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AUGUST/SEPTEMBER 2021 ISSUE 129
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AUGUST/SEPTEMBER 2021 / ISSUE 129
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Issue 129 – August/September 2021
From the CEO
46 Wellness in Wine
Building a better RSE
50 Women in Wine
NZW Levy Vote
78 Social Pages Matariki
F E AT U R E S
20 Natural Wines
New Zealand has a burgeoning wine community excited by doing more with less. And as the natural wine offering matures and refines, so too does the market, with more than Millennials getting their hands on hands-off wines.
33 Cutting Carbon
Taking climate change action now is critical to protecting your bottom line. That was the message given to attendees at three Grape Days events around the country. “How are we going to do things differently in the future to reduce costs and reduce emissions?”
46 Wellbeing and the RSE
Covid-19 has changed the way we look at the Recognised Seasonal Employer scheme. Many employers have risen to the challenge, working to better safeguard the spiritual, physical and mental wellbeing of their workers. COVER PHOTO Rosie Menzies and Luna at Carrick. Photo by Vaughan Brookfield. Go to page 28
E D I TO R Sophie Preece email@example.com
CO R R E S P O N D ENTS Wellington Wine Country: Joelle Thomson firstname.lastname@example.org Hawke’s Bay: Olly Styles email@example.com Marlborough: Tessa Nicholson firstname.lastname@example.org
From the Editor
Central Otago: Jean Grierson email@example.com
Sophie Preece EDITOR
Canterbury: Jo Burzynska firstname.lastname@example.org
A DV E R T I SI N G Upper North Island: Stephen Pollard email@example.com Ph: 021 963 166 Central North Island: Lisa Wise firstname.lastname@example.org Ph: 027 369 9218 Lower North Island: Ron Mackay Ph: 021 453 914 South Island: Kaye Sutherland email@example.com Ph: 021 221 1994
C I R C U L AT I O N & SU B S C R I P T I O NS Jodi Blair firstname.lastname@example.org Ph: 09 303 3527, ext 0 Fax: 09 302 2969 Mobile: 027 700 2371 New Zealand Winegrowers PO Box 90 276, Auckland Mail Centre, New Zealand
P U B L I SH I N G & P R E - P R E SS Rural News Group PO Box 331100, Takapuna, Auckland 0740 Ph: 09 307 0399 Location: Top Floor, 29 Northcroft Street, Takapuna, Auckland 0622 Publisher: Brian Hight Managing Editor: Adam Fricker Production: David Ferguson, Rebecca Williams
MARLBOROUGH ROADS are cut off by floods as I write this editorial, and vineyards throughout the region are awash with water. On 17 July a state of emergency was declared in Marlborough, with communities evacuated in the region’s largest recorded flood. Farmers and grape growers are used to nature’s vagaries, and viticulturists I spoke to in the aftermath reported that many vineyards appeared resilient as the water receded. Another grower described more catastrophic damage on lower terraces of the Wairau Valley, with posts, plants, wires and irrigation swept away by the flood. In either case, it was hard to ignore climate change as the rain poured down, and images of surging rivers and lake-like plains flooded Facebook. The event follows the April release of a NIWA report on climate change, commissioned by the Marlborough District Council, outlining the potential impacts for the region, including “more extreme, rare rainfall events”. The report, looking at a high emissions scenario with no mitigation and a mid-range scenario where emissions stabilise at 2100, projected average maximum temperatures to increase up to 3 degrees Celsius by 2090. Under both scenarios, Marlborough’s annual rainfall wouldn’t significantly change, but seasonal weather would vary more, with many areas experiencing wetter winters and longer, hotter dry spells in the summer, the report says. Whether or not the July flood is a harbinger of what’s to come, there’s no doubt that changes need to be made to not only mitigate the impacts of climate change, but to work harder to reduce emissions. “The more we can actually contribute to and show leadership in this space, the more we can contribute to slowing warming”, New Zealand Winegrowers’ Edwin Massey told audiences at Grape Days (see page 33). “You have the opportunity to become a climate change champion.”
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.
Social media specialist Joanna Glover is Global Marketing Manager at Spring Creek Vintners. As the guest columnist in The Social Place, Joanna gives tips for creating a sustainable social media marketing plan.
Jo Burzynska is a sound artist, wine writer and curator, with a recently completed PhD on the multisensory experience of drinking wine. In this edition Jo delves into what natural wine is, and whether it needs demarcation.
A certified sommelier and communications expert obsessed with food and wine, Stephanie McIntyre loves talking to people with a similar passion. In this edition she talks to Claire Mulholland of Burn Cottage.
Weather forecasting is a tricky business in Aotearoa. Companies are always working to improve forecasts and help to reduce risk for growers, says James Morrison of Weatherstation Frost Forecasting.
Go to page 18
Go to page 24
Go to page 50
Go to page 66
The information contained in this publication is of a general nature only, and is not intended to address specific circumstances of any particular individual, entity or situation. This publication is not a definitive source, may not be up to date and is not a substitute for legal advice. New Zealand Winegrowers Inc and Rural News Group Ltd disclaim liability for any loss, error or damage resulting from use of/ reliance on this publication.
NZ WINEGROWER AUGUST/SEPTEMBER 2021
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From the CEO What’s happening at the border? PHILIP GREGAN
RECENTLY WE have received quite a few questions about what is going to happen with the border in coming months. The question is most often asked in the context of future labour supply. It would be nice to have a simple answer for members on this important issue, but we don’t have one, because the Government has yet to announce a plan for the border. The Prime Minister has made some comments on the issue, including that MIQ will not be in place forever, and that 100 percent vaccination will not be needed before a more open border is established, but beyond that we simply do not know. What that means for growers and wineries is ongoing uncertainty on the path forward. That uncertainty is compounded by the fact that open borders with Australia have been disrupted by Covid-19 surges, and ‘normal’ travel has very much been on-again off-again - which in itself is a real disincentive to travel. What is clear at the moment is that the Government response to Covid is still dominated and driven by the health response; health issues are overriding other considerations. That means border settings will not
be normal until well into 2022. For wineries and growers that has profound implications. Tourism: With the ongoing border closure and uncertainty, it is obvious that the return of international tourists to New Zealand in anything like pre-Covid numbers is a very long way off. On the other hand, it is equally clear that domestic tourism numbers will be boosted by the inability or reluctance of Kiwis to travel overseas. On that basis there will continue to be a requirement to bias cellar door operations towards meeting the needs of visiting New Zealanders rather than international tourists. Promoting New Zealand wine: Border restrictions will mean an ongoing reluctance of winemakers and marketers to travel internationally, with only a few prepared to spend 14 days in quarantine in New Zealand or to risk an extended stay overseas because of a Covid outbreak offshore. This is an issue that would benefit from a clearly articulated plan from Government, particularly in terms of the ability of people to travel who have been fully vaccinated. Equally, border restrictions will mean few media and other influencers will be prepared to travel
NZ WINEGROWER AUGUST/SEPTEMBER 2021
to New Zealand. For New Zealand Winegrowers (NZW) that means our inbound media programme is on hold. For wineries, unless they have their own in-market people, this means increased reliance on virtual activity and importers/distributors. Labour: This is the issue we are asked about most often. Our industry employs or supports the jobs of more than 20,000 New Zealanders, but we are dependent on overseas workers, whether through the Recognised Seasonal Employer (RSE) scheme or people on working holidays, to meet the seasonal peaks that are an inherent component of any biologically-based industry, in our case harvest and winter pruning. With borders closed to a greater or lesser extent, it means few people are on working holidays in New Zealand. Although the Government has reiterated its commitment to the RSE scheme, in the absence of a border plan we simply don’t know at this stage how the Government actually intends to bring the 14,000 RSE workers who the various horticulture industries
need in the coming season into New Zealand. We are expecting ongoing labour shortages unless there is a major change in policy which we are yet to hear about. These are all important issues for growers and wineries, directly affecting the ability to conduct normal but essential aspects of your businesses. Addressing these issues ultimately requires a carefully considered plan from the Government that shows how it intends to open New Zealand back up to the world. Such a plan would provide a framework under which the industry can then plan for the future, but without a Government framework this is very difficult. From a NZW perspective, we continue to meet with the Minister of Immigration on a fortnightly basis. We, along with our colleagues in the other horticulture industries, continue to push for a clear plan as to how the Government is going to get our RSE workers into New Zealand in a timely manner. Let’s hope we get a plan from the Government sooner rather than later.
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Growing Women in Wine
THE 2021 Women in Wine New Zealand Mentoring Programme kicked off at the end of June with 11 wine-industry stalwarts mentoring 11 up-andcoming women working in the New Zealand wine industry. Mentors share their experience and knowledge to guide and support their mentees as they work out which direction they want go in their career. With a high number of applications, a careful selection process identified the participants who come from all around New Zealand and work in a wide variety of roles including viticulture, winemaking, general management, marketing, human resources, laboratory work and as business owners. National Coordinator of Women in Wine New Zealand, Nicky Grandorge, says the mentoring programme, running since 2018, is a positive and empowering initiative. The six-month programme began at Marlborough’s Spy Valley vineyard, with separate workshops for the mentors and mentees. They were run by Fiona Fenwick, winegrower, coach and author of Stand Out and Step Up. Constellation Brands is the key sponsor of the programme. The 2021 Women in Wine NZ mentors are Lynnette Hudson from Tongue in Groove, Jenny Dobson from Jenny Dobson Wines, Julie Bassett from Constellation Brands, Tiffani Graydon from Yealands, Erica Crawford from Loveblock, Julia O’Connell from The Booster Wine Group, Lesley Boon from Pernod Ricard, Anna Remond from Delegats, Karin Schoch from Kina Beach, Kerry Stainton-Herbert from Stewart Town Vineyard and Tracy Taylor from Accolade Wines.
Michael Brett in Hall of Fame ONE OF New Zealand’s first Auckland-based wine commentators, Michael Brett, was inducted to the New Zealand Wine Hall of Fame at the Royal Easter Show Wine Awards this year. Michael’s long journalism career began in the late 60s in Auckland. By 1972, as well as being the senior daily columnist for the Auckland Star, Michael also took on the paper’s first wine column. Hall of Fame committee member and former New Zealand Winegrower Editor Terry Dunleavy described Michael at that time as the wine drinker’s watchman. Michael went on to set up the Auckland chapter of the Beef and Burgundy Club, during a period of significant growth in the New Zealand wine world, with areas like Martinborough and Central Otago exploring Pinot Noir, Hawke’s Bay testing classic grapes Chardonnay, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon, and Marlborough becoming the home of Sauvignon Blanc. Michael remained a commentator on the sector until 2000, and in 2005 became the chair of the newly established New Zealand Wine Hall of Fame. Michael says he was lucky to experience close up the development of the industry up to year 2000 and even luckier to taste what has happened since.
Graham Norton at Eden Park AFTER MANY months of video calls on small laptop screens, Graham Norton and Invivo Co-founders, Tim Lightbourne and Rob Cameron used Eden Park Stadium’s big screen to blend their new vintage of w i ne toget her. T he 50,0 0 0 - se at Auc k l a nd venue was opened exclusively for Tim and Rob, who were situated on the halfway line and look ing up at the Ir ish television host on the big screen. Graham Norton commented that he kept expecting someone with a lawn mower to appear in the background.
Tim and Rob had couriered seven Sauv ig non Blanc samples to Graham i n Cork , a long w it h a winemaking kit filled with beakers, which Graham set up at home, while Tim and Rob arranged their w inemak ing k it on the pitch at Eden Park. The three business partners are set to produce their 15 millionth bottle
NZ WINEGROWER AUGUST/SEPTEMBER 2021
of w ine this v intage; a landmark moment since their first run of 14,000 bottles of Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc in 2014. Tim says t hat it was a pretty special moment. “Running down the tunnel onto the pitch was fantastic… We even had the home team changing room to get ready in. It really felt like game day.”
By the Bottle “WE WANT to celebrate the most exciting and courageous small producers, and Covid has amplified that mission for us,” says sommelier Pete Connell. He and his brother John, also a sommelier, established a new online retail store - By the Bottle – earlier this year, selling organic, natural, biodynamic and sustainablyproduced beverages. “We’re supporting the small guys who are pushing to improve, innovate and take the industry in a positive direction,” he says. The Connell brothers, along with business partner Ashley Roberts, are part of the recent wave of Covidreturnees to New Zealand. They have worked in Michelin-starred restaurants, wineries and wine businesses in London, New York, Napa Valley, and Melbourne. “We think there’s still a bit of a stigma around organic wines,” says Pete. “That perhaps people worry they’re substituting quality or taste for principles. But some of New Zealand’s, and indeed the world’s greatest wines, come off organic vineyards.” At the moment few retailers are focused on organics or biodynamics, he says. “But we think that’s the future of our industry.” For more on natural and organic wines, go to page 20.
Best in Show TOHU WINES has won a Best in Show award at the Decanter World Wine Awards 2021, for its Whenua Matua Chardonnay 2018, a singlevineyard wine grown in the clay soils of Tasman’s Upper Moutere region. The wine was judged among more than 18,000 contenders from around the globe, with only 50 awarded the Best in Show accolade. Tohu Winemaker Bruce Taylor says that like the other wines in the Whenua series, the Chardonnay is all about showcasing a single vineyard. “Whenua Matua translates as ‘significant lands’ and the changing angles and orientations of the vineyard blocks lend themselves to the complexities of winemaking,” he says. “We’re really happy to have this wine representing the best possible expression of Chardonnay. As kaitiaki, or guardians of our lands, we have spent a lot of time on our vineyards, understanding and nurturing each of the blocks. We’re using this intimate knowledge of the land to create premium single vineyard wines.”
Organic Wine Week
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IN ITS fourth year, Organic Wine Week is happening during the Spring Equinox, from 20 to 26 September 2021. Chair of Organic Winegrowers New Zealand, Clive Dougall, says the week celebrates organic wine and its importance to the New Zealand wine story. This year’s event includes new activities like bespoke tastings and virtual events. “Over the last 12 months we have seen a massive upswing in demand for organic wine. Consumer awareness is increasing as more and more people want to know where the product they are choosing comes from, how it’s grown and the impact it has on the environment,” says Clive. Organic Wine Week has a broad audience with wineries, restaurants, retailers and consumers taking part. A calendar of events will be released in August on the Organic Winegrowers New Zealand website. organicwinenz.com
Heli winery tour
A HELICOPTER company has launched a winery tour to Waipara Valley, taking off from Christchurch and taking in five wineries. Garden City Helicopters’ Between the Vines
initiative is targeting Christchurch locals looking for a new experience, as well as adding to the city’s ‘stay and play’ experience for Australian visitors. gchaviation.com
NZ WINEGROWER AUGUST/SEPTEMBER 2021 // 9
Upcoming Events TO HAVE
Organic Wine Week
TO OUR CALENDAR This annual fixture is all about CONTACT increasing awareness of organic SOPHIE@SOPHIEPREECE.CO.NZ wine, educating customers on why consuming organic is good for them and for the land, and supporting organic producers. It’s also about delicious food and sublime wines enjoyed with good company.
New Zealand Winegrowers is bringing Spray Days back to the regions this year, with great topics and training opportunities. Topics include staying safe during spraying, sprayer maintenance and setup, mealy bug control, managing spray drift, powdery mildew and trunk disease. For more, go to page 40
20 to 26 September organicwinenz.com
3 August to 2 September
Spring viticulture workshops The Bragato Research Institute is holding a series of spring viticulture workshops in August, including frost education, weed management and yield prediction, using the grape yield analyser. The events will be held in Marlborough and online. Find more information on page 41.
23 August to 7 September nzwine.com/members/events/ workshops/
New Zealand International Wine Show Millton Estate
The country’s largest wine competition in its 17th year this year, with judging from 13 to 15 September, under the control of Chief Judge Bob Campbell MW. The announcement and presentation of the trophies will take place at Spark Arena on 29 September.
29 September nziws.co.nz
Young Winemaker of the Year Dates are set for the 2021 Tonnellerie de Mercurey Young Winemaker of the Year competition, with regional events in the North Island (3 September), Marlborough (8 September) and Central Otago (16 September) before the national final in Central Otago.
Young Viticulturist of the Year
National Final – 14 October nzwine.com/young-winemaker
The Corteva Young Viticulturist of the Year National Final 2021 will be held at Bankhouse Estate in Marlborough on 25 August. Everyone is welcome to come along and support. The National Final Awards Dinner will be held on 26 August.
25 to 26 August nzwine.com/young-vit
The Pinot NZ committee is hosting a day of thought provoking talks and an informal get-together for all producers keen to connect and discuss making great New Zealand Pinot Noir in this changing world. The objective of The Whole Bunch event is to reconnect as a collective of NZ Pinot Noir producers, to challenge ourselves and each other to start thinking more deeply about our place, our role as custodians and our impact on the community. nzwine.com/en/events/whole-bunch
NZ WINEGROWER AUGUST/SEPTEMBER 2021
The Marlborough Wine Show, sponsored by QuayConnect, is run by Wine Marlborough to promote subregionality and diversity of wines grown in New Zealand’s largest wine region. The Marlborough Wine Show wraps up with a Celebration Lunch on 29 October.
Celebration Lunch – 29 October
The Whole Bunch
9 and 10 September
Marlborough Wine Show
Alternative Varietals are on the table at the New Zealand Society for Viticulture & Oenology 2021 technical workshop. The ‘Variety is the Spice of Life’ workshop, to be held in Marlborough on 21 October, will run for a full day, divided into five sessions. Presentations will be provided by industry practitioners, researchers and leaders in viticulture, winemaking and marketing, with themed tastings along the way.
21 October 2021 nzsvo.org.nz
Discover More Wine Business Forum
WE’VE BEEN in front of our computer screens long enough and it is time to “discover more”, says New Zealand Winegrowers General Manager Marketing Charlotte Read. “As part of New Zealand Winegrowers’ (NZW) focus on providing our members relevant
market Intel and Insights, we will be hosting a Wine Business Forum in Wellington on 17 November this year”. The day-long conference will focus on the business of wine, with a programme designed to inspire, educate and promote sharing and
collaboration amongst the NZW membership in the area of wine business, says Charlotte. “The line-up of speakers will help us better understand the rapidly changing global trends and how the New Zealand wine industry can best respond to seize future opportunities.”
Attendees will also learn a lot from each other with a focus on real life case studies, she adds. An industry wide celebration event will take place surrounding this event, with details to follow in coming months. Wednesday, 17 November - Wellington
NZ WINEGROWER AUGUST/SEPTEMBER 2021 // 11
The Marketing Place
Changing Celebrations Calling time on Wine of the Year THE END of the New Zealand Wine of the Year competition heralds the beginning of “a broader celebration of excellence across our industry”, says New Zealand Winegrowers General Manager Marketing Charlotte Read. “New Zealand Winegrowers is excited to look forward and pursue activities that more strongly benefit a wider range of our membership and the industry as a whole.” NZW announced in July that the industry-owned event, previously the Air New Zealand Wine Awards, would no longer be held. “An extensive review
process, including a members’ survey and 50 one-on-one interviews, showed limited interest in the competition, which we had already seen through reduced entries over the past five years,” says Charlotte. There was nonetheless strong support among members for an industry celebration of some sort, the ability to benchmark against peers, and a desire for the knowledge sharing and judging mentorship afforded by an awards format, she says. “We believe there is a better way to deliver on these
priorities rather than holding the competition… It’s time to reposition what we do to meet the changing times and to better fulfill our members’ needs.” With that in mind, NZW plans to hold an annual awards “gathering” to celebrate all aspects of the industry, including sustainability, marketing and diversity, as well as winegrowing and winemaking excellence. Charlotte says it is possible a small-scale version of this event will follow on from November’s Wine Business Forum in Wellington. Meanwhile, the organisation
plans to expand the scope of NZW’s annual Blind Tasting and to continue its sponsorship of varietal member initiatives, such as the Southern Pinot Workshop and the New Zealand Syrah Workshop. Charlotte says the New Zealand Wine of the Year has served “an incredibly important role” in the development of the New Zealand wine industry, but NZW is excited to look forward to new opportunities, “and pursue activities that more strongly benefit a wider range of our membership and the industry as a whole”.
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The Marketing Place
The Marketing Place
Taking NZ wine to the world: Bringing the world to NZ wine
WE HAVE just kicked off the new financial year and shared our plans for the next 12 months. With still no certainty on when the border will open, as well as the other corresponding flow-on effects from the pandemic, such as shipping delays, our plans will be flexible and regularly updated. We will continue to improve and evolve how we take our New Zealand wine story to the world, and to invest time in understanding the rapidly changing global market dynamics, then share this intel with our members. We are excited to share that in addition to webinars, we will be hosting a Wine Business Forum in Wellington later this year (see page 11) as a day of inspiration and learning as well as reconnecting as an industry. Creating platforms for our members to make global connections remains an important part of our role, and we look forward to when it is feasible to return to face-to-face interactions once again.
Speaking of NZ wine... DESPITE BORDER closures and the Visit Programme remaining on hold, the NZW Global PR Programme has ensured New Zealand wine continues to be a vibrant part of the media conversation globally. Results for year ending June 2021 have been exceptional, with the programme reaching 270 million people globally, worth an equivalent advertising value of $5.7m.
Charlotte Read is General Manager Marketing at New Zealand Winegrowers (NZW).
Organic Wine Week NZW INTERNATIONAL Market Managerstook a collaborative approach to New Zealand Wine Week earlier in the year, and will repeat that successful model during Organic Wine Week this September, with a series of virtual events planned. From 20 to 25 September NZW will host multiple activations, targeted at trade across Asia, Canada, the United Kingdom, and the United States. There will be a masterclass discussion with the same wines featured across all our markets with samples available to key trade. We will also look to run in-person tastings where possible. These activities aim to dive deep into organic production in New Zealand, from the soil to the winery.
Intel and Insights PROVIDING OUR membership with relevant and timely information in an ever-changing global wine landscape has remained a key driver for NZW, and the area of ‘intel and insights’ has become a major focus area for our marketing team over the past year. Readily accessible, approachable delivery was the overarching goal, with a regular webinar series introduced and the Euromonitor country reports moved to an interactive online tool on our website. Our latest webinars reflect our ongoing partnership with New Zealand Trade and Enterprise (NZTE). Melbourne-based NZTE business advisor Cathy Wansink led a panel discussion that explored New Zealand’s place in the Australian wine market, alongside the reality of the market, selling into it, and the growth potential of a fresh approach to marketing your brand. Another NZTE-led webinar was a wine sector deep dive into the food and beverage research that has been conducted in our major export markets of the UK, US, Australia, Singapore and Japan, to understand consumer purchase drivers in response to the pandemic, and how to put this research into action. Find the recordings at nzwine.com/members/marketing/webinars-events
NZ WINEGROWER AUGUST/SEPTEMBER 2021 // 13
The Marketing Place
China Update Chinese trade professionals enjoy New Zealand wine
NATALIE POTTS is leaving New Zealand Winegrowers after eight years working across Asian markets. In this Winegrower Magazine Q&A, she gives some insights into how these markets have changed, and what’s in store for New Zealand wine in China.
How has the China market changed over the past decade? I see the biggest impact from the rise of e-commerce and social media. Influencers on WeChat, Douyin (TikTok) and multiple other platforms have made wine visible and aspirational, while the massive growth of e-commerce has allowed more and more consumers direct access to wine. This has increased market transparency, helping the entire supply chain develop and mature. Throughout the past decade, New Zealand exports to China shifted from mostly white to mostly red, with particular emphasis on Hawke’s Bay, and now back to mostly white, led by flagship variety Sauvignon Blanc. Our price per litre remains consistently high – typically $12 to $14 Free on Board (FOB) – with a successfully maintained premium position in the market.
And over the past 18 months? The main change in China has been the rise and fall of Australian wine. This seismic shift offers an opportunity for wine and other beverages, with Chinese import stats to May 21 showing all importing countries increasing their share. Of course, Covid-19 looms large; It initially dampened China, but it has since rebounded, primarily driven by closed borders and surging domestic consumer spend. On the other hand, Hong Kong, Singapore and Japan all suffered ongoing restrictions and lockdowns, making their recovery more fragmented. What’s the potential in the market? That’s the $100 million question! New Zealand exports to Asia have held steady over the past few years at approximately $100m to all markets in the region, with an average $/L of $11.50 FOB. However, each market has its own dynamic; for example, Hong Kong had fallen back, but the past 18 months saw surging demand for New Zealand wine for at-home consumption, with exports up over 35 percent. Looking to the future, New Zealand Winegrowers (NZW)
NZ WINEGROWER AUGUST/SEPTEMBER 2021
is currently undertaking a ‘deep dive’ into the China market to assess how NZW can best add value to members targeting this region and support sustainable growth. This piece of strategy work will also help guide NZW resourcing decisions in the region.
What is the Pure Discovery Roadshow? Pure Discovery is a series of events each May in China’s Tier-1 cities (Shanghai, Beijing and either Guangzhou or Shenzhen), that are open to participation from all wineries in the market or seeking representation. This year’s events saw over 1,200 trade and consumer attendees, with 45 different brands participating. The New Zealand vibe is transported to China via master classes by China-based Masters of Wine (MW), complementary honey, tea and water exhibitors, New Zealand-themed canapes and light, airy venues, plus add-on market insights by New Zealand Trade and Enterprise (NZTE) and lifestyle content by Tourism New Zealand. A fixture of the NZW events calendar for a decade, we look forward to welcoming winery principals back to the market for the 2022 edition.
What are some of your best memories in this role? Travelling to far-flung places and attending incredible events, both in Asia and New Zealand, has been a real highlight. Personal favourites include Pinot 2017 and a seminar in Kyoto, Japan. Hosting activities in Taiwan, Korea, Thailand, Vietnam, Indonesia, Malaysia, as well as Hong Kong, Singapore, Japan and China, broadened my horizons and understanding of the region. Bringing visitors to New Zealand is always a highlight. In my time with NZW, we have brought over 100 key inf luencers, many in partnership with NZTE, to experience the beauty of New Zealand. However, my enduring memories are of the winemakers, owners, growers, sellers - all working together to build the reputation of New Zealand wine. People are so willing to step up and support every activity, with a friendly non-competitive ‘pull-together’ attitude that’s astonishing. I have made so many friends among the wine industry, and hope to see you back in my home United Kingdom market.
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A 7 million case shortfall SOPHIE PREECE Nautilus Estate
THERE’S A bit of glass half full in New Zealand Winegrowers’ 2021 vintage report, with “superb” quality wines and abundance of global demand. “It is encouraging to see that during these uncertain times, consumers continue to choose a premium product they know that they can trust,” Chief Executive Philip Gregan told Grape Days guests at three events around the country in June. But there’s a serve of glass half empty too, with a 19 percent drop in the tonnage of grapes harvested, compared to vintage 2020, and concerns about satisfying that global appetite for New Zealand wine, he said. “While the quality is exceptional, the overall smaller harvest means many of our wineries will face tough decisions over who they can supply in their key markets. There is going to be some supply and demand tension because of this, with the shortfall in the crop equivalent to roughly 7 million 9 litre cases.” That will
mean a strong fall in export sales “and we expect in domestic sales of New Zealand wine as well”, he said. Low yields impacted regions in the centre of the country most, due to frost damage and inclement flowering weather, just when wineries with empty cellars needed a hearty harvest. The country was short of wine well before vintage, after a surge in sales throughout Covid-19 lockdowns around the world, said Philip. “We started the year short of wine, there is no doubt about that.” In the past six months there’s been a 17 percent drop in export volumes, while value is down 6 percent from the peak, he explained. That’s down to both a shortage of supply, and logistical issues around getting product out of the country, with shipping runs few and far from reliable during Covid-19. Those curve balls were already impacting export volume, “and then of course we had vintage”, Philip said. T h e re w e re 3 7 0 , 0 0 0 tonnes of grapes harvested
NZ WINEGROWER AUGUST/SEPTEMBER 2021
during the 2021 vintage, with Marlborough responsible for 75.2 percent of that crop, or 269,521 tonnes. That was 21 percent down on 2020, despite continuing vineyard expansions. Marlborough had 550 hectares more producing vineyard than in 2020’s harvest, a 2 percent increase. That means the region is effectively 23 percent down on last year, said Philip. Marlborough’s shortfall played a major part in the 18 percent drop in Sauvignon Blanc grapes harvested in New Zealand in 2021. With Sauvignon Blanc sales leading last year’s export surge, that’s a big blow to export statistics. North Canterbury, responsible for just 2 percent of the national harvest, was 26 percent down on 2020, while the Wairarapa was down 30 percent and Nelson down 33 percent on 2020 crops. Central Otago bucked that trend, with a 21 percent increase on 2020, and Hawke’s Bay, responsible for 11 percent of the harvest, was only
5 percent down on last year. “Incomes will be well down on vintage 2020,” Philip told Grape Days audiences. “At the same time as you are facing greatly increased costs, particularly around labour.” That situation was exacerbated by the unreliability of shipping schedules, leaving containers at port when they were expected to be on their way to market, he said. “In short, ships are not turning up where they are supposed to, when they are supposed to.” An ANZ Research Report on freight challenges and “container chaos” says the companies really struggling to get their goods to market in a timely manner are smaller exporters. “These companies are frequently finding their goods are being bumped, or sailings cancelled - which in the shipping industry is known as a ‘blank sailing’.” The report says it is not clear when the congestion in the global shipping industry will ease, “but the situation is likely to continue well into 2022”.
The Marketing Place
Vintage Indicators Variety 2021
Key Varieties 2021
% TOTAL PRODUCTION AND TOTAL
of Grapes Harvested
370,000 tonnes* % 19 *Estimated production figures based on the 2021 Vintage Survey.
SAUVIGNON BLANC 74.8%
PINOT NOIR 6.1%
PINOT GRIS 5.9%
% Change on Last Year KEY VARIETIES
Statistics collated from 2021 Vintage Survey
NZ WINEGROWER AUGUST/SEPTEMBER 2021 // 17
The Marketing Place
The Social Place How do you fit it in all? The 24-hour content cycle of social media, and the expectations it has created, can feel a little overwhelming. There is constant platform change, evolving best practice, investment in content creation, customer service, community management, posting, scheduling, measurement and, sometimes, questionable return on your investment. All of which needs to be juggled alongside your day job. I’ve been thinking more and more lately about how to maximise results, while minimising the time we spend on our social media marketing. The goal is to create content that people connect with, in a way that is sustainable – for us and for our business. There are never enough hours in the day, so focus is key. So, how can you create a sustainable social media marketing plan? There is no single right answer, but here is some advice to start you thinking: • Be consistent. To grow – your audience, engagement and sales – it is important to be consistent in your content crea-
“There are never enough hours in the day – so focus is key.” tion. That does not mean posting daily, or even every second day. A lot of people now believe you can grow key social metrics by posting two to three times a week - as long as you show up consistently, in a way that is sustainable for you and your business. You also need to be consistent with the quality of your content and branding. Finally, be consistent with your outbound engagement. You need to invest time actively engaging with your audience, others in your niche, and across hashtags to build your engagement rate. This will result in more people seeing and interacting with your content. • Focus on where your audience is. Should you be on TikTok? Well, is your
NZ WINEGROWER AUGUST/SEPTEMBER 2021
Joanna Glover’s guide to connecting
target audience on TikTok? There are a range of available platforms, some offering more growth than others, but your focus needs to be on investing time into platforms that your target market is using. • If you’re going to do anything, make it video. Instagram is sending a clear message that it is no longer a “photo-sharing app”. In a video posted to his Instagram account, Adam Mosseri, the head of Instagram, says the company is looking to lean into entertainment and video, after seeing the success of competitors like TikTok and YouTube. We don’t yet know what that will mean for businesses and content creators, but it is clear that video content will be prioritised. Right now, the best way to get organic reach on Instagram is by using Instagram reels. Consistently posting entertaining reels will improve engagement and introduce your brand to new consumers. • Have a plan. There’s nothing wrong with a bit of spontaneity, but ad-hoc, last min-
ute content creation isn’t efficient and doesn’t usually result in high performing content. Spend an hour each month planning your content framework and cross check it against your brand pillars, to ensure your content is building your brand identity and more likely to resonate with your target audience. Have some simple, measurable goals. Then batch create content, leveraging a content scheduling tool, such as Later. Ultimately, we don’t own any social media platform and have little control over the changes that are rolled out by these companies. So, the aim should always be to get people off the platform and into your business, rather than focussing on building followers on a platform you don’t control. Social media is a tool at the top of your funnel to get seen and connect with your ideal consumers. Remember, it is just one part of your marketing toolbox. Joanna Glover is Global Marketing Manager at Spring Creek Vintners and a guest columnist in The Social Place.
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What is Natural?
Jo Burzynska explores Pg 24
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New Zealand has a burgeoning wine community excited by doing more with less. And as the natural wine offering matures and refines, so too does the market, with more consumers getting their hands on hands-off wines.
Wines of place and season SOPHIE PREECE
IN THE wake of harvest, with tanks and barrels full of ferments, Dom Maxwell might be found on an almost empty hillside. “It may be hectic in the winery, but out there it’s super tranquil,” says Greystone’s Winemaker, describing bare vines, a few birds, and a small vineyard fermenter at work. The wines made on this Waipara hillside come care of handpicked grapes destemmed in the vines, ambient yeasts unique to the hillside, and the heat, cold and wind that play a “massive” role in the ferment. “What we love about that is it really extends that seasonal influence,” says Dom, talking of imprinting on the wine a unique fingerprint of the land, season and fruit. Inside the winery, the ferments carry an unmuffled story of place and season too, with native yeasts, low intervention and a seasonal variation the Greystone team relishes. In a world with “millions of wines, and most of them
pretty good”, the expression of place is fundamental to the long term sustainability of the business, Dom says. “If we are going to all the effort of planting on the side of a hill and farming organically, and wanting to do this the right way, then surely that should come through in the wines as well.” The concept of natural wines may be “hazy”, and 10 different people will give 10 different answers, says Dom. But whether it’s a vineyard ferment, an orange wine, or a sulphur free Pinot Noir, it’s about letting the “integral beauty of the grapes come through for the place”, he says. “Most people would agree that the best way to show that true beauty of really, really great grapes is to do as little as possible.” Wine lovers can thank the dull back office of a London recruitment firm for Greystone’s vineyard ferments, because it convinced Dom his commerce and management degree might not be the best fit. “A little
wine flame” had been ignited in London, so he left the back office and returned to Lincoln University for a post graduate winemaking course, before taking a role at Greystone in 2004, when it was “basically a farm with a few vines in the ground”. Fast forward to 2021 and Greystone is a vineyard of high acclaim, winning Raymond Chan’s New Zealand Winery of the Year in 2018, when Dom also won Gourmet Traveller New Zealand Winemaker of the Year. He says the success is thanks to a committed team and “constant conversations about how we can make the place better, make better wines and have a story that can almost tell itself”. Those conversations led to the first vineyard ferment in 2012, and have seen the process evolve year on year, as they learn about the site and its native yeasts. To begin with, they treated the ferment as they would Pinot Noir inside
the winery, Dom says. “Then we thought maybe we should back off a little and let the site speak.” The results were so compelling that lessons from the vineyard ferment were taken inside the winery walls. Inside and out, the hands-off process means the “fingerprint” of season and site will be different from year to year, “and that’s something you have to be comfortable with”, says Dom. “Not just the winemaker, but the marketing team. It’s down to ‘that’s what the season gave us’.” New Zealand winemakers are increasingly confident about embracing vintage vagaries in their wines. “If you are going with a more hands-off approach you are always getting a bit more of a complex style, and you really can allow the season to speak in a more comfortable way. We want to tell that story.” Facing page, Dom Maxwell with the concrete fermenter Greystone has been using for the past three years. Photo by Richard Brimer
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A natural progression SOPHIE PREECE
THE BEST wines wear a unique story of the place they hail from, says Clive Dougall of Deep Down, loyal to the provenance of his wines. They’re naturally from organic or biodynamic blocks, grown by people passionate about their land, then taken through the winery with minimal intervention, using indigenous yeasts and minimal or no sulphur, telling their story without “trickery, technology and chemicals”, says the winemaker. “I just want to make authentic wines that are much more expressive of the place they come from.” Clive, who is chair of Organic Winegrowers New Zealand (OWNZ), was one of the speakers on the ‘making wine natural’ panels at the OWNZ Winter Symposia in late July, joining Dom Maxwell of Greystone and Ben Weaver of Churton at the Marlborough event, and Hayden Penny of Te Awanga Estate, Amy Farnsworth of Amoise Wines and Amy Hopkinson-Styles and Olly Styles of Halcyon Days at
the Hawke’s Bay symposium. It’s an exciting topic, says Clive, describing the natural wine sector as “a bit cloudy, no pun intended”, but also in a constant movement of discovery and development. Natural winemaking, he says, is at “the pointy end” of New Zealand’s wine industr y. “Winemakers naturally want to experiment. They don’t want a recipe,” he says. Natural winemaking is a progression from that, which “takes the reins off a little bit and allows the wines to have a certain amount of destiny”. So he was “super delighted” to have natural wines on the menu of the Symposia, which was rolled out in lieu of the biennial Organic and Biodynamic Winemaking Conference. Clive first came across natural wines in Australia around 2010, when he was a young winemaker at Marlborough’s Seresin Estate with a growing interest in organic vineyards and low intervention wines. “It was
NZ WINEGROWER AUGUST/SEPTEMBER 2021
really starting to take off over there”, he says of the Australian scene, describing natural wine bars “popping up” and top sommeliers getting excited. In those early days the wines, most of which were imported, were pretty “edgy”, he says “They were basically faulty and the Emperor’s new clothes more than anything.” There was also a little section of preservative free wines available - appealing to the health-focussed rather than hipsters - which “were absolutely terrible”, he says. “I thought there has got to be a way to do this better.” But despite the flaws, the people involved were happily pushing boundaries, he says. “Natural wines to me were wines that people were thinking differently about and producing; not for the sake of being different.” And after years of experimenting, those winemakers have progressively learned what works, “gradually removing bits and pieces in the winemaking process until they got to the stage where they
were comfortable and opened the doors to really have a go at it,” he says. As Seresin moved towards certified organics, and then towards organic wines, Clive trialled less intervention, including the slow reduction of sulphur over a five year period. “A lot of the winemakers don’t own their own brands, so you have to work in tandem with your owner and marketing team and it’s a gradual change and learning process,” he says, noting that the slow burn allowed Seresin’s customers to evolve with the winemaking. When Clive and business partner Peter Lorimer launched Deep Down in the spring of 2019, there was no question that the wines would be low intervention, including a sulphur free Pinot Noir. In market they make more noise about the wines being organic than they do the hands off approach in the winery, he says. “It’s more about making wines natural than making natural wine.”
The cool Unkel SOPHIE PREECE
ROB BURLEY had been working in Australian wine for a few years when he began to feel like “a cog in the wheel”. The winemaker had enjoyed cellar hand work with big wineries around the country, “but felt disenchanted early on with the big scale production”, says his wife Kate Burley, speaking from their small vineyard on Nelson’s Bronte Peninsula, tucked between Richmond and Mapua. “Once he started working with the more natural winemakers, he realised that side of things was for him too,” she says. “Not just organic, but putting more time and love into working the land.” The quality of the grapes they bring in from their vineyard allows them to be “as hands-off in the winery as possible”, says Kate, who manages the marketing side of their wine label Unkel. They add minimal sulphur when required, but lean heavily on Mother Nature getting things right. Named in celebration of the archetypal
“cruisy, fun, slightly wild uncle in your life”, Unkel was started in Australia in 2016, with the couple buying in organic fruit. When the time came to consider their own vineyard, they looked back to New Zealand, securing the lease on a 4.9 hectare vineyard in 2019. The couple are both from Tauranga, but Nelson “piqued our interest as one of the smaller winemaking regions”, says Kate. “And we think it has a lot of potential.” They were also shopping for a lifestyle for their very young family, and Nelson “ticked all the boxes”. Two years on they are loving it, saying the support from the winemaking community, and in particular those with an organic and natural bent, has been enriching. “The nice thing is we all want the region to succeed, so everyone supports each other,” says Kate. “We want the winery down the road to do as well as we are.” The move has highlighted how much
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further down the natural wine track the Australian wine market is, “and we always knew it would be the case”, she says. “In Australia the style of more funky minimal intervention was definitely a bit more popular.” But they reckon their timing is spot on. “People are starting to understand it a bit more, and Kiwis are opening their eyes to what is out there.” It’s “slow and steady”, says Kate. “But in the last couple of years it has really taken off, which is great to see.”
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The why, what and how of au naturel JO BURZYNSKA
Stephen Wong MW
“THE MOST excellent wine is one which has given pleasure by its own natural qualities, nothing must be mixed with it which might obscure its natural taste,” proposed Roman agricultural writer, Columella.
His argument was made at a time when aromatic spices and even marble dust were being added to wines. Several millennia later, following the industrialisation of wine, just what constitutes naturalness is
again a source of debate. Here in New Zealand, as the natural wine movement gains momentum, questions are being raised over what natural wine is, and how much the industry should care about its
demarcation. It’s a situation that’s complicated by the lack of a standard definition for what has coalesced under the name natural wine – a term that in itself some are uncomfortable with, given its
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derivation from an imperfect translation of “nature” that in the French relates to something to which nothing has been added. However, many agree with the description provided by Isabelle Legeron, Master of Wine (MW), in her book, Natural Wine, that such minimal intervention wines are “wine from vineyards that are farmed organically, at the very least, and produced without adding or removing anything during vinification (wine making), apart from a dash of sulfites at most at bottling”.
Adding and subtracting Sulphur is a contentious issue concerning what can be added for a wine to be considered natural. “Over the years, there’s been a rising consensus that sulphur, at higher levels, does affect the expressiveness of wine,” observes Stephen Wong MW, an on-premise trailblazer of the categor y in New
Zealand. “There’s also been a shift away from completely sulphur-free wines even amongst the pioneers of the natural wine scene – at least for their exported wines. From a cross-section of opinions I’ve canvassed over the years, most believe that total sulphur levels of 25-30ppm don’t affect sensory qualities in any significant way.” When it comes to natural wine for export, Stephen shares the views of a number of local winemakers that minimal sulphur additions to protect it on a journey across the world is permissible if declared. “It’s far better for a wine to be drinkable with a small sulphur addition - and if needs be, not bear the moniker natural wine – than to knowingly ship and sell a wine you know is damaged,” he maintains. Amy Farnsworth of Amoise doesn’t believe any additions should be made during the
winemaking process, and that includes sulphur. “As we use the natural materials of the grapes to stabilise the wines, we don’t actually need to rely on sulphur as an antioxidant,” she says. However, while she never adds sulphur to her own wines, as “a firm believer of responsible natural winemaking”, Amy agrees that small additions to preserve a batch of wine that would be otherwise unsellable, if disclosed is permissible. “Transparency is key.” For Yoshiaki Sato of Sato Wines, a little sulphur at bottling is necessary, given his philosophy of long aging. “However, I do not believe we need more than 20ppm of SO2 for protection,” he observes. “ We nor mally add only 5-15ppm in total at bottling, which doesn’t change the taste, but can give some freshness back into the wines and protect against further oxidation in the bottling process.”
Finding faults What natural wines are not, or indeed should not be, is another conversation, sometimes clouded by lack of education and experience here in New Zealand. Despite what some communication might suggest, they are not a style, but an approach to making wine that begins in the vineyard and informs winemaking choices, such as use of oak. “New oak is generally viewed as an artifice; effectively it’s a winemaker’s cheat to help a wine taste nicer; it obscures the actual flavour of the wine, and as such I think it’s viewed as something of an additive in that respect,” says Halcyon Days’ Oliver Styles, adding that oak is much used by natural winemakers for maturation, “but we’re not looking for oak flavour”. Faults, which are encouragingly a rare occurrence in New Zealand examples, are not an
NZ WINEGROWER AUGUST/SEPTEMBER 2021 // 25
Churton’s Sam, Jack and Ben Weaver
inherent quality of natural wines, and are indeed less tolerated by mature markets. “The increasing rejection of faulty natural wine has been a trend happening elsewhere and we are due for that to happen here too,” observes Stephen. “The heady days of accepting all and sundry natural wine regardless of whether it tastes good or not are at an end. For the amount of money these wines are commanding, they need to do right by their customers and actually be good wine too, not just natural wine.” Yoshiaki agrees. “In other countries where natural wines have an established presence in the market, consumers have already got tired of ‘funky tastes’: too much oxidation, volatile acidity, mousy tastes or other off flavours derived from imprecise treatment of grapes or wines in the winemaking
process,” he says. “People may feel some excitement with these wines at the beginning. However, consumers are smart, and have the ability to recognise things that are wrong.”
Exploitation and regulation Now that New Zealand is building a market for its natural wines, some note hazy definitions and lack of regulation creates the potential for confusion and exploitation, to the detriment of the category’s image. “The biggest thing that holds natural wine back is anyone can say their wine is natural and produce these from fruit produced conventionally,” obser ves Churton’s Jack Weaver. “It’s common for people to take any fruit they can get their hands on, make faulty wine that loses
NZ WINEGROWER AUGUST/SEPTEMBER 2021
all ‘natural’ integrity, whack it in a bottle with a cool label and call it natural.” In France, where natural wine is far more established, a groundswell of those seeking to define and protect natural wine resulted in Vin Méthode Nature becoming an official denomination last year. Its wines must meet a criteria that includes being made from organic grapes using indigenous yeasts, and outlaws winemaking techniques such as filtration. Sulphur can be added after fermentation up to 30 mg/l, or not at all, with each approach labelled accordingly. This kind of charter is something that Jack and a number of other local producers would welcome, “especially since ingredients are not required to be listed on wine labels”, thinks Black Estate’s Nicolas Brown. “It also
helps consumers gain clarity about how a wine is made. Many people are drinking natural wines for health or moral reasons, so it’s important they can trust the producer.” Opinions, however, are divided. Jules van Costello, of Cult Wines - who sells natural wines and makes them under the Known Unknown label - is not convinced. “Just because a wine has a certification, it won’t stop someone selling something as ‘natural’ when they don’t know better,” he says. “But there are less scrupulous, and less well educated people selling, and making the wines, and we need a better way to address this. I think transparency is key.” “I don’t know that the modern, second wave natural wine drinker truly cares that much about how their wine is actually made, as much as they
are interested in drinking ‘on brand’,” says Stephen. “Where a formal charter would help, is to highlight the charlatans who are making claims which are not supported by practice. But a charter is only as strong as its enforcement, and…in practice it might not amount to anything different than what we currently have.” New Zealand Winegrowers Chief Executive Philip Gregan says it is an area with the potential to be market-driven in future. “If an operator in this space thought it was worthwhile, they could always define a certification mark and explore which producers would want to pay to use it.” That time appears some way off. Meanwhile, the natural conversation will continue, hopefully maturing into productive exchanges that add to understandings of this new point on New Zealand’s sustainable continuum.
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Naturally Smitten SOPHIE PREECE
WINE DOESN’T have to be fruity and fresh and clean, says Rosie Menzies, amidst barrels of bespoke ferments in a small Central Otago winery. “It can be funky and weird and wonderful, and just as enjoyable,” says Carrick’s Winemaker, with a nod to natural wines. Rosie was hooked by the natural wine movement around 2012, when working in London and visiting the Raw Wine Fair and the Real Wine Fair. They were unlike any trade events she’d ever been to, with wines that “pushed the envelope” in defining what wine could be. She loved the “huge creativity
made with nothing added or taken away - “maybe a little bit of sulphur” - from fruit grown organically or biodynamically. The winemaker is left with few tricks up their sleeve with which to polish the wine, “and you are really relying on the raw product being very good quality,” she says. “And as such, I think growing organically and biodynamically is the way to achieve that.” There was “a real following” for natural wines by the time she left London, but little interest in New Zealand on her return, with the movement “relatively unknown and considered quite weird”. Dan Gillett’s Scotch Bar in Blenheim was an exception to the “You can play with rule, she says. “We were lucky to have that.” them more and A lot has changed in push the boundaries the past five years, and while Dan has launched of what wine is.” two natural wine retail stores and a natural wine bar in Auckland (see page and intrigue and passion”, 29), plenty of others have joined firing away in a convivial the push, with natural wines relaxed atmosphere, where a in many restaurants and bars, serious love of wine and place and plenty of consumers eager wasn’t taken too seriously. It to try them. “It’s really growing was authentic and personal, in momentum in terms of connected with growers, and knowledge and understanding, aligned the wine in the glass and for sales as well,” Rosie says. with the people and place it had In 2018 she moved to come from. Central Otago, where she Naturally smitten, Rosie eventually became Carrick’s returned to New Zealand in late Chief Winemaker for the 2020 2013 to work at Seresin Estate vintage. They produce two in Marlborough, where she natural Pinot Noirs, a Riesling made a natural Pinot Noir and and a co-fermented red and Sauvignon Blanc, and gained white blend, and she still gets a more understanding of the “real buzz” out of making those challenges and opportunities wines, with a greater freedom of making hands-off wine. for creativity. “You can play For her, natural wines are with them more and push the
NZ WINEGROWER AUGUST/SEPTEMBER 2021
Rosie Menzies at Carrick. Photo by Vaughan Brookfield.
boundaries of what wine is.” There is no sulphur in Carrick’s natural wines, and she finds them more digestible. “They are wines I really enjoy drinking a s well.” Every vintage is an opportunity to improve the offering, she says. “You understand things more and tweak and make better wine… I think one of the most difficult parts of winemaking -whether natural or conventional - is that you have one chance per year to dial in to how you make your wines. It’s not like being a chef where you can practice making a cake five times a day until you’ve nailed it. You have one shot a year.”
Natural wines require absolute attention to detail, in the winery and the vineyard, where the team have to get the architecture of the canopy right to help the vine ward off disease. “It is more difficult and takes perhaps a more curated vine by vine management system.” That’s true in the winery as well, says Rosie, describing “diving in” to every wild ferment barrel “to make sure each one is ok”. The results are worth the effort, she adds, delighted that more consumers are getting on board, and appreciating a broader idea of what wine should be.
Everyday Wine SOPHIE PREECE
Ashleigh Barrowman at Everyday Wine. Photo Adrian Vercoe
WHEN DAN Gillett started selling natural wines from Scotch Wine Bar in Blenheim seven years ago, he had a funky selection and Millennial market. “In all honesty I was just selling to my friends,” he says from his new Auckland Clay Wine Bar. “To begin with, it was the cool young hip people who were drinking it all – a bit avant-garde and ahead of their time.” Now it’s far from niche. “We have absolutely everyone drinking these wines”, says Dan, who established the New Zealand arm of natural and organic wine distribution business Wine Diamonds in 2014, and in the past few years
has sold Scotch and established Everyday Wine retail stores in Wellington and Auckland, as well as Clay on Karangahape Rd. All the wines he sells are natural, all are organic, and his stores are also the first to pioneer packaging-free natural wines for retail, with wines on tap and in keg. These days his customers range in age from 20 to 70, and the wines range from funky and “super easy to drink” to “serious fine wines”, Dan says. “It’s pretty amazing actually. And I would say if any thing that that ’s testament to the range of natural wines.” It’s not just the customer
base that has changed in the past half decade, with the offering evolving well beyond the left field and funky. “When I started Wine Diamonds a lot of our wines were like that. And now I think they are a lot more approachable and definitely less ‘fault-ridden’. Now I look at what we sell and what we distribute to restaurants and wine bars and all of our wines are a lot more universally delicious and less polarising than before,” he says. “Both our wines and myself have matured somewhat.” It’s a massive shift in a short time period. “We basically went from one end
of the spectrum - with crazy, wild wines - to now, with really well-made, really pure and really precise wines.” They still celebrate and showcase “boundary pushing wines”, alongside those that “tick all the boxes of a natural wine” but are pure and clean and fine, Dan says. Bringing consumers up to speed on where natural wines are at is about education “and really just having someone on the pouring side knowing what they are doing and making sure that person is given what they are looking for,” he adds. “We have got every wine under the sun now, every style, every variety.”
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Oliver Styles’ journey to natural wines
Oliver and Amy Hopkinson-Styles
AS A journalist for a wine magazine for six years, I probably got to listen to, talk to and talk about winemakers more than any other arena. Napa Valley Pilates classes may be the only exception. The problem was, I basically took all of these winemakers at their word, and they all said variations on the same thing: wine is made in the vineyard. And that’s that.
tank with a group of industry insiders on a press trip of the central Loire, they were austere as anything. He wasn’t really a natural winemaker and his son, who now runs the estate, is a staunch sulphurophile. I think Dagueneau had at one stage dabbled in going natural but had pulled away from it. But he was uncompromising in his unashamed reflection of the soil and the grape. Although when you talk to Old World “The edges are part winemakers and of the beauty.” namecheck a grape variety, you do feel a little like you’ve walked In 2007 I interviewed the into a Fonterra milk plant and Pouilly-Fumé master, the late asked to palp a cow’s tender Dider Dagueneau. It’s hard udder. I’ll always remember to overstate what effect the Aubert de Villaine of Domaine combination of the man and de la Romanée-Conti telling me his wines had on my thinking. straight: “I don’t make Pinot If I’m really honest, off the bat Noir”. And he meant it. I wasn’t a huge fan of his wines. I love that. And I still think When I first tasted them from it’s a shame that we put so
NZ WINEGROWER AUGUST/SEPTEMBER 2021
much emphasis on making varietal wines. It’s a bit like insisting people walk around with what school they attended printed on their forehead. The variety shouldn’t be the parameter by which you judge the wine. I love Sauvignon Blanc, but I don’t want it on the label. So when I first came to make my own wine, it was out of the question that I would use packet yeast and the like. And at that stage, I’d had no real contact with natural wines. Otherwise, I would have skin fermented the white, no question. It would have tasted infinitely better too. I remember tasting a ZindHumbrecht Pinot Gris that Amy had brought back from her travels, that (a) stopped me being blinkered about Pinot Gris and (b) cemented my thoughts on biodynamics. And it all flows from that, really.
Ideologically, we were of the same mind about what we wanted to do when we started Halcyon Days back in 2018. We just wanted to make lovely, forthright, pure wine; organic as a minimum (biodynamic one day); made in the vineyard with nothing added or taken away in the winery. It’s simple, but we also worry about the wines night and day. Some people reckon natural winemaking is lazy, but some days I feel that adding sulphur and walking out of the barrel hall is a vastly more forgiving craft. Don’t get me wrong – I love the craft of winemaking in all its guises – but it takes conviction to say no to additions. I believe the fruit, the land and the vintage must be given space in which to operate, without taking off the edges. The edges are part of the beauty. Oliver and Amy Hopkinson-Styles own and run Halcyon Days
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Championing Climate Staying ahead of the carbon curve SOPHIE PREECE
THE COST of carbon emissions will continue to rise, and so will consumer demand for emission reductions. That was the message from New Zealand Winegrowers (NZW) General Manager Sustainability, Dr Edwin Massey, at Grape Days in June. “ Taking climate change action now is critical to protecting your bottom line,” he told packed audiences in Hawke’s Bay, Marlborough and Central Otago. “The more we can actually contribute to and show leadership in this space, the more we can contribute to slowing warming”. Climate change is fast becoming the most talked about area of sustainability,
and the wine industry needs to be swift to adapt, Edwin said. “It really boils down to two things. Firstly reputation the vineyard is our most visible industry asset.” And consumers care, he added. “They want to buy New Zealand wine in part because of its reputation for sustainability.” The second aspect is cost. “We are already paying at the pump. The cost of emissions is going to increase… You will pay more for every single element of greenhouse gas emissions through the Emissions Trading Scheme.” The New Zealand Government has a target of net zero emissions by 2050, and in 2020
the NZW board committed to Another plus for viticulture the industry becoming net car- is that when it comes to bon zero ahead of that dead- measurement of emissions, line, Edwin said. “We want to get ahead of the curve.” “The more we can New Zealand wine’s actually contribute to longstanding focus on and show leadership sustainability stands it in good stead, but in this space, the more sustainability is “not we can contribute to a b o u t s ay i n g t h a t everything is great”, slowing warming.” he said. “It’s about continuous improvement and ack nowledg ing the based on tonnage per hectare, c h a l l e n g i n g i s s u e s a n d “grapes are almost at zero”. circumstances that we face. We That’s not as good as growing need to work on these issues an exotic forest, but far better and develop solutions that help than many other primary to mitigate our risks.” producers, from pastoral to
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kiwifruit. “The wine industry is in a little bit of a sweet spot in that we produce a high value product with a very low emissions footprint… We can make those claims with confidence - we have got the data behind it.” But the industry needs to take measurement more seriously, he said. Sustainable Winegrowing New Zealand (SWNZ) has introduced carbon emissions to its questionnaire to help measure, reduce, educate and communicate. “Our plans aim to assist members to reduce emissions as much as possible, as quickly as possible,” Edwin told audiences. SWNZ will never be a carbon certification programme, he added. “We don’t have resource and cannot operate in that space.” But getting a “snapshot” of industry emissions, along with the ability to benchmark year on year, will be “critical” to helping the industry achieve its target of being carbon neutral by 2050. Me a nw h i l e , m e m b e rs can access guidance through the recently released Toitū Envirocare report, commissioned by NZW, which looks at packaging, freight, electricity, transport fuels, and fertiliser and vineyard
activities as five key elements, viewing them through the lens of scope 1 (direct company emissions), scope 2 (indirect emissions from purchased energy) and scope 3 (upstream and downstream emissions). The report provides some “first steps” members can take in their vineyards and wineries to manage and reduce emissions, said Edwin. Targeting climate change emissions begins with ownership and governance, because it will have a significant impact on every business moving forward, he said. And it can begin with small steps, such as picking an individual emissions source and making a reduction plan around it, asking “how are we going to do things differently in the future to reduce costs and reduce emissions?” From there, companies can develop a plan on how to reduce emissions on a broader scale across the business. But the ultimate is to go through a company like Toitū Envirocare, with a carbon reduce or carbon neutral programme. There is an increasing number of members around the country doing just that, capturing the value to marketing, while showing leadership in the climate change space, he
Lawson’s Dry Hills General Manager Sion Barnsley. The company achieved Tōitu carbonzero certification this year by achieving ISO14064.
said. “In conclusion, you have the opportunity to become a climate change champion.” New Zealand Winegrowers Chief Executive Philip Gregan told Grape Days audiences the New Zealand’s wine industry needs to be a leader in environmental reforms in order to maintain its social licence. “In this this Covid-crazy world, maintaining that social licence to operate is incredibly important. Both for now and going forwards.” Looking back at the Alert L e ve l - 4 L o c kd o w n , t h e wine industry, having been deemed an essential business, operated extremely carefully and “validated the trust” put in it, he said. That helped
maintain its social licence, and continuing to do so was vital, he added. The current Government has a “very active reform agenda”, but wine’s good environmental credentials stood it in good stead. “Our industry is not the target for a lot of the environmental reforms that are going to happen in the next few years”, he said. “But, we need to play our part and we need to be leaders… We need to demonstrate leadership around issues such as water, climate change, waste and recycling.” If there ever a question about being an essential business, he said, “let’s make sure we are on the positive not the negative list”.
Climate Action in the Wine Industry IN NEW ZEALAND’S wine industry, Yealands Estate and Lawson’s Dry Hills are certified Toitū carbonzero, while Villa Maria Estate is a Toitū carbonreduce certified organisation. New Zealand Winegrowers is also carbonreduce certified, while Wineworks Group and Riversun Nursery Limited are both carbonzero. Riversun Managing Director Geoff Thorpe has an ambitious strategy for the company to be carbon negative by 2030. “We believe that being ‘carbon neutral’ is not enough - look around the world and in our own backyards, we are
NZ WINEGROWER AUGUST/SEPTEMBER 2021
already paying a very high price for the 50 percent increase in atmospheric CO2 we humans have generated since the start of the industrial era - we believe we should all be focused on reducing CO2 levels from the current highs, not stabilising them at even more elevated levels in 30 years time”. Toitū carbonreduce and carbonzero certification means the organisation has measured its operational or product emissions and developed a management plan to reduce emissions over time. Meanwhile, the footprint and plan have been independently verified against the
highest international standards. In the case of carbonzero, emissions have been offset with high-quality carbon credits. Josephine Rudkin-Binks, General Manager of Sales and Marketing at Toitū Envirocare, says they are “proud to support organisations in the wine industry to measure and manage their climate impacts”. Toitū certified organisations not only recognise the need for the sustainable future, she says, “but also are well positioned leverage the commercial opportunities and differentiate themselves in the global marketplace”.
Taking real measures at Astrolabe AFTER 25 years focussed on sustainability, Astrolabe Wines is now aiming for Toitū carbonzero certification. Starting with a stocktake of carbon emissions in their 2020 financial year, the Marlboroughbased company have ascertained their base level, with audit results due in late July. Co-owner and founder Jane Forrest Waghorn says doing the stocktake retrospectively was quite challenging, involving elements like recording every single case of wine trucked out. “It gave us a good feel for which parts of the business are producing the biggest emissions.” No w t h e y w i l l s t a r t offsetting their carbon footprint, says Jane, noting that being Toitu certified is the next step in their commitment to sustainability.
“As a business, and a family, it is very important for us; we have a very real concern for climate change,” says Jane. “We rely upon grapes growing in this region, and we felt we needed to step up and face reality. We are a second generation family business, so we have to have a forward-looking approach about sustainability for our family, for the region and for the planet.” Jane says there were no real surprises with their stocktake. And there were some things they could do simply and easily to change their footprint. “Changing our electricity supply made a big difference in our position. We now have two electric cars which is a real positive for us as individuals. But there are other things that are very daunting, for example transport. It’s easy to drive an electric car but hard to solve
getting our wine transported to market. How do we do that? We need a solution. I would love to see a coastal trader up to Auckland – like they used to have.” She says the carbon accounting adds another layer of complexity, “but we are okay with that because we need to do it and for it to be sound. The
customers need to know that we are taking very real measures.” Jane often wonders why grape vines don’t have a measurement of carbon they sequester. “Some of our grapes have trunks like trees, 25 years-plus old. I’m not a scientist so I can’t do this kind of thing, but that’s what Toitū helps us with.”
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Deep Dive Shifting weeds with subsurface irrigation SOPHIE PREECE
DISTANCING SUBSURFACE irrigation from the vine trunk results in less undervine vegetation with no significant reduction in yields. That was one of the findings of a project conducted by Mark Krasnow of Thoughtful Viticulture, as part of herbicide reduction research in the Bragato Research Institute’s (BRI) Vineyard Ecosystems Programme. “The real difference and the really exciting difference for me is we are just moving where those weeds are,” Mark told audiences at the three New Zealand Winegrowers and BRI Grape Days events around the country in June. “And we’re moving them from a really difficult to control area to a much easier to control area.” He showed results of the trials, where six subsurface blocks – three in Hawke’s Bay and three in Marlborough were allocated the same water as the above ground control blocks. When the irrigation season began, the drip line blocks sprouted vegetation in the “extremely difficult to control undervine area” while the subsurface, located 30cm below the surface and 30cm into the row, pulled that growth away from the vine. “Our undervine could look like our midrow looks in summer,” he said. “That would dramatically reduce the need for weed control full stop, and certainly for chemical weed control in the future, where it is going to become less available to use and have negative connotations with wine consumers.”
Mark noted that grasses can access water from the subsurface irrigation at 30cm depth, because it is wicked up through the soil. But the further into the row the watering, the easier those weeds are to deal with. While 30cm is a typical measurement, ensuring young plants can access water, some companies are running trials with subsurface closer to the midrow, and Mark is confident mature vines will send roots to the resource. He’s also keen to trial deeper lines, so weeds cannot access the water, but grapes can. There was no significant impact on yields in the subsurface irrigation trial blocks, but there are “huge benefits” of underground infrastructure, including grazing sheep and running machinery without damaging lines and junctions, Mark told Grape Days audiences. One of the first “fortuitous” findings of the research was that the subsurface irrigation can be installed in a much wider window than previously thought, he said. Typically, the lines are put in in winter, when the vines are dormant, but due to logistical issues, the trial sites were installed after budburst, he said, admitting to concerns that shallow roots would be cut and the vines put on the “back foot”. But while there were “certainly” some very large roots severed by the mole plough that installed the lines, there was no negative effect, he said. Mark also spoke to the
NZ WINEGROWER AUGUST/SEPTEMBER 2021
Mark Krasnow with above ground irrigation beside subsurface irrigation trial
audiences about earlier work by Thoughtful Viticulture, through the Vineyard Ecosystems Programme, on reducing and eliminating herbicides in New Zealand vineyards. “The simplest way to reduce herbicide use is to reduce the number of sprays we do,” he said. The project looked at the impact of spraying once early in the season, mitigating the frost risk and reducing competition to get the canopy up and the crop on. After that there was no herbicide treatment, with mowing or cultivation used for weed control instead. The team found that one spray instead of multiple sprays reduced herbicide use by anywhere from 50 percent to 75 percent. “The additional positive side is we didn’t see any significant effect of letting all of this green stuff grow under the vines - on the canopy growth or on the yield,” said Mark. Many vineyard managers and owners like to see “perfectly straight lines of herbicide strips under the vines” he said. “But they’re
absolutely not necessary to get the yields that we expect from our vineyards.” The one consistent difference they noted between the control and trial blocks was the reduction in yeast assimilable nitrogen (YAN) in the reduced herbicide blocks, especially in Marlborough, where it plays a part in “those big thiol bombs that we’re so famous for”, Mark said. That might mean some extra fertilisation in the vineyard or supplementation in the winery might be necessary, although he noted that the YANs were not so low as to risk the ferment. The key takeaway was that vineyards don’t need to use as much herbicide, he concluded. “The undervine does not need to be clean for the entire season…getting that canopy up and getting past set is really the important stage. A little bit of competition from undervine vegetation after that doesn’t affect our bottom line; but it dramatically affects our chemical usage.”
In Clover SOPHIE PREECE
A CENTRAL Otago vineyard is using strategic placement of subsurface irrigation to water vines while growing midrow clover crops. When Amisfield Vineyard Manager André Lategan began his subsurface trials 12 years ago, he was focussed on getting the vine roots to travel beyond the berm to “utilise more of the soil”. That resulted in less weeds undervine, and good greenery growth beyond it. In the years since, André has moved irrigation to the midrow, where the lines are buried just 5 centimetres deep, to ensure clover planted as a summer cover crop can also access the water. That’s been a fantastic way to mitigate the reduction in
yeast assimilable nitrogen ( YA N) the company experienced after converting to organics five years ago, says André. “We opted for clovers to see if we could fix nitrogen biologically and that has worked very well.” The subsurface irrigation blocks, with their flourishing midrow clover, have far betters YAN
“We opted for clovers to see if we could fix nitrogen biologically and that has worked very well.” levels than the rest of the vineyard, he says. Amisfield has 7 hectares in subsurface irrigation, and
plans to do another 8ha this season, following the 5cm deep midrow model that has served them so well, says
André. He admits there have been problems along the way, including roots pushing into the pipes, but all new developments will use copper impregnated pipe to resolve that issue. Innovation often comes with setbacks, says André, who won’t let them stand in the way of subsurface. “The advantages are too great.”
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Spray days GRAPE GROWERS around New Zealand will be able to dip into fresh research, best practice and industry feedback at the Spray Days events being held around the country in August and early September. The New Zealand Winegrowers events are comprised of a series of 80-minute workshops, covering everything from sprayer maintenance to managing spray drift, powdery mildew to mealybug, and from the safe use of chemicals when mixing and spraying to biosecurity planning on your vineyard. The Spray Days events are free to attend, thanks to Sustainable Winegrowing New Zealand.
The topics: • keeping yourself safe during spraying • sprayer maintenance and setup • mealybug control • managing spray drift • powdery mildew • understanding chemical rates - from labels to Grapelink • biosecurity planning • trunk disease (Northland/ Auckland only).
Northland: 3 August Waiheke Island: 5 August Gisborne: 10 August Hawke’s Bay 11-12 August Martinborough: 13 August Marlborough (Blenheim): 16-18 August Marlborough (Awatere): 19 August Nelson: 20 August Waipara: 31 August Central Otago: 2 September Go to the nzwine.com members site to register. If you have any questions, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
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NZQA Certificate in New Zealand Wines Online 7, 9, 14, 16 Sept In-person 21 & 22 Sept View our website for more dates www.foodandwine.co.nz
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Viticulture Workshops Bragato Research Institute spring workshops Millton Estate
Frost Education An educational workshop with an opportunity to hear from and ask the tricky questions of experts in plant physiology, frost forecasting and climate. Topics to be covered will include grapevine susceptibility to frost, a lesson in frost forecasting and frost types, the impact of climate change on frost risk and climate based case studies of the spring 2020 frosts.
Weed Management Brought to you in partnership with Dr Trevor James of AgResearch. Knowledge shared will include an update on the distribution of resistance weed species, based on a physical survey of nearly 80 vineyards in Marlborough and North Canterbury. Speakers will also discuss best practice for managing herbicide resistance and problematic weeds through chemical and cultural approaches.
Grape Yield Analyser Come along to this growers workshop to find out more about yield analyser models for predicting potential grape yield; and work involving assessing the spatial variability of harvested grape yield in the Marlborough region
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Zero Interest The booming business of no alcohol TAKING THE alcohol out of wine is proving good business for Giesen Group, with an expanding range of zero percent wines and forecasts of stellar growth. The company launched the world’s first no alcohol Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc last year, (named 0%), and sold out in both New Zealand and Australia, says Chief Winemaker Duncan Shouler. Now Giesen has become the first New Zealand winery to purchase a spinning cone machine, investing more than $1 million in technology that removes alcohol from wine. “No-alcohol wines have to be made fresh, blended fresh and bottled fresh,” says Duncan. “Having our own unit means we can do that - if we’re producing 0 percent Sauvignon Blanc one week, then we are bottling it within a few days. This lets us capture aroma in the bottle and produce wines with more varietal character.” The group is also exploring ways to utilise the alcohol removed from the wine, with
plans to launch a first-of-itskind product later this year, says Duncan. The cone distills base wine into three layers – aroma, body and alcohol – before the first two are combined again, to create wine that lacks alcohol but retains as many recognisable characteristics as possible. The company has also just launched a 0% Pinot Gris and 0% Rosé in New Zealand, taking its tally of low and no alcohol products to nine. “We’re learning all the time,” says Duncan. “Now that we have our own spinning cone,
Duncan Shouler with Giesen’s spinning cone machine
we’ll be able to trial a variety of techniques to further improve the blend. It allows us to refine and innovate across our products. We’re seeing better and better wines every time we produce them.” International research
GIESEN WINES was part of the seven-year New Zealand Lighter Wines Research programme, which concluded this year. The $17 million programme – the largest in New Zealand wine’s history - began in March 2014, with $8.13m from the Primary Growth Partnership, $8.84m of industry funding, in cash and in-kind support, from 18 participating wine companies. In the seven years since, it has involved research into market access, sensory perception, vineyard and winery manipulations, and the transfer of learnings to industry, all the while growing the category of New Zealand Lighter Wine.
NZ WINEGROWER AUGUST/SEPTEMBER 2021
predicts that global sales of no and low alcohol sales are set to increase 31 percent by 2024, valued at more than $1.6 billion, according to the No and low alcohol study 2021. Duncan says the trend is taking off overseas, with new alcoholfree bars opening in the likes of Melbourne and Colorado, “both stocking Giesen 0% wine”. He says the market shift is fascinating. “We thought initially the market for these products would be health and wellness fanatics, but it’s actually much wider than that. It’s wine drinking consumers who want to be able to drink it without alcohol on occasion such as when they need to drive or don’t want the after-effects of alcohol.”
Bentonite under the spotlight Kate Macreadie
BENTONITE HAS “a significant effect” on calcium concentrations in Sauvignon Blanc wines, according to a new student research project. Kate Macreadie conducted the trials at the Nelson Marlborough Institute of Technology (NMIT) last year, in her final year of the Bachelor of Viticulture and Winemaking. Kate tested eight calcium bentonites to ascer tain their effects on calcium concentrations in treated Sauvignon Blanc wine. “To determine these effects, a model Sauvignon Blanc wine was treated with each bentonite type at increasing industr y - stand ard rates of up to 4g/L and then spectrophotometrically analysed to determine calcium concentrations,” her report says. There was a positive correlation between dose rate and calcium concentrations in all the bentonites trialled, “with strength of correlation varying from modest to very strong”. Kate says the work adds to the findings of a 2016 study investigating a range of commercial bentonites on New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc
wine, providing “greater data reliability due to increased treatment replicates and a calcium-specific research focus”. The research – which specifies results for eight different products – will provide winemakers with evidence that calcium concentrations in Sauvignon Blanc wine will increase relative to increasing bentonite application rates, says Kate. She notes that the research focussed on statistically significant changes in calcium concentrations, “but it is important to consider the results relative to real world winemaking”. Stewar t Field, who is a viticulture lecturer and researcher at NMIT, says K ate has completed an “outstanding” piece of research for her student project. “She observed calcium tartrate precipitation in the winery that drove a keen personal interest to investigate further.” He says the results will not only benefit the winery where she works, “but hopefully has informed the Marlborough wine industry that bentonite application to wine needs careful consideration”.
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NZ WINEGROWER AUGUST/SEPTEMBER 2021 // 43
BRIght Ideas New chief at wine research institute THE NEW boss at Bragato has long been “a closet science geek”. Jeffrey Clarke has been appointed as Chief Executive at the Bragato Research Institute (BRI), after serving three months in an interim capacity. “Once I started the role I found it really interesting and energising,” says Jeffrey, who has worked as General Manager Advocacy and General Counsel at New Zealand Winegrowers (NZW) since 2014. “BRI has great people with really good breath of experience. They have ideas and want to make things happen for industry,” he says. “I got infected by that.” Jeffrey’s childhood love of science was fed by the Scientific American magazines his father had around the house. “Back then I could understand maybe one tenth of some articles, but I was still fascinated by the constant new discoveries, and the world it revealed.” He didn’t continue with science on leaving high school, studying law instead. “And actually, that’s one of the things that is quite refreshing coming
into this role,” he admits, noting that in his NZW roles he could do everything his staff were doing. “Whereas this role is more strategic; I’m not a researcher so the value I can add is to help enable and steer the work my staff are doing, so it’s a really different engagement.” He’s also excited by the stage the BRI is at, with the Lighter Wines project finishing up and some major new programmes nearly ready to launch. “And it’s a really exciting time, because the original establishment period for BRI has come to an end, we’ve built some impressive capability, and now we have to show that we can stand on our own two feet and deliver impact for our members.” It’s a time where engagement with members is key, and so is engagement with Government officials, ensuring they understand “what we do and why members want us to be doing it”, says Jeffrey, who will split his time between the BRI base in Marlborough and
his home in Wellington, working with staff and industry on one side of the Cook Strait and Government on the other. Jeffrey says the record attendance numbers at Grape Days supports the feedback BRI and NZW get from members. “What we hear consistently is that members rate NZW’s research programme highly, and they are telling us they want more.” BRI Board Chair Mark Gilbert says the appointment
will carry BRI forward in terms of meeting its strategic imperatives, developing staff and delivering science outcomes applicable to the vineyard and other aspects of winemaking. “New Zealand is recognised as a leader in this industry. With new and additional funding, along with some exciting projects coming on stream, BRI is well positioned to continue to contribute to this exciting industry.”
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PhD Précis ROMY MOUKARZEL grew up Beqaa Valley, Lebanon’s largest wine producing region and home to French cultivars like Cinsault, Carignan and Grenache. She completed her agriculture engineering degree in the Lebanese University of Beirut where she developed an interest in land management, plant protection and the viticulture industry in Lebanon. She then received a full scholarship from the European Union to do a Master’s degree in Sustainable Agriculture in the Mediterranean Agronomic Institute of Chania in Greece. Guided by her growing passion for sustainable agriculture concepts, Romy undertook a research project on plant viruses in the institute’s Molecular Microbiolo g y and Virology group. Romy’s
interest in finding new sustainable viticulture management practices to improve plant health then led her to do a PhD in Plant Pathology and Mycology at Lincoln University, where her research project looked at the factors affecting arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) in New Zealand vineyards. Her research showed that these beneficial fungi are important factors for developing secure and ecological management practices that contribute to the economy and the sustainability of grape growing. The research identified the AMF communities associated with grapevines and determined that rootstock, management practices as well as soil factors drive these communities. The project
was supervised by Associate Professor Eir ian Jones, Associate Professor Hayley Ridgway and Dr Alexis GuerinLaguette, and was funded by Plant & Food Research and Lincoln University. After submitting her PhD thesis, Romy moved straight
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into a postdoctoral research position where she is currently working on deciphering the yield-quality seesaw via manipulations of competing sinks, bunch micro-climate and crop load. This project is part of the New Zealand Winegrowersled Pinot Noir Project, funded by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, under the supervision of Professor Brian Jordan, Professor Rainer Hofmann, Dr Olaf Schelezki and Dr Amber Parker. Romy’s research aims to provide insight into grapevine biochemistry and physiology in Pinot Noir grapes in the context of growing conditions and vine management, to facilitate decision-making of growers to break the seesaw and thus enhance the resilience of New Zealand Pinot Noir.
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The People Wellness in wine RSE Wellbeing Pg 47
Women in Wine Claire Mulholland Pg 50
Diana Dobson QSM Pg 52
New Vintage Outside the Box Pg 54
Sarah Booker Pg 58
RSE workers celebrated their cultures at the Hortus 10-year Celebration in 2018. Photo by Jim Tannock
Wellness in Wine
Building a fale around RSE wellbeing SOPHIE PREECE
COVID-19 HAS shone a light on the Recognised Seasonal Employer scheme, with the extended stay of workers threatening their spiritual, physical and mental wellbeing. That was a key message at the three day Talanoa Fa’apasifika (Pacific discussion) held in Blenheim in June, to consider the impact of the initiative. “I think Covid has actually been one of the best things to happen to RSE,” says Tim Rae, Relationship Manager with the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment’s Toso Vaka o Manū programme, which supports Pacific labour mobility. “It’s been a real stress test for the scheme and on many occasions we have seen employers go above and beyond in caring for their workers, which is fantastic. We have also seen some employers struggle.” Representatives from Pacific countries involved in the RSE scheme gathered at the Talanoa, alongside representatives from Government, industry, labour contracting firms and those connected to wellbeing and pastoral care, to discuss a better
way forward. During visits to vineyards, some RSE workers raised questions about their visas, health insurance, the ability to repatriate, the ability to return to New Zealand and their options for Covid-19 vaccination. According to a summary of the event, those have been common questions during the pandemic. Issues around mental and physical fatigue were also raised, with the reduced number of workers currently in New Zealand resulting in longer hours for those here. And minimum pay rates were questioned by Pacific representatives, concerned that experienced workers, who have worked in New Zealand for many seasons, were still on minimum pay rates, despite their skill and experience. Tim says the discussions - and a comprehensive RSE Impact report (see page 49) presented at the event – questioned how the scheme could ensure the potential “triple win” mooted when it began in 2007, designed to boost outcomes for Pacific employees, horticulture and
viticulture employers, as well as the Governments involved. “I guess it has raised some questions about how we maintain that triple win. How do we really ensure the worker continues to earn well and be able to remit savings back to the Pacific to their families and communities back home? … Does the separation of families and communities justify the return? That’s the key question we have to ask ourselves.” Immigration New Zealand’s RSE Operations Manager Fa’amata Laumalili spoke to Talanoa Fa’apasifika attendees about the Fonofale model, created by Fuimaono Karl Pulotu Endemann as a Pacific Island model of health in the New Zealand context. The model poses a fale with the family as its foundations, culture as its roof, and four pou – physical, spiritual, mental and other, including the likes of age, sexual orientation and social status. “If any of the pou is weakened then there are issues,” said Fa’amata, who asked whether the model could be translated into the RSE situation.
She noted that the past few years had shaken the fale in its New Zealand context, with some RSE employees working here for more than 18 months because of Covid-19. “When we look at the physical, spiritual, mental, Covid has changed the way we look at RSE,” she said. Some of the workers want to go home, “and that is an issue that has left our family unwell, in terms of our foundations”. Fa’amata said some of the employers they spoke to during the three-day event were trying to create “a home away from home”, for their seasonal workforce “and we saw how a village setting could be done within a New Zealand context”, she said. “Is that a great example of what we are saying, in terms of family and culture?” They also spoke to workers, hearing reports of being “very well looked after” and a good relationship with employers. But there were also some questions around contracts and language barriers, she said. “Is it time to have a robust conversation with employers,
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The Hortus 10-year Celebration in 2018. Photo by Jim Tannock
to say ‘what do we need to do now?’” In the model, the fale is surrounded by a cocoon of context, time and environment, explained Fa’amata, while emphasising that Fonofale is a Samoan model, and consideration needs to be given as to whether it is an appropriate tool for the RSE and the various countries its workers hail from. “There is a danger and we have to move with caution. We cannot take a Pacific Island model and think that RSE will fit in there.” Hortus General Manager Aaron Jay, a Board Member at New Zealand Ethical Employers, says there’s a preCovid and post-Covid world when it comes to RSE care. “PreCovid we felt it was a privilege
to have the RSE workers here,” he says, describing a high sense of responsibility around pastoral care, accommodation, translation and living conditions. “It’s something we take quite seriously, not because we have to, but because we want to.” Covid-19 has heightened that level of care, he says. “For a lot of our guys there hasn’t been a way that they can get home. They are literally stuck here, so now that pastoral care and wellbeing has become even more important. We are really mindful that they are getting lot of pressure to stay here and earn money, because the income is not there in the islands.” Hortus People and Culture Manager Luc y Maclean, who attended the Talanoa
Fa’apasifika, says Covid has led them to “step back” and consider a broader model of wellbeing, beyond physical health. “Spiritually, how they are staying connected to their culture and their family?” It is a journey for the company, she says. “It has made us stop and think ‘what is wellbeing and what more can we do in that space?’” The long stint in New Zealand was hardest last winter, “when Covid hit and there was all that uncertainty”, says Lucy. “That was particularly stressful. I think now, the ones who desperately wanted to go home have gone home. The ones who are here are choosing to be here.” But it’s still hard, she says, noting how physically and mentally tired some RSE
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workers are, after a long period working in New Zealand, “and family is everything to them”. One of the attendees at the Pacific discussion raised the issue of cultural chasms between the workers’ home country and New Zealand, such as an understanding of the concepts of stress, anxiety and depression. In the Samoan language there are no words for those mental states, and therefore it can be difficult for the workers to interpret and express the way they are feeling. Another attendee, Josua Tuwere, the first Secretary at the Fjii High Commission in Wellington, suggested that models like Fonofale are useful because they help frame the questions that need to be asked. He, for example, asked RSE workers the day before whether they had time to play touch rugby, in order to destress. “It’s strange question, only until you have been to Fiji and realise that from 3 o’clock in the afternoon … that’s what everyone does.” The New Zealand Government is looking at RSE reform, but Tim emphasises that policy change is not required to be a good employer, with the ability to address some of the issues raised by the Talanoa. “We want the RSE programme to be the gold standard when it comes to seasonal labour mobility.”
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Risks to RSE THE RECOGNISED Seasonal Employer scheme faces three strategic risk areas, according to a two year study assessing the impacts of the migration programme. “Our general conclusion is that on balance, after 13 years, the balance has shifted away from benefits for the workers and families, to benefits for New Zealand,” migration export Professor Richard Bedford told attendees at a Talanoa Fa’apasifika in Blenheim in June, canvassing unintended consequences, such as the loss of productivity in workers’ home villages, and uneven Recognised Seasonal Employer (RSE) work opportunities across the islands. “A rebalancing of benefits is required.” The RSE Impact Studies were undertaken from March 2018 to May 2020, across five of the nine Pacific countries involved in the scheme, and six New Zealand host communities. The work found that RSE worker wellbeing and financial returns require greater focus, unequal distribution of RSE benefits must be addressed, and potential negative impacts
for Pacific families and communities from labour mobility must be mitigated. The RSE scheme’s focus has been on meeting the demands and expectations of employers, with less attention to workers’ experiences and viewpoints, says the report. That poses a risk, “given the scrutiny of international customers on socially sustainable employment practices throughout their supply chains”, it concludes, recommending a “recalibration of worker conditions”, including that earnings keep pace with increasing living costs and other participation costs. Barriers need to be addressed to enable workers to have greater voice to express concerns, while a multi-entry visa for RSE workers should be introduced so they can return home for events such as funerals. Over the past 13 years of the programme, recruitment has largely been employer-led, the report notes. RSE employers want return, skilled workers and may recruit from specific communities with developed relationships, leading to
“significant disparities in access to RSE employment opportunities” across the participating countries. The third risk area is around the potential negative impacts Richard Bedford for Pacific families and communities from labour mobility, including family separation and the loss of productive community members. Among the solutions posed is giving greater prominence to the role of the worker’s family in the way the RSE scheme is framed, and building more vocational training in the Vakameasina courses run for RSE workers in New Zealand, “to establish an incomegenerating venture at home”. The report notes that while the RSE has operated as a relatively stable programme over the past 13 years, it is important to ensure it “does not simply remain fit for purpose, but enhances its reputation as a best practice labour mobility scheme”.
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Women in Wine Claire Mulholland at home on the farm STEPHANIE MCINTYRE Claire Mulholland
HARD WORK and a deep appreciation for the land have underpinned Claire Mulholland’s career and life. Raised on a 1,000-hectare farm in Maniototo, Central Otago, Claire recognised the importance of those traits at an early age. The farm specialised in fine wool and pure-bred cattle, and Claire credits her parents for her Kiwi ingenuity and ingrained sense of practicality. Those enduring attributes - and an unwavering thirst for knowledge - guided Claire to boutique wine company Burn Cottage Vineyard, where she is General Manager and Winemaker. Eleven years into her role, Claire took a leap of faith when she departed the acclaimed Amisfield winery for a new kid on the block. “I loved that the Burn Cottage company was 100 percent committed to the area of winegrowing that I was most inspired by.
And the opportunity to work alongside world class vigneron Ted Lemon was pretty special and too much to resist.” In her teens, Claire planned to study vet medicine, but her curiosity for the land won out and she graduated Otago University with a science degree that incorporated hydrology and meteorology, as well as a few soil and horticulture papers from Lincoln University. “I wish I could say there was that pivotal moment when I knew wine was my future, but it was a slower burn for me.” Claire was exposed to more and more New Zealand wine near the end of uni, and started to taste the opportunity for grape growing, especially in Central Otago. “It was being called a region on t he edge of what was possible, and I couldn’t help but get involved.” Claire’s first foray into the wine industry was among the vines at Rippon Vineyard in
NZ WINEGROWER AUGUST/SEPTEMBER 2021
Wanaka. That was followed by vineyard work with Chard Farm winery, and then up the road at Gibbston Valley wines. During this time, Claire decided to formalise her experience and completed a postgraduate diploma in viticulture and oenology. When she returned it was to the Gibbston Valley cellar where, under the tutelage of Winemaker Grant Taylor, she quickly worked her way up to Assistant Winemaker. “It was an exciting position and harvest was always fun,” says Claire. “Even if the temperatures were way below zero some nights emptying the press.” It was an oppor tune time to be involved in the Central Otago wine industry. “I was inspired by many of the pioneers of our region: Rolfe and Lois Mills, Alan Brady, Grant Taylor, The Hay Brothers, Anne Pinckney and Mike Wolter to name a
few,” says Claire. “The quality they were finding in Pinot Noir was exciting.” Claire’s interest in Pinot Noir only grew after working vintages in Europe and the United States. “Being exposed to more than one vintage a year certainly accelerates one’s learning,” Claire says. “And I got to work with some wonderful mentors abroad as well as in New Zealand.” She now welcomes family members and friends of those she and her colleagues have worked with overseas back here for vintage experience. “It really is about the people we meet along the way.” In 2000, Claire ventured north to take up the role of Winemaker at Martinborough Vineyards. “The attraction for me was working in a slightly more established New Zealand Pinot Noir area. The older vines, different clonal materials and getting to know a new place and its people”.
Claire’s own winemaking philosophies aligned with Martinborough Vineyard’s vision of making wines that showcased their place. “It was a bit daunting to take over from Larry McKenna,” says Claire. “I tried to be true to the style that had been developed, but more importantly, true to the vineyards. I always run trials to better understand the opportunities, but making wine isn’t about showcasing winemaker skills. It’s about the place.” Martinborough remains a favourite region for Claire, but seven years in she found herself returning home to Central. Claire is a quietly confident and humble individual who has ensured her own success by looking ahead and “tying together education and experience” at every opportunity. In 2002, when Ted began developing the bare land of Burn Cottage vineyard and farm, Claire’s ears couldn’t help but perk up. From inception it was managed biodynamically, and this was a significant drawcard for Claire, who had begun looking into this practice several years prior. She admired the transparency and balance it provided. “Wine reflects site and you achieve greater clarity when farming organically. And biodynamics ties everything and everyone together in a significant and holistic way,
enabling the whole system to work better.” Today Burn Cottage ’s vineyard sits alongside 20ha of farmland, including livestock, pasture, an olive grove, native plantings and more. “We are located in a dry region so we are to be mindful of conservative stocking - but our farm provides for our compost and preparation making requirements,” says Claire. “The tree and diverse plantings are significant and the whole farm has a great energy about it. It’s a terrific environment for everyone to work in.” Burn Cottage grows just three grape varietals, and to Claire’s delight, Pinot Noir is their focus. They also craft a zesty Riesling and Grüner Veltliner blend that’s likely a one-of-a-kind in the southern hemisphere. “This year we utilised a sandstone jarre for the Grüner fermentation,” says Claire. She has enjoyed the freedom that producing a rare expression offers her and her winemaking team. Also unique to the New Zealand wine industry is Burn Cottage’s Pinot Noir collaboration with Valli Wines. Claire, Ted and Valli’s founder Grant Taylor often had robust conversations about their beloved region, and in the lead-up to the 2014 vintage came up with the idea of “The Great Grape Swap”. Seven years on and Claire is still
as excited by the joint project as day one. “It’s fun learning about our site through other people’s eyes,” she says. “It’s also fun promoting the wines together.” Claire speaks often about the importance of community. The community she works with, the community she’s grown with, and the community and family that supported her while she raised her son. She had her fair share of angst about the hours committed to harvest and vintage when Harry was young, but she laughed when he forgetfully suggested “yeah,
but you never had to work big days or weekends during vintage.” Claire’s friends would say that she flies under the radar, but her commitment to producing exceptional Pinot Noir has seen an enviable CV take shape. She continues to look ahead but her feet are firmly in the dirt at Burn Cottage Vineyard. “We are still on progression, learning about our site… There is always a lot going on at Burn Cottage and we enjoy looking at new opportunities both in the vineyard and winery.”
NZ WINEGROWER AUGUST/SEPTEMBER 2021 // 51
High Flier Diana Dobson’s passion job REBECCA WILSON Diana Dobson
THE UNSTOPPABLE Diana Dobson - Aviary Manager of the Marlborough Falcon Conservation Trust - received a Queen’s Ser vice Medal for ser vices to wildlife conservation in June. It’s a well-earned accolade for a woman who has worked closely with Marlborough vineyards, including Brancott Estate and Lake Chalice, to restore New Zealand’s native falcon to the region. While Diana’s focus is kārearea, her dedication to bird conservation means no bird is turned away, as evidenced by her recent adoption of a colony of 34 critically endangered
black billed gull chicks. When a vet rang her after being delivered a cardboard box full of eggs, there was no dallying. “I went to pick them up and as I was driving back to Kekerengu, where we are living with our daughter, some of the eg gs were hatching as I was driving. We had 34 chicks by the 8th of December, and my daughter had our third grandchild on December the 11th, so quite a lot going on with me in and out making sardine and pilchard smoothies for this lot,: she says. “Shorebirds are not birds I’m familiar with, but there was nobody else here to take them
NZ WINEGROWER AUGUST/SEPTEMBER 2021
on. I had to keep the colony together; it’s the first time a whole colony has been raised.” While the black billed gulls will take over nine months of dedication, Diana has given ten years of her life to the Marlborough Falcon Conservation Trust’s effort, which has seen 68 kārearea released in the region, making up one percent of the wild population, and many injured falcon rehabilitated. There is no textbook for raising and rehabilitating kārearea. But for Diana, it’s a skill that comes naturally after 45 years practice. “My New Zealand grandmother and
my father were strong nature people. I inherited that gift. I always knew about birds – nests, feathers, eggs, fledgings; I had an innate knowledge.” S he also had a ver y supportive mother who, despite being a busy sister in a hospital, would trip around English hedgerows with Diana on the back of the bike to look for nests. Since Diana was a child, she has rehabilitated and released birds of many species in England, Ireland and South Africa. When Diana first met her husband Steve, she immediately fessed up to ‘loving birds’. “He thought I
was talking about budgies or something like that. But early on he took me to Beatrix Potter park and we sat outside, and I fed the chaffinches, and they all were landing on the table, coming to me. He couldn’t believe it – had never seen anything like it, and finally the penny dropped.” In 2003 Diana, Steve and their two teenagers came to live in New Zealand. On the plane journey, Diana turned to Steve and stated that she was giving up the bird rehab work for the wine industry. She worked at the Mud House cellar door for six years, but her desire to work with birds couldn’t be quashed, and when a role came up the Marlborough Falcon Conservation Trust in 2011, Diana landed her passion job. She started with six birds at the trust premises on Brancott Estate, which has been a supporter of the trust from the beginning. In 2014 the trust extended the facility so that more falcons could be accommodated. Diana is supported by Lizzie MacFarlane, who leads the trust’s education programme, three committed volunteers and a dedicated board of trustees. She cares for 21 kārearea, which cannot be returned to the wild, in a purpose-built aviary, and is responsible for the breeding programme that has enabled the trust to release 24 chicks over the past five years. She also trained the trust’s advocacy falcon, Fern, who has gone on to wow hundreds of people with her flying displays. Lots of people phone Diana if they find an injured falcon. Often it is a hawk, but no one is turned down. “We are in the minority – the bird rehab people – when you do it for 45 years, you know it so well. I am very committed and have a deep understanding
of how to help each and every bird that comes my way.” Diana’s skills and dedication were put to the test by last year’s rehabilitation of the aptly named Sparky. “She had been electrocuted and her head was wedged between her feet; every time her head came up, it would flop back down. Her feathers were melted right across the back of her neck, with singed fathers along one wing, and she was also fitting up to 100 times a day.” Diana tried all kinds of contraptions to help the bird hold her head up, including an adapted waste-paper basket designed by Graham, the Trust’s volunteer butcher. “She spent the first three months being hand fed, sitting on heat, fitting many, many times a day and everybody asking me when I was going to pull the pin. Her fits caused her to uncontrollably strike out with her legs, which made feeding quite a challenge. Then I noticed after 14 weeks that the fits were definitely lessening and it was then that we turned the corner. “Her head gradually came back up and straight. Learning to walk was another milestone, and then flying again. After 10 months at home she was returned to the aviary where she continues along her road to recovery. Her will to live was incredible. She gave me as much as I gave her, but she was definitely my most challenging case to date. I do love these cases; I think I must be the equivalent of an intensive care nurse.” Diana has been ver y humbled by the QSM and the messages of support she has received from all over. “It’s like I have been living underwater for years, and suddenly have been plucked to the surface. I simply hadn’t realised how many people knew about me and this work.”
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Thinking Outside the Box SARAH ROWLEY ADAMS
NZ WINEGROWER AUGUST/SEPTEMBER 2021
BRAD FREDERICKSON is the creator and Winemaker behind Outside the Box Wines, an experimental brand that questions traditional winemaking. “I’ve always questioned the rigid ways that wine has been made because ‘this is how it’s always been done’,” he says. “I like experimenting to see what else is possible.” An artist, artisan upcycler, and “all-round maker”, Brad creates the artwork on his labels as well as the wine inside the bottle. “It usually starts with a label idea, then I work out the winemaking.” Brad began working in the wine industry after studying Viticulture and Wine Science at the Eastern Institute of Technology (EIT). He knew he wanted to work in an industry related to horticulture, which was his favourite subject at school. In his third year at EIT he won the Young Vintners
Scholarship, allowing him to work at Craggy Range for his first harvest. “This experience changed my mind and I decided to pursue a career in tank digouts – sorry, winemaking.” After studying he travelled, completing two harvests a year for eight years across seven different countries. Although he loved the lifestyle, it was “tough on the bank account”, and an Assistant Winemaker role at Yealands Estate in Marlboroug h ended his vintage hopping. In 2020 Brad completed the New Zealand Winegrowers mentoring course, and at the same time the opportunity to create his own wine presented itself. “Luck or fate – however you want to put it – the pieces fell into place.” He had been dreaming about the idea for Outside the Box Wines since 2014. “It’s always been a thing for me to play round with little
side experiments of juice here and there to see what I could make up.” At the time, Garage Project’s experimental style of brewing was taking hold of the New Zealand beer industry and Brad was inspired by their success. He says his first vintage went great, and he has released his first wine, Rosé 3-Way, using just 650 litres of Rosé. “That’s living the dream. It gave me plenty of time to fuss over the details.” The wine is made from Pinot Noir and Gewürztraminer grapes, in three styles blended together: a cold ferment which provides finesse and elegance; a Chardonnay-style ferment with oak contact, lees stirring and malolactic fermentation for depth and structure; and a carbonic maceration which provides a touch of bright fruity aromatics, colour and another dimension to the palate weight.
Taking small steps, this year he hopes to create another five wines. He worked with Clayvers - clay ceramic fermentation vessels - in Italy, and decided to import three for the 2021 harvest. Now he has a Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay and Pinot Noir in the vessels. He has kept it “reasonably standard”, he says. “As at the end of the day I need fair examples of what they can do.” He is also now the New Zealand agent for Clayver. Brad is also working on a Riesling made in three different batches with different yeasts, then blended, and on another potential wine, which is a secret. But the winemaking is the easy part, he says, explaining the challenge for a start-up to get listed in bars and restaurants. He hasn’t found a “how to start a wine business in New Zealand” YouTube video yet, but has been surrounded with supportive people, he
says. “Doing the New Zealand Wine mentoring programme was a huge help… My mentor Kat was super helpful and supportive.” His current workplace, Lawson’s Dry Hills, and his manager there have also been very accommodating
“I like experimenting to see what else is possible.” in allowing him to start his own company. But his parents have been the biggest help, supporting Brad through his travels and then in the start of his wine label, he says. “I’m quite lucky that I managed to convince them that Outside the Box Wines was a good idea.”
NZ WINEGROWER AUGUST/SEPTEMBER 2021 // 55
Pioneer Passes Kevyn Moore remembered SOPHIE PREECE
A WINE industry stalwart who devoted decades of his life to recording and sharing the history of Romeo Bragato, will be remembered for all he did for New Zealand wine. Kevyn Moore, who passed away in May, was a past president of the New Zealand Grape Growers Council (NZGC) and Chair of the Bragato Trust, which provides undergraduate, postgraduate, and research fellowships for students of viticulture in educational institutes and universities in New Zealand. He was also a 2008 inductee to the New Zealand Wine Hall of Fame. “His
real legacy is memorialising the name of Romeo Bragato,” says Terry Dunleavy (MBE), inaugural Chief Executive of the Wine Institute of New Zealand and
Hall of Fame committee member. “I can assure you that this was entirely driven by Kevyn.” Over the past 25 years, Kevyn
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researched and wrote a comprehensive history of Romeo Bragato, who left Italy as a young viticulturist in 1888 in order to become part of Australia’s new world wine industry. In 1895 Romeo visited New Zealand for the first time, and 100 years later the first Romeo Bragato Conference was held in Marlborough. In a 2015 stor y in Winegrower Magazine, Kevyn said he had an “empathy” with Romeo Bragato. “I think he was a rather restless personality. I understand where he was coming from – he was a proponent of the view that good wines are made in the vineyard and I believe that too.” In 1995, then President of the NZGC, Kevyn sat around the table with members of the New Zealand Wine Institute, chaired by John Buck, who knew of Romeo Bragato’s pioneering work in New Zealand and raised the 100 year anniversary of the viticulturist’s first visit. “The Wine Institute were not in a position to do anything at that time as their calendar was too full,” said Kevyn in the 2015 story. “So the New Zealand Grape Growers Council picked up the baton and organised their first national
viticultural conference and wine awards, naming both in honour of Bragato.” After a trip to Italy in 2001, during which he and his wife Corinne visited the Regia Scuola di Viticoltura ed Enologia where Romeo studied, Kevyn became determined to research him, returning to Italy in 2011 and then progressing with his book, which “was 98 percent complete” when Kevyn spoke to Winegrower Magazine last year. He also took on responsibility for the Bragato Trust, which was established in 2008 following a $380,841 bequest from the estate of Jan Colville, the granddaughter of Romeo Bragato. In last year’s interview, Kevyn said the trust – which at that point had allocated 44 grants worth $229,500 – was a lasting recognition of the foresight of Bragato. Terry Dunleavy says Kevyn’s own foresight stretches beyond Bragato, and he was also responsible for the initiation of Winegrower Magazine in the mid-1990s. While attending an executive meeting of the Wine Institute, Kevyn raised the issue of the industry needing its own magazine, and everyone agreed,
says Terry, who was swiftly designated the role of founding editor. New Zealand Winegrowers Chief Executive Philip Gregan says there is “no doubt” Kevyn made a significant and lasting contribution to New Zealand’s wine industry. “Most of all he will be remembered for his work to memorialise the vital contribution that Romeo Bragato
“Most of all he will be remembered for his work to memorialise the vital contribution that Romeo Bragato made to the development of viticulture in New Zealand.” made to the development of viticulture in New Zealand. This legacy is best embodied in the work of the Bragato Trust, which continues to support students in the grape and wine sciences for the benefit of the industry into the future.”
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Postcard Letters from abroad
Sarah Booker’s postcard from Canterbury SINCE LEAVING Marlborough in 2016, we accumulated many air and road miles before finally settling in the town of Canterbury, Southeast England. The transition from New Zealand to France to England was, how should I say, interesting. Arriving in France on 1 August, we needed to transition our daughters into a French school which was tricky. This was coupled with managing a very energetic toddler while navigating a new city on the wrong side of the road. Having not ever studied or spoken French (German was my language of choice at school), I was a bit in the dark for most things, and so was lucky that I could still work with Organic Winegrowers New Zealand (OWNZ) remotely. Initially we lived in Reims, but it became apparent that with the commute for my husband and the ease of living in a small town, life would be a lot simpler if we moved to Epernay and we were happy there for three years.
I continued to work remotely for OWNZ during this whole period and developed a great relationship with the team at New Zealand Winegrowers’ (NZW) Europe offices, creating some great initiatives within their major wine tasting events throughout the year. Each year while living in France, I attended the annual New Zealand Wine Trade Tasting in London. We introduced the Organic Wine Bar in 2019 at the OXO Tower, delivering an opportunity for our members to get their wines in front of United Kingdom and Europe trade and media. It’s been 10 months since we made the leap - or drive across the channel - from France. After wading through the complex Kent educational system, finding accommodation in a university town just one week before the start of the academic year, and a couple of lockdowns thrown in, we really are settled and enjoying
NZ WINEGROWER AUGUST/SEPTEMBER 2021
life in England. Boris has just announced that restrictions will be lifted from 19 July (some say a bit prematurely), so the possibilities for organic wine are reinvigorated. We have relied heavily on the digital world over the past 18 months, which has gone better than we expected. Working with the markets over the past year has been truly rewarding. Now being based in the UK, and just 50 minutes by train from central London, it will make the relationship between the NZW Europe team and OWNZ a lot more fluid. This is so important, given all the exciting new activities being planned for the coming ‘restriction free’ year. New Zealand, as we all know, has been business as usual in most cases and so we have been able to hold a number of inperson events, mainly during our annual Organic Wine Week. Winter Symposia in late July is an exciting interpretation of the OWNZ biannual conference and consists of three one-day conferences in Central Otago,
Marlborough and Hawke’s Bay. The excitement and support we are seeing with Organic Wine Week in September is massive, as people see the enthusiastic demand for organic wine growth across the world. This is our chance to really start leveraging and educating a wider audience and in turn drive up demand for organic wine. The planned events during the week (20 to 26 September) are going to span across many different markets. Activities are planned in New Zealand and London, as well as a number of online webinars and tastings within the markets, focussing on a variety of themes, some of which will be a key part of the Winter Symposia. Many of our OWNZ members are also busy planning their own events to celebrate the week and tell their stories. Summer has been slow to arrive in England, with many cool rainy days. However, the forecast for the next two weeks is looking bright. A very English summer! Sarah Booker works in Marketing and Events for OWNZ
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MR GRUMPY It’s a funny old world
SOME TIME ago I was asked to host a corporate wine tasting by a management consulting company. They gave me a decent budget of $80 a bottle. The guests were mostly CEOs of large companies. After the formalities were over, I was enjoying a glass with three other guests when one of them commented, “I’ve never tasted a wine as good as this before”. He then added, “mind you I never pay more than $15 a bottle”. The other guests nodded in agreement. I had a vision of them climbing into their hi-spec Mercedes before driving home to enjoy an exquisitely prepared meal with a glass of $15 Merlot. Contrast that with a recent major international drug bust involving the Comanchero Outlaw Motorcycle Gang. The South Australian Police
seized a large quantity of drugs, cash, luxury cars and… wait for it… “A number of extensive wine collections - including two full sets of Penfolds Grange worth $400,000 each.”
Lamb and Pinot Gris ANY MENTION of slow-cooked lamb has me fossicking around in my cellar in search of a big, well-aged red. There is something about the rich, gelatinousness of fall-off-the-bone braised lamb that demands the sort of wine that might include words such as “Bovril, beef tea or even forest floor” in the tasting note. I came across an intriguing lamb dish by Sam Mannering in the Canvas section of the Sunday Star Times that encouraged me to break the “red wine with red meat” guideline. I had decanted a bottle of Malbec-dominant 2018 Esk Valley Heipipi The Terraces which worked reasonably well, but the fragrant aroma of coriander, spring onions, ginger and chilli had me raiding my wine cabinet in search for an even better partnership.
NZ WINEGROWER AUGUST/SEPTEMBER 2021
A zesty 2020 Paddy Borthwick Chardonnay, Wairarapa, out-gunned the Esk Valley red as did a 2020 Dry River Lovat Vineyard Gewürztraminer from Martinborough, although the latter wine verged on overpowering the dish. My favourite match was a crisp, off-dry 2020 Flaxmore Pinot Gris from Nelson which mirrored the sweet/sour notes in the dish and helped emphasise its gentle spiciness. Slow-cooked lamb with chilli, soy, ginger and coriander is a great dish, made even greater with the help of a crisp and ethereal Pinot Gris. Find the recipe at: stuff.co.nz/life-style/food-wine/ recipes/300300554/recipe-slowcooked-lamb-withchilli-soy-ginger-and-coriander
Amphorae AN AMPHORA is a pottery vessel used to transport liquids including wine. They were widely used in the Mediterranean thousands of years ago. Shapes varied considerably, but most had two handles, a mouth narrow enough to be stoppered and were tapered at the bottom. A spike at the bottom acted as an extra handle making them easier to manhandle. The inner surface was coated with pine resin to reduce porosity. Amphorae were typically sealed with a clay lid or had a cork pushed into the neck and sealed with mortar. The term “amphora” became an expression of capacity in Roman times, about 26 1/7 of a gallon. Interested in owning an ancient amphora? An Auckland-based dealer in antiquities, antiquarius. co.nz, is offering a “White Ware Amphora” from Cyprus for the comparatively modest price of $1,000. It stands 26 centimetres high and was made around 700 BC. I don’t own an amphora but I do have a 2,400-year-old Greek Skyphos, a two-handled pottery drinking vessel purchased from Antiquarius. Apparently they were used to play drinking games. Fun-loving Greeks would throw the dregs in their skyphos over a beam and into a bucket. The prize? Slaves or kisses.
A matter of taste MIKE OLD of Lauregan Wines took exception to Bob’s last column, To Decant or Not to Decant? “I don’t agree at all with Bob Campbell disregarding the benefits of decanting wine,” wrote Mike in an email to the editor. “There are good wines whose structure requires getting a good amount of air to show their best which is most effectively achieved by decanter.”
Bob responds: “I aerate every wine I taste by choosing to use a voluminous glass and swirling the wine vigorously. I find it interesting to see how different wines change with aeration. Some appear to change very little while others change a great deal. An understanding of how different wines react to air helps me to drink wine at its best. I have learned to swirl fragile old wines very gently if at all, and robust, youthful reds more vigorously. One interesting observation from aerated vs non-aerated tastings in my wine classes is the fact that some people prefer the often punchier fruitiness of non-aerated wine while others like the more mellow character that aeration can induce. I encourage students to experiment with aerating and decide whether they should do it routinely, selectively or not at all. It is important to keep an open mind and respect the fact that we have individual tastes.”
Who will be the Corteva Young Viticulturist of the Year 2021? AUCKLAND Courtney Sang, Obsidian
HAWKE’S BAY Sam Bain, Villa Maria
WAIRARAPA Albie Feary, Ata Rangi
MARLBOROUGH Jess Wilson, Whitehaven
N.CANTERBURY Tristan van Schalkwyk, The Bone Line
CENTRAL OTAGO Katrina Jackson, Chard Farm
A huge thank you to all our sponsors for making this competition possible
NATIONAL FINAL Winner receives: Hyundai Kona for a year, Ecotrellis Travel Grant, Corteva Educational Trip, Leadership week, cash and support to Young Hort. The winner will be announced at the Awards Dinner on 26th August 2021
NZ WINEGROWER AUGUST/SEPTEMBER 2021 // 61
The Places Point of View
Predator Free 2050 Pg 63
Wine Weather James Morrison Pg 66
Regional Finalists Pg 68
Biosecurity Update Spray Days Pg 72
On your Behalf New levy rate Pg 74
Social Pages Matariki Pg 78
Machinery News Nuts and Bolts Pg 80
Point of view Predator Free 2050 TONY HOKSBERGEN NEW ZEALAND. We are a unique
land with an amazing array of natural resources and diversity of landscapes, climates and soils. We have unique fauna and flora which once flourished under our splendid isolation. The wine industry today works hard and very successfully to convert the expression of the land and the environment into something our country can be proud of by utilising the skills and passion of many dedicated people. However, there is another part to the story about our use of our land. Since the advent of people arriving here, our footprint on the land has had dramatic consequences.
The farming areas of the country, including those where vineyards are located, have been dramatically modified from their natural state. The conversion of this natural environment has come at significant cost to our native species, but over recent years there has been a noticeable increase in awareness of this issue. There is now a significant groundswell of individuals and groups of people who are wanting to reconnect with our natural heritage and to do something meaningful about restoring some balance. One way they are doing this is by taking on the enormous challenge
of increasing biodiversity through the planting of trees and reducing pest populations to create environments where our native species can re-establish. I am a firm believer that the wine industry has been, and continues to be, at the forefront of progressive initiatives. Using one small example that is relevant to this article; just look at what has been achieved with Sustainable Winegrowing since its inception approximately 25 years ago. Building on this, there has been increasing uptake in organic farming practices, and now regenerative farming is
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flourishing ecosystem but this will not happen by itself. Most of you will be aware of the Predator Free New Zealand initiative and its 2050 goal. Around the country there are multiple volunteer groups supporting broader council
some of my time each week in my local community checking traplines for these pests, I can say it is hugely rewarding removing a successful catch from a trap and enjoying the ever increasing presence of tūi, bellbirds, kererū, kākā,
“These initiatives provide an amazing opportunity to establish a flourishing ecosystem but this will not happen by itself.”
or government initiatives to undertake pest control in special areas. There is a huge amount of support for those who, with a little investment in time, can learn about predator trapping with the focus predominantly on rats, mustelids and opossums. As someone who contributes
dotterels, and other native birds in my rural community. I am aware some of you are already taking steps on your own properties. To those of you who aren’t and have a native planting close to your vineyard, I urge you to give it a go and over time you will see the ecosystem recover. Even if you don’t have time yourself, if
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you put the word about, I am sure your area will have local volunteers who will monitor your traplines. With vineyards spread across so many diverse habitats from the far north to down south, we can reach so many different species. And this is also potentially a great story for our industry. A broader ecosystem approach to your sustainability programme might enhance your reputation with your customers by demonstrating, in a meaningful and tangible way, that you work with the land and your communities – that you are doing your bit to try and turn around the sad story of our declining native wildlife. Many in our industry are already so well placed. We have people who already have an inherent interest in the land and its sustainable use. So if you are not already giving it a go, even if you don’t aspire to the bigger Predator Free New Zealand challenge, I urge you to consider it on your
Where to go for help YOUR LOCAL council may be able to advise on initiatives and assistance within your region but otherwise there are good resources online, including: predatorfreenz.org doc.govt.nz kiwisforkiwi.org
own small scale. Every little effort helps, and you may find it will enrich your life along the way. Point of V ie w is a ne w Winegrower magazine opinion column. If you have an idea of how to make our industry a leader in sustainability, contact Sophie at sophie@sophiepreece. co.nz
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Rosé Bird Feeders A PICTON predator free project has teamed up with a Marlborough winery to help bring bird song back to the Sounds. Picton Dawn Chorus and Two Rivers have combined forces to create an effective bird feeder out of Rosé bottles, as a social enterprise to help pay for trapping. Chris Webb, from Picton Dawn Chorus, trialled the bird bottle, including a trick of adding a drop or two of red food colouring into the sugar water. That makes it look like Rosé and seems to attract tui to the feeder, he says. Trials have seen a sweet success, with three to four tui calling into Chris’s front driveway at a time, while bellbirds and wax eyes wait their turn. Two Rivers founder and Winemaker David Clouston has long been a supporter of Picton Dawn Chorus, as a sponsor of one of the many pest trap lines around Picton, by gifting his Rosé for events, and now by providing bottles for the bird feeders. “It’s great what Picton Dawn Chorus are doing,” says David. “This is a small way of giving back. We have a bach down at the Sounds, and it’s so important that our kids get to hear those birds like we did when we were kids, and in 30 years hopefully they will be hearing that bird song still.” The feeders are going into production in August and will be available at this year’s Rapaura Springs Garden Marlborough, from the Picton Environment Centre, or through the Picton Dawn Chorus website pictondawnchorus.co.nz.
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Wine Weather From El Neither to La Niña 2 JAMES MORRISON Misha’s Vineyard
LA NIÑA came and went in
early 2021, but it felt like it never completely went away. And as winter has progressed, co nd i t i o n s h ave l o o ke d increasingly like what we would expect from a La Niña lens on our climate and day to day weather. Now, climatologists are talking more confidently about a return to La Niña later in 2021 and pushing through into 2022. It is not unusual for this fluctuation in the Southern Oscillation Index (SOI) to last two years or more. The last long-term La Niña took place from 1998 through to 2001, and a weaker La Niña phase ran from 2006 through to 2012, broken by weak El Niño phases in 2007 and 2010. The outlook for another La Niña spring and summer will be consistent with other years. There is an increased risk of rain in the east along with higher than average humidity and night time temperatures.
The early part of spring in 2021 may not be affected in the same way and that is where we are focussing as we move through late winter and a new growing season arrives. What has been going on? After a first half of 2021 dominated by high pressure, it is now the turn of low pressure and July has been a very topsy turvy month. Cold outbreaks followed by high pressure and severe frost has been a hallmark. Long range modelling is suggesting that an increase in westerlies is on the way, but air pressure continues to remain low over New Zealand. This doesn’t help long range forecasting and tends to keep forecast confidence low once we are out past seven to 10 days. Sea temperatures remain above the long-term average and this will help to push temperatures up across the country.
NZ WINEGROWER AUGUST/SEPTEMBER 2021
Outlook for Aug/Sep: Gisborne/Hawke’s Bay Wa r m e r t h a n a v e r a g e temperatures, but with an increased easterly flow, there may be a smaller range of temperature than normal. Humidity levels are likely to be above normal and there is a chance of rainfall being above average thanks to low pressure systems passing by the upper North Island from time to time. The number of frosty mornings is likely to near average early on with the risk of frost under a developing northwest flow, or under a weak ridge as low pressure systems move away to the east. Wairarapa Like the rest of the country, Wairarapa should see mean temperatures running above average through the early
part of spring. Humid east to northeast conditions should increase cloud cover at times and reduce the risk of frost, however, there will still be a risk of frost through early spring under a light northwest flow. Nelson An increase in westerly conditions could see drier than average conditions across the region. Any major rain events will require low pressure to track across the lower North Island or an active front on a north to northwest flow. The risk of frost through August and September is likely to be close to average. Mean temperatures remain near or above average. Marlborough/North Canterbury August and early September may see a few more cold changes but these should
re d uce q u ick l y by l ate September. The number of frosts is likely to be close to average for early spring, but as westerly winds increase timing will be critical as any ridging may become quite short lived. Mean temperatures are near or a little above average. Rainfall remains close to average. Central Otago With an increase in westerly conditions possible through late winter, we may see quite
unsettled weather at times into mid-September. Winds are likely to become stronger for periods so a large fluctuation in temperature is possible as milder northwesterlies give way to cold but short lived southerly changes. The number of frosty mornings remains near average and rainfall totals should be close to average also.
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James Morrison runs Weatherstation Frost Forecasting Ltd – weatherstation.net.nz
Frost forecasting this spring WHEN FORECASTING, we look at a number of critical risk
factors to help make a decision around temperature. Some of these include understanding which synoptic patterns are most likely to bring frost to your area. Is it a light northwest flow or a building high pressure system; does it only freeze under a stronger southwest flow? Dew points can be useful in determining how fast the air is likely to cool under clear, calm conditions. A low dew point means that temperatures will potentially fall quickly once the heating from the sun has gone and day time winds have departed. Humidity in the upper atmosphere can also give an indication of how dry the air is above a region, and this can also determine how fast temperatures will fall under ideal conditions. Technology is constantly changing and helping improve forecasting around the world. In Aotearoa we have a challenging environment. Being nearly 2,000 kilometres long and running from 34 degrees north to 47 degrees south, the variety of climate and geography of our country provides a daily challenge to forecasters and climatologists. Companies are always working to improve forecasts and help to reduce risk for growers associated with frost, disease, planning and managing daily work schedules. This spring, Weatherstation Frost Forecasting are launching a forecast app focussing on frost. We will collect data from more weather stations and growers to use alongside machine learning for a process that improves forecasting and real time analysis of frost events. Our understanding of synoptic processes will help as we start to factor climate change and variability into the mix. This tool will be constantly updated and improved over time to provide more detailed and microscale forecasting. If you are looking for frost forecasts then there has never been a better time than this season to jump on board.
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At the top of their field In the lead up to the Corteva Young Viticulturist of the Year National Final 2021, we get to know a bit about the regional finalists from around the country. Albie Feary Machinery and Vineyard Operator at Ata Rangi, Wairarapa. What brought you to viticulture? I was drawn to viticulture because of my love of plants and the changing seasons, as well as the intrigue that winemaking held for me. I wanted a life that was connected to growing something from the soil, and the grapevine is an incredible perennial that so clearly shows what a place is capable of. What do you enjoy most about your work? I love my field of work because it’s incredibly gratifying, dynamic and connecting. I am lucky to have a hand in the soil (or in my case often the tractor wheel) and a hand in the fermenter. Having balance between vineyard and winery
“A career in viticulture is a lifelong learning experience surrounded by good people and good wine.” Courtney Sang
is important to me, and learning from the greats here at Ata Rangi is a real privilege. We have a lot of fun and the community vibes are solid here. What are the most exciting developments in your field? And the most exciting developments in your region’s wine industry? Being a dynamic industry, the exciting developments in
NZ WINEGROWER AUGUST/SEPTEMBER 2021
the Wairarapa are closely linked to treading lightly on our piece of dirt and how in turn we can grow better quality grapes for a better economic outcome. More and more, the conversations around soil health and vine health are being discussed and acted upon. It’s great to see how we are moving away from the macro and delving into the micro as to how each particular soil site needs different care. This is particularly true in terms of restricted use of water as a precious resource as well as cover crops planted between rows for fostering tiny microbial livestock beneath the ground. There’s also a movement of ‘soft pruning’ techniques regarding important pruning decisions that are sympathetic to sap flow which are helping to prolong vine life and reduce spray and labour inputs. Sum up a career in viticulture in 10 words or fewer.
A lifelong learning experience surrounded by good people and good wine.
Courtney Sang Assistant Winemaker and Vineyard Supervisor at Obsidian Wines, Waiheke Island What brought you to viticulture? I began my career as a chemical engineer, but after a quarter-life crisis I decided to join the wine industry and so completed a Postgraduate Diploma in Wine Science from the University of Auckland. I haven’t looked back and have loved being around vines and wines ever since.
“The vine is always right.”
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What do you enjoy most about your work? I love working in an industry where everyone is so passionate. Having a joint passion with the people around you is inspiring, it keeps you motivated and the challenges that we experience become a problem shared. The wine industry is an amazing community that connects people from around the world. What are the most exciting developments in your field? The amount of new technology that is being developed for viticulture is incredibly exciting. Anything that makes looking after our vines easier, more efficient, and more successful is a welcome prospect. Being able to scale these technologies and developments for smaller grape growers, like us here on Waiheke Island, where our biggest vineyards are just a few hectares and we have a particularly challenging environment to grow grapes, would be of particular interest to me. Sum up a career in viticulture in 10 words or fewer. The vine is always right.
Jess Wilson Viticulturist at Whitehaven Wines, Marlborough What brought you to viticulture? I loved science at school but didn’t want to be stuck in an office, so I went to Lincoln
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“Viticulture is challenging, diverse, exciting and innovative.” University to have a look and the Bachelor of Viticulture and Oenology caught my attention because of the combination of science and practical outdoor work. What do you enjoy most about your work? I think my job is the perfect combination of science, outdoors, practical knowledge and people. No two seasons are the same, so each year provides a new challenge. What are the most exciting developments in your field? As an industry I feel that we are always looking to the future and towards new innovations. For me personally, we are working on a development where we are trialling Eco Trellis, Future Posts and subsurface irrigation. It will be a site we can learn from for the future of our company. And the most exciting developments in your region’s wine industry? As a region Marlborough is slowly running out of land so we are having to come up with ways to farm smarter, be more
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industry? Seeing how the industry grows, introducing more wine varieties and styles to our already growing repertoire of brilliant wines. Sum up a career in viticulture in 10 words or fewer. Always changing, always interesting, always producing delicious wines
sustainable and really invest in the future health of the land. They aren’t ‘new’ concepts, but there is more investment in what is referred to as regenerative viticulture. This last year, driving around you see so many more vineyards experimenting with cover crops and fenceline plantings; the biodiversity of our region will definitely benefit. Sum up a career in viticulture in 10 words or fewer Viticulture is challenging, diverse, exciting and innovative.
Katrina Jackson Assistant Vineyard Manager at Chard Farm, Central Otago What brought you to viticulture? I had always had an interest in wine from when I was young; originally I wanted to become
a winemaker. I went to Lincoln University and moved down to Central Otago for a vintage, but I fell in love working the vineyards in Central Otago What do you enjoy most about your work? I love being outdoors, getting fresh air, but mostly I love the variation in the job; one day can be one job and then off to the next another day. Working with people from all over the world is such an exciting part of this industry too. What are the most exciting developments in your field? Over the last few years we have had more and more success with our regenerative viticulture trials. Increasing the biodiversity of the vineyard and improving the vineyard soil, whilst trying to reduce sprays and fertiliser applications. And the most excited developments in your region’s wine
Sam Bain Springhill Vineyard Manager at Villa Maria Estate, Hawke’s Bay What brought you to viticulture? I was studying a different career path and decided I needed a change. I had worked summer breaks in the vineyards and had enjoyed the experience, so decided to give
it a go and see what happens. What do you enjoy most about your work? The ability to work outdoors and be a part of growing and producing a high-end product that can be enjoyed with your family and friends. What are the most exciting developments in your field? The use of technology to help map, track and record data to provide to the wider team who manage the vineyards, which in turn helps produce the best wines we possibly can. And the most exciting developments in your region’s wine industry? Extensive trials and research have been put into undervine plantings that are beneficial to the vineyard ecosystem but do not compete with the vine for
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IT WOULD BE STINK IF THESE GOT INTO NEW ZEALAND
Tristian van Schalkwyk
nutrients and minerals. The ability to reduce and/or remove glyphosate from the vineyard is an ongoing conversation which aligns with sustainability. To be able to trial new native species and see the results is a move in the right direction. Sum up a career in viticulture in 10 words or fewer. Exciting, fast paced, where no day is ever the same
Tristan van Schalkwyk Assistant Viticultural Technician at The Bone Line, North Canterbury What brought you to viticulture? I was deciding whether I wanted to move to Lincoln to study viticulture or stay in Auckland. I worked a day in a vineyard with a friend, really enjoyed it, and decided that this is what I wanted to do. So I started my degree and have enjoyed where it’s taken me so far. What do you enjoy most about your work? The aspect I love most about working where I do is the views. The Bone Line is in my mind one of the most scenic spots in New Zealand, and working in the dramatic landscape and seeing some incredible sunrises make the job extra special. What are the most exciting developments in your field?
The development of machinery and equipment is very exciting. As the technology for machinery becomes more and more developed and implemented within vineyards, there is some pretty exciting equipment out there for use. And the most exciting development in your region’s wine industry? The most exciting development in the region is the coming together of a sense of community within the industry. As North Canterbury has been developing as a wine industry, the sense of community between vineyards has also grown and is still growing. I am excited to see a continual development in growing relations between the vineyards. Sum up a career in viticulture in 10 words or fewer. Challenging, demanding, evolving and rewarding with its exciting opportunities. The Corteva Young Viticulturist of the Year National Final 2021 will be held at Bankhouse Estate in Marlborough on 25 August, with the National Final Awards Dinner to be held on 26 August. nzwine.com/en/initiatives/ young-vit
The brown marmorated stink bug is a pest that infests homes, ruins gardens, stinks when crushed, and is almost impossible to get rid of. It could also destroy our fruit and vegetable industries. It’s not in New Zealand yet, and we want to keep it that way. So if you see one, don’t kill it. Catch it, take a photo, and call us on 0800 80 99 66.
Look for black & white banding on the antennae
For more information (including how to identify the bug) visit biosecurity.govt.nz/stinkbug
Look for black & white banding on the sides of the abdomen
Stink Bugs not shown actual size. (Actual size approx. 1.7cm long)
NZ WINEGROWER AUGUST/SEPTEMBER 2021 // 71
Developing a Vineyard Biosecurity Plan JIM HERDMAN Pask Winery
DURING AUGUST, I will be on the road attending the Spray Days events around the country. The main aim of the biosecurity session at Spray Days is to help members who would like assistance developing a biosecurity plan for their vineyard. I will have hard copies of New Zealand Winegrowers’ (NZW) biosecurity resources to give to members who attend these sessions. Biosecurity planning should be a reasonably straightforward process for members who have not completed a plan before. Working through the biosecurity plan template and seeing where you can improve awareness, processes, and infrastructure should take no longer than an hour or two at the most. Implementation can be undertaken over time, allowing time to budget for any costs that may be incurred. Biosecurity is about protecting New Zealand from the risks posed by unwanted pests and diseases. All NZW
members should be a part of the biosecurity system and should be playing their role to protect our industry. Biosecurity threats could affect vineyard profitability, jobs, and the community. The next significant threat could be here already, undetected and spreading. You have the power to protect your livelihood and investments. Vineyard owners, managers, and staff need to manage risk to prevent the introduction of unwanted organisms, prevent their spread if they do arrive, and always maintain vigilance so they can be detected quickly. Growers also need to play their part in ensuring people who come onto the vineyard, such as contractors, tradespeople,
and other visitors, are aware of any biosecurity risks they might pose or encounter. The Vineyard Biosecurity Plan template has been created as a resource for NZW members to aid with development of a plan. It outlines current best practices in a range of key areas. However, each vineyard is different, as is the level of risk each manager or owner will be comfortable with accepting. Growers should develop a plan for their site consistent with the level of biosecurity risk management they wish to implement, which addresses the key risks for their vineyard. Informed risk management is key to successful biosecurity management. Growers can control the
If you haven’t already, please complete your 2021 Biosecurity Vineyard Register submission. If you can’t make it to Spray Days and would like assistance with completing a biosecurity plan, please make contact via email at email@example.com or give Jim Herdman a call on 027 644 8010.
NZ WINEGROWER AUGUST/SEPTEMBER 2021
entry of pests and diseases onto their vineyard by taking steps to manage the movement of people, vehicles, machinery, stock, seeds, and plant material as they pass through the vineyard gate. The Vineyard Biosecurity Plan template will enable you to develop a plan to help protect your vineyard against a biosecurity incursion and to identify an incursion quickly if it happens. The template is broken down into nine actions. It links with the Vineyard Biosecurity Guidelines for Best Practice, which is also available and is designed as a training aid for vineyard staff and contractors.
The nine actions in the Vineyard Biosecurity Plan template are: • Promote vineyard biosecurity awareness. Biosecurity awareness usually costs very little; the only costs are staff time to get up to speed with pests and diseases threats, possible vectors using the NZW
resources, and signage or sign-in protocols for vineyard entry points. • Brief visitors, personnel, and contractors. Sign-in procedures for most vineyards should be a part of “business as usual,” and incorporating biosecurity in this process should be reasonably easy for most organisations. If you are not already doing so, consider incorporating an electronic sign-in process that includes some biosecurity notifications. • Under take vineyard biosecurity surveillance. Sur veillance is part of your core business, and incorporating biosecurity threats should be an easy add-on for most vineyard operations. Ensure your staff, contractors, and crop scouts know about the most unwanted exotic pests and diseases, and how to Catch
it, Snap it, Report it (to 0800 80 99 66) if they see anything suspicious. • Vehicle and machinery management. Vehicle and machiner y hygiene and tracking is the key to good biosecurity practice. If you engage contractors, discuss biosecurity with them and ensure their equipment has been cleaned prior to entering the vineyard. Another critical point to remember is to check and clean, where appropriate, any new items that may have come from overseas or areas with known biosecurity risks. • Manage biological materials, products, and supplies. Ensure any new vines are certified to the Grafted Grapevine Standard. Tracking and tracing any other biological material on site is also essential. Make sure you are sourcing this material from reputable
suppliers, and it has been checked for anything that may compromise vineyard biosecurity before it enters the vineyard. • Manage stock. Grazing stock can be a valuable tool in the vineyard, especially sheep, but this comes with biosecurity risks. The most important point to consider is knowing where the stock has been prior to entering the vineyard to ensure it is not introducing any pests. There are also regulatory considerations; make sure you are aware of your responsibilities. • Install and maintain washdown fac ilities . Installing and maintaining a quality washdown facility on the vineyard is a critical part of vineyard infrastructure and an essential part of any biosecurity action plan. If you have not yet installed a washdown facility, planning
to do so should be part of your long-term capital plan. • Under take tool and equipment hygiene. Tool hygiene should be part of best practice in any vineyard. Keeping tools well maintained, clean, sharp, and sanitised should be part of business as usual. Again when engaging contractors, discuss biosecurity and make sure they are following best practice. • Manage biosecurity at harvest. Harvest is the busiest part of the vineyard calendar, and it is easy to forget about biosecurity when the pressure is on to complete tasks. Technology can help with tracking and tracing people and machinery, but there is no real shortcut to hygiene protocols. To see Spray Days events go to page 40 Register at nzwine.com/members/ events/workshops/spray-days-2021/
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NZ WINEGROWER AUGUST/SEPTEMBER 2021 // 73
On your Behalf
Advocacy on matters of vital importance to the industry.
New Levy Rates and the Levy Vote SARAH WILSON
NEW LEVY RATE ON 24 June 2021, the New Zealand Winegrowers (NZW) Board set the following levy rates for the year 1 July 2021 to 30 June 2022: • Wine levy: The levy rate to apply to sales of grape wine is 2.75 cents + GST per litre • Grape levy: The levy rate on winegrapes from vintage 2022 is 0.825% + GST of the
farmgate price, and includes: - grapes sold or exported by or on behalf of the grower; - or made into grape juice or grape juice concentrate that is sold or exported by or on behalf of the grower. These rates are set by NZW pursuant to clause 11 of the Commodity Levies (Winegrapes) Order 2016 and clause 9 of the Wine (Grape
Wine Levy) Order 2016. If you have any questions, please contact our advocacy team at firstname.lastname@example.org.
UPCOMING LEVY VOTE This coming September, growers and wineries will be asked to cast their votes on the future of the grape and wine levies which fund NZW.
Timeframes • More details about the proposals, including the draft ballot paper, will be made available on the NZW website shortly.
Kickstart your vines this Spring Apply Mycorrcin at budbreak to activate your soil microbiology when the vine needs it. Mycorrcin boosts beneficial soil microbes, including mycorrhizal fungi, to help general plant health and improve wine quality by increasing nutrient uptake in the vine.
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• On 6 August 2021 there will be a webinar with more details about the levy votes. You can submit questions in advance by email to email@example.com • Vo t i n g o p e n s o n 2 0 September. • Voting closes on 1 October, and the result will be made available shortly afterwards.
What am I being asked to vote on? There are two votes being held simultaneously – one on the grape levy and another on the wine levy. Some NZW members will be eligible to vote for one levy, and others will be eligible to vote in both. The NZW Board has not recommended any change to the key levy parameters that members have been familiar with over the past five years. This means it is proposed that: • The separate levies on grapes and wine are retained.
On 6 August 2021 there will be a webinar with more details about the levy votes. You can submit questions in advance by email to firstname.lastname@example.org • The basis of the levies (volume for wine and value for grapes) remains unchanged. • There is no change to the m a x i m u m l e v y rate s allowed – these rates are above the current rates that are actually payable by members. • The levy rates will be set annually by the NZW Board. • The maximum payment for large levy payers is retained, as is the fact there is no minimum payment by any member.
How will the vote work? The vote is being administered by an independent organisation, Electionz.com, who have run other recent elections for NZW (including our 2020 Board elections). Your voting forms will come from Electionz.com rather
than from NZW, so keep an eye out for these in your inbox. To get a positive result in the grape levy referendum requires that , of those members who vote, 50 percent by number and 50 percent by value of levy payment must vote in favour of the levy. For wine, the requirement is 60 percent voting in favour. If the levy orders are renewed, this will take effect on 1 July 2022 for a further six years. Sarah Wilson is General Manager Advocacy and General Counsel at New Zealand Winegrowers.
Where can I find more information? More details are available on the NZW website, and these will be updated throughout the process: nzwine.com/members/advocacy/levies-excise/ You can also email email@example.com with any questions.
Apply Gypsum now
to improve soil structure and drainage during winter months Gypsum (Calcium Sulphate)
applications are an effective way of improving soil structure to facilitate grapevine root development in early years of vineyard establishment. Gypsum improves soil structure. Displaces sodium binding clay soils Gypsum helps reclaim sodic soils. Where the exchangeable sodium percentage (ESP) of sodic soils is too high, it must be decreased for soil improvement and better crop growth. Adding gypsum supplies calcium, which replaces the sodium held on the clay-binding sites. The sodium can then be leached from the soil as sodium sulfate to an appropriate sink.
Gypsum improves swelling clays. Gypsum can decrease swelling and cracking associated with levels of exchangeable sodium on clays. As sodium is replaced by calcium on clays, they swell less therefore, do not easily clog the pore spaces through which air, water and roots move. Gypsum prevents waterlogging of soil. Gypsum improves the ability of soil to drain and not become waterlogged due to a combination of high sodium, swelling clay and excess water. Gypsum as a fertiliser. Gypsum is a readily available source of essential nutrients Calcium and Sulphur in pH neutral form. Gypsum multiplies value of other inputs. Gypsum can improve the response to all other inputs including fertilisers.
For more information contact your local fertiliser company, horticultural supplier or call 0800 100 442 Gypsum_Wine Grower_July_180x120mm.indd 1
gypsum.co.nz 21/07/21 12:30 PM NZ WINEGROWER AUGUST/SEPTEMBER 2021 // 75
On your Behalf
Advocacy on matters of vital importance to the industry.
RSE scheme is here to stay NICOLA CRENNAN
AT THE recent RSE Conference in Nelson, the Minister of Immigration, Kris Faafoi, repeated the Government’s commitment to the scheme, and recognised the important role thousands of Pacific Island workers play across the vital seasonal tasks for the horticulture and wine industries. He also confirmed that the current cap of 14,400 Recognised Seasonal Employer (RSE) Scheme workers would remain in place for the next year. This is positive news, and adds to the additional movement of a plane-load every fortnight under the Border Exception 2.0. However, there is rising industry concern at the likely shortage of RSE workers for the next peak tasks leading into spring and summer. A recent study of New Zealand-based RSE workers’ interest in receiving Covid-19 vaccinations revealed that of the 6,500 RSE worker respondents, over 50 percent were interested in repatriating, thus requiring a vaccine to meet their home country requirements. If this repatriation rate is achieved, industry estimates there would be under 7,000 RSE workers in New Zealand in March 2022, approximately half the current cap. Taking this into account, industry’s request for Government to consider quarantine-free travel to New Zealand from Covid— free RSE sending countries becomes even more important. New Zealand Winegrowers continues to work alongside Horticulture New Zealand and the other industry groups to make progress in these areas, and have developed an industry ‘blueprint’ for Government to consider.
NZW have also raised the issue of the flow of skilled RSE workers to Australian schemes, where they have longer visas, no cap and no quarantine, combining to make Australia a favoured destination ahead of Nicola Crennan New Zealand. The Minister updated conference attendees, saying the review of RSE policy has been postponed until 2022. The key areas under discussion were the cap, the allocation method and considering the scope of RSE activities, including whether wineries could be added. NZW will be ready to engage on these issues when the review restarts. Long-stay RSE workers have been away from family and communities for much longer periods than normal, and have worked tirelessly to help make sure our industry continues to produce quality grapes to make New Zealand’s world-class premium wine. The RSE employers are doing their utmost to support these workers, and are taking extra steps to look after their workers’ wellbeing until there is more certainty on when they can return home and have a clearer pathway to return. NZW wishes to offer our sympathies for the recent deaths in the RSE community and express our condolences to the RSE family and community both here and in the Pacific.
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New Strategies for a New World. Changing European Union criteria for chemicals must force a re-think on how we control fungal diseases. By Chris Henry, Henry Manufacturing Ltd
The world is changing, and our industry must change with it. Right now, New Zealand growers need to find a replacement strategy for chemicals that will no longer be accepted in European markets. This is a reality that all growers understand. We are starting to see active change. The EU is not renewing the authorisation for use of Mancozeb ® and is also reviewing other dithiocarbamate products. Further restrictions on chemistry and chemical residues, particularly from the EU, will be an inevitable part of New Zealand’s wine growing future. There is a great opportunity here for New Zealand. New Zealand is fortunate. We do not have the pest and disease pressure that other countries face from pathogens such as Pierce’s disease, Red Blotch and other viruses. Effective protection and eradication strategies with MRL-exempt products for all the major fungal diseases are available in New Zealand right now - if we chose to go that way (Downy Mildew eradication excluded). We can decide whether we simply react to market regulations in the short term, and just replace one chemical with another. Or whether we take the lead and learn how to grow without synthetic chemistry altogether.
The latter path would create an excellent story for our wines, that almost no other national growing area can match. Henry Manufacturing have spent decades researching and trialling products that support a non-residual approach to disease control, for both Powdery and Downy Mildew and Botrytis. A program of our products and others, in conjunction with good vineyard practice, canopy management and correct spray application, have been proven to perform as well as conventional chemistry. Currently, the only exception is highvigour Sauvignon Blanc when grown on a VSP trellis. However, promising research last season - to be validated by data in the season ahead - will most likely lead to its inclusion. This is not a call for conversion to organics.
Begin the transition now • Spray from budburst for early season Powdery and Downy Mildew control • 1l/100L Protector plus 30g/100L Nordox® (pre-mixed before adding to spray tank) • Add Sulphur if you wish (contact with sulphur kills PM spores regardless of temperature)
But it is a call to growers to begin a planned transition to a more futurefocused way of growing. Growers can break the reliance on dithiocarbamate products for early season downy mildew and powdery mildew control with applications of Protectorhml and very low rates of copper. Sulphur can be added if you wish. I am always happy to talk about your grape growing business, MRL-exempt materials and other simple things that can improve growing performance.
Call Chris Henry on 027 294 1490 email@example.com www.henrymanufacturing.co.nz
Celebrating Matariki @TOHUWINES
Matariki is a cluster of stars which rise in the midwinter sky, symbolising the Māori new year under the Māramataka Lunar Calendar.
The appearance of Matariki heralds a time of remembrance, joy and peace. It is also time for communities to come together and share the bounty of the harvest with whanau and friends. Check out these images showing how the wine industry celebrated Matariki, and the beauty of midwinter in Aotearoa.
NUMB ER OF STARS IN MATARIKI
MATARIKI PUB LIC HOLIDAY: @AKARUAWINES
24 JUNE 2022
O N #NZWINE
NZ WINEGROWER AUGUST/SEPTEMBER 2021
Don’t forget to use #nzwine or tag @nzwinegrowers for your chance to be featured.
« Si c’est Diam, je dis Oui ! »
©©©Photo Photo Photo--R. -R.R.Sprang Sprang Sprang
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st Diam, je dis Oui ! » Diam, un bouchon incomparable. BOUCHON TECHNOLOGIQUE TECHNOLOGIQUE BOUCHON en liège. liège. en
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Nuts and Bolts
Mark Daniel’s updates on Machinery and Technology
Keeping a close eye on the vineyard The Cropsy crew: Hank Chou, left, with company founders Rory Buchanan, Winston Su, Leila Deljkovic and Ali Alomari.
CROPSY IS on a quest to help viticulturists reach their full potential using a unique and scalable artificial intelligence computer-vision system. The Kiwi start-up won the Early Stage and Young Innovators Awards, along with cheques for $11,000, at the recent National Fieldays Innovation Awards. The system is mounted to a tractor, utility terrain vehicle or ute, using its ‘eyes’ to pinpoint every single plant, leaf, fruit, shoot cane and trunk in realtime, as the vehicle passes through the vineyard. During the process, it eliminates sunlight, shadows and reflections to capture accurate colours and textures, regardless of the time of day or prevailing weather conditions. The result is a ‘digital twin’ of the vineyard - in essence, a map
showing areas of concern and patterns across the whole crop, allowing growers to see how a crop is performing or changing over time. Subsequent passes generate a broader picture, by gathering more data, allowing a more precise investigation of how things are changing over time. Said to offer an untouched realm of crop monitoring, the system can provide early warning of pest incursion or diseases, allowing a targeted a p p ro ac h to t re at m e n t decisions that can help reduce crop losses, alongside providing estimates of crop yield to improve supply chains, while also identifying underperforming or dying plants in the domain. The system also allows precision replanting of new vines to
NZ WINEGROWER AUGUST/SEPTEMBER 2021
replace failed plants. Teaming up with Amazon Web Services, the company uses the global supplier for computing power, data storage, machine learning and providing customer insights. As an example of the scale of the project, Cropsy has captured over five million images of grapes since April 2020, typically processing 600,000 images per device on a weekly basis. One of Cropsy ’s four co-founders, Leila Deljkovic, says vineyard crops need constant attention, but the scale of some operations means that owners or managers don’t always have the ability or time to monitor every plant. “By mounting our cameras to a vehicle that moves through the vineyard on a regular basis,
maybe mowing or spraying, the continually changing landscape of the vineyard can be assessed to make better management decisions.” The company, formed on the back of a joint research project for their engineering honours degrees, came about after talks with Plant & Food Research, who had identified a need to monitor viruses in the vinicultural and horticultural arenas. During recent trials, Cropsy has partnered with Pernod Ricard Winemakers, with a view to commercial placements in the coming season. This will be restricted to a selected group of growers, with an emphasis on geolocation of individual plants and a mapping of a plant’s key attributes. www.cropsy.tech
New SAM on the block W E L L K N O W N fo r i t s spreaders, feed wagons, tip trailers and quick hitches, Hamilton-based Coombridge and Alexander has added a new Orchard Spreader to its SAM machinery range. Designed for use in all types of crops including viticulture, the machine offers the ability to spread conventional materials like urea, superphosphate, lime and chicken manure to the rear, while also incorporating a front-mounted discharge conveyor for banding products like compost, vermicast or mulch - without any changeover time. Centred around a singleaxle chassis, a 2 cubic metre stainless steel bin is set low
and narrow to offer precise manoeuvrability in the vineyard or orchard. Overall dimensions of 4.75m long, 1.6m wide and 1.42m high, means the machine can move easily under canopies, alongside being easily loaded by smaller, specialised tractors. In the base of the bin, an 800mm wide belt conveyor can move loads rearwards or forwards at the flick of a switch. Material brought forwards meets a horizontal cross conveyor, that delivers to the right hand side, so clearly visible to the operator. Products like mulch can be dropped in a windrow, or placed in piles, while an instant start/stop function controls
both conveyors simultaneously, meaning the cross conveyor is pre-loaded for any restarts. In the case of the rear discharge mechanism, twin spreading discs sit on spinner tubes driven by individual hydraulic mo tors , w ith stainless steel used throughout. An in-cab controller allows the operator to select spreading or banding, in the case of the former, using target application rate, product density and tractor centres to deliver the required application rate automatically. K e y co m p o n e n t s a re protected by front and rear nudge bars, while the durability of the machines is enhanced
by attention to detail in the final finishes. Painted areas are subjected to an initial grit blasting process to remove any trace of grease or contaminants, before a pure zinc thermal arc spray coat, a primer coat and a two-pack epoxy paint final finish. Optional extras include a swivel hitch for difficult terrain, LED lighting for road work, axle risers and tyre options, alongside oil cooling and temperature monitoring. For job specific spreading tasks, there are also a right-side only spinner or centre-discharge blocking options. For more information visit sammachinery.co.nz
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FOR STATISTICS QUERIES CONTACT EMILY AT EMILY.TUNNICLIFFE@NZWINE.COM
Key Performance Indicators
MAY JUN 2020 2021
Keep an eye on how New Zealand wine is performing both domestically and internationally.
Total Value of Exports
$450.1m 4% UK
$385.6m 6% $116.8m 13% $61.0m 3% $27.4m 3%
$23.8m 9% $18.5m 36%
Packaged Wine Export
Unpackaged Wine Export
Unpackaged white wine price
Domestic Sales, Volume
All figures are for the 12 months to the date specified, figures are in $NZD unless otherwise specified
NZ WINEGROWER AUGUST/SEPTEMBER 2021
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A regular feature to inform industry people about research projects being undertaken for their benefit. Newly approved projects (when available) are briefly summarised and longer reports will describe what has been achieved so far. When completed, each project will be reported in full detail with references, on nzwine.com
Research Supplement Information and updates on Bragato Research Institute research programmes. Toi Toi
CONTRACTED RESEARCH PROJECTS Quality Wine Styles for Existing and Developing Markets Lighter wine (PGP) University of Auckland and Plant & Food Research (Various) Jointly funded by New Zealand Winegrowers (NZW) and Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) Primary Growth Partnership (PGP) fund. Breaking the qualityproductivity seesaw in wine grape production (Pinot Noir Programme) University of Auckland, Plant & Food Research and Lincoln University (Various) jointly funded by NZW and MBIE Exploring the chemical space in Vineyard Ecosystems (VE) Programme juices and wines University of Auckland (B Fedrizzi) The effect of winemaking decisions on polysaccharide content in wine University of Auckland (B Fedrizzi) Prevention of quercetin instability in bottled wine Villa Maria Wines Limited (E Taylor)
Understanding green character in Pinot Noir wine Lincoln University (A Borssato) Pests and Disease Improving remedial surgery practices for control of grapevine trunk disease to increase vineyard longevity Linnaeus (E van Zijll de Jong) Improving the outcomes of mealybug insecticide use in vineyards Plant and Food Research (V Bell) Harlequin ladybird in vineyards: monitoring a potentially invasive insect Plant & Food Research (V Bell)
Cost Reduction/ Increased Profitability Precision Grape Yield Analyser Programme 20162021 Lincoln Agritech Limited (A Werner)
Sustainability/Organics Vineyard Ecosystems Programme University of Auckland and Plant & Food Research (Various) Jointly funded by NZW and MBIE Optimisation of irrigation and water savings in Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Noir and Hawke’s Bay Chardonnay and Merlot Thoughtful Viticulture (M Krasnow)
The effect of herbicide, buffered herbicide and under-vine weeding on soil biological communities and other measures of soil health. Bragato Research Institute (M Barry)
Climate Change Climate case study – Managing hail damaged vineyards Bragato Research Institute (L Ibbotson)
Viticultural treatments for improving Syrah quality Thoughtful Viticulture (M Krasnow)
Microbial community and vine responses to increasing temperatures in the New Zealand context University of Auckland (S Knight)
A comparison of physical means to reduce rot versus chemical means in New Zealand vineyards Thoughtful Viticulture (M Krasnow)
Assessing foliar fertiliser for grapevine frost recovery Bragato Research Institute (L Ibbotson)
Understanding the global market potential for the adoption of Regenerative Agriculture (RA) in New Zealand. Beef and Lamb NZ Investigation of subsurface drip irrigation in vineyards Thoughtful Viticulture (M Krasnow)
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PINOT NOIR PROGRAMME
Pinot Noir – the sweeter, the redder Richard V Espley1, Jeff Bennett1, Mei Meiyalaghan2, Philippa Barrell2, Leandro Dias Araujo3, Helen Boldingh4 and Caitlin Elborough. 1 Institute of Plant & Food Research, Auckland, New Zealand, 2Institute of Plant & Food Research, Lincoln, New Zealand, 3 University of Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand, 4Institute of Plant & Food Research, Ruakura, New Zealand.
BACK IN 2019 (NEW Zealand Winegrower Magazine Issue 117), we reported on an entirely new system to test Pinot Noir berry quality. This approach used individual Pinot Noir berries, kept in the laboratory and cultured on media. It provided a way of removing all the complexities of testing berries in a vineyard environment, such as the vagaries of different weather conditions, soils, irrigation and nutrition. Using this berry culturing system, all the inputs for each berry could be standardised so that individual inputs could be tested. This berry culture system has been developed as part of the Pinot Noir Programme, led by the Bragato Research Institute (BRI), with research from The New Zealand Institute for Plant & Food Research Limited (PFR), Lincoln University and the University of Auckland. The research is funded by the Ministry of Business, Innovation & Employment (MBIE) through its Endeavour Programme. The process all starts with high quality Pinot Noir cuttings, taken in the winter, fumigated and cool stored until needed. In the spring, batches of cuttings are potted up as and when required and grown in a glasshouse where they flower and fruit. A strict spray regime is essential during growth, as once the berries go into culture any contamination from bacteria, yeast or fungi can quickly take over. Berries are selected at the prevéraison stage and surface sterilised before being placed in special plates, containing growth media. After testing numerous options for the media recipes and sterilisation techniques, the science team has been able to keep berries growing
NZ WINEGROWER AUGUST/SEPTEMBER 2021
12% Figure 1. Berries respond to different levels of sucrose in the media. Representative berries from one experiment with sucrose concentrations in the media at 2, 8 and 12%.
on these plates for months, with the berries going through véraison and developing into maturity. The idea behind all of this is to incorporate different inputs into the media. In other words, a way of mimicking what a berry might experience on the vine, but in a very controlled way. The team started with sugar. Sugar loading from the vine into the berries is critical for berry development and ripening. The amount of sugar can affect, among other qualities, the quantity of the
plant pigment anthocyanin. This pigment is very important, providing the deep red colour associated with red wine quality. Adding different concentrations of sucrose into the media, the berries responded with production of a deeper anthocyanin pigmentation (Figure 1). This observation was confirmed by chemical analysis carried out by colleagues at the University of Auckland, where researchers detected higher concentration of anthocyanins, particularly malvidin, with increased
Pinot Noir berries growing in culture as used for the research outlined in this article. The berries are growing independent of the vine, and can be maintained for 40 to 60 days in these conditions.
Figure 2. Berries respond to different levels of the plant hormone ABA in the media. Representative berries from one experiment at 0, 50 or 200 uM ABA
The amount of sugar can affect, among other qualities, the quantity of the plant pigment anthocyanin sugar in the media. Further analysis at PFR showed that, not only had berries taken up the additional sucrose, but they had also converted the sucrose into fructose and glucose, as would be expected in a vine-grown berry. Total anthocyanin in the berries had doubled or even tripled with the higher sucrose loading. So, it seems that the berries can indeed ingest sugar from the media, convert it and ripen more quickly, resulting in a deeper berry colour. Analysis of some of the genes associated with both sucrose conversion and anthocyanin production showed how the expression of these genes was actually responding to the sugar. Besides sugar, one of the most
important signals for berries to ripen is the detection of plant hormones. The level of these hormones can strongly influence both the rate of ripening and also the quality of the berry. The plant hormone abscisic acid (ABA) has long been associated with ripening in grape berries and is also known to influence the production of anthocyanin. The team tried different ABA concentration in the media, and again found that the colour of the berries deepened (more anthocyanins) with increasing concentrations of ABA (Figure 2). Investigations are currently looking to confirm, as with the sugar results, that ABA has been taken up by the berry and what effect this has had on the expression of genes underpinning
the anthocyanin increase. The science team is also trying to determine which of these two key qualitydefining signals is the most critical with experiments containing varied concentrations of both sugar and ABA. Early results suggest that sugar is the strongest determinant of berry colour, but this will need further confirmation. While it still requires further experiments to confirm, the team believes that the concentrations of sugar and ABA at the middle level (8% and 50 uM respectively) would be similar to what a berry might experience on the vine. It is unlikely that a berry would experience the higher level (12% and 200 uM respectively), but this is still useful data to understand how the relative levels of uptake may impact berry quality. With a functional Pinot Noir berry culture system now up and running, the next experiment will look at how berry nutrition, such as the amount of available nitrogen, can influence quality and pigmentation. All of these results will feed into the programme, helping to understand what drives Pinot Noir berry quality, and ultimately the quality of New Zealand Pinot Noir wines.
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PINOT NOIR PROGRAMME
Understanding mouthfeel in New Zealand Pinot Noir wines Wendy V. Parr*1, Claire Grose2, Duncan Hedderley3, Oliver Masters4, and Dominique Valentin5 1 AGLS Faculty, Lincoln University, Christchurch, New Zealand; 2Institute of Plant & Food Research, Marlborough, New Zealand; 3Institute of Plant & Food Research, Palmerston North, New Zealand; 4Tripwire Wine Consulting Ltd. & Misha’s Vineyard, Central Otago, New Zealand; 5CSGA UMR5170 CNRS, University of Burgundy, INRA, France
WHAT IS MOUTHFEEL? WHAT sensations do we experience that we want to explain by using this umbrella term? And how important are mouthfeel sensations to perception of quality in a Pinot Noir wine? Vitis vinifera L cv. Pinot Noir produces one of the world’s fine wines. As such, it is a wine revered by critics not only for its aromatic qualities but also for the in-mouth sensations it affords, these summed up in the often-quoted expression, “an iron fist in a velvet glove”. As part of the national research programme NZW 17-105, our sensory research team investigated recently the importance of in-mouth sensations to judgements of wine quality and Pinot Noir varietal typicality.
NZ WINEGROWER AUGUST/SEPTEMBER 2021
Significance level p <
Harsh tannins/aggressive Bitterness
In prior work (Parr, Grose, Hedderley, Medel Maraboli, Masters, Araujo, & Valentin, 2020), we investigated the multi-dimensional concept of perceived quality in Pinot Noir wine, focusing on aromatic attributes of a wine, as well as the relationship between quality and perceived complexity. Although we demonstrated a number of wine characteristics important to perception of Pinot Noir quality by wine professionals, notably attractive fruit and floral aromatics, wine balance, and fruit concentration, the study failed to offer clarity regarding important mouthfeel attributes (e.g, tannin harshness or softness; body/weight) frequently referred to by wine critics. We argued that this null outcome was the result of several methodological issues in our prior study, rather than that
Table 1. Correlations of rated characteristics with overall perceived quality. Negative correlations demonstrate an inverse relationship between quality and the particular attribute.
mouthfeel attributes were not pivotal to judgements of quality in Pinot Noir wine. We therefore extended that prior work by undertaking the experiment described in the current article. In our follow-up study, we invited 17 wine professionals to judge the same 18 New Zealand Pinot Noir wines as employed in the prior study, the wines now having nine months, in-bottle, further maturation (Figure 1). We employed two sensory evaluation tasks and a methodology that aimed to focus an expert taster’s perception on trigeminal nerve (mouthfeel) and taste sensations rather than on the aromatic nature of a wine. Each taster
received a full explanation regarding the tasting instructions. This included that while assessing each wine, we wanted them to focus their attention on in-mouth attributes, namely trigeminal stimulation (mouthfeel sensations) and tastes (sweetness; bitterness; sourness), avoiding purposeful olfaction (smelling) to minimise aromatic sensations. To prevent wine-colour bias, the 18 wines were tasted in opaque (black) glassware. As well, we designed the study to allow us to gather data that could help deconstruct and define the important, intrinsic mouthfeel characteristics of astringency and wine body for which verbal labels can often appear ambiguous for tasters,
including for wine professionals. Influence of viniviticultural variables of New Zealand wine region (Wairarapa; Marlborough; Nelson; North Canterbury; Central Otago), vintage (2016; 2013), wine price (‘commercial’ = < NZ$30.00 or ‘premium’ = > NZ$30.00), vine yield (< or > than 2 kg/vine) and means of production (conventional or in transition; organic/ biodynamic) were also assessed. Major results of the study include the following. First, and consistent with our prior study, the descriptive rating data demonstrated that the 18 wines differed significantly amongst themselves in terms of both perceived quality and perceived varietal typicality. In other words, the 18-wine flight reflected diversity in these global, intrinsic wine attributes. Second, the wines in the flight differed significantly in terms of the majority of the in-mouth attributes assessed. Table 1 shows these attributes, along with each in-mouth characteristic’s association with overall quality. The correlations reported in Table 1 show that the
attributes particularly important in driving judgements of high quality were smoothness/silky/velvety, volume/fullness/roundness, overall body, and viscosity/mouth-coating, as well as varietal typicality. This result demonstrates that attributes important to high quality Pinot Noir span the range of textural, weight/ density, and viscosity subcomponents of the multidimensional concept of mouthfeel. The taste of bitterness and the textural attribute of harsh tannins/aggressive drove low quality judgements. Astringency was marginally negatively correlated with overall quality. This latter result might appear counterintuitive but it fits with recently published research concerning the relation between perceived astringency and judgements of quality in other red wine varieties (eg., Tempranillo; Cabernet Sauvignon), with the limited results on this topic being mixed, but generally showing that perceived astringency is not a major driver of judgements of quality in red wine. Interestingly, astringency was one of a few characteristics that differed across judgements of quality and
typicality, with astringency being significantly negatively associated with perceived varietal typicality but marginally so with quality. To delineate further the precise nature of perceived mouthfeel in Pinot Noir wine, we conducted a principal components analysis (PCA) on the attribute ratings provided by our tasters. The data demonstrated that a large proportion of the variance accounted for (71%) related to separation of the 18 wines on the basis of textural/tactile effects, with volume/weight effects of importance but to a lesser degree. More specifically, smoothness and softness, which were related to high quality, opposed harshness and aggressiveness on the dominant axis of the analysis, the latter attributes related to lower quality. Finally, the data from the second task undertaken by our tasters, a sorting (i.e, classification) task, demonstrate that the 18 wines were overall clustered into four groups. The separating or clustering of the 18 wines into four groups was based
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Araujo, L.D., Parr, W.V., Grose, C., Hedderley, D., Masters, O., Kilmartin, P.A., & Valentin, D. (under revision). In-mouth attributes driving perceived quality of Pinot noir wines: Sensory and chemical characterisation.
Figure 1. A tasting booth set up with the 18 Pinot Noir wines uniquely ordered for a participant.
largely on perception of tannin softness or harshness across the wines. These results, along with the outcomes concerning deconstruction of the higher-order terms of wine body and astringency, are described in more detail in an article currently in progress for a scientific publication (Araujo et al, under revision). In terms of the viniviticultural factors investigated, as in our prior study there were few significant effects. This is most likely due to the low numbers of wines in some categories (e.g, in each wine region) and the unequal numbers in some cells. There was a significant effect of wine region on the attribute weight/heaviness/ density, this effect driven by Nelson wines receiving lower scores on this item. Interestingly, as in our prior experiment, there were significant vintage differences with two of the three wines from the 2013 vintage judged higher on several negative attributes (dry/puckering; dusty; coarse/granny/rough) than the 2016 wines from the same producer. Finally, these sensory data have been associated with measures of wine phenolic composition undertaken by colleagues in RA 3.2 of NZW 17-105, the national Pinot Noir research programme. The combined sensory-physicochemical data analysis, although correlational in nature, provides novel information of potential use to wine producers and demonstrates significant associations
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between key in-mouth, sensorial experiences and specific aspects of Pinot Noir wine chemical composition. These results will be reported in full in due course in a scientific article (Araujo et al, under revision).
Parr, W.V., Grose, C., Hedderley, D., Medel Maraboli, M., Masters, O., Araujo, L.D., & Valentin, D. (2020). Perception of quality and complexity in wine and their links to varietal typicality: An investigation involving Pinot noir wine and professional tasters. Food Research International, 10.1016/j.foodres.2020.109423
PINOT NOIR PROGRAMME
Deconstructing green and herbaceous notes in NZ Pinot Noir wines A study involving wine consumers and wine professionals Amalia Bernardes Borssato, Damir Dennis Torrico & Wendy V. Parr (AGLS Faculty, Lincoln University, Christchurch, New Zealand)
WHAT COMES TO MIND when we think about a quality Pinot Noir wine? Presumably, green characters are not at the fore of our thoughts and images of a quality Pinot Noir. In contrast to New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc, where a range of green characteristics has been shown to be essential to a wine’s varietal and regional typicality, red wines, in general, are not revered for expressing green notes. Vitis vinifera L cv. Pinot Noir produces a fine wine that is revered by critics for expressing attractive floral and fruit aromatics along with mouthfeel sensations that combine sensuousness with strength. Seldom do green and fresh herbaceous characters feature in critics’ descriptions of fine Pinot Noir wines. Nonetheless, in recent studies within the national research programme NZW 17-105, sensory researchers have demonstrated a link between the perception of ‘green/herbaceous’ characters in New Zealand Pinot Noir wines and judgements of low quality. The current article outlines a programme of PhD research based at Lincoln University and funded by a Bragato Research Institute scholarship that commenced in 2020 and is aimed at shedding light on the green and herbaceous notes perceived in Pinot Noir wines and their relation to judgements of overall wine quality. The project’s focus, investigating the perceived green and herbaceous attributes that drive judgements of quality in Pinot Noir wine, has its basis
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Seldom do green and fresh herbaceous characters feature in critics’ descriptions of fine Pinot Noir wines.
in prior experimental research (Parr, Grose, Hedderley, Medel Maraboli, Masters, Araujo, & Valentin, 2020), which demonstrated that perceived green characteristics were significant judgement drivers of low quality in New Zealand Pinot Noir wines. Pinot Noir is a relatively expensive wine to produce; therefore, it is not a desirable situation for a wine producer when perceived low quality renders a wine unable to command a reasonable retail price. To assist wine producers when making viticultural and oenological judgements to advantage their particular situations with respect to perceived green characteristics in New Zealand wines, the current project was established to shed light on precisely what green and herbaceous mean to both wine consumers and wine professionals, and in deconstructing these higherorder terms, to identify which specific wine attributes are deemed positive and which negatively influence judgements of wine quality. The project will also consider the concept of whole-bunch characters, and the descriptions subsumed within the term “stemmy notes”, and how these complex attributes are related to the perceived green and herbaceous characters judged either positively or negatively in New Zealand Pinot Noir wines. The project comprises four empirical studies, one conceptual (i.e, research attempting to understand just what consumers and wine professionals think about green and herbaceous
NZ WINEGROWER AUGUST/SEPTEMBER 2021
characters in Pinot Noir wines) and three perceptual, i.e, tasting, studies. Methodologies employed will include well-established analytical and hedonic sensory methods involving multisensory perception (i.e, aroma, taste and mouthfeel) and cognitive approaches to interpreting the resulting data. Further, the sensory evaluation procedures will be applied to groups with different levels of wine expertise (wine consumers; wine professionals). The first experiment, employing the mental representation methodology to investigate how wine consumers and wine professionals conceptualise green and herbaceous notes in Pinot Noir wines, is well underway. Preliminary data analysis demonstrates that indeed wine consumers and wine professionals have different understandings of these two, higher-order wine attributes. In particular, taking the concept of ‘green’, wine professionals show not only a far more complex mental representation (i.e, mental construct) about what green means in relation to Pinot Noir wines but they also show more consensus as a group than wine consumers do.
In due course, the sensory data collected within this project will be linked with other sensory results gathered within the Pinot Noir national programme NZW 17-105, as well as associated with relevant measures of wine chemical composition undertaken by colleagues. The combined, sensoryphysicochemical data analysis is expected to provide breadth to our understanding of the green and herbaceous characters in red wine, and specifically in New Zealand Pinot Noir wine, and to provide novel information regarding the aspects of wine chemical composition that are implicated as sources of the sensorial experiences that consumers and wine professionals report and considered important to perceive when assessing the quality in Pinot Noir wine. To conclude, it is our hope that providing relevant and novel empirical data on the complex issue of perceived green and herbaceous notes in red wines, specifically in Pinot Noir wines from New Zealand, will be of benefit to the New Zealand grape and wine sector, including producers and marketing personnel associated with high-quality Pinot Noir wines in the national and global spectrum.
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