wine sector has always been an exemplar for social responsibility. The focus on quality before quantity, on wine and food matching, our commitment to hospitality all show the way forward for the wider New Zealand community in terms of social responsibility. However, we cannot rest on our laurels as the forces opposed to the responsible and enjoyable

consumption of wine (and other products containing alcohol) are becoming ever more strident about alcohol issues. Cheers is about individual and social responsibility, it is about really making a difference in that area of behaviour change. It is something we are deeply committed too. Our business is about places and people. Places such as Central Otago where I come from, Waipara, Nelson, Hawkes Bay or wherever. It is our places and our people that provide interest and nuance to New Zealand wine. Regional differences are an essential part of our industry and our people, the grape growers and winemakers who use their skills to export and celebrate those differences are an integral part of the New Zealand story. The people are our grapegrowers and winemakers who grow the grapes and craft the wine from each of these regions and sub regions to produce distinctive, high quality and sustainable wines. Our success in doing this – in producing wines that are unique and distinctive but at all times New Zealand – is the reason we have now grown exports to $1.2 billion per annum. It is the reason exports will continue to grow strongly in the future. Our people transform the potential of our land into the reality of the 2.5 billion glasses of New Zealand wine that are served around the world each year. ■





ate winter and early spring always puts on such a great display of seasonal variation. Suddenly, I’ve noticed that I’m not driving home in the dark. As the days are lengthening, the night time is shortening. Of course this is nothing new, and normally the opportunity this allows to squeeze in an extra hours pruning in a day is not really needed, even for those chasing their tails….. but this year is a bit different. I’ve just heard a report on the news that this is the warmest winter in New Zealand on record, with the average temperatures in August more akin to those of September in a normal year. North Canterbury, and the Waipara Valley within it, is certainly not out-of-step with the national temperature, and the large mix of varieties and reasonable chance of a spring frost here means you are always sensitive to an early bud burst. So it’s full steam ahead, as something green is always going to shoot out of the early bursting varieties, meaning sleepless nights approach for those that frost fight. Be it by windmachine, water, or chopper, there’s simply no other option than to pull an all-nighter when the temperature drops, but thank god for the warming power of a bottle of Pinot, particularly after 2am. Frost is just one of many battles the vigneron must face here. Another that seems to have been an all too repetitive occurrence, is that of consents, whether it’s water, land use, or a slew of other applicable resource

Another thing we anticipate here is the consents required to run a busiseasonal shift of varietal consumption. ness. There always seems to be the Maybe this is so subtle that when I arrival of letters sounding the say “we”, I really mean alert of a forthcom“I”, but as a region that ing draft plan or produces a fair amount hearing. They of both Pinot Noir, and are forming aromatic varieties like a drift in Riesling, Pinot Gris my in-tray. (and yes, even SauviThe powgnon Blanc) I find it ers that be quite fun to watch the never seem New Zealand preferto rest on ence swing from the such things, winter warmer, to the though I’m crisp summer refresher. sure that Paul Donaldson With the home market those in other of Christchurch, this regions have a similar summer is full of promise. The post-earthstory to tell! quake landscape here saw a massive drop in Of course, spring time brings such a restaurants and bars, however these are now great feeling of anticipation. The prospect back to 80% of the pre-quake levels, and the of another season rushing towards us, with hospitality trade have certainly had time to the massive task of pruning behind you, think about the design of their new facilibut all the nerves of the frost and flowering ties. Some truly great and interesting places season still to come. This means that I can have started to emerge, and they are slowly never quite relax till mid-December. I think creeping back towards the city centre. This it’s a sign of the resurgent growth here in has created a great mood of optimism in all the Waipara Valley (slow resurgent growth… of North Canterbury, as nothing builds anticbut definitely growth!) that for the first time ipation more than a supportive home market there has been a somewhat consistent need that is in the early stages of what should be a to bring in out-of-district pruning teams for flourishing rebuild. Fingers crossed the optithe big blocks, and they’ve whipped through mism for both the rebuild and the Waipara with both speed and skill ( just like the Valley/North Canterbury wines continues. ■ locals…. Of course!).

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National Two New Fellows Two members of the New Zealand wine industry have been inducted into the NZWinegrower’s Roll of Fellows. Stuart Smith, the former Chair of the NZW board is the first Marlburian to be honored, and along with Sir George Fistonich joins 21 other industry stalwarts. The Fellows were announced at the Romeo Bragato Conference.

Grape Growers Council Following no election for the NZ Grape Grower’s Council, the members are as follows: John Clarke, Gisborne – President and NZW Board Member Gwyn Williams, Waipara – Vice President and NZW Board member Chris Howell, Hawke’s Bay NZW Board Member             Xan Harding – Hawke’s Bay Dominic Pecchenino, Marlborough - NZW Board Member Richard Rose, Marlborough – NZW Board Member  Doug Bell, Gisborne Alan Knight, Gisborne Rex Sunde, North Island Minor Regions Representative James Dicey, South Island Minor Regions Representative

Lucky Mud House Fan Part of America’s Cup

Award Judges

Wayne Regan from Lower Hutt won the prize of a lifetime earlier this year, which enabled him to travel to San Francisco during the recent America’s Cup, courtesy of Mud House Wines. “When I received the telephone call and heard Mud House wine, my first thought was great, a case of wine or a dinner at a fancy restaurant. But no, to my amazement they started talking about return flights to San Francisco, accommodation, a dining experience and the ultimate of all; a trip out on the Bay to cheer on Emirates Team New Zealand.” Mud House were the official wine supplier to Emirates Team New Zealand during the battle on the water.

Three international judges have been announced for this year’s Air New Zealand Wine Awards; US wine writer Dan Berger, Australian sommelier and consultant Sophie Otton and Swedish Master of Wine Madeleine Stenwreth (right). Between them and a large number of New Zealand judges, the panel will have more than 1300 wines to sniff, swirl and sip. Judging for the 2013 Air New Zealand Wine Awards will take place from 4 to 6 November in Auckland. The gold medal winning wines will be announced on 13 November and the trophy winning wines will be unveiled at a gala dinner, attended by New Zealand’s top winemakers and industry figures, on 23 November at the Queenstown Events Centre. 

Correction Apologies to Anita Ewart-Croy, whose photo we used in the last issue of NZWinegrower magazine. Featuring on page 16, we inadvertently credited it to someone other than her. The shot was taken while Anita was working at Kirkpatrick Estate Winery, and was chosen for exhibition in the annual Oeno Video Terror d’ Images competition in 2010.

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WineWorks Marlborough Expands National wine industry bottling company, WineWorks Limited, has expanded its operations in Marlborough by acquiring the Wine Bottlers Marlborough site. The company has purchased the plant and equipment previously operated by Wine Bottlers Marlborough. Managing Director Tim Nowell-Usticke said

Wine Bottlers Marlborough will continue trading under that name. It will retain the same management team, and customers can expect day-to-day operations to be very much business as usual.

International Business Finalists Both Marisco Vineyards and Yealands Wine Group have been recognized for their outstanding international success and

are finalists in the International Business Awards. Marisco Vineyard is in the ANZ Best Business Operating Internationally – $10m -$50m category, while Yealands Wine Group is a finalist in the over $50m category. It is the first time in four years that a winery has made it to the finals. The winners were to be announced in Auckland on September 26, after NZWinegrower went to print.


Toast Martinborough 2013 Tickets are now on sale for this year’s Toast Martinborough, being held on November 17. Having promoted the region’s wines for 22 years, the event is one of the most iconic in New Zealand. For the first time Dry River Wines will join 10 others at the festival, teaming up with five star luxury lodge The Farm at Cape Kidnappers. Festival-goers can taste more than 70 wines from world-class boutique vineyards, sample more than 100 restaurant-quality dishes and dance to more than 22 live performances.

From The Falkland’s to The Wairarapa It’s a long way from the Falkland’s, but for David and Coleen Boyd, the move to the Wairarapa has been well worth the shift. They now have not only a vineyard but a newly developed wine label – Lynfer Estate. The couple bought 11 hectares of land at Gladstone, inland from Carterton in the northern Wairarapa in the 1990s and planted nine hectares in 2000. Their grapes include Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Gris and Pinot Noir and initially they sold it all to their neighbours, who made wine from these grapes. In 2009 that changed and since then the Boyds have struck a shared profit winemaking deal. The name Lynfer Estate is an amalgamation of their daughter’s names and sounds gaelic, which appealed to David, who was born in Ireland.





he world is becoming a smaller place, with increased travel, tourism, trade and immigration. And because of that, New Zealand is at far greater risk of facing bio-security threats than ever before. If we needed any confirmation of that fact, think back to the emergence of Psa in kiwifruit. A disease that was known to have devastated industries in Japan, Korea and Italy, first appeared in New Zealand in 2010. In August of this year, 75 percent of the country’s kiwifruit hectares are on an orchard associated with Psa. How it came here isn’t entirely clear, but the fact it did is a frightening reality check for all our primary producers. Dr Jim Walker from Plant&Food Research in Hawke’s Bay says there have been other biosecurity threats in the past few decades, the Painted Apple Moth in 1999 in particular. “That incursion and the eradication programme that followed cost this country $62 m with some estimates saying the cost was as high as $90m. Would we get away with that again in terms of cost, or the whole reaction to aerial spraying of Auckland should another similar unwanted pest arrive? Despite the success of the programme, there was a lot of flak and public concern about that strategy, so we need to be very vigilant in terms of our biosecurity awareness and strategy.”

“To prevent the establishment of important vine-damaging diseases we need both a secure front and back door. As we have learned from the Psa experience, it is very difficult to eradicate it, once it is established. So it’s a case of being very careful around the movement of plant material when it comes to pathogens.” Then we come to insects – which he says provide a completely different challenge. “They break borders more often, they have a diversity of life stages from the eggs to larvae and adult. Their behaviour is cryptic, they are mobile and they fly! They have resistant stages, so they can survive adverse conditions. And they are the perfect hitchhikers, which means they have got so many inanimate pathways (into New Zealand) from suitcases to shipping containers.”

Key Insects To Look Out For

flyer and an equally strong vector for disease. While not present in New Zealand, there have been numerous reportings of GWSS in the Cook Islands. Admittedly, you need both the GWSS and Pierce’s disease in the same country to impact on vineyards. But as Walker pointed out, we have no idea whether Pierce’s which is a bacterium (Xylella fastidiosa) is already present in New Zealand. “The thing with xylella is there are more than 300 host plant species and many of those are asymptomatic hosts. We don’t know if we have the bacterium but not the vector. But if the vector comes in, it could complete the whole cycle and cause major problems.” Dealing with the disease isn’t an easy task. In countries already under siege, the Integrated Pest Management practices (IPM) have been undermined, as growers have had to take seri-

What is knocking at the door of the New Zealand Wine Industry? Walker says there are three main areas we need to be concerned about; the phytoplasmas and bacteria, fungal pathogens and insects. In terms of phytoplasmas and bacteria, the big ones to worry about are Flavescence dorée which is an insect vectored disease of grapes. Another is black wood, an organism which is also insect vectored. Both kill vines. Black rot is a fungal pathogen, Walker says and pathogens are often extremely difficult to eradicate once present in the country.

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Glassy-winged sharpshooter (GWSS) This is large leafhooper, native to southeastern America. The reason it is such a danger, is because as a vector it can transfer Pierce’s disease. Already it has decimated vineyards in California. A xylem feeder, it has a huge range of host plants, such as pittosporum, eucalyptus and citrus. The GWSS is an extremely strong


ous measures to counter the disease. “If you think about our pest management programme in NZ Winegrowers, it is a very low input programme. Would we be able to deal with this disease and retain that low input?” There is an egg parasitoid that has been effective in killing the GWSS biologically, but Walker says it is not suited to cool climates, such as New Zealand.


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Spotted-winged Drosophilia Walker describes this insect as a very nasty one. It is a vinegar fly, that lives for up to two weeks. The females can lay up to 300 eggs and there can be up to 10 generations in a season. “It attacks earlier, as the fruit begins to mature. It has many hosts including berry fruit, grapes, stone fruit, kiwifruit and it has spread like wildfire through Europe and North America. While it is not found in the Southern Hemisphere yet, potentially via a fruit tray it may not be far away.” The spotted-winged Drosophilia has a serrated ovipositor that is like a chainsaw, used to great effect on maturing fruit. The consequent wounds then expose the fruit to other pathogens and fungal diseases such as botrytis. “If this entered New Zealand it would change our pre-harvest insecticide programmes as we would have to protect to prevent berry or reduce berry damage. If we get this here, it is a game changer for everyone, from the home gardener to the commercial exporters, and to you as grape growers.”

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Very like a shield bug in shape, this was first found in the US in the late 1990s. Now it is present in more than 35 states, with extremely high population densities. It feeds on a wide range of host plants, from apples to citrus, figs to grapes. When they feed on grapes, they damage berries, which impacts on the ensuing wines. What is worse, is if they are collected with the grapes at harvest and crushed with the fruit. In this case the wine taint could be significant.

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They are the classic hitchhiker Walker says, easily transported in suitcases, or shipping containers. There have already been five identifications of this bug in New Zealand. It is not easy to get rid of either. “In apples in the US, up to 13 pyrethroid insecticides are required to control this. And even with those 13 treatments there was 10 percent fruit damage. It has completely destroyed IPM programmes.”

European Grapevine Moth


Native to Italy, this moth has spread throughout Europe. In 2008 it was found on grapes in Chile and in 2009 it was discovered in the Napa Valley, California. Hosts include olives, apples, kiwifruit, cherries, persimmons and grapes. Larvae feed inside berries, hollowing them out and leaving only skin and seeds. The risk to fruit health and potential botrytis epidemics are obvious. Walker says it is an insect that could easily be introduced via fruit imports.

Vine Mealy Bug This is of considerable concern to winegrowers throughout New Zealand. Originally emanating from Europe, it has

now spread to California, and South Africa. It is spread via budwood and equipment. With a broad host range, it has four to five generations per year.

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“And the damage – whole bunches literally shrivel and eventually it kills the vine. It is a significant vector of grape leafroll virus, so we need to be vigilant.” While Walker admits the large number of devastating diseases waiting around the corner is a bleak message, there are ways we can combat the threat. Everyone needs to be vigilant, surveillance programmes need to be optimised, and early detection is paramount for an eradication programme to be successful. As a grower you need to be aware of what to look for. If you discover something you are unsure about, don’t just kill the insect, capture it, and get professional advice. The following is a number all growers should have in their workplace – Exotic Pest and Disease Emergency Hotline – 0800 80 99 66. Don’t be afraid to use it. ■

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A number of walkways were severely buckled after the quake.

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he swarm of earthquakes that hit Marlborough during July and August was a wake-up call not only for the region, but for all wine producers throughout the country. New Zealand hasn’t earned the nickname of “shakey isles” for nothing and there are very few places throughout the country that are immune to sudden and strong earth movements. In Marlborough, the first big quake occurred on July 21, measuring 6.5 and located 17km deep, centred in Cook Strait. The second major one was four weeks later on August 16, measuring 6.6, 10 kms deep and on land near Seddon. While the damage from the first one was minimal, the August event was a different story. Wineries closer to the epicentre were hit hard, with millions of dollars worth of damage to tanks and walkways. The further west of the epicentre, the less damage incurred. Paul Gibbs is a winery engineer for Transfield Worley and he says there were common themes in the damage he saw in the region. “The vast majority of damage and subsequent causes of wine losses, was associated with leg mounted tanks, (capacity 20,000 – 60,000 litres) that were fabricated in the early 2000’s. The legs on many of these tanks were subject to local bending and compression failures. There were also some punching shear failures of the centre legs.” Gibbs said the tanks with longer legs or with a “threaded

foot” detail appeared more likely to fail. “While most of the failures were observed on legs that were not braced, failure was also observed on some tanks that had their legs braced.” In contrast, properly detailed plinth mounted tanks generally performed well. Yielding bolts that were designed to stretch did their job relieving some of the energy of the earthquake, and while bolt stretch was evident, there was little or no damage to the tanks. Given the timing of the earthquakes, many wineries had already emptied a number of tanks, which probably saved further losses. In many wineries, damage to catwalks was apparent, which Gibbs says has to do with the design. “A number of the catwalks have been installed so they are rigidly fixed to tanks. So basically when either the tank or walkway moved in different directions, they just ripped off and caused the walkway to buckle.” The lesson learned from that, is that walkways and piperacks need to be seismically isolated from the tanks. This will allow the walkways and tanks to move independently of each other during a seismic event, rather than impacting or tearing apart as commonly seen after August 16. What was interesting to Gibbs, was the fact that while many tanks and walkways suffered severe damage, the rest of the wineries infrastructure and buildings

were generally okay. He says in the case of tanks, it indicates they may have not been designed for an equivalent seismic event that the buildings had been designed for. That may be due to them being purchased with “cost of production the main driver.” The ground accelerations across Marlborough varied greatly, attenuating quickly depending on the wineries location from Seddon, explaining why a tank in Riverlands was damamged and one in Renwick wasn’t. “The peak ground accelerations measured near the epicentre were approximately 15 times greater than those measured near Blenheim. This raises the question; How much damage and losses would a similar sized earthquake located nearer to Blenheim, where there is a greater density of wineries, have caused?” If there is one overriding lesson learned, it is tank design is crucial if you want to restrict wine losses. “Although it does not appear an issue of poor fabrication or manufacturing, it would appear that some leg mounted tanks fabricated in the early 2000’s, common throughout Marlborough, may not be sufficiently robust to withstand a moderately sized earthquake and may represent an unnecessarily high risk of failure and product

loss during their lifetime,” Gibbs says. The obligations under the Building Act and its associated codes and standards are not clear when it comes to the design of tanks, nor is how the insurance industry will assess the seismic design strength or lack thereof in future events Moving forward, he says simply repairing a damaged tank on a ‘like for like’ basis will likely result in a similar outcome for a similar sized and location earthquake. “But it has to be remembered that if the quake had been centred closer to Blenheim, the damage to these tanks and the resulting wine losses could have been catastrophic.” He adds that any modification and strengthening work undertaken now, should be properly engineered to ensure tanks are brought up to the desired seismic level. “You also need to be careful that the proposed fixes are not going to just shift the failure point to somewhere else in the tank where the consequences could be worse. That includes simply stiffening up the legs of a tank which may just shift the stress to the tank floor and wall, increasing the chance of the tank rupturing and losing its contents.” ■

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ater use is becoming an increasingly fraught issue in Hawke’s Bay as growers along the lower reaches of the Tukituki River battle proposed new regulations they believe will threaten their future livelihoods. Vineyard owner Xan Harding says he and other growers downstream of Red Bridge, behind Te Mata Peak, have become the “pawns” in plans to dam a tributary of the Tukituki River for irrigation.

Pernod Ricard and Indevin are just two of a number of other affected vineyard owners on the narrow corridor of stony soils flanking the lower Tukituki River. The Hawke’s Bay Regional Council’s proposal is to construct an 85m high dam on the Makaroro River as part of its proposed Ruataniwha water storage scheme. Supporters say there is strong interest in buying water from the regional council’s investment company and that many farmers on the Ruatahinwha Plains at the

top of the Tukituki catchment have signed non-binding expressions of interest. The proposed date for water delivery is 2017. While it is neutral on the dam construction itself, Hawke’s Bay Winegrowers has jointly prepared a submission with Horticulture New Zealand to the Environment Protection Agency (EPA) on the regional council’s contentious Plan Change 6, which works in tandem with the dam proposal to introduce new rules for nutrient management and water allo-

cation throughout the Tukituki catchment. The Ruataniwha water storage scheme and Plan Change 6 are the regional council’s response to the National Policy Statement (NPS) for Freshwater Management which came into effect two years ago as part of the Government’s Fresh Start for Water package of reforms. The strengthened limitsbased regime requires all regional councils to set limits on water quality and quantity across all

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Hawke’s Bay farmers moving into dairying, there are concerns around the impacts of nitrogen intensification. The EPA’s independent board will hear submissions in November and its decision on the construction and operation of the dam, along with new river low-flow limits and the rules around nitrogen and phosphate, is expected next year. Harding, a contract grape grower whose vineyard borders the southern stopbank of the Tukituki River at Haumoana, says he and other lower Tukituki viticulturists, orchardists and horticulturists are pawns in the trade-off for the dam. Hard-hit by water bans introduced over the particularly dry 2012/13 summer, several leading orchardists say the regional council’s position on river-flow limits could cost their industry millions of dollars a year and hundreds of jobs. Harding agrees the financial impacts will be hugely significant if the plan change goes ahead unmodified. Originally the proposed plan covered only surface water takes in the lower Tukituki. In its final published form, it now encompasses a far bigger net of users by putting the onus on those growers to prove that their groundwater takes won’t influence the flow in the river. “The proposed plan change sets limits on water extraction over all parts of Tukituki. The regional council is fixated with Central Hawke’s Bay and their dam but, by their own admission, they have forgotten about lower Tukituki growers. “For me, there’s a huge uncertainty. I don’t irrigate with surface water, but I don’t know if my ground water use will be linked to low flow. I could face a $10-25,000 bill for a hydrology study to even begin to answer the question.

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their catchments. “Hawke’s Bay is one of the earliest to move on this so they are really breaking new ground,” says Harding, who helped prepare the submission to the EPA and is concerned that New Zealand Winegrowers is unprepared to support regions on resource management issues. Plan Change 6 introduces limits on groundwater and surface water extraction in the Tukituki catchment, along with new rules governing nutrient management and rules relating to the operation of large scale community water storage schemes like the Ruataniwha proposal. Both proposals are being considered together by the EPA because they are so interconnected. Released during vintage when winegrowers were busy with harvest, the plan change includes a proposal to stage a significant increase in low flows at various points along the river. “That will have a direct impact,” Harding says, “with previously minor irrigation restrictions extending to become potentially ruinous long-running bans.” Under Plan Change 6, increasing the use of nitrogen by 10 percent will trigger the need for a resource consent, which could turn into a major constraint on existing viticultural practices such as winter grazing, as well as restricting change in land use. Harding says phosphate controls are also included in the plan change but most of the phosphate in the Tukituki River is generated by stock or human sewage from Central Hawke’s Bay. The issue is relatively straightforward and the regulations impact more on agriculture than viticulture – “it’s about stock control around waterways and vineyards should have no great issue with compliance”. The implications for nitrogen are more significant. With more

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Vineyards are established on both sides of the lower Tukituki River. PHOTO RICHARD BRIMER PHOTOGRAPHY

“When some growers run the numbers through the models they will find themselves out of business. Without reliable water for irrigation, crops will fail. So this is big stuff.” Harding says the regional council has failed in its statutory responsibility to properly consider the wider effects on the region’s economy. It estimated the effect on the lower Tukituki irrigators as $2m per annum but the study was flawed, was done before the plan change was extended to cover groundwater and the real impact

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would be more than ten times their figure. “We have strong concerns about the limits. Changing the minimum flows on the Tukituki will have downstream effects for growers. Plan Change 6 is the other half of the whole horrible mess and half the reason the dam’s resource consent applications are being heard by the EPA.” Harding says he doesn’t want to see low flow changes for the Tukituki catchment without mitigation of the impacts on existing users. “The whole scheme would


operate to take water off the lower Tukituki guys. They didn’t really think about us and unlike Central Hawke’s Bay, there isn’t even going to be any infrastructure to allow us to get stored water.” Meanwhile, the regional council says its flow limits are based on rigorous science and are aimed at protecting environmental values. Collaborating with stakeholders through the TANK group (an acronym for the Tutaekuri, Ahuriri, Ngaruroro and Karamu catchments), the council is funding an 18-month study investigating the water take

in these areas. Harding is one of two winegrower representatives on the TANK group, which aims to establish broad consensus amongst all the different interest groups about these other catchments which together with the Tukituki cover the Heretaunga Plains – the horticultural and viticultural heart of Hawke’s Bay. Regional council chairman Fenton Wilson has said there is still a great deal of work to be done before a final decision is made on the dam project. ■­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­

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n the last issue of NZ Winegrower Dr David Jordan said the greatest threat to the New Zealand wine industry in the near future, was the onslaught of wood diseases. That was reiterated at the Bragato Conference, with three particular nasties under the microscope - Eutypa, Botryosphaeria and Cylindrocarpon, (Blackfoot). All three were referred to as the ‘silent assassins by SARDI scientist Mark Sosnowski. And with good reason. All three begin with an infection that is stealthily deadly. It hits without being seen and it can be years before the tell tale symptoms begin to emerge.

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With Eutypa and Botryosphaeria the spores are transferred by moisture onto vine wounds, such as those made during pruning. Sosnowski said the life cycle, while it may take some time to produce visual symptoms, needs to be understood. “You start with a symptomatic vine, and as the vine wood dies the fungus produces a black fruiting body on the surface of the wood. If you slice through that black surface you can see the fruiting bodies with the naked eye. Once they are wet they produce microscopic spores which enter the xylem vessels. Once there, the spores germinate and grow through the vessels and through the cell walls. They also produce toxins which travel up to the foliage causing the stunted growth. Then the fungus invades the wood and kills it, as the cycle continues. Botryosphaeria follows much

the same pattern, with the exception that there are no toxins produced, therefore no early foliar symptoms. Basically, the first sign of the disease you will see is the inevitable die back within the vine. In both cases if you cut through the trunk of the vine you will notice darkening wedges of wood. It is difficult to tell the difference between Eutypa and Botryosphaeria wood symptoms, without a lab test. Both diseases tend to strike older vines, with Sauvignon Blanc one of the most prone varieties. Jade Rogge, Treasury Wine Estate South Island Vineyard Manager said Cylindrocarpon is different to the two others in that it is a soil borne pathogen, that attacks through the roots. It is assumed the pathogens live in a latent state in the soil and under certain conditions can attack weakened plants. The fungus infects its

host through natural openings or wounds on the roots or through the crown of the rootstock. Over time the fungus invades lignified tissues of the plant and eventually plugs up the xylem, preventing the uptake of water and nutrients. Foliar symptoms are those of a vine under stress – late bud burst, restricted growth, berry abortion early in the season, yellow spotting on the leaves and early autumn senescence and leaf fall. Eventually it will kill the vine. It is a disease that attacks younger vines, although it is appearing in older vineyards throughout the country.

Management of Eutypa and Botryosphaeria In both these cases it comes down to preventing the spores from entering open wounds, such as those made during pruning. Choosing when to prune is one

option open to growers, according to Sosnowksi. “In the middle of dormancy the wound healing process is much slower so the window of susceptibility is much longer. As you go into spring, the natural organisms that cause wound healing are more active and they heal quicker. It has always been thought that it is a better time to prune later towards spring.” Double pruning has proved to be another option he said. “If you are pre pruning with a machine early in winter and leaving the follow up until later towards spring, you are reducing your risk of infection. Research in America has shown double pruning has reduced infections of both Eutypa and Botryosphaeria. But you still have to protect your wounds in spring, if there is rain.” Regardless of when you prune,







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or how, you need to be protecting those wounds, especially if there is any moisture around. It takes less than 2mm of water to get the spores going. “After two hours of that initiation of the moisture, the spores will start being produced and when that moisture is eliminated, the spores will continue to be produced for 36 hours, so it is quite a serious window of activity.” Paints and pastes are the current options. Although be careful if using acrylic paint, that you get it on as soon after pruning as possible. Sosnowksi pointed out that if you leave the vines untreated for a couple of hours, then paint, you might be sealing in spores, rather than keeping them out. That’s where fungicide treatments come into play. “They will give you a little more opportunity to get the paste on after the pruning. Fungicides can also be applied via sprayers and I believe that is going to be the way

of the future in vineyards.”

Management and Prevention of Cylindrocarpon Given the pathogens for this wood disease could be lying within the soil, Rogge said you need to be vigilant about nutrition and water holding capacity. It appears that when a vine is under stress due to being water logged or lacking in nutrition, it is ripe for attack by the disease. She talked about a vineyard planted in Marlborough 2001 that began to show symptoms of Blackfoot five years later. But not all the vines in the block were affected, just a number of isolated spots spread throughout. “The soils had been identified as very low on organic matter and there were extremely high water tables present.” In terms of management, because it was a limited number of vines showing signs of Black-

foot, the company continued to farm them until they died. Mulching practices were put in place and health practices improved. The end result was no dramatic spread of the disease, although the affected vines created some management headaches. “It led to difficult pruning decisions, there was block variability, challenging canopy management and machine harvesting difficulties. And money had been spent on vines that weren’t producing,” Rogge said. The alternative though was to remove the diseased vines, and leave the ground fallow for three years – something no grower wants to be faced with. In terms of preventing Blackfoot, she said it was important to determine through testing whether pathogens are present in the soil, before planting. If they are there, consider growing crops of mustard seeds and turning it twice a year.

“Even if the pathogens are not present this is something we should be thinking about doing.” If found within an established vineyard, increase the soil and organic matter with cover crops such as oats and lupins. “And maintain good general vine health through the application of foliar nutrients including fertilisers and seaweed products. Do NOT apply excess water during application.” Given the pathogens can be carried by water, this is an important point. There is no chemical control for the New Zealand species of Cylindrocarpons, removing the vine is the only answer. But most of all be vigilant. Look out for symptoms of vines under stress, get soil tests, improve nutrition, control any chance of water logging. And if all else fails, the only current option is to remove the vine, leaving the space fallow for at least three years. ■

Typical symptoms for a vine affected by Blackfoot, stunted shoots, poor cane lignification and early senescence.

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Mat Fox



ollowing on from one of the best vintages in decades, Gisborne is celebrating another milestone – with one of their own taking out the title of Moore Stephens Markham’s National Young Viticulturist of the Year. Twentyseven year old Matthew Fox is the first Gisborne young vit to win the title in the history of the event. But despite his obvious skills on the land, Fox is not limiting himself to the vineyard. He is also developing his winemaking skills with his first wines due to be released early next year. As the viticulturist on his fam-

ily’s 100 hectare vineyard, Fox has been around grapes for the past 15 years. That’s not to say he was always going to head down the path of the wine industry. While at school he had his goal set on becoming a motor cross race mechanic. “We are quite a motor sport orientated family and doing motor cross as a child, I eat, slept and breathed it. But I knew I didn’t have the talent to race professionally. And then like everyone at that age, I wanted to make the most money from doing as little as possible and mechanics have to work pretty damn hard, without

making much money.” It’s a career councillor at his high school that we have to thank for this young man ending up in the wine industry. Knowing his background, the councillor suggested that he take some correspondence papers through EIT in Hawke’s Bay, while still at school. The general viticulture and soil science papers sparked an interest, and in 2005 he decided to take it further, by moving to the Bay and taking on the course full time. The course which covers both winemaking and viticulture was everything Fox hoped it would be, and although he is the first to

admit he loves being outdoors, he wasn’t prepared to limit himself to just working among the vines. After completing the course, he took a year off, helped develop some new blocks at home, undertook a vintage in Hawke’s Bay and then decided to travel for more experience. His first foray overseas saw him in Canada, at a company called Inniskillin in Niagara on the Lakes. He has also undertaken two vintages in France in the Northern Rhone Valley, a place he says was inspirational. “My plan is to start a wine brand with three styles – Viognier,

From Left: Matt Duggan - Marlborough, Matt Fox – Gisborne, Paul Robinson – Hawke’s Bay, Dan Manuge – Nelson, Simon Gourley – Central Otago

24   // 


Syrah and Chardonnay. The two and disease programme and set vintages in France were the inspi- up a sprayer. Then they took part ration for those wines, especially in the fun horti-sports module, the Syrah and Viognier. To go over prior to a quick question round, an there and work in the holy grail interview and then the prepared of Syrah and the homeland of the speech delivered at the Bragato grape was pretty special. I worked Wine Awards dinner. “I was pretty down and out on there two years in a row because with a single vintage you only get a the first day. I felt a bit better after real snapshot of the interview, and a little betwhat the place Fox says he is and wines are ter still after the “stoked” at being like. It was cool question round. to go back and Gisborne’s first ever When it came see how they National Young to the speech I had developed Viticulturist. was really, really over the year “But I am even ne rvous. But and to compare more happy to see once that was vintage to vinover, it was pure the positive press tage as well.” relief. I couldn’t This year’s it will generate for wait to get my Gisborne.” competition hands on a glass was the second of wine.” time Fox has taken part, his first In terms of prizes, Fox takes being in 2010. The time lapse out $2000 and the trophy, plus between competitions has honed another $5000 from NZSVO for his knowledge he says, despite the travel to any wine producing counfact that he has spent more time try in the world. That is going to undertaking vintages than he has come in very handy, given he is on the ground in the vineyard. due to get married early next year. “I have gained so much “It is going to ensure we have a practical experience since I left honeymoon,” he said. uni, stuff you can’t learn until Fox says he is “stoked” at being you are out there working. You Gisborne’s first ever National have to learn to be creative in the Young Viticulturist. “But I am even more happy to vineyard, that’s what I like about it, as opposed to the winemaking. see the positive press it will generWith viticulture you have to be out ate for Gisborne.” there, you have to be looking for In deprecating style he credits things, and you have to come up his family and fiancée Kelsey for with creative solutions. I enjoy their encouragement and support, the challenge of trying to control saying he couldn’t have got anythe vines, rather than letting them where near the title without them. control me.” Now he has to start preparing Looking back on the com- for the Young Horticulturist of petition itself, held before and the Year competition, where he during the Romeo Bragato Con- will compete against other young ference in Marlborough, Fox says people from land based industries. he was surprised to learn he had That will take place in Auckland on won. Especially as he was pretty November 13 and 14. down after the first day’s intense Runner-up at this year’s Young competition. The five competi- Viticulturist, for the second year in tors had to create an eco trellis, a row, was Treasury Estate Wine’s prepare a pruning module, make Matt Duggan from Marlborough. recommendations on buying an ■ established vineyard, design a pest

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or the first time in four years grape growers in New Zealand’s two largest wine regions are optimistic about the future. Prices have increased, yields are up and a stunning vintage is the icing on the cake. The Viticultural Monitoring Report, conducted by Fruition Horticulture and funded by NZWinegrowers draws on information from 18 growers in the Marlborough region and 15 in Hawke’s Bay. The information is collated into regional individual ‘model’ vineyards, with the Marlborough model being 30 producing hectares, and Hawke’s Bay being 12.5 hectares.

Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc makes up 77% of the producing area, followed by Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Pinot Gris and Riesling. As for most regions Marlborough’s 2013 vintage was a vast improvement on the previous year. Yields increased 26% when compared with the lower than average yields of 2012, thanks to near perfect conditions at flowering. Tonnages per hectare rose from 9.7 tonnes in 2012, to 12.2 tonnes this year, far higher than most growers had predicted. However there was a decided difference between the sub regions, with the Awatere growers showing


26   // 


far lower yields overall, when compared with their Wairau compatriots. “In the vineyard model, Sauvignon Blanc yielded 13.1 tonnes per hectare, on average up 21% on the previous year and 9% up on the 2008-12 average,” the report states. “On the monitored vineyard, yields for Sauvignon Blanc ranged from 8.1 tonnes (Awatere) to 19.6 tonnes per hectare. The Wairau growers produced yields of Sauvignon Blanc 41% higher than the Awatere growers.” Which indicates that if the Awatere hadn’t suffered a cooler flowering period, the total tonnages for Marlborough could have been far higher than the eventual 251,850 tonnes. (The Awatere makes up 29% of Marlborough’s total vineyard area, according to the last figures provided by the Marlborough District Council in 2011.) Alongside the higher yields, the price being paid for fruit also saw a dramatic increase rising 22% across all varieties, to $1720 per tonne. Sauvignon Blanc prices rose 22% to $1603, while Pinot Noir rose 11% to $3024. Growers had not predicted such an increase, calculating any rise would be around the 6% figure when asked last year. However they are not expecting those prices to continue rising next year. “The improved yields in Marlborough in 2013 have limited growers’ expectations to a minimal price increase across all varieties in 2013/14, as supply catches back up to demand.” With high yields and an increase in grape prices, the net cash income for Marlborough has also risen – by 53% when compared with last year. The net cash income this year was $625,800, or $20,860 per hectare. This has led to a substantial increase in vineyard profit before tax, by 220% over the 2012/13 season, to $9800 per hectare. While moving in the right direction, that profit is still way below the high of 2008, when growers recorded a profit before tax of $14,970.

In terms of costs, nearly every one of the 18 growers involved stated there was no fat left to cut in terms of vineyard expenditure. Repairs and maintenance have been placed on the back burner for a number of years now, as has fertiliser applications. However both these areas are now being spent on, with fertiliser costs rising substantially in the past 12 months. “However the $200 per hectare for fertiliser is still $229 per hectare less than the 2008/09 season.” Optimism in the future of the wine industry

has seen a change in attitude to future development as well. Several growers in the survey indicated they were looking to purchase addition vineyard area in an effort to increase economics of scale, while other growers are looking at further development. “Development increased from zero in 2011/12 to $17,000 in 2012/13, due to two growers in the survey planting new areas on their properties. More development is planned for the model with a lesser amount in 2014, but higher again in 2015 when plants are ready.

Development plans also tended to be into new land, rather than replanting existing vineyards.” And growers are not planning to cut back on yields, if their plans for pruning are anything to go by. Those that had moved from two or three canes to four canes last year, to counter the chances of a second year of low yields, say they are sticking with four canes again this year. That is expected to see yields in 2014 rise yet again, if weather conditions are favourable at flowering. Moving forward the morale and business viability appears to be on the rise. “A particular factor is that the improvement is based on increased grape demand, not just one good growing season. As a result, the majority of growers felt positive or cautiously optimistic about their business.”

Hawke’s Bay There is also cautious optimism within the growers surveyed in Hawke’s Bay. After three years of negative returns, this season has seen vineyard profit restored. The favourable weather conditions helped

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produce a vintage that many claim is one of the best ever, although the drought did cause issues in terms of irrigation bans. “A number of growers faced irrigation bans of up to 28 days during the ripening period, causing some reduction in yield in those affected areas,” the report says. “On other vineyards with high crop volumes, fruit struggled to reach target brix because the vines were water stressed, but flavour profiles were still achieved.” What a difference to the 2011/12 season, especially in terms of profit. The Hawke’s Bay model achieved a cashoperating surplus of $86,500 which is a staggering 1230% greater than the $6500 surplus achieved in 2011/12. “Although this season has seen vineyard profit restored after three years of negative returns, growers remain cautious. They see this season as a reprieve and hope for another ‘normal’ season to aid in the financial recovery.” Merlot is the dominant variety within the Hawke’s Bay model, making up 24% of the producing area, followed by Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Pinot Gris, Syrah and other reds. Over all varieties, yields increased by 20%, with an average of 8.2 tonnes per hectare this last season, compared with 6.8 tonnes in the previous year. Syrah yields increased 104% to 10.2 tonnes with Merlot up 37.5% to 9.9 tonnes and Pinot Gris up 73% to 10.4 tonnes. Sauvignon Blanc yields remained stable at 7.2 tonnes per hectare, although there is potential for this to increase once the vines gain some age. In terms of prices, all varieties saw increases, with a weighted average price of $1680, up $505 on last season. That is the highest level

paid for fruit since the 2008/09 season. It was Chardonnay that had the greatest increase, reflecting the growing demand for this variety and the outstanding quality of the fruit. The average price was $1890 per tonne, 29% more than last year. Merlot prices rose to $1770 a tonne, up $495 on last year. The average price for Syrah rose by $180 per tonne, although some vineyards did not reach target brix due to high crop loads coupled with water restrictions. Growers did well to drop expenses by 8% this last season, spending an average of $6856 per hectare. The perfect weather conditions certainly helped, decreasing the disease pressure, need for sprays, mowing, weed and pest control. However electricity costs rose, due to the increased need for irrigation. Frost protection costs also rose by 200% with up to 13 frost events reported in the 2012/13 season. Overall the report states that this season has been a bright contrast to the difficult 2012/13 season, which for many growers was their worst ever.

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“Although this has been the most positive vintage in four years, growers remain cautious. They realise they need more than one season to bring their businesses back to sustainable viability.” If there is one major concern, it remains the profitability of the industry moving forward. “Growers are still facing challenges with price-setting occurring too late in the season and cash flow issues from being drip fed grape payments throughout the year. Growers feel current contract payment schedules have growers ‘banking’ the wineries with drip fed payments impairing cash flow. “They also think that the costs of growing grapes have outweighed the price received for too many years and that wineries seem to expect growers to increase inputs to achieve higher quality parameters without a commensurate increase in grape prices.” ■

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ens of thousands of bottles of wine have passed through the hands of Shona White in the past 25 years. All in the name of helping ascertain which are the most deserving of a medal or trophy. That’s because Shona is literally the Queen of New Zealand wine shows. The new director of the Royal Easter Show, convenor of the Air New Zealand Wine Awards, and facilitator or director of five other annual shows, she has been at the coal face longer than most of the winemakers entering. It all began back in 1988, when as part of a wine course she was

undertaking, she took on the role of steward at the Royal Easter Show. A rather innocuous beginning, that led to her helping the then director Terry Dunleavy and Allan Manson instigate a double blind computerised judging system. It is still being used today, and ensures that no wine judge can accidentally uncover the name of the wine they are tasting. Most of her work is very much behind the scenes – and certainly not to be confused with the somewhat glamorous role of the judges, who get to swirl, taste and spit their way through hundreds of wines every show. But without

someone like White, these shows would never get off the ground. The shows of today are a far cry from those early ones in the 80s. Take her first role as steward – there were only 360 wines entered. This year at the Royal Easter Show there were 1137. The most wines she has dealt with has been 1750 – at the 2006 Air New Zealand Wine Awards. That involved 16 pallets and took well over a day to set up. At most competitions three samples of every wine entered have to be sent to the organisers. Wineries are provided with sets of labels that have to be attached to the bottles, prior to sending. But

when something goes wrong – it can be a nightmare for organisers. In the 2006 Air New Zealand Awards, one winery had incorrectly managed their dispatch and the samples were never received. “I calculated at the time there were 7500 bottles, 550 cartons I had to go through to make sure I had received their wine.” The other major change that has actually made life easier for the competition organisers, is the advent of screw caps. It has made opening much easier for one thing, but it has also cut down the high percentage of faulty wines – a major bonus. “When I first did the Easter

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show in 1988 we would be asked to open a new bottle in 35 to 40 percent of all wine entered, over the course of the competition. Sometimes on a flight we would be asked for a new bottle on four of the wines, and the flight would only be 15.” Wine shows may seem de rigour these days, given the vast number of them. But White says each has its place in the structure of the industry and is vitally important especially to smaller companies. “My biggest delight is seeing a small wine company do well. With me personally being a small busi-

ness owner, (she runs a motel) I understand how important that is to their business. And never underestimate the importance of a sticker (medal winning wine etc) on a bottle for wine companies, or how it helps consumers.” Originally back in the early days White did classes run by Bob Campbell for people wishing to perhaps become a judge – and while she did “okay” she never took it any further. There are at least seven wine show organisers in New Zealand who are more than grateful she made that decision! ■


 

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Shona White – Queen of wine shows.

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YOUNG GUNS WAIPARA Waipara is the fastest growing wine region in New Zealand with around 80 vineyards in the valley covering more than 1,200 hectares of plantings. With that growth comes many younger members of the wine industry, keen to make their mark. We meet a few of those Young Guns.

How long have you worked in Waipara? 10 years this December What brought you to Waipara? It’s my home region! Born and bred in Christchurch, so it is nice and close to home and family. Also being a Crusaders supporter was a major drawcard. Where have you travelled in wine to get here? Studied at Lincoln, before working in the vineyards in Gibbston Valley for a year. Then took a job at Greystone on the vineyard. As the company grew I was able to work more and more with the wine, and haven’t looked back since! I was able to travel to the Barossa valley in ’08 and work a vintage there just before Greystone began harvesting. What do you enjoy most about your job? The variety of work I get ‘on the shop floor’ so to speak – creating a wine from scratch through all stages of production really floats my boat. It’s really awesome to see a bottle of wine roll off the packaging line and think “I made that!” I guess the measure of success I have is how many times I can help get our winemaker up to the podium to receive awards! What do you enjoy most about Waipara? The landscape is really something. I’ve trudged up and down the hills enough to appreciate them fully! The crew we work with are amazing people, and so are the locals. Good people = good wine! When you’re not making wine or growing grapes? Pretty much 98% of my time away from the winery is spent raising my three

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kids Cole, Ella and Cooper with my darling wife Jess. We also have another on the way so life is going to be rather busy for a few years! When I do get some time off, I can be found at the Aikido dojo; training for my next grading as a black belt. I also enjoy a spot of running and fishing and other blokey stuff like that. It sucks when….? at 4am you open the doors of the press to find your 7 tonne of Pinot Gris needs another few cycles to get the right extraction rateso you put the twentieth pot of coffee on!

I think that Waipara has a lot of untapped potential as yet, with new land to be explored and the refining of wine styles within its subregions. It will be really interesting to see where the wind blows us. Future aspirations? I’ve been dabbling with making a bit of wine here and there so I would love to set up my own label someday. I think Tait Estate has a nice ring to it, don’t you? ■

Your favourite wine? We are lucky in the fact that at the end of vintage we have what we call the ‘Burgundy dinner’, where we can sit down and try some of the wines from the region of the same name. My favourite last time was a white Burgundy from Domaine Roulot, Mersault 2008. Delicious! I wouldn’t mind at all if I had a few cases of that squirreled away… I’m also a bit partial to the Greystone Brother’s Reserve Pinot, but maybe that’s just my cellar palette talking…yeah nah. Which wine region excites you most right now? That’s a tough question.


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How long have you worked in Waipara?

It sucks when….?

right now?

I worked at Mudhouse for four years before travelling. I rejoined the company a year ago.

I have to buy fish for tea.


Your favourite wine?

Future aspirations?

What brought you to Waipara?

Definitely Waipara Pinot or anything in a brown bottle.

I see myself in management somewhere down the line and I have an interest in organics. ■

North Canterbury is home to me. Where have you travelled in wine to get here?

Which wine region excites you most

I started my career in Waipara and have chosen to progress here. What do you enjoy most about your job? Meeting people from all walks of life, from all around the world. I like working outdoors and meeting the challenges that come with it.  Harvest is a great reward for all the hard work that you put in throughout the seasons.    What do you enjoy most about Waipara? That whatever direction you travel in you’re never more than a few kms from the beach, the river and family.   When you’re not making wine or growing grapes? I’m spending time with my 10 month old son or fishing at the beach.


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WESTLEY How long have you worked in Waipara? Begun working in Waipara part-time while studying at Lincoln University in 2008. So this is my 5th year in the region. What brought you to Waipara? Well initially the proximity to Christchurch brought me here. I have stayed for Waipara’s unique limestone soils. Where have you travelled in wine to get here? First vineyard job was working at Fancrest Estate a Certified Organic producer focusing solely on Pinot Noir. Working there really sparked my interest in organics and soil characteristics, adding a depth to the wine industry I never really got while studying. Following Fancrest it was off to Germany to work at Weingut Keller. That was a truly transformative experience in my view of wine. Being a super premium producer my 6 months at Keller, working an entire growing season in the vineyards really expanded my knowledge of soils and canopy management techniques. Now back in Waipara I have moved about working back at Fancrest Estate, The Crater Rim and now at Pegasus Bay. What do you enjoy most about your job? Working outside with an excellent crew. What do you enjoy most about Waipara? The micro-climate. I’m always amazed at the difference between Waipara and

Christchurch. It’s common to leave Waipara and head to town in shorts to find the biting easterly sea breezes. When you’re not making wine or growing grapes? Practicing permaculture, at our home we have a 1/4 acre food forest with 70 different fruit trees and a productive understory. Also, really into home brewing. It sucks when….? You open a really good bottle of wine and it’s corked!! Your favourite wine? Dry Riesling MICHELLE How long have you worked in Waipara? 4 years What brought you to Waipara? I was studying at Lincoln University and got a job pruning in Waipara on the weekends. Where have you travelled in wine to get here? I am from Denver, CO so I travelled to New Zealand to do the postgraduate Diploma in Viticulture and Oenology at Lincoln. I also worked in Germany for 6 months as an apprentice in the Rheinhessen at Weingut Seehof. While in Europe I also visited Bordeaux to experience their wine culture. What do you enjoy most about your job? I enjoy working outdoors in the fresh air. At Pegasus Bay we have a really close team of awesome individuals that keep work fun. I love working with the vines, pruning is one of my favourite jobs along with harvest.


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What do you enjoy most about Waipara? Waipara has a unique microclimate with amazing soils. The wines produced here are epic. It is a more intimate wine region because of its smaller size. Overall amazing vineyards, winemakers, and friendly country people. When you’re not making wine or growing grapes? I am out in the garden or tending to our goat, chickens, sheep and pigs. I am from a big city and have embraced the 1/4 acre lifestyle block where my husband and I live. I play football with the Amberley team and just joined a local book club. I also enjoy brewing beer, hiking, camping, music festivals and crafts. It sucks when….? When sawing off an old head on a vine your saw slips and your index finger gets cut. Ouch!! Six stitches later I am fine. Your favourite wine? I will have to say Riesling for being so versatile and exciting. Which wine region excites you most right now? Mendoza, we are planning on visiting South America. Future aspirations? Starting a home brewery/winery in our woodshed. I am from the land of microbrews and love beer as well as wine. Continuing to develop my palate and knowledge of vine growing. Be as self sufficient off our land as possible with the orchard and veggie garden. ■


How long have you worked in Waipara? 10 years What brought you to Waipara? I was born and bred right here in Canterbury. Where have you travelled in wine to get here? I haven’t travelled in wine really, just working around the Canterbury region. I have travelled more so to satisfy my need to ride waves and see the developing world. What do you enjoy most about your job? I love growing plants and the environment I work in is fantastic. Watching the seasons change and working with the vines by hand is very satisfying. It has been a pleasure to take our vineyard to the point where it will be certified organic for the 2014 harvest. We are a small family producer, so in addition to caring for the vineyard I enjoy a wide variety of tasks such as helping my mum Jill (Terrace Edge Matriarch) with the tasting room and general marketing. What do you enjoy most about Waipara? I like the fact that Waipara has a lot of passionate people really looking after their land and making great wines.

When you’re not making wine or growing grapes? My wife Alanna and I really enjoy hanging out with our neighbours where we live in Addington, Christchurch. It’s a close knit community of really cool people. You might find us at the Addington Coffee co-op sipping on some quality Fair Trade coffee. It sucks when….? You get big flights of hungry bronze (grass grub) beetles hitting your prized Pinot Noir vines in spring. Your favourite wine? Clonakilla Shiraz Viongnier. Which wine region excites you most right now? The Waipara Valley does it for me - a small geographic area with many different soil types growing really good Pinot Noir, Riesling and even Northern Rhone like Syrah.

Future aspirations? I just want to keep getting better at what I do. I find the vineyard fascinating – watching, observing what the vines are doing through the changes of the season . Nothing can replace time in the vineyard; continually learning what works and what doesn’t. I find it very satisfying producing a pristine crop of grapes which follows on to make good wine - the season’s work captured in liquid form to enjoy and watch evolve. ■


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hile Chardonnay is the number one white wine variety in the world, in New Zealand it falls well behind Sauvignon Blanc. Which according to a leading expert on the variety, is good news, because it means this country can concentrate on producing high-end wines that represent the individual terroir of each growing region. Brian Croser, is somewhat of a legend in Australia, establishing Petaluma back in the mid 70s, going on to pioneer the development of the Adelaide Hills region and now winemaker for Tapanappa. His credentials when it comes to Chardonnay are impeccable, and earlier this year he was one of the guest speakers at the NZSVO conference in Blenheim, that focused on this beloved white variety. Since the 1990s Chardonnay styles have changed. While as a variety it is still enjoyed by a considerable number of consumers, there was a backlash, with the ABC mantra – Anything But Chardonnay – taking its toll. Croser feels strongly that turning Chardonnay into a branded commodity impacted on its status as a fine wine. “A branded commodity is tradeable between producers as bulk wine, made anywhere, blended to a style and quality standard. Usually just adequate quality standard, but also blended primarily to a cost. It has high brand visibility, distributed everywhere through all the grocery

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chains in the world. That bland undistinguished, wood chipped wine with texture has defined Chardonnay for consumers,” Croser says they grew tired of the style and began looking elsewhere. The end result was they went for something at the opposite end of the spectrum, an aromatic, fresher, crisper style. Hence the exponential rise of Sauvignon Blanc. But Chardonnay is making a comeback. Already it is the number one white variety in America, and in terms of fine wine styles, it is surging ahead in Australia and the UK. It is this end of the market New Zealand should be concentrating on, Croser says. Seventeen percent of Australian wine produced is Chardonnay, with tonnages at 16 per hectare. In California it has the same percentage of volume, with tonnages averaging at 19 per hectare. Whereas in New Zealand Chardonnay represents just 5 percent of total production and tonnages are a low 7 per hectare. “To me that says New Zealand is a niche Chardonnay player. You can’t be in the branded commodity market. Fighting the economies of California and Australia is too hard to do.” The problem here though he believes, is that too many people have planted the variety in the sites where other varieties like Sauvignon Blanc have excelled. By doing that, the true characteristics of Chardonnay have not been able to flourish. “You cannot grow Chardon-


nay in the same vineyards where Sauvignon Blanc, Cabernet or Merlot excels. These deep alluvial gravels with shallow top soils just don’t work for Chardonnay. It needs clay, free draining soil with plenty of water and nutrient holding capacity. Basically it needs hillsides.” Croser says Chardonnay is not Pinot Noir’s daughter for nothing. Much of what is important to produce quality Pinot, is important when it comes to producing quality Chardonnay. Hillsides, free draining soils, hand picking and careful hands during the winemaking process will help to ensure the strong vari-

etal characters survive through to the bottle. “Chemically it has its own set of aromatic and flavour compounds, which you need the right terroir to bring out. Then the winemaker can play around with that base and add things to it.” During the conference he says there was a lot of discussion about the “burnt match” additions to Chardonnay. How much is acceptable? “The consensus at the end of the day was that there is far too much of it. Consumers, even fine wine consumers, don’t necessarily understand that character or like it. And it doesn’t come from the

grape. It’s something you can add on or stick in. Anyone can do that.” Less is better was the feeling when it came to oak, and bigger vessels also were the favoured option. When it came to yeast, accidental yeast, (a term Croser prefers to the more common Wild) had empathy with the winemakers present, so long as it doesn’t produce dominant sulphidic characters or produce too many aberrations like ethyl acetate or banana flavours. Malolactic fermentation is more an individual choice he said, with more of the winemakers attending in favour of it than those against. “People weren’t interested in the Victorian approach which is to completely prohibit malolactic in favour of keeping the freshness. I think here there is a very sensible approach to MFL being able to be managed to produce texture and

complexity without detriment.” If there was one area Croser felt needed more understanding in New Zealand, it was how to manage phenols. “There are the flavonoids from the seeds, skins and stalks, which you can avoid. Then there are the non-flavonoid phenols which are in the juice and the pulp which you can’t avoid. In my observation, in New Zealand there are too many flavonoids in the wine and probably a lot of that relates to

where they are growing the grapes. “Which is why if you are planning on producing a high end Chardonnay, you need to be hand picking to reduce the potential of flavonoids.” While the variety may be grown the world over, New Zealand has a number of advantages if it wants to take on that niche high-end market. Firstly Croser says the climate here is ideal, in all the major Chardonnay growing regions. There are sites that are perfect for the variety

– they just aren’t on the alluvial plains. “I think the winemakers here are all over the issue. But the one thing that is hard to change is where you are growing it. You have changed the mind-set with Pinot Noir and the same revolution has to happen with Chardonnay. It’s not about trying to get better Chardonnay out of existing vineyards. It about getting better vineyards.”■


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he time is approaching for millions of grass grubs to emerge from underground in search of food. And in most wine regions of New Zealand, that food means new growth on vines. Grass grubs, a member of the scarab beetle family, can go unnoticed, if you aren’t out and about after sunset. That’s because they only fly for 20 to 25 minutes each night, 20 minutes after sunset, and only for a few weeks a year. That period is generally during October and November. But don’t be fooled that it is only the above ground issues you have to prepare for. Underground the grubs can create just as much carnage as they can on new foliage. Understanding the lifecycle of the grass grub is vitally important, according to Dr Trevor Jackson who works for AgReserch in Christchurch. “It has four life stages, and

This is what the larvae look like beneath the soil.

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the two well known are the adult brown beetle which lays eggs, which develop into larvae which live in the soil.” Small as the larvae may be, they still cause substantial damage, as they live off the roots of plants – in the vineyard’s case the

grass grub will take the clusters out and damage the growing tip. Which means you have lost crop and economic returns.” He recommends going back to the old practices of cultivating between rows during those early spring months. Not only does this

“In one night they can do some pretty severe damage. You might still have clusters, but you have a lot of damage to the leaf area.

vine’s roots. Newly planted vines are most susceptible, given their roots are much closer to the surface, where the larvae live. This is no minor threat. In New Zealand it is estimated that more than a million hectares of pasture is affected by grass grub.

help provide passive frost protection, it also churns up the soil, bringing the larvae to the surface. “Then the birds help to take care of the problem.” The time to undertake that cultivation is now, before the adult beetle emerges.

Dealing with larvae

Dealing with the beetle

Viticulture consultant Dominic Pecchenino says when he arrived in New Zealand in 1993, the only grass grub problems vineyard owners were experiencing were below ground. Cultural practices at the time managed to prevent the adult beetle from becoming too prolific. “Almost all the vineyards were cultivated and rolled with a big 5 tonne roller pulled behind. So most of the grass grub problem was taken care of at that time by that method. “Then we started planting the middles to grass species, which is a very good host to grass grub” Essentially what that meant was the larvae were able to survive through to adulthood and the brown beetle emerged in the late spring months. “In one night they can do some pretty severe damage. You might still have clusters, but you have a lot of damage to the leaf area. In some varieties, like Chardonnay,

Pecchenino recommends intensive monitoring through October and November to stay on top of the adult beetle issue. From October on, he places water traps throughout the vineyard. While this only captures the male beetles, (the females stay on the ground waiting to mate and lay eggs, before they start flying looking for food) it does give an indication of population levels. He also undertakes visual monitoring each night. Once numbers start to rise, he knows it’s time to take some form of action. In his case that is aerial spraying where he can, otherwise spot treatment. The problem is that while you can control the larvae numbers within the vineyard through cultivation, it’s not solving the issue of neighbouring properties where the grass grubs can be present. Organic consultant Bart Arnst said the outside rows appear to be the most at risk, particularly those

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facing neighbouring paddocks or headlands. Shelterbelts between these areas often dissipate the flight path of the beetle. “I have found vineyards where shelter has been removed is where we tend to get smacked on those outside edges.” Another form of preventative treatment he has found works well, is to encourage vine vigour. “We saw this last year in a large vineyard operation. Of two blocks in the middle, one was larger in growth than the other, when we had the beetle flights. There was more damage on the lower vigour vines.” Sacrificial canes also are a bonus. Often left on the vines to help suck the vigour out, these have been found to be most attractive to the beetles. “They tend to gravitate to those higher points, so we use those quite often.”

Imagine the foliar damage if this many beetles descended on your vines.

Placing old bird netting on the outside vines is another form of prevention shown to be working. But reiterating Pecchenino’s

comments, Arnst said cultivation is the key. “We need to control them first up in the ground at the egg larvae

stage. If you get those numbers under control, you are half way there.” ■

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or the 13th year in a row, Cloudy Bay shone the spotlight on Pinot Noir from New Zealand and around the world. Pinot at Cloudy Bay has become an iconic annual event, which sees guests travelling from around the world as well as the country. Eighteen wines were placed under the microscope, five of those from New Zealand, the rest from a kaleidoscope of countries, including Argentina, Canada, France, America and Australia. All were from the 2010 vintage.

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What was apparent when the wines were revealed after the tasting, was the huge gap in prices being paid for each. The most expensive tasted on the day, (if you could actually get it) was Domaine Drouhin-Laroze Clos De Vougeot 2010 at NZ$200. Compare that to the five New Zealand wines that ranged in price from $38 to $75. The three Australian examples averaged $75, while the Argentinian, American and Canadian examples were all around the $100. Not surprisingly, questions


Des Harris adds some finishing touches to one of the courses of the long-lunch.

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A stunning line-up of Pinots from New Zealand and around the world.

were raised about the price of New Zealand Pinot Noir. Are we underselling ourselves? Does it take a large price tag for a wine to be considered ‘great’? Or do we promote that oft overused phrase, that we produce good value for money? As one attendee pointed out, is that really how we want to be known – good value for money? Does that phrase tell the story we want to convey? Maybe it’s time we took a different approach. Or maybe we just look at raising our price point to reflect the undeniable quality. Wine judge, sommelier and writer Sophie Otton from Australia, who was a guest selector at this year’s event, warned that may be easy to say, but not so easy to achieve. “It is a case by case scenario, and a vintage by vintage as well. You can’t just suddenly push your prices up. It has to be a strategy from the start I think. Once you set your prices, you have to have a way forward, but you can’t be random about it.” In terms of the New Zealand wines in the line-up, Otton, who is also a judge at this year’s Air New Zealand Wine Awards, said they were very consistent.

“That was the word on the floor as well. They have good balance and good intensity. If you haven’t got balance, you haven’t got the variety.” Keeping the refinement in our Pinots was an important step into the future, she said. People already liked the richness in our wines and the flavour. “And it’s only going to get better. You should celebrate that.” While Pinot Noir may have been the focus of the daylong event, food also played a major role. Des Harris from Clooney’s Restaurant and a finalist in the Chef of the Year Competition, prepared a five course long lunch, served to the guests in Cloudy Bay’s barrel room. From wild game to lobster with puffed crackling, plus lamb and fermented garlic, the courses were matched to wines. But at the end of the day there was more than just food for the sating, there was food for thought for many of the wine industry personnel who attended. Where to from here, and just how do we ensure our the quality of our Pinots is reflected in the balance sheet? ■

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A NATURAL DEBATE Recently, I had the fantastic opportunity to attend a tasting of forty ‘Natural’ wines (alongside some fellow wine writers, and three winemakers well-known for their Bio-Dynamic, Organic or ‘Natural’ wines).


t seems to have been the largest such tasting in New Zealand to date, with local and international examples on show. The aim was to gain a greater understanding of what ‘Natural’ wine looks, smells and tastes like, and to discuss the topic in depth, speculating on what its future might be in New Zealand for the On and OffPremise sectors. After an initial tasting the discussion turned to the appropriateness of ‘Natural’ as a title for wines in this genre, with thoughts on alternative titles. Dialogue then moved to some of the wines presented – which ranged from undrinkable to very drinkable - this issue seems to be one of the key challenges for winemakers in the genre results can be hit or miss. There is also the important question of on whose/what scale of

quality should ‘hit’ or ‘miss’ get measured? This appears to be a key part of what the Natural wine movement is about – understanding the product in its raw form, before interventions mould and shape it. There are a number of examples to select from currently, both imported and local. A recent trend in Australia particularly, and elsewhere overseas as well, has been a few straight-talking, or ‘followed’ Sommeliers becoming advocates for natural wine. Their wine lists feature examples, sometimes whole sections devoted to the category. Somms are selling natural wines to customers who want something ‘different’, discussion-provoking - and who are happy to pay. This may well be a positive move – also highlighting that wine lists need

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to stay fresh and original, and this is one way of doing just that. We will no doubt see some New Zealand Somms considering a similar tack. A precise definition of Natural Wine proves elusive, and requires some research and an open mind. What I have discovered is that there is a plethora of opinion on the topic, and a wide and varied range of wines that meet the overall intent of what Natural wine is. There are a number of books and guidelines for the consumer, but the topic is largely based on individual philosophies. There is, of course, a common theme: zero to minimal intervention in the vineyard and winery when it comes to the use of any man-made substances that could direct a wine’s aroma, flavours, acids and tannins; and a well-grounded understanding of Bio-Dynamic and Organic grape

cultivation and wine making. Natural wines seem to be stuck with a title that doesn’t fit what it really is – wine made in a particular, non-interventionalist way, by people who are dedicated to making it in that way. Whether an individual likes the outcome or not can be said for wines of any style from any place – the appeal is subjective, and the questions are numerous – not the least of which is the ageing potential or otherwise. So what could be a more appropriate title for this genre of wine? ‘Extreme BioOrganics’ or EBO, Minimal Intervention Wine or MIW or simply ‘Original’ Wine’? The commercial reality for some producers is already being realised – this style of wine is here to stay – for now. The development of the genre continues. ■

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n d e v i n Pa r t n e r s h a s launched a $5 million redevelopment project in Gisborne and Hawkes Bay which will see about 200 hectares of new vines planted over the next five years. The “Revive” project is excellent news for the Gisborne region, where about 70 percent of the redevelopment project will be based. Indevin regional vineyards manager Andrew Blakeman said about 500,000 new vines would go into the ground across the two regions. “Most of it is Chardonnay but there will be some Pinot Gris as

well. It is big news for Gisborne because most of the five million we are spending on the development will be there.” The new vines will be provided by Gisborne’s Riversun Nursery. “Once we buy the vines, most of the expenditure after that is on labour to actually get them in the ground, and care for them through to full production while they grow,” Blakeman said. The first phase of planting started on ground that has been empty for four to five years. The ongoing programme will involve pulling out further vines next autumn and replanting with new stock in spring.

Indevin Gisborne winery and vineyard staff gathered at Patutahi Estate to hand plant the first vines for project “Revive”.

Part of the upgrade is also replacing the trellis spacing in the vineyards. Gisborne Winegrowers Society president Doug Bell said the

investment showed Indevin had confidence in the district and the long-term future of the region’s wine industry. ■ christinejboycegmailcom





fter lying idle for over a year, the former Corban’s winery in Napier was purchased by four local businessmen just 24 hours before the plant was due to be dismantled. Most recently owned by Pernod Ricard New Zealand, the 3.2ha property is now leased to The Hawke’s Bay Wine Company, a contract winemaking business established last year by 2006’s New Zealand Winemaker of the Year Rod McDonald and business partner Mike Farrugia. McDonald says the former director of sales at Sacred Hill – “a like-minded young man based in Auckland” – brings vital sales, distribution and business development skills to the mix. “What separates our company from other contract winemakers in New Zealand is our background. We are committed to making small batches of ultra-premium wine as well as what this place was designed to do – larger commercial volumes.” The winery, which Corban’s

46   // 

established in the Pandora industrial area in 1986, was considerably upgraded a decade ago. McDonald said losing the investment that had gone into the plant would have been “a crying shame” for the Hawke’s Bay wine industry. “It’s a regional asset and, for us, it’s come along as a once-in-alifetime opportunity to establish the winery as a centre of wine excellence in Hawke’s Bay. Pernod Ricard did a wonderful job in offering the property as a turn-key winemaking operation. That’s been the important part in making this work for us.” Formerly chief winemaker at Matariki and before that chief winemaker for Vidal Estate, McDonald isn’t daunted by the vast scale of the 10,000-tonne winery. In fact, he is delighted by features that include a multitude of automated processes and a colour-coded network of overhead pipelines which he happily sees lightening the processing workload. “It’s a Rolls Royce in terms of efficiency,” he enthuses.


The site also encompasses a large receival area, a towering silo room housing 18 tanks – each holding up to 140,000 litres – white and red barrel halls with separate temperature control systems, a laboratory, two floors of office space and an outdoor tank farm. The company employs seven winery staff and two administration staff on site, and expects to take on 12 to 15 cellarhands over harvest. The Hawke’s Bay Wine Company plans to invest in more plant, fine-tuning the winery operation to better handle small batches of super and ultra premium red and white wine. McDonald hopes companies who are currently trucking grapes, juice or unfinished wine out of the region will consider utilising the Thames Street site to enhance the quality of their product by having their wine made locally. He also sees potential for overseas investment in planting and developing vineyards in Hawke’s Bay. “We are in a position to provide a full winemaking service and take

Rod McDonald

their wines to the world through the port of Napier.” Vineyards, he says, are key to a wine’s unique personality and Hawke’s Bay offers the very best. Committed to the region, McDonald is chair of the Mercedes Benz Hawke’s Bay A & P Wine Awards and he chaired Hawke’s Bay Winegrowers for six years. Counting down the months to the 2014 vintage, he admits to feeling excited about what lies ahead. “Everywhere I turn there is so much potential and I’m looking forward to learning all about this winery and how to get the best results out of it.” ■

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Naval gazing I am often asked to speak to service organisations or to donate wine or wine courses for various fund raisings. Because I don’t have the resources to satisfy all requests I only support organisations or appeals that are based in Devonport. I am, however, very active in my local community. I donated my time to organise and run a sixcourse degustation menu at the Devonportbased navy in the officers mess (“wardroom” I think they call it). It was a very successful evening with a great bunch of people who clearly knew a lot about wine. It occurred to me that the military is an easy-overlooked and potentially lucrative market. Wines stocked in the officer’s wardroom were a careful selection of reasonably budget labels but a quick chat to their wine buyer revealed a substantial turnover. At the end of the evening I was presented with a set of cufflinks sporting a bare-breasted maiden, the curious adopted symbol of the navy base HMNZS Philomel. It would make a great wine label. All who attended the function were formally breathalysed by the military police. Happily I passed although it left me wondering what would have happened if I’d failed?

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No American wine invasion ... yet Wine importer/distributor Wilson Neill bravely imported a large range of Californian wines a few decades ago but the wines were expensive and sold slowly. Perhaps the memory of that failed attempt to sell American wines in the New Zealand marketplace has deterred all but a few token US brands being offered here. As someone recently commented when Napa Valley Cabernet was mentioned, “they’re over-oaked, over-priced but thankfully not over here.” A couple of years ago I was contacted by someone in the US trade office asking about the potential for American wine in this market. I replied that the potential was fairly limited but if a wine enthusiast expat were to import a selection of Pinot Noirs from Oregon and The Russian River Valley they would probably be able to sell at least a modest quantity to local Pinot Noir makers. I attended this year’s Independence Day celebrations staged by the US Embassy. It was a grand affair with speeches and a choir. We were offered Bourbon-based cocktails, beer and ... Marisco wine from Marlborough. Well done Brent Marris but it would have been nice to have sipped Californian Zinfandel or an Oregon Pinot.

The Six Nations Wine Challenge Eleven years ago I accepted the role of selector and judge at the Tri-Nations Wine Challenge, a battle of the best from Australia, New Zealand and South Africa. The concept is a simple one. Each selector chooses the best wines in a range of classes and invites the producer to enter the chosen wines in the competition. It’s an honour to be selected and most wineries are happy to participate. In 2011 Argentina and Chile joined in and the event became the Five Nations Wine Challenge. This year we expanded again with the arrival of the US, represented by well known wine critic Dan Berger. In August I travelled to Sydney to judge nearly 600 wines from six countries. This is clearly my favourite wine competition of the year. It provides a very useful forum to benchmark New Zealand’s finest wines against pretty stiff competition. Australia earned first place with 1437 points, New Zealand was second with 1327, South Africa hot on our heels (1302), followed by the US (1191), Argentina (942) and Chile (564). It should be noted that Chile was only able to source around half of the required 109 wine entries. Australia has now won nine times while New Zealand has come first only twice.

Back row, left to right: Huon Hooke (AUS), Judith Kennedy (organiser), Eduardo Brethauer (CH), Middle row: Bob, Dan Berger (US) Front row: Michael Fridjhon (SA), Fabricio Portelli (ARG)

The top wine in each class earns a trophy. A list of the trophy winners is as follows: Sparkling Riesling Aromatic White (not Riesling) Other Whites Sauvignon Blanc Chardonnay White Blends Pinot Noir Merlot & Carmenere Malbec Shiraz Cab Sauv Major reds Other Reds Bord. Blends Red Blends (non Bord.) Dessert


2007 Gloria Ferrer Blanc de Blancs 2012 Pressing Matters R9 2012 Hess Family Colome Torrontes (NZ earned top points in the class) 2009 Gartelmann Benjamin Semillon 2012 Saint Clair Wairau Reserve (NZ earned top points in the class) 2011 Lake’s Folly Chardonnay 2011 Tokara Director’s Reserve Sauvignon Blanc Semillon 2010 Alysian Wines Hallberg Vineyard Crossroads 2010 Villa Maria Reserve Merlot (NZ earned top points in the class) 2011 Trivento Golden Reserve 2010 Kusuda 2009 Kendall-Jackson Grand Reserve 2011 KWV The Mentors Pinotage 2011 Rancho Zabaco Zinfandel 2010 Bodega Noemia 2 Cabernet Merlot 2011 Maryhill Winery Richard Batchelor winemaker red CS, Merlot, Shiraz, CF 2008 DeBortoli Noble One Bot Semillon

Shaky wine courses Earthquakes have cost me dearly. I had a fully booked class in Christchurch a couple of years ago. The Christchurch earthquake struck two weeks before the course and was cancelled. I had a wine course planned for Wellington a couple

of days after the capital had a good shake in August. Several people pulled out of the course although to keep faith with the stoic stayers I ran the course anyway. Only one tiny tremor was felt during the day but not by

me, I’m simply not tuned into subtle shakes. The only quake I ever have experienced was in San Francisco in 1980. I was in a wine warehouse and five-high pallets of wine touched above my head as the

earth heaved. A solid concrete floor came at me like a wave. I was too fascinated to be frightened. That earthquake severely damaged Wente Brothers winery in nearby Livermore. They lost over half their bulk wine.



THE RULES AROUND LABELLING Wine labelling can be tricky. What can (and can’t) winemakers say on their products’ bottles? Lee Suckling finds out.


isual marketing of wine is a contentious issue. Supermarkets sell around 80 percent of wine in New Zealand and it’s extremely difficult to differentiate one’s product when placed on a shelf amongst hundreds of others. Competitive pricing and discounting aside, winemakers look to their labelling to stand out from the crowd. Legalities around wine labelling are precise, as defined by the Ministry of Primary Industries. Not only does the Australia New

Zealand Food Standards Code (ANZFSC) come into account, but many varietal-specific requirements also need to be included on a wine bottle’s label.

Name and variety A winery must accurately describe its product on the label front so it is not misleading, to adhere with Standard 1.2.2 of the Food Standards Code. The name of the wine itself can not be misleading – it is advised you don’t go calling your wine “Otago Hills”


when grown and bottled on the Canterbury Plains. This comes under the Fair Trading Act to ensure “labels tell the truth”. Moreover, the prescribed wine varietal must be included as it identifies the grapes used in the product. This “indicates the true nature” of the wine, as required by the ANZFSC. An ‘85 percent rule’ applies to such varietal labelling for vintages 2007 onwards. “Wine label statements about grape variety, vintage or the area where the grapes were

grown (area of origin) must meet the 85 percent rule,” says the Ministry of Primary Industries. “If the label states that the wine is from a single grape variety, vintage or area of origin, it must be at least 85 percent from that variety, vintage or area e.g. a ‘2007’ wine must contain at least 85 percent of vintage 2007 wine,” the MPI states. “If the label states the wine is a blend of grape varieties, vintages or areas of origin, at least 85 percent of the blend must be from those varieties, vintages or

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Some may speak of range. Others of quality. All speak of

areas e.g. a “Chardonnay Chenin Blanc” must contain [in descending order] at least 85 percent from Chardonnay and Chenin Blanc grapes.” Winegrowers cannot make a claim about variety, area or vintage if their product contains a greater percentage of wine from a different source. “A wine that contains 75 percent Cabernet Sauvignon, 15 percent Pinotage and 10 percent Merlot could be referred to as a ‘Cabernet Pinotage’ or a ‘Cabernet Pinotage Merlot,’” says the MPI, “but not a ‘Cabernet Merlot’.” Note: up to 50ml of yeasts and spirits (used for fortification) can be excluded from calculations for the 85 percent rule. Wine made in 2006 or prior remains subject to a 75 percent rule.

Origin and other claims “Grape wine must be labelled in a manner that clearly indicates the country of origin of the wine,” states New Zealand Legislation under Wine Regulations. The physical address of the supplier (which may be the producing winery, packer, vendor or importer) also needs to be present.

Net contents (i.e. 750ml) must be declared on the wine label, as must an alcohol content declaration and a standard drinks declarations (i.e. 8.7 standard drinks). Unless there is only one bottling run for a particular wine, a lot identification number must also be included on the bottle’s label.

Health claims The Nutrition, Health and Related Claims Standard (1.2.7.) came into law in January 2013, and all food/beverage businesses must wholly comply with it by 18 January 2016. It clamps down on the ways in which companies can make health-related claims on their product packaging – for example, no product can claim itself a preventative to a serious disease on its labelling. Businesses must comply with standards around health and nutrition when using voluntary statements about health on labelling. Unfortunately, nutritional benefits or health claims can’t be made on grape wine containing more than 1.15 percent alcohol. A Christchurch winery got into hot water in August this year

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after promoting its product’s levels of resveratrol (an antioxidant) offered protection against cancer, arthritis, cardiovascular and Alzheimer’s disease. Luckily the winery didn’t make such claims on its packaging – if it had, the company would have breached Standard 1.2.7. A winemaker can, however, state any wine’s energy (kilojoule/ calorie) content, or carbohydrate content, regardless of alcohol volume. Even if your wine is lower in carbohydrates than competitors’ products, you’re not allowed to make marketing statements on your label such as ‘lower in carbs’ or ‘diet’, however, because of the aforementioned Standard. Allergen declarations must be made on wine labels. If a product contains, or is produced with the aid of milk, egg or fish (except isinglass), this must be stated. If sulphites are contained in the wine (>10mg/Kg of suphur dioxide) this also needs to be declared on the label. A independent review of food labelling commissioned by the Australia and New Zealand Food Regulation Ministerial Council in 2011 recommended a “suitably worded warning message about the risks of consuming alcohol while pregnant be mandated on individual containers of alcoholic beverages”. This remains voluntary. It will be reviewed in Decem-

ber 2013 to potentially become regulation in July 2014.

Wine for export Labelling on wine for export isn’t necessarily subject to the ’85 percent rule’. On export labels, claims about vintage, variety and area can be different to New Zealand labels, but suppliers must adhere to import countries’ local labelling regulations. The requirements of many nations will dramatically change a New Zealand wine’s label for export – full details by country can be found at www.

labeling. For wine exported to the EU, for example, “wine variety and vintage may not be shown on labels of wine with non-geographical origin; only wine with a proper geographical indication may display such information,” confirms EU regulations. Some French appellations even forbid the mention of grape varieties on front labels. Required information for exported wine to the EU include statements such as: country of origin and the original name, allergens, actual alcoholic strength, lot number, and contact

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details for the bottler, the consignor or the importer. Additionally, all of such information “must appear on a label in a single field of vision (i.e. can be viewed without having to turn the bottle)”. The Overseas Market Access Requirements (OMAR) must also be notified under the Wine Act when changes are made to a wine label for export out of New Zealand. ■ Sources: Ministry of Primary Industries, Food Standards Australia and New Zealand, ICAP,, Review of Food Labelling Law and Policy.




eing able to compare your own business with others that are similar is one of the best ways of determining if you are on the right track. Hence the benchmarking of both wineries and vineyards via information supplied to Sustainable Winegrowing New Zealand. Every year the sector’s details supplied through the scorecards have allowed analysts to determine where the optimum range for important areas are. What’s more, the benchmarking has been conducted, based on size categories, ensuring comparisons are equable. The BEST Winery model has also been used, with each winery having the chance to benchmark their energy use against an identical winery who is at optimum

performance. All SWNZ winery members have received their individual reports comparing their data with national and regional information.

Wineries The most recent report for wineries compares two years of data, and looks closely at the changes that have occurred between 2011 and 2012. Within the analysis 130 wineries were compared on energy and water use per litre of wine. Electricity use was recorded as total kilowatt hours. For the first time in 2012, wineries also recorded their use of LPG, natural gas, diesel and petrol. Wine production was recorded in both litres and tonnes processed.

The figures from the 130 wineries are broken down into a winery average for four different size categories. As is probably expected, the energy use is affected by the size of the winery, with usage decreasing as the wineries become larger. (See Figure 1.) Being able to compare the performance of a winery against those of a similar size is therefore more valuable than comparing against an industry average, the report says. For the first time the BEST Winery model was included within the analysis. This allowed a winery to compare its energy use to a best practise winery, accounting for differences in product mix, region and other winery characteristics, such as size. “BEST adds further insight

into a wineries performance by establishing a benchmark against an identical winery, rather than simply benchmarking against similarly sized wineries,” the report states. Benchmarking only on wineries of a similar size can lead you into a false sense of security, given each winery has its own unique BEST target. (Region, varietal mix, which impact alongside the size.) Proving that point, the report shows comparisons between three wineries of similar size which appear to have very different energy usage. While it would look as though some appear more energy efficient than others, on closer analysis, they are all either meeting or just about meeting their individual BEST target. “When (a number) of factors are taken into account, through the BEST model, they are shown to be equally energy efficient and that production mix, processes and regional differences account for the significant difference.”


Figure 1: Electricity use by winery size

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Total water use was recorded by the 130 wineries and benchmarks were established as L/L wine and L/t grapes. Benchmarks were established for similar sized

wineries and the results compared to the 2011 vintage. While most regions do not have to pay for their water, making it an inexpensive resource, there are other costs involved. The energy used to pump water and the cost of resource consents has to be taken into consideration. However the benchmarking report says there are concerns that have arisen in the past 12 months, in particular that of water disposal, which is directly related to water use. “Over the next few years disposal systems and resource consents will increase in complexity and become more difficult to obtain; consequently operating costs will increase.” While energy usage was seen to correlate to the size of the winery, it was not a similar situation in terms of water use. (See Figure 2). Comparisons of water and energy usage between 2011 and

2012 make up this benchmarking report. Based on scorecards from 1,621 vineyards, covering a

total of 31,755 ha, this represents approximately 93% of all likely scorecards and 89% of the total

area in the Sustainable Winegrowing NZ programme. In terms of electricity, there

Figure 2: Water uses by winery size


was a change in recordings, with the 2012 usage recorded as total kilowatt hours. Previously it had been recorded as kWh per hectare. Energy use is not an easy area to monitor, given that many vineyards are sited around homesteads, hence difficulties in separating vineyard usage from private. Also with a vast number of vineyards utilising contract staff, there is another difficulty in gaining a true perspective of how much fuel is used.

2011/12 Irrigated vineyards (ha)

Irrigated area (%)

Water use incl. in scorecard (% irri. area)

Water use (mm)1

Water use (mm)1


















Hawkes Bay Wgtn / Wairarapa






















Marlborough Waipara Canterbury



It is easier to record the use of water, particularly where the vineyard irrigates. The scorecards show that last year 1,268 vineyards, covering an area of 26,544ha could be irrigated (84% of the total area). The report has been able to separate how much water was applied and relate that to rainfall data from two locations in each region. Given climatic differences between wine growing regions combined with soil structures, there were obvious differences throughout the country. On average irrigated vineyards applied 84mm of water in the 2011/12 season, which was 15% less than the year before. The industry average was 96mm. This figure is calculated by dividing the total water use by the irrigated area. (see Figure 3). Fifty-five percent of growers (51% in Marlborough) used soil moisture monitoring. On average those using soil moisture monitoring applied 91mm compared to an overall average of 84mm. In Marlborough, the monitored vineyards applied 102mm, compared to 87mm where soil moisture monitoring was not used. (The overall average was 04mm). However these figures change when you change the parameters and assess as a regional or national average, (total quantity of water applied divided by total irrigation area, where larger vineyards have

New Zealand

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Figure 3: Average quantity applied per scorecard

a greater influence on the result) rather than a vineyard average where all vineyards provide equal contributions. In this scenario monitored vineyards applied 92mm and those not monitoring applied 106mm. In Marlborough’s case the monitored vineyards applied 101mm, compared with 117mm on unmonitored vineyards. “Larger vineyards with soil moisture monitoring are applying upwards of 15% less water compared to unmonitored vineyards. Those larger vineyards that are not monitoring are applying 30 – 40% more water compared to similarly unmonitored but smaller vineyards. This suggests that monitoring is considerably more important as vineyards increase in size and management structures become more complex.” In Hawke’s Bay there was a substantial decrease in water applied in the 2011/12 year – 40% less than in the 2010/11 season. That was put down to the high rainfall between October and March. However when weather stats were considered, it showed that the 2009/10 period had even higher rainfall, so there was no obvious reason for the sudden drop in irrigation. The report has developed a soil deficit


model to determine the effective rainfall, by taking into account runoff and percolation below the active root zone. “For example the total rainfall in January 2012 was 104mm, but for an irrigated crop on medium soil only 23mm of this was effective. Eighty millimetres fell on the 7th and 8th of January, with most of this running off.”

There is still some fine-tuning to be undertaken on this model, and a number of factors need to be taken into account, such as soil types, growth stages and irrigation strategy. The full Vineyard Irrigation Report for 2011/12 is available at www., in the members section, under reports.■

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or a wine which is often on the lips of Kiwi winemakers, Chenin Blanc is surprisingly rare in their vineyards. There are just 22.9 producing hectares in New Zealand today, according to the latest statistics from New Zealand Winegrowers. It’s planted everywhere from Gisborne, Martinborough and Marlborough to North Canterbury and Central Otago. And even permitting for a small margin of error, 22.9 hectares is nothing to write home about (Arneis and Gruner Veltliner both have more vines in the ground, with 34 and 36 hectares each, respectively). Mind you, that 22.9 hectares is

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a whopping 3.8 hectares more than last year’s 19.1 hectares of Chenin Blanc planted nationwide. So, where has the vineyard growth been? And in a wine culture obsessed with number crunching - which so often defines which wines, regions and competitions garner the most attention - does it even matter where that Chenin Blanc growth is? Matt Dicey from Mt Difficulty has planted 0.7 of a hectare of Chenin Blanc at the winery’s Long Gully Vineyard in Bannockburn with a new ENTAV clone from Riversun and Nicholas Brown from Black Estate in North Canterbury has planted an experimental couple of rows too. There are others


who are trialling similarly small sections of their vineyards with it. And New Zealand’s greatest Chenin protagonist, James Millton, is so hopeful about the potential of Chenin Blanc now that new clones from France are available here, that he is increasing the overall percentage he grows. Currently, 40% of The Millton Vineyard’s land is planted to Chenin. “The reason I’ve been looking for better material is that I’ve been wanting some looser bunched clones and some of the French ones. About five years ago Riversun brought some in, so we’re just beginning to get grapes now,” says Millton. “It’s now our 30th vintage and

leading up to this time, we’ve been thinking we should come up with something new, but we decided that for every bottle of, say, Albarino – if we planted that – then it would be one bottle of Chenin Blanc we didn’t sell. So we’re replanting older vineyards with new clones of Chenin and we’re going to plant more Chenin in some other smaller sites.” One of the most pivotal things that led to Millton’s decision to grow more Chenin Blanc in Gisborne is that the wines can be made without needing any adjustments in the winery, in terms of acidity, sugar and finings. “If you’re looking for a wine which has a sense of terroir,

then Chenin Blanc is the variety that has it,” Millton says. “I would love to collaborate, to share the joy, passion and intrigue of Chenin Blanc with other likeminded winemakers and make this great classic wine better known to New Zealanders. “The whole point about Chenin is that because it doesn’t have a frilly little dress – ie, lots of aromatics – then you have to create another structure in the wine. Its high acids give it the potential to make profound intelligent wines,” says Millton, who first planted Chenin Blanc in 1978 when growing grapes for Corbans. In 1984, he and Annie made their first Millton Chenin Blanc. “We left the grapes hanging out to get some botrytis and the night we made our Chenin Blanc Late Harvest for the first time, we opened a bottle of 1949 Moulin Touche (a Chenin Blanc) and said to each other: ‘XXX (unprintable), this is outstanding that a wine can have this purity and complexity at that age’ - that’s what turned the lights on for us.” Millton bought that bottle from a private collection in Sydney. He went back and bought more from 1911 (the birth year of winemaker Hatsch Kalberer’s father – they gave that bottle to Hatch) along with bottles from 1949, 1959 and 1963. “I’m a stickler for looking to the old world for inspiration and looking at the soil that you’re standing on and seeing what the potential is. My inspiration is the classics.” Gordon Russell from Esk Valley in Hawke’s Bay has also been making Chenin Blanc for long enough to look back to older wines and see great longevity in them, although Chenin is not always the easiest grape to grow. “It’s very prone to botrytis, so viticulturally it’s not necessarily easy. It needs good sites, low yields and a lot of attention to get the best out of it,” says Russell, who

Matt Dicey, Mt Difficulty winemaker.

has two vineyards from which he sources Chenin Blanc - one prone to botrytis, from which he tends to make sweet wines; the other cool with stony soils, from which he makes dry Chenin Blanc. Further south, big bunches, loose clusters, intense flavours and long hang time are the story of Chenin Blanc at Mt Difficulty in Bannockburn after two harvests. “It’s early days and we don’t have any expectations because there is no history for us of Chenin Blanc,” says winemaker Matt Dicey. “We thought it would have good suitability for our environment because of how we’ve seen it operating in France. We want to let the grapes speak for themselves and influence the wines we made over five years or so, then we can formulate a style and go from there,” Dicey says. The first vintage was 2012. Thanks to late ripening and long

hang time, the residual sugar in the 2012 finished wine was 55 grams per litre but this year the brix were slightly lower, although picking time was again at the tail end of the season, so RS will be around the 50 gram mark with pH of about 3. “We haven’t wanted to muck with the wine. It has much higher malic acid than Riesling, so it’s a more active acidity than what we’ve seen out of New Zealand. “It’s a completely different style. The main aim is to see where the mature vines lead us stylistically. We want the vineyard to drive our decisions rather than us drive the vineyard decisions. It’s only season two for us here in Central but we think we’d like to plant more because the wine is good.” Gordon Russell recalls great Chenin Blancs being made at Collard’s Wines in West Auckland in the 1980s, but says that, even then,

the variety was underrated, due to being used as a bit of a workhorse grape. “It was usually used as a bulk wine and blended with Muller Thurgau, so its own expression was lost, but Collard’s Wines made incredible stand alone varietal Chenin Blancs, which some of us remember. Chenin’s beauty then skipped a generation or two and now it’s come round again, so that a lot of new winemakers are looking, and thinking, ‘Why are we making Gruner-Veltliner, Arneis and Fiano, which in some respects are very minor global varieties, when Chenin Blanc is having a heyday in South Africa and it’s always popular in French restaurants.” “Chenin is a potentially better example of a great white grape than some of these others that are coming into vogue,” says Russell. ■





New Zealand Viticulturist and Horticulturist of the Year, organiser of this year’s Bragato Conference, former chair of the Hawke’s Bay Focus Vineyard Committee, on the New Zealand Winegrowers’ research committee, a Master of Science – Emma Taylor is as busy as she is bright. Currently project manager for Villa Maria, the 36-year-old has

Villa Maria’s project manager Emma Taylor is one busy woman. The former ‘city girl’ is now one of the stars of viticulture.

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FOR THE been with the company for coming up 14 years. Originally a city girl, she says she could never have imagined herself working in vineyards when she left Corran School in Auckland to study geography at the University of Otago. It was her Master’s degree in physical geography that steered her into viticulture. “I’d been watching Country Calendar on James Millton and his viticultural practices and wondered what was different about the soils on his organic Gisborne vineyard.” What the owner of Millton Vineyards and Winery had to say on the television programme informed Emma’s thesis topic – an investigation into copper accumulation in vineyard soils. With the help of a $2000 New Zealand Winegrowers’ grant, she travelled to New Zealand’s major wine regions to collect over 1000 soil samples. Emma found high accumulations of copper in some very old vineyards but none that were at toxic levels. “At the time, the New Zealand industry was starting to turn away from copper,” she says. Undertaking the research, the 21-year-old was struck by how friendly growers were. “They were so helpful and even asked my opinion about their grapes and what they should be using for sprays. I thought, wow, these people are hungry for information. “I still find everyone in the industry very open-minded. It’s not dominated by people who have been in it for generations and think they know it all.” Impressed by the attitudes she’d encountered, Emma decided

to pursue a career in viticulture. Her start with Villa Maria was a one-off seasonal job, working the 2000 vintage in Hawke’s Bay. After six months she was offered a cadetship, which covered many more aspects of the industry. At the time, the company’s head of sales, head winemaker and head viticulturist roles were filled by women. “That helped make me feel there was nothing in the industry women couldn’t do. George Fistonich, Villa Maria’s owner, is not afraid to let people show their strengths. I was only 25 years old when he appointed me company viticulturist. That was a really big call at the time.” Emma had been working as a research viticulturist for Villa Maria when she and husband Chris Meynell decided it was time for an OE. They were on their travels when Fistonich phoned to ask if she was interested in the position of company viticulturist. They agreed she would start the job in eight months for the 2004 harvest in Hawke’s Bay. While Villa Maria takes more grapes from Marlborough, the company’s largest acreage is in Hawke’s Bay. “It owns a quarter of Gimblett Gravels, and that’s really important to us.” Emma held the company viticulturist’s role for four years until taking parental leave. Living in Napier, the couple now have three daughters – Ellie (6), Olivia (5) and Kate (2). Ellie was four months old when Emma won New Zealand Viticulturist of the Year. Because Meynell was a teacher – he is now principal of Marewa School – they

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worked the travel prize around school holidays, exploring the Hunter Valley, Barossa Valley and Mornington Peninsula wine regions. “I’m really glad to have focused on Australian wine regions and can appreciate the New Zealand industry’s collaboration with the South Australia Research and Development Institute.” After maternity leave, Emma took on the viticulture project manager’s role, assessing major purchases and developments. Initially based at Vidal’s in Hastings, she is delighted to be surrounded now by vineyards at Te Awa Estate, purchased by Villa Maria in October last year. “I think Hawke’s Bay is probably the best place in New Zealand. It’s got an amazing climate, offers so many activities and, combined, Napier and Hastings have quite a large population.

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“In terms of its viticulture, Hawke’s Bay is a complicated region with so many subregions and varieties. That makes it hard to tell a regional story because other wine regions promote a single variety. “But we’re the fruit bowl of New Zealand and the fruit bowl of varieties. “We do fantastic Chardonnays, great Syrahs and Bordeaux blends. What’s wrong with telling all those stories? “If the GI (Geographic Indicators) Bill goes through, that may help us do that.” Emma continues to welcome the challenges that come with the variety in her work. “The beauty of viticulture,” she says, “is that every site is different and responds differently to different practices. I wouldn’t want to be doing anything else.” ■




fter 30 years the IWC is making a fundamental change in its judging schedule. Organisers realise that judging in April does not fit with the Southern Hemisphere production or promotional schedules - releasing results in May, trophies in June and champions in September is too late in the wines’ promotional schedule. So from the 2014 competition, tasting will take place on two separate occasions:  IWC 2014 Tranche 1 will take place in November 2013. IWC 2014 Tranche 2, including trophy judging, will take place in April 2014  A producer can then decide which Tranche to enter but can only enter a wine of a particular vintage once. However, different vintages of a particular wine may be entered in the same IWC year.  Trance 1 results will be announced on December 4, 2013 up to Gold medal status. Trance 2 results will be announced on May 7, 2014 up to Gold medal status.  Those wines that have won a Gold medal in Tranche 1 will then be held in temperature-controlled storage by the IWC until April. Then these wines will be flighted with Gold medal wines from Tranche 2 to obtain the Trophies, International Trophies and Champions.  Trophies will then be announced at an IWC Event held in May 2014. Champions and the IWC Merchant Awards will be announced at the IWC Gala Awards Dinner in July 2014. ■

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f there was a star at this year’s Romeo Bragato Wine Awards, it would have to be Central Otago’s Akarua Vineyard. Not only did it take out the Champion Pinot Noir trophy, it also won Champion Wine of the Show, the Sustainability Trophy, plus Champion Sparkling Wine. Akarua Vineyard is situated in the beautiful Bannockburn sub region. The 50ha vineyard is separated into three distinct blocks, and produces not only Pinot Noir, but also Chardonnay, Riesling and Pinot Gris. Vineyard Manager Mark Naismith says the trophies were a tribute the property and the Central Otago sub region. “Our aim at Akarua vineyard is to supply our winemaking team with premium quality fruit that expresses the unique terroir of our site.” Winemaker Matt Connelll said the fruit quality from 2011 stood out early on. “While Pinot Noirs from the 2010 vintage in Central Otago were noted for their power and concentration, the cooler 2011 vintage reflected in the wine,” he said. “The trophy winning wine has captivating aromatics of florals and spice, a beautifully poised palate that is complex, with excellent fruit weight and fine tannins.” The Akarua vineyard was first planted in 1996 and is the largest family owned estate in Central Otago. ■

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BRAGATO WINE AWARDS RESULTS Champion Wine of Show and Bragato Trophy Winner Akarua Pinot Noir 2011 Akarua – Central Otago Mark Naismith Richard Smart Trophy and Reserve Champion Wine Villa Maria Single Vineyard Taylors Pass Chardonnay 2011 Taylors Pass Vineyard - Marlborough Ian Buck Friedrich Wohnsiedler Trophy and Champion Riesling Wither Hills Cellar Release Kerseley Riesling 2012 Kerseley - Marlborough Wendy and Owen Glover Brother Cyprian Trophy and Champion Pinot Gris Thornbury Waipara Pinot Gris 2013 Waiata Vineyard - Waipara Royce Mckean New Zealand Wine Cellars Spence Brothers Trophy and Champion Sauvignon Blanc Saint Clair Pioneer Block 1 Foundation Sauvignon Blanc 2012 Swamp Road Vineyard - Marlborough Phillip & Cheryl Sowman Bill Irwin Trophy and Champion Chardonnay Villa Maria Single Vineyard Taylors Pass Chardonnay 2011 Tay l o r s Pa ss Vi n eya rd Marlborough Ian Buck Mike Wolter Memorial Trophy and Champion Pinot Noir Akarua Pinot Noir 2011 Akarua – Central Otago Mark Naismith


Alan Limmer Trophy and Champion Syrah Vidal Legacy Series Gimblett Gravels Syrah 2009 Omahu Gravels Vineyard – Hawkes Bay Phil Holden Tom Mcdonald Memorial Trophy and Champion Classical Red Wine Villa Maria Reserve Gimblett Gravels Cabernet Sauvignon Merlot 2010 Vidal Vineyard - Hawkes Bay Phil Holden Champion Sparkling Akarua Rosé Brut NV Akarua – Central Otago Mark Naismith Champion Gewürztraminer Zephyr Gewürztraminer 2012 Glover Family Vineyards - Marlborough Owen Glover Champion Other White Wine Coopers Creek Sv Gisborne Albariño Bell-Ringer 2013 Bell Vineyard – Gisborne Doug and Delwyn Bell Champion Other Red Wine Waimea Trev’s Red 2012 Waimea Estates Nelson Ltd Trevor and Ben Bolitho Champion Rosé Clearview Black Reef Blush Clearview Estate Tim Turvey And Helma Van Den Berg Champion Dessert Villa Maria Reserve Marlborough Noble Riesling 2012 Roncenvin Estate Vineyard – Marlborough Chris Fletcher Sustainability Trophy Akarua Pinot Noir 2011 Akarua – Central Otago Mark Naismith

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t is widely recognised that the wine industry depends heavily on employing seasonal workers. What may come as more of a surprise is that seasonal employment is not a recognised category of employment under the Employment Relations Act (ERA). This article clarifies the nature of seasonal employment, and sets out tips for employers.

What is seasonal employment? Seasonal employment is not recognised by the ERA as a category of employment. Rather, seasonal employment is likely to fall within the legal category of fixed term employment or casual employment. It is important to have written agreements with all employees, identifying whether they are permanent, fixed term or casual. An employment relationship is defined by its “real nature”, rather than the associated paperwork. This means that it is important to correctly categorise the true nature of employment at the outset, when hiring for the season.

Fixed term employment Seasonal employment is fixed term employment if an individuals’ employment will end: on the occurrence of specified event (for example, the end of a season); or at the conclusion of a specified project (for example, at the end of

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harvest). Before entering into a fixed term employment, an employer is required to: advise the employee when or how their employment will end, and the reason for it ending in that way; and have genuine reasons based on reasonable grounds for specifying the employment of an employee is to end in that particular way. A good example of a genuine reason for a fixed term employment relationship is where an employer takes on extra staff temporarily for the length of time it will take to harvest. On the other hand, employing an individual for the purpose of establishing their suitability for permanent employment is not a genuine reason for a fixed term employment relationship. (Put another way, fixed term employment cannot be used as a probationary period or “trial”.) Where a fixed term employment agreement is not based on genuine reason, the employment relationship will be deemed permanent and any termination at the employer’s initiative will be a dismissal, rather than the expiry of a fixed term. An employer with good reason to employ on a fixed term basis should ensure that the employee’s fixed term employment agreement clearly sets out the way in which the employment relationship will end, and the reasons for it ending in that way. Failure to do so will deem the employment


relationship permanent. An employee’s fixed term employment can be renewed before its expiry date for another fixed term where there is genuine reason based on reasonable grounds to enter into another fixed term employment relationship. For example, an individual initially employed to harvest for the season may be offered another month’s work to assist with processing. However, there is a limit to how frequently renewal may reasonably occur before an employment relationship becomes permanent. Earlier this year the Employment Court ruled in the Talleys Group case that an employer who employed an employee on a fixed term basis to perform seasonal tasks, then seamlessly re-engaged the employee consistently over a long period of time to work on other seasonal tasks, did not have a genuine reason for fixed term employment. In that case, the employer was a seafood processor, and each “season” of work related to different processing work, according to catch variety. The Court held that the employee who had worked for Talleys more or less continuously for a number of years was in reality a permanent employee, and her employment relationship was of indefinite duration.

Casual employment Casual employment is another legally recognised category of

employment. The following characteristics are indicators of a genuine casual employment relationship: employment is for short periods, for specific purposes, on an “as and when required” basis; there is no regularity or continuity of work; the employee is free to work for others; the employer offers no guarantee of future work; work is not allocated to the employee in advance (for example, by a roster); either party can terminate the employment relationship “on the day” without providing notice of a minimum period to the other; and/or t h e r e ’ s n o l e g i t i m a te expectation of ongoing employment. Each time a casual employee goes to work counts as a separate engagement with their employer. A casual employment relationship may change over time to become permanent in the event that engagements become regular or routine. A casual employment agreement should set out clearly that the employee is employment as a casual employee on an irregular, intermittent basis, and that further employment is not guaranteed. Casual employees are entitled to annual leave, which is calculated at eight percent of their gross earnings and paid at the same time as their wage. ■



ince 2009, NZ Tube Mills product development engineers have worked closely with winegrowers and viticulturists to develop EcoTrellis steel posts and wire clips. Their research involved intensive testing of steel posts used in New Zealand vineyards to analyse success and failure rates in extreme weather conditions and thus determine a safety range for the post design. EcoTrellis offers a complete vineyard trellising solution using posts, clips and strainers as relevant to site location. It’s the perfect system for both new vineyard developments and the replacement of damaged wooden posts. Growers are no longer allowed to use wooden posts in organic vineyard developments in Australia or New Zealand. EcoTrellis offers an ideal alternative and wineries such as

Villa Maria and Pegasus Bay are using EcoTrellis for the development of new organic vineyards. Pernod Ricard has already been using EcoTrellis in Marlborough for some time for their organic plantings. In Marlborough EcoTrellis works closely with Marcus Wickham. Together they have just released a new Self Releasing Rotalock Vineyard clip which is designed to work with the KLIMA machine. EcoTrellis has also secured some major vineyard contracts with the steel posts including Ara Wines in Marlborough and NZ Vineyard Estates in Central Otago. Both of these new developments are planned for this spring. ■



COOPERS PIONEERS MARSANNE Pioneering and adventurous or off the track? Alternative varieties polarize people but without them the world of wine would shrink, writes Joelle Thomson.


aste is one thing but pronounceability of new and unheard of experimental wines is at least as important, says winemaker Simon Nunns, who has just released what is thought to be New Zealand’s first single varietal Marsanne – the 2013 Coopers Creek Gisborne Marsanne Allison. The 13% alcohol wine is bone dry at 2.5 grams per litre of residual sugar and acid of 6.8 grams. It was made with grapes grown on Doug and Delwyn Bell’s Gisborne vineyard and is named after Doug’s Curtiss Kittyhawk, which is named – you guessed it – Allison. Reconditioned V12 warbirds aside, the wine has been a long time coming. “The grapes have been waiting for us to use since 2011; a vintage which we didn’t harvest because they went rotten and the same happened in 2012. It’s a really difficult grape because in those two wet years when everything else was 20 brix, the Marsanne was probably about 16 and it was going rotten. So it’s going to be a decidedly challenging grape for the future,” says Nunns. Conversely, in 2013 the fruit was pristine. Nunns says they were able to get it as ripe as they wanted this year. Based on the last three vintages he predicts there will be difficult years for Marsanne. There may also be other areas to search for in terms of Marsanne’s suitability. “Drier areas are worth a crack but the variety also needs relative heat.”

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Simon Nunns

While time on the vine may counter the heat issue, at least in part, he says this won’t fix that issue entirely because it lags behind the other varieties by at least a week or two. Marsanne is still in the trial and error category for Nunns; particularly based on 2011 and 2012. While Nunns is particularly keen to keep trialling Marsanne, he concedes its challenges. “I’m interested to see what it can do. It might be that it really lends itself to blending with other varieties but certainly that’s not the plan at the moment.” In contrast, Albarino is a wine Nunns is extremely enthusiastic about. Like many winemakers in New Zealand today, he has experimented with making Viognier, Arneis and Gruner Veltliner, among others, but of all those


he has tried it’s the Alabarino that ticks the most boxes. “Without a shadow of a doubt Albarino is our most promising newcomer. When people look at Arneis, Gruner Veltliner and Viognier, they don’t know how to pronounce any of them whereas they look at Albarino and it has the right combination of vowels and consonants. It’s easy to say and seems to roll off the tongue, so people are more enthusiastic about buying it. And it’s tasty as well.” The Coopers Creek Sv Gisborne Albarino BellRinger has been stacking up the medals and trophies in the past few years. Also grown on Doug and Delwyn Bell’s property, it recently won t h e Ro m e o Bragato Trophy for Champion Other White Wine. ■ jthomson@

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ould your business withstand the effects of product contamination or tampering, leading to a potential product recall, brand damage and loss of income? The recent Fonterra crisis has highlighted the importance of businesses having a robust product recall programme and, as part of their risk management programme, insurance protection for contaminated products, recall costs, loss of income and access to an external crisis management consultant. Companies operating in the food and beverage industry are vulnerable to product contamination, tamper or extortion. Regardless of how sophisticated their food safety programme and

quality management plans are, both accidental contaminations and product tamperings can and do occur. In some cases the problem has had a devastating effect on the company’s reputation and financial viability, especially when the contamination has the potential to cause bodily injury, or affects a large volume of stock. A single incident and any subsequent media coverage can pose a significant threat to consumer confidence, hard-won retail space, important contracts, market share, brand credibility, reputation and profit. Overseas markets are now looking for their suppliers to have the necessary protection and procedures in place in

Suppliers of Certified Vines Viticultural expertise and advice. Order now for 2014 Kate Gibbs (B.Hort.Sci) STANMORE FARM LTD RD1 Te Horo, Otaki Ph 0800 STANMORE or 027 440 9814 Email: Web:

70   // 


Garry Mooney

order to trade with them. Supermarkets in particular are starting to request Recall & Contamination Insurance is included in their supplier’s insurance program. Contaminated products insurance is available to help manage the effects of a recall but importantly also includes the availability of crisis management and public relation consultants 24/7 to assist and advise on any product or potential product contamination issue.

Product Contamination/ Recall Insurance Insured Events: • Accidental Contamination – results or has resulted in bodily injury or property damage. • Adverse Publicity – reporting of an actual or alleged accidental contamination and/or malicious product tampering where the

insured product is specifically named. • 3rd Party Supplied Impaired Ingredients – intentional and wrongful but not malicious contaminations or impairments which occur as a result of an ingredient supplied by a third party. • Malicious Product Tampering – malicious alteration of an insured product(s). • Product Extortion – threat to commit malicious product tampering that is communicated to the insured for the purpose of demanding money, property or services. • Governmental Recall – an official recall order that has been issued or is imminent by the competent authorities in order to comply with food safety regulations. Coverage Includes: • Recall costs • Replacement costs • Rehabilitation expenses

• Business interruption (loss of gross profit) • Product extortion costs • Consultant and advisory costs • Third party recall costs • Fines and penalties

Wine Contamination Claims (New Zealand) • Threat of product tampering; costs of crisis consultants fees and product testing - $244,365. • Secondary fermentation of wine exported to Australia – costs of testing and recall/replacement of batches $21,237. • Crystals discovered in 12,231 bottles of 2009 Sav Blanc – costs of testing, recall and replacement $40,146. • Insured product contaminated by detergents contained in a filter unit – costs of testing, product replacement $199,161. • The above incidents involved:

Engagement of crisis consultants Deployment of overseas claims specialists Cross-border communication in affected countries Product recalls now occur more frequently and have become more costly than ever before. Brand and reputation management has never been more critical. Companies with both a pre and post incident product recall strategy, in combination with adequate insurance protection, are usually in the best position if a recall was to occur. It is also prudent to highlight that the use of a contract wine maker or bottling company does not act as protection as they will exclude under contract all liability relating to consequential losses or recall costs in the event of a contamination occurring at their premises. ■


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inning his year’s New Zealand Bragato Exchange scholarship will give EIT student Dan Andrews his first taste of overseas travel. In the third year of his Bachelor of Viticulture and Bachelor of Wine Science Concurrent Degree, Dan is eagerly anticipating a month exploring Italy’s wine regions early next year. As part of the trip, he will visit Scuola Enoligica di Conegliano, Italy’s premier viticultural educator and the alma mater of Romeo Bragato – the viticulturist who, more than a century ago, recognised and promoted New Zealand’s potential as a winegrowing country. After leaving Auckland Grammar, Dan gained his Bachelor of Commerce at the University of Auckland and worked in marketing for several years. It was losing his mother to cancer that triggered a change of perspective. Not wanting to continue in a

“behind-the-desk job”, he decided to pursue wine studies and was still weighing up tertiary educators when he met Steve Smith, Master of Wine and Craggy Range’s director of wine and viticulture, at a wine tasting and dinner hosted by his group of young Auckland professionals. Pointing to its industryfocused study programmes, Smith encouraged Dan to enrol at EIT and offered him a part-time position working at Craggy Range’s cellar door. After commerce, Dan found the science a big challenge, particularly in the first year of his degree studies, but says he benefitted from small classes and easy access to lecturers. “Now I’m involved in more practicals. This year, for example, I worked in the Craggy Range winery as part of my studies.” The 26-year-old feels he’s made the right decision in pursuing something he feels passionate about. His is aiming for a job that combines working in a vineyard and a winery. But after he

Is your brand as good as your wine?

graduates, his immediate goal is to work vintages in wine regions in the northern and southern hemispheres. “After seven years of

degree study, it will be time for travel. I’ve got itchy feet and given that I haven’t been overseas, I really want to do that for a while.” EIT and the Rotary Club of Greenmeadows are co-sponsors of the Bragato Exchange Scholarship. This year’s Italian winner, Alice Bottarel visited wine regions in New Zealand before attending the Romeo Bragato Conference in Blenheim. ■ maryshanahan173@gmail.coM

Dan Andrews is looking forward to a month exploring wine regions in Italy.

Give your quality wine the label, brand and attention it deserves. For great design of labels, logos and all marketing material call Mark at Tomtom Design now and discuss how to create the right impression.

Tel 03 445 4998

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Six Nations Wine Challenge Presentation and Trophy dinner -

Hawke’s Bay Winegrowers AGM


Hawke’s Bay Opera House, 1st floor, 3pm. RSVP james@ by Oct 29.




Marlborough Wine Weekend

6th Hong Kong International Wine and Spirits Fair


Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre

Wineworks Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc yacht race to Wellington

Air New Zealand Wine Awards judging Auckland

4-7 Plant & Food Research Plant Dormancy Symposium Auckland

1-10 Hawke’s Bay Fine Wine and Food Classic Hawke’s Bay. Details

9 Marlborough Wine Show Awards dinner Blenheim

17 Toast Martinborough

23 Air New Zealand Wine Awards dinner Queenstown

28 Wine Marlborough AGM Marlborough Research Centre Theatre - time to be confirmed


Christchurch/South Island Wine and Food Festival Christchurch


Central Otago Pinot Noir Celebration Central Otago


30th Anniversary Marlborough Wine and Food Festival NZ WINEGROWER  OCTOBER/NOVEMBER 2013  //   73






New Release Trade Testing (London)


T, M, C

November 5


Wine Gang (London)


T, M, C

November 9


Three Winemen (Manchester)


T, M, C

November 23 & 24


Three Wine Men (London)


T, M, C

December 7 & 8


Annual Trade and Consumer Tasting (London)


T, M, C

January 21


Annual Trade and Consumer Trading (Dublin)


T, M, C

January 23


New Zealand Wine Fair (Tokyo)


T, M, C

February 17


New Zealand Wine Fair (Osaka)


T, M, C

February 19


RegioNZ By The Glass (Melbourne)


T, M, C

February 18


RegioNZ By The Glass (Sydney)


T, M, C

February 20

W=Winery A=Agent NZW=NZ Winegrowers

2029-08 layout_global_P 9/23/08 9:32 AM Page 1








M=Media T=Trade C=Consumer


EVENT DATE 2013/2014




Region (Actual)


2015 (forecast)

% of Total





Hawkes Bay
















Wairarapa / Wellington








Auckland / Northland




Waikato / Bay of Plenty




National Total



Exports up again Exports for the 11 months to end of May 2013 (Moving Annual Total)


Litres (m)


United Kingdom



















New Zealand’s total producing vineyard will increase by only 0.5% over the next 2 years. This table shows the variation for major varieties (in Ha), with % change and percentage of total in 2012.































Hong Kong




































% producing area


% producing area

Sauvignon Blanc





Pinot Noir







Pinot Gris



























Cabernet Sauv















Cabernet Franc








All other varieties









Aklnd / Nthlnd



Canterbury Gisborne





50.01 and over













































Wairarapa / Wgtn












Average $/L 2012 $4.99


Hawkes Bay

Waikato / BoP

Average $/L 2013


*(npr = not previously recorded separately) *n.c. = no change


RESEARCH SUPPLEMENT Information and Updates on NZ Winegrowers Research Programmes. Associate Editors: Dr Simon Hooker, General Manager Research and Innovation

A regular feature at the back of each issue of WineGrower to inform industry people about research projects being undertaken for their benefit. Newly approved projects (when available) are briefly summarised in the first section ‘Introducing New Projects’. Longer reports in the section headed ‘Progress Reports’, will describe what has been achieved so far. Scientists in charge of each project have been asked to make these reports reader-friendly rather than to follow the usual format of scientific papers. When completed, each project will be reported in full detail, with references, on the website:

LIST OF PROJECTS Quality Wine Styles for Existing and Developing Markets Literature review of grape and wine anthocyanins and phenolics to give viticulturists and winemakers knowledge Lincoln University (Roland Harrison) Preliminary investigation of factors responsible for variability in tartaric acid additions to Pinot noir Lincoln University (Roland Harrison) Manipulation of methoxypyrazine (MP) levels in Sauvignon blanc wine through leaf and rachis additions Plant and Food Research (Claire Grose) Influence of juice pH on thiol production Plant and Food Research (Claire Grose)

Chinese consumers’ preferences and attitudes to wine: Review of literature including Chinese Language Publications Plant and Food Research (Roger Harker)

Pests and Disease Implementation of Virus Elimination Strategy Various (Nick Hoskins – Project Manager) Supported by MPI Sustainable Farming Fund Review of New Zealand and other related trunk disease information Plant and Food Research (Dion Mundy) Botrytis decision support (BDS) industry training & botrytis sampling protocols Plant and Food Research (Rob Beresford)

Identification of natural genetic variation in grapevine contributing to pathogen resistance Lincoln University (Chris Winefield)

Understanding causes of slip skin Plant and Food Research (Rob Beresford)

Sensory effects of defoliation timing and method on Sauvignon blanc, Chardonnay, Merlot, and Cabernet Sauvignon Eastern Institute of Technology (EIT) (Mark Krasnow)

Organic Focus Vineyard Project Organic Winegrowers New Zealand (Rebecca Reider) Supported by MPI Sustainable Farming Fund

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Effects of undervine vegetation management on grape quality, vine performance, grape composition, and soil properties Eastern Institute of Technology (EIT) (Mark Krasnow)

Cost Reduction/Increased Profitability New opportunities for sustainable grape thinning Plant and Food Research (Mike Trought) Supported by MPI Sustainable Farming Fund Reduced berry size and Botrytis tolerance through trauma to the vine Plant and Food Research (Mike Trought)


The impact of harvest and processing techniques on flavour creation in sauvignon blanc Grose C, Martin D, Trought M, Agnew R, Stuart L and Haycock S The New Zealand Institute for Plant & Food Research Limited (PFR), Marlborough Wine Research Centre, Blenheim 11-118 Previous research from the Harvest Technologies milestone in the joint Plant & Food Research/New Zealand Winegrowers Grape and Wine Research Programme in 2011 and 2012 has shown that grape harvesting and processing methods can influence flavour and aromas in Sauvignon Blanc wine. The characteristic thiol-related flavours of Sauvignon Blanc wine (tropical, sweaty, passionfruit) are lower in wines made from handharvested, whole bunch pressed grapes than in those from machine-harvested grapes. The first part of this New Zealand Winegrowerfunded project investigates manipulating wine flavour and aroma using harvest and processing

methods applied to fruit at harvest. The second part of the project investigates whether thiol content of Sauvignon Blanc wine can be manipulated by varying juice exposure to oxidation during grape harvesting. High and low additions of sulphur and/or ascorbic acid were added to grapes at harvest using commercial-scale grape processing. The project was undertaken in collaboration with Saint Clair Family Estate, using two Marlborough vineyard sites. One site with high thiol potential was located in Dillons Point, Lower Wairau, and the second site, potentially low in thiols, was located at Benmorven in the Southern Valleys.

Sensory evaluation of wines at the Marlborough Research Centre Sensory evaluation of the wines was carried out at the Marlborough Research Centre in December 2012 by our panel of Marlborough wine industry professionals. This showed wines made from the potentially high thiol site exhibited more intense thiol-related flavours (passionfruit/sweet sweaty and boxwood/broom) than wines from the potentially low thiol site. The study suggests choice of fruit processing method is a powerful tool for manipulating the sensory properties of wines made from fruit with high thiol potential, while the influence of


fruit processing method on wines made using fruit with low thiol potential is reduced. The hand-harvested, whole bunch pressed treatment was found to minimise the thiol potential of the fruit in the resulting wines. These wines were consistently judged as the least typical of a Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc wine. Overall, findings reveal that harvest and fruit processing methods used before fermentation affect all sensory aspects including flavour, taste and mouthfeel properties of

the resulting wines. Results from investigating juice exposure to oxidation at harvest indicated that high sulphur with no ascorbic acid addition to harvested fruit before pressing limited the expression of thiol potential of the juice in the resulting wines. The outcome of this study will help to provide wine producers with tools to modify flavour and aroma in Sauvignon blanc wine to achieve desired wine styles.

Acknowledgements This project has been funded by New Zealand Winegrowers as part of the joint Grape and Wine Research Programme with Plant & Food Research. We thank Saint Clair Family Estate for providing the vineyard, fruit and juices used in this project, and Marlborough wine industry panellists for their sensory evaluation. Assistance of Marlborough Research Centre staff is acknowledged.

Influence of juice pH on thiol production Claire Grose, Damian Martin, Abby Albright, Sharlene Haycock and Lily Stuart The New Zealand Institute for Plant & Food Research Limited (PFR), Marlborough Wine Research Centre, Blenheim 12-108 Research from the New Zealand Grape and Wine Programme, a joint investment by Plant & Food Research and New Zealand Winegrowers, has shown that length of skin contact time and antioxidant addition regimes during grape harvesting and processing can influence the characteristic thiol-related flavours (tropical, sweaty, passionfruit) of Sauvignon Blanc wine. During fruit processing, as skin contact time is extended, there is an increase in extraction of potassium from the grape skins, with a corresponding increase in juice pH. Likewise, as pressures and duration of grape pressing increase, juice composition changes as potassium concentrations increase and organic acid concentrations decrease. The net result is higher pH juice from later/

78   // 

harder press fractions. Juice pH and potassium imbalances can affect viable yeast populations, yeast metabolisms and fermentation rates. These yeast metabolisms and fermentation rates play a role in volatile thiol production, but how much influence they have is still unresolved. Further research is required to determine whether thiol production is being modified by a “skin contact/pressing” effect independently of a “juice pH” effect, or whether the influence of pH on yeast metabolisms is the more influential factor in volatile thiol production. The objective of our current project is to determine the influence of changing juice pH on wine volatile thiol production by additions to juice pre fermentation, or by manipulating


skin contact time during grape processing. This research has been made possible by funding from New Zealand Winegrowers. In a first experiment, juice pH was manipulated before fermentation by the addition of varying proportions of a) potassium bicarbonate or b) heavy press fractions from a commercial press. A second experiment was run in parallel, to assess the effects of varying lengths of skin contact time in association with two different sulphur dioxide addition regimes (50ppm and 80ppm) on juice pH and subsequent wine composition. Modified juices were fermented under controlled conditions and the wines have been chemically analysed for major constituents, volatile thiols and methoxypyrazines.

Figure 1: The influence of changing juice pH with two additions of sulphur (SO2) and three skin contact times on thiol production in the resulting Sauvignon blanc wines. In experiment 2, the higher sulphur dioxide (SO2) addition of 80 ppm for all three skin contact times (0, 1 and 3 hours) significantly decreased thiol concentration in the wine (Figure 1). This is consistent with results from related antioxidant addition experiments within the Grape and Wine Programme.

Potassium bicarbonate (KHCO3)

Figure 2: Effect of potassium bicarbonate additions on Sauvignon blanc wine thiol production. Figure 3: Effect of heavy press fraction additions on Sauvignon Blanc wine thiol production.

Both potassium bicarbonate (Figure 2) and heavy press fraction additions (Figure 3) increased juice pH and generally decreased thiol production in the wine. These preliminary results require further analysis and investigation. Outcomes from this research will provide industry with tools to optimise thiol concentrations in Sauvignon blanc wine through manipulation of juice pH during processing or before fermentation. This will help to reinforce New Zealand’s competitive edge and unique posi-

tion as a world leader in premium Sauvignon blanc wine production.

Acknowledgements This work was made possible by funding from New Zealand Winegrowers. The work is part of the New Zealand Grape and Wine Research Programme, a joint investment by Plant & Food Research and NZ Winegrower. Saint Clair Family Estate for providing the fruit and juices used in this project. Colleagues at Plant & Food Research.

Understanding causes of slip skin Rob Beresford, Dion Mundy, Peter Wood and Monica Holland Plant & Food Research, Auckland, Marlborough and Hawke’s Bay 11-119 Slip skin is a symptom of Botrytis cinerea infection of grape berries and shows up as detachment of the grape skin from the pulp of the berry. It is a problem for the New Zealand wine industry because, in just a few days, under certain weather conditions, it can severely affect apparently healthy grapes, making them unusable for wine making. Given this background, New Zealand Winegrowers initiated and funded a new project and contracted Plant & Food Research (PFR) to investigate the environmental factors that can lead to slip skin development. Plant & Food

Research hypothesised that the disease develops when near-ripe grape berries with latent B. cinerea infection are subjected to wetting. Water dilutes the sugar content of berries, allowing B. cinerea to reactivate and produce enzymes that cause the detachment of the berry skin. We have been testing this hypothesis on Pinot Noir grapes in vineyards in Auckland, Hawke’s Bay and Marlborough with the aim of developing practical experimental methods for studying slip skin in the vineyard environment. To emulate wet weather conditions suitable for slip skin development we either covered

bunches attached to the vine with plastic bags for several days or soaked detached bunches in the laboratory and then incubated them for several days. These methods were applied to near-ripe grapes (>20oBrix). To manipulate latent B. cinerea infections in grape bunches, the fungicide Switch® was applied to some treatments at pre-bunch closure (PBC) to control existing latent infections and some treatments were deliberately inoculated at véraison with B. cinerea to establish new latent infections in a controlled way. These trials successfully determined that substantial wetting, akin to


rainfall, is required before for slip skin will develop. Soaking produced slip skin symptoms, but incubation in plastic bags did not. In the field, we believe a substantial period of rainfall or heavy irrigation would be required to provide sufficient wetting. We also showed that latent B. cinereainfection is required before slip skin will develop. Either an application of a fungicide known to control latent infections at PBC or lack of B. cinerea inoculation at véraison substantially reduced the incidence of slip skin. Our conclusions from these trials are that slip skin develops when grape berries with latent B. cinerea infection take up water rapidly. Slip skin and normal botrytis bunch rot are related because both result from B. cinerea infection of grape berries. The expression of latent B. cinerea infection as slip skin depends on substantial

and rapid water uptake to dilute the berry sugar content, allowing B. cinerea to reactivate. On the other hand, while normal bunch rot also requires moist conditions, it does not develop as suddenly as slip skin. This explains why slip skin only develops in the field under certain wet weather conditions. In our experimental system we successfully manipulated amounts of both slip skin and botrytis bunch rot that developed during late ripening by fungicide application at pre-bunch closure and by inoculation with B. cinerea at veraison. The potential amount of crop loss in a vineyard from either slip skin or botrytis bunch rot both depend on the amount of latent B. cinerea infection that is present. Which of the two manifestations ofB. cinerea infection will be expressed depends on whether or not a substantial amount of water becomes

A Pinot Noir grape bunch with slip skin symptoms that were induced by soaking in water, showing Botrytis cinerea growing out from some of the berries after several days of incubation.

80   // 


available in the vineyard at a critical time during ripening. Further research on slip skin could use laboratory experiments to investigate how the high osmotic potential of ripe grape berries inhibits B. cinerea growth and how this inhibition is released when sufficient moisture becomes available during wetting. Vineyard experiments using ripe grape bunches could measure changes in solute concentration with water uptake and compare this with the osmotic relations of B. cinerea determined in the laboratory experiments. In addition, the vineyard experimental system used in this study could be implemented to define rainfall requirements for slip skin expression and evaluate control treatments, by using B. cinerea inoculation and sprinkler irrigation at various times.

Botrytis decision support (BDS) training and botrytis sampling protocols Project leader: Dr Rob Beresford 11-120 The web-based Botrytis Decision Support (BDS) system has been developed over the last 10 years by Plant & Food Research and HortPlus™, with funding from NZW and The Ministry for Business, Innovation and Employment (previously FRST). The models employed within the BDS system have been field-tested in New Zealand, as well as in Australia, under funding from the Australian Grape and Wine Research and Development Corporation and the University of Tasmania. The BDS system uses weather and vineyard information to assess the seasonal risk of botrytis bunch rot (botrytis) so that vineyard managers and winery operators can optimise the effectiveness of their decisions about botrytis management. The BDS website is user securityprotected and contains vineyard block information, as well as the separate early-season and late-season botrytis risk models. It also contains a help facility with a user manual and links to other information. The first version of this BDS model was a Microsoft® Excel® spreadsheet developed during 2008-9. This was field-tested the following year and then programmed as a web-based tool for the New Zealand wine industry in 201011 by HortPlus™. Our recent activities for the advanced implementation of this BDS system had three objectives: Industry consultation: To determine the industry’s needs and to gain widespread uptake of the web-based BDS by carrying out one-onone interviews with key wine company and horticultural consultant users and identifying model refinements according to their recommendations. Botrytis assessment protocols: To develop rapid vineyard sampling protocols for low-cost botrytis data collection based on incidenceseverity relationships and to test this protocol in commercial vineyards. Model refinement, and a marketing and training programme: Botrytis Decision Support (BDS) user groups were formed in November 2011, com-

prising representatives of five wine companies in Marlborough, four in Hawke’s Bay, and one Hawke’s Bay horticultural consultancy. Discussion and training sessions were held between flowering and bunch closure (December 2011 to January 2012) for the early-season BDS model and during grape ripening (March 2012 to April 2012) for the late-season BDS model. We wanted to know: How much understanding the groups had about the principles of botrytis epidemiology and use of the BDS models. How well the BDS models fitted the needs of users. Improvements that could be made to the models and the website. The groups’ suggested improvements to the models and website, which were implemented by Plant & Food Research and HortPlus during the 2012-13 season, were: The inclusion of on-screen “tool tips” to assist user navigation in the website and more “Help” information, including an updated User Manual and links to online BDS training material. The inclusion of botrytis risk information from the early-season model into the Marlborough Vinefacts service during the 2012-13 season. A review of the effects of botrytis management actions on the early-season model botrytis risk calculation. Inclusion of bunch trash removal as a canopy management action in the early-season model. Inclusion of pre-harvest rainfall as a risk input in the late-season BDS model. A link added to the Bunch Rot Assessment Trainer (BRAT) software. Rapid methods of botrytis severity estimation to improve the use of the late-season BDS model. A “Severity from Incidence Calculator” has been programmed into the late-season BDS model by HortPlus. To elaborate on this last point, which was our second objective, further:

Feedback from late-season BDS model users indicated that model uptake would be limited unless the cost of collecting botrytis severity data during early grape ripening could be reduced. Vineyard managers would not normally spend money on full botrytis severity assessments until close to harvest, when the impact of botrytis on the harvested crop must be assessed for winery operations. This feedback highlighted a shortfall in understanding that exists between current wine industry practice and the way forward to improve both understanding of botrytis epidemiology and botrytis management through effective use of the late-season BDS model. The vineyard studies from which the late-season model was developed showed that, in most situations, the earlier botrytis appears in a vineyard, the worse the crop damage is at harvest. Accurate vineyard monitoring during early ripening through use of the late-season BDS model would allow more effective prediction and management of botrytis risks. To encourage use of the late-season BDS model, we sought to develop rapid botrytis severity estimation by investigating incidenceseverity (I-S) relationships. Botrytis incidence is the percentage of bunches in a sample on which some botrytis is present. Severity is the percentage of the bunch affected by botrytis. The mean severity of a sample (also called crop loss) is used by the wine industry to determine the impact of botrytis on the grape crop and is the input required by the late-season BDS model. We first looked at I-S relationships using 26 datasets collected in a single national study in six New Zealand regions using 10 grape varieties during the 2011-12 season. These preliminary I-S relationships were then compared with 82 independent validation datasets collected in three regions over 15 years to explore the influences of region, variety, botrytis management actions and crop maturity on the I-S relationship. Final I-S relationships, reflecting varietal


differences, were defined for improvement of the lateseason BDS model. Figure 1: The late-season botrytis risk model within the Botrytis Decision Support system contains a tool that estimates mean botrytis severity (crop loss) within a vineyard block when the user enters the botrytis incidence, which is the percentage of bunches with some botrytis present, determined by inspection of 400 bunches. This study highlighted the practical implications of assessor bias in botrytis severity estimation. Variability between experienced assessors produced differences in severity estimates that were large enough to result in misinterpretation of the impact of botrytis on a grape crop. This indicates that there are shortcomings in current industry practices. These need to be addressed through greater industry standardisation and training. Because severity assessment is more likely to be affected by assessor bias than incidence assessment, use of the severity from incidence calculator in the lateseason BDS model is likely to reduce bias in severity estimation, even though there is error resulting from the imperfect nature of the I-S relationship. Further research on I-S relationships should focus on characterising and accounting for error in these.

Sacred Hill, Hawke’s Bay, supplied by NZW.

82   // 


Mealybugs! You can run but you can’t hide. O-I NZ has dIVerted OVer 1.6 mIllION tONNes Of glass frOm laNdfIll O-I NZ created New ZealaNd’s fIrst glass recyclINg prOgram IN 1973, pre-datINg legIslatION by mOre thaN 30 years. we kNOw sustaINabIlIty Is ImpOrtaNt tO the New ZealaNd wINe INdustry aNd we share that gOal.

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O-I NEW ZEALAND TEL: 0800 263 390, +64 9 976 7100 EMAIL:








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NZWinegrower Oct/Nov 2013  

NZWinegrower Oct/Nov 2013