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Y 2018




U 1 7 /J A N




DE CE MB E R 2017/ JA N UA RY 2018 I SSU E 10 7




O-I New Zealand







Stunning Growth

Tessa Nicholson

The continued growth of the Marlborough wine sector is influencing all aspects of the local economy. Year after year growth has been described as “stunning” by NZIER Deputy Chief Executive John Ballingall.


In Brief

News from around the country


Family Vines

Judy and Rosie Finn

44 Science of Wine


Goodbye after 37 years

Everyone has either spoken to or emailed Lorraine Rudelj at NZW. Not surprising given she has been working there for the past 37 years. But as the longest serving staff member, it is time for her to say goodbye.


DC Wines – The one-woman crusade

Debra Cruickshank has recently been crowned the winner of the NZI Supreme Enterprising Rural Women award. She is also the owner of DC wines and a very impressive woman as Mark Orton discovers.

Dr Matias Kinzurik


Bob’s Blog

Bob Campbell MW


Not On The Label

Legal matters with Kensington Swan

69 Calendar

Wine happenings in New Zealand


Research Supplement and Index

The latest science and research projects funded by NZ Winegrowers






E D I TO R Tessa Nicholson


CO R R E SP O N D E NTS Auckland: Joelle Thomson Hawkes Bay: Mary Shanahan Nelson: Neil Hodgson Central Otago: Mark Orton

A DV E R T I SI N G Sales Manager & Upper North Island: Stephen Pollard Ph: 09 913 9637 Mobile: 021 963 166 Central North Island: Ted Darley Ph: 07 854 6292 Mobile: 021 832 505 Lower North Island: Ron Mackay 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 331100, Takapuna, Auckland 0740 Ph: 09 307 0399 Location: Top Floor, 29 Northcroft Street, Takapuna, Auckland 0622 Publisher: Brian Hight Managing Editor: Adam Fricker Production: 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 has been a momentous year for the New Zealand wine industry, from start until finish. It began with Marlborough still reeling from the November 14 earthquake, that damaged millions of litres of tanks, and fears that the 2017 vintage would be compromised by a lack of space. Relentless work by steel manufacturers working alongside wineries, ensured the region was back up and running, albeit with slightly less tank space than what was available a year earlier. That earthquake recovery work is still on going and could be for a while yet. Vintage 2017 itself was looking extremely promising throughout the country, until two tropical cyclones hit, bringing with them rain and more rain. Yields were down which in some ways was a saving grace for Marlborough. But in the end the fruit came in, and at the recent Air New Zealand Wine Awards, many of the 2017 wines were lauded, despite the compromising weather. Hats off to winemakers and viticulturists who had to work in some of the toughest conditions experienced for a number of years. The end of January and early February saw 100s of people descend on Wellington for the coolest Pinot Noir party the world has to offer. Very much a New Zealand event, overseas guests left our shores understanding what Turangawaewae means to us as a nation and how our wine industry has embraced it in terms of this special varietal. Our export markets continued to grow, particularly the US. In February The Gomberg Fredrickson Report showed that New Zealand wines were third in terms of value and volume imported by the US, only behind power players Italy and France. A massive achievement for a country that produces less than one percent of the world’s wine. May was an important month in


terms of biosecurity for our industry. New Zealand Winegrowers signed a Government Industry Agreement (GIA) which allows the industry a seat at the table in the case of a biosecurity incursion. Other momentous events included the announcement that the New Zealand School of Winegrowing had gained approval and backing from the education and industry sectors. The school will offer up to 20 young Marlborough students the chance to gain NCEA credits while learning the basics of the wine industry. Marlborough will also be the base for a new research centre, with the signing of a contract between NZW and the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment. The government will provide $12.5 million in funding over four years for the venture, with an establishment team now in place to oversee the implementation of the centre. Finally, after 11 years, the Geographical Indications (Wine and Spirits) Registration Act came into force. While the bill was passed by government back in 2006, it wasn’t until July 27 that 18 applications for GIs were lodged for the first time. These applications are now being accepted by the Intellectual Property Office of New Zealand, and if there are no objections, the GIs will be registered. Then amongst all of that, Women in Wine New Zealand was launched, prior to the Bragato Conference. The evening event was a sellout, attracting women and men from all spheres of the wine industry. The board of NZW has thrown its weight behind the initiative, with 2018 promising a number of projects in support of Women in Wine. So it has been a busy year, one that has seen the wine industry achieve a number of major milestones. May it end with perfect summer weather, for you and those around you. Have a great holiday period and we’ll see you in 2018. ■

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Government nominates Dr John Barker for top role


reat news for the New Zealand wine industry with the confirmation that the New Zealand Go ve rnme nt has nominated Dr John Barker for the position of Director General of the International Organisation of Vine and Wine (OIV). Dr Barker is well known in New Zealand wine circles, having been the GM of New Zealand Winegrower’s Advocacy and Trade for 10 years from between 2004 and 2014. He is also no stranger to the OIV having been a member between 2004 and 2015, representing New Zealand as an Export Delegate. Between 2009 and 2012, he was President of the OIV’s law and economy commission. The OIV is an intergovernmental organisation which issues recommendations on viticulture and winemaking practices. Based in Paris, with 46 members accounting for more than 85% of global wine production and nearly 80% of world consumption, it is sometimes called the ‘UN of wine’. “Dr Barker understands the challenges and opportunities that face the organisation and the wine sector, and he has both the vision and the competence to ensure that the OIV can fulfil its role as the trusted vine and wine reference body for a rapidly changing market,” said Foreign Affairs Minister, Winston Peters, who confirmed the nomination. “New Zealand’s membership in the OIV gives us the opportunity to identify and influence strategic global

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debates in areas affecting one of New Zealand’s most successful and fastest growing export industries,” he said. Wine is New Zealand’s fifth largest goods export, worth approximately NZ$1.7 billion in the year ended June 2017. Global exports are growing at approximately 10 percent per annum, and are expected to reach NZ$2 billion by 2020. New Zealand’s nomination of Dr Barker for the role of OIV Director General signals our commitment to an organisation that is critical to the way wine is regulated in our key export markets, said Minister of Agriculture Damien O’Connor. “The OIV plays an important role in helping  to  facilitate ongoing trade through establishing relevant technical standards for wine and wine products.”


The nomination has been welcomed by New Zealand Winegrowers. CEO Philip Gregan described Dr Barker as “the ideal candidate.” Gregan added; he has deep understanding and expertise in the global vine and wine sector built on 20 years of experience. “At a time when the global trade environment is rapidly changing, Dr Barker would bring a keen appreciation of the importance of international cooperation to the role. “Dr Barker has been at the forefront of major technical, policy and trade developments that have supported the success of the New Zealand wine industry. He has a unique global perspective from his experience across many grape and wine producing countries and his leadership roles in the OIV and other international wine sector

organisations.” A lawyer by trade, Dr Barker came into the wine industry after working as a lawyer specialising in wine law in Australia and a stint at the New Zealand Food Safety Authority. He left New Zealand Winegrowers in 2014 to establish his own firm, John Barker Law. He is however still heavily involved in the New Zealand wine industry, as the primary external counsel to New Zealand Winegrowers and advises clients throughout the wine world. The current Director General of the OIV, M. Jean-Marie Aurand of France, will step down from his role in December 2018, after serving a five-year term. The election will be held in July 2018, with the successful applicant taking up the position in January 2019. If elected, Dr Barker would be the first person from outside Europe to hold the role. ■


NATIONAL NZ dominates Six Nations Wine Challenge With 600 wines entered into this year’s Six Nations Wine Challenge, New Zealand once again shone in a range of varieties. In the 16 categories judged, New Zealand took out seven trophies, including Top Red Wine and Nation of the Show. The overall wine of the show though went to Western Australia’s Xanadu Estate Reserve Chardonnay 2015. The New Zealand winners were; Elephant Hill Syrah 2014 – Top Syrah and Best Red Wine, Pernod Ricard Deutz Prestige Cuvee 2014 – Sparkling, Johanneshof Gewurztraminer 2015 – Aromatics, Astrolabe Awatere Sauvignon Blanc 2016 – Sauvignon Blanc, Villa Maria Taylors Pass Pinot Noir 2014 - Pinot Noir, Villa Maria Single Vineyard Braided Gravels Organic Merlot 2013 – Merlot and Carmenere.

We Say Syrah

Tim Adams impresses at Young Horticulturist The Bayer Young Viticulturist of 2017 has continued his march forward, with an impressive second place in the recent Young Horticulturist of the Year competition. Tim Adams from Obsidian Wines on Waiheke Island competed against three other competitors representing horticultural industries, in the national competition. Winning both the Best Practice module as well as the speech, saw him take out the runner up place. The winner however does have ties to the wine industry as well, given Shanna Hickling is from Riversun Nursery in Gisborne.

Given the stellar results of Elephant Hills Syrah taking out Top Red Wine of the show in the Six Nations Wine Challenge, it is great to see producers coming together to raise awareness of the variety. While Syrah is one of the smaller varieties in term of plantings, (around 1500 hectare), the wines are making a name for themselves the world over. Thirteen producers are now members of a group titled ‘We Say Syrah’, and cover a range of regions from Waiheke Island to Marlborough. The focus of the group is to develop tastings around New Zealand and overseas with a renewed focus on educating people about the qualities of New Zealand Syrah.

Pinot Noir NZ 2017 takes out top honours It has always been touted as the best Pinot party in the world, and Pinot Noir New Zealand 2017 lived up to that description.

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So much so that it was recognised as the Best Business Event of the Year at the New Zealand Event Awards in October.


The award judges looked for events where boundaries were pushed, benchmarks set and innovations achieved. They recognised the significant contribution that Pinot Noir NZ has made to the nations’ economy, how it enhanced our culture, and provided attendees with an enriching and engaging experience. “To take out the award in this brandnew category is an epic achievement.” said Ben Glover, Chair of Pinot Noir NZ 2017. “This award is for all of the 117 wineries who were part of Pinot Noir NZ 2017, who came together so we could collectively tell our Pinot stories to the world. It’s also for our amazing sponsors, partners and stakeholders that made this event possible.” The event also received special mention in relation to the Best National Event of the Year category, just missing out to WOMAD New Zealand 2017.

HAWKE’S BAY Bridge Pa Wine Fest’ Tickets are officially on sale for the annual Bridge Pa Wine Festival on Saturday, 20 January 2018. The day long festival features eight wineries as well as food and local entertainment at each one. The Bridge Pa Triangle Wine District extends over more than 2,000 hectares on the western side of the Heretaunga Plains in Hawke’s Bay. Buses

will operate connections between each of the wineries throughout the day, allowing festival goers to visit as many wineries as they choose. Each of the wineries is located less than five minutes drive apart. “We are thrilled to present this annual event to wine lovers in the region – and visitors once again. With eight mini festivals in one,

what better way to spend a day out with friends or visit the region during Wellington’s anniversary weekend,” says festival spokesperson Paul Ham. Tickets are available from Eventfinda and are also available from Napier, Taradale, Havelock North and Hastings with transport beginning at 9.30am from each of the areas.

MARLBOROUGH Wine Marlborough take on regional show

Hot Prospect Whitehaven Wines of Marlborough has recently been named as a Hot Prospect brand, in the Impact Global Newsletter, an international publication produced by the publisher of Wine Spectator magazine. The award recognises the Whitehaven brand’s continual double digit growth in the US between 2014 and 2016, through its relationship with E&J Gallo. Whitehaven began exporting to the US in 2004, sending a total of 5,000 cases. In 2015, the company hit the millionth case of wine exported to the US.

Wine Marlborough has taken over ownership of the Marlborough Wine Show, after seven years of it being run by Wine Competition Ltd. The show which was the brainchild of Belinda Jackson and Margaret Cresswell has almost doubled in size since the first show back in 2011. Wine Marlborough already had an association with the show, by sponsoring prominent international

judges from key export markets. The Marlborough Wine Show was the first one to judge regional wines, and the first to judge in sub-regional classes. Wine Marlborough General Manager Marcus Pickens says it also broke tradition by being the first to use varietal specific glasses and the first to auction all leftover wines with the funds going to a trust for industry grants.

Women at the helm Mudhouse Wines are already proud sponsors of sail boat racing, being one of the major companies involved in Emirates Team New Zealand’s successful challenge of the America’s Cup. But this year they have taken that love of the sport even further by sponsoring the inaugural Women at the Helm Yacht Race in the Marlborough Sounds. The event tied in with the opening of the Waikawa Boating Club’s season, and invited women with all levels of sailing experience to take part. Those that entered were then matched alongside a skipper and crew of a Waikawa Boating Club member. In total nine women helmed yachts, while another 50 took part in the two-day event. The winner on the day was the yacht Bump ‘n Grind, skippered by Matt Michel, with Rosie Lees at the helm. Participants came from throughout the country to take part and Mudhouse Wines is looking forward to an even bigger event in 2018.



Decades of service Every year NZ Winegrower magazine commends someone or something that has made a difference to the New Zealand wine industry. Tessa Nicholson takes a look at a Society and two members who have provided a much valued service. The 2017 Personality of the Year goes to the NZSVO and its departing Executive Officer, Nick Sage and the recently announced life member, Rengasamy Balasubramaniam – better known as Bala.


here seems to be a common thread when you look at the retiring committee members of the NZSVO. All seem to have landed the job after being lured to an AGM by the offer of free wine. Bala says he was attending one of the Society’s conferences in Auckland back in 1996 when the call went out that the AGM was about to take place and there would be wine available after the event. “I went for the drinks,” Bala admits. “Then they said, oh we don’t have a Treasurer. I didn’t put my hand up but someone beside me, I can’t remember who, said ‘Oh Bala can do that.’” So began 21-years as a committee member, during which he held positions of treasurer, secretary and President, on two separate occasions. This year Bala decided it was time to step down and let some new blood in. In recognition of his services, he was awarded a life membership, only the second member of the Society to ever be acknowledged in such a way – the first being Dr Richard Smart who established the NZSVO in 1986. Smart’s initial aim for the Society (other than to provide technical information to the industry) was to bid to get the second ever International

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Cool Climate Symposium to New Zealand. His efforts were rewarded when the NZSVO won the bid and hosted the Symposium in Auckland in 1988. It was a big success and a pat on the back for New Zealand’s role in the world of cool climate wine. Following the success of that the NZSVO ran annual technical conferences and numerous travelling roadshows. But Bala says the conferences, while they were aimed at both viticulture and winemaking, were not attracting many members of the grape growing community. By the time he was roped in in 1996, Smart had left and the Society was looking at how to reinvent itself. When Bala became President in 1999, the membership was “very, very lean.” The Romeo Bragato Conference had by this stage been established by Kevyn Moore and Bala and the committee saw the opportunity to help give something back to viticulturists by helping to organise the annual conference and provide more relevant technical information for the growers. Between 2000 and 2003, the NZSVO was part of the Bragato organising committee, arranging and running a lot of the technical sessions. “But we realised that we were becoming absorbed into something that is more suited to


The second ever life member of the NZSVO – Bala, who has also been a committee member, treasurer, secretary and twice a President of the Society, since joining in 1996.

the practitioners instead of the technical side which has always been our goal,” Bala says. While Bala had been President of the Society for two years, he stepped down in 2001, but when no one wanted the job in 2004, he took up the mantle again. (No comment on whether he was offered free wine). “At that time I said we really need to mean something to the people in the industry, so let’s try and get back the Cool Climate

Symposium.” Eighteen years after hosting the second ever symposium, New Zealand were once again at the forefront, hosting more than 500 people from all over the world at the 6th International Symposium for Cool Climate Viticulture and Oenology in 2006. The success of the event still has those who attended, talking about it. It was described at the time as the best ever, and one that would be hard to replicate. Bala

Thanks Bala and Nick, and also Evan Ward, for all you have done to keep the NZSVO relevant and for what you have helped deliver to the New Zealand wine industry.

rates that event as his “proudest moment of being a member. I felt it was a good feather in my cap.” He stayed on as President until 2009, when he stepped down for a second time, back to a role on the committee. Since then he has helped with the organisation of regular workshops, focusing on varying varieties from Sauvignon Blanc, to Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris to Chardonnay. For the past two years he also has also played an integral part in the NZSVO’s bid for the 2020 Cool Climate Symposium, and despite having an impressive application, they missed out to Canada. As mentioned earlier, Bala was not the only person who ended up being on the NZSVO’s committee, after being lured to the AGM by the offer of free wine. In 1999 Nick Sage was attending a conference in Auckland, and when the call went out that Champagne would be available after the meeting, he had no qualms about attending. And just like Bala, he was co-opted onto the committee. Sage who studied microbiology at Massey University, went on to work for Penfolds in Australia, prior to returning to New Zealand as quality control manager for Montana. Later he was in charge of sparkling wine production, even undertaking a vintage with Champagne Deutz in France, to learn how to use the wine press.

In 1988 he left Montana and set up his own consultancy business the following year, moving to Hawke’s Bay. During the past few decades, as well as his consultancy business and being involved in the NZSVO, Sage was instrumental in establishing the wine programme at Eastern Institute of Technology, firstly with the Certificate programme and later the degree programme. In 2002 it was decided that the Society needed someone to take over the secretarial aspects and help with the organisation of future workshops. Sage was offered the job of Executive Officer, one he readily accepted. “Basically the Society needed someone to do the bits that no one wanted to do, and I ran it through my consultancy business.” He has been instrumental in the bid for the 2006 Cool Climate Symposium, the technical workshops that have become a part of the wine industry landscape over the years as well as the bid for the 2020 Symposium. For him, the NZSVO has played an integral part in the development of the wine industry, a part he has been proud to be associated with. “The NZSVO is not aligned to any organisation. We basically run workshops, and our forté seems to be for about 100 people. They are sufficiently small that they become interactive. A lot of it is

Nick Sage has been involved in the NZSVO since 1999, the last 15 years as Executive Officer.

focused on tastings of wine for particular purposes. They may be experimental wines, or wines made from new clones that are being released. This is where our strengths lie.’’ Bala and Sage are not the only members to retire this year. President Glen Creasy has stepped down as he is heading overseas, Evan Ward (another very long-serving member) has also stepped down, along with Tricia Jane. The new committee is comprised of; David Jordan

(who has been a committee member since its inauguration), Jenny Dobson, Andy Petrie, Jeff Sinnott, Simon Hooker, Helen Morrison, Roland Harrison and Mark Krasnow. Helen, Roland and Mark are new committee members So thanks Bala and Nick, and also Evan Ward, for all you have done to keep the NZSVO relevant and for what you have helped deliver to the New Zealand wine industry. ■



Productivity, quality and Pinot Noir


inot Noir is second only to Sauvignon Blanc in terms of New Zealand wine production. Nonetheless, the variety remains a “minx of a vine” to grow and manage – a characterisation first made by Jancis Robinson, MW, and since echoed by many a winemaker and viticulturist. Unleashing the production potential of premium Pinot Noir takes the spotlight in a large-scale research programme developed by New Zealand Winegrowers. “Productivity, Quality and Pinot Noir” aims to grow returns for the New Zealand wine industry by reconfiguring the traditional productivity/quality “see-saw”. The industry seeks new methods to produce ten tonnes per hectare of grapes yet maintain the quality standards that are typically only achieved at six tonnes per hectare. A recipient of Endeavour Funding in 2017 from the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE), the Pinot Noir research programme will

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receive $9.3 million of Government investment over five years, combined with $1 million from New Zealand Winegrowers and additional in-kind contributions from industry. The programme will run from 2018-2022. Researchers from a number of science disciplines will take an integrated approach to answering the overarching question of how to increase production of Pinot Noir while maintaining high quality in the finished wines. One avenue of investigation will explore consumer preferences, establishing meaningful measurements for quality that reflect consumer satisfaction. From there, the complex chemistry of premium Pinot Noir can be detailed through analysis – and that, in turn, will help researchers develop assays to guide vineyard management. Another major focus concerns the biochemistry of red wine – particularly in terms of the relationship between secondary metabolites and yield. “Big data” will also play a major role, sorting and analysing the chemical mark-


ers and grape physiology with the results from consumer preference studies. Each step of the way, researchers will be producing experimental wines using grapes harvested from the associated viticultural trials along with novel winemaking techniques. Science partners include Plant & Food Research, Lincoln University, the University of Auckland, and participating wine compa-

nies. New Zealand winemakers are already celebrated for the structure and elegance offered in different styles of Pinot Noir from the Wairarapa all the way to Central Otago. This research programme aims to support the growth of Pinot Noir export sales, grow returns for wineries and meet consumer preferences in new and established markets. ■

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Stunning growth Te s s a N i c h o l s o n


he sheer pace of the growth of the Marlborough wine sector has been described as “stunning” by the Deputy Chief Executive of New Zealand Institute of Economic Research (NZIER). John Ballingall who was also one of the authors of a recently released report into the contribution of wine to the Marlborough economy says the GDP of wine in the region is valued at $477 million, as at 2016. Compare that to 2011, when the value was just $217 million. Even more impressive is the fact that the contribution wine makes to the Marlborough economy is now 300 percent more than it was back in 2000. The NZIER report was commissioned by Wine Marlborough and it backs up

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figures from Statistics New Zealand earlier this year, that showed between 2011 and 2016, GDP in Marlborough climbed 32.3 percent – the largest growth in the country - and well above the national average of 23.8 percent.

overseas and it targets high end consumers who are prepared to pay a little bit extra for high quality.” In terms of what the wine sector actually means to Marlborough, he says it provides

The positive news just keeps on coming, with the financial impact of grape growing in the region being $52 million in wages. Ballingall says there is only one other sector that comes close to the “tremendous” growth of Marlborough wine, and that is Kiwifruit. “And that shares some similar characteristics, in that it trades off its sustainability, has a very strong brand that portrays well


19 percent of the economy and accounts for one in 10 jobs in the region. “That is those solely engaged in grape growing and making the wine. But if you think about all the other jobs the wine sector supports, the employment impact would be much, much

higher than one in 10. The sector creates almost as many jobs in supplying sectors as it does in the wine sector itself, so it really is a core part of the Marlborough economy. “Back in 2011 wine accounted for 11 percent of the Marlborough economy. That has grown steadily to 19 percent in the last five years. Just the sheer pace of that growth, I think, is absolutely stunning.” The positive news just keeps on coming, with the financial impact of grape growing in the region being $52 million in wages – four times more than in 2000, while wine manufacturing pays $78 million to workers, three times more than in 2000. The industry is responsible for injecting $130 million of income into Marlborough households’ pockets, which equates to 10.5 percent of total household income. While there are 350 fewer people employed within grape growing and wine manufacturing than there were in 2008, Ballingall says for the economic impact to have grown so much, is a very positive story. “Because that points to productivity, which is something that the New Zealand economy as a whole has struggled with for many years. What we are seeing is more value being generated per employee and this is happening consistently over time. It is great to find a positive productivity story in New Zealand.” And these figures could be on the lighter side he admits, as the estimated 3000 casual workers (including RSE) were not included in the report. “In addition to the numbers we present here, we know the

wine sector relies heavily on RSE workers and the regional economy benefits from their spending and their presence in the economy would increase those figures.” When asked if that growth was sustainable in the future, Ballingall said with no letup in demand for Marlborough wine and with new markets emerging, he doesn’t believe there are any threats on the horizon. “The most impressive thing is that this isn’t just happening in one year or over two years, it has been a continued increase over many, many years and it shows no real sign of slowing down. I think the growth that we have seen is absolutely sustainable going forward.” That is encouraging not just for Marlborough’s economy, but also for New Zealand’s he says. He admits it is hard to imagine the Marlborough economy without wine, and was quick to praise those who invested time

and money into developing vineyards and building wineries during the past 44 years. “And those that contributed to the amazing brand Marlborough

wine has globally. You simply cannot sustain this sort of performance without having a very well recognised brand and high quality products that

support that brand. I think that is testament to all the people who have invested a huge amount over a long period of time.” ■



Longest serving staff member retires Te s s a N i c h o l s o n


hen New Zealand Winegrowers Inc. closes its doors for the Christmas break, the organisation will also be saying goodbye to an employee who has been there for 37 years. An employee who also just happens to be the latest Fellow of New Zealand Winegrowers. Lorraine Rudelj’s service to NZW was recognised at the recent Air New Zealand Wine awards. Not surprising, given her role in the organisation, that spans all the way back to 1980. No one is more surprised than Rudelj that she has stayed in the one job for 37 years, especially as she didn’t think she would last a fortnight when she became PA to Wine Institute of New Zealand’s CE, Terry Dunleavy, in October 1980. Having just arrived back in New Zealand the month before, after three and a half years in Sydney, Rudelj hadn’t even begun looking for a job, when she ended up employed by the Wine Institute. It was her good friend Rose Delegat who suggested she come along with her, when picking up her brother Jim from a board meeting. “The board meeting had ended when we arrived and the board members were all standing around chatting. I think because I was Croatian they practically hired me on the spot,” she jokes. “It wasn’t a proper interview in any way.” After a week of starting work at the Wine Institute, she was ruing the decision, believing she might not get on with her boss.

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“I felt I couldn’t do two weeks. He was far too harsh and overpowering – but then there was this huge soft side that surfaced and I saw him for the teddy bear he was. We are now very good friends and he was MC at my wedding.” It was literally just Rudelj and Dunleavy at the time. No one else, no marketing, no communications, no science and research. Just two people working on behalf of the fledgling wine industry. “Then that little boy Philip (Gregan) started about 18 months after me. I used to boss him around and tell him to go and do stuff for me. Even if I said; ‘Philip go and pick up my dry cleaning’, he would have gone. Then the tides turned and Philip became CEO (in 1991) and I was the one going to pick up the dry cleaning, so to speak.” Thirty-seven years is a long time in any one’s books, but to be in the one job for that amount of time is a unique situation. Rudelj began working for NZW before Central Otago became a wine region. Marlborough had only just produced its first Sauvignon Blanc the year before and the three power houses of the industry were Hawke’s Bay, Gisborne and West Auckland. Board members tended to all come from the West Auckland region, unlike today when members come from all over the country. Gradually the organisation began to grow, initially taking on Kate Kumarich (now Brajkovich) from 1992 until 2000. Kate was the sole Marketing staff member at that point and then in 1994 the Wine Institute took on the


The entire staff of the Wine Institute of NZ in 1990, Philip Gregan, Lorraine Rudelj and Terry Dunleavy.

Wine Export Certification Service from the Health Department. Sue Church moved into the offices, and a few decades later still carries out that role. As the industry grew, so too did the staff numbers. “We grew and grew, from two to three, to four and now we have 29 staff in the Auckland office.” And it is not only in New Zealand that the staff numbers have grown. She says the development of PR partners around the world is something she could never have imagined back when she began in 1980. “The New Zealand Winegrowers office in London has two permanent staff often taking on part-timers. Then we have PR partners in San Francisco, New York and Canada. I would never have imagined the spread to the South Island where we have six staff in Blenheim, let

alone outside of New Zealand,” she admits. It is not only the size of the organisation that has changed over the ensuing 37 years. Rudelj says for her, the biggest change has been in the varietal makeup of New Zealand wines themselves. “I remember in the first years, my favourite wine was Muller Thurgau. I purchased it from wherever I could find it and my mother and I drank Muller Thurgau until it came out of our ears. We then moved to Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc, now I follow bubbles and Pinot Gris and the places you can find New Zealand wine is amazing.” She cites an example of being in Lake Tahoe recently and watching shoppers at a local supermarket, actually reaching for New Zealand wines, rather than their local ones. “That blew me away. In ear-

lier years, you would never have found New Zealand wines in Lake Tahoe or anywhere in the US for that matter.” So after 37 years in the same job, is there anything she will miss? “Yes. Philip! He is like my younger brother. He walks up to me and I know what he is going to say before he even says it. And he is the same with me. That is something two people can only do if they have been together for a lengthy time. We often say; at home, he has a wife and at home I have a husband. But here we are like that married couple, because we can argue and then walk away and pat each other on the back, always with a smile on our faces - well most times!” As for retirement, she is adamant that nothing much will change, apart from not having to be at the office every day. “People say are you going to go hiking or travelling? Well my husband and I do that already. We

The old team back together at the Air NZ Wine Awards, where Lorraine’s service to the wine industry was recognised and she was made a Fellow.

don’t sit still for very long. But as my husband, Richard, is already retired we are going to be able to do more things off the cuff. Will I miss coming into the office? No. I don’t plan to because I am ready to go. Nevertheless, I have

worked with a bunch of great people, NZW office has been an easy place to come to each day. Richard is the cook at the moment, so that is one of the things he wants me to take over – start cooking again! I’m not looking forward to

that. More hiking and travelling I don’t mind – but not cooking,” she says with a laugh. Happy retirement Lorraine – you will be sorely missed by many. ■


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DC Wines - The one-woman crusade Mark Orton


’ve never been one for selfhelp books, but if Debra Cruickshank ever wrote one, I’d definitely be keen to take a look. It’s not that she speaks in well-rehearsed selfaggrandising statements. Nope, it’s the sheer amount of work that Cruickshank manages to cram into each and every day that is pretty darn impressive and beggars the question…how does she do it? After just being crowned winner of the NZI Supreme Enterprising Rural Women award,

Cruickshank’s business story, described by the Rural Women New Zealand judges as being “truly inspiring”, took the unassuming wine maker a little by surprise. “I’m stoked, beyond stoked really. I just do what I do and thankfully some people think it’s pretty incredible what I get up to on my own. This is an amazing opportunity, and a great feeling that people think that what I am doing in Central Otago is special.” After growing up on Tannacrieff, the family farm in The Catlins,

“Truly inspiring” Debra Cruickshank is the winner of the NZI Supreme Enterprising Rural Women award 2017.

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I actually have a lot of crazy ideas, the most recent one is apricots and plums growing directly inside a bottle. Then, when I produce a fruit Port it will have actual fruit in it. There are heaps of cool things you can do, you just need to go out and trial it. Cruickshank moved to Central Otago for a “year off ”, which is code for throwing herself headfirst into learning everything that she could at Akarua Winery over an eight-year period. Not content to work for others and with a passion to make wine, Cruickshank recognised that there were potential customers in the district with only small amounts of grapes that needed contract winemaking. So she opened her own small wine making facility in a storage shed with some old-world equipment. “I pretty much fell into this business really, there were a couple of little producers out there, but I found a niche. I do anywhere from 100 litres to 5000 litre batches, the small, small stuff. I started off doing nine tonne and that has now increased to 30-40 tonne. I haven’t kind of figured out how it has happened, but every year it has got bigger and bigger.” Established in 2012, DC Wines is actively supported by bigger winemaking companies in the area who send customers better suited to a smaller production model Cruickshank’s way. Growing her customer base to make 30 different wines for small producers, she pretty much operates completely autonomously. Everything here has been done by hand, which means digging out 30 tonne tanks twice in six weeks. “My father comes at harvest time to lend a hand, but otherwise 95 percent of it is me. I use

an old fashion basket press, but I am pretty excited as I have just purchased a new press to hopefully save my body.” With a work ethic schooled in a seven-day rural community week, she quickly realised not long after opening the winery that she might as well start her own label - she had the facilities after all. After finding a small vineyard on the Wanaka road to lease, the Tannacrieff label was born but that wasn’t the end of it. Curious to find a grape related product not currently catered for in Central Otago, five years ago Cruickshank started experimenting with Pinot Noir Port. “I didn’t even know how to make port so I Googled it. The results were so successful that I couldn’t turn my back on it. I just fluked it really.” What started as a curiosity has now blossomed into the major focus for DC wines. Having grown up with an appreciation of duck hunting and the ubiquitous bottle of Port in the mai mai, she called in a favour from an artist friend and a hunting theme adorning each bottle was born. “Duck shooting is an annual pastime and every mai mai has a Port in it, hence the whole DuckShooter’s port, but in the last couple of weeks I have changed the name to Hunter’s Collection which works out better. I can have more wild animals on the labels.” From an initial run of 150 bottles, this season saw 2000 bottles roll off the line, all of which

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DC Port: The array of Port, made by Debra Cruickshank is growing by the year, as is the diversity.

needed to be hand-labelled and waxed. “I have gone from 180 litres, to 1500 litres and with the popularity still growing, I need to find ways to meet that demand. All sales so far have been through social media and word of mouth. The duck-shooters one was shared on a hunters’ page and it went berserk, and I have now made my own website and learned to run an on-line store. It has been really cool learning all about that stuff.” Since first venturing into Port back in 2012, Cruickshank has blended a small portion of each subsequent year’s Ruby Port to

create Central Otago’s very first Tawny Port. Yet to be bottled in some very special vessels sourced from Italy, the idea is to produce just 150 bottles of this every year. “I’m extremely excited about this Tawny Port. It’s a distinctly Central thing and no-one else around here has got anything quite like it. I am aiming at having 200 bottles for sale every year at Christmas starting in 2018. It is just divine.” With just her loyal assistant Jade the black Labrador at her side (if she isn’t periodically disappearing to grab an errant rabbit), one might think that it’s

time for Cruickshank to put a halt on her product development until she can recruit some staff. But then, that would go against the very same ethos that caught the eye of Rural Women NZ. So, next up is fruit Port. Cruickshank works with Suncrest Orchard in a collaborative project that makes use of what might otherwise be wasted fruit. “It was a real trial, especially figuring out how to press the fruit. We trialed their pulping machine and it worked incredibly. The thing with fermentation is that the C02 creates a cap by pushing the pulp material to the top, so

the day after I have started the ferment, I am able to start draining the beautiful clear liquid out of it.” Growing from an initial five barrels to 24 in 2017, Debra makes apricot, plum, nectarine, peach and cherry Port. “I actually have a lot of crazy ideas, the most recent one is apricots and plums growing directly inside a bottle. Then, when I produce a fruit Port it will have actual fruit in it. There are heaps of cool things you can do, you just need to go out and trial it.” Constantly grinning about the rollicking journey that she is on, Debra Cruickshank has just leased a new property in Bannockburn where she is building a new winery. Though, it wouldn’t be part of the DC Wines story if she simply employed tradies to complete it. If the creases in Cruickshank’s well-worn hands could talk, they might say… “give us a break would ya”. “I do take a holiday in the winter for sure, but for the rest of the year I work seven days a week in the business as a viticulturist, winemaker, mechanic and accountant. Right now, the most frustrating thing about building a bloody winery, is not knowing how to build. Even though my brother is helping me, I haven’t got the patience to sit around and wait for other people which is why I am doing as much as I can by myself.” ■




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27 Seconds Te s s a N i c h o l s o n


wenty-seven seconds isn’t a very long time. You can’t make a barista coffee in that time. Or boil an egg, or even cook a piece of toast. Yet every 27 seconds, someone, somewhere in the world is sold or trafficked into slavery. That equates to 3,600 people every single day. And we are talking about 2017, not 1817. One person, every 27 seconds. Horrifying isn’t it? But you can help, probably in less than 27 seconds, by supporting a social enterprise that appropriately goes under the title of – yes you guessed it – 27 seconds. The fundraiser is a range of

wines from North Canterbury that through their sale, hopes to raise thousands of dollars to help support the survivors of slavery around the world. The brainchild of Alanna and Pete Chapman, who are involved with Terrace Edge Wines, has seen the wines go on sale, online in the past month. With “tremendous” support from the wine industry overall, the 27 Second range has been produced at minimal cost, with all the profits going to Hagar, an international organisation that helps restore the lives of victims of slavery and trafficking. Pete Chapman says they wanted to do something that would not only highlight the issue

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Initially the idea was to utilise what they thought would be surplus Riesling grapes from Terrace Edge to make just one wine. Little did they know when they mooted the idea, that two cyclones would hit the region, drastically reducing that expected surplus. But by that stage, the idea had grown exponentially.



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of trafficking and slavery, but also provide an on-going source of income. “This is a fairly hidden issue to most people,” according to Pete. “They tend to think slavery is something that was left behind a century ago and that we have moved on. But it is not like that at all.”

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“We talked to Mum and Dad (who own Terrace Edge) about selling some 2016 Pinot Noir that was already in barrel at the winery, and then we decided, let’s do a little bit of Sauvignon Blanc and a little Rosé to make the full range.” With a commitment from his parents to provide the fruit at an “enormously discounted price”, Alanna and Pete began putting out feelers to others in the wine industry to see if they would support the project. The harvester wasn’t interested in offering just a discount – he harvested the fruit for free. The winemakers at Greystone Wines (Gavin Tait and Dom Maxwell) who make the Terrace Edge wines, heavily reduced their winemaking costs, the wine label was designed for free, the bottle price was halved, the bottle caps were free, labels discounted, boxes given for free and publicity shots done for free. “I have never approached anyone assuming they would give anything for free, or even be able to do a discount,” Pete says. “We understand everybody has to run their business, but it was incredible what people were happy to do for us. The generosity of so many people has been heartwarming.” The end result of all that generosity, is 9,363 bottles of wine are now being sold direct to the

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public (via the website 27seconds. with close to $10 from every bottle going to the Hagar Organisation. “We are hopeful of raising close to $90,000 if we sell everything,” Pete says. That’s an awful lot of money and will provide funds to do a lot of good in the countries Hagar is working in. For example; if someone was to order three bottles of wine, to be delivered every month for a year, the funds raised would provide a year’s worth of education to a young trafficking survivor. “Essentially it makes a lot of sense to be able to make an impact, with your buying choices.” As for the name, he admits


More than 21 million people are estimated to be enslaved throughout the world currently, although that figure could be as high as 45 million. Sixty-six percent of all slavery and human trafficking happens in the Asia-Pacific region, with the industry believed to be worth around US$150 billion. On average a human life is sold for around $120. With a goal of bringing justice and recovery to survivors of human trafficking, sexual exploitation and gender based violence, Hager was founded in 1994. The organisation works in Afghanistan, Cambodia, Singapore and Vietnam and has fundraising offices throughout the world, including here in New Zealand. Every year, the organisation looks after 1,500 women and children, providing long-term and in-depth recovery help. That help includes legal assistance, counselling, ongoing support, healthcare, safe accommodation, education, job training and employment. The 27 Second project which hopes to raise $90,000 for Hager, has been made possible by the generous assistance from the following companies; Terrace Edge, Greystone, O-I, Guala Closures, Orora, Label & Litho, Omihi Creek harvesting, Port Edison, Digital Focus, Nayhauss photography. ■

there was a bit of toing and froing until Alanna suggested 27 Seconds. “We wanted a name that tells the story. When anyone asks why it is called 27 Seconds, with one sentence we can make them understand. It explains the whole idea behind the project perfectly.” The four, high quality organic

wines, made in the Greystone Winery are priced to ensure they are sustainable for the public to buy. The Sauvignon Blanc is $17, The Riesling $18, Rosé $19 and the Pinot Noir $21. For more information and to order wine – maybe for Christmas gifts - visit the website ■

Alanna & Pete Chapman.

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The inside story Air NZ Wine Awards Chief Judge Warren Gibson

The 2017 competition

entries. This variety seems to This year we saw a total of have enjoyed the 2017 season 1,320 entries, slightly down on better than most white varieties the previous two years, most and a nice range of styles were likely due to a smaller and chal- rewarded including wines with lenging 2017 vintage in most areas varying levels of residual sweetof the country. Sixty percent of all entries received medals with 6.1% Gold, 16.7% Silver and 37.3% Bronze Medals awarded. Rosé was perhaps the

The wines

most disappointing of all classes this year with just two wines from 105 entries reaching the Gold Medal level and 57% receiving no award.

Sauvignon Blanc is New Zealand’s most planted grape variety and any October judging of this variety is a great snapshot of the recent vintage. There were nine Golds from the 235 entries (3.8%) with all Golds coming from the Marlborough region and predominantly from the more challenging 2017 vintage. The best wines were of very good quality and with a good diversity of style and subregionality awarded. Chardonnay was a particularly strong class with 13 Golds from 200 wines (6.5%). There appeared to be less style differentiation than normal with this class. Most wines awarded were from the 2016 vintage and with Marlborough and Hawke’s Bay dominating the class. My feeling is that the 2016 vintage shows more wines in the riper fruit spectrum than normal with less wines exhibiting the polarising flinty and reductive notes often seen in the cooler years. As with any strong class, many of the Silver Medal wines are worth pursuing. Riesling was a beautiful class of wines with six Gold and 13 Silver Medals awarded to the 61

24   // 

ness. Central Otago and Marlborough dominated the category. Pinot Gris was generally a somewhat disappointing class with many of the 2017 vintage wines appearing to suffer from compromised fruit characters. The best wines showed elegance and restraint. Five Golds were awarded from 152 wines (3.3%). Thirty wines achieved Silver Medal status but could not convince the judging panel they had the extra dimension to reach Gold. Marlborough and Central Otago were again the dominating regions. Gewürztraminer continues to impress as an alternative varietal with three of the 18 entries winning Gold. Abundant varietal fruit with silky texture won the day. The best wines make for delicious drinking, and show delicacy and balance, and the Golds all came from Marlborough. Sparkling wine is always an


exciting class to judge in New Zealand and with four Gold Medals in the bottle-fermented class there was strength at the top end. Freshness, persistence and complexity was evident in the top examples. The four Golds showed a nice diversity of style and varietal composition. Sweet wine scored well with four Gold Medals from 35 entries. Riesling from the South Island dominated the class along with one impressive Gewürztraminer from Hawke’s Bay. This is a difficult style to make well and the best wines showed purity, freshness, balance and luscious flavours on the palate. Other varieties allows new

and emerging varieties to shine (or otherwise) alongside each other. This year there were 30 entries in the white category and just 18 in the red. It was the Albariño that shone with two extremely smart examples winning Gold from the Marlborough 2017 vintage. This variety seems to have found a new symbiotic home in New Zealand and displays restraint but also particularly good palate weight versus other emerging white varietals. No red wines reached Gold Medal status this year. Rosé was perhaps the most disappointing of all classes this year with just two wines from 105 entries reaching the Gold Medal

level and 57% receiving no award. This has become a significant and important class reflecting both the popularity of the wine style and perhaps the tendency for producers to chase new trends. The challenging vintage seemed likely to blame for many of the weaker wines but a number of wines also showed winemaking faults and clumsy handling. The best were vibrant, pure and with good palate intensity. Pinot Noir was once again the most successful class in the competition with 20 Gold Medals from 263 entries (7.6%). This has been the trend for a number of years and reinforces the strength of Pinot Noir from a range of New Zealand’s wine regions. Central Otago dominated the class with 12 wines winning Gold. Marlborough made up the remaining majority along with one wine coming from Martinborough. The best wines were excitingly diverse in style. The common theme was perfume and length with elegant tannins. A

consistent judges’ comment was the need for sensitive use of oak with this variety. Many lesserpointed wines would have benefit from less oak. Syrah continued its impressive history in this competition with Hawke’s Bay dominating the class. There were also Golds for wines from Waiheke Island and Nelson showing the versatility of the variety. There was a high medal count overall with 44 out 60 entries winning a medal of Bronze or above. The best wines had rich, ripe characters but more importantly were fresh and light on their feet. Merlot, Cabernet and blends are a traditional Hawke’s Bay strength and no surprises here with five of the six Gold Medals hailing from the Bay along with one wine from Waiheke Island. The 2013 through 2016 vintages are strong for this style and it was pleasing to see two of the Golds were from the 2013 vintage showing positive bottle age. ■

Spray AFTER rain (and catch them in the act)

Air NZ Champion Wine of Show – Left, Bruce Parton, COO at Air New Zealand – Right, Jeremy McKenzie, Chief Winemaker at Isabel Estate Vineyard.

The post-flowering period is critical for disease control Up to a month after completion of flowering is the time when the crop is most susceptible to botrytis and powdery mildew infection. Rain events will trigger chasmothecia ascospore release. Warm weather will lead to rapid transformation of spore to mycelium. Tight spray intervals (7-10 days) during this period are critical for both powdery mildew and botrytis control. Applying a preventative cover spray, with significant eradicant activity AFTER a rain event is a highly effective strategy. The two spray options are shown in the table below, which deliver on both powdery mildew and botrytis. Scan the QR code for recommended preventative spray programme, or go to fungal-diseases/powdery-mildew-and-botrytis-spray-programme-2017.pdf.

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Air New Zealand Champion Wine of the Show Isabel Chardonnay Marlborough 2016

Quay Connect Champion Other White Styles Nautilus Albariño Marlborough 2017

O-I New Zealand Reserve Wine of the Show Dashwood Pinot Noir Marlborough 2016

Riedel New Zealand Champion Gewürztraminer Lawson’s Dry Hills Gewürztraminer Marlborough 2016

JF Hillebrand New Zealand Champion Pinot Noir Dashwood Pinot Noir Marlborough 2016 Label and Litho Limited Champion Sauvignon Blanc Goldwater Sauvignon Blanc Wairau Valley Marlborough 2017 Rabobank Champion Chardonnay Isabel Chardonnay Marlborough 2016 Dish Magazine Champion Open Red Wine Dashwood Pinot Noir Marlborough 2016 Bayleys Real Estate Champion Merlot, Cabernet and Blends Villa Maria Cellar Selection Organic Merlot Hawke’s Bay 2016 Fruitfed Supplies Champion Syrah Coopers Creek Reserve Syrah Hawke’s Bay 2016 Guala Closures New Zealand Champion Pinot Gris Saddleback Pinot Gris Central Otago 2017 New World Champion Open White Wine Goldwater Sauvignon Blanc Wairau Valley Marlborough 2017 New Zealand Winegrowers Champion Sweet Wine Forrest Botrytised Riesling Marlborough 2016

WineWorks Champion Sparkling Wine Aotea by the Seifried Family Méthode Traditionnelle Nelson NV New Zealand Winegrowers Champion Exhibition White or Sparkling Wine Isabel Wild Barrique Chardonnay Marlborough 2016 New Holland Agriculture Champion Exhibition Red Wine Falcon Ridge Estate Syrah Nelson 2016

Plant & Food Research Champion Riesling Mount Riley Riesling Marlborough 2017


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Expert reviews the key to sales Te s s a N i c h o l s o n


he re has bee n a lot of talk about peer influence on consumers buying wine. But one Master of Wine has discovered, that in the UK the impact of peer reviews play a lesser role than that of “experts”, especially when it comes to purchasing wine at lower price points. Sarah Knowles based her Master of Wine dissertation on the importance of reviews on sales of wine. In New Zealand recently as a judge at the Air New Zealand Wine Awards, she explained how her research

worked and the results. Three-thousand consumers were involved in the project, split into three even groups. One group of a thousand received an email describing the individual wine, the second group received an email with a description and a review from other consumers, while the third group received the description and a press review. “We found that generally speaking if a wine had a review either from a peer or a press member, the wine sold better at three different price points – which were everyday, medium and high price point. But it was

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the customers at the lower price point who relied on a little bit more help in terms of finding a wine and that is when the experts were coming through.” As a buyer for The Wine Society in the UK, Knowles admits she was expecting the expert reviews would impact more on the higher price point wines, not the more commercial. “But we quickly realised that those customers were more confident in their own decision and with wines under £10, the expert review sold substantially higher levels of wine than either of the two other emails. The

control email in all three price points, without any reviews, was always the weakest sale.” Knowles says that in the UK, peer reviews via social media do not appear to have a major impact on wine sales, unlike other

If copper use is an issue for you, there are choices HML32 with sulphur and HML Silco (adjuvant) is as effective as HML32 with copper and HML Potum (potassium bicarbonate) for suppression / eradication of powdery mildew infection. Two spray options are shown below. Scan the QR code for the recommended best practice for eradication spray application or go to http://www.

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HML32 (1.25L/100L), Sulphur (label rate) HML Silco (425g powder per 100L, or 540ml liquid per 100L)

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HML32 (1.25L/100L), HML Potum (300g /100L), Copper (45g metallic copper /100L)

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industries where peer reviews are obviously important. “If you were planning a holiday then you would visit somewhere like TripAdvisor or But wine people are generally buying either blind without checking reviews, or else they are using some sort of expert review. Perhaps they have read something in the Sunday times and then they head out to Waitrose to buy that wine.” Her Master of Wine dissertation, which won the Quinta do Noval award in 2015, proves the point she says that lower price point or more commercial wines still need to be marketed. “Sometimes as an industry we can forget that the everyday wine still needs selling.” Knowles is likely to take her own advice, when it comes to her job. Specialising in New Zealand, Australia, North America, Champagne and Spirits, her involvement with the Air New Zealand Wine Awards will provide her with a concise idea of the current lineup of our wines. Given

Sauvignon Blanc is a large part of her market, she says she was very happy to see the 2017 wines on display at the show, were better than she had expected. “Given the tricky vintage we were perhaps a little skeptical going in. But actually, we got more Golds through than we expected. So that is a positive story to take home.” When asked what category she was most looking forward to in the judging, there was no hesitation – it was Chardonnay. She says the best of New Zealand Chardonnays are “very, very good.” But she bemoaned the lack of a New Zealand direction when it comes to this variety. “I think Ne w Z ealand Chardonnays tend to be a little all over the place. I think there seems to be difficulty working out what the New Zealand style is, if there can be one with Chardonnay.” Given White Burgundy is The Wine Society’s largest selling white wine and has been “forever”, she said New Zealand has a hard road to toe

if it wants to break into that market in the UK. While sales are experiencing growth, she said it is not significant in relation to the volume of New Zealand wines they sell. Her advice to New Zealand winemakers is to look to what white Burgundy offers consumers and try to replicate. “For my membership, who are probably drinking a large proportion of white Burgundy and reasonably inexpensive white Burgundy, they are looking for bright acidity, probably slightly earlier picking dates which also correlates to 12.5 or 13 percent alcohol, so a lighter body. Then in an ideal world it will be fermented in oak, but not a high proportion of new. I think they would like some complexity with that, which may be fermenting with higher solids for some reduction – but probably reduction to the point that most consumers wouldn’t notice it - but it adds some minerality and freshness to a wine. Then it would be on lees for a reasonable period to give it some texture and bottled

just after a year. That would be the traditional Burgundian way of making a house level Chardonnay.” In terms of other varieties or styles, Knowles says she believes New Zealand sparkling wines are an unsung hero, and could do with more of a push into the UK market. The only problem she admitted was that our sparklings were often a comparable price to some Champagnes. “When I look at shops in New Zealand the wines are half the price of Champagne and that makes perfect sense. If they were half the price of Champagne in the UK, it would be very great value, but that doesn’t seem to happen. They tend to be closer in price point.” Knowles was one of three intentional judges at this year’s Air New Zealand Wine Awards. The other two were Elaine Chukan Brown from the US and PJ Charteris a New Zealander who makes wine in both Central Otago and Australia. ■

Sarah Knowles MW, one of three international judges at this year’s Air New Zealand Wine Awards.

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Developing resilience Te s s a N i c h o l s o n


his time last year I was writing an editorial on the devastating impact of the 7.8 Kaikoura earthquake on the Marlborough and North Canterbury wine industries. While a year is a long time, the effects of that quake are still being felt in both regions. However a New Zealand Winegrowers’ research project, funded by MPI is hoping to take the lessons from a year ago, to build a more resilient industry for the future. The project is being led by three specialists; Joanna Fountain, Senior Lecturer in Tourism Management at Lincoln University, Nick Cradock-Henry, Senior Scientist at Manaaki Whenua Landcare Research and Jason



Roads and rail were out following the Kaikoura earthquake last year, creating logistical nightmares for both North Canterbury and Marlborough wineries.

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Ingham and his team of structural engineers from University of Auckland. Fountain says the multipronged approach to the research project is one of its greatest strengths. “We are all from quite different backgrounds but can see the value of each other’s perspectives and research strengths.” While the contract from MPI has only just been signed off, providing $313,000 over two and a half years, the team has already been working towards establishing a clear set of stakeholder-endorsed objectives. Cradock-Henry says a visit to Marlborough back in June highlighted that logistics in all forms was one of the major issues for the industry as a whole. “The fact that the 2016 vintage was already in the tanks, and some of those tanks were damaged and some wine was lost, was one of the immediate impacts. But then the challenge

for producers who still had wine in tanks and needed to bottle it, was how did they get it out of the region? There may have been another significant aftershock, and there were markets waiting for that 2016 vintage. So there were considerable issues around getting the wine to be bottled somewhere else.” That logistical challenge impacted operators in different ways, depending on the winery involved, Cradock-Henry says. Some corporates were able to send the wine to other regions or offshore to be bottled, but the logistical nightmare was where to send it from, given Port of Wellington was out of commission, and how to get it there – as there was significant damage to the roading network. Then there were a number of smaller operators who didn’t have the relationships or networks of the larger companies, to have somewhere outside of Marlborough to do the bottling.

Another major issue that was raised by industry members, related to health and safety and staffing. Given the timing of the quake, just after midnight, and the month, there were no staff working in wineries at the time. But imagine if it had hit during working hours, or worse still during vintage when the wineries are staffed 24 hours a day? Fountain says many people interviewed admitted to dealing with their staff differently than they had back in 2013 during the Seddon earthquakes. “It was really clear that a lot of lessons were learned from the Seddon event. There had already been a lot of adjustment about how they were dealing with things, particularly staff welfare.” In this way, staff members were told to stay home and care for family and children, before dealing with catwalks and tanks. As the project commences, Cradock-Henry says one of the first tasks to be undertaken will

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be the documentation of the structural impacts which will come under the umbrella of the University of Auckland’s engineering team. “They need to look at tank design, how different tank designs performed under the different ground motion in the region and the influence of different soil types on that. What failed and why? How can we use some of the advances in tank design and bolting systems to reduce future losses?” Another critical area of research for the industry, is reassuring markets in the event of a disaster, and ensuring a clear, consistent message is communicated the length of the value chain. Key overseas markets need to be confident that New Zealand wine will continue to be on the shelf at point of sale. Losing hard won market share can have long-term implications for the industry. Following the earthquake, organic and loosely

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Our experienced and knowledgeable team is skilled in matching your needs with the best possible solutions! coordinated assurances were communicated, rather than command and control. Despite the shaking “your favourite New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc will still be on the shelf. Marlborough may be bent but it isn’t broken,” says Cradock Henry “If there is another event, one of the things we have been told is that market reassurance is critical. So how do we set up protocols and have some guidance so that message is in place?” For North Canterbury wineries, perhaps the biggest immediate impact was in terms of wine tourism, and the flow of visitors passed the cellar doors. Fountain says the industry quickly became aware of what happens when all the cars turn left at the Hanmer turnoff and there is no through traffic to Kaikoura and Blenheim. That will be one area she will be garnering more information on. “We are interested in the wine industry, but also in the whole value chain from the grape growers, to the grape pickers to the tourism operators and everything in between, because it is a systems approach; all the different parts of the system have to be sustainable.” In essence, the research team are looking to identify what the impact was for all levels of the supply chain, what worked, and

what didn’t. Only then can they come up with potential solutions that could be implemented to provide resilience if another high impact event happens in the future. “This will provide us with a prototype or test-bed for looking at what the immediate impacts are of these sorts of events,” admits Cradock-Henry. “They are inevitably going to happen again. It might not be in Marlborough or North Canterbury, but it could be Hawke’s Bay or Gisborne. How can the industry start to incorporate better assessments of these risks into all aspects of their operational and strategic planning? Everything from logistics through to health and safety and staff well-being.” Both Fountain and CradockHenry need to hear from all spheres of the New Zealand wine industry, on a wide range of issues. Public workshops and a national survey of industry members will be conducted over the next 12 months and both want to encourage everyone to take part. “Our objective is to produce research that is accessible and practical and that does make a difference to the industry in the long term,” Cradock-Henry says. “This is NZW’s project, the industry’s project, so input is vital.” ■

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In 1978 Judy and Tim Finn were contemplating an around the world trip on-board a yacht. Instead they chose to purchase a plot of land in Upper Moutere and take on the task of establishing vineyards and later a winery. These days Neudorf Wines are sought the world over, a testament to the Finns dedication over nearly 40 years. Judy is the current chair of The Family of XII – a collection of twelve vineyards who work together to raise the profile of fine New Zealand wine around the world, and is still involved in the running of Neudorf Wines with husband Tim. Daughter Rosie, who has only ever known the life of living on a vineyard, had no ambitions to follow in her parents’ footsteps. With degrees in Design and Photography, she spent three years in London, returning home last year. She is now carving out her own place in the company, as the Brand and Marketing Manager as well as being in charge of European Sales. She has also just been appointed to the New Zealand Winegrowers’ Marketing Committee. This is the story of Judy and Rosie Finn.



im had just finished his Masters in Animal Behaviour at Te Kauwhata, which was next door to what was then the Government Viticultural Research Station. We became friends with the team working there and decided that is what we wanted to do, grow grapes and make wine. Tim was adamant he wanted North facing clay soils (so we could dry farm the grapes rather than use irrigation) and we found this property near the village of Upper Moutere. It was about the size we wanted, 25 acres. We

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decided to buy it. It was 1978 when we came out here, and planted the first vines, then we went back to Wellington to work for a year to make some more money and rented the land out. I look back on those days and it was extraordinary hard work. We weren’t entirely sure what we were doing and I think we had about six jobs between us and six mortgages. Interest rates were 23 percent with the Development Finance Corporation, hence all those jobs. It was also so hard because there was so little vinicultural gear in New Zealand.  For instance, Tim had to build


a grafting machine because we couldn’t get one, and there were no narrow tractors that would go down rows. So it was a case of us having to fend for ourselves. Thankfully Tim is very practical and he built the grafting machine, then we turned our downstairs loo into a hot box and kept the grafted vines down there. I couldn’t do it now, no way. But I think our generation had just come through the 60s and there was a sense of optimism and invention, and we were encouraged to think outside the square, While I had grown up with a

family that drank wine in the 50s, I was naive to an extraordinary extent. And the benchmark was not too high to be honest, so it appeared achievable. There were so few wineries and there didn’t seem to be a right or a wrong way to do things. We would sell out in 48 hours – they were crazy days. I remember a winery telling me a few years later, that their bank would open for them on a Saturday, so they could bank their cash. There was no widespread use of credit cards back then, and people were buying with cash – so the bank would open especially so they could deposit their cellar

door earnings. To be honest though, the New Zealand wine industry is lucky to have such a supportive population. New Zealanders are very loyal to New Zealand wine. They adopted wine very quickly and gave the industry the lift off it needed. My role over the years – it would probably be an exaggeration to say it was marketing because I didn’t know anything about it. I still don’t. I think that was pretty common and to a certain extent, families like us have done it themselves and developed a kit bag of skills, or so called skills to make it work. Tim was the back bone of the company. I never took to the road to sell wine, as a small winery we just didn’t have the luxury of that time. We were working in the vineyard, Tim was making wine and I was learning to run a business, which I had no native skills at. Eventually we got somebody to help us. It was then we realised


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that we couldn’t keep doing this forever, so we had to buy a little more land so we were a bit bigger and could employ staff. We owe a great deal to these splendid people who helped us over the past 39 years. When Rosie came back from London, she started taking over

my role. I have always made it quite clear that the job was there if she wanted it, but she is also free to go at any stage if she wants to. The wine industry isn’t just a job – it is life and you have to be involved and love it. We never expected her to join us because her interest has always



im and Jude planted this vineyard in 1978 and the first vintage was 1981 and then I came along in 1992. I was an April baby – so literally I am a vintage baby. This is all I have known until I went to University. But I remember when I was very little, I wanted to be all of the things that little girls want to be, but I didn’t want to lose the vineyard. So I had this dream of having a vet clinic where they could have a glass of wine, while they waited. That was when I was really young. Then at high school I fell in love with the arts. Tim is really into photography as a hobby and Jude is naturally creative. So I sort of absorbed all that growing up. I studied design and Majored in photography at uni. When I did my Honours papers, I did a

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been in design and photography. I just want to pinch myself that she is here now, because I am so lucky. I remember many, many years ago Tim and I visited a cellar door and there was this guy who owned the winery sitting in the corner with a hugely grumpy

Maybe that is why I am loving it so much, because I wasn’t expecting it. It has happened organically. big exploration into modern art versus fashion photography and just where that line is. So I had a dream of going to London and being a fashion photographer. My naïve idea as a girl who grew up in Upper Moutere, was walking into the offices of British Vogue in London and they would employ me. I never looked at wine making although I have this huge appreciation of wine being an art science. But my family always


told me to go and do whatever I wanted. I’m really grateful there was never any pressure from Tim and Jude to get into wine. They were awesome. When I left uni I came home for about six months and managed the cellar door for the summer and loved it. But I didn’t want that year after university to slip between my fingers,. So I bought a one way ticket to London. I was 21. I knew one girl in the city, she was the elder sister of a girlfriend

face on, pouring wine. I walked away and said to Tim, never will we get like that. And we haven’t, we still love what we do. But you have to let the next generation in and explore other ways. I’m learning to take a back seat. That can be difficult. Rosie is very sociable and it is just terrific to have that young energy in the company. She brings a precision to the job - that is part of her design background. She does what I think today they call brand management and she is very focused, especially on everything looking as good as she can make it look. We have always been conscious of presentation as a company, but she has taken it to another level. I’m very proud of what she has achieved. It feels extraordinary to have Rosie taking charge and the company still being in family hands. It’s a situation we never thought would happen. It is joyful to be honest.

of mine. She was amazing. She had a spare room in their house, so I had somewhere to stay. She had a car pick me up at the airport and she took the day off work and helped me set up a bank account and a sim card and got me on my feet. Then this amazing social media thing happened. Just before I was going Jude made this Facebook status, probably about the time I was about to leave. She said Rosie is about to move to London and she doesn’t know anybody and she doesn’t have a home or a job and she really loves coffee, food, wine, fashion and art. If anyone has the time to have a coffee with her, that would be awesome. Mel (Brown from New Zealand Cellars) saw it and said she would have a coffee with me, which we did and we got on like a house on fire. She helped me

Brought to you by Roots, Shoots & Fruits get my first job at a wine bar and then I started working one day a week for her and then moved to full time. My role when I started was doing social media digital content. Then we did the Crowd Funding campaign to open the shop in Brixton. I ended up being the store manager for her in the shop. Mel was amazing and she gave me so much confidence to believe in what I was doing At wine tastings she always asked my opinion, so very quickly it went from not just working with wine, but tasting and learning and extending my palate. I worked for her for nearly three years, and the only reason I left was because I couldn’t renew my Visa. I wasn’t ready to come back to New Zealand, I wanted a five-year extension. It was a role where I was growing in a job I loved, in a city that I had come to know and with a great group of friends. But there was nothing I could do about it, the decision was made for me. So I came home. I knew I would come back to Neudorf for a bit. Tim and Jude had been over in June and we had talked about what I was going to do. They had said there was a job at home if I was looking for something. I moved home for a bit to see how it went and the role just got bigger and bigger. I put in a proposal to the Family of XII to do their social media and that came through. It

got busier and it snowballed into this career move which I never expected. Things were going really well and I thought, okay I am now going to move out of Mum and Dad’s, so I found a house and a cat – which is the cutest – and now I have no plans to leave. I could not have imagined myself being here at the age of 25 with a future. I remember talking to a good family friend when I got back and I was saying I can’t believe it has happened so quickly. He said, ‘oh really? Everyone else can. We all expected it.’ Maybe that is why I am loving it so much, because I wasn’t

expecting it. It has happened organically. Jude is an excellent boss and so good to learn from. She is bright and funny and very creative. She is strong willed, but really open minded and that is what makes her such a good boss. One of the things that makes this situation work is I try to get here early and have a coffee with Tim and Jude, where we talk about what is going to happen during the day. That is probably the most important 30 minutes of the day. It means Jude doesn’t have to come down to the office first thing, and allows her to step back.

The handover has been the best handover anyone could ask for, because she is still there to answer any questions I may have, but she still gets to step back and enjoy her own time. She is preparing me in a way that not many people get to experience. She has worked with all these people for 30 years and is a treasure trove of information. If she were to just retire, that would likely be lost. You can never hand those sorts of memories over in a formal way or write them down. You can only pass them over the way she is doing with me. It makes me very lucky. ■


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Well-deserved recognition


here were few dry eyes in the room when Raymond Chan was awarded the Sir George Fistonich Medal, as a Legend of New Zealand Wine recently. Presented at the awards dinner of the New Zealand International Wine Show, the well deserved recipient was chosen by Sir George himself. Show organiser Kingsley Wood said Chan received a standing ovation and prolonged applause from everyone attending. “We have received many emails from industry people expressing their congratulations on giving this award to Raymond,” he said. Renowned as a consultant, reviewer and story teller, Raymond Chan has been a stalwart and passionate supporter of the 188W X 120H MM

New Zealand wine industry for more than 30 years. Last year a group of wine industry personnel established a Givealittle page to raise funds for Chan, to enable him to continue undergoing cancer treatment with drugs that were not government funded. The organisers were hoping to raise $40,000 over a two month period. What they weren’t counting on, was the massive support expressed towards Chan, that saw a total of $60,285 raised in just five days. Chan’s partner, Sue Davies said at the time; “We have been so overwhelmed by people’s love and good wishes that we are lost for words and so grateful and touched to know that so many people care.” So understandably – when Chan was awarded the Sir George Fistonich medal, it was an extremely popular choice. ■

Previous winners of the George Fistonich Medal 2005 – Bob Campbell MW 2006 – Kevin Judd 2007 – Terry Dunleavy, MBE 2008 – Larry McKenna 2009 – Michael Cooper, ONZM 2010 – Kate Radburnd

2011 – Aan Brady 2012 – Vic Williams 2013 – Peter and Joe Babich 2014 – Steve Smith MW 2015 – Clive Weston 2016 – Richard Riddiford




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Crazy career choice is a winner Te s s a N i c h o l s o n


here are times when Kelsey Daniels has to pinch herself. Not surprising given the last six months have seen her become a New Zealand resident, purchase a house on the same day as she came second in the Tonnellerie de Mercurey South Island Young Winemaker of the Year, and a month later take out the national title. This 27-year-old assistant winemaker at VinLink has never done things by halves, and 2017 is proving that. Even her rise to the top of the New Zealand winemaking echelon is a story in itself. Californian by birth, she knew nothing about wine, her parents didn’t even drink it. Showing skills in both science and literature, Daniels head was turned in her last year of high school, during a chemistry project. The students had to shadow a professional over a six-month period. While her classmates chose doctors, dentists or optometrists to follow,

Daniels decided to shadow a local winery laboratory technician. For a 16-year-old who had never set foot in a winery before, the sensory overload was not what she was expecting. “There were all these amazing smells and shiny tanks and everyone was so intelligent and hip. It looked like a really cool place to work and a different kind of career.” The visit created a conundrum – should she go to UC Berkley and follow a writing career, or maybe go to UC Davis and become a winemaker? “I went with a gut feeling and decided on winemaking. My parents thought I was crazy – they thought ‘wow that came out of left field’, but are always incredibly supportive.” Undertaking the four-year course in just three years, meant she got to take a year off to study overseas. Firstly, she went to Italy to learn Italian and Art History, and then came to New Zealand to undertake some winemaking

Kelsey Daniels


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papers at Lincoln University. She will never forget her arrival in this part of the world, given it was less than 24 hours before a 6.1 earthquake devastated parts of Christchurch, including the University. “I live in California and have experienced earthquakes – but that was like – welcome to New Zealand.” It didn’t put her off though, as she headed back to America, completed her degree, gained an internship at Talley Vineyards in Arroyo Grande and then began looking for jobs back in New Zealand. It was 2013 when she arrived in Marlborough to take up a position at Sugar Loaf Winery, a company that produces its own label and provides contract winemaking facilities. It was the perfect scenario for the young winemaker. “It was the biggest winemaking growth spurt for me, as they made their own wines and had clients. It was very full on, a great place to learn.” While she took time out to undertake a vintage in Germany with her favourite variety Riesling, she came back to Sugar Loaf as an assistant winemaker in 2014.

After harvest 2015, she travelled overseas with her partner Paul Chambers, undertaking vintages in Oregon and McLaren Vale. When Paul was offered a job as a brewer at Moa Brewing Company in Marlborough, Daniels was ecstatic – she could come back to Marlborough. Since July last year, she has been the assistant winemaker at VinLink, a contract winemaking facility in the heart of the region. One year later she is now the holder of the title of Tonnellerie de Mercurey New Zealand Young Winemaker of the Year and weeks after winning, she is still buzzing. Not least because she never thought she stood a chance. Take the South Island competition, held on August 25. As mentioned earlier that was the day hers and Paul’s first home was being finalised. “So in between modules, I was on the phone to the lawyer making sure that the bank had come through and everything was happening.” Lots besides winemaking was going through her mind that day. She didn’t win, although coming in second was just as good as a first she says.

Kelsey Daniels with Marcel Giesen and Sherwyn Veldhuizen of Tonnelerie de Mercurey.

“I was surprised when I came in second in the South Islands. You know, I felt like I had already won, I had already done better than I thought I would. “But then I thought I have to step up my game for the finals, ramp up what I study and how I study.” With that as her focus, it is understandable that her belongings in her new home remained boxed up. “I had no time to unpack, I was forever studying.” The first competition had shown her weaknesses, she says, in areas such as marketing. “I knew it was going to be hard as I have never had any wine marketing background. I have never had to sell a wine to a panel of judges, so that was new. Then in the knowledge module, I thought I knew that, but there were some sections that I hadn’t gone over, like microbiology.” With the finals a huge step up from the regionals, Daniels describes the day as “probably the most stressful things I have done in my life. I wasn’t alone, but I was the loud American that would come out of a module and go, ‘oh man that was tough.’ I had no qualms about saying that out

loud, but I think everyone else played it closer to their chest.” The one module that she says “broke” her, was the Capital Expenditure model. “It was so hard, so tough. I walked out and thought, okay let’s go and take a five-minute breather in the bathroom. I told myself, you will not cry, you will not cry. It’s okay, keep doing your best, don’t give up.” But if the truth be known, she had already decided she didn’t have a chance of taking out the title – so instead she concentrated on winning the speech section – an area she came first in during the South Islands. Daniels didn’t win the speech section, that was won by runner up Sara Addis from Hawke’s Bay. While that was a disappointment, it was all forgotten when her name was read out as the overall winner. “I still get goosebumps thinking about it. I was so overwhelmed that I couldn’t think what to say.” While competitions like Young Winemaker and Young Viticulturist are all about celebrating those younger members coming into the industry, Daniels says there is a lot more to it than that. She believes she is a better winemaker for the competition, as it has pushed her to think about things in different and more in-depth ways. “It forced me to study, and my critical thinking in the day to day aspects of winemaking is better now. And it has given me confidence. Winemaking has always been a crazy career choice for me, so it’s pretty cool to be able to say, alright, I know what I am doing and I can do it well.” ■ tessa.nicholson@

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Runner up is still studying Mary Shanahan


ampling a Margaret River sparkling wine was an epiphany for Sara Addis, runner-up in the 2017 Tonnellerie de Mercurey New Zealand Young Winemaker of the Year. Addis, who also won the North Island regional competition, had left her UK homeland to travel overseas and was working her first day as a cellar door assistant at the family-owned Howard Park winery when the owners, marking a company milestone, offered her a glass of bubbles. The wine was delicious, she says, but the epiphany was more about being in the winery and talking about wine with the owners and the winemakers. A humanities graduate who majored in Spanish and French at Durham University, Addis wasn’t drawn to teaching or to working as a translator. The Western Australian experience was to determine her future direction – she immediately knew she wanted to pursue a career in wine. At the time, she was thinking along the lines of a sales or marketing role. However, her six months at Howard Park and a vintage worked in Burgundy

Sara Addis is hoping her success in competition will open new doors in the New Zealand wine industry.

dislodged that idea. “I wanted to be in the winery,” she says. She moved to New Zealand for a vintage job and was employed at Cloudy Bay in Marlborough. Warming to Kiwi culture and meeting her partner Lachy in Blenheim, she researched options for study in New Zealand. “I liked the look of EIT’s graduate diplomas best,” she

says of the institution’s oneyear programmes. “They offer the most important parts of viticulture and winemaking.” With 3 ½ years experience working as a cellar hand at Cloudy Bay, she gained entry to the viticulture programme. And after a bridging course in chemistry, she will study the Graduate Diploma in Oenology next. “I chose to study viticulture

first,” she says, “because I felt that would give me a more rounded education. As a winemaker, you also need to understand what’s involved in growing the grapes.” Addis dovetails study with a part-time job at Trinity Hill’s cellar door, a role that expanded when chief winemaker Warren Gibson asked her to also help out in the lab and with cellar hand work. Lachy moved with her to Hawke’s Bay and the couple are enjoying living on the fringes of wine country at Waiohiki, close to EIT and his management job at a department store in Hastings. “He didn’t drink wine when I met him,” Addis says of her partner. “It was nearly a deal breaker,” she adds with a laugh. After “countless visits” to cellar doors, Lachy now favours Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot blends, Syrah, sparkling wines and off-dry Riesling. “We’re still working on dry whites,” says Addis, who pretty much loves any kind of wine but whose favourite styles are any good methode traditionelle, dry Rieslings, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Cabernet Sauvignon – “and I want to learn more about Syrah.” ■



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Primary industries – a great career choice Te s s a N i c h o l s o n


rimary ITO’s CEO Dr Linda Sissons, has a long career in vocational education, but it has only been in the last three years that she has “dived” into the primary sector. Despite its importance in terms of employment and exports, she believes it is an area that has been short changed when it comes to the educational sector. For too long she says, careers within the primary sector have been considered as a hereditary pathway, or something teachers encour-

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aged students to do because they felt they were not suitable for university. That is an attitude she is determined to change. “We want to completely reverse that and have it as a number one career choice. Not just for young people who live in provincial rural areas, but also young people who live in cities,” Dr Sissons says. “This is one of the most important sectors in our economy and if we don’t have people choosing a career in primary industries and that becoming the absolute pinnacle of their ambition, then the


sector won’t be able to continue to enjoy that top spot.” Things are changing already, she admits, with a lot of work being undertaken in schools promoting primary industry as a career. That is helping to open young people’s eyes to the potential and ensuring these career paths are viewed as attractive.

‘We are working very hard on it,” she says. “We have set some quite ambitious goals to increase the number of school leavers who choose primary industry and I think we will see a difference. But it will take a year or so.” In terms of the wine industry, Primary ITO is concentrating on the viticulture side. (Competenz

works with wineries – see next story). The ITO is directed and advised by an industry partnership group that includes individuals from the following companies Villa Maria, Mission Estate, Cloudy Bay, Indevin, Pernod Ricard, contracting companies Hortus and Seasonal Solutions Coop along with representatives from Wine Marlborough and NZ Wine, it is chaired by Julie Bassett of Constellation Brands. “The IPG have created a career pathway for people employed in viticulture and it goes from level two, (which is the equivalent of an industry new entrant) right through to a level five Diploma. We are working on the development of increased options at the higher levels.” Proving the point that the qualifications are now being sought after, in 2017 there has been a 37 percent increase in the number of people undertaking the level four qualification. “Last year it was less than 20 percent, so we

Primary ITO’s CEO Dr Linda Sissons.

are really pleased to see that progression. It means they are seeing a career in front of them.” Depending on previous skills, students can come in at varying levels Dr Sissons says. Level two or three is the equivalent of hav-

ing completed high school, while others who come in later, after already having some form of experience, may decide to begin at level three or four. To undertake Primary ITO qualifications, the employee

needs to enter into a two-way contract with their employer. Dr Sissons says that is an important part of the programme, which ensures the worker has the materials and the workplace experiences to complete their qualification, while also showing the employer that they have a worker who is keen to progress. Given the progress so far, she is under no illusion this won’t continue. “The very fact that our wine industry has that target of $2 billion exports by 2020 shows it is an industry that is going to continue to grow. The quality of the exports is growing exponentially, so having the people with the skills and the commitment to a career in this industry – you would have to say the smart money is on those who decide to go for that career.” For more information on Primary ITO’s viticulture career progression pathway, see left, or visit ■


Cellar-hand operation qualifications Te s s a N i c h o l s o n


he New Zealand wine industry is one of the latest to come on board with on-thejob training qualifications. While Primary ITO have been offering qualifications to the viticultural sector for a number of years, it was only last year that a similar programme was launched for wineries and in particular those operating in the cellar. Competenz CE Fiona Kingsford says they currently cover around 36 different industries, but wine is a relative newcomer. “The industry did not have any qualifications that were pitched for their people, where workers could gain qualifications on the job and be recognised for that work.” That all began to change back in 2014, when industry members worked alongside Competenz to come up with a range of qualifications resulting in three Certificates in Cellar Operations, launched in Marlborough last year. By the end of 2017, around 50 individuals will have taken up the challenge, and she says by 2019, they are expecting that to increase to 180. The three certificates, known as Level Three, Level Four and Level Five, will each take around 12 months to complete. But Kingsford says the beauty of them is they cover what the employee is already learning within the workplace. “We stress to employers that the classroom is actually the workplace, so what the learn-

42   // 

Competenz CE Fiona Kingsford.

ers are doing every day is gaining these skills. We then provide support material to underpin that knowledge base and we provide assessment material that the learners can complete easily, through naturally occurring evidence of what they are doing in their day jobs.” The three certificates begin with providing basic understanding of the wine industry, knowledge about legislation such as food safety and health and safety, team work and regular cellar operations. The following


they are working. The benefit of that is they are earning while they are learning, they don’t have to take out a student loan, they are in the sector immediately so they are gaining working experience right there and then. Plus there is also government funding to support them while they are doing it.” But the qualifications are not just aimed at school leavers, she says, and are available to anyone working in a cellar, regardless of age. While these certificates are geared specifically to those employed within a winery cellar, Kingsford says there are a number of other Competenz qualifications that the wine industry could benefit from. “We do health and safety,

two levels covers wine analysis, understanding technical elements, grape processing and managing vintage operations, through to the potential to lead others and provide technical support into commercial cellar operations. Kingsford admits that many young people believe the only way to get into the wine industry is through a University degree, which isn’t always practical. “The cellar hand qualifications offer an immediate opportunity for school leaves to get into a cellar and gain qualifications while

sales, distribution, competitive systems and practices, which is Lean Manufacturing. We also do business and administration qualifications. When we start to work with companies, we look at the whole enterprise approach, as to what else we could support.” Employers and employees who are interested in learning more can visit the Competenz website ( or phone 0800 526 1800 and ask to talk to someone about the Cellar Operations Qualifications. ■

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Benefits of our programmes: • Flexible learning content to match workplace needs and clear practical outcomes. • Most of the learning and assessment is completed on-job, meaning little time off work is needed. • Support, and regular visits from your local Primary ITO Training Adviser including mentoring and career progression planning.

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A dream job “


anding the position of New Zealand Winegrowers’ Research Programme Manager is the dream job for Matias Kinzurik, as Tessa Nicholson discovered. “I have always wanted to work in an industry that is keen on using science to strive ahead, to fix its problems and beat its challenges.” Kinzurik has no hesitation in stating the above as his reasons for applying for the job at NZW. The former Argentinian who studied in his home country, Houston -Texas and New Zealand says it is a rare thing for any industry to have a wide vision of using science to move forward on a wholesale scale. But NZW does just that. With science in his blood,

I wanted to invent this revolutionary biotech idea that was going to fix everything, create world peace and all that. Well that was my vision at the time, at least.

(both his parents are chemists) Kinzurik decided to take a step sideways and concentrate on molecular biology and biotechnology. His early goals were quite simple. “I wanted to be a millionaire by the time I was 25,” he jokes. “I wanted to invent this revolutionary biotech idea that was going to fix everything, create world peace and all that. Well that was

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my vision at the time, at least.” He did however help create a start-up idea, that unfortunately didn’t quite enthuse potential investors as much as it enthused himself. “My friend and I had this idea that we were going to make biofuel by using a local species of microalgae. It was a great idea and everyone loved it, except the year we put this into action was 2007

– the year of the crash. When we were coming up with the idea, the cost of a barrel of oil was $140. By the time we finished putting together the idea, it had collapsed to almost $35. There was no way it was going to make it then.” He therefore decided that maybe he should concentrate on his scientific career before he started hitting up investors with new ideas again. So he headed to Houston to do his Masters in yeast genetics. “I saw it as a really wide opportunity. There is so much you can do by manipulating yeast genetics. Wine is one of them. My main drive was to use yeast genetics to create value in something that was already valuable. And wine is a valuable and established product.” With his Masters under his

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New Zealand Winegrowers’ new Research Programme Manager, Dr Matias Kinzuirk.

belt, he was keen to go further scientifically, and ended up in New Zealand to undertake a PhD at University of Auckland, under the now retired, Prof. Richard Gardner, and Dr. Bruno Fedrizzi. “I had the really great fortune to be Richard’s last PhD student. He is a great mentor for me and while he retired around halfway through my PhD, those 18 months I worked with him made a huge difference.” His first year in New Zealand was 2014, now three years later he is heading the NZW Research Programme – his dream job. Having always been on the other side of the scientific equation – undertaking the research – he is now able to see the practical results of that sort of work. “When you are working on your bench, pushing for hours trying to get a result, you never see the big picture. How will this affect the winemaker or viticulturist? However, this job shows you the big picture,” Kinzurik says, “because you are working with the research programmes and passing that information on.”

One of his drivers to apply for the job was NZW’s mission statement he says, which is to create value for their members. “That is exactly what in my view, science should be used for. You want to create value for people and I am really excited that this company has that as its mission. If you make less than one percent of the world’s wine, you have to differentiate yourself from others. That differentiation has to come from quality – using science to create quality is a very smart idea.” But perhaps what has impressed him the most, is the world-class research that is being led by NZW. Particularly when you take into account how small New Zealand is. “There is no one in the world doing the kind of programmes that we are doing. If you go to wine conferences and talk to people in Europe and the US you soon learn that no one has an industry wide approach to research like New Zealand does. That is extremely impressive.” ■



Under/standing – the sculpture Te s s a N i c h o l s o n


t stands eight metres tall, weighs three and a half tonnes, has 52 individual components and arrived as a flat pack, that required two cranes to lift it up, to the magnificent structure it now is. Under/standing, a CorTen steel installation piece, is the end result of an international collaboration between Brancott Estate and New York based designer, Dror Benshetrit, that began three years ago. Dror spent three weeks in Marlborough with Brancott Estate’s Chief Winemaker, Pat-

rick Materman back in 2015. His time was spent walking among the vines, tasting the wines and getting to understand the ethos of the company. The brief at the time was to translate the winery’s innovation-driven spirit and winemaking process through a unique design. When his conceptual design was released, he explained his reasoning. “I envisioned an installation that appeared as it if grew from the ground in the same geometric orientation as the grapevines, while encapsulating the entire

winemaking process with its static presence.” He has certainly achieved that, with the installation an array of angles and symmetry, that gives the impression that is has risen from the ground to stand guard over the thousands of rows of vines that make up Marlborough’s very first modern day vineyard. “Looking at the rows (of vines) that create this beautiful effect when you drive past or walk through, creates this amazing movement,” Dror said at the official opening in October. “I

tried to create something that was three dimensional. When you move around it, you sometimes see it in a two dimensional way, but as you move it expands. This to me related to the idea of wine expanding in flavour and complexity over time.” CorTen steel was specifically chosen because of the way it continues to evolve over time, which is also what wine does. Dror said the colour which currently transitions between brown and orange, will continue to change

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colour – eventually settling into the more orange hues. Materman echoed his feelings of the evolution of the installation and Dror’s comparison with wine, although he did add, he hoped his wines would not move into orange hues with age. “Dror talked about how as you move around this sculpture, you see it quite differently”, Materman said. “To me wine is like that as well. You can taste wines in different contexts and it might look quite differently. The patina of

the sculpture will change in time and wine does as well. What might start off as having some gloss and fine edges, ultimately gains sophistication, complexity and real depth of character as well.” Commenting that it was the fusion of art and science that drew him to winemaking, Materman went on to say; “This shared use of science to create art is what inspired us to work with Dror, whose combined love of poetry and structure is clear in his work.” As for the name of the installation, Under/standing, Dror said he hopes that will become clear to anyone viewing it up close. “Stand underneath, understand the geometry, immerse yourself and interact with it.” To commemorate the installation Brancott Estate have released two limited edition wines. The Reflection range includes a Sauvignon Blanc/Sauvignon Gris 2016 blend and Pinot Noir 2015. ■

Designer Dror Benshetrit is dwarfed by his eight metre tall sculpture.

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he warm start this season is predicted to continue through summe r. Because grape powdery mildew (Erysiphe necator) is so strongly influenced by temperature, it is expected that disease pressure will be high this year. Therefore, it is paramount that the Powdery Mildew (PM) programme is robust to prevent crop loss and yield reduction from PM infection. Good management of PM is also vital for botrytis management as PM infections on berries, even if small and unnoticed, can affect the integrity of the berry and increase the susceptibility to botrytis infection.

48   // 

There is a good range of products available for PM control, with some being better than others. To get the best results, it is important to consider the

important part of the programme. At the critical stages when you need maximum protection, it is best to choose some of the new chemistries which offer

It is paramount that the Powdery Mildew (PM) programme is robust to prevent crop loss and yield reduction from PM infection. product attributes, timing, and coverage of the target. Sulphur has been the stalwart PM control tool for centuries and remains an


superior longevity of control, systemic action, and translaminar properties which have been proven to achieve excellent

results even under extreme disease pressure. The best product needs to be applied at the best time, targeting flowering and early berry growth when they are most susceptible to infection, and in response to weather conditions when the disease is reproducing rapidly (each spore can produce thousands of new spores within five days at optimum temperatures). The other critical factor is coverage of the target which is related to sprayer and spraying technique and canopy management. It is highly advisable to open up the canopy as much and as early as possible within the bounds of your desired wine style. ■


Scott Base: The Pinot project Mark Orton


s far as marketing ventures go, Scott Base’s Pinot project is a real winner. Well certainly if you’re lucky enough to be seated under the Central Otago sun blending Pinot Noir with winemaker Josh Scott. “You can’t buy this experience,” shouts Ross Anderson across the table. “You just can’t put a price on it. Getting a few hours with a winemaker to share his knowledge is amazing.” Along with his wife Janet, The Christchurch couple are joined by Tui Fleming and her husband

Hamish Drury from Auckland. The four won a competition called ‘The Pinot Project’ run by Allan Scott Family Estate under the banner of their Central Otago Scott Base label. The brainchild of winemakerturned beer maverick Josh Scott; “All the good ideas I claim, all the bad ideas I attribute to someone else”, the Pinot Project is an innovative way for the winery to interact with their customer base and get the word of mouth machine cranked into overdrive. “After speaking with some of our customers, certain wine information that I thought was

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elementary, was actually a bit of a mystique for people” says Josh. “I love talking to people and educating them, and Dad’s philosophy has always been geared towards direct marketing. He would say that ‘each of these people here will talk to 10 friends and that is 40 people that you reach straight away’. That word of mouth advertising is usually the best and this sort of marketing has worked really well for the

way that we promote Allan Scott wines.” The competition concept is totally tailored to bringing ordinary wine consuming customers into the fold by demystifying an aspect of the winemaking process. Sold in four bottle lots, each ‘Pinot Project Case’ contains a selection of wines from the Scott Base vineyard. Three of the bottles are individual clones (5 / 10-5 and 777) while the fourth bottle is

Pinot blenders; from left - Janet and Ross Anderson, Josh Scott, Hamish Drury and Tui Flemming.



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the Scott Base Reserve Pinot Noir. The objective is relatively straight-forward. In the comfort of your home and quite possibly with the company of friends, you need to create a unique blend that then gets submitted to the wine-making team at Allan Scott Family Estate. They will then replicate the blends and the top two entrants will win a trip to the Scott Base vineyard to blend a wine with Josh from the 2016

Vintage. It’s a wonder the idea hasn’t been seized before now, something that Scott thinks is possibly due to the wine community being a few steps behind the craft beer community in terms of finding innovative ways to interact with their customers. “Getting people interactive is key and one thing that craft brewers around the world have done really well, is using social media to talk with their customers. Wine hasn’t really grasped it in the same way to be fair. We are not great on social media yet, but I’m all about new product development and doing things different, and I’m not really a traditionalist, so we found that this approach was far more beneficial for feedback and learning what works and what doesn’t. We can also get across a message about our brand and our family which is really important to us.” As the various glasses get swirled, sniffed, quaffed and in some cases emptied onto the

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lawn behind, the conversation starts to get rowdy with cries of: “number two…no number five… hang on…what number are we on now…I like the peppery notes of this one.” To be fair to the four novice wine tasters assisting Josh with today’s blending endeavours, they are now on the fifth blend of the afternoon and not all of them have quite mastered the art of using a spittoon. However, what they are engaging in is precisely what Scott thought of when coming up with the Pinot project. “It’s about sharing our personal passion with people and yes, it is labour intensive, but I don’t think it’s any different than doing a tasting. Just last week I was doing a tasting in New York that to be honest was a bit of a waste of time as there were maybe 200 winery distributers there and I probably got to speak with 20 people all day. Whereas with this, I am really engaging with people. Our philosophy has changed. We used to chase volume, we used to chase case numbers, but we worked out that this isn’t the way. It’s actually all about quality and value. I actually know the vines and the contour of the land, so I love being able to share that knowledge with our customers.” While Josh Scott’s name is now synonymous with craft beer and the rapid rise of his flagship label MOA, Scott is keen to emphasise that wine is still very much a focus for him and so is Central Otago. “Ironically when Dad was starting out as a viticultural consultant he told people that you couldn’t grow grapes down here, and now we have our own place in Cromwell. There is something about Central Otago Pinot Noir that is a really good talking point. When I am talking at wine events overseas, everyone talks about Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc, but they are intrigued by Central Otago Pinot Noir. Hopefully we will acquire more land here, but it is just about finding the spots.

I really like this Cromwell area, it’s the one I feel most comfortable with. Buying fruit here is so expensive, but we know that we could sell a lot more Pinot so getting another vineyard down here is a definite goal for us.” In an increasingly selfabsorbed existence where we become slaves to ‘smart’ devices, perhaps a marketing scenario that encourages interaction, group participation and the kiwi love of sport could be a stroke of genius. Especially if the feedback from the four participants today is anything to go by. “It has been awesome listening to Josh, because we have been drinking wine for years and have a bit of a cellar, but today we have learned just how much we didn’t know. It has been really educational,” says Tui Fleming. “Having an insight and understanding of the process that goes into blending Pinot Noir will certainly make me look at wine differently when purchasing.” Just after wrapping up the blending session, Josh is positively brimming with enthusiasm for the potential for this initiative, even if he did surprise his marketing team with how quick they needed to act on it. “I am the sort of person that if I have an idea I want to have it out there tomorrow, which frustrated our marketing and distribution people. Look it worked really well straight out of the gate as we got a couple of hundred entries, but I have a few ideas to make the next version of it even better. Perhaps we could do it with other varieties and incorporate Marlborough. The great thing is, that it gets away from all those things you shouldn’t talk about around a table like religion and politics. The feedback we had from the winners and some from those who entered, was that they spent a couple of hours enjoying themselves, talking about wine and educating themselves in the process.” ■


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Wine Words Lee Suckling


inding the right vocabulary to set a wine apart from its competitors isn’t easy. We often see words such as “minerality” and “appellation” used in wine marketing and in the media, as do we hear of conditions like “accessible” and specifications such as “biodynamic”. Winemakers might know what these words mean, and wine writers bandy them about in every article or review. The trouble is, consumers probably don’t understand what these complex words mean, which means over-use of them can hurt the wine industry as a whole. Words are important in recommending and selling wine. When faced with hundreds of bottles of unknown brands, consumers first choose based on varietal, then on location, and the final confirmation before purchase will be confirming that the words on the back of the label go down easily, because that’s what they expect the wine will do. The other reason wine wording is so important is because consumers will say those words out loud in front of company when drinking the wine. When

52   // 

a verbose word such as appellation is used in common conversation it leaves the speaker feeling self-conscious, even pretentious, because they’re unsure of their audience and whether or not they actually know the meaning of the word they just spoke. Why is this so problematic? Perhaps because wine drinkers – those from outside the viticulture industry with only a casual knowledge of the craft – are afraid of being considered wine snobs by their peers. I remember the first time I said “terroir” in a social context, when I first became involved in wine in the mid 2000s. Though it’s a reasonably common word nowadays, its meaning still stumps a lot of people. When I used it, it appeared as if I was a wine expert. In reality, I was a casual wine drinker and hopeful writer, and bluffed my way through the vocabulary based on what I heard other tasters say and what I’d read on wine labels. Today, I still use the term terroir with hesitation. As an occasional wine writer, I’m always tasked with choosing the wine for the table when I dine out with friends or colleagues (an


anxiety-ridden duty on its own). The added pressure to talk about wine or explain why it tastes the way it does is daunting. Nobody wants to be seen as pompous, but wine chat is right up there with explanations of the stock market or where your family got its money from. None of this is winemakers’ or wine media’s fault. Nobody forces consumers to use the technical or metaphoric words we hear from the professionals. Yet, it is viticulturists and career wine connoisseurs we look up to and learn from. When we hear phrases at the cellar door, see them in wine reviews, or read them on a wine brand’s website, they will be repeated. This is an issue because many wine terms are misleading. Take “minerality”, for example, a term to describe how the soil and rocks of the vineyard have been transported into the wine itself. Scientific studies, such as “Minerality in wine: A geological perspective” (published in Journal of Wine Research, 2013), find that mineral nutrients in wine are so minuscule, there’s no way of tasting them. “Whatever minerality is, it cannot literally be the taste of minerals derived from the

vineyard geology,” said the study author Alexander Maltma Other terms are commonly used in wine description incorrectly. “Unctuous” can be used to define a wine that is rich and intense with concentrated, velvety fruit concentration. The word unctuous actually means greasy or oily in a sycophantic way, however. “Confident” is sometimes used to describe tannins or aromas, perhaps used as a synonym for “bold”. As an inanimate object, however, it’s difficult to see how a wine could exude confidence. There’s also “serious”, a term used to describe a wine that “means business” for hard-core oenophiles. One would assume this implies that there are “unserious” wines and “serious” wines though, and if you’re a connoisseur you’d only want to drink the latter. Again, none of this helps the pretentious nature associated with expert wine drinkers. We can also get into the “biodynamic” versus. “organic” versus. “sustainable” wine confusion. Organic wines are made without the use of synthetic chemicals, biodynamic wines

Minerality, a term to describe how the soil and rocks of the vineyard have been transported into the wine itself, may be an inaccurate phrase.

are made in vineyards that have an entire ecosystem free of common manipulations (e.g. yeast and acidity changes), and sustainable wines incorporate environmental initiatives such as energy, water and waste saving. But do wine drinkers really know the difference? Chances are, they roll all three terms up into one “green” package and will either use them interchangeably, or as a catch-all purely to describe a wine’s making as “ecologically friendly”. Countless other words used in wine do have meaning, but are not understood because they’re more marketing-speak than anything else. Often, it’s the media who uses such terms. An “accessible” wine is one that is not complex and can be, presumably, consumed by those without the honed palette. A “big” wine could mean one with intense flavours or high alcohol. A wine’s “bite” can be positive or negative based on the tannic or

acidic nature of the overall taste balance. “Finesse” is a subjective term about a wine’s high quality, “hollow” or “lean” wines lack the sense of fruit, “oxidised” is a bad thing but “oxidative” is wellaged... the list goes on. Such is the argument for simplifying wine vocabulary for the sake of wine drinkers, makers, and media alike. There’s a good argument to keep wine adjectives and metaphors in use that need no extra explanation. When you say a wine is buttery, smokey, plummy, oaky, mellow, chocolaty, meaty, or grassy, nobody needs to decipher what is meant. So too is the case for telling a wine exactly as it is, dry, light, sweet, fresh, fruity, earthy and zesty need no explanation, nor do mature, powerful, rich, spicy, tannic, tart, yeasty, or young. I’m guilty of using some of the overly verbose and complicated wine words, and you probably are too. It’s time we all tone it down. All wine should be both “accessi-

ble” and “serious”, because at the heart of it, there should be nothing unaccommodating or snobby about the wine business at all. Where should you look for inspiration? Try the craft beer industry. Modern beer bottles carry plenty to read (on the individual product and the brand) in appealing and accessible language. These small, literal details engage the other senses as the drinker hums over the taste and smell. Enjoying wine, like enjoying any beverage, should be simple and unintimidating. Approachability in language is key, because you’ll struggle to find the old world wine snobs in New Zealand. Many of the finer palates at this end of the world belong to the pig hunters and the vegetable growers – people who care strongly for taste. They won’t be reached with anything other than simple – and more importantly, accurate – descriptors. ■

Specialist advice for the wine industry.

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SEX, SIGHT AND PREGNANCY INFLUENCE WINE JUDGING ABILITY “Nearly 300 wines were judged over two days by a blind panel of international and national wine judges” was the startling introduction to a recently received press release promoting success at a wine show. Where did they manage to find so many unsighted wine judges? Is it true that if we lose one sense the others are heightened? I’ve never judged with CP Lin, the well-known unsighted Canterbury winemaker who spent 16 years making wine for Mountford Estate before launching his own label. He has a pretty good reputation as a wine taster and I certainly like his wines. “If blindness heightened the senses of taste and smell then there would be more blind winemakers and chefs”, explained Lin. “It’s true that when you lose one sense you use the others more, but it’s probably a born-with ability and you need the talent to put this to the right use…. blindness is just a director.” Does sex make a difference?

Or to put it more politely, are women better tasters than men? Yes, says Robert Bath, a wine and beverage studies professor at the Culinary Institute of America in Napa Valley. “I’ve seen [women outperforming men] enough times to know it’s there,” he says. “Probably females are better at accessing olfactory memories, but I don’t know why. Maybe men don’t pay as much attention?” Linda Bartoshuk, a professor at the University of Florida Center for Smell and Taste, has found that supertasting abilities are more common in women than in men. She says it’s hard to come up with a good estimate. But

in one study of 4,000 Americans, she found that 34 percent of them were supertasting women; by comparison, supertasting men were 22 percent of the study population. What’s a supertaster? A supertaster is someone who has more than 30 taste buds in the size of a hole punch on your tongue. Supertasters have a heightened sense of sweetness, bitterness and astringency. If broccoli, grapefruit and coffee taste bitter you could be a supertaster. If you find most foods bland and unexciting you would be a nontaster. Average tasters occupy the middle ground. I think that sensitivity to aromas and a good palate memory are more important than having 30+ taste buds (you can easily measure these by getting an imprint of your tongue and counting them). Practice is another key factor. Tasting wine is like hitting a tennis ball at a garage door 1000

times, the more you do it the better you get (as someone who tastes a dozen or more wines every day, that’s my trump card). I haven’t counted my taste buds if you are wondering. An English supermarket group rather controversially advertised for pregnant women to join their wine buying team because pregnancy is supposed to heighten taste sensitivity. I guess that would be an asset if the supermarket chain was deliberately selecting wines that would appeal to pregnant woman, although I’d suggest that pregnant wine drinkers are a rather small and uneconomic target market. Pregnancy does indeed appear to heighten taste sensitivity but anecdotal evidence suggests that it also distorts taste perception. If you want to improve your wine tasting ability you could try losing one or two senses. Men should consider a sex change and, if it’s on the cards, pregnancy is an option. On the other hand it might be more effective to simply taste more wines.

MAKE MINE A MARIJUANA MERLOT What are they smoking in the boardroom? The world’s biggest wine company, US-based Constellation Brands, has invested $278 million to buy a 9.9% stake in Canopy Growth, a Canadian seller of medicinal marijuana products. Diversification into dope might be a smart move. Growth in alcohol is slowing while the legitimate mari-

56   // 

juana business is booming. Recreational marijuana is now legal in five US states and Washington DC with others sure to follow. Canada plans to legalise recreational marijuana by July next year. The NZ Herald reported that Constellation had no plans to sell marijuana in the US or other markets until it is legal “at all government lev-


els” although it is collaborating with Canopy Growth on the development of cannabis-based products, but only in places where the products are legal at the federal level. Constellation’s local brands include Kim Crawford, Selaks and Monkey Bay. I look forward to reviewing Crawford Cannabis, Selaks Sativa and Monkey Bay Marijuana?

AGE IN AN INSTANT Imagine transforming young wine into fully mature wine in just a few days. That’s exactly what Lost Spirits Distillery has done to whisky using their own “revolutionary patented technology”. The technology works by exposing oak to high intensity light and heat while suspended in a glass tube filled with young distilled spirit. The combination of specific wavelengths of light and heat has been proven to trigger the same chemical reactions that happen in casks aged for many years. Lost Spirits started with two Scottish Malts that were so young they couldn’t legally be labelled as whisky. The spirits were then finished in California over 6 days utilizing Lost Spirits’ revolutionary patented technology.  Lost Spirits Co-Founder and

inventor Bryan Davis said, “We created our technology because we wanted to find a better way to make the spirits we like to drink.  We didn’t set out to make well-aged spirits more accessible and affordable, by eliminating the time and cost

of decades spent aging in a barrel, though our tech does that very well. Rather we wanted to make some big progress.  We think we’ve probably done that, but we’ll let spirits fans be the judge.” Two whiskies were treated

before being reviewed by the Whiskey Bible 2018, an annual publication that currently reviews 4,600 whiskies. One scored 94 points ranking it in the top 5% of whiskies reviewed while the second earned a creditable 93 points.



New Zealand Aromatic Wine Competition Joelle Thomson


or a show that began with such international gusto, the New Zealand Aromatic Wine Competition has morphed into something far more parochial, but perhaps it is all the better for it. The annual competition broke new ground this year when the new chair of the show, Jim Harre, introduced the international 100 point judging system. Harre says the wines entered also represent a sea change. Not that it’s been immediate. When the competition began seven years ago, it was initially open to aromatic wines from

Judging at this year’s International Aromatic Wine Competition. In front, Simon Waghorn and behind, Chair of Judges, Jim Harre.

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a strong regionality about the New Zealand Aromatic Wine Competition and I personally believe we need to have more exposure of regional excellence, whether that be by wine show or food show or in any other sphere,” he says. “When we look at the number of tourists coming through the country, we need to be able to identify to them the sorts of things they should be looking for to eat, drink and view. I think the Hawke’s Bay and Marlborough wine shows are excellent because they tie the wines into the next level with the food involved and sending that message out is really important for New Zealand tourism.” Asked whether the New Zealand Aromatic Wine Competition should take the next step and become a regional Canterbury wine show, Harre says that decision is up to the A&P show directors – and, possibly, consumers. “This year we will see a great celebration of Canterbury wine, thanks to the winning champion wine of the show. I think that when you look at aromatic wine styles in this country, they certainly don’t get the level of support by wine drinkers that they should. We in the wine industry love the spectrum of the grape and the region that aromatics can show because there’s so little done to them in terms of winemaking complexity. To me, it’s really good to see that level excellence shown in this direction.” The consumer would appear to agree, if a sample group were anything to go by. Yours truly, the writer of this story, took the winning wine home this year and poured four unsuspecting beer and spirits drinker a taste of the 2016 Waipara Hills Riesling. Their unanimous response was this: “If all wine was like this, I’d drink more of it.” ■




anywhere in the world. This year’s winner reflects the growth of entries from North Canterbury and the South Island in general – particularly of aromatic white wines that are, in large part, transparent reflections of their variety and region. The champion wine of the show was the humbly priced ($16.99) Waipara Hills Waipara Valley Riesling 2016. “I think one of the things we’re seeing across the board in New Zealand wine shows right now is very high quality fruit coming through in styles like Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc and other aromatics which are not relying on expensive oak or expensive processes in winemaking,” says Harre. “I think we produce wines in New Zealand that are often very drinkable without needing anything done to them in the winery. It’s an incredible strength in our industry that the quality of fruit is so high.” The other thing that Harre enjoyed seeing this year was the evolution of the show to using the 100 point scale. “I’m a big advocate of wine shows having transparency and this was a good step in that process. The more we know about the process for selection of wines and how they end up as being regarded as the best is, I think, very important for the consumer.” The move away from international entries in the New Zealand Aromatic Wine Competition has been slow but steady. “The first morph would have been the strong pressure to include Sauvignon in the show and that was reasonably early on. That’s been followed by stronger involvement from New Zealand aromatic producers t h r o u g h o u t t h e c o u n t r y, along with a steadying decline from international aromatic producers,” says Harre. He suggests that the greatest strength of the show is its growing regional focus, even though the name doesn’t reflect it. “There’s



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Summer 2017 Dr Edwin Massey


uring October, New Zealand Winegrowers was part of a New Zealand delegation that visited Santiago Chile to learn more about an ongoing Chilean Department of Agriculture (SAG) response to the recent detection of Brown Marmorated Stink Bug (BMSB) in a suburb of the city. The delegation also included representatives from several New Zealand primary sector industry organisations, including Horticulture New Zealand and Kiwfruit Vine Health as well as Plant & Food Research and the Ministry for Primary Industries. The visit was one of the first pieces of operational readiness work conducted in partnership through the Government Industry Agreement for biosecurity readiness and response.

Chilean situation, including on the potential risk it may pose to the New Zealand wine industry Test the effectiveness of the latest BMSB surveillance technology and the potential for visual surveillance in an urban environment Establish ongoing relationships with Chilean government officials, industry representatives and researchers

Objectives The visit was a unique opportunity to test assumptions associated with a BMSB response in order to improve our readiness for a potential incursion of this high profile biosecurity risk. The visit had three key objectives: Gather intelligence on the

that will promote future collaborations.

The Chilean situation At this stage all available evidence points towards the BMSB incursion being relatively

The initial detection site: A typical street scene in suburban Santiago. Inset: A female BMSB caught in a lure/sticky trap.

recent. The bug has only been detected by SAG in low numbers in a small area of urban Santiago. This is consistent with BMSB incursions observed elsewhere, as urban centers are hubs for imported goods and travelers coming from other countries. There is no evidence to suggest that the pest has spread to Chile’s horticultural production

areas. As the pest is under an official control programme in an urban area and remains at a low population density, it should be considered a relatively low risk to the New Zealand wine industry. New Zealand Winegrowers and MPI will remain vigilant regarding the evolving situation in Chile and make regular assessments as to the potential biosecurity risks.

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anywhere in the world. One of the key reasons for this is that, up until now, there has been no detection technology sensitive enough to detect the bug at low population densities. Working with SAG staff, the New Zealand delegation placed a grid of 50 of the latest BMSB lure/traps in the immediate area of the initial BMSB detection. This new technology, developed by Dr Tracy Leskey of the United States Department of Agriculture with support from MPI, use a pheromone and chemical synergist to draw BMSB in to within a few metres of the lure where some will be trapped on sticky plastic cards. The lure lasts for 12 weeks and the traps need to be monitored weekly for BMSB. A week after returning, SAG officials reported that several BMSB had been detected in or near the traps closest to the point of initial detection. SAG staff will keep checking the traps each week as the weather warms, until the lifetime of the lure has been exhausted. SAG will then share the data with the NZ delegation. As the lure only draws BMSB to within a few meters of the trap, monitoring trap catch is a labor intensive exercise. Trappers need to visually inspect nearby host vegetation for the presence of BMSB. SAG staff really appreciated having an innovative new tool at their disposal and it will be important to incorporate their experiences into New Zealand’s BMSB response planning.

Spreading awareness and promoting future collaboration BMSB has only been on the radar as a threat to New Zealand for the last 4 or 5 years. In Chile, the level of awareness about the threat to the Chilean wine and other horticultural industries is very low. The visit was an excellent opportunity to spread awareness about the pest and highlight potential research

opportunities. To this end the New Zealand delegation met with a range of SAG officials, researchers and industry representatives to discuss potential collaborations. Our visit certainly sparked interest and raised awareness amongst industry and the research community. In C h i l e , a l l re s e a rc h conducted on pests that are under an official control programme must be sanctioned by SAG. Consequently, the next step will be to develop a memorandum of understanding between New Zealand and SAG outlining the terms of our ongoing relationship. As a member of the BMSB Council, the group responsible for driving BMSB readiness in New Zealand, New Zealand Winegrowers will have a key role in sanctioning further readiness initiatives.

Conclusion The Chilean visit is the first time that such a collaborative approach to boosting readiness for a high risk threat like BMSB has been undertaken. The visit was successful in meeting its objectives and the collective lessons learned will inform New Zealand’s readiness programme and response planning. New Zealand Winegrower’s participation in a visit like this highlights the value of being a partner in the Government Industry Agreement for biosecurity readiness and response. The lessons learned and the relationships that have been established from this visit will help to mitigate the risk posed by BMSB to the New Zealand wine industry for years to come. Remember, if you see anything unusual, catch it; snap it; report it; call the MPI biosecurity hotline 0800 80 99 66 and inform Ed Massey – New Zealand Winegrowers Biosecurity and Emergency Response Manager 021 1924 924 edwin.massey@ ■

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here has been much commentary around the number of businesses coming on the market as owners retire or focus on other opportunities. The wine industry is no exception, and recent media reports highlight the changes of ownership already within the industry. Given the age profile of business owners in New Zealand this will only gather pace, and so it is critical owners take steps to adequately plan for their exit and the future of their businesses. Poor planning risks mak-

ing any sale more difficult and owners not realizing top dollar for their investment; prolonging, and impacting standards of living in retirement. Owners often view their businesses as a legacy, to be handed down to family, or to be taken on by others to continue the growth of the industry. Poor planning can damage the prospects of the business if investment is delayed, uncertainty exists for staff, suppliers or clients, or if new owners grapple with the business. This could threaten growth and ultimately impact the wider industry if wide spread.


What is Succession Planning? Succession planning, like most business planning exercises, requires a focus on the future. Strategic planning is not unique, but for various reasons owners find planning for the future ownership and transfer of their business difficult. Owners getting caught-up in the day to day operation of their business or not knowing where to start are common excuses. Statistics show most owners do not have a succession plan. However, experience shows that a successful exit relies on the early and careful consideration


of the options for succession and then having and implementing a plan. There is no “one-size fits all” solution and the requirements of each owner will differ. Factors which have an impact include the legal structure (smaller business stakeholders are likely to be more aligned than those with wider shareholdings), business lifecycle (mature/steady state or growing requiring capital and different skills) and the personal circumstances of the owner (willingness to provide post-sale support, availability of a strong management team or family to



succeed, or close reliance on personal contacts). More common options include: • Sale to a trade buyer or private equity; • Sale to a family member or senior management; • Listing the company, or potentially rolling up several like businesses for listing; • Winding up the business and distributing its assets. Of course, there are other options, including retaining ownership of the asset (e.g. the vineyard itself ), but leasing or licensing operation and management of that resource to another party. This could be particularly attractive where a continued interest in the industry is desired, or an owner may wish to keep open options for future family involvement. Each option brings its own challenges and requires a unique plan. This could include how to fund family members, through vendor finance or a

staged sell-down, or focusing on structuring contracts to ensure ease of transfer to a purchaser and avoiding clauses prohibiting sale to a competitor.

Some basic Steps The most difficult step is often getting started. While succession planning should ideally work to a two to three year timetable (and some would say from day one), it is never too late. Initial steps should include: Assemble and consult with a team of experienced advisers such as your accountant, lawyer and funders. They can help you identify the options and formulate clear plans for succession. Consulting on those plans with family and other stakeholders allows everyone a say, and addresses uncertainties that may exist about the future direction of the business. Complete a valuation of the business to establish expecta-

tions, and assist with assessing the available options and buyer pool. Complete a pre-sale review of the business to identify strengths and weaknesses that may impede a successful sale, impact price or limit options. Commit to a plan and address them. This could include ensuring key consents (such as water permits) are in place and are transferable, that key relationships the owner holds are transitioned to management (reducing key-person dependence), securing key IP or brands, or considering if Overseas Investment approval would be required if the purchaser is a foreigner. Having established a plan, committing to it whilst remaining flexible as opportunities arise. Succession planning should not be seen solely as a focus on exit, or as a chore. The insights you gain about your business,

and the opportunity to look at it from a different perspective, can have immediate benefits, and ultimately add value resulting in a smoother, less stressful transition when the time comes. Certain aspects of the wine industry, such as foreign investment rules, may place constraints on succession plans that are not as apparent in other industries. As such, starting the process as early as possible helps ensure options are not limited should an urgent need to exit arise. We hope this article helps provide some food for thought. If there are aspects of the topic that would be useful to cover in future columns please contact the writer directly. * Chris Parke is a partner in the corporate and commercial team at Kensington Swan. He specializes in mergers and acquisitions, and has a particular interest in the wine industry and succession within closely held business. ■



Champagne, a secret history By Robert Walters PUBLISHED BY ALLEN & UNWIN RRP $36 REVIEWED BY JOELLE THOMSON


eet Robert Walters. He’s a wine merchant, vineyard owner and, now, the author of Champagne, A Secret History. It’s a good read about a (sometimes) great wine but one that can often fail to deliver value for money, given the excessively high price of most Champagne. The Australian author breaks refreshing new ground when he digs into the not so glamorous business of how Champagne actually came into being as opposed to the many romantic urban myths and legends. Forget Dom Perignon – the monk, that is. Think instead of English pragmatism. It was the English who had the heaviest glass bottles. It was the English who had access to the best source of cork. It was the English who heavily dosed many of their alcoholic concoctions with

sugar to counteract acidity in both fruit based alcoholic beverages (such as their ciders) and grape based ones, such as Champagne. It was the English who then discovered the accidental second fermentation in bottles as a result of all that added sugar. But it was the French who already knew how well positioned the Champagne region was for trading with Europe and the wider world, thanks in large part to companies such as Clicquot, which was a fabric trader long before it was a champagne house. Urban legend busting aside, Walter is a good writer and a passionate Champagne devotee. This redeems his book from being solely about pricking the often pretentious champagne PR bubble. I am still digesting the start of this book and love the honesty of Walters’ writing style. Someone had to say what many of us already know and while

many of the world’s best sparkling wines are Champagne, not all of them are created equal. Read and learn. As fellow wine writer, Andrew Jefford, is quoted on the cover of Champagne – A

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Secret History, this book is “… the most refreshing, pretension-pricking, mythbusting and amusingly unfrothy book on the subject…” Here here. ■


The W165, built in Dunedin in 1897, now operating as the Chardonnay Express.

The Chardonnay express Joelle Thomson


s trains go, the W165 probably hasn’t come across your path, at least not unless you happened to be in the Chardonnay Capital of New Zealand on Labour Weekend this year. It was the first time the W165 was wheeled out for a Chardonnay-fuelled weekend in Gisborne, which was attended by over 100 people who had flown in from Auckland and Wellington to board the refurbished 1897 train, which was dubbed the Chardonnay Express. Gisborne is New Zealand’s leading Chardonnay region, in terms of focus. It is the only region of substantial size in this country where Chardonnay is the leading grape variety in vineyard plantings. Chardonnay is also the most planted grape in the Auckland region, but overall

plantings are significantly smaller. The Chardonnay Express weekend is hoped to be the first of many, organised as a collaborative event hosted and run by the city’s tourism board, its winemakers and Air New Zealand, which subsidised the inaugural event and promoted it, via Grab-a-Seat, on which the airline sold seats aboard its planes and the Chardonnay train. The ticket price was subsidised at $150 and included a travel package of flights, train, tastings, tours and meals. Both winemakers and local tourism operators hope the Chardonnay Express will be viable for them to host again, possibly several times each year. It initially came about as a collaboration between the city’s local tourism board and the winemakers who formed the Gisborne Chardonnay Group

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earlier this year; the only criteria to belong is that each producer must produce a barriquefermented Chardonnay – which is another way of saying that each winemaker must make a wine that leaves wine drinkers in no doubt they are drinking a big, buttery Chardonnay. There’s no shortage of big buttery numbers in Gisborne because this is what the region does best, says winemaker Steve Voysey, founder and co-owner of Spade Oak Wines (with his life and work partner, Eileen Voysey). He is also a consultant to Indevin and LeaderBrand; two large volume wine production companies based in Gisborne. Barrel aged Chardonnays are a must for those who belong to this group because they highlight the strongest wine style for this region – “We are focussing on what Gisborne does best at a premium but affordable level,” says Voysey. “Oak adds a significant cost to

“There’s no shortage of big buttery numbers in Gisborne,” Steve Voysey of Spade Oak Wines says.

wine production but also adds a tangible taste to the wines.” The producing vineyard area in Gisborne has shrunk significantly from 2,142 hectares in 2008 to 1,371 hectares today, which reflects the region’s

rebalancing from bulk wine to viable production levels. “It’s a balance between making money from sales to a defined market and over production, which does no one any favours,” says Voysey, who has a foot

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in both the high volume-high profit and the low-volume, experimental and innovative brand camps. He produces his own relatively small volume wines, branded Spade Oak, and he also makes high volume wines for the companies he consults to. And as for the W165, it was built in Dunedin in 1897 as the first of 11 WA Class locomotives and in 1898 it was put into service in Wellington, later transferring to Palmerston North, Taihape and Napier, with stints of shunting duties in Putaruru, Huntly, Te Kuiti and Frankton, before being finally retired to Gisborne in 1960. It spent decades rusting in Young Nick’s Playground in Awapuni Road, Gisborne, before being restored by a group of Gisborne rail enthusiasts in 1985. Their aim was to restore the train to its original condition and in 1999 they put it back on the track in a fully restored condition. ■


To have events listed in this calendar, please email details to:





Wineworks Marlborough Wine Race across Cook Strait

Air NZ Wine Awards Trophy, Gold and Silver Medal tasting

Jack Johnson Concert

Christmas in the Vines with So13 Mio

Villa Maria Winery Auckland

Villa Maria Winery Auckland


JANUARY 6: Cromwell Wine and Food Festival Cromwell Heritage Precinct


Six60 the New Waves Tour Villa Maria Winery – Auckland


Bridge Pa Wine Festival Bridge Pa Hawke’s Bay


Fat Freddy’s Drop Villa Maria Winery - Auckland

FEBRUARY 10: Marlborough Wine and Food Festival Brancott Vineyard – Marlborough


Dog Point/Logan Brown Kiwi Picnic Dog Point Vineyard

MARCH 2018 10/11: Wine Heroes ASB Showgrounds, Auckland – 11 - 5.30pm


North Canterbury Wine and Food Festival Glenmark Domain


Wine Heroes industry only exclusive day ASB Showgrounds, Auckland 10 – 3pm


UPCOMING NEW ZEALAND WINE GLOBAL EVENTS A service by JF Hillibrand and New Zealand Winegrowers to remind exporters of forthcoming events. Further details are available on the members website (Sell section) or







15 January

Flavours of NZ - London




18 January

Flavours of NZ - Dublin




18 January

Flavours of NZ - Stockholm




24 January

Flavours of NZ - Singapore




5-16 October

Pinot Walkabout - Melbourne





Melbourne Wine & Food Festival (Made in NZ) Melbourne




16 April

Made in NZ - San Francisco

2 February

16 February


19 April

Made in NZ - New York

2 February

16 February


3 May

Made in NZ - Vancouver

24 November

8 December


8 May

Made in NZ - Montreal

24 November

8 December


10 May

Made in NZ - Toronto

24 November

8 December


21 May

Pure Discovery - Chengdu

2 February

16 February


23 May

Pure Discovery - Beijing

2 Ferbuary

16 February


25 May

Pure Discovery - Shanghai

2 February

16 February

Hong Kong

29-31 May

Vinexpo - Hong Kong

15 December

19 January


70   // 






2018 forecast

PRINCIPAL EXPORT MARKETS % of Total in 2018 forecast







Hawkes Bay Central Otago
















Wairarapa / Wellington














National Total


Sauvignon Blanc


Pinot Noir



























Cabernet Sauv












Cabernet Franc




Sauvignon Gris




All other varieties Total








Auckland/Northland Canterbury Gisborne

Regional area producing ha 350

Average of Area ha

Number of Vineyards









Hawke’s Bay

















Nelson Northland Central Otago Waikato








Wellington / Wairarapa








75,850,254 63,.526

387,410,264 376,051

20 6



74,215,229 65,804

526,590,011 485,571

19 14

12 18


61,062,381 53,414

383,870,249 354,473

14 -2

8 -1


11,245,725 11,234

108,463,512 109,272

0 14

-2 10


8,338,334 7,134

44,678,331 44,635

14 -1

-4 -1


1,323,450 1,044

8,896,669 7,764

27 9

16 17


3,258,502 3,091

24,004,529 23,164

6 14

3 22

1,216,621 1,340

13,646,979 15,157

-6 17

-12 7


1,325,904 2,717

8,754,753 15,174

-54 26

-44 40


2,426,504 2,101

33,774,678 28,259

17 15

20 4

Hong Kong

1,362,982 1,287

19,300,670 17,314

7 -4

15 2


1,317,825 1,523

18,514,956 20,621

-16 -4

-14 -4


249,747 0.244

2,092,686 2,170

3 -27

-3 -23


268,183 0.297

2,059,088 2,675

-15 11

-28 28


1,647,530 1,846

13,405,729 15,083

-14 9

-14 11


12,265,837 8,591

87,621,982 79,146

48 11

14 16


257,375,008 225,200,954

1,683,085,086 1,596,536,777

16 6%




Pinot Gris

Growth Decline FOB %





Growth Decline Litres %

Litres (m)



September Exports for the year to date to the end of ???? 2017 2017 (Moving Annual Total)



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

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 Lighter wine (PGP) University of Auckland and Plant and Food Research (Various) Jointly funded by NZW and MPI Primary Growth Partnership (PGP) fund. High-throughput genotyping of transposon-induced mutations in vines Lincoln University (C Winefield) Population genomics of the wine spoilage yeast Brettanomyces bruxellensis Auckland University (M Goddard) Low alcohol-reduced calorie wines using molecular sponges for sugar removal University of Auckland (B Fedrizzi) Shoot trimming effects on Pinot noir vine leaf area to fruit weight ratio, productivity and fruit composition Lincoln University (G Creasy) Assessment of commercially available yeast nutrient products on Sauvignon Blanc microvin ferments (Kirsten Creasy)

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Pests and Disease


Grapevine Trunk Disease; young vine ecology, diagnostics and preventative treatments New Zealand Viticulture Nursery Association Incorporated (VINA) (N Hoskins)

Pinot Noir wine composition and sensory characteristics as affected by soil type and irrigation in the Waipara region Lincoln University (G Creasy)

Virus diversity in New Zealand grapevines: sequence, ecology and impact – The Rod Bonfiglioli Scholarship Plant and Food Research (R MacDiarmid - student A Blouin) Optimising management of grapevine trunk diseases for vineyard longevity South Australian Research & Development Institute (M Sosnowski) Developing Powdery Mildew Best Practise in New Zealand Vineyards Lewis Wright Valuation & Consultancy Ltd (T Lupton) Supported by MPI Sustainable Farming Fund Powdery Mildew Case Studies Anna Lambourne Mechanical thinning and botrytis Mark Allen


Vineyard Ecosystems Programme University of Auckland and Plant and Food Research (Various) Jointly funded by NZW and MBIE Sector weather data licence & tools HortPlus (NZ) Ltd. Cost efficient optimisation of weed management in vineyards Thoughtful Viticulture (M Krasnow)


Vine options for lighter wines Ask those working in the wine business if great wine is made in the vineyard and you’re likely to hear general agreement. So perhaps it’s not surprising that a New Zealand R&D programme to develop and market premium, lower alcohol wines has chosen to focus on natural production using sustainable viticultural techniques. Lighter Wines Programme Manager David Jordan says research into site selection, canopy trimming and harvest timing is resulting in better grapes at lower brix, enabling naturally lighter wines with typical characteristics. These natural techniques also provide industry partners in the programme with a point of difference to many of the lower alcohol offerings in the market. “We know demand for wines under 10% alcohol by volume is steadily climbing, and we know that consumers want those wines to be naturally lighter, making vineyards a key part of our research.” Lighter Wines, formerly called Lifestyle Wines, is a seven-year research and development programme led by New Zealand Winegrowers and co-funded under the Ministry for Primary Industries’ Primary Growth Partnership (PGP). The 18 participating companies have invested significant time and money into applied research that includes winery processes, sensory evaluations and market research, as well as a raft of vineyard trials. The vineyard work involves looking at old data with new eyes, as participants and researchers revisit information from previous vintages, to see which blocks and management techniques work best, says Jordan. Root stock, clone selection and a study on the variability of

ripening between bunches early in the ripening phase are also within the programme’s scope, as researchers look at ways and means of naturally producing good wines at lower sugar levels, without too much acid. New Zealand has a competitive advantage on that front, because its standard wines have an abundance of flavour, so still have oomph when picked early, Jordan says. “Those in Australia and elsewhere would struggle to replicate what we do.” But the major advantage right now is the powerful “co-innovation” that’s amplifying ideas and findings, he says. “We are very fortunate with the technical expertise in our industry. You put a challenge or project of this type in front of them and the ideas and opportunities that come from the collective wisdom is powerful.” This combined with the openness to discuss these ideas with their peers amplifies the speed of progress even further.

Taking a leaf from Forrest’s book “I want to make you a lighter alcohol Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc or Rosé or Pinot Noir that ticks the boxes in terms of being typical,” says John Forrest, who has spent more than a decade developing his Doctors’ range (Forrest Estate’s lower alcohol range of wine) to do just that. On a South Island sales trip in 2006, Forrest saw “unanticipated” interest in the 8.5% alcohol content of his first ever Doctors’ Riesling. He returned to Marlborough determined to create a lighter alcohol Sauvignon with all the texture, flavour and balance people expect from the region. Work began in the winery, chemically removing alcohol to produce wine that retained some flavour, but was thin with

After 10 years “thinking, living, breathing and drinking” lower alcohol wine, John Forrest (Forrest Estate) shared all his research findings with the Lighter Wines PGP programme, seeing enormous potential for New Zealand’s wine industry to be world leaders in naturally produced, premium lower alcohol wine.

an unsatisfying mouth feel. After two years, Forrest transferred his attention to the vines, where his first frustrating forays surrounded picking fruit at 17 brix. “The only lesson was that you made pretty poor to average unripe flavoured wine out of unripe Sauvignon,” Forrest says. “It forced me to think outside the square and really ask that key question – ‘from veraison to harvest, what is the plant doing?’ And the answer is, ‘It’s making sugar, it’s making flavour, it’s dropping acid and its getting phenolic ripeness,’ which means the skin and the pips are becoming not as bitter and not as drying and more acceptable for wine making,” he says. “Those are the key parameters in the 60 days from February to April.” After seven years of trials by his vineyard and winery team, and a Government grant that allowed Forrest to engage Plant and Food Research scientist Mike Trought to assess the vines’ physiology, Forrest found a way to slow the accumulation of sugar in the vines by trimming what he calls “alpha”

leaves. Left with the less productive young and old leaves (akin to babies and oldies in human terms) but not the hard working alphas, the vine has less ability to accumulate sugar quickly. That allows a longer hang time so that the vines are exposed to the 20degC diurnal fluctuations later in the season, which play such an important role in the success of Marlborough’s wine. Forrest warns that while the trimming work is replicable, growers cannot go in and “blindly pluck”. Each vintage the climate conditions, the health of the vines and the physiological status of the leaf is variable, and management needs to adapt accordingly. “I have learned the hard way that there are variations you have to consider, depending on the vintage. You have to be right on top of what the vintage is doing to you and the climatic prediction for the 60 days from veraison to harvest.” By 2013, Forrest was at the point where his lighter alcohol wines met both his quality param-


eters and the cost restraints of the market. “Suddenly we had a commercial product to fill the growing demand.” These days, half Forrest Estate’s wine is lighter alcohol, with nearly 50,000 cases of the Doctor’s wines – a Pinot Noir (their first release is soon to hit the market), Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Rosé and Riesling at between 9% and 9.5% ABV – going to premier supermarkets around the world each year, with that number growing fast. It’s finding success beyond the shelves, with the Doctors’ Rosé taking gold and the Sauvignon Blanc silver at the recent International Melbourne Wine Competition, and the Doctors’ Riesling and Rosé both winning gold and trophy in this year’s New World Wine Awards. “So the low alcohols are performing well,” says Forrest. After 10 years “thinking, living, breathing and drinking” lower alcohol wine development, Forrest shared all his research findings with the Lighter Wines project, seeing enormous potential for New Zealand’s wine industry to be the world-leading name in naturally produced premium lower alcohol wine. “Low alcohol opens up a whole new segment of the world wine market and it’s not competing with conventional or higher alcohol. That’s really exciting for New Zealand.”

The right place and the light wine For many of the companies in the Lighter Wines Programme, looking back has been the best way to move forward. Giesen Wines Senior Viticulturist Mike Poff says the company used data from multiple seasons to choose the best sites for its lower alcohol wines, focussing its attention on the Lower Wairau, where grapes have historically reached physiological ripeness

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LESSONS LEARNED David Jordan says the work done by companies in the Lighter Wines Programme, including Villa Maria, Giesen and Forrest Estate, is incredibly valuable. And the benefits to all outweigh the competitive advantage of retaining intellectual property, he says. “You have the power of the numbers and more companies working in the same space and telling the same story.” The three key vineyard tools for lighter wines are: 1 Site selection – Wine companies are using past data and experience to choose sites that may lend themselves to growing lower alcohol wine, with earlier ripening and lower sugars balanced with lower acid. In many cases there is also a process of elimination when it comes to choosing the right site, says Jordan. 2 Harvest dates – The ability to harvest grapes earlier than is typical can yield lower alcohol

with lower sugar accumulation, allowing for earlier picking. “We sat and thought about what’s ripe but with low brix. With 60% of our fruit coming from the Lower Wairau, it was a logical choice.” Speaking from the Bay Block vineyard on Dillons Point Rd, with deep silty loam underfoot, he says others in the programme were looking at sites that were stony and free draining, expecting to get riper characters earlier “But we get that here naturally. This is some of the first fruit we pick, and in the past we have picked anywhere from 19.5 to 20.5 brix here. That’s pretty normal.” With site selection in the bag, the company focussed on certain blocks for the lower alcohol wines, picking at around 18 or 19 brix in 2015, resulting in wine


wines and reduce pressure on harvest infrastructure later in the season. However, extending the ripening period may be an important factor in creating flavoursome lighter wines. 3 Canopy manipulation - Vineyard manipulations such as canopy trimming and leaf plucking are being used by several of the companies in the Lighter Wines Programme, to slow the rate of sugar accumulation. The recently released Lighter Wines Research Summary reports that trimming Sauvignon Blanc vines to half their size at veraison gave them an extra two to three weeks of hang time to reach 18 brix, compared with standard 1.2 metre high canopies. That prolonged ripening significantly reduces the acid (malic and tartaric) and green characters of the juice, while not inhibiting thiol production, says Jordan.

Mike Poff (Giesen Wines) sees benefits coming out of the Lighter Wines PGP programme that can help wine companies to reduce alcohol across all wines. This ties in with Giesen’s focus on brightness of fruit and ripeness of phenolic content, he notes, “to get the fruit really in balance”.

with higher residual sugar and 10% alcohol. In 2016, they did some work in the winery to dealcoholize the wine and in early 2017 kicked off a canopy trial, taking about 50cm from the top of vines in a 2ha block, using a barrel pruner. The trimming was done around veraison and the impact was exactly as they intended, slowing down the development of the vines, says Poff. “We saw acidity drop and brix took a lot longer to climb, with slower sugar accumulation.” However, it was a case of ‘be careful what you wish for’, with the inclement and windy 2017 season ultimately resulting in poor ripening across the province, giving the already impeded lower alcohol vines an unexpected double whammy. “It wasn’t the perfect scenario, and not a true representation of the trial,” he says. Giesen will continue its vineyard and winery trials into 2018, with the lower alcohol wine work influencing the entire range, says Poff. “For us one of the benefits coming out of the programme is how it’s going to reduce alcohol across all of our wines. We have started to pick a lot of our premium Pinot Noir and Chardonnay earlier, migrating the alcohol from 14.5% to 13%.” That is not driven by market demand for lighter wines, but rather a focus on brightness of fruit and ripeness of phenolic content, “to get the fruit really in balance”, says Poff.

Beyond Lighter Wines There are plenty of challenges to tackle through the Lighter Wines Programme, with site selection, vintage variation, acid levels and texture, to name a few. But Villa Maria’s Senior Marlborough Winemaker Helen Morrison says the research is bearing fruit, and has benefits beyond the

Site selection for grapes used in lower alcohol wine production started with “informed guesswork”, says Helen Morrison (Villa Maria), but those assumptions were often turned on their head. “I had that inkling that what you think will be the right site doesn’t necessarily pan out that way.”

lower alcohol wine category. “What I think will be interesting is not just for the wine companies making lower alcohol wines, but actually how can we be using all this science for New Zealand collectively, to give a point of difference?” With a lot of high alcohol wine coming out of Australia and California, Morrison sees opportunity to apply Lighter Wines learnings across the board, “getting all the full flavour and texture and palate weight into wine that may have 1% or 0.5% less alcohol, so you get a competitive advantage.” Villa has a Pinot Gris and Sauvignon Blanc in the Private Bin Lighter Wines range, as well as a Rosé that’s shown the most success in the market and won the FoodHQ Beverages Award at the 2016 New Zealand Food Awards. The company began its lower alcohol work with informed guesswork about what would work where, leading to a focus on Rosé in Hawke’s Bay, and Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Gris in Marlborough. However, the acidity of Marlborough Pinot Gris grapes at lower brix made that option untenable, and the focus has

moved to the North Island, where Villa Maria achieves lower sugar with lower acidity, allowing for a more balanced lighter Pinot Gris. Morrison was not surprised to have such assumptions turned on their head, having worked at Forrest Estate in 2006, when the company released its Doctors’ Riesling, and in 2009, when the Doctors’ Sauvignon Blanc followed suit. At that time the sites they “instinctively” thought would be best were often found to be unsuitable, she says. “I had that inkling that what in your head you think will be the right site doesn’t necessarily pan out that way.” Following the initial learning with Pinot Gris, Villa Maria targeted a handful of sites in Marlborough’s Wairau and Awatere Valleys, to see how each would perform with Sauvignon Blanc. They started out with a stony, hot site off Old Renwick Rd, which was typically harvested at lower brix, to keep it fresh. It held promise for lower alcohol wines, but while sugar and acidity were great, “the flavour wasn’t there”. Another site up the Brancott Valley, with deeper clay soil, reaped much better results,

because the part of the vineyard selected for lower alcohol wines was exposed to wind, and vines struggled through the season in a typical year, slowing sugar accumulation. The site worked well for a few years, with the right acidity numbers and a good ripe flavour profile at 18 brix, she says. “But the ironic thing is that it is a grower block and he likes to work really hard in his vineyard, so has done a lot of composting work to get it healthy.” Now she’s seeing lush green canopies and little hope for a lower alcohol wine without canopy manipulation. Meanwhile, there has been a lot of focus on the company’s Taylor Pass Vineyard, which is where Villa has conducted most of its lighter wine trials. Here clone selection was part of the package when assessing the site’s suitability, with the Bordeaux clone Sauvignon Blanc generally displaying lower acidity levels, says Morrison. However, they soon discovered that the acidity drops “quite dramatically” at around 21 brix, too late for lighter wine harvest. Morrison says Sauvignon has definitely been the most difficult variety when it comes to delivering a lighter alcohol wine that looks like its standard counterpart, “because that acidity level is so challenging at the lower sugar levels”. But continued research, including that being “fine-tuned” though the PGP research programme, shows that knocking the canopy back halfway through veraison, thereby extending the hang time, is helping she says. Meanwhile, Villa Maria ensures it gives its winemakers plenty of options when it comes to making the wine, supplying four times the amount of fruit required, says Morrison. “That is due to the luxury of Sir George’s commitment to innovation.”T



Shoot trimming effects on Pinot Noir GL Creasy1, M Assefa2, A Parker1, R Hoffman1 Centre for Viticulture and Oenology, Lincoln University


PhD student, Centre for Viticulture and Oenology, Lincoln University


PGP 63130 Production of wines of the desired quantity and quality in a sustainable (economically, environmentally and in terms of vine health) fashion is the ultimate goal of viticulturists and is underpinned by managing vine balance. Current production practices tend to revolve around making sure vines are able to produce each successive year, but sometimes things happen to upset this balance. This could take the form of a frost event, a particular cool ripening period, or a season with very high crop loads, for example. While viticulturists are familiar with, and can manage around, these kinds of issues, occasionally there are new situations that are less routine. In the current case, New Zealand Winegrowers are looking at the effects of market trends on grape production and wine qualities. Demand for lower alcohol wines in the domestic and international markets has been rising for a variety of reasons, and though there are technological means to produce these wines, there is an important segment of the market that is looking for a naturally produced lower alcohol wine. This results in a new challenge for winegrowers: how to produce grapes that have lower sugar, but retain the other aspects of quality? The impact of climate change, with its associated increases in temperatures and atmospheric CO2 concentrations has raised a similar challenge of needing to maintain wine styles through seasons with greater heat and sugar

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accumulation. This has resulted in investigations into manipulating flavour, aroma, phenolic and other wine quality-related compounds independently of sugar accumulation. The Lighter Wines PGP programme developed by NZ Winegrowers with co-funding from the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI), aims to bolster New Zealand’s presence in the lower alcohol wine market, with part of the programme focussing on viticultural methods to achieve fruit that is qualitatively ripe, but at lower Brix. Producing a red wine with these characteristics is particularly challenging due to the greater number of variables involved in its perceived quality. Not only do flavour and aroma compounds contribute to the enjoyment of a wine, but other components, such as tannins, are also vitally important. This project’s role in the larger programme is to investigate the responses of Pinot noir to a basic canopy manipulation (shoot trimming) and its timing of application on fruit ripening and harvest composition. Because Pinot noir is grown in a range of climates within New Zealand, three trial sites have been set up in the South Island, to see if vine and fruit responses vary with region. Canopy trimming is a method of managing vine leaf area, with (hopefully) no impact on crop load. Logically, if the amount of leaf area is reduced, there should be less photosynthesis and therefore less sugar manufactured. The


vine, however, is a very adaptable plant, and if leaf area is removed, the remaining leaves work harder to try to compensate. So in order to have a significant effect on the rate of sugar accumulation, relatively large amounts of canopy typically need to be removed. As well, because the individual components of berry juice vary in different ways through ripening, the time at which the leaf area is reduced can have an influence on the fruit’s final composition, as carbohydrate supply from photosynthesis is used for the development of many quality-related compounds (e.g. colour, tannins and aromas). Work on Pinot noir in New Zealand showed that early (near fruit set) shoot trimming caused a significant delay in ripening, partly due to lower leaf area, but also because the timing of the treatment increased fruit set and therefore the amount of fruit needing to be ripened. Shoot trimming later in the season may be more desirable due to not wanting to change shoot growth and fruit development. Past research in New Zealand has shown that early trimming can encourage lateral development, which will increase the amount of leaf areas on the vine. As well, early trimming can alter fruit set or berry size, leading to problems with cluster tightness and subsequent disease risk. While there has been some work on the effect of shoot trimming on wine composition and sensory qualities, there remains a lot of uncertainty about how it

alters the ripening of Pinot noir, particularly around what the effects are on flavour, aroma and mouthfeel-related compounds with different trimming timing and through berry maturation. Therefore, this project started with 50% reduction in shoot height applied at beginning of veraison (HV-), mid-veraison (HV) and two weeks after the completion of veraison (HV+) with the goal of examining how these timings affected the rate of sugar accumulation and change in other basic fruit chemistry, but also tannins and aroma compounds. To maintain leaf area per vine through ripening, all lateral growth was removed at the time of trimming and periodically thereafter. Fruit samples were taken at a number of points during ripening to see how the compositional development was changed leading up to harvest. These treatments were applied in vineyards in Marlborough (Awatere Valley), Central Otago and at Lincoln University starting in January 2016. For 2016, the timing of treatment application had limited effects, but in comparing halftrimmed vines to the full shoot controls (FV-), there was a significant decrease in fruit Brix of at least one degree in Marlborough (Table 1). There were no effects on pH or TA, but YAN was increased through earlier, rather than later trimming. Fruit anthocyanin was reduced with early trimming, but there was no significant difference between the

concentration in control and HV+ fruit, despite the Brix being lower by a full degree in the latter. Trimming reduced the leaf area to fruit weight ratio to approximately 60% that of the control, meaning that there was less leaf area to support fruit development. An important consideration in these trials is to make sure that the amount of leaf area is sufficiently low relative to the amount of fruit so that there is an impact on fruit ripening. The reduction of the ratio to 0.6 indicates that this threshold should have been crossed. (See table 1) At the cooler Lincoln University Vineyard, where crop loads were lower than in the other sites, the responses were less clear (Table 2). Although there was a reduction in fruit Brix of approximately one degree, there were no differences in other measured parameters in this season. The LA:FW ratios were quite low, and were a reflection of early leaf senescence in this season for the vineyard. This highlights the need to balance the severity of leaf removal with the crop load, and also that marginal climates can lead to unexpected responses of vines to manipulation. Table 3 summarises the 2016 results for the Central Otago site. Note that the HV- treatment was not able to be installed at this location. The vine and fruit responses are similar to those reported for the Marlborough site, with no effect on pH or TA, but Brix being reduced, although not to the same extent as in Marlborough, and YAN being increased with earlier trimming. Again, late trimming had no effect on fruit anthocyanin concentration. Although the LA:FW ratios are low here compared to the Marlborough site, it should be noted that this is due to a slightly lesser leaf area and a slightly higher crop load in comparing the two. The results from the first

Table 1. Harvest date fruit composition and vine performance measures as affected by shoot trimming treatments at the Marlborough site in 2016. Fruit was harvested on the same day. An asterisk indicates significance at p < 0.05.


















TA (g/L)






YAN (mg/L)






Anthocyanins (mg/g)












Table 2. Harvest date fruit composition and vine performance measures as affected by shoot trimming treatments in the Lincoln University Vineyard in 2016. Fruit was harvested on the same day. An asterisk indicates significance at p < 0.05.


















TA (g/L)






YAN (mg/L)






Anthocyanins (mg/g)












Table 3. Harvest date fruit composition and vine performance measures as affected by shoot trimming treatments at the Central Otago site in 2016. Note that the HV- treatment was not included in this season. Fruit was harvested on the same day. An asterisk indicates significance at p < 0.05.














TA (g/L)





YAN (mg/L)





Anthocyanins (mg/g)










set of experiments led to some changes in the second season. In order to test the limits of reducing leaf area on the vines, an additional shoot trimming treatment was added to reach approximately one-quarter of the shoot being retained (QV-, QV, QV+). This was accomplished by trimming the shoots as far back as possible (so as not to interfere with any clusters) and then removing leaves beyond that to reach the desired leaf area. The resulting set of treatments gave a broader range of LA:FW ratios and a chance to observe how vines responded with severe restric-


tions in leaf area. The challenging 2017 harvest in Marlborough is evident in the results presented in Table 4. Brix values were lower than in the previous season, but there was still a significant effect of trimming on fruit Brix. The difference between half and quarter shoot treatments was not as evident as the difference between early and late trimming, even though the quarter treatment LA:FW ratios being only a third of those of the control. Earlier trimming resulted in significantly lower Brix, up to 2.7° in the case of QV- and later trimming still reduced harvest


Brix by 1.6°. As with the previous season, there were no effects on juice pH or TA, and earlier and more severe trimming increased YAN. Anthocyanins followed a similar pattern as well, as late trimming had no statistically significant effect on the colour of the extracts taken at harvest. Vine yields in the Lincoln University vineyard were improved over the 2016 harvest, resulting in LA:FW ratios that were similar to those at the Marlborough site (Table 5). Due to limitations in the number of vines available, not all of the new treatments could be accommodated, so QV was


Table 4. Harvest date fruit composition and vine performance measures as affected by shoot trimming treatments at the Marlborough site in 2017. Fruit was harvested on the same day. An asterisk indicates significance at p < 0.05.



























TA (g/L)









YAN (mg/L)









Anthocyanins (mg/g)


















Table 5. Harvest date fruit composition and vine performance measures as affected by shoot trimming treatments in the Lincoln University Vineyard in 2017. Note that the QV treatment was not able to be included at this site. Fruit was harvested on the same day. An asterisk indicates significance at p < 0.05.

























TA (g/L)








YAN (mg/L)








Anthocyanins (mg/g)
















Table 6. Harvest date fruit composition and vine performance measures as affected by shoot trimming treatments at the Central Otago site in 2017. Fruit was harvested on the same day. An asterisk indicates significance at p < 0.05.



























TA (g/L)









YAN (mg/L)









Anthocyanins (mg/g)


















left out. As a result of the higher crop loads, there were more treatment differences, with Brix reductions of the same pattern as those found elsewhere, although YAN was decreased across the board by any trimming treatment - a response unlike anything seen in Marlborough or Central Otago. Fruit anthocyanins, however, did have the same pattern, with late trimming resulting in no statistical difference from control. Yields were even higher at the Central Otago site in 2017 compared to 2016, resulting in lower LA:FW ratios overall. Brix values, however, were still relatively high at the time of harvest, with late trimming still resulting in about

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a 1° Brix decrease and early and severe trimming (QV-) a 1.8° decrease. In this season pH, TA and also YAN were unaffected by trimming severity or time, but anthocyanin concentrations followed the pattern seen before, with the largest reductions occurring with early and more severe trimming, but the amount of colour in the extracts being the same if trimming was done late, regardless of severity. These limited results from two seasons of research suggest that it is possible to lower harvest Brix of Pinot noir fruit quite significantly by trimming, and although this won’t affect some fruit param-


eters negatively (pH, Brix, YAN), it will have a considerable impact on others (anthocyanins). However, it is notable that with late trimming when the fruit is at approximately 15-16° Brix, Brix in the fruit can be reduced by around 1° but there is no impact on fruit colour. This suggests that most accumulation of anthocyanins occurs early in fruit development. This finding could lead to management techniques that would allow further reductions in Brix with minimal effects on wine colour. The impact of removing half the canopy (or more) on a vine is surprisingly low, demonstrating the ability of the vine to com-

pensate for mid-season changes to LA:FW ratios. There is the possibility of this being accomplished through the use of stored carbohydrate, which could be detrimental to longer-term vine performance, so root samples have been collected to measure any impact on this. However, we still do not have the full picture of how trimming affects fruit composition and its potential impacts on wine. Further data is being collected to assess how severity and timing of trimming affects berry skin and seed tannins, as well as juice aroma compounds through ripening. These results will be reported at a later date.T


Under, on and in grapevines: vineyard ecosystems (PART I) MacDiarmid R1, Arnold N1, Avila G1, Bell V1, Blouin A1,2, Clothier B1, Cole L1, Cosic J2, Fedrizzi B2, Gentile R1, Giraldo-Perez P2, Goddard M2, Grab F1, Green S1, Greven M1, Jesson L1, Klaere S2, Malone L1, Mason K1, Mundy D1, Sandanayaka M1, Sorensen I1, Raw V1, Taylor T1, van den Dijssel C1, Vanga B1, Wood P1, Woolley B1. 1 2

Plant & Food Research. The University of Auckland.

We have now passed the Year Two milestone of the Vineyard Ecosystems programme, a seven-year research programme developed by New Zealand Winegrowers and co-funded by the Ministry of Business, Innovation & Employment (MBIE). The programme investigates what is “Under, On and In Grapevines” to create a new knowledge network that reveals interactions of vineyard practices with the vineyard ecosystem, including vines, groundcover, soil, soil microbial life, invertebrate vine pests (including pathogen vectors) and pathogens over

time. This programme, which also forms the cornerstone programme for additional related projects, is undertaken by researchers from Plant & Food Research (PFR) and the University of Auckland. The research is focussed on 12 white and 12 red cultivar study blocks on commercial vineyards split equally between Marlborough (Sauvignon blanc and Pinot noir) and Hawke’s Bay (Sauvignon blanc and Merlot). Half of the cultivars and blocks in each region are under “Contemporary” and half under “Future” management. “Contemporary” manage-

ment consists of semi-permanent inter-row groundcover and spraying herbicide to maintain a bare soil under-vine strip. Additionally, synthetic fungicides and pesticides are used to combat fungal diseases and insect pests, and synthetic fertilisers are used to mitigate nutritional deficiencies. “Future” management consists of a semi-permanent groundcover (inter-row and under-vine) comprising a wide range of plant species (no herbicide is used, but management may include inter-row and/or under-vine soil cultivation). Naturally occurring

products (if required) are, by preference, used to combat fungal diseases and insect pests. Based on the research undertaken within these 24 study blocks, and others where required, the research programme is divided into three related Research Aims: Research Aim 1.1 focuses on “The vineyard as an ecosystem”, Research Aim 1.2 focuses on “Relating under-vine management, biota and leafroll virus”, while Research Aim 1.3 focuses on “Pathogen management”. Part 1 of this year’s summary focuses on Research Aim 1.1. Although this article summarises our annual assessments, it should be stressed that the full value of the data collected and analysed in this programme will only be realised over a multi-year timeframe. Annual results may – or may not – be indicative of longterm trends and correlations. Part 2 of the summary will appear in the next issue of the Research Supplement.

Research Aim 1.1:“The Vineyard As An Ecosystem” Under Grapevines

Photo: Pernard Ricard supplied by NZW.

For the second year in a row 648 holes were dug (in different spots to the first year) to a depth of 20 cm to collect soil samples for DNA analysis, to give a picture of the diversity of microbes, plants and invertebrates present in the blocks. While the second year’s diggings are tucked away


in cold storage at the university, doctoral candidate Paulina Giraldo-Perez has analysed the first year’s samples to provide snapshots of DNA biodiversity, identifying all “barcodes of life” for bacteria, fungi and animals. To provide a chemical fingerprint for each vineyard over time, Bruno Fedrizzi, has stockpiled his subsets of soil samples for a complete elemental analysis next year. Any relationships between the under-vine management regime, elements in the soil, and the health or longevity of the vines could be revealed by combining the results of these analyses. To complement this undervine assessment, Tara Taylor, Lyn Cole, Franzi Grab and Victoria Raw from PFR undertook “old school” surveys of the groundcover plant species in each block, assessing the plants in a total of 1,296 quadrats. They found that differences in the number of weeds increased between blocks over the growing season. The last two assessments showed that Future vineyards in Marlborough had higher numbers of under-vine species than Contemporary vineyards. Last year the research team from PFR Production Footprints Group installed equipment at “Gold Sites” (two blocks per region) to intensively measure the soil-water content at three different depths, as well as the rates of leaching and drainage. Amounts of drainage collected together with the concentrations of nitrogen in the leachates are used to quantify the stock of nitrogen moving below the rootzone. Data loggers have been giving continuous readings of rainfall, temperature, relative humidity, and irrigation activity at these four sites and will run for the full duration of the programme. Additional soil samples were taken from these four blocks and assessed for baseline measurements: soil type, stone

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content, bulk density, field capacity, macroporosity, pH, key nutritional elements, percent organic carbon, total nitrogen, labile carbon and dehydrogenase activity. These features define the soils ‘natural capital’ stocks, and annual measurements will reveal any year-by-year changes.

On Grapevines Mealybug populations were estimated from counts on 144 pheromone-baited sticky traps. In both regions, the citrophilus mealybug was the dominant species detected in the traps, with catches of the longtailed mealybug being rare. Peter Wood carried out a separate assessment of powdery mildew on leaves and bunches. Seasonal differences in powdery mildew were apparent particularly in Marlborough with considerably higher disease incidence at véraison in 2017 than in 2016. V i c to r i a Raw, Is a b e l l e Sorensen and Marc Greven have led the charge of phenological and yield measurements for every block, determining the dates of key phenological events (50% budburst, 50% flowering, 50% véraison and harvest). Handharvested bays in each block gave measures of harvest maturity and yield parameters. From the start of the 2017 season, the dates of the different phenological stages were recorded. Overall, the phenological development of all Hawke’s Bay crops was a few days earlier in the 2017 compared to the 2016 season, with the budburst date varying from 6 October to 10 October 2016, and harvest from 18 March to 6 April 2017. Véraison was a week earlier than in 2016 but by harvest time this difference was reduced to only a couple of days. Future vineyards were harvested between 14 and 25 April, which was four to six days later than Contemporary


vineyards. Phenology dates for both Marlborough varieties in 2017 were very similar to those of 2016, with minimal differences between the Future and Contemporary vineyards. In both regions, 2017 was a challenging season, with many crops being harvested because of weather and disease factors before the targeted brix was reached. The harvest period was very short, with the dates ranging only from 31 March to 4 April. Dormant canopy assessments during winter 2016 gave the first indication of vine vigour for the 2015-16 season. Contemporary Sauvignon blanc vineyards in Marlborough were more vigorous, as they had more effective shoots than Future vineyards. In Hawke’s Bay there was very little difference between the treatments of Sauvignon blanc although there was a surprisingly high incidence of non-count shoots in the Future blocks. Marlborough Pinot noir showed a 60% higher effective shoot count in Contemporary vineyards than in Future vineyards.

In Grapevines The incidence of grapevine leafroll virus in every block is either being assessed by visual examination of the red cultivar blocks or ELISA (immunological) analysis of the white cultivar blocks and sometimes also of Pinot noir blocks. In 2016, Vaughn Bell, Dion Mundy and Arnaud Blouin determined the baseline of leafroll virus incidence within the 24 vineyards. For both years the incidence per vineyard ranged from 0-30%. Both in 2016 and 2017 Dion Mundy visually assessed trunk disease symptoms in every block in both regions to find that incidence ranged from 0 to 48% in Hawke’s Bay and 1 to 35% in Marlborough. As has been observed by other researchers internationally, for individual blocks clear

differences were found in trunk disease symptom expression between the two seasons. These differences reinforce the need to better understand the relationship between organisms found to be present within the vine, symptom expression and vine health, a topic that this research addresses over the seven years of the programme. The grower diaries provided for each study block are providing a mass of information covering seasonal records of weather, soil fertility, water availability, leaf petioles, phenological dates, records of pruning, thinning, trimming, plucking, spray diaries and soil treatments. The full programme is creating a massive dataset that needs analysing. This “big data” is providing a big opportunity for Steffen Klaere and doctoral candidate Jelena Cosic, who are embarking on the task of connecting the “biosphere” (soil microbial population) data with other measured factors such as vine management and health. The key question is, “What biosphere data correlates with vineyard management?”. To achieve this, she is using Bayesian modelling that will be tested with each successive year’s data. This in turn will provide a set of suggested associations between measured entities. These associations will be presented to specialist researchers to discuss their appropriateness. With data pouring in and their analysis and interconnections being scrutinised, the excitement within the programme is mounting. How do all of these features of a vineyard interact? How could tweaking one aspect flow on to changes in another part of the ecosystem, leading to more sustainable winegrowing and better vineyard longevity? These are the types of questions that the researchers aim to answer in the coming seasons.T

RESEARCH INDEX At one time or another, chances are you have tried to track down older articles related to New Zealand Winegrowers’ research projects – an experience that can be frustrating when a vague recollection doesn’t lead to putting your hands on the right copy when you need it. Enter the ‘Research Index’ for all research-related articles published in a calendar year in New Zealand Winegrower magazine. The index includes not only all the items published in the “Research Supplement”, which appears at the end of each issue of the magazine, but also all of the related coverage written by Editor Tessa Nicholson and others throughout the year. The comprehensive listings make it much easier to locate the reference you want, when you want it. In fact, this is actually the fifth year in a row that the research index has been included in the December/January edition of the magazine. The index can also be accessed online from the Research Supplements posted on

Research-related articles published in New Zealand Winegrower in 2017, issues 102 to 107: 102 – February/March 2017

104 – June/July 2017

106 – October/November 2017

103 – April/May 2017

105 – August/September 2017

107 – December 2017/January 2018

Aroma & Sensory (also see Wine Research) The enigmatic nature of minerality in wine, Wendy Parr........................... 102:65 Biosecurity Ensuring biosecurity, Edwin Massey ................................................................. 102:62 Biosecurity news: tackling our most unwanted! Edwin Massey ...........104:36 Biocontrol news: Samurai wasp, a valuable biocontrol weapon, Sophie Preece .................................................. 104:38 Biosecurity update: What is the wine industry’s role? Edwin Massey .................................................................105:118 Biosecurity news: Biosecurity research is crucial, Edwin Massey .................................................................106:68 Botrytis (also see Pest & Disease Management) Is fungicide resistance affecting botrytis control in our vineyards? Rob Beresford and Peter Wright .......103:72 Mechanical shaking 2017 – expanding the data base, Mark Allen .........104:106 Shaking the heck out of botrytis ..................................................................105:57

Genetics A brief history of DNA testing in vines, Darrell Lizamore .............. 105:144 Grapegrowing Grafted grapevine standard – high health vines, Edwin Massey ....... 104:76 Canopy manipulation impacts on ripeness, Jeff Bennett and Tessa Nicholson ........................................... 104:82 Grape Days: Water – less is more ................................................................. 105:68 Grapevine growth stage monitoring for prediction of key phenological events, Rob Agnew et al ............105:139 Pinot Noir vine performance and grape and wine composition as affected by soil type and irrigation reduction in the Waipara region, Glen Creasy et al........................................105:142 Bridging the gap: an introduction to quantitative analysis in the field of pruning decision-making, Andrew Kirk et al............................................... 106:111 Grapevine Leafroll Diseases (also see Pest & Disease Management) The effect of leafroll 3 genetic

variants on grapevines, Karmun Chooi et al .........................................104:98 Enhancing disease detection with image analysis based on non-visible imaging, Karmun Chooi et al ... 106:110 Grapevine Trunk Diseases (also see Pest & Disease Management) Optimising management of grapevine trunk diseases for vineyard longevity, Mark Sosnowski et al ................................................................. 103:66 Dealing with trunk disease ......... 104:18 Economic impact of grapevine trunk disease management in Sauvignon Blanc vineyards of New Zealand, Mark Sosnowski and Greg McCarthy ...............................................................104:100 Lower Alcohol Wine (PGP Programme) Lighter wines – occasion to innovate, Lighter Wines PGP Programme ................................................................. 103:69 The potential of lighter wines ...106:44 Vine options for lighter wines, Lighter Wines PGP Programme ...............107:73 Shoot trimming effects on Pinot Noir


vine leaf area to fruit weight ratio, productivity and fruit composition, Glen Creasy et al ..............................107:76

explained ............................................ 105:58 Powdery project – what’s going on? ................................................................105:145

Mechanical Harvesting/Thinning Mechanical shaking 2017 – expanding the data base, Mark Allen..........104:106 Shaking the heck out of botrytis ..................................................................105:57

Regional Research Institute Grape Days: Research leading the way ........................................................ 105:62

Pest & Disease Management Continuing the development of powdery mildew best practices in New Zealand vineyards, Trevor Lupton et al.........................................102:72 Optimising management of grapevine trunk diseases for vineyard longevity, Mark Sosnowski et al ................................................................. 103:66 Is fungicide resistance affecting botrytis control in our vineyards? Rob Beresford and Peter Wright........103:72 The powdery project .................... 103:67 Dealing with trunk disease ......... 104:18 The effect of leafroll 3 genetic variants on grapevines Karmun Chooi et al .......................................................104:98 Economic impact of grapevine trunk disease management in Sauvignon Blanc vineyards of New Zealand, Mark Sosnowski and Greg McCarthy ...............................................................104:100 Mechanical shaking 2017 – expanding the data base, Mark Allen .........104:106 Serendipity in action: Towards a sustainable protocol to reduce adult grass grub damage in vines, Mauricio González-Chang and Steve Wratten ............................................................... 104:103 Shaking the heck out of botrytis ..................................................................105:57 Grape Days: Powdery mildew explained ............................................ 105:58 Powdery project – what’s going on? ................................................................105:145 Enhancing disease detection with image analysis based on non-visible imaging, Karmun Chooi et al... 106:110

Science Profiles Science of wine: Brian Jordan... 103:42 Science of wine: Darrell Lizamore ................................................................. 105:54 Science of wine: Rebecca Deed .................................................................106:54 Science of wine: Matias Kinzurik ................................................................. 107:44 Varieties, Clones & Rootstocks Economic impact of grapevine trunk disease management in Sauvignon Blanc vineyards of New Zealand, Mark Sosnowski and Greg McCarthy ...............................................................104:100 Pinot Noir vine performance and grape and wine composition as affected by soil type and irrigation reduction in the Waipara region, Glen Creasy et al .......................................105:142 Shoot trimming effects on Pinot Noir vine leaf area to fruit weight ratio, productivity and fruit composition, Glen Creasy et al ..............................107:76 Determining the effects of UV radiation and vine water stress on

Powdery Mildew (also see Pest & Disease Management) Continuing the development of powdery mildew best practices in New Zealand vineyards, Trevor Lupton et al ........................................102:72 The powdery project .................... 103:67 Grape Days: Powdery mildew

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Pinot Noir fruit composition and extraction of berry components into wine, Glen Creasy et al .................107:76 Vineyard Ecosystems Programme Vineyard Ecosystems: Securing the future .....................................................102:22 Vineyard Ecosystems: Mealybugs and undervine management .............. 102:24 Under, on and in grapevines: Vineyard Ecosystems Programme (Part 1), Robin MacDiarmid et al ................107:79 Wine Research The enigmatic nature of minerality in wine, Wendy Parr............................ 102:65 New research for the wine sector, Plant & Food Research .................102:73 Lighter wines – occasion to innovate, Lighter Wines PGP Programme ...............................................................103: 69 Brettanomyces in New Zealand, Chris Curtin and Mat Goddard ........... 104:105 The potential of lighter wines ...106:44 Vine options for lighter wines, Lighter Wines PGP Programme ...............107:73 Productivity, quality and Pinot Noir ...................................................................107:12 Yield Estimation Taking the hassle out of yield estimates ............................................ 102:58 Fendt 200 Vario V/F/P Series 70 –110 hp

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NZ Winegrower Dec/Jan 2017/18  

NZ Winegrower Dec/Jan 2017/18

NZ Winegrower Dec/Jan 2017/18  

NZ Winegrower Dec/Jan 2017/18