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JUNE / JULY 2019 ISSUE 116

Grape Marc Could drying be the answer to marc issues?

Creativity in Education NZW’s novel ways of promotion

International Perspective How one ex pat views the NZ wine industry from afar

JUNE / JULY 2019 ISSUE 116

How’s the harvest? Growers and winemakers look back at Vintage 19



O-I New Zealand

Issue 116 – June/July 2019




Tessa Nicholson


From the CEO

Philip Gregan


In Brief

News from around the country



Wine events happening in New Zealand


Biosecurity Update

Sophie Badland


Women in Wine

Jane Cooper – Alexia Wines


Bob’s Blog

Bob Campbell MW


Vintage Review

We take a close look at how winemakers and growers felt vintage 2019 went in our three main regions, Marlborough, Hawke’s Bay and Gisborne. Plus, some of the best from NZW’s #V19 photo competition.


Organic Conference attracts world largest organic winery

Two staff from the world’s largest organic wine producer are among the many guest speakers at this year’s Organic and Biodynamic Wine Conference being held in Blenheim.


Five Generations

The first Soljan wine label appeared in New Zealand back in 1937. Eighty years later, two of the fifth generation Soljans are making their own mark within the industry. Front cover: Misty Cove; Photo David James

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E D I TO R Tessa Nicholson

CO R R E SP O N D E NTS Wellington Wine Country: Joelle Thomson Hawkes Bay: Olly Styles Nelson: Neil Hodgson Central Otago: Jean Grierson

A DV E R T I S I 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 Jodi Blair Ph: 09 303 3527, ext 0 Fax: 09 302 2969 Mobile: 0277 00 2371 New Zealand Winegrowers PO Box 90 276, Auckland Mail Centre, New Zealand

The times are a changing THE HALCYON days of summer are now long behind us, as the country prepares for winter. The harvest is a distant memory; of 24-hour days, the chatter of a multitude of languages and fruit of outstanding quality coming through the winery doors. There can be little doubt that 2019 was a pretty special vintage in more ways than one, Stress free in terms of major weather events, a summer that kept on keeping on, once it finally arrived, and fruit that winemakers dream about. (See Vintage 2019 on page 12). But it will also be remembered as the vintage that nearly broke some grower’s backs in places like Marlborough, where the brilliant summer conditions saw irrigation consents being shut off for weeks on end. A sure sign of climate change? Yes, but also a warning that not having a secure water supply puts your vines and livelihood at risk. This issue we take a closer look at the water scenario in our country’s largest region. (Page 20) Just recently Rabobank confirmed that exports of New Zealand wine were on track to grow by around $60m in 2019, representing a four percent YOY change. That’s great news for all, especially in times of uncertainty with trade wars and Brexit looming. It means our wines are getting out there to more and more internationals. So NZWinegrower decided to see how New Zealanders abroad view our wine industry. This issue Marc Checkley, who is a broadcaster, tv producer and director, now living in Switzerland, shares his views on our successes and our challenges abroad. Plus check out what is coming up in the weeks ahead – NZW Grape Days, Organic and Biodynamic Winegrowing Conference, Young Vit of the Year and Young Winemaker of the Year. Lots to read about as you hunker down for the cooler months.

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 Inc. Unless directly attributed, opinions expressed in the magazine are not necessarily those of Rural News Group and/or its directors or management, New Zealand Winegrowers Inc. or its constituent organisations. Published every second month. One free copy is mailed to every member of the New Zealand Winegrowers Inc, the New Zealand Society of Viticulture & Oenology and the New Zealand Vine Improvement Group, and to such other persons or organisations as directed by the owners, with provision for additional copies and other recipients to be on a subscription basis.

ISSN 1174-5223

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Tessa Nicholson


Jean Grierson

Joelle Thomson

Lee Suckling

A central Otago viticulturist has been shortlisted for inclusion in the Future 50 awards. Jean finds out why.

Joelle talks to Jane Cooper from Alexia Wines in this issue’s Women in Wine feature, about her 25-year career in winemaking.

Takes us on a history lesson, regarding wine being a medicine. Want to know how it got that moniker? Lee will explain.

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From the CEO Philip Gregan

Philip visiting staff in Canada.

Responding to a changing climate Each day news services are filled with latest research and commentary around the manifestations of climate change, whether it is, for example, record temperatures in the Arctic or the loss of ice from glaciers around the globe. A CHANGING climate is now the reality that we all must face. Weather has always been wildly variable, but climate change is something much more fundamental that is happening in our environment. In recent vintages there has been considerable commentary from producers about the variable weather they have experienced. Whether or not these changes are a manifestation of climate change may be debated by some, but each issue of Vinefacts is surely testimony to the changes growers and wineries are confronting. The Government has now laid out a plan for its response to climate change – a Zero Carbon Act and a Climate Change Commission. There are details still to

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come but the Act will set down targets for greenhouse gas emissions (net zero emissions for greenhouse gases other than methane by 2050) and a framework for making those targets a reality. On the back of the new legislation there will likely need to be new regulatory interventions if the targets are to be achieved. From an industry perspective a decade ago NZ Winegrowers funded work on the possible impact of climate change on New Zealand’s winegrowing regions. The pace of this work has picked up rapidly in the past 18 months with climate change becoming a priority area for the Bragato Research Institute. The first results were presented at the Bragato Conference last year.

Climate change will again be a focus of Bragato this year with a major session dedicated to the subject, featuring Greg Jones a research climatologist from Oregon one of the key note speakers. The upcoming Grape Days also feature information on this topic. So, the government is responding to climate change. NZ Winegrowers is doing its bit by providing the best information that we can to inform decision making by growers and wineries. Ultimately what our industry can do to help will come down to decisions by individual growers and wineries. So, what can you do to help? Your planet needs you. PHOTO : MILLTON VINEYARDS

















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News Brief


IWC SYRAH TROPHY WIN FOR NEW ZEALAND NEW ZEALAND has been awarded the International Syrah Trophy for the fourth year in a row by the IWC. The best Syrah has been named as Te Awanga Estate’s Trademark Syrah 2015, which also won the Hawke’s Bay Syrah Trophy and New Zealand Syrah trophy. As well as an internationally unrivalled Syrah, Te Awanga Estate wine was also awarded the New Zealand Red Trophy, fighting off stiff competition from New Zealand Pinot Noir. Peter McCombie MW, co-chair of the IWC said; “There isn’t much Syrah planted in New Zealand, but what is there makes world class wine.” New Zealand also produced a world-beating Sauvignon Blanc. Saint Clair Estate’s Wairau Reserve Sauvignon Blanc 2018 took both the New Zealand Sauvignon Trophy and the International Sauvignon Blanc Trophy.

INTERNATIONAL SUSTAINABLE AWARDS CHANGE NAME WHAT WAS formerly known as the BRITS awards has a new name and a new co-owner. The Botanical Research Institute of Texas (BRIT) has partnered with Paris-based FIVS, to run the awards that honour wine organisations that take a leading role in implementing sustainable practices. It is the only international sustainable winegrowing competition and award of its kind. The first BRIT/FIVS co-branded competition is scheduled for 2020. The competition began on May 1, and has a submission deadline of September 30, 2019. The winners will be selected and notified in November. The competition is open to any vineyard/winery involved with a sustainable winegrowing program from any country. It is also open to multi-brand wine companies that may apply for special recognition.



A BOTTLE of 2007 Maison Leroy Chambertin Grand Cru from Burgundy went under the hammer for an impressive $6,815 at The Wine Auction Room’s May live auction. It was the highlight of the event, which had a strong emphasis on New Zealand wines, including New Zealand Pinot Noirs and New Zealand Bordeaux blends from the likes of Te Mata, Stonyridge, Sacred Hill and Puriri Hills. There was also a smattering of wines from Australia, Germany and France, including a case of six bottles of Penfolds Grange 2008 which sold for $4230 and a bottle of 1990 Penfolds Bin 707 which went for $481.  With buyers from New Zealand, China and the UK, the auction was viewed internationally with a large number of remote bidders.

NZW NEWS NICKY GRANDORGE well known to anyone who has taken part in the Young Viticulturist of the Year competition, or been involved in Women in Wine, has taken on the new role of NZW’s Leadership and Communications Manager. Nicky will continue to run the Young Vit and the Women in Wine initiative, but will also take on the Young Winemaker of the Year competition. She says her new role will allow her to oversee “all the initiatives which will help everyone in our industry flourish in their careers as well as continue building these great communities.”

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BUSINESS HALL OF FAME MARLBOROUGH’S JANE Hunter (of Hunter’s Wines) is among 10 New Zealand entrepreneurs who have been announced as inductees into this year’s Business Hall of Fame. She is the only member of the wine industry to be included. It is the latest in a long list of accolades for Hunter. In 1993 she received an OBE for her services to viticulture and in 2009 she was made a Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit. Other acknowledgements include being awarded an Honorary Doctorate in Science by Massey University, winning the inaugural International Women in Wine Award in the UK, being inducted into the New Zealand Wine Hall of Fame, and made a NZW Fellow.


FAMILY OF TWELVE TUTORIAL TWELVE INDIVIDUALS from Australia and New Zealand have earned the opportunity to take part in the Family of Twelve’s second Wine Tutorial, in August. The participants will take part in an immersive, residential seminar,

being held at Villa Maria’s Auckland Estate from August 4 – 7. During the tutorial all 12 will be challenged in the way they approach wine appraisal and communicating their thoughts about wine. They will get plenty of practice, given

they will get to taste wines from the Family members, which will be benchmarked against premium wines from around the world. At the end of the Tutorial, one participant will receive the Family of Twelve Award, which consists

of a collection of the Family’s wines in magnum. As well, one New Zealander will get to join the first two days of the Australasian seminar for MW students in Adelaide, courtesy of the Institute of Masters of Wine.


NEW HEAD FOR EIT VITICULTURE AND WINE SUE BLACKMORE has been appointed as the new EIT Head of School of Viticulture and Wine. She has been involved in tertiary education since returning from overseas in 2005. Initially as programme leader of viticulture and wine at Nelson Marlborough Institute of Technology (NMIT) and then as Wine Science lecturer and Coordinator for the Bachelor of Viticulture and Oenology at Lincoln University. Her latest role saw a return to Marlborough as leader of the Viticulture and Wine team at NMIT. As the new Head of School, Blackmore will develop a new Bachelor of Viticulture and Wine Science which will be launched in 2020.  M ARLBOROU GH 

Silver Secateurs to promote pruning skills ONCE AGAIN Wine Marlborough is encouraging those involved in pruning this season to take part in the Marlborough Silver Secateurs Competition. Aimed at recognising the skill level required of pruners, the competition has a number of categories. They include; Novice Wrapper, Novice Pruner, Novice Cutter. In the Champion section there are competitions for pruner, both male and female, cutter and vine stripper. There are also two team categories – Champion team and Champion RSE team. The Marlborough Silver Secateurs will be held on Sunday 25th August at the Yealands Estate Vineyard, Grovetown.


Upcoming Events

June - November


Bayer Young Viticulturist of the Year Competition 7 June – August Auckland/Northland, Friday 7 June Hawke’s Bay, Thursday 13 June Wairarapa, Thursday 20 June Marlborough, Thursday 4 July South Island Regional, North Canterbury, Friday 12 July Central Otago, Thursday 18 July National finals will be held in Hawke’s Bay week commencing 26 August

Singapore Airlines Winetopia

NZW Grape Days

Auckland – 14/15 June Wellington – 12/13 July Showcasing 60 of New Zealand’s best wines, and their winemakers.

June Friday 14 June – The Moorings – Cromwell Monday 17 June – Napier Conference Centre Wednesday 19 June – ASB Theatre, Blenheim

Organic & Biodynamic Winegrowing Conference

25 - 27 June A celebration of organic and biodynamic viticulture and winemaking. The three day event will feature a wide range of speakers and some special evening events. ASB Theatre, Marlborough.

Marlborough Silver Secateurs Craft’d Wine + Spirits Festival

(Previously the NZ Boutique Wine Fest) 21 July This new look event will take place in Wynyard Quarter where more than 40 small producers will showcase their wines at a new kind of festival to grace the City of Sails.

Sunday 25 August The 2019 competition celebrating the skills of pruners, will be held at the Yealands Estate Vineyard, Grovetown.

200th Anniversary

Taste of Auckland

27 August Coinciding with the Bragato Conference, a Women in Wine event will be held on August 27, in Hawke’s Bay. More details to come.

25 September Celebrating the 200th anniversary of the first grapes being planted in Northland, New Zealand.

Bragato 2019

New Zealand Wine of the Year™ 2019

Women in Wine National Event

28-29 August This years’ Bragato conference with the theme of, Challenge–Think-Do, will be held in Hawke’s Bay, Wednesday 28 and Thursday 29 August 2019.

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October Entries open 5 August - 6 September, judging to take place from 14-17 October.

Oct 31 – 3 Nov Four days when food, drink and entertainment are on show for everyone to enjoy.

New Zealand Wine Awards 2019 16 November The biggest night of the New Zealand wine calendar will take place in Blenheim, on Saturday 16 November.

Global Events



The New Zealand Winegrowers Global Events Programme outlines the user-pays activities available to wineries to take part in. Please contact the Global Events team for further information on these activities or visit the members section of E: | T: (09) 306 5643 | W:

Canada 5-6 July Winefest Toronto

18 September New Zealand. Naturally. tasting roadshow San Francisco

27 September New Zealand. Naturally. tasting roadshow Toronto

26 September New Zealand. Naturally. tasting roadshow New York City

November Judgement of Kingston

Registration deadline – 31 July

October/November Legal Seafood promotion East Coast

November Climate Change Conference


Registration deadline – contact us today

Registration deadline – contact us today

Registration deadline – 31 July

December iYellow Holiday Wine Jam Toronto Registration deadline – TBA

USA 17 July Stars of Pinot Beverly Hills

Registration deadline – contact us today

September/October Wine Advocate Review (consolidated shipment ex NZ) Registration deadline – TBA

Registration deadline – contact us today

Registration deadline – contact us today

Registration deadline - TBA

September/October Rugby World Cup New Zealand Wine tasting Tokyo Registration deadline – 31 July

12-14 November ProWine Shanghai


9 November Tom Cannavan Festival of Wine Edinburgh Registration deadline – 31 July

16 November Wine Gang event London

Registration deadline – 31 July

7-8 December Three Wine Men Manchester

Registration deadline – 31 July

13 January 2020 Annual trade and consumer tasting Dublin Registration deadline – 31 July

15 January 2020 Annual trade and consumer tasting London Registration deadline – 31 July

20 January 2020 New Zealand Wine trade tasting Copenhagen

Registration deadline - TBA

Registration deadline – 31 July

UK/Europe 28-29 October New Release trade tasting and sommelier preview evening London Registration deadline – 31 July

21 or 22 January 2020 New Zealand Wine trade tasting Stockholm Registration deadline – 31 July

Registration deadlines are subject to change.

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Vintage 2019

The big dry delivers outstanding fruit

Villa Maria, Ihumatao Vineyard

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After a couple of years when large tracts of New Zealand have been hit by tropical cyclones prior to harvest, 2019 provided a Panadol for grape growers and winemakers throughout the country. While this article focuses on the three main wine growing regions, other smaller regions experienced similar conditions, with all praising the fruit quality and looking forward to the wines in bottle. HAWKE’S BAY – OLIVER STYLES

HAWKE’S BAY BY NEAR LY all accounts, Haw ke’s B ay h a s h a d a phenomenal harvest and 2019 is very likely to rank as one of the vintages of the decade - if higher praise is not bestowed on the wines in the future. Just ask and most winemakers will tell you this has been something special. “Where do I start?” said Sileni’s irrepressibly effusive Senior Winemaker Cairn Coghill. “It’s been an outstanding vintage from start to finish. Unusual in that from the first Pinot Noir to the last Cabernet Franc and to



the Pourriture Noble it’s been nice and smooth and we’ve been able to make the right decisions. It’s just added to the expectation of the vintage.” And while it was clear to many, just as harvest got under way, that this had the potential to be a great vintage, the early season indicators were nothing to write home about. Some growers in cooler Central Hawke’s Bay reported difficult conditions, even into the summer. “We had to work hard through some challenging weather in spring,” said grower



Ian Quinn who, with wife Linda, runs Two Terraces vineyard in Maraekakaho. “But the weather patterns really switched gear in January with some exceptional warm, dry weather extending right through into autumn. We were able to harvest every block at its optimal ripeness, with no weather pressure.” “2019 is one of those rare Hawke’s Bay vintages where all of the wide range of varieties we work with, from aromatic whites to Chardonnay and full bodied reds, have all produced outstanding wines,” said Te Awa winemaker Richard Painter,

pointing to Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon as “real highlights”. He said the Merlot produced sweet fruit reminiscent of 2008, that aromatic whites, Syrah and Cabernet France were “beautiful”, Pinot Noir was “stunning” and that this year saw their biggest lot of handpick Chardonnay. “It’s wickedly exciting for everyone across Hawke’s Bay,” he added. Last words should probably go to Craggy Range’s new Chief Winemaker Julian Grounds in his first Hawke’s Bay vintage.


Highfield Wines

“2019 is one of those rare Hawke’s Bay vintages where all of the wide range of varieties we work with, from aromatic whites to Chardonnay and full bodied reds, have all produced outstanding wines.”

“One of the most iconic [vintages] for both Craggy Range and me personally,” he said. “With a vineyard now reaping the benefits of vine age resulting in some of, if not the most dynamic grapes we have ever been fortunate enough to grow and the wines reflect this. I cannot imagine being greeted with more exciting material with which to attempt to craft wines of presence that will hopefully state their presence in the global wine timeline. Truly the most amazing experience of my career to date.” Watch for the 2019s on the shelves. We’re in for a treat.

salivating – particularly in varieties such as Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. But it wasn’t all a one-way street in Marlborough. Due to December conditions, early varieties such as Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, along

MARLBOROUGH Yields were down, but quality was up, with winemakers claiming this was a dream vintage after a couple of difficult years. There was no disease threat, no weather incidents, and fruit quality has got everyone

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with early flowering Sauvignon Blanc blocks saw much lower yields – Pinot down by 50 percent in some cases. And the two months of drought exacerbated those yield issues. Helen Morrison, Villa Maria’s Senior Marlborough winemaker says Sauvignon Blanc yields were a little bit down, but it was very site dependent. “People’s access to water through that drought period in January and February determined final yield numbers. Our vineyard crews didn’t have to do much  in terms of thinning of Sauvignon Blanc this year

through the growing season. In some places, they (yields) became lighter and lighter because of that drought effect.” She says fruit from blocks that were water stressed were affected. “In the vineyard, the fruit had much lower acidity levels at lower sugar levels. Whether it was drought affected or the very hot summer, we are not sure, but the wines don’t have as much acidity as they normally would have. While we will make some very good Sauvignons with good palate weight, I am not sure they will have that striking acidity we are used to.” Brenton O’Riley, Giesen’s grower viticulturist, agrees saying there were a few blocks that were under water stress, which affected wine quality. “But all in all, everything in the tank looks great. Probably not as much aromatics as the winemakers might like, in terms of thiols, but they have good texture and palate weight.” If there is a standout variety from Marlborough this year, it is Pinot Noir. James Healy from Dog Point says in his career as a winemaker, he has never seen Pinot fruit of the quality


he saw this year. “It was the best condition I have ever seen, from anywhere, not just Marlborough.” With much smaller berries, fruit flavour and colour was intense, Morrison says. “Because of the hot summer, we were thinking the Pinot crops might have been a little more on the thin skin side, rather than as intense a flavour profile. But we saw the complete opposite. Thick skins and intense colour and flavour.” Greg Lane, Foley Wines G rov e M i l l w i n e m a k e r says along with Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Pinot Gris are looking very strong. “The crop numbers were light, but the quality is really high. Pinot was pretty bloody good.” Vintage 2019 was extremely early for Marlborough, with some wineries finishing harvest on a date they would normally be gearing up to start. Just about all got Easter off, and having

such a long drawn out autumn meant fruit could be picked at optimum levels, without any weather pressure. “We were able to get the fruit in when it was ready,” Lane says. “We didn’t have a 150 mm rain event hanging over our head. We were pretty happy about that.” And going by the comments, some of the wines to come from 2019 will be exceptional.

CENTRAL OTAGO The Central Otago growing season was “bookended by frosts,” and “not without its challenges,” said Central Otago Winegrowers ‘chairman Nick Paulin. “From a regional perspective, we were lucky to get through the October frosts – a week later and it would have been devastating.” Spring was cool and wet, with November rainfalls well above average and unseasonal

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snow on the ground in the Gibbston valley in November. December flowering was patchy and drawn out across the region due to the cool temperatures and rains, with Alexandra being the subregion least affected by uneven fruit set. By Christmas the weather had settled but there was high disease pressure (powdery mildew) through into early January, however this was mostly well managed throughout the region, said Paulin. “People are understanding that better, recognising the risk and spending extra time and putting the work in to stay on top of it,” he said. The remainder of the growing season was cool, but

ended with an “Indian summer” allowing fruit to ripen normally, starting with grapes for bubbles and Rosé in mid-March and the bulk of the fruit coming in through April. Paulin expected the harvest volume across the region to be on average or slightly higher, augmented by new plantings coming on stream. O wner/operator and viticulturist at Viticultura, Timbo Deaker, who contract manages properties throughout Central says the late rains which arrived right before harvest time increased berry size at the end of the season and saved growers from what was looking to be a leaner crop. “I’d be bullish to say Central Otago will be one of only two regions who will come

Misty Cove, Northbank

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in with above last year’s tonnage. “This year felt like a great celebration on both quality and quantity,” he said. “It’s very rare to see the winemaker and the grower happy … this year we got both.” Some vineyards saw the effects of larger berry size in wines which lacked a bit of concentration, but Deaker said the wines were mostly of high quality, with good aromatics and tannin structure. Grape Vision owner and Mt Difficulty viticulturist James Dicey described the 2019 vintage as “extremely variable, one of contrasts and many different phases of weather.…Pretty much everything that could happen in a year did,” he said. Growers were

stretched with a record number of five consecutive frosts around harvest in April but grapes were sufficiently ripe to be unaffected or harvested for Rosé, he said. Valli Wines general manager Grant Taylor was “very excited” by the cooler vintage which he described as a “stellar year for white, and it probably couldn’t be better.” The coolish vintage had made subregional differences “very, very clear,” he said. Final volumes were down about five percent across his Central Otago vineyards - whereas in the Waitaki Valley which harvested only about one tonne of Pinot Noir per hectare, the tight small berries had produced wines he described as “amazing.”







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2019 Vintage in Pictures @_LEWIS_HALL_ SACRED HILL



New Zealand Winegrowers ran a social media competition during vintage. Members (or staff) simply had to use the #NZV19 hashtag on Instagram for the chance to win a $2000 professional photo shoot to update their website or marketing collateral.




Lewis Hall from Sacred Hill was selected because his photo stood out for it’s different and fun take on a break from digging out a tank. Head to Instagram to see the unique moments of vintage in New Zealand captured on #NZV19.

















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Discover these posts and more from @nzwinegrowers and #nzwine on Instagram.

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Regions Marlborough

Dam – not enough water TESSA NICHOLSON

THE SUMMER of 2019 is not the first time Marlborough has suffered from a big dry. There have been many others, but this year, the effect of no rain for weeks on end was perhaps more strongly felt among grape growers in the region. When talking to winemakers and viticulturists, it became apparent that Sauvignon Blanc fruit from areas that were hardest hit by a lack of water supply, suffered. Yields were lower than in previous years, thiols were below averages expected and acidity levels were also lower. From late December until the end of February, rainfall was a mere 12.8mm. January’s rainfall of 3.8mm was only 8 percent of the LTA. February’s of 8 mms was 16 percent of the LTA. Add

to that the high temperatures and the evapotranspiration, shallow soil moisture was under pressure. In February alone, soil moisture in the 5-35cm depth at Grovetown Park was 13.9 percent, the lowest recorded for February in 17 years. The impact of the hot summer saw river levels fall below the 8m3/s cutoff level for irrigation supply – on February 1. This is not unusual in Marlborough – there are a number of years in recent history that the consents are shut off in the month of February. However, it was the length of the shut off that was of concern to many growers. Va l Wa d s w o r t h , Marlborough District Council Environmental Scientist – Hydrology, said the shutoff

continued through until March 8, with a one day respite on February 26. Five weeks in total. The river was again shut-off for another four days in March. There are close to 135 consents to take water from the Wairau River – the largest being the Southern Valleys Irrigation Scheme (SVIS). This scheme, commissioned in 2004, provides water to horticultural, farming and rural residential properties over an area of approximately 4,500 hectares. It’s fair to say the majority of the 400 landowners who are members of the SVIS are using the water for grapes. S ome i r r i gators have groundwater consents which they were able to fall back on, when the river fell below 8m3/s. But for many others, having no irrigation for five weeks meant

they had to truck water in to keep the vines alive. At around $13 for every cubic metre, that is a costly exercise. But only a drop in the ocean compared to losing part or all of a crop that could be worth anywhere between $20,000 and $25,000 a hectare. Back when the SVIS was first mooted there were discussions about building a large dam to supply members, during periods of no rain. The cost at the time was seen as prohibitive, and the idea was dropped. While some growers built their own small dams or storage ponds, there are thought to only be around 20 among SVIS members. The Marlborough District Council says there are currently 124 water storage facilities spread across the region. While 124 may sound like a

Classic symptoms of a water stressed vine, falling leaves and poor fruit set.

20   // 


A recently constructed dam, to supply water to a vineyard in Marlborough, in the process of being filled. Photo Simcox Construction.

lot, compare that figure with the 1060 individual vineyards in the region. It leaves a lot of vineyard blocks at the mercy of the river levels and mother nature supplying water when it is needed. Glyn Wa l t e r s , communications manager for the MDC says as far as they know, all 124 have been built for vineyard supply. They range in size from 10,000 cubic metres to 1

million, with the average dam being between 20,000 and 70,000 cubic metres. Walters says they are spread throughout the region, in all the main grape growing areas, from the Wairau Valley, through to the Awatere and Blind River. It was mentioned by Steve Smith MW at the recent Sauvignon Blanc Celebration, that water was likely to become a major issue for the Marlborough region.

“We cannot survive without irrigation and we need to invest in identifying and building a regional solution to securing, fit for purpose, sustainable water resources for Marlborough vineyards.” His comment was timely, given it was made on day one of the SVIS being switched off. Smith couldn’t have known that the shut off would last for five weeks, or that the impact would be so greatly felt throughout the region’s

vineyards. But securing a secure water source for the future makes financial sense. “This may seem like an overly ambitious and expensive project, but when you have more than five billion dollars invested in the vineyards of Marlborough, it proves prudent and necessary.” I doubt there is a grower in the Wairau and Waihopai Valleys who wouldn’t agree.


PwC Review

Marlborough may reach near land capacity by around 2025; supply limits may be reached by around 2028, PwC says.

The Question of supply In part three of a series breaking down the six questions answered by the PwC Strategic Review, Tessa Nicholson looks at the question of Supply. AT W H AT p oint wi l l Marlborough be fully planted? How will this impact the industry, what will it mean for our markets and what new opportunities and strategies will be available to and/or required of growers and wineries? That was the question asked by PwC, given for years there has been talk about when, not if, Marlborough will reach saturation point in terms of plantings. The PwC report states that Marlborough has approximately 5,000ha of commercially viable, production land left. That is likely to be fully planted out by 2025, just six years from now. “As s u m i n g c ont i nu e d demand, yield growth and the ability to source 10 percent of grapes from outside Marlborough, modelled supply suggests the region may reach near land capacity by around 2025; supply

22   // 

limits may be reached by around 2028,” the report states. PwC’s report states the growth of Marlborough has outstripped the industry growth. Marlborough production has increased from 68 percent of the country’s total production to 76 percent, between 2011 and 2018. That is despite the fact that only 20 percent of the country’s wineries are within the region. More than 85 percent of the wine produced in Marlborough is Sauvignon Blanc, while 75 percent of all New Zealand wine produced in 2017 was Sauvignon. “New Zealand has the highest varietal concentration in any major wine producing country, albeit our size is comparable to certain large wine producing regions.” There is evidence PwC says, that suggests there is the potential risk of market


oversupply of Sauvignon Blanc. Any supply or demand shock could have overarching effects, including; increased price competition, decreased industry profits and a potentially damaged Marlborough industry. Controlling that potential supply issue is something the report strongly supports. The industry needs to drive value enhancement and productivity, while maintaining quality. It suggests that NZW provide education to members that supports category innovation and premiumisation. Alongside that recommendation, PwC says NZW should also support research on yield growth, wine styles and sensory profiling to ensure consistency. W h at t h at m e a n s i s m ai nt ai n i ng qu a l it y by quantifiably measuring wines against industry standards and varietal profile. Wineries would

be required to meet minimum quality standards, which once established would uphold the value of the New Zealand brand and in turn “help drive premiumisation”. Another area to consider PwC says, is mimicing profiles from other terroir. Wines can be crafted to match the aroma and flavour of another region and effectively increase overall New Zealand supply. “A New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc can be created alongside specific Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc varietal profiles that have proven market demand.” In summary the report offers a number of options to prevent a blow out of supply and quality. But none are an easy answer in terms of implementation. The full PwC Strategic Review is available on the member’s site of

Industry Innovation

A solution for grape marc TESSA NICHOLSON

M AR LBOROUGH BASED Chris Bowhill is the first to admit that he knows nothing about making wine. But he knows a heck of a lot about drying products, be that mussels, oysters seaweed, honey or fruit juice. It is that latter knowledge that has been the inspiration behind a novel and industry changing way of dealing with one of the major outcomes of winemaking – grape marc. Bowhill and business partner Chris Walbran, of PacRimEnviro have just undertaken a proof of concept trial of drying grape marc that reduces the moisture content, removing the dangerous leachate potential. Marlborough alone produces around 70,000 tonnes of marc each year, which equates to 70 Olympic size swimming pools. While some wineries are using it as a form of compost to return to vineyards, many others have not been able to find a safe use for it. During the past year, several

Leaves, stems and seeds make up grape marc, along with a lot of moisture. Around 70,000 tonnes of marc is produced in Marlborough every vintage.

Chris Bowhill shows how a wet and soggy product such as raw marc can be turned into something dry and stable.

Marlborough organisations and individuals have been convicted and fined for pollution, after grape marc leached into soil near waterways. In an effort to solve the problem, Bowhill designed a drying system from start to finish in his head two years

ago, but it wasn’t until last year that he put the idea to the test. “We bought every single bunch of table grapes we could find in Marlborough. We bought a commercial juicer and got a real soggy mess which I assumed is what grape marc looks like. Then we put it in the dryer (he designed at home) and ended up with about four kilograms of dried marc.” That initial test led to a trip to China for a commercial drying machine, modified to deal with the soggy and sugary content of marc, with a trial over harvest that has proved his initial theory. Grape marc can be successfully dried, to a product that has multiple uses. During the recent vintage, PacRimEnviro processed just under 40 tonnes over a 13-day period. After initial ups and downs, the process was able to handle four and a half tonnes an hour of product that contained 65 percent or less moisture. After drying, the total weight of the product is decreased by 75 to 80 percent. The end result

is super dry skins, seeds and stems, with a similar context to very fine bark. That can then be milled to an even finer, sand like product, that Bowhill says is suitable for producing pellets. “In grape marc, moisture is the problem. Remove the moisture and the leachate potential is gone. You are then left with a product that is low risk and stable. You could put it back on as fertiliser, you could mix it to make animal feed and then there are possible animal and human nutraceuticals.” PacRimEnviro has no intention of developing the dried product themselves, with Bowhill saying that will be for others to decide. The drying machine will have other purposes, besides marc. It will also be able to dry out green waste that ends up in landfill, and forestry slash that is a danger in heavy rain or a fire risk in a drought. Wineries interested in having their marc dried next vintage are encouraged to make contact.


Agenda Events

THE ANNUAL New Zealand Winegrowers Grape Days provide an opportunity for the research team to provide up-to-date information on projects undertaken during the past 12 months. It is also the chance to view vintage in retrospect, and the market implications of that. Held in the three major wine regions of Hawke’s Bay, Marlborough and Central Otago, this year’s Grape Days will be focusing on a number of areas. The Pinot Noir Programme, which is entering its second year of research, will be one area of focus. The first year of samples have been analysed, and the results will be presented. While on the subject of Pinot Noir, Sarah Knight from University of Auckland will present on the role of microbes in regional quality and style. Driving the seven-year Vineyard Ecosystems Programme were requests from industry on what the impacts of vineyard management are on outcomes and environment. Now into its fourth year, this research programme is one of the most in-depth and long ranging projects undertaken by NZW, with a budget of $7m. With 24 vineyards involved, half have as a baseline used no herbicide for four years. What the impact has been, and how their results relate to the vineyards treated conventionally will be updated at the events. Grapevine trunk disease in New Zealand is an on-gong issue that is exacerbated by the increasing age of our vines. That has been highlighted by a survey of vines tested for dieback in both 2013 and again in 2018. Frighteningly the overall mean incidence of dieback increased from 8 percent in 2013 to 20 percent dieback in 2018. The good news though is that research has demonstrated that there is

24   // 


short-term success of using remedial surgery. More on that to come. Given the conditions this past vintage, there is once again a lot of discussion on the impact of climate change. It is also a key tenet of the Bragato Research Institute (BRI) research programme. Climate scientists from NIWA will present the modelling for each individual region of Central Otago, Marlborough and Hawke’s Bay. Attendees will learn about the potential of higher temperatures, increased drought or rainfall and how growing degree days will be impacted. These are just some of the highlights of the upcoming Grape Days. Remember to register in advance.

NZW Grape Days Central Otago

Friday 14 June 8:30 am – 2.15 pm The Moorings, Cromwell Hawke’s Bay

Monday 17 June 9:30 am - 4 pm Napier Convention Centre, Napier Marlborough

Wednesday 19 June 9:30 am – 3.30 pm ASB Theatre, Blenheim



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NZW Grape Days

The soils of Central Otago TESSA NICHOLSON

A COMPARISON of the soils of Burgundy and Central Otago have thrown up such differences, that one expert describes them as almost coming from “different planets”. Gerard Besamusca is a senior consultant for AgConsult Ltd, and one of the guest speakers at this year’s Grape Days in Central Otago. His one-off session will be looking closer at those differences in soils, and what they mean for Central’s grape growers. Describing Central’s soils as “very sensitive”, Besamusca says there is very little organic matter or even soil, with many vineyards having high levels of stone or schist. “That effectively reduces the amount of soil the vines can source nutrients and water from.” In contrast, Burgundy has a

26   // 

lot of limestone which increases the CEC (cation exchange capacity). “We have very low cation exchange capacity in Central Otago, typically below 10 millequivalents per 100 grams of soil. This is the soil’s ability to hold on to positively charged ions like calcium, magnesium, potassium and sodium – the trace elements. In Burgundy we have very high cation capacity, well in excess of 30 in many cases.” Comparing calcium alone, he says, Burgundy has five to 10 times more in their soils. In terms of pH, in Central it is typically between 58 and 63. In Burgundy it is eight times that. The official (Olsen P) test for phosphorus showed Central had between 10 and 30 in most vineyards. “We have levels of 80


This is where you get the big differences between Burgundy and Central Otago. If you look at total calcium in the sample from Burgundy, we are talking in excess of 30,000 kg/per hectare. Your total calcium in Central Otago typically will be 2-3000 kg/per hectare. in the two soil samples we took from Burgundy.” One of the ways of testing soils for calcium, magnesium, potassium and sodium is millequivalents per 100 grams (Meq/100g) which is more or less comparable to kilograms per hectare. ‘This is where you get the big differences between Burgundy and Central Otago. If you look at total calcium in the sample from Burgundy, we are talking

in excess of 30,000 kg/per hectare. Your total calcium in Central Otago typically will be 2-3000 kg/per hectare.” Some of the above differences could be to do with the levels of limestone found in Burgundy. Some could be due to centuries of manure being applied there, and some could be due to the youth of our soils and the relatively dry climate. But the question has to be asked, is it a problem that the

Central soils are so different to Burgundy? Probably not says Besamusca, especially given the Pinot Noirs coming out of Central are “pretty damn good.” He says it is more important to work with the soils we have, rather than trying to turn them into something akin to Burgundy. Even if growers wanted to do the latter, he says it would be nigh on impossible. To explain, he uses the analogy of a cup of coffee. No matter what size the cup, a person will work on a ratio basis. The same ratio of coffee, milk, water and sugar. But if you try to pour your large cup of coffee into a smaller cup, while the ratio may be the same, the small cup will overflow. That he says is what Central Otago growers need to understand when it comes to working with Cations (positive ions). They also need to understand how to interpret

soil tests. “That is very confusing to many people. If you have a typical soil test from Central Otago, as Meq it will have very low calcium, low magnesium and low potassium. You might be inclined to pour those on. But what we also have in Central is a low CEC, which is like having that small cup. You just cannot get everything

in there that you would like. If we have to follow the medium ranges of Meq, they don’t take into account the low CEC. You just cannot physically get all the cations in the medium range.” Besamusca says if you are placing large quantities of calcium, magnesium or potassium onto your vineyard, all you are doing is upsetting the ratio. “And spending a lot

of money, where you are not going to get any return.” For more on this fascinating subject, Gerard Besamusca will be speaking at the Central Otago NZW Grape Days.

NZW Grape Days Central Otago Friday 14 June 8:30 am – 2.15 pm The Moorings, Cromwell

Burgundy soils, so different to Central Otago.

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Central viticulturist shortlisted for international recognition JEAN GRIERSON

SINCE GRADUATING from Lincoln University in 2004, Central Otago viticulturist Nick Paulin has been on a steep upward trajectory. His career began at Felton Road and he worked his way up the ranks before becoming viticulturist at Peregrine Wines. These days Paulin is working for Aotearoa New Zealand Fine Wine Estates (AONZ), as their Estate Manager for Lowburn Ferry in Central Otago, and Biodynamic/Organics Manager at Pyramid Valley, travelling to

Nick Paulin

Waipara for one week in each month. It is a dream job given his career has been dedicated to organic winegrowing since

Nick Paulin is the Estate Manager for AONZ’s Lowburn Ferry vineyard.

28   // 


graduating. Earlier this year he stepped up to the role of chairman of the Central Otago Winegrowers Association, adding to his portfolio of other leadership roles taken on since winning the prestigious Bayer Young Viticulturist of the Year Competition in 2011. He has organised the Central Otago regional competitions for the past nine years, and sits on the national committee. He is also helps with the Tonnellerie de Mercurey

Young Winemaker of the Year competition and sits on the national executive committee of Organic Winegrowers New Zealand. In 2016 Paulin won the Central Otago Young Gun award acknowledging his leadership skills. Those many contributions to the wine industry and potential to take it further may be internationally recognised. From 600 nominations Paulin has been shortlisted for inclusion in the new international ‘Future 50’ awards, launched this year by

the Wine & Spirit Education Trust (WSET) & the International Wine & Spirit Competition (IWSC) as part of their respective 50th anniversary celebrations. Their goal is to “unearth the industry’s up and coming talent” and champion on a global platform 50 young professionals and leaders shaping the future of the wine industry. Nicky Grandorge, Leadership & Communities Manager for New Zealand Winegrowers, who nominated Paulin for the ‘Future 50’ award, says at 35, he is showing signs of a great leader. The international judges will spend the next few months interviewing and discussing those on the shortlist and the ‘Future 50’ will be announced in November. Being nominated for the ‘Future 50’ award was personal recognition for hard work over the years and is a motivating factor going forward, Paulin says. As for his new role with AONZ, Paulin says Lowburn Ferry and Pyramid Valley are two properties purchased in the last three years with the New Zealand Government’s Overseas Investment Office approval. AONZ was co-founded by New Zealander Steve Smith MW, and Brian Sheth, an investor and wildlife conservationist from Austin, Texas.

The company’s philosophy is to create two biodynamic estates in the South Island which would produce the best wines possible. He says AONZ is privileged to be custodian of both properties and he personally was attracted to the job as the focus is entirely on quality. “But it has to be sustainable, not just the environment... there’s checks and balances. The business has to stand up as a business entity.” Whilst Pyramid Valley was already planted at very high density (10,000 vines per hectare), Paulin is “challenging the norm” in Central Otago (2,500 vines per hectare) by planting at 8000 vines per hectare. “That’s one of the exciting things… its not just doing what someone else is doing. That vision from Steve (Smith) is quite important.” Paulin is keen to see whether vine density is more influential on the final wine than management of the vines. “If there’s more competition between the vines, then there’s more complexity at a younger age – from what I’ve seen – then it’s potentially a more efficient use of space. “Pinot Noir is a ver y transparent variety, and when you get it wrong, it shows up. So, we’re going to challenge the classic six tonnes per hectare by seeing if we can ripen more grapes per hectare by having

Crimping within the vineyards. “We’re trying to retain moisture by creating a thatch on top of the soil that stops it drying out.”

more leaf area.” With only limited land available to them for planting, the company needs to find the balance between planting density, costs of production, and sales. Paulin is also experimenting with cover crops and the use of crimping – a technique more often used in organic crop farming than viticulture - to roll the cover crop with a crimping roller instead of mowing. “We’re trying to retain moisture by creating a thatch on top of the soil that stops it drying out…it also retains the biomass instead of mowing it into oblivion.” Describing his role with AONZ as unique in New

Zealand Paulin gets to “do a bit of everything...” He likens it to the European vigneron who grows, makes and sells their own wines. “That’s the exciting thing, seeing it through from grapes to wine to marketing. It’s quite unique within the industry at the moment, without being an owner. It’s not often you get the chance to do that, working for someone else.” Stuart Dudley, viticulturist for Terra Vitae and Villa Maria Wines in Marlborough, has also been nominated for the Future 50. NZ Winegrower will profile him in the next issue.

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Agenda Events

Emiliana Vineyard, Chile.

World’s largest organic winery attending conference TESSA NICHOLSON

WITH A total of 922 hectares of biodynamic vineyards, Chile’s Emiliana Vineyards is the largest organic wine producer in the world. Now this renowned winery, one of the world’s Top 50 Admired Wine Brands, will be sharing their knowledge at the upcoming Organic and Biodynamic Wine Conference.

Established in 1986, Emiliana has vineyards in six internationally known valleys. It was in the 1990s, the move to convert the vineyards to organic and biodynamic began. Emiliana is owned by the Guilisasti family who also own Concha y Tora, Chile’s largest winery and a regular top three in the Top 50 Admired Wine Brands.

While organic and biodynamic practices abound at Emiliana, not all are dedicated just to the grapes themselves. The company has taken their philosophy to even greater lengths, in particular the workplace. As well as being IMO-certified, meaning their staff is guaranteed a fair wage and fair treatment, they also

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offer employees scholarships to universities and colleges, and allotments on which they can grow their own fruit and vegetables. The vineyards abound with animal and insect life, with alpacas, horses, chickens, bees, cows and geese amongst the creatures roaming. Native tree and flower nurseries are also located within

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the vineyards, providing material for future plantings. All of this is obviously on a grand scale. As Stephanie McIntyre, marketing and events manager for Organic Winegrowers New Zealand says, Emiliana proves that converting from conventional doesn’t need to be for smaller growers only. Two speakers from Emiliana will present at the conference, Christian Rodriguez, the GM and Sebastian Tramon the sustainability manager.

Dr Georg Meissner

ANOTHER INTERNATIONAL speaker this year is Dr Georg Meissner, a researcher in the Department of Viticulture at the Geisenheim Institute of Applied Sciences. With the Institute, Meissner has been conducting tests on three parcels of Riesling vines since 2006, evaluating the differences between conventional, organic and biodynamic viticulture. The takeaways are impressive and have further convinced him that biodynamics play an intrinsic part in the overall quality of soil, plant and wine. Meissner will speak twice at the conference. Once on the findings

from Geisenheim, and secondly as head of production for Alois Lageder’s extensive winegrowing operations in the Alto Adige region of northern Italy. His discussion in this presentation will focus on the reasons behind growing organically and biodynamically and the implementations of the farming structure. While Meissner and the two speakers from Emiliana will be highlights, there are a number of other impressive speakers signed up, including; top sommelier Sophie Otton from Australia, Robyn O’Brien from the ‘Unhealthy Truth’ and rePlant Capital in Colorado, New Zealander Kurt Simcic from Sebastion Farms in Canada, Dr Andrea Mannetje from Massey Univeristy, and Ruud Kleinpaste - The Bugman, among many others.

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Agenda Events

New Zealand Wine Awards head to Marlborough The New Zealand Wine Awards will be hosted in the home of Sauvignon Blanc on Saturday 16 November 2019, at Marlborough Lines Stadium in Blenheim. The evening will recognise the New Zealand Wine of the Year™ winners, as well as other industry achievements including Young Viticulturist of the Year, Young Winemaker of the Year and the New Zealand Winegrowers Fellows for 2019. Wine Marlborough General Manager Marcus Pickens said, “It is fantastic that we all can come together to celebrate the success of the industry, in the place where so much of New Zealand wine is grown.” The event will focus on celebrating the year that was, and honouring the talented people that make up our diverse and dynamic wine industry. Entries for the New Zealand Wine of the Year™ competition open on 5 August.

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IN ADDITION to the traditional International Education Programme, New Zealand Winegrowers have come up with some novel ways of promoting our wines in international markets. Recently a number of these have been produced/trialled, in pursuit of “creativity in education”.

REGIONAL DRONE FOOTAGE This initiative is an alternative to an Online Education Programme following feedback from on-premise and offpremise trade, educators and media in international markets. There was little interest in an Online Education Programme, but consistent commentary (unprompted) from all interviewees reflected that physically experiencing a region (seeing the lay of the land/geographical features,

34   // 

translated subtitles at the Pure Discovery Wine Fairs across Shanghai, Beijing and Shenzhen, and at the New Zealand Wine Fair in Tokyo.

sensing the climate, handling the soils) was the most effective way to learn about it, and more importantly, retain knowledge and form a relationship with the region and its wines. As a result drone footage of each of the regions was undertaken. This gives the viewer an inside look at the geographical and climatic differences in each


region, and explains the location, soils, growing conditions and influences, as well as the wines of the region. It is specifically designed to be used by members, (when promoting their own region) as well as by NZW in its International Education Programme. The footage premiered at ProWein, has recently aired with

COLLABORATIVE ACTIVITY In an attempt to access jaded wine trade in major markets, NZW are trialling a series of collaborative events, with wineproducing regions/countries that have a strong presence and reputation in the relevant market. Three events have been held to date, with excellent results. New Zealand & The Loire A Celebration of Sauvignon Blanc from Opposite Sides of the World The first event of this kind to be held created fantastic coverage. Hosted by Rebecca Gibb MW and Jamie Goode

in London, it attracted a long list of renowned wine writers, including; Jancis Robinson MW and Steven Spurrier, as well as all major UK trade publications The media coverage of the event has been impressive. In total there were 35 pieces of coverage, (including social), with a total circulation of 25,067,800. The estimated advertising value of this coverage is £58,600, with a PR value of £175,600. Jancis Robinson described the tasting as “fascinating” and was excited by the collaborative format; “This tasting - unusually and delightfully - was organised and hosted by both interested parties acting in unison.” In addition, three out of Jancis’ top four Sauvignons were from New Zealand. New Zealand and Oregon Wine from the Edge A full day of technical tasting, those attending were able to take part in just one of the sessions, or stay for the whole day. There were three sessions in total. Distinctive Styles of the Burgundian Theme (Pinot Noir

Masterclass) Lunch featuring White, Rosé and Sparkling Wines (Lunch & Walkaround Tasting) The Futurists: Regions, Varieties & Trends (Lesser Known Varieties, Regions and Styles Masterclass) New Zealand and Ontario A Pinot Noir Affair Ag ai n a f u l l d ay of technical tasting with t h re e d e f i ne d s e ss i ons . Stems & Berries (Pinot Noir Masterclass, Blind) Wild Bunch Lunch (Lesser Known Varieties, Regions and Styles) Same Same but Different (Pinot Noir Masterclass, Blind) The Oregon and Ontario events have only been held very recently, so no formal reporting is available. However, one of the primary objectives of trialling this new style of educational event, was to access trade and media previously inaccessible by New Zealand Winegrowers. This was achieved at both tastings. Wat c h out for m ore collaborative events in the future.


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Social Responsibility

Alcohol&Me reaches thousands TESSA NICHOLSON

INITIALLY ESTABLISHED as incredibly relatable and has an inhouse programme by Lion been built with the consumer New Zealand, Alcohol&Me is at heart. now reaching nearly 30,000 New “It has to be relatable and we Zealanders. know that if you start waving J u d e Wa l t e r i s t h e the naughty stick and saying, programme manager and don’t, don’t, don’t, it has very says never in Lion’s wildest little effect and impact. So the dreams did they envisage the way we describe it is; we have a programme becoming such a goal to be the drinker’s friend. national success. Everything is delivered as if you “We started running the pro- are talking to your best friend gramme in 2013 and all Lion and wanting to help them out.” New Zealand employees were taken through it that year, which was A standard drink is a about 1000 people.” standard measure of Within two weeks of the first session Lion alcohol. It has 10 grams was receiving expres- of pure alcohol in it which sions of interest from other businesses who is all the adult liver can were keen to have it process in one hour. So run for their own staff. for wine, one standard Every bottle of New Zealand wine has the standard It took 18 months and measure on its back label. If is says 7.7 standard drinks continued interest drink is 100 mls. For a 4% that means it will take your liver 7.7 hours to process the alcohol in that bottle and there is no way to speed it up. before Lion realised beer, it is 320 mls. For a that the Alcohol&Me interactive alcohol spirit it is only 30 mls. full face-to-face group self-guided online module. education programme facilitated workshop that A pre-survey is undertaken could make a difference on a There are three offerings takes between two and a half prior to the face to face sessions, for businesses within the to three hours. There is also an so Walter can tailor the course to larger scale. She says the programme is Alcohol&Me programme. A interactive quiz for groups and a suit. She says all the information



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is confidential. “We have no way of determining who answers what. None of the information goes to the company, it stays with me so I can tailor the programme to ensure people get the most out of it.� Much is based around what a standard drink is, something Walters says few people understand. “That is something that New Zealanders just don’t get,� she says. “The latest consumer research that we did back in November/December found that whilst it had improved in terms of the number of people who had heard the term standard drink, no one in the survey of 400 plus people could accurately describe what a standard drink was. No one.� Despite this being the crux of drinking responsibly. “A standard drink is a standard measure of alcohol.

It has 10 grams of pure alcohol in it. So for wine, one standard drink is 100 mls. For a 4% beer, it is 320 mls. For a spirit it is only 30 mls. Each of those has 10 grams of pure alcohol in it.� Walter says one of the eye openers for people is when they suddenly realise just what constitutes a standard drink. “In the workshop we have them actually pour what they think is a standard drink. We have wine, beer and spirits there and get them to pour into a glass what they believe

is a standard drink. That is the single biggest aha moment for people. They think shivers, when I answered that question in the pre-survey, I said I had three standard drinks a week. Actually, I was having six.� The significance of the standard drink is that the average adult liver can only process one standard drink an hour and there is no way to speed this up. Anything more than that and the person will start to feel the effects of alcohol. Getting that message across

to as many New Zealanders as possible is paramount Walter says. “Imagine if every single New Zealander knew what a standard drink was and that it takes an hour to process each standard drink – that would be the holy grail. We truly believe that it would have a fundamental impact on New Zealand’s drinking culture.� Currently the Alcohol&Me programme has been taken on board by 86 businesses in New Zealand and reached more than 27,000 individuals. If you would like more information about the programme, contact Lion’s Programme Manager, Jude Walter, email; alcoholandme@ or phone 027 286 3961. You can also check it out online at

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The variety that woke the world up to New Zealand wine was celebrated far and wide with events, promotions and a social media campaign from New Zealand Winegrowers.

Celebrations were held around the globe on International Sauvignon Blanc Day, Friday 3 May. A variety of activities were held; from masterclasses attended by Jancis Robinson MW, to live Twitter Tastings with Amy Lieberfarb and our own Cameron Douglas MS, to a competition

Australia was second up with sommelier

Sauvignon tasting for staff at Twitter

masterclass, ‘de-blanc’d: The many faces

Headquarters in London.

of New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc’ with

A social media influencer campaign was

Stephen Wong MW in Melbourne. The

run in Canada with Sauvignon Blanc-

Australia market also ran an Instagram

themed goodie bags, and a television

competition to win flights to a New

segment on Your Morning was presented

Zealand wine region, in partnership with

by wine writer Angela Aiello.

Air New Zealand.

Over in San Fransisco, a live Twitter

In China, the New Zealand Wine WeChat

tasting with influencer Amy Lieberfarb

channel held a Sauvignon Blanc gift-

for flights to New Zealand.

(@SiponthisJuice) and Cameron Douglas

giving campaign during the week leading

MS explored the different styles of New

Beginning in New Zealand, the

up to #sauvblanc day.

Zealand Sauvignon Blanc, and the day

Sauvignon Blanc celebration travelled

A New Zealand & Loire Valley

closed with a bang at a happy hour in

around the world, with people raising

masterclass was held in London, titled

Manhattan with influencer Sarah Tracey

a glass via multiple New Zealand

‘A Celebration of Sauvignon Blanc


Winegrowers’ Sauvignon Blanc events

from Opposite Sides of the World’.

and campaigns.

The event received

A global advertising campaign to engage

acclaim by attracting

consumers kicked off with the theme,

top guests Jancis

‘What will you be doing on #sauvblanc

Robinson MW and

day?’. NZ Wine asked Sauvignon Blanc

Stephen Spurrier,as

fans to show their appreciation online by

well as the top UK

posting a video, photograph or message

trade publications.

that celebrated our most popular drop on

The New Zealand

Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, using

Winegrowers team

the hashtags #sauvblanc and #nzwine.

also hosted a

38   // 


Previous page, above and right; images used in the campaign, below; images tagged #sauvblanc on Instagram






















Industry News

Independent Directors for Bragato Research Institute B R AG A T O R E S E A R C H Institute (BRI) has appointed t w o i n d e p e n d e nt b o a rd members, to join the three NZW directors and independent Chair. Dr Dianne McCarthy and Dr Bruce Campbell joined the board on June 1. Both bring a wealth of scientific knowledge. Dr McCarthy was the former CEO of the Royal Society of New Zealand, is Chair of the Board of the New Zealand Institute of Economic Research, a Director of the Cawthron Institute among a number of other entities. She says while

her career was initially built around mathematics and behavioural science, she has recently become focused on the importance of science

and research as it impacts on economic success. “I am particularly interested i n t h e d e ve l opm e nt of opportunities for emerging

scientists to thrive in the new Bragato Research Institute.” Dr Campbell meanwhile has a PhD in ecology from The University of Sheffield. He is a recipient of the 2017 Prime Minister’s Science Prize, 2017 Horticulture New Zealand Industry Service Award and 2016 Royal Society of New Zealand Thomson Medal for outstanding leadership of agricultural and horticultural science. “I am looking forward to working with the wine industry and science stakeholders to benefit the industry and benefit New Zealand,” he says.

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40   // 

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Agenda Event

Young Vit competition heats up Who will take the coveted trophy from Annabel Bulk in this years Bayer Young Viticulturist of the Year? Hawke’s Bay

Now in its 14th year The

Bragato Conference, in

Bayer Young Viticulturist

Hawke’s Bay where the

Thursday 13 June

of the Year Competition is

winner will be announced.

Te Awa Estate

a fantastic opportunity for

The South Island Regional

Young Vits (30 yrs or

competition is open to

under) to upskill, grow in

contestants from Nelson,

con idence, widen their

Canterbury and Waitaki,

network and start making

and will be held at

Constallation, 237

a name for themselves

Greystone in Waipara.

Hammerichs Road

within the industry.

The Auckland/Northern

Wairarapa Tursday 20 June

Te Kairanga

Marlborough Thursday 4 July

South Island Regional

The competition continues

competition will be held in

to grow and there are now

Northland this year for the

Greystone, Waipara

six regional competitions,

first time.

Central Otago

culminating in a national inal which is held in conjunction with Bragato. The regional inals taking place in June and July, the inal will be held in conjunction with the

Make sure you get out to cheer on the young viticulturists in your region.

Auckland/ Northern

Friday 12 July

Thursday 18 July Otago Polytechnic Bannockburn

National Final w/c 26 August

Te Awa, Hawke’s Bay

Marsden Estate, Kerikeri,

Winner announced 29th August at Bragato


Friday 7 June


Agenda Event

Are you the next Young Winemaker of the Year?

42   // 


Lauren Swift, Jordan Hogg,

working in the lab, being

onto the national final.

Kelsey Daniels and Greg

a cellar hand or cellar

Entries close on June 30.

Lane all have something

manager, as well as

special in common. All four

winemakers and

have been judged as

assistant winemakers.

the Tonnellerie de Mercury

Depending on the number

New Zealand Young

of entrants, individuals who

Winemaker of the Year.

are currently studying for a

Just who it will be in 2019,

winemaking degree

has yet to be decided, with

may also be involved.

the annual competition

Now into its fifth year,


taking place in August and

the 2019 competition will

September this year.

Central Otago

take on a slightly different

Tuesday 15 Spetember

For those who are

format from previous

not actually qualified

years. There will be three

National Final

winemakers, never fear.

regional finals, rather


This competition is open to

than two. These will be

anyone under the age of

held in Central Otago, youngwinemaker

30, who is

Marlborough and Hawke’s

involved in wine

Bay. The winner of each

production. That includes

will go

Competition dates: North Island

Thursday 1 August NMIT Hawke’s Bay


Wednesday 7 August


Tuesday 17 September

Regions Marlborough

Appellation Marlborough Wine, one year on IT IS 12 months since Appellation Marlborough Wine (AMW) launched, with 40 producers of Sauvignon Blanc. Twelve months down the track AMW is growing in strength and marketing power. At this year’s AGM, Chair Ivan Sutherland said the Incorporated Society has grown to 45 members, who in 2018 released 30 wines onto the market with the AMW logo on their bottles. Another five wineries have expressed interest in becoming a member. The aim of the group is to safeguard Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc’s reputation.

Concerned at the levels of bulk Sauvignon leaving New Zealand shores, a number of prominent wineries got together back in 2017 to establish the group. When launched, the criteria for members was highlighted. All AMW wines must be made only from 100 percent Marlborough-grown grapes Made only from grapes grown in vineyards which are certified as part of a recognised

sustainable viticultural program Bottled in New Zealand. Made only from grapes grown at an appropriate cropping level with the prime objective of enhancing quality and the Marlborough name. If any vineyard portion of a blend does not comply with the desired cropping level, the subsequent wine must undergo an independent tasting, by a panel of three. Chair Ivan Sutherland says the past 12 months has seen the group working to register the AMW trademark in key export markets. In China, EU, India, New Zealand, Australia, Singapore and Turkey the trademark

is registered. In Russia, US, Israel, Japan, Korea and Canada, registration is still pending. Sutherland says the word appellation and its international use has slowed the registration process down, although there was never any intention to reconsider its use. “This is about 100 percent Marlborough and appellation is the correct term to convey what the group is about. It provides the wine buying public of the world with an assurance they can see and trust.” AWM has recently appointed an administration/marketing manager, and the next 12 months would see the group pushing the message into the export markets.

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International Perspective

View from abroad - Marc Checkley Welcome to a new series where we talk to New Zealanders who are currently involved in wine, outside of this country. They give us their perspective on how the industry is faring internationally and what they see as some of the challenges we face. M A R C C H E C K L E Y, i s originally from Auckland, with a career that spans all forms of broadcasting. From journalism to producing and directing television shows, Marc has been involved, in both Asia and Europe. These days he is based in Lausanne. Having thrown himself into wine studies he is working independently as a brand/story consultant and content producer. “Essentially, I’ve combined my love of storytelling with my passion for wine and food.”

What are your memories of New Zealand wine prior to leaving New Zealand? When I left New Zealand in 2007, I remember the local wine industry was going through some tweaks. Wine styles were evolving/adapting, a small number of winemakers were exploring the potential of different varietals. It was about that time that Te Koko from Cloudy Bay launched. It was also the year I discovered Konrad Riesling. I was also intrigued by the quality sparkling wines coming out of Central Otago. But overall it was steady-as-shegoes with copious amounts of Sav Blanc and Pinot Noir on wine-lovers’ lips. What was the impression you got regarding New Zealand wine in the international

44   // 

market? Much of the world was/is enraptured with New Zealand Pinot Noir and more so Sav Blanc. And Marlborough is seen as the sentinel of these varieties. The go-to region for New World/New Zealand wine. Internationally, these wines are


seen as accessible, no nonsense, no surprises. New Zealand Sav Blanc is a signature many in the world have come to recognise. This is more apparent in nonwine producing countries and other New World regions. Not so much the Old World. That takes a different, tactical

approach which isn’t being exploited as effectively. Has that changed over time? Unfortunately, impressions h a v e n’t c h a n g e d m u c h despite the developments of New Zealand wine and its winemakers. I’ve found there

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are two main groups of people. One group still don’t know New Zealand produces wine. The other believe we only produce Sav Blanc and, maybe, Pinot Noir – and in Marlborough only. The former you could say “need to get out more”. But it’s surprising how little some know about our wines. Of course, when I explain the varieties being developed and produced, there is a lot of interest and questions. The story of New Zealand as a diverse and surprising wine region is still not being told for maximum effect. Being involved in the wine industry, what are the strengths you see New Zealand wine having internationally? And what are the challenges? We have great stories and geography to match. Along with amazing cuisine and flavours. New Zealand is an oasis of

gastronomy and wine. We know this locally, we celebrate it daily but it’s not how the world sees us, yet. Our wines represent diverse terroir that is something people can understand once they know. It’s tactile. This is a great entry point to our story. Our southern climes also play to our strengths. When talking about our wine I use the example of Otago, sharing a similar latitude to Burgundy – just in opposite directions! Hence, why our Pinots are so stellar. The world’s mirror image of wine regions is something we can exploit and is relatable to wine lovers. Particularly those with a penchant for Old World. Story is everything – there’s a tendency in New Zealand to just focus on the product, the output. When really it should be about the input – the “why” and “where”, rather than the “what”. Champagne for example, is not entirely about the bubbles, but


rather the tales that developed the effervesce. What countries do you view as threatening New Zealand’s mantle and why? By far, Argentina and Chile are clipping at our heels and have been for some time in regards to our white wines. Sharing our southern hemisphere, there are more similarities than differences. And they outstrip us by volume. However, I don’t see this as a massive disadvantage. Better to be great at something in smaller quantities, than okay at something and have loads of it. The Sav from Chile are good and getting better. The hot reds, such as Malbec, have really embedded themselves in Europe. In fact, more often than not, I see South American wines on the shelves in Switzerland and other European cities, than New Zealand – red or white. The other one to watch is

46   // 

Story is everything – there’s a tendency in New Zealand to just focus on the product, the output. When really it should be about the input – the “why” and “where”, rather than the “what”.

South Africa, which seems to be having a second wind of late and diversifying their style. The winemakers are collaborating a lot with local award-winning chefs/hotels and really evolving their story through winemaking and styles: no sulphites, biodynamic. Adapting to climate change. Its ‘Cap Classique’ is also riding the sparkling wave as more consumers demand diversity in their bubbles.


As a New Zealander with an outside perspective, what does the country need to concentrate on into the

future? Diversity is key and evolution must be part of the mantra for our winemakers. We may still be considered a young wine region but we are definitely developed and experienced. We have a history of wine that is unique, we just have to share it loudly and often. Our ‘tall poppy syndrome’ needs to be put aside. It may sound like an oxymoron but we also should

celebrate our similarities – same, same but different. We don’t have to relegate ourselves to being compared with only New World regions. It’s also time to embrace climate change and what it can/is producing. There are interesting developments happening in Europe with natural/unfiltered/no sulphites wine. Petulant Naturel (“Pet Nat”) is also gaining traction. Our mixed and rich terroir and climate can produce stellar versions of such wines. We are in a position to develop a worldrenowned wine region, rather

than just a varietal. I’d like to think in the near future, with the right priorities in place, more tourists see New Zealand as a wine destination than a place to get intimate with Orcs and Hobbits.

we organized. But when I attempted to introduce different varieties for the New Zealand Ball for instance, I inevitably was out-voted by our staple wine diet. New Zealand has the annual Sav Blanc event each

year. Why not an event for our lush Chardonnays, signature Rieslings and lip-smacking reds beyond the mighty Pinot? We can’t be complacent with our Sav Blanc, but neither should it be our crutch. Change presents

a challenge, but ultimately for good. We’ve made a name with our Sav Blanc; but we must use it more as an entry point. New Zealand is New World by place but not necessarily by nature.

How do we get past being known for Sauvignon Blanc only – and how do we get our other varietals onto wine lists the world over? When it comes to showing the diversity of our wines, we have to lead by example. I do think the average Kiwi wine drinker (i.e my mother!), tends to be risk averse and not to “rock the bottle” too much. This means, more often than not, Sav and/or Pinot Noir, only, at the table. We have a dependency problem. But it’s not just local Kiwis. I was a board member of the New Zealand Chamber of Commerce Singapore for two years and of course I carried the baton for many wine events


Biosecurity Update

Harlequin Ladybird Update SOPHIE BADLAND

Native to Asia, the harlequin ladybird first arrived in Auckland, in 2016. Upon receiving notification of its arrival, MPI undertook an investigation and found it already too widespread for an eradication attempt to have any reasonable chance of success. Since then, it has continued to spread rapidly and can now be found throughout the North Island and in several regions of the South Island. IMPACT ON VINEYARDS The harlequin ladybird is a generalist predator (aphids being its preferred prey) that is known to feed on damaged fruit, including winegrapes, when other food sources are limited. Larger than other ladybirds, it will prey on these too, so has the potential to reduce populations of beneficial insects in New Zealand vineyards. Overseas, grape clusters infested wit h harle quin ladybird have been linked to taint and unpleasant odours in wine. When under attack or crushed, the harlequin releases an odour made up of several methoxypyrazines. If the ladybirds aggregate in the vines at harvest, they may be harvested along with the grapes and contaminate any wine produced with ‘ladybird taint’. As the days get cooler, the ladybirds head into outbuildings and other vineyard structures. In 2018, NZW received several reports of harlequin

48   // 

aggregations inside vineyard buildings and frost-fighting equipment from mid-May onwards, mostly from the Hawkes Bay and Gisborne regions. This year, notifications of large indoor aggregations began to come in as early as the end of April, particularly from the Wairarapa, Horowhenua, Nelson and Marlborough regions.

LEARNING MORE ABOUT THE PEST During 2018, NZW contracted Plant & Food Research to undertake a l ite r atu re re v i e w ab out harlequin ladybird, to get a better idea of the potential impact it could have on the New Zealand wine industry. The review report was received in December 2018 and can be found on the NZW members’ website, along with a summary document. It highlighted several opportunities for further research, as much remains


Adult harlequin ladybird. Photo: Vaughn Bell and Tara Taylor, Plant & Food Research.

unknown in the New Zealand context. NZW also asked growers to keep an eye out for aggregations of harlequin ladybird in the vines and fruit clusters prior to harvest. Reports of sightings of low numbers of adults, larvae and egg clusters were received from several sites, but there were no issues with aggregations in the fruit prior to harvest, which is good news. Members are encouraged to report further sightings of harlequin ladybird to the NZW biosecurity team over the winter period. NZW and the Bragato Research Institute have again engaged Plant & Food Research to monitor the movement of harlequin ladybird in the vineyard and nearby habitat throughout the autumn harvest period and into winter. A better understanding of when and where aggregation is occurring will help to determine the potential risk of taint to wine, as well as the best opportunities

to implement control strategies. Four Hawkes Bay vineyards close to riverbanks with willow trees (habitat of giant willow aphid, a preferred food of the harlequin) are taking part in the monitoring project. All life stages of the harlequin have been detected in the willows along with many aphids, but very few have been found in vineyards so far. At the time of writing (early May), small aggregations were being found in vineyard outbuildings. The intention is to monitor the numbers aggregating to understand when aggregations may be at their largest – this is the ideal time to use a contact insecticide, to most effectively reduce the numbers able to head back out into the vineyard come spring.

ADVICE TO MEMBERS In the spring and summer, harlequin ladybirds in low numbers in and around the vineyard are nothing to be

Harlequin ladybird larva. Photo: Vaughn Bell and Tara Taylor, Plant & Food Research.

concerned about. Regular surveillance is key – walking the rows and checking within developing clusters, particularly in any blocks with proximity

to willow trees. As close as possible to harvest, make a final check and if any ladybirds are aggregating in the bunches, a gentle shake should dislodge

them – don’t spray them. In the autumn (hopefully post-har vest), harlequin ladybirds head for shelter, often in vineyard structures where they aggregate in large groups. Movement into structures is likely triggered by environmental cues (cold nights followed by warm days) and aggregation involves contact chemoreception rather than a volatile aggregation pheromone. NZW’s advice to members finding aggregations inside vineyard structures is to take one of two approaches, either: Spray any aggregations and the surrounding area with a residual insecticide – this will kill the ladybirds present and should also kill any others that come to land in the same spot. Several places may need to be treated with this approach. Allow aggregations to build up until high numbers are present, then treat with a contact insecticide to kill as

many as possible in one place. Either of these options should help to reduce the population of harlequin ladybirds heading back out into the vineyard when it warms up.

NEXT STEPS New Zealand Winegrowers will inform members of the results of the current monitoring project when they become available and there will be an update presented at Grape Days 2019. More information about the harlequin ladybird, including the literature review done last year by Plant & Food Research, is available on the NZW members website. Members are encouraged to continue reporting overwintering aggregations to, with photos if available, and join the biosecurity and sustainability Facebook group, NZ Wine Kaitiaki, for further updates.

Giant willow aphid; preferred prey of the harlequin ladybird. Photo: Vaughn Bell and Tara Taylor, Plant & Food Research.


Industry News

Five generations behind new wine range TESSA NICHOLSON

GIVEN THE youth of the New Zealand wine industry (on a world scale) it is impressive to know that one Kumeu company is celebrating its fifth generation involvement. Soljans Estate Winery has a history that dates back to 1927, when Bartul Soljan arrived in New Zealand from Croatia. The first Soljans’ wine label appeared 10 years later with Bartul’s son Frank leading the way. Since then, three further generations have played a role in making the company what it is today. Tony, his two daughters Tonia and Lisa, and now Tonia’s two children, Amber and Tyler. Five generations in total – something of an anomaly in New Zealand wine terms. That anomaly is not lost on Tony, who as owner of the company, understands how difficult it is to maintain a legacy. “Usually it falls over before (you reach five generations) or people retire. Winemaking is hard graft and about longterm goals, not short-term. Some people like that, others don’t, but it is challenging. This is pretty jolly special. It is unique and if it will ever happen again in New Zealand, I don’t know.” To celebrate that uniqueness, Soljans have just released a new wine range – aptly named Fifth Generation Series. The first wine in the series is a 2016 Chardonnay, which both Amber and Tyler have played a role in creating. The idea came from Tony himself, Tyler says.

50   // 

The 3rd and 5th generation of Soljans, Amber, Tony and Tyler.

“A while ago he was pushing for us to be more publicly involved in the wine side of things. He approached us after we saw how good the 2016 vintage was and said he had an idea of how to make it special.” “The second he started talking about us having an active involvement, we both flew with it,” Amber says. “He suggested we could look at designing the label. Then we asked if we could make it, could we decide everything, he said absolutely.” “It was a dream really,” Tyler adds. While everything had to have “Tony’s stamp of approval”, the two siblings were given the chance to influence the end product. For example, Fifth Generation Chardonnay spent 18 months in oak, longer


They are looking at the industry as 20-year-olds, not from my end of the age scale. I’m an old fellow now, I am one of the dinosaurs. – Tony Soljan. than any of Soljan’s previous Chardonnays. It then spent 12 months in bottle before being released earlier this year. Only four barrels were made (around 1200 bottles) and while Chardonnay is the first in the series, Amber in particular has plans for many more varieties to be added. “If we have any say on it, we will be getting a whole bunch of different wines in that range.” There is one caveat though, the Fifth Generation wines will only be made in years when the

fruit turns out to be exceptional. The Soljans who all admit to being very close, find working together has some major benefits. “It means you can be brutally honest,” Amber says. “If you don’t agree with something, you don’t need to worry you will annoy your boss. You can just walk in and say – ‘You know Poppa, I think this is weird.’ And he will take that.” F o r To n y, h i s t w o grandchildren have brought fresh enthusiasm and new ideas

Taking the lid off innovation. to the business. “They are looking at the industry as 20-year-olds, not from my end of the age scale. I’m an old fellow now, I am one of the dinosaurs,” he jokes. “They are out wining and dining a lot more than I am, so they know what the market place is doing. They are up with the play, marketing wise, they have ideas, concepts and suggestions. In fact they keep firing them at me like a machine gun.” While Tony and wife

Colleen’s two daughters are members of the board, it is the grandchildren he says that will keep the Soljan wine name going. “If they weren’t showing an interest, what the heck is all this for? To have them with the enthusiasm, drive and fresh ideas is a major plus.” The Fifth Generation Series, Home Vineyard Chardonnay is available online and at the cellar door.

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Amber and Tyler Soljan have been making wine with their grandfather since they were children, albeit on a more basic level.


Innovation Acclaim

Egg shaped, surrounded by a curved wall and extremely futuristic looking – Xige Winery in Ningxia.

NZ firm helps with new Chinese winery TESSA NICHOLSON

WHEN I first saw a picture of Xige Winery in Ningxia China. I mistook it for a space station.

Not hard to see why. The futuristic looking, egg shaped building is contained within a curved

wall, and is geared to produce 10 million litres of wine a year. It is not only the look of the

winery that has got people talking. Strongly supported by the Ningxia regional government,



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This is what Bob Richards found, eight weeks prior to vintage starting – two concrete pads and piles of stainless steel sheets.

Xige (formerly known as Pigeon Hill) aims to change the face of Chinese wine. The goal is to work along the lines of a Penfolds, producing a range of high quality wine, from the entry level to the premium of reserves. And playing a role in that production goal is the New Zealand company Wine Technology Marlborough (WTM). Based in Marlborough WTM is responsible for the VinWizard winery technology. Bob Richards who is the owner of sister company Wine Technology International, says they first became involved in the project back in 2015. As part of a Marlborough sister city relationship with Ningxia, Richards, members of the Marlborough District Council, other commercial interests and educational providers visited the region. At the time the Chinese government was keen to develop a New Zealand concept winery, something small (on a Chinese

scale) kitted out with New Zealand equipment, and designed by New Zealanders. “That concept changed over the years,” Richards explains, “and has morphed into this huge winery. But there was still a New Zealand requirement component, although

pretty much every other winery component which would constitute a New Zealand concept, was superceded.” VinWizard’s temperature and pumpover control ended up being the one concept the Chinese government decided on. While Richards knows it has

been a coup to be involved in what is one of China’s showpiece wineries, he says the process of setting the systems up was anything but easy. For example, the order for the equipment arrived eight weeks prior to the 2017 vintage starting.

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Two months later, the building was taking shape – but despite being in the middle of vintage, it was still a construction site.

“We had to make sure they understood what they were buying. We had quoted and had some pretty exhaustive email chats but we weren’t sure how much they understood.” Richards was on a plane to China the day after the approval came through, and knowing that vintage was due to start in eight weeks, he was a little disconcerted to discover the winery existed of just two concrete pads. “This is eight weeks out from when they thought they would be making wine. There was a mountain of stainless steel sheets piled on the ground to make the tanks and that was about it. So it was an extremely short time frame for logistics of building the system, shipping it through Chinese customs, getting it to the winery and finding people who had the skill set required. It was a challenge.” By the time the first grapes came in, there were more than enough tanks, but at the time of the winery being commissioned, there was no way you could say the building was complete. “It was literally mid construction, so it was a pretty dangerous environment to be working in.” When asked if the inclusion of VinWizard controls at Xige could open up a whole new

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market for the company, Richards is somewhat reticent. He says there is still a considerable lack of wine industry knowledge in China, and equipment purchases tend to be based on price rather than ability. “We could spend a lot of time and money over there, beating our head against a wall, where the driver at the moment is purely price. We are not interested in competing. Instead we have a globally recognized premium brand and over time it will command its own place in the market.”

Especially given Xige is being promoted by the government as a winery of the future, attracting delegations from officials and other winery owners. “I have been through numerous wineries over there and in comparison to those, Xige is head and shoulders above them. So for us, it’s a very high profile winery to be involved in.” VinWizard has a global network, and the technology they have developed over the past 20 years is being picked up by some very influential wine companies. In the Napa alone, the system

was last year incorporated into the likes of Colgin, Quintessa Staglin and Dalla Valle wineries – which individually produce ultra-premium wines that can command prices over US$200 a bottle. They are also in some renowned Chilean and Argentinian wineries. In many of these, the VinWizard’s technology is replacing equipment that most New Zealand winemakers would consider thoroughly antiquated. “Most New Zealand wineries are ahead of other markets I have been to. When I go into many premium overseas facilities, the tank control systems they have are so basic our winemakers would have thrown them out 10 or 15 years ago, because they damage their wine. Part of that is because wineries in older wine producing regions are steeped in a traditional way of operating and rely on local suppliers to supply traditionally accepted solutions. It is hard to try and break into that sort of environment.” Although given the successes of late, it appears word of mouth is ensuring the technology is being accepted as some of the best in the world.

JUST HOW IS VINWIZARD DIFFERENT? WHEN BUILDING or renovating, according to Richards wineries tend to source one system for tank control, go to a different supplier for refrigeration, another supplier for environmental systems. “They consider in isolation, and will buy a solution for each system. Each will have its own controls, maybe of different capabilities or different communication capabilities. “A lot of them will sit and operate in isolation. VinWizard starts with temperature control. That opens and closes valves and lets the winemaker control the temperature. That is where most other systems stop. We go further. We can interface to any aspect that costs money to run or can damage the wine. We can drive the refrigeration more efficiently


based on the importance of each tank. We can automate pump overs, we can automate head space gassing, we can automate a lot of manual tasks that save considerable labour inputs and enhance the wine as well. And it can all be done remotely.” Richards says they can save a winery in the region of 30 to 40 percent power, through savings initiatives. But it is also the labour saving that has so many wineries in Chile and America interested. “Available labour is becoming a major problem in these countries, in fact in all countries – so having a system that is fully automated, and can be controlled by a device such as a phone or computer is obviously beneficial.”







Women in Wine

Jane Cooper


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Ask Jane Cooper who her most influential mentor is and two words spring to mind: Mother Nature.

“I’VE ALWAYS spent a lot of time in the vineyard because the vines teach me a lot,” says Cooper, a Wairarapa winemaker who is about to open her own winery and cellar door, both of which will be a first for Greytown. “I’ve always done really long stints in vineyards because you get to know so much from what the grapes tell you each year,” says the woman who originally

planned to be a lawyer, until she set foot in a winery three quarters of the way through her degree. Cooper had embarked on a political science degree at the University of Victoria in Wellington and, part way through her last year, she visited Te Mata Estate Winery in Hawke’s Bay and immediately knew she wanted to make wine. “It felt like it fitted. As soon as I walked in and saw the pumps and the barrels, I knew it was me. I love the two totally different aspects – creative and practical, both of which involve moving around rather than working in a static sitting down role, which I realised was not me.” It’s the creative aspect of winemaking that most strongly resonates with her. “ Yo u’r e w o r k i n g o u t solutions. Myself and my partner are designing a small urban winery in the middle of

SeaSonal eMployeR? We’re here to help

Greytown. It will be the town’s first cellar door and winery and will give us a lot of scope with my brand.” Cooper was born and bred in Upper Hutt. She finished her degree at Victoria University of Wellington, following it with a year in viticulture and winemaking at Lincoln University in 1991 and then went on to gain 25 years of winemaking experience in New Zealand and overseas. Her international winemaking stints have been in Chile, the Hunter Valley, and in Trento, north east Italy, where she worked for International Winemaking Services. She has also made wine for many New Zealand wineries. She began winemaking in Nelson where she worked for Seifried Estate, Te Mania, Kaimira and R ichmond Plains, before moving to the Wairarapa where she held the role of general manager and

chief winemaker at Matahiwi Estate for more than a decade, a position she departed in August 2016. She still uses the facilities there to make Ohau Wines, a consultancy role in both winemaking and in the vineyard. It’s the only west significant coastal vineyard in this country; 37 hectares on a warm, gravelly, free draining site between Otaki and Levin, planted in Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Gris and Pinot Noir. It’s also a rainy spot. “It’s really only the rainfall that we fight so we’re getting better at raising the quality of the grapes in time for ripening.” She began her own brand, Alexia, in 2000 with Nelson grapes and produced wine under this label until 2007 when family became her biggest priority. She wanted to focus on her two small children, a daughter and a son, ahead of the brand. She continued to make wine at Matahiwi in the northern

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Roots, Shoots & Fruits Soil Health, Plant Health, YOUR Health Wairarapa and departed from that role in 2016 when she began making Alexia again, using Hawke’s Bay Chardonnay. This year she is making a Rosé, a Pinot Noir, a Chenin Blanc and, possibly, a Cabernet Franc, all under the Alexia brand and all from Wairarapa grapes. She may add a Chardonnay made from Hawke’s Bay fruit, purely due to the high quality of the grapes. Next year she will have her

own small urban winery, a facility that will also double as a cellar door. She plans to focus on experimental wines that express the vineyards she sources grapes from. “We have been looking for a site for ages and the one we’ve found is zoned industrial so we can make wine there with no problem.” It is a 1900 square metre site, so there is plenty of potential

for future growth, should the need arise. Outside the winery, Cooper has also been a judge at the Royal Easter Show Wine Awards, the New World Wine Awards and the Air New Zealand Wine Awards. Of the Women in Wine initiative that is gaining ground in New Zealand today, she reflects that it is sorely needed. “ The world has not traditionally been focussed on

Q&A WITH JANE COOPER What do you love about the New Zealand wine industry? “Amongst my friends in the industry, I really love that there’s a lack of ego. I really like the collegial striving to make the best we can. Collaboration.” Which vintage stands out the most to you? “The 2013 vintage was the most amazing Pinot Noir one due to even fruit set. Small bunches with very even fruit are very unusual in the Wairarapa so that was special. This year, 2019, has been a fantastic year too with some evenness and great fruit quality.” Who has been your greatest mentor ? “I judge wine and Kate Radburnd has been very supportive. Wine judging is a discipline and has really taught me to be consistent. The other great mentor for me are the grapes. That’s why I’ve always done really long stints at vineyards because I learn a lot from the vines.” What is the best piece of advice you have been given? “My mum always said you can do anything.” What is your advice to any woman thinking of entering the wine industry? “Go and have fun and work hard. It’s such a cool job.”

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women coming up through the ranks in new industries and we need to challenge that,” she says. As a past board member of NZW, when asked what she would like to see happen in the New Zealand wine industry, Cooper says that diversity and texture are key for the industry moving forward. “New Zealand wine is an amazing industry and diversity will help us moving forward.”



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Bob’s Blog

Going … Going … Gone!


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I’VE ALWAYS thought that the secondary wine market in New Zealand favoured buyers but a recent sale by Webbs in Auckland attracted spirited bidding and, to my eye at least, buoyant prices. “We sold 298 lots which fetched a record $230,000. Only eight lots failed to sell”, said Webbs wine expert, Marcus Atkinson. Is it a buyers’ or sellers’ market at present? “Kiwi wines are fairly strong right now and are selling slightly above the international retail market, making it a sellers’ market. Burgundy, on the other hand, is selling around 30% below international retail, so that’s clearly a buyers’ market. Bordeaux is around 20% below international retail.” “Of course, you never can tell what a wine might fetch. I put an $18 estimate on a bottle of 1969 Gran Torres recently and it fetched hundreds of dollars, possibly because someone wanted a birthyear wine. I asked Atkinson what advice he would give to someone wishing to buy wine as an investment. “Stick to safe brands like Te Mata Coleraine, Felton Road Blocks 3 and 5, Stonyridge Larose, Esk The Terraces and Church Road “Tom” are all solid performers.” “I think it’s also quite a lot of fun to invest in a few lesser-known names if you really think they are top wines with good cellaring potential. Local stickies are often undervalued. It is sometimes possible to buy absolutely delicious, bottle-aged dessert wines at very good prices.” He told me that buyers don’t cherry-pick vintages as much as he expected. “They tend to go for heroic brands before top vintages.” Webb’s latest auction featured five heroic brands from the highly rated 2013 vintage. Prices per bottle, including buyer’s premium of 17.5%, are shown below, with the number of bottles in brackets. Te Mata 2013 Coleraine, Hawke’s Bay $139.75 (6) Dry River 2013 Pinot Noir, Martinborough $152.25 (2) Esk Valley 2013 The Terraces, Hawke’s Bay $164.50 (6) Church Road 2013 “Tom”, Hawke’s Bay $188 (6) Stonyridge 2013 Larose, Waiheke $235 (12)

WINE PRICES ON THE RISE WHEN FELTON Road owner, Nigel Greening, made critical comments about unjustifiably high wine prices in “drinks business” magazine I searched unsuccessfully for a source that would show how much local wine prices had risen, or fallen, in recent years. Finally I turned to my own database of nearly 30,000 wines and examined average prices for the five major New Zealand varietal wines over the past five years comparing them with averages for five years before that. Here is what I found:

ALL NEW ZEALAND WINES Average price March 2009-2014 (8116 wines) $29.80 Average price March 2014-2019 (7501 wines) $33.37 Change in five years + 12% The CPI index has increased by 5% in a similar period. CHARDONNAY Average price March 2009-2014 (1040 wines) $27.93 Average price March 2014-2019 (971 wines) $34.11 Change in five years + 22.1% That’s a healthy increase that may have been fueled by Chardonnay’s increasingly fashionable status as ABC (“anything but Chardonnay”) defectors return to a wine that was once an old favourite. SAUVIGNON BLANC Average price March 2009-2014 (1333 wines) $22.46 Average price March 2014-2019 (971 wines) $23.33 Change in five years + 3.9% Sauvignon Blanc prices were depressed after the 2008 surplus but a modest increase of 3.9% doesn’t suggest a return to the Halcyon days before 2008. PINOT GRIS Average price March 2009-2014 (890 wines) $23.90 Average price March 2014-2019 (800 wines) $23.98 Change in five years 0% I expected more of an increase from Pinot Gris which is currently enjoying quite strong growth at export (my prices are “Recommended Retail Prices on the domestic market”). PINOT NOIR Average price March 2009-2014 (1764 wines) $38.38 Average price March 2014-2019 (1705 wines) $43.69 Change in five years + 13.8% That’s a relatively modest increase for our most glamorous varietal wine. SYRAH Average price March 2009-2014 (369 wines) $39.35 Average price March 2014-2019 (386 wines) $46.40 Change in five years + 17.9% A pretty healthy increase.

The Moet Index

RETURNING TRAVELERS often remark to me that New Zealand wine is expensive when compared to prices overseas. It’s often hard to respond to that criticism because they are often comparing apples and oranges. Don Kavanagh reveals in the Wine-Searcher newsletter that they have created a “Moet Index” to compare the price of a wine that must surely be available in every country on the world. The concept was first tested by the Economist magazine with its Big Mac index that compared purchasing power parity between currencies by measuring the price of that universally available burger, the Big Mac. Kavanagh writes; “we wanted to find a wine that was as close to the absolute average of all wines ever listed on Wine-Searcher and then find the most widely available of those, so we could look at price comparisons across various markets. The answer? Moët & Chandon Brut Impérial. The average price of all the wines on Wine-Searcher is $50, which narrowed things down a little. There are 15 wines that hit the exact average, but only one with the kind of reach we need. While Penfolds Bin 389 and Montes Purple Angel Carmenere might be very popular New World wines and Châteaux Grand-Puy-Lacoste and BranaireDucru also fit the bill only Moët really matters when it comes to penetration, with almost twice as many offers listed around the world as its nearest rival. According to Wine-Searcher the average price of Moet & Chandon Brut Imperial, converted to US$ is as follows: $39 Spain Iceland $42.60 New Zealand $43.25 Greece $43.75 $46 Germany France $50.50 $50.50 Japan South Africa $50.60 Australia $51.50 USA $52 $52.30 Canada Denmark $56 $55.85 Norway Hong Kong $56.85 China $58.20 Ireland $58.35 Singapore $59.55 $72 Chile Tahiti $72.90 Russia $76.50 Philippines $76.50 $79 Brazil India $82.95 Thailand $124 So New Zealand isn’t quite as expensive as some would think.


NZW News

ADVOCACY MATTERS Welcome to the first of a regular column from your NZ Winegrowers Advocacy team:

as possible for New Zealand wine, and that New Zealand’s trading agreements get you the best market access possible.

• Jeffrey Clarke – General Manager Advocacy & General Counsel (

We represent you at meetings of the World Wine Trade Group, the International Organisation of Vine and Wine (OIV) and other bodies, and we work really closely with other countries’ winegrowers organisations to monitor and influence changes in global rules – whether they be winemaking standards, MRLs for sprays, food standards, labelling standards, import requirements, and so on.

• Nicola Crennan – External Relations Manager ( • Sarah Wilson – Senior Legal Counsel ( • Silua Ettles – Legal Counsel (; and • Nicky Grandorge – Leadership and Communities Manager ( Our role is to protect and enhance members’ ability to produce, market and sell sustainably and competitively. Think of us as your helpdesk: we’re here so you can spend more time focussing on being a winegrower. We will use these columns to keep you informed about:

Right now we are working closely with the New Zealand government to try to remove some of the hassles of exporting to the EU, by negotiating a decent wine chapter in the NZ/EU Free Trade Agreement. Member information and support: Perhaps our best known service is the information guides and help-desk service we offer all members. Through the member website (under compliance), you can access a wide range of our guides: • NZW International Winemaking Practices Guide

• laws, rules and impending issues we think members will care about;

• NZW Labelling Guide

• how we can help support you; and

• Working for You – a guide to employing and contracting labour

• what you can do to help shape the rules that govern the industry. What does the Advocacy Team do? In a nutshell, we work to ensure that the business and political environment is as good as it can be for you as a winegrower. Key Advocacy areas include: International Trade: Ensuring that global trading rules and standards are as suitable

• Working Well – a guide to health and safety • NZW Legal Guide • NZW Major Events Guide • Plus lots of other pages on our website. Importantly, you can contact us any time you have a query or a problem in one of these areas. We can’t provide legal advice,

but often we can explain or clarify. If we don’t know the answer, we’ll do our best to find someone or something that can help you. External Relations: Often unseen by our members, this work is critically important. We keep connected with what’s going on politically in Wellington and in the regions, and with what other industry bodies are doing. We work to ensure that politicians and officials understand the interests of the wine sector, know how changes in policies and laws will affect you, and trust us to be honest and frank with them in shaping those changes. We work particularly closely with officials at the Ministry for Primary Industries, Ministry of Foreign Affairs & Trade, and MBIE (immigration, RSE, labour), each of which play key roles in regulating our sector. Social licence to operate: To succeed, our sector needs to have broad support from its communities, New Zealand society at large, and it needs to be seen as an industry of choice for workers. Through Cheers! we help ensure that responsible drinking will become the norm in New Zealand, through activities like the Young Viticulturist and & Young Winemaker of the Year competitions we foster leadership, and with initiatives like Women in Wine we are building communities of support for our diverse workforce. That’s just a quick overview of some of what your Advocacy Team does. Keep an eye out for our Ask Advocacy tables at Grape Days, and on the What’s Fermenting newsletter for details of the Advocacy Roadshow – coming soon to bring a whole bunch of interesting compliance information to a venue near you!

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Palliser’s new direction JOELLE THOMSON

ONE OF the biggest wineries in one of the smallest wine regions has a new winemaker for the first time in 28 years. Palliser Estate Wines in Martinborough said farewell to its chief winemaker, Allan Johnston, early this year after nearly three decades at the helm of one of the region’s biggest wineries. The new head of the winemaking team is Guy McMaster, who will work in a dual role as viticulturist-winemaker. He has been heading up the vineyard team at Palliser Estate. The winery has also given its entry level wines a makeover. Its Pencarrow range is named after the rugged south Wairarapa

coast. Its new look pays homage to one of the region’s earliest heroic pioneers, namely Mary Jane Bennett. When her husband died in 1855 she raised five children alone and became the country’s first female lighthouse keeper. She worked at Pencarrow Lighthouse for 10 long years following his death. The new branding echoes her role on its boldly coloured front labels.

“It’s exciting to see the new brand for Pencarrow come to life after spending a lot of time focussing on our Palliser Estate range. We know people will continue to love this everyday wine with the added bonus of knowing this extraordinary woman’s contribution to our regions history,” says Palliser Estate CEO Pip Goodwin.

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NZW News

New NZW legal counsel working on Brexit TESSA NICHOLSON

SARAH WILSON, New Zealand Winegrowers’ Senior Legal Counsel, has had a busy six months since she began, with Brexit being one of her focuses. The former Crown Prosecutor took on her new role late last year, and trying to keep on top of what Brexit or a lack of a Brexit deal means to New Zealand wine has been one of the things keeping her busy. Understandably, it isn’t an easy role, given the uncertainty that particular subject is generating. “It has been difficult at times because nobody really knows what is going on, so our main focus has been trying to give as much guidance as we can to members to make sure they are prepared for the worst, yet still hoping for the best,” she says. It is an unenviable task, especially from this side of the world. Let’s face it, if the UK politicians are unsure what is happening, how can the New Zealand wine industry keep ahead of the issues? At the time of writing, there is no clear path forward, about what will happen later this year.

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March 29 was the given date the UK had to come up with a plan for leaving the European Union. That date has well gone, and still nothing concrete has been decided between the UK and the EU. What does this mean for New Zealand wine exporters? Wilson says preparing for the worst, while hoping for the best, means the potential of a no deal Brexit has to be a major focus. “That is I think, the highest risk.” If a no-deal Brexit did occur, she says “all bets are off in a lot of ways, and we really don’t know what would happen, in terms of delays at the border. There could be quite a high chance of disruption at the border.” She says advice to members has been to ensure that suppliers in the UK and the EU have excess stock available to cover any potential delays. “We have had a few things clarified, for example in the event of a no-deal Brexit, the UK has confirmed that they won’t charge any tariffs on New Zealand wine. That is helpful.” Hopefully she says, this will


provide a grace period until the UK can establish its own systems. Wilson has had to field a number of questions from New Zealand wine producers, with the labelling issue being among those often cited. “It can get quite messy. Everything about labelling, w he t he r it is i mp or te r statements, labelling of organics or other documentation required when you are sending shipments over, could become an awful lot more complicated if the UK leaves without a deal.” Wilson’s challenge with Brexit is not only trying to

find and understand all the information, but also distilling that information down so members can make calls about what to do in the future. Any Brexit decision has now been delayed until the end of October, she says, which requires the UK to participate in the EU parliamentary elections, (which were due to happen in May). Up-to-date information on how Brexit may affect the New Zealand wine industry, will be made available to members via the website and through member newsletters.

ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE TABLE SARAH WILSON brings to her new role of Senior Legal Counsel, a raft of attributes, none greater than the fact she has spent the last five years working with different government regulators. As a Crown Prosecutor based in Auckland, her main role was working with departments like Corrections, Customs, MBIE and MPI to name just a few. She was a sole prosecutor for the Crown’s jury trials. From representing government agencies, her new role sees her

role reversed. “Before I was representing government agencies, and now I am on the other side of the table. But we are often working with government and in a lot of ways, I think our interest will be aligned. We want New Zealand business to succeed. We want to encourage people to comply with the law, so we have a lot of mutual interest.” Having the opportunity to continue working with government departments and regulators, Wilson says, was one of the

attractions of the Senior Counsel role at NZW. “Obviously there are a lot of different regulators in different ways that apply to the wine industry, so it was something that really interested me. “Also, it is a fabulous industry to be involved with. Everyone I meet seems to be so passionate about what they do. And I think wine is one of New Zealand’s fabulous industries on a global stage.” Wilson is based in the Auckland office of NZW.

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The theme for this year’s Romeo Bragato Conference is a call to all industry members. Challenge yourself. Think about the future and achieving success, and the best ways to Do just that. Topics to be covered in this year’s two-day conference will include, wine tourism, genetics, climate change, social media and vineyard ecosystems, among others. A number of targeted workshops, and masterclasses will also line up alongside the main sessions, with a conference dinner to be held on the last night. The conference will be held in Hawke’s Bay on August 28 and 29. Among the lineup of guest speakers will be a number of high-profile internationals. Robin Shaw, is often referred to as the wine tourism guru of Australia and has been developing new winery experience models for 20 years. She managed Pernod Ricard’s Jacob Creek Visitor Centre and is a former CEO of the Adelaide Hills Wine region. Jill Brigham is the executive director of Sustainable Wine & Food Processing Centre at UC Davis. She leads the development of technologies and processes necessary to enable UC Davis Teaching and Research Winery to be fully sustainable and carbon neutral. Australian based Dr Stephen Dibley has spent a decade facilitating and managing the delivery of biosecurity training and awareness programmes for Australia’s plant-based industries. Gregory Jones is a research climatologist specialising in the climatology of viticulture and its impact on vine growth, wine production and quality. These are just a few of the speaker, with more to be announced. Registrations are now open; Romeo Bragato Conference

28-29 August Hawke’s Bay


Touch of History

Is wine medicine? LEE SUCKLING

“Take two and call us in the morning.” THIS TRITE old adage was once associated with Aspirin; presumably it’s an all-encompassing method for doctors to dole out to patients for night-time pain they don’t want to deal with. Today, it’s the slogan of Californian brand Lloyd’s wine, literally called “Prescription”, a buttery Chardonnay. The irony won’t be lost on anyone who has heard the name Lloyd’s before: though completely unrelated, it is also the name of one of the world’s biggest chains of pharmacies. Wine has been used (and misused) for medicinal reasons for centuries. As a fermented beverage containing alcohol wine was once considered safer to drink than water. Even today, many of us consider a glass after work their “medicine” – something to wash down the day and alleviate its physical and emotional aches and pains. We don’t clink glasses with “to good health!” for no reason. The phrase ‘à votre santé’, which translates as “to good health”, is French and dates back to the 5th Century. Yet wine’s purported medicinal properties are even older. Ancient Greek father of medicine Hippocrates experimented with wine as medicine. “Wine is an appropriate article for mankind, both for the healthy body and for the ailing man,” he wrote. Not surprisingly, it is the French who took Hippocrates’ words seriously and have

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the most extensive history of medicinal wine usage. As early as 1395, Hôpital civil de Strasbourg had a working relationship with the Cave Historique des Hospices de Strasb ourg (Historic Wine Cellar of Strasbourg Hospices), which is actually underneath the hospital itself. For 600-odd years, many patients actually paid their medical bills with tracts of their vineyards – essentially, an exchange of grapes actually provided the hospital with income while supposedly treating the ills of those who grew them. Patients would come to Strasbourg from all over France for “wine treatments”; sometimes two bottles of plonk a day to treat various conditions. Until the 1960s a bottle of Châteauneuf-du-Pape could be given for bloating, a Côtes de Provence Rosé may have been used to tackle obesity, and for high cholesterol, one could be prescribed two glasses of Bergerac. In very early days of wine treatments, one might even be told to bathe in a tub of Muscat de Frontignan to treat herpes. None of this was done with any real evidence; just the word of various philosophers. Thirteenth century British writer on health and medicine Roger Bacon even suggested that wine could “preserve the stomach, strengthen the natural heat, help digestion, defend the body from corruption, concoct the food till it be turned into very blood.” A recipe book for 17th Century home cooks recommended two pints of wine as an “excellent drink


Until the 1960s a bottle of Châteauneuf-du-Pape could be given for bloating, a Côtes de Provence Rosé may have been used to tackle obesity, and for high cholesterol, one could be prescribed two glasses of Bergerac. against the plague”, moreover. Sometimes wine was used as just one ingredient for a medicinal concoction. The 1,000-yearold Anglo-Saxon medical textbook Bald’s Leechbook states onion, garlic, wine and bovine bile (yes, that’s cow’s stomach juice) could be crushed together, left in a bronze vessel for nine days, and used as an eye salve for Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA). Still, wine’s negative effects (i.e. the hangovers), were noted. Bacon also wrote, “If it be over-much guzzled, it will on the contrary do a great deal of harm: For it will darken the understanding, ill-affect the brain... beget shaking of the limbs and bleareyedness.” During the 20th Century, wine was known more for its preventative (rather than curative) properties, although it’s worth noting that the Hôpital civil de Strasbourg only stopped wine treatments completely in 1990. Over the last 100 years, we’ve come to know about phenomenon such as the “French Paradox”: the lower r ate s of c ard i ov a s c u l ar disease and coronar y atherosclerosis experienced by the red-wine-drinking Frenchmen and women. Throughout the 1990s the wine polyphenol antioxidant

called resveratrol was thought to be key in blood pressure regulation, but a 2014 Clinical Nutrition  meta-analysis of studies concluded that the evidence wasn’t sufficient to back that up. Where are we at with wine’s medicinal qualities today, in 2019? Don’t be fooled by the tabloid news stories that claim a glass or wine is better than exercise (deceptive studies like this crop up every few months). However, there is general scientific agreement from metaanalyses that between one and two (but not more than) glasses of wine a day can be used for good health; improving things like the heart and the metabolism. Roger Bacon should however have warned society against more than hangovers, the effects on the brain, and limb-shaking with excess consumption all those centuries ago. There is now much certified evidence than serious health conditions such as liver damage emerge with people who drink three or more glasses of wine every day. Not to mention everything we know about addiction. What’s the moral of this story? When that bottle of Côtes de Provence Rosé hits your table, just make sure you share it.


Agenda Events

Pinot 2021 TESSA NICHOLSON Twenty years on from the very first New Zealand Pinot Noir Celebration the event that has been labelled as the Best Pinot Party in the World, is set to celebrate a milestone. Co-Chair of Pinot Noir NZ 2021, Helen Masters, has been involved in the event since 2007, as winemaker for Ata Rangi. During those years, she has seen an evolution, not only of the variety here in New Zealand, but the event used to promote it. The next celebration, offers the next evolutional stage she says. “Initially the need was to tell the world New Zealand is here and to look for validation as to our place in the world of Pinot Noir. But as we have become more confident about being known as a serious, complex variation of styles, we need to go even further. I think it is about understanding deeper what it means to be a producer in

the Pacific, in a small island called New Zealand.” Masters says people understand that Pinot Noir is grown throughout the world, from Europe to Japan to Patagonia. So why is New Zealand different? What makes our wine distinct from others? The theme of turangawaewae that emerged at Pinot 2017, will be built on further she says, taking the understanding even deeper. “We can all talk about turangawaewae, but how do we really understand the place where we are and how do we as stewards and gate keepers really understand what is correct and right for where we are, rather than just take on the learnings from Europe?” She said the events in two year’s time will focus on just that issue. “There are complaints around the world that Burgundy is looking

more like the New World and the New World is looking more like Burgundy. So how do we stop and look at what it really means to make a Pinot that is from this country?” Admitting that being the co-chair (along with Penelope Naish) is slightly daunting, Masters says it is also a role filled with excitement and fun. Especially since any event with great food, fantastic wines and interested delegates, has the best head start it could hope for. “It is about people at the end of the day. About giving them something that is unique. Giving them an experience that takes them beyond their normal day to day life. That’s what we are about, taking people into an experience that is inspirational.” For the first time in the 20-year history, Pinot Noir 2021 will move outside of Wellington with the event to be held in Christchurch.

Masters says the city has been “incredibly pro-active, positive and welcoming.” “There was an energy out of Christchurch that we couldn’t deny. So, if we are trying to change things up, this is the perfect city.” Having five Pinot regions within driving distance, (Central Otago, Waitaki, North Canterbury, Marlborough and Nelson) is also a major bonus she says. The committee are planning a celebration of Pinot Noir that spills out into the city, with events for Cantabrians and visitors, as well as a memorable programme for guests from around the world. Pinot Noir NZ 2021 will take place in Christchurch from February 22-25.

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NZW Global Events

New Zealand Wine is committed to protecting the places that make our famous wines, and we love to tell the world about it! New Zealand Winegrowers is inviting wineries to share their powerful and authentic sustainability stories in this event series. Market research shows that North America has a keen interest in sustainability and alternative living. Capitalizing on this trend, these events will get the very top attendees in trade, media, influencers and consumers.

A snippet of what to expect in each market: New York Inner city roof-top garden venueat Brooklyn Grange farm Urban agriculture workshops for top trade and media Seminars featuring sustainable, organic, biodynamic, vegan and natural wines, and more

In May NZW held the Pure Discovery event in Ottawa as part of our Canadian Roadshow. Over 50 different wines were shown to both Trade and Consumer audiences.

Toronto Floating trade and media tastings aboard a boat in the Toronto harbour Harvest table dinner with celebrity chef for consumers Consumer tasting featuring hands-on workshops on key pillars of sustainability, and more San Francisco Roundtable with media/trade panellists to discuss sustainability Waterfront tasting for trade, media and consumers at Fort Mason Center New Zealand style catering by Chef Mark Raymond, and more...

Event Dates 18 September – San Francisco, USA 24 September – Toronto, Canada 26 September – New York, USA New Zealand Wine is taking over North America, these are not to be missed events! Register now or if you have any queries, please contact New Zealand Winegrowers on or (09) 306 5643.

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65,500 visitors from 142 countries attended ProWein, the world’s largest trade fair, in its 25th anniversary year.  Over 40 New Zealand wineries showcased their best wines on the New Zealand Wine pavilion. 






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Industry News

Wither Hills celebrates 25 years JOELLE THOMSON

YOU CAN feel the dampness in the coastal air at the 160 hectare Rarangi Vineyard in Marlborough, which was first planted in 2002 by John and Brent Marris. The vineyard is part of Wither Hills Winery, whose parent company, Lion New Zealand, celebrated the winery’s first 25 years this March with long line ups of old wines and plentiful vineyard news. Three groups of writers were invited to the Marlborough region by winemakers and marketers on three consecutive days in mid-March. The purpose of the trip was to show how well the wines of this company can age and to look at

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Technology for efficient irrigation management future directions too. Like most Marlborough vineyards and wineries, Wither Hills’ production is focussed largely on Sauvignon Blanc, which makes up 72 per cent of total plantings and a similar level of production. The remaining 28 per cent is divided evenly between Chardonnay, Pinot Gris and Pinot Noir. The day I attended began with a vertical tasting of Sauvignon Blanc from 1996 to 2018, which we tasted at the Rarangi Vineyard; a site that is divided into 34 blocks and fits around the regenerating wetlands. Gone is the gorse, old man’s beard and the cattle that were once plentiful on this site. In their place is double the number of wetlands that existed back in the early 2000s. We tasted nearly every vintage of Wither Hills Sauvignon Blanc ever made but not all. The two oldest wines, 1996 and 1999, were both showing clear signs of oxidation in both their golden colour and aromas. All of the wines from 2001 onwards were sealed with screwcaps and they were marked by freshness in aroma and taste. Winemaker Matt Large and his team then took us to Ben Morvan Vineyard for a vertical tasting of Wither Hills Chardonnay from 1997 to 2018; again the older wine from 1997 showed greater age, as expected, and those sealed with screwcaps from 2003 onwards, were remarkably pale and fresh in

colour, aroma and taste. The Ben Morvan Vineyard is now certified organic and while weeds have increased, crop levels have reduced, both a direct result of the organic management. “We’ve learned a lot about vine growing from this organic vineyard,” says Large. Technology is the biggest change that he has seen. B e tte r qu a l it y m a ch i ne harvesting means maximising harvesting time and grape quality while minimising damage in the process, he says. The final tasting was of Wither Hills Pinot Noir from 1997 to 2014. Only the oldest wine was sealed with a cork and it showed clear signs of oxidation while the younger wines from 2003 onwards were fresh and relatively youthful. One of the highlights was the new 2014 Wither Hills The Honourable Pinot Noir, named in honour of the late Charles Bigg Wither, a land holder, farmer and, briefly, member of Parliament, in the 1840s. His name is where the local Wither Hills took their name from and the wine is a fitting tribute to this early pioneer. It’s made entirely from grapes grown on the Wither Hills Taylor’s River Vineyard on the Wairau Plains. It has an RRP of $75 and quantities are small. The price may be high but the quality shines through in its silky, elegant, medium bodied and lingering style.

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Regions Central Otago

New winemaker in deep south

Winemaker Anika Willner - new on board at Coal Pit Vineyards in Gibbston Valley.


ROSIE DUNPHY’S journey into wine has been all about cool climates from training in viticulture in the United Kingdom to owning Coal Pit Vineyard in Central Otago. And now she has a new winemaker who has also specialised in cool climate winemaking around the world. Anika Willner has experience in winemaking in Stellenbosch, South Africa; Marlborough at

Wither Hills, the upper Mosel in Germany; the Yarra Valley and Tasmania in Australia and Oregon in the United States. Willner sees Central Otago as a benchmark region for Pinot Noir in Australasia, particularly the Gibbston Valley, which she describes as “truly cool climate and also alpine”. “It’s an unusual, interesting and very challenging place to grow grapes and make wine.




This year I’m going to do a lot more experimentation with vineyard expressions – we’re going to ferment at 480 hectares above sea level, behind the winery.” Her aim is to capture the influence of elevation and different yeast strains on the taste of the wine. The 2019 vintage will be Willner’s first entire vintage at Coal Pit and winemaking

consultant, Ollie Masters, will also be part of the new style direction at the small winery. Owner Rosie Dunphy was living in Ireland with her husband, Mark, when she decided to study viticulture at Plumpton College in southern England. And the stars aligned when the couple were ready to come home to New Zealand and they saw the sale of Coal Pit vineyard in Gibbstson Valley.


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Today they live in Auckland but their hearts are in New Zealand’s biggest red wine region, specifically at the sixhectare vineyard in the region’s highest altitude grape growing area. They bought the vineyard in 2001 and have since added a small working winery, tasting room and house for their frequent trips south. They hired their new winemaker to take their brand in new directions. There are just two varieties grown on the Coal Pit vineyards; Pinot Noir and Sauvignon Blanc. Both are pressed into service as still wines. Pinot Noir is also used to make a light bodied, pale coloured and dry Rosé. The lowest point in the vineyard is 420 metres above sea level. This means the land easily lends itself to the gravity fed winery design, which makes for minimal handling of the

Coal Pit Vineyard’s small winery at 480 metres above sea level in the Gibbston Valley

fruit grown on this vineyard. Gentle extraction of the wines is key and, to accentuate this philosophy, the Coal Pit team is considering the introduction

of a basket press and also looking at different types of fermentation vessels, such as large format oak. This would allow less overt

oak influence on the palate of the wine, which may suit the style of the fruit grown in Gibbston Valley.

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Education News

Competenz’s NZ Certificate in Cellarhand Operations WAIHEKE BASED Tantalus Estate is ensuring that education doesn’t stop, once a cellarhand arrives at the winery. Winemaker Alex Perez who came to New Zealand from Argentina, is a big believer in hands-on qualifications and says the Competenz-designed C ellarhand Operations qualification is benefiting not just the cellarhands, but the whole Tantalus business. “An entire winery benefits when a cellarhand is qualified,” he says. “People share their skills and knowledge with their colleagues throughout the company. Through the sharing

of this knowledge and expertise, everyone has ownership in the finished product. “If you’re open to it, you never stop learning. It’s a bit contagious – people come here and then want to be winemakers, which is great and I think the best way to achieve that is through training on the job.” Cellarhand Faye Buckle is one of those who has benefitted from on the job training this past vintage. “I have noticed a difference in engagement with those staff doing a qualification,” says Perez, “and as a team, the

course keeps us up to date with new regulations, especially now with health and safety and the impact of new technology on the industry. There is also an increased level of commitment and contribution to the winemaking process.” The NZ Certificate in C ellarhand Operations qualification starts at Level 3, providing a basic understanding of the wine industry, food p r o d u c t i o n l e g i s l at i o n , teamwork and cellar operations. As students move on, Levels 4 and 5 cover wine analysis, technical elements, grape processing, vintage operations

Tantalus winemaker Alex Perez and Cellarhand Faye Buckle.

and leadership. Each level takes around 12 months to complete.




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Toasting Top Wines

Entries open for the 2019 New World Wine Awards!

New Zealand’s most consumer-focused wine competition is back, offering wineries an unparalleled opportunity to get their top drops in front of wine-loving shoppers in New World stores nationwide. Now in its 17th year, the New World Wine Awards are well-recognised within the industry for pairing the rigour of an internationalstandard wine show with a retail platform, that sees the top wines enjoy a measurable lift in sales.

The awards have a unique focus on wines that retail under $25. Entrants must also have at least 4,000 bottles available to meet consumer demand (2,000 for niche varietals) – a threshold that has been adjusted this year to encourage an even wider spread of styles and producers to enter. The Top 50 medal-winning wines will be rewarded with distribution through more than 135 New World stores across the country and receive comprehensive publicity support in-store and out. All wineries and distributors are invited to enter, even if you are not a current New World or Foodstuffs Supplier. The New World Wine Awards get better with age and can have amazing benefits for brands, so don’t miss out!

Competition Details Entries close Friday 21st June 2019. Enter online at Enquiries to For more details visit

Wines over $25? We also offer classes for selected New Zealand varietals retailing over $25, with winning wines earning sales opportunities through the Premium NZ Selection.

International News


AT THIS year’s London Flavours of New Zealand Trade Tasting, New Zealand Winegrowers teamed up with innovative podcaster Lawrence Francis of Interpreting Wine to deliver the most in-depth audio coverage of a wine region’s annual tasting yet. A series of seven episodes were created which featured interviews with four eminent winemakers as well as coverage of the three regional masterclasses: Central Otago, Marlborough and Hawke’s Bay. A new episode was released each day in a week-long podcast takeover. The series allows people who were not able to attend the tasting the opportunity to hear directly from the winemak-

ers and learn from the regional masterclasses. Lawrence Francis, Content Director of Interpreting Wine

says that Podcasting is a versatile and effective tool for wine communication. “I know farmers who listen to the show on

their tractors and others who play it while driving or working off their wine calories in the gym. In September 2018 Ofcom found that half of UK podcast listeners are under 35 so I think it’s an excellent way to connect with young wine drinkers.” Since the podcast aired in February it was listened to 3,300 times across the seven episodes, in just 5 weeks. news-media/our-peopleour-stories/interpretingwine-podcasts The complete playlist is now available on both the New Zealand Winegrowers website and Interpreting Wine Soundcloud.

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Not on the Label

LEGAL MATTERS WITH MARIJA BATISTICH, PARTNER AND LOUISE TREVENA-DOWNING, ASSOCIATE OF KENSINGTON SWAN Finally, the start of a consistent approach to planning – what this means for the wine industry The first set of Government’s National Planning Standards came into force on 3 May 2019. The Standards are required to be implemented by councils across New Zealand over the next 10 years into council plans without any public amendment. This means that the Standards will not affect new horticulture/ viticulture projects or applications immediately, and it is likely to be business as usual at least for the near future. However, it is vital that those in the industry are aware of what future changes may be coming and that the viticulture sector actively engages with the government and policy makers.


The Standards aim to create consistency in the structure and form of district and regional plans, and

regional policy statements across New Zealand in very different receiving environments. The good news is, that the Standards will create a broadly consistent approach, and will now require council plans, including regional plans, to be simple to use. Some examples of what the Standards include are: Councils must use the zone names and colourings listed within the Standards. All plans must be E-Plans and must be accessible within 3 clicks of the home page (with a strong preference for ‘one click’). All plans of the same type (e.g. all district plans) must be structured/ordered in the same way. It is mandatory for councils to use the prescribed set of defined terms in the Standards. Councils however can use other defined terms not contained within the set, where relevant.


At last, both professionals and laypeople will find it much easier to find and interpret plans. For example,

one of the key requirements in the Standards is for all council plans to be available through an e-plan, to be implemented within 12 months. This consistency (for example, the same zone names, and same colours on the maps used) is also likely to benefit horticulture and viticulture projects and networks that span a number of districts or regions.   The Standards do not determine local policy matters, nor the substantive contents of plans and policies. The Standards are set and cannot be amended by the public. This is unlikely to be a major concern at this stage due to their focus on form rather than substance. The Standards are currently referred to by Government as the ‘first set.’ However, if you are thinking of future development or your site, or reconsenting any current operations then we strongly recommend you keep a watching brief. We expect that in time the Government will introduce further standards which direct the detail of planning documents, however the

likely scope and timeframe for that exercise is much larger. But there is a role for the wine industry, as part of the wider horticulture sector to ensure that it has a voice here. Previously we have written about a possibly National Policy Statement for versatile land and high class soils. If that NPS were to come into effect, then the implications would immediately flow down to planning documents, as well as need to be taken into account in any future Standards. We will keep you posted on developments in this area.


The timeframe for implementation differs for each council and region, but can take up to 10 years. Whether or not the Standards will be implemented by councils within the timeframes prescribed, or at all is questionable. It is unclear whether there will be sufficient checks and balances to ensure that all councils have in fact implemented the standards within their timeframe. There is a risk that already overloaded councils will struggle to implement the standards, and that given the Standards focus on form over content, their incorporation may not be given immediate priority. See the MFE website for further details and helpful information for plan users.


Research Updates

Research Supplement Information and updates on Bragato Research Institute research programmes. Editors Dr Matias Kinzurik and Will Kerner, Research Programme Manager A regular feature to inform industry people about research projects being undertaken for their benefit. Newly approved projects (when available) are briefly summarised and longer reports will describe what has been achieved so far. When completed, each project will be reported in full detail, with references, on

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

Breaking the quality-productivity seesaw in wine grape production (Pinot Noir Programme) University of Auckland, Plant and Food Research and Lincoln University (Various) Jointly funded by NZW and MBIE

The role of microbes in regional Pinot Noir quality and style University of Auckland (M Goddard)

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UC Davis collaboration to determine factors that affect colour in Pinot noir wines when grapes are harvested at lower than target berry soluble solids. Plant and Food Research (C Grose)

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

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

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 A Lambourne - Supported by MPI Sustainable Farming Fund

Spray protocols to quantify and optimise spray deposits applied to dormant grapevines (trunks, heads, cordons and canes) Plant and Food Research (M Walter) Supported by MPI Sustainable Farming Fund as part of the Powdery mildew best practise project.


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

Biofungicide options to control powdery mildew (PM) (and Botrytis cinerea) on grape

Plant and Food Research (M Walter) Supported by MPI Sustainable Farming Fund as part of the Powdery mildew best practise project.

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

An automated grape yield estimation system – The Rod Bonfiglioli Scholarship Massey University (M Legg)

Sustainability/ Organics Vineyard Ecosystems Programme

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

Cost efficient optimisation of weed management in vineyards Thoughtful Viticulture (M Krasnow)

Optimisation of irrigation and water savings in Marlborough Sauvignon blanc and Pinot noir and Hawke’s Bay Chardonnay and Merlot Thoughtful Viticulture (M Krasnow)

Future-proofing the wine sector with innovation: evaluation of ground cover, amenity & native plants as potential reservoirs of pathogens of grapevines Plant and Food Research (V Bell)

The Organic Focus Vineyard Project: Reassessing soil health, five years on Organic Winegrowers New Zealand (R Reider)

Monitoring the harlequin ladybird in Hawke’s Bay vineyards and the surrounding habitat Plant and Food Research (V Bell)

A comparison of physical means to reduce rot versus chemical means in New Zealand vineyards Thoughtful Viticulture (M Krasnow)

Research Progress Reports

Research Progress Reports


Mechanical shaking for rot reduction Mark Krasnow, Director, Thoughtful Viticulture Ltd. Mark Allen, Director, Allen Vineyard Advisory Ltd. 18-104 CROP LOSSES from Botrytis cinerea are a problem for grape growers worldwide, including most viticultural regions in New Zealand. Grape berries are not very susceptible when unripe, and lose their resistance to infection as they ripen (Kretschmer et al., 2007). Botrytis can infect the bunch at flowering, when the floral parts and unpollinated berries abscise after set. If this “trash” is retained in the bunch, it serves as an inoculum source for the fruit. Infection can then spread throughout the bunch, especially if the bunch is tight.

Conventional control practice for botrytis involves the spraying of synthetic single site chemicals, such as fenhexamid, fluazinam, cyprodinil, and fludioxonil at flowering and before bunch closure. However, these sprays are extremely expensive, and have been shown to have negative effects on animals, plants, and the environment (Tomlin, 2009). Organic growers do not have the synthetic spray option and rely on biological sprays. A way to reliably control botrytis without any sprays would benefit all growers in New Zealand.

A technique recently developed in New Zealand uses mechanical harvester after set and before bunch closure (when the berries are between peppercorn and pea size) to shake the vines and remove the floral “trash” from the bunch so that it cannot serve as an inoculum source. The trauma of shaking might also thicken or toughen berry skins, or activate biochemical pathways for antifungal compounds, therefore improving the berry’s inherent resistance to botrytis infection. Mechanical shaking, used alongside standard bot-

ryticides, has been shown to reduce rot at harvest by around 50% (Haywood and Allen, 2017; Trought, 2014), however effects of shaking on berry skin toughness and biochemical responses have not been determined to date.


A new study, begun this season, is striving to answer a few open questions from the research thus far. Namely, can a single shake replace two sprays, how critical is the time of shaking to achieve botrytis control, and does shaking


Research Progress Reports

Table 1: Harvest yield, bunch number, and average rot severity of every bunch from Chardonnay vineyards. GCH denotes Gisborne vineyards and HBCH denotes Hawke’s Bay vineyards. Values in bold with different lower case letters from the same vineyard denote significant differences at the p=0.05 level. At HBCH1 some vines were left unsprayed and unshaken, which are denoted by the control treatment. HBCH3 vineyard was harvested before data could be collected for yield, bunch number, or rot severity.





Shake/no spray




Spray/no shake







Shake/no spray



56.3% a

Spray/no shake

2.9 a


31.0% b

T value




Shake/no spray

11.4 a



Spray/no shake

9.8 b






Shake/no spray




Spray/no shake




Control = no shake or spray







Shake/no spray



46.7 a

Spray/no shake



14.9% b




T value



T value


P value


T value induce tougher berry skins? The study is being carried out in three Chardonnay vineyards in Gisborne and Hawke’s Bay, and in three Sauvignon blanc vineyards in Marlborough. The trials in Gisborne and Hawke’s Bay are relatively straightforward, with vines receiving a standard botryticide spray programme but not shaken being compared with vines that are shaken but receive no Botrytis specific chemical sprays. The Marlborough trials are a bit more complex, with shaking of separate groups of vines at three different times between set and veraison. None of the shaken vines received botryticide sprays, and they were compared with vines that received a standard spray programme but no shaking. The aim of

86   // 

Figure 1: A row from the trial in a Gisborne Chardonnay vineyard. PHOTO CREDIT: MARK ALLEN




Research Progress Reports

Table 2: Harvest yield, bunch number, and average rot severity of every bunch from Marlborough Sauvignon blanc vineyards. Values in bold with different lower case letters from the same vineyard denote significant differences at the p=0.05 level. At SB3, a sprayed treatment was not carried out, but some vines were left unsprayed and unshaken, which are denoted by the control treatment.





Shake 1/ no spray




Shake 2/ no spray




Shake 3/no spray




Sprayed/no shake







Shake 1/no spray



3.8% a

Shake 2/no spray



2.9% a

Shake 3/no spray



2.2% b

Sprayed/no shake



1.9% b




Shake 1/no spray



0.9% bc

Shake 2/no spray



0.8% c

Shake 3/no spray



1.4% b

Control = no shake or spray



3.0% a





P value


P value


P value the Marlborough trial was to assess how wide the “window of opportunity” is during berry development for shaking to be effective in reducing rot. All previous New Zealand Winegrowers studies have carried out shaking in addition to a standard botryticide programme. A major focus in this new project is to see how well shaking can replace synthetic sprays for botrytis control. This new trial is also employing a more robust measurement of rot, assessing rot severity (percentage of berries affected) on every bunch on treated vines, rather than a subset of bunches as has been done previously. This was done in an attempt to give a truer representation of botrytis severity in the vineyard as a whole, and give a more realistic measure of what would arrive


Figure 2: Images of bunches and the trash found in them after the second shake in Marlborough (12/1/19). PHOTO CREDIT: MARK ALLEN


Research Progress Reports

at the winery. In all trials, vines that were shaken, but not sprayed with botrytis specific chemicals were compared with vines that received sprays at flowering and prebunch closure but were not shaken. The shaking in the three Gisborne vineyards was done on 12 December,

and the three vineyards in Hawke’s Bay were shaken on 14 December, when fruit was between peppercorn and pea size (E-L stage 30, 31). In the three Marlborough Sauvignon blanc vineyards, individual rows of vines were shaken at three different times: just after set (Shake 1: 19-20 December,

E-L stage 28, around 5 g bunches), around pea sized berries (Shake 2: 11-12 January, E-L stage 31, 20-50 g bunches, Figure 2), and just before bunch closure (Shake 3: 21-23 January, E-L stage 32, 60-70 g bunches, Figure 3). In Hawke’s Bay and Marlborough, berries were

assessed for skin toughness at three times (postveraison, midripening, and harvest) using a fruit penetrometer with a 2 mm probe tip on 100 attached berries per treatment. In one Hawke’s Bay vineyard (HBCH2), control vines were left that were neither sprayed nor shaken to see how both treatments

Table 3: Skin break force from the Hawke’s Bay and Marlborough vineyards (kgf) using a 2 mm probe tip measured throughout ripening. Sample 1 is shortly after veraison, sample 2 is midripening, and sample 3 is harvest. There was no data collected from SB1 at harvest because the penetrometer was being used in Hawke’s Bay on the day of harvest.






Shake/no spray




Spray/no shake




Control = no shake or spray P value

2.61 0.9049



Shake/no spray


3.46 b


Spray/no shake


3.78 a





Shake/no spray



2.88 b

Spray/no shake



3.15 a




Shake 1/no spray




Shake 2/ no spray




Shake 3/no spray




Sprayed/no shake







Shake 1/no spray




Shake 2/no spray




Shake 3/no spray




Spryed/no shake




P value



Shake 1/no spray

4.78 b



Shake 2/no spray

5.04 ab



Shake 3/no spray

5.25 a



Control = no shake or spray

5.36 a



P value




T value


T value


P value



88   // 





Research Progress Reports

compared to doing nothing. Skin toughness was only assessed in the control berries at harvest, but was assessed for the shaken and sprayed vines three times during ripening. For the three trial sites in Gisborne there was no effect of shaking on bunch number at harvest (Table 1). Yield results were mixed, with one vineyard having reduced yield from shaking, one having increased yield, and one not having yield affected (Table 1). At all three sites, there was higher rot severity in the shaken only and no spray versus the spray treatment with no shaking. In Hawke’s Bay one vineyard was harvested before analyses of yield, bunch number, and rot could be done. At the remaining two sites there was no effect of shaking on bunch number or yield. In both vineyards the vines that were shaken only and no spray had substantially more rot at harvest than those that were sprayed and not shaken (Table 1). In the HBCH1 vineyard the shaken only and no spray vines had similar rot at harvest as the control (neither shaken or sprayed), with the sprayed and not shaken vines having lower rot severity than either other treatment (Table 1). In the Marlborough shaking time trials, bunch number was not affected by shaking at any time in any vineyard. Yield was unaffected in SB2 and SB3. At the SB1 vineyard, the earlier shaking was carried out, the lower the yield at harvest (Table 2). The date of shaking had no effect on rot at harvest at the SB1 vineyard. At the SB2 vineyard, the later the shake, the less rot

Figure 3: Images of bunches and the trash found in them after the third shake in Marlborough (23/1/19). PHOTO CREDIT: MARK ALLEN

at harvest. At the SB3 vineyard, shake 2 had the best effect, with early and later shaking times having higher rot incidence (Table 2). In terms of comparing shaking to sprays, the Marlborough results are similar to Hawke’s Bay and Gisborne, with the sprayed treatment having lower rot at harvest in most cases (Table 2). It has been suggested that shaking the fruit causes thicker or tougher skins, and that this, coupled with the floral trash removal, is what leads to the reduced rot that has been observed when shaking is carried out in addition to sprays. Based on skin-break force measurements carried out in Hawke’s Bay and Marlborough this season, this hypothesis is only partially supported. There were few significant differences found in skin toughness, despite large differences in rot severity. Differences in skin toughness did not always correlate with rot severity, meaning tougher skins do

not always lead to less rot. For example, at the HBCH3 vineyard, the sprayed treatment had tougher skins and also less rot, however at the SB2 vineyard the sprayed vines had the lowest skin toughness, but also the lowest rot severity (Tables 2 and 3). Future years of the study will help shed light on how skin toughness is affected by shaking, and whether skin toughness has an effect on rot incidence or severity at harvest.


The data from the first year of the trial has shown that the time of shaking sometimes effects the efficacy of the technique, both in terms of effects on yield, but also on rot severity at harvest. Using botryticide sprays gave better control than shaking the vines alone did, suggesting a single shake cannot entirely replace a chemical spray programme. Shaking had inconsistent effects on skin toughness, and there

was not always a correlation between tougher skins and less rot. This finding suggests that the rot reduction seen in previous work using shaking in conjunction with a standard spray programme (Haywood and Allen, 2017) is more likely due to floral trash removal (Figures 2 and 3) and/or a biochemical response than an effect on berry skin thickness or toughness. Future years of this study will shed more light on this possibility. As the New Zealand wine industry moves towards increased sustainability and a reduction in synthetic chemical inputs, studies such as these investigating how best to use nonchemical techniques will become more and more important. It might be that chemical botrytis sprays cannot be avoided, but that their efficacy can be boosted, or their amounts reduced, by mixing in nonchemical methods alongside chemical control.


Research Progress Reports

Pinot Noir Volatome Ms Krishna Packer, Dr Katie Parish-Virtue, A/Prof Bruno Fedrizzi Auckland University THIS IS second project based within the research group led by Associate Professor Bruno Fedrizzi. Similarly to project R.A.3.4, this project also focuses its attention to the elusive nature of aroma in red wines. Wine aroma is sometime thought to be less relevant in red wines, even though evidences in the literature seem to contradict this myth – aroma and its chemistry is of paramount importance in red wine as well as in white wines. In Pinot noir, the complexity of the matrix and the level of which aroma compounds can play a role in defining the aroma of wine, make studying aroma

90   // 

chemistry very challenging. If the identification of important aroma compounds is considered challenging, understanding how the wine matrix (pH, SO2, acidity, etc.) conditions aroma repartition (between the liquid and the gas phase) is no walk in the park. Nevertheless, it is an engaging and important aspect of Pinot Noir wine that deserves investigating. This project is interconnected with the other chemistry projects carried out at The University of Auckland as well as those at Lincoln University and builds on the strengths of our lab. In addition, methods developed and techniques acquired


form this project can be employed to provide useful information on the experimental wines produced by the wider Pinot Noir programme. The aim of this project is to track the temporal evolution of the volatile fraction of Pinot Noir wine aroma. The suite of methods developed will allow us to understand the effect of the matrix on conditioning repartition and volatilisation. Parameters including pH, SO2, and other non-volatile macrocomponents will be considered. From these analyses a

large amount of data will be available for mining and interpretation using a collection of complementary statistical techniques. The interpretation of these results will be disseminated to those involved, from which new directions for the continuous improvement in Pinot Noir quality can be evaluated.


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NZ Winegrower June/July 2019  

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