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THE OFFICIAL MAGAZINE OF WINE MARLBOROUGH

ISSUE NO. 302/ FEBRUARY 2020

SEASON UPDATE

GRAPE MARC

wine-marlborough.co.nz

DIRECT SALES

BLOOMING VINEYARDS


FOR LEASE

FOR LEASE

Boundary lines are indicative only

Boundary lines are indicative only

Boundary lines are indicative only

Boundary lines are indicative only

Marlborough 2765 State Highway 63

Marlborough 2763 State Highway 63

Land lease viticulture development opportunity Situated right next to the Wairau township this 35 hectare viticulture land lease is a great opportunity to secure one of the last large flat pieces of sought after land in this area of Marlborough. Silt loam soils, this viticulture land lease allows you to develop your vineyard to your specifications without needing to buy the land. The vendor is looking for a land lease with a compatible party where they will convert the property into viticulture with a graduated start to the lease to suit both parties as production increases. This is proven grape growing land with solid yields per hectare and flavour profile for aromatic varieties. The land lease is negotiable and can be tailored to fit to your requirements. Call Mike Poff to find out more!

Mike Poff 027 6655 477 mike.poff@bayleys.co.nz BE MARLBOROUGH LTD, BAYLEYS LICENSED UNDER THE REA ACT 2008

Exceptional turn-key vineyard lease Located beside the Wairau township, this turn key viticulture lease opportunity is a great option to secure the variety that you want to fit with your production requirements. With a total canopy area of approximately 6.5 – 7 hectares of land it is a great opportunity to lease a developed vineyard that allows you to have input into design and layout. The vendor is looking for a lease with a compatible party where the vendor will convert the property into viticulture with a graduated start to the lease to suit both parties as production increases. This is a great grape growing area with consistently good yields per hectare with desirable a flavour profile for aromatic varietals. Contact Mike Poff for further information!

SMALL VINEYARDS IN HIGH DEMAND! The market is hot and I have multiple active buyers looking for small vineyards or lifestyle properties to purchase! If you have been thinking about selling your vineyard in 2020, now is a great time to act. Call me today for a confidential chat about how to maximise the value of your asset!

Mike Poff 027 6655 477 | mike.poff@bayleys.co.nz BE MARLBOROUGH LTD, BAYLEYS LICENSED UNDER THE REA ACT 2008

Mike Poff 027 6655 477 mike.poff@bayleys.co.nz BE MARLBOROUGH LTD, BAYLEYS LICENSED UNDER THE REA ACT 2008


18

this issue...

REGULARS

FEATURES

3 4 20 22 24

11

26 28 30

Editorial - Sophie Preece

From the Board - Ben Ensor Pioneer - Dominic Pecchenino Forgotten Corners - Kiwi Seed Generation Y-ine - Michelle Barry

12

Biosecurity Watch - Sophie Badland Industry News Wine Happenings

Cover:

Flowers amid the rows at Loveblock in the Awatere Valley. Photo by Jim Tannock.

Balancing Act A survey into the work-life balance of Marlborough winemakers has revealed plenty of love for the region and industry, but a concerning trend around work hours. Direct to customer Marlborough has a “tremendous strategic opportunity” to benefit from direct sales to international consumers. “In addition to the obvious profitability benefits, direct to customer sales offer a rare opportunity to learn about the consumer and understand what they are looking for.”

14 Grape Marc

20

Ten wine companies will deliver up to 25,000 tonnes of grape marc to Indevin’s Bankhouse Estate Vineyard this vintage, where it will be spread across approximately 350 hectares of bare land.

20

24

Winepress February 2020 / 1


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General Manager: Marcus Pickens 03 577 9299 marcus@winemarlborough.nz Editor: Sophie Preece 027 308 4455 sophie@sophiepreece.co.nz Advertising: Jo May 03 577 9299 accounts@winemarlborough.nz Wine Marlborough Board: Ben Ensor ben.lisa@clear.net.nz Beth Forrest Beth@forrest.co.nz Callum Linklater callum@csviticulture.co.nz Jack Glover jack.glover@accolade-wines.co.nz Kirsty Harkness kirsty@mountbase.co.nz Nick Entwistle nick@wairauriverwines.com Stuart Dudley (Deputy Chair) stuartd@villamaria.co.nz Tom Trolove (Chair) tom.trolove@framingham.co.nz Tracy Johnston Tracy@dayvinleigh.co.nz Jamie Marfell Jamie.Marfell@pernod-ricard.com

Printed by: Blenheim Print Ltd 03 578 1322

From the Editor Many Marlborough vineyards were blooming as this edition was written, with white billows of buckwheat rising amid the vines, and fuzzy purple phacelia heads popping up along the rows. While interviewing Kiwi Seed’s Maren Ricken, I saw blaze-orange roadsides of Californian poppies, and the bee-alluring petals of their less audacious neighbours. There were plenty of bare fence lines and brown swards as well, but it was heartening to recognise the effort going into regenerating vineyard soils, while providing a more vibrant diversity in the region. Regenerative agriculture has become a buzzword in recent years, and the practice of restoring health to soils is gaining some traction in this region. “It’s a big wave that is just hitting New Zealand and it is starting to show in vineyards,” says Maren. Wellness is another buzzword, and you will find some of that in this edition too. Wine Marlborough’s Winemaker Survey sought insights into work-life balance in the sector, and drew 99 responses in short order. It will be interesting to hear more about the responses at a seminar being held later this month. In the meantime, anyone heading headlong into vintage should ensure they have time to catch their breath when the fervour of harvest is over. Wine companies’ preparation for vintage includes preparing for management of the grape marc left over from the winemaking process. There has been a massive improvement over the past few years, as the by-product marc is composted or spread back to vineyards. It is increasingly being celebrated as a resource, says Wine Marlborough advocacy manager Vance Kerslake on page 14. “The level of commitment to good disposal in recent years showed companies are taking the challenge seriously.” Wastewater is another challenge, and Wine Marlborough hopes to see full compliance for Vintage 2020. A seminar at the Marlborough Research Centre theatre on February 18 will look at easy fixes for non-compliance and progress the industry has made so far.

“It was heartening to see the effort going into regenerating vineyard soils.”

SOPHIE PREECE

Disclaimer: The views and articles that are expressed and appear in Winepress are entirely those of contributors and in no way reflect the policy of the Marlborough Winegrowers. Any advice given, implied or suggested should be considered on its merits, and no responsibility can be taken for problems arising from the use of such information.

Winepress February 2020 / 3


PROTECT

From the Board Dealing with Change BEN ENSOR

AS HAS always been the case, no two seasons seem to be alike. The cooler day time temperatures of mid-January have been a stark contrast to the extremely high temperatures of last season, although I am sure this could still change yet. Change not only in weather, but the market conditions that we operate in are challenges that face our businesses constantly. However, I feel the industry is in a lot better position to face these changes than it was 10 years ago. It was around then that prices for Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc halved from what they were a couple of years earlier. Such large fluctuations make running any business a challenge and only create uncertainty, which has a flow-on effect to the decisions we make on a day-to-day basis. A decade on we appear to find ourselves in a more mature phase in the industry’s cycle. Grape prices have been stable, and it appears we have learned a lot from the 2008 experience. Yield management is a procedure that became more prominent after this time and is now an integral part of managing quality and ensuring we are focusing on market-led demand, versus the ‘old school’ agricultural way of growing crops in New Zealand. Being able to deal with change is made a lot easier by building reliance into our businesses. Resilience is about putting in place systems that help make dealing with potential issues, such as drought and disease, that much easier when they occur. We see great examples of building resilience in Marlborough all the time, such as investment in water storage, new 4 / Winepress February 2020

"Being able to deal with change is made a lot easier by building reliance into our businesses" accommodation facilities for vineyard staff and contractors, or reinvestment back into businesses, such as the creation of ecosystems that support diversity in the vineyard landscape and new trellis systems and tools improving the efficiency of operations. The wine industry in Marlborough is a very unique example of where new ideas are freely shared between peers. Areas where I think Wine Marlborough’s beliefs help support this idea of risk mitigation and supporting long term resilience for the future include: • Providing leadership in times of opportunity, challenge and success: This can range from leadership in times of difficulty such as the recent earthquakes through to ensuring successes are celebrated and these

stories told and shared with all stakeholders. • Future-proofing the success of our members through topical and timely workshops and briefings for our members as well as helping to cement Marlborough wine’s unique story and attributes with key intermediaries and consumers. • Supporting members to gain and retain talent - promoting Marlborough as a great place to live as well as leading detailed analysis into the true requirements for labour now and into the future, so we can have meaningful conversations with local and national Government decision makers. Increased labour requirements have many touch points outside finding the best people, such as predicting housing requirements through to the number of doctors, for example, that this increase in population will require. Wine Marlborough has a key part to play in ensuring the wine industry in Marlborough has a sustainable future that gives people the confidence to keep investing in it. Building resilience will be a benefit for Marlborough wine and in turn our businesses, helping us to face any challenge or change that may come our way. All the best for harvest and please feel free to get in touch with any of your Wine Marlborough board members at any time to discuss what’s important to you. We value your feedback.


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MET REPORT Table 1: Blenheim Weather Data – December 2019 December December 2019 2019 compared to LTA GDD’s for: Month - Max/Min1 208.2 96% Month – Mean2 208.9 98% Growing Degree Days Total Jul–Dec 19–Max/Min 582.9 106% Jul-Dec 19–Mean 650.0 109% Mean Maximum (°C) 21.5 -0.4°C Mean Minimum (°C) 11.9 +0.2°C Mean Temp (°C) 16.7 -0.2°C Ground Frosts (<= -1.0°C) 0 Equal Air Frosts (0.0°C) 0 Equal Sunshine hours 272.6 109% Sunshine hours–lowest Sunshine hours–highest Sunshine hours total 2019 2799.1 112% Rainfall (mm) 91.2 195% Rainfall (mm)–lowest Rainfall (mm)–highest Rainfall total (mm)–2019 661.0 103% Evapotranspiration–mm 140.1 100% Avg. Daily Windrun (km) 266.1 94% Mean soil temp–10cm 17.4 -0.4°C Mean soil temp – 30cm 18.7 -0.6°C

December LTA

Period of LTA

Dec 2018

229.4 Sunshine 221.6 Total sunshine for Blenheim in 2019 was 2799.1 hours. This is 112% of the long-term average of 2495.9 550.9 (1996-2018) 587.5 hours (1986-2018). 2019 is the second 598.9 (1996-2018) 629.8 sunniest year on record for Blenheim 21.9 (1986-2018) 21.7 for the 90 years 1930 to 2019. The 11.7 (1986-2018) 13.1 sunniest year on record is 2015 with 16.9 (1986-2018) 17.4 2813.8 hours sunshine. Richmond once again took out 0.1 (1986-2018) 0 the top spot as sunniest town in New 0 (1986-2018) 0 Zealand (Table 2). Richmond only 249.9 (1986-2018) 213.2 installed a sunshine recorded mid-way 167.4 2011 through 2015 and they have been the 321.2 1974 sunniest town in the four subsequent 2495.9 (1986-2018) 2502.8 years 2016-2019. 46.7 (1930-2018) 53.6 Table 2: Sunniest towns in New 0.8 1934 Zealand for 2019 124.0 1984 641.2 (1986-2018) 809.6 Placing Town Sunshine 140.3 (1996-2018) 114.9 Hours 284.4 (1996-2018) 194.0 1st Richmond 2859.2 17.8 (1986-2018) 18.3 2nd Blenheim 2799.1 19.3 (1986-2018) 19.2 3rd Napier 2709.2 216.7 212.3

(1996-2018) (1996-2018)

1GDD’s Max/Min are calculated from absolute daily maximum and minimum temperatures 2GDD’s Mean are calculated from average hourly temperatures Temperature The mean temperature for December 2019 of 16.7°C was 0.2°C below the longterm average (LTA). The first week of December recorded well above average temperatures. However, the second, third and fourth week’s all recorded below average temperatures. The final three days of December were above average. Sunshine December 2019 recorded well above average sunshine hours. In fact all five months August to December 2019 recorded above average sunshine hours. Rainfall The December 2019 rainfall total of 91.2 mm was nearly double the LTA December rainfall. However, all the rainfall was recorded in the first 20 days of December. The highest daily totals of 24.8 mm and 25.6 mm were recorded on the 16th and 17th December. This is the highest December total since 2010 and 2011 when 131.6 mm and 103.8 mm were recorded respectively. 6 / Winepress February 2020

Annual weather statistics for Blenheim for 2019, compared to the long-term average

4th

Whakatane 2689.5

Rainfall Total rainfall for 2019 was 661.0 mm; 103% of the LTA (1986-2018) of 641.2 mm. However, although the total rainfall for 2019 was close to the LTA, there was marked variation in the monthly totals, from a low of 3.8 mm in January to a high of 119.6 mm in July (Table 3). Temperature The mean temperature for 2019 was 13.954°C; 0.771°C above the long term average for the 33 years 1986-2018, of 13.18°C. 2019 with a mean temperature of 13.954°C is technically the hottest


year on record for Blenheim for the 87 years 1933 to 2019. However, 2019 was only 0.004°C warmer than 1998, which recorded a mean temperature of 13.950°C. So for all intents and purposes 2019 and 1998 are in first equal place.

Table 3: Monthly rainfall recorded in Blenheim for 2019 Month Rainfall % of long Long-term (mm) term average average (mm) 1986-2018 January 3.8 8% 45.7 February 8 16% 48.9 March 94.6 237% 39.9 April 80.2 158% 50.8 May 55 95% 58.0 June 18 27% 66.4 July 119.6 193% 61.9 August 56.6 91% 62.1 September 63.4 122% 52.2 October 28 48% 58.7 November 42.6 85% 49.9 December 91.2 195% 46.7 Total (Jan-Dec) 661.0 103% 641.2

Table 4: 10 hottest years on record for Blenheim for the 87 year period 1933 to 2019 Year Temperature (°C) 2019 13.954 1998 13.950 2016 13.93 2018 13.89 2013 13.86 2010 13.70 2017 13.67 1990 13.66 2005 13.62 1999 13.60 Blenheim has reliable temperature records dating back to April 1932, a period of 88 years. As shown in Table 4, the 10 hottest years on record for Blenheim have all occurred since 1990. Remarkably, six of the 10 hottest years on record, have occurred since 2010. Global warming is being felt in Blenheim, as indicated in Figure 1. Figure 1: Mean annual temperatures in Blenheim and temperature trend 1933-2019

January 2020 Weather Temperature The mean temperature for January 2020 of 17.5°C was 0.7°C below the LTA. This was 3.2°C cooler than the very warm mean temperatures in January 2018 and 2019. January 2020 was the coolest January since 2014. The first three weeks of January were much colder than normal. The mean temperature from 1 to 21 January was 16.0°C; 2.2°C below the January average. In contrast the mean temperature from 22 to 31 January was 20.8°C; 2.6°C above the January average, and 4.8°C warmer than the first three weeks. Up until the 21st, January was heading towards being one of the coldest January’s on record. However, the very warm temperatures over the last 10 days of January pulled the mean temperature up from 16.0°C to 17.5°C. The highest maximum temperature of 31.5°C was recorded on Monday 27 January. 31 January recorded 31.3°C. These were the only two days during the month to exceed 31°C. In marked contrast Blenheim

recorded 10 days in January 2019 of 30.0°C or higher. Sunshine January 2020 recorded 245.0 hours sunshine, 93% of the LTA. Blenheim experienced a lot of overcast weather during January. Many days experienced cloud cover for most of the morning. A number of other towns in New Zealand recorded substantially higher sunshine hours in January than Blenheim. Whakatane recorded 81.1 hours more sunshine than Blenheim. This is a massive difference in one month. 81.1 hours sunshine equates to an additional 2 hours 37 minutes sunshine every day of the month. Richmond recorded 66.7 hours more sunshine than Blenheim. It is going to be very difficult for Blenheim to claw back such a large deficit. Rainfall Blenheim recorded 0.2 mm rain during January, 0.4% of the LTA. This is the second lowest monthly rainfall total, for the 91 years 1930-2020 (for any month of the year). The lowest monthly total on record is January 1978 when no rainfall

Winepress February 2020 / 7


was recorded. The January total of 0.2 mm follows on the heels of January 2019 which also recorded a very low total of 3.2 mm. Interestingly three of the lowest

Table 5: Blenheim Weather Data – January 2020

wind-run. The maximum wind-speed in Blenheim that day was 82.1 km / hr. Some trees lost branches that day. However, although people may remember some days with strong winds, those days were few in number.

January January 2020 January Period January 2020 compared to LTA LTA of LTA 2019 GDD’s for: Month-Max/Min1 233.8 91% 255.8 (1996-2019) 330.6 Potential evapotranspiration Month–Mean2 223.6 90% 247.7 (1996-2019) 325.5 Total potential evapotranspiration for Growing Degree Days Total January 2020 was 133.9 mm, 93% of the Jul 19–Jan 20–Max/Min1 816.7 101% 806.8 (1996-2019) 918.1 LTA. Jul 19-Jan 20–Mean2 873.0 103% 846.5 (1996-2019) 955.3 Potential water deficit Mean Maximum (°C) 22.9 -0.7°C 23.4 (1986-2019) 26.8 This is the difference between Mean Minimum (°C) 12.2 -0.7°C 12.9 (1986-2019) 14.5 monthly rainfall and potential Mean Temp (°C) 17.5 -0.7°C 18.2 (1986-2019) 20.7 evapotranspiration. Ground Frosts (<= -1.0°C) 0 Equal 0 (1986-2019) 0 0.2 mm rainfall – 133.9 mm potential Air Frosts (0.0°C) 0 Equal 0 (1986-2019) 0 evapotranspiration = -133.7 mm Sunshine hours 245.0 93% 263.5 (1986-2019) 261.9 potential water deficit. The January Sunshine hours–lowest 165.2 1971 2020 water deficit of -133.7 mm was Sunshine hours–highest 335.3 1957 132% of the LTA water deficit for Sunshine hours total–2020 245.0 93% 263.5 (1986-2019) 261.9 January. Rainfall (mm) 0.2 0.4% 44.5 (1986-2019) 3.8 Rainfall (mm)–lowest 0 1978 Shallow soil moisture (topsoil) Rainfall (mm)–highest 167.0 1985 Average shallow soil moisture (0 to 35 Rainfall total (mm)–2020 0.2 0.4% 44.5 (1986-2019) 3.8 cm) at the Grovetown Park weather Evapotranspiration–mm 133.9 93% 143.9 (1997-2019) 186.9 station for January 2020 was 19.4%. Avg. Daily Windrun (km) 224.2 82% 272.9 (1996-2019) 263.6 This was 1.5% below the LTA of 20.9%. Mean soil temp–10cm 19.6 +0.5°C 19.1 (1986-2019) 20.6 Given the extremely low January Mean soil temp–30cm 20.3 -0.6°C 20.9 (1986-2019) 21.8 rainfall why was average shallow 1GDD’s Max/Min are calculated from absolute daily maximum and minimum temperatures soil moisture not lower? Blenheim 2GDD’s Mean are calculated from average hourly temperatures recorded well above average rainfall in January rainfall totals in the 91 years 1930-2020, have been recorded since 2015. the first three weeks of December 2019. Wind-run Average daily wind-run in January 2020 was 224.2 km, well below the LTA of 272.9 km. There were only six days in January that recorded greater than the daily LTA wind-run. The windiest day was Monday 6 January with 561 km

As a result the shallow soil moisture was 25.4% on 1 January 2020, which was above average for early January. However, with almost no rainfall in January the soil moisture fell from

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Growing degree days and likely effect on yield in 2020

25.4% on 1 January to 16.4% on 31 January. At the end of January there was almost no available moisture left in the top soil. Figure 2: Normalized growing degree days for Blenheim: days above (+) or below (-) the long-term average (1990-2018) for the period 1 September to 30 April The GDD deviation line for the 2019/20 season has followed an interesting course so far. (Figure 2). Average to slightly below average temperatures were experienced in September and October 2019. November and the first week of December 2019 were very warm, indicated by the steeply climbing black

GDD line in Figure 2. Flowering of the majority of Marlboroughâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s grapes took place during this warm weather. Warm temperatures during pollination and fertilisation of grape flowers leads to a higher proportion of flowers developing into berries. Temperatures from the second week of December 2019 through until the end of the third week of January 2020 were mainly well below average. This is reflected in the black GDD line falling quite sharply during this period. This cooler weather went against what had been predicted by NIWA at the beginning of December. However, the last 10 days of January have seen the GDD line recover a significant proportion of the GDD that were lost in the first three

weeks of the month. Dr Junqi Zhu of Plant & Food Research, Marlborough, has conducted yield prediction modelling based on the longterm dataset from four Marlborough subregional Sauvignon blanc vineyards that we have monitored since 2005. The yield prediction model suggests that berry number per bunch will be between 111 and 124% of average at harvest in 2020, around the four vineyards, a reflection of the warm flowering. However, the model also predicts that bunch number per vine will be between 89 and 95% of average due to cooler temperatures over bunch initiation in the previous season. The model predicts that yield per vine will about 95% of average at the monitored vineyard in Central Rapaura. However yield per vine at the monitored vineyard in the Upper Brancott is predicted to be 109% of average. This is the first year that the model has been put to the test and come vintage 2020 we will see how good the predictions were. Rob Agnew Plant & Food Research / Marlborough Research Centre

Council reviews tanker water VANCE KERSLAKE Wine Marlborough is working closely with the Marlborough District Council as they undertake a legal review of the supply of emergency water for irrigation. Council will allow properties which received tanker water last summer to continue water use, where no alternative supply is available, pending the outcome of the legal review. Last season 33,000m3 of water was tankered from the Blenheim urban supply for emergency irrigation. Complaints from the community have prompted council to undertake a legal review of the resource consent conditions of the Blenheim urban water supply. The legal review will determine if the conditions of the Blenheim water supply resource consent will allow water use for irrigation in the future. Wine Marlborough will keep members updated as the review progresses.

Winepress February 2020 / 9


EDUCATE

Season Update Boosted berry numbers growing crop loads SOPHIE PREECE

VITICULTURAL ADVISOR Mark Allen is urging Marlborough growers to reduce crop loads in the lead up to vintage 2020, with high berry numbers around the region. “If they are doing it by hand, I strongly recommend they target the bunches at the cane ends,” he says. “They flowered fractionally earlier and are extremely tight.” Some operators are reporting patchy flowering, loose bunches, and low botrytis risk, but Mark says crops on average are approximately 15% higher than he expected earlier in the year. The initiation period, in December 2018, was cool, meaning bunch numbers were 10% down on the long-term average. But temperatures pre-budburst, when berry numbers are set, changed the outlook. And while there was rainfall during flowering, it was not cold, so there was good fruit set conditions in most areas, he says. That means that while crop loads are “variable”, many vines are holding 90 to 100-berry bunches, not 70-berry bunches, he says. “In Wairau Valley, I have vines with just two canes, carrying 17 tonnes per hectare.” Some spots, including the upper Waihopai, may have loose bunches because of flowering, but he is predominantly seeing tight bunches of Sauvignon Blanc, and warns of signs of botrytis in those conditions. The Vinefacts report from January 16 indicates moderate botrytis infection this season, and a low chance of a major issue at harvest. However, the tightest bunches, at greatest risk, are those at the ends of the canes, Mark says. “The real hot spot with the highest severity.” Marisco Vineyards’ viticulture general manager Anton Rasmussen says Marlborough’s grape growing season began with “a hiss and a roar”, then stalled with the mid-season cooling. Vines came along “nicely” in the beginning of the season, but a cool and overcast period in November led to an elongated flowering period for Sauvignon Blanc. That’s resulted in some variability across Marisco’s Waihopai Valley blocks, although the bunches are more consistent than last year, he says. The cold stint was followed by postChristmas warmth, which allowed the vines to catch up

10 / Winepress February 2020

Photo Richard Briggs

as they moved into the new year. They are now “nice and healthy”, Anton says. “The heat now is leading us into the back end of the season nicely, although it would be good for Mother Nature to send us a bit of moisture.” Anton is finding slightly open bunches, which is good news for disease prevention moving into the harvest period. Pinot Gris, Pinot Noir and Chardonnay all had good flowering, and vineyard teams are now working to adjust crop loads to ensure the vines are in balance, says Anton. “They should all come through quite nicely this year.” Cloudy Bay technical director Jim White says growers welcomed warmer temperatures at the tail end of January, after a “lacklustre” summer that slowed growth. Spring flowering was variable across varieties, and Sauvignon Blanc bunch numbers look around average, and down on last year’s bumper fruit set, “which is good for us because it means less manipulation of yields for Sauvignon”, he says. Warmer weather in late November and early December meant Pinot Noir and Chardonnay fared better than Sauvignon Blanc at flowering, and Pinot Noir vines of all clones on all sites will require the dropping of some fruit to achieve optimum yields, says Jim. Cloudy Bay is doing more leaf plucking than a typical year, particularly on Pinot Noir, in order to give the bunces more exposure. A dry season has supported those efforts, with reduced canopy growth. The season has also allowed them to “dry the vines out well”, Jim says, “giving us some limitation in terms of berry size, which is good for red wines, including Pinot Noir”. Like Anton, he has also noted “loose” Sauvignon bunches, and says the risk of botrytis is lower, thanks to the low rainfall over summer. However, powdery mildew was a headache over the growing season, “and has required a very vigilant control programme”, says Jim. Cloudy Bay netted its sparkling Pinot Noir blocks at the end of January and was looking forward to the bubbles harvest kicking off in late February, or the first few days of March.


PROTECT Saint Clair winemaker Stewart Maclennan applauds a six-day harvest week.

Winemaker Survey Checking up on work-life balance SOPHIE PREECE

A SURVEY into the work-life balance of Marlborough winemakers has revealed plenty of love for the region and industry, but a concerning trend around work hours. Wine Marlborough advocacy manager Vance Kerslake sent out the survey late last year, after discussions with a small group of industry leaders concerned by the unrelenting nature of the work. He says everyone expects harvest to be a period of big days and full commitment, with all the buzz of vintage. But that is no longer followed by a quiet period to recalibrate and restore work-life balance, says Vance. “People respond to pressure in different ways. For some people it’s exciting and for other people it’s stressful. Both are manageable if it’s also paired with recovery.” Nautilus winemaker Clive Jones, one of the instigators of the survey, says he’s become concerned over the past three years as the level of work has ramped up, thanks in part to maturing vines and increasingly compressed harvests, exacerbated by a couple of challenging vintages. He and Vance say the survey had plenty of positive feedback, as well as some red flags the industry needs to consider. “I see this as going from good to great,” says Vance. The survey received 99 responses,

with more than half of those received within days. The results showed that most respondents, surveyed anonymously, loved working in the Marlborough wine industry and expected long vintage hours as part of the role. However, they were less positive about their ability to retain a work-life balance, the annual workload, and their willingness to talk to an employer about having too many hours, he says. Saint Clair senior winemaker Stewart Maclennan, who helped establish the survey, says the issue is particularly

“If that person gets a day off, they are so much better for us.” Stewart Maclennan relevant in Marlborough because of its rapid growth and the nature of Sauvignon Blanc. “It’s not a Merlot that will sit in a barrel for three years, so the next vintage is highly anticipated.” When the vintage excitement is over,

winemakers are still under the pump, blending and preparing wines, then perhaps heading off to sell them. He too is concerned that winemakers have little opportunity to bounce back from the grind of harvest, so that their productivity “absolutely crashes”. One of the questions in the survey asks about consecutive working days, and the responses imply that several companies have enacted six-day harvest weeks, so their employees get a day off. Stewart says Saint Clair has run that system for the past few years, with a myriad of positive outcomes. “You start to see the reduction in benefit of people working right to the end. If that person gets a day off, they are so much better for us.” At senior levels in the company, it can feel “impossible” to be away over those key periods. But it results in other people better understanding the role, and learning how to cover for them, he says. “There are a lot of strengths to be gained that companies might not at first realise.” Vance says one of the great things about the Marlborough wine industry is its collaborative nature, with people willing to share knowledge and outcomes. “It will be interesting to hear from them about how they are dealing with this.”

Winepress February 2020 / 11


GROW

Direct Hit The value of an online relationship SOPHIE PREECE

Cloudy Bay seeks to create a long-term connection with visitors. Photo Richard Briggs

MARLBOROUGH HAS a “tremendous strategic opportunity” to benefit from direct sales to international consumers, according to nzwinehome founder Grant Rimmer. Data from nzwinemetrics shows that 87% of direct to international consumer sales of Marlborough wine are at the cellar door, with the remaining 13% in online sales. That’s compared to the national average of 71% at cellar door and 29% through e-commerce, says Grant. “If we looked at Central Otago independently, they would show 48% in e-commerce activity versus cellar door sales.” The two “benchmark” regions for online sales are Central and Waiheke, which have both been successful in implementing a “two-point sales objective”, says Grant. “Their first objective being to secure case sales directly at the point of visitation. Simultaneously, their second objective is to achieve commitment within a club, subscription or similar wine loyalty programme.” That takes time “and there is always churn”, but if producers build a sufficient depth of members and “offer

12 / Winepress February 2020

a genuinely compelling and unique proposition”, the sales rewards can be significant, says Grant. “Wine clubs and subscription programmes are the main drivers of e-commerce for wine.” While some people will “jump on a website and randomly buy”, a commitment programme is far and away a better option, he adds. Some programmes are a casual ‘friends of’ arrangement, where a customer signs up to receive a newsletter, including updates on new releases and a link to buy. Others are structured, where a brand fan, tempted by the status of a label and the rarity of its wines, hands over credit card details and opts to buy automatically in the future. The “ultimate” situation is for producers to establish a “cult” following for their brand or a specific label, with a waiting list to join the mailing list, says Grant. Regardless of which situation a producer is in, a digital connection with international ‘direct to consumer’ reach is “a modern necessity”, he says. “In addition to the obvious profitability benefits, direct to customer sales offer a rare opportunity to learn about the

“Wine clubs and subscription programmes are the main drivers of e-commerce for wine.” Grant Rimmer consumer and understand what they are looking for.” One of the reasons Marlborough has fewer direct sales could be the perception that the region is all about Sauvignon Blanc, and that all its wines can be easily sourced overseas, Grant says. Both are erroneous assumptions, and cellar doors have perfect opportunity to correct them, by inviting customers to discover their wider offering and to connect for the


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long term. “The invitation to purchase is critical and it does start at the cellar door. But it doesn’t have to stop there… There is so much opportunity to continue.” Higher performing wineries, seeking better returns on their cellar door investment, understand that international consumers have a strong intention to purchase more than just “a bottle or two”, he says. “Australian, American, Singaporean and Hong Kong nationals are actively seeking new wine discoveries. Many of these customers are already well accustomed to club type programmes.” Grant started nzwinehome in 2006, after identifying the challenges of to-door global distribution. “Since our inception we have set about building a fully inclusive solution that is e-commerce aligned, encompassing specialist thermo-eco packaging, compliance, taxes and duties.” The

sales interface is directly between producers and their customers, with the logistics platform an unseen element, “which is key”, he says. The company immediately received support from Cloudy Bay, along with a handful of other Marlborough producers, says Grant. Cloudy Bay brand experience manager Julie Delmas says it is important to the company to offer visitors the opportunity to order wines for delivery to their homes around the world, especially as many wines are only available at the cellar door. “We want our guests to be able to experience a taste of our world when they get home, so the door-to-door offering is a key part of our service.” Over the past 18 to 24 months, a growing number of Marlborough producers have taken a “leap of faith” by embracing international direct to client and developing their

Thermo-Eco New packaging at nzwinehome is putting the warm and fuzzies into sustainability. The Thermo-Eco export packaging is made from recycled sheep wool from New Zealand, blended with a composite cardboard material. Company founder Grant Rimm says the product replicates the cushioning qualities of polystyrene. “For a number of years, we had been very uncomfortable with the impact that our polystyrene packaging was making on the environment,” he says. “Our social conscience and our genuine desire to closely support our producer partners to achieve their own sustainability goals, drove us to develop this new, fully unique design.” nzwinehome delivers more than 10,000 cases of wine to the doors of consumers around the world each year, and needs strong, lightweight packaging with a high level of thermal resistance, says Grant. The company employed design engineers

e-commerce channel, Grant says, noting a “general change in outlook across the region” as companies recognise the potential to leverage far more off their cellar door and hospitality investment. That’s been good for the region and for nzwinehome, so in 2018 the company became a sponsor of the Wine Marlborough Cellar Door of the Year competition, taking Forrest Estate cellar door staff to Waiheke Island for two days of cellar door exploration. Late last year, Grant hosted the joint winners of the 2019 Cellar Door Personality of the Year competition - Blair MacDonald and Nina HuriaBryce - to Central Otago for two days to experience some of the best wine tourism offerings in that region. Grant says the “mini-holiday” is a great chance to give motivated cellar door staff a great learning opportunity.

“For a number of years, we had been very uncomfortable with the impact that our polystyrene packaging was making on the environment.” Grant Rimmer to “kick-start” the thinking, “but in the end, after a couple of well timed light bulb moments, our in-house team collaborated and collectively developed our very own environmentally sustainable wine packaging”.

Winepress February 2020 / 13


PROTECT Rapaura Springs grape marc

Making their Marc Innovators transform grape marc into a resource SOPHIE PREECE

GRAPE MARC is increasingly being celebrated as a resource, says Wine Marlborough advocacy manager Vance Kerslake, as companies prepare for the vintage ahead. Two grape marc initiatives piloted last year are gearing up for the onslaught of harvest, while individual companies make plans for disposing of - or investing in - their own marc, says Vance. “In the past, poor disposal of grape marc has threatened to damage the industry’s reputation. But the level of commitment to good disposal in recent years showed companies are taking the challenge seriously.” Indevin spread more than 16,500 tonnes of grape marc to its Bankhouse paddocks last vintage, and will roll out the initiative again this year. The company’s project manager for green spreading, Sandy O’Connell, says all eight companies involved last year have opted in again for 2020, along with two new players. Together, the 10 companies will deliver between 20 and 25,000 tonnes of grape marc - the skins, seeds and stalks left after 14 / Winepress February 2020

winemaking - to Bankhouse Estate Vineyard, where it will be spread across approximately 350 hectares of bare land. Sandy says last year’s spreading was highly successful and fully compliant with the conditions set by the Marlborough District Council (MDC), including detailed follow-up soil analysis. The land is used for crops, which grew well in the areas that had been treated with grape marc, he says. Indevin has also worked with Remarc to establish a fully operational anaerobic digestion (AD) pilot plant at its Riverlands winery. Sandy says the initial experimental plan and report have been completed, with positive outcomes in terms of the ensiling process, loading rate, biogas yield, nutrient concentration and pesticide breakdown. “The next step is further investigation of fertiliser market options, and it is hoped that a decision on the full scale plant will be able to be made post that data update.” Matt Oliver - Marlborough District Council environmental scientist, land

“We are expecting that the application of marc to the site will be very beneficial both to the soil and for the cropping operation on the farm.” Matt Oliver Management - says Indevin ran the grape marc spreading process well from the start. “Indevin came to us when the idea was in its infancy… We got a chance to have input before the consent was applied for.” At council’s request, Indevin conducted detailed science prior to consenting, to better understand how to minimise risk, he says. “The post-application monitoring is on-going and with the assistance of a local soil scientist, we are expecting that the application of marc to the site will be very beneficial both to the soil and for the cropping operation on the farm, while providing a sustainable


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disposal option for a large portion of the industry’s marc.” Matt says the entire industry should be commended on the improvement of marc handling. “There has been significant investment to enable this as seen at Indevin, Yealands and a number of other vineyards.” A grape marc initiative by Pacific Rim Environmental is focused on providing a service to process grape marc with zero impact on the environment, says managing director Chris Bowhill. The company, which ran a pilot project in the 2018 vintage, expects to dry about 500 tonnes of grape marc this harvest, turning the waste product into dried pellets that can be stored for use as fertiliser, stock feed, or fuel, among other uses. Chris says the dried product from 2018 is storing “incredibly well”, but the company needs to find other waste streams to enable it to process year round, because grape marc provides such a “short-term input” over around two months of the year. “We’re going full steam ahead. Our operation is one option for the Marlborough wine industry to choose from when it comes to dealing with its grape marc problem.” Chris says PacRimEnviro is committed to its own environmental and corporate responsibility. “That’s front and centre this year - we’ll aim

“This research project will consider options for turning this material into a stable, reusable and marketable product” Alec McNeil for zero impact and do what we can to boost the local community.” Meanwhile, the MDC has commissioned a Massey University research project into how best to deal with up to 65,000 tonnes of grape marc each year. The marc can contain up to 60% liquid, says council’s solid waste manager Alec McNeil, who made a successful bid to the Ministry for the Environment’s Waste Minimisation Fund for the research. “This research project will consider options for turning this material into a stable,

reusable and marketable product, whilst minimising its environmental impact.” Individual companies are also making the most of their marc, including Rapaura Springs, which spreads it out at its Blind River Vineyard, in order to increase organic matter and microbiological activity in the alluvial gravel and clay soils. The company’s grower liaison Matt Fox says before they completed the purchase of the land, the company spread 1,400 tonnes of compost, to help restore its health. Now they use three spreaders over vintage to add a thin layer of grape marc, continuing that regenerative process. The company has also created three gravel-covered concrete pads for a geotube, which holds sludge left in emptied wine tanks. The winemaking by product is typically dumped by companies, but Rapaura Springs wanted to eliminate the waste stream, so collects it and allows the water to seep out through the geotube and into the gravel, to be processed through its wastewater treatment system. Over time, the organic material left in the bag composts, giving the company another natural treatment for its land, Matt says.

Grape marc storage and leachate collection RACHEL NEAL In the lead-up to vintage, it is important to ensure your processes and systems for disposing of both liquid and solid waste are up to date with the relevant regulations. Whether you store and manage your grape marc waste yourself or contract another party to take and manage your grape marc waste, you are responsible for taking measures to ensure plan requirements and the Resource Management Act 1991 are met. Inadequate storage and control measures for grape marc and leachate can cause significant adverse

effects. Such adverse effects include the contamination of ground and/or surface water. Important factors to consider to meet requirements: • Is the grape marc located within a Soil Sensitive Area? • Is the grape marc located within 50m of a bore? • Is the grape marc located within 20m of any surface water body? • What is the moisture content of the solid waste? • Are there measures in place to prevent rain and runoff entering the

grape marc? • Is there sufficient leachate collection in place? • Is the grape marc covered? To avoid adverse effects, it is recommended to store grape marc solid waste on an impermeable surface with an impermeable leachate collection system. Rachel Neal is the Marlborough District Council monitoring programme co-ordinator. For more information, contact the council’s monitoring team on 03 520 7400 or monitoring@ marlborough.govt.nz

Winepress February 2020 / 15


CELEBRATE Matt Patterson-Green

Vintage Widow Making the world’s best Pinot Noir SOPHIE PREECE

WHEN JACKSON Estate built a specialist winery for the top 10% of its fruit, Matt Patterson-Green had a clear mission in mind. “I said right from the start that I wanted Jackson Estate to be recognised as one of the best producers of Pinot Noir in Marlborough, and one of the best producers of Pinot Noir in New Zealand”. The head winemaker has rather overshot that mark, with the Vintage Widow 2015 named Best Pinot in the World at the 2019 IWSC International Show in London, where judges applauded its harmony and balance. That’s great news for a region that can be undervalued for the variety, says Matt. “I absolutely love Central Otago Pinots. I think they are probably some of the best in the world. But I also think Marlborough is regularly producing some of the best Pinot in New Zealand, and also some of the best Pinot in the world.” Vintage Widow is made from two 16 / Winepress February 2020

vineyards in the Waihopai Valley, with around 50% from Somerset Vineyard and the remainder from the Gum Emperor Vineyard, where a stand of old gum trees marks the onetime cottage of a boundary rider, who guarded the unfenced edges of early sheep stations. The vineyards are side by side, managed identically, and have a base of clay-bound soil. However, the top 25cm of soil - stony loam on one and alluvial gravel on the other - ensure wildly different fruit. The Gum Emperor Vineyard has dense, dark fruit with broody aromatics and smoky characters, says Matt. “Whereas Somerset is very Burgundian… very lifted and floral - violets and roses. It’s very textural and very elegant”. Prior to 2017, the hand-picked fruit was taken to a contract winemaking facility to be made, but the build of a winery on Jackson’s Road, designed specifically for Chardonnay and Pinot, has ensured Matt now has total control. Wines are made “low and slow”, with small batches, hand

“I also think Marlborough is regularly producing some of the best Pinot in New Zealand, and also some of the best Pinot in the world.” plunging, natural ferments and slow decision-making - parcel by parcel, plunge by plunge, barrel by barrel. “We tick everything through nice and gently,” Matt says. It’s a unique position to be in, and he is grateful he joined Jackson Estate 18 years ago, as one of the winemakers at the company’s Riverlands Winery, a contract facility with up to 13 clients. In 2012, Jackson Estate closed the winery in order to focus exclusively on its own wines, and “spend less time making really good wines for other people”, says Matt. At that stage he became Jackson Estate winemaker and the company went “to the other side of the fence”, using another contract facility. But they realised very quickly that a small but precious portion of wines were not served by that model,


CELEBRATE

“We tick everything through nice and gently.” with Matt finding a “great deal of frustration” in having limited access to the wines. The company started to regain control, firstly by moving to facilities at Allan Scott, a little way up the road from the home block on Jackson Road. In 2015, the company founder John Stichbury retired, selling the business to long-time friend and company board member, John Benton, a Wellington businessman who wanted the label to stay in Kiwi hands, says Matt. The company remained 100% family owned, with a reinvigorated focus on producing top end wines, and plans for a new winery, designed as an abode for the top 15% of the company’s

fruit, with all the advantage of new world technology and design, but all the ethos of old world wine making. Sauvignon Blanc is still made in the contract facility, which was doing a great job with the variety, says Matt, who visits the wines daily but has faith in their production. “Not too many winemakers around Marlborough get to see 80% of their production elsewhere and get to play with the small batch handson stuff in their own winery.” Jackson Estate built its reputation on Sauvignon Blanc, and still sees the enormous value of that variety to the company and the region, says Matt. “But I believe Pinot will become the thing that Jackson Estate becomes known for.”

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Winepress February 2020 / 17


CELEBRATE

Industry Pioneer A US import with deep roots in Marlborough BRENDA WEBB

DISREGARDING THE importance of Sauvignon Blanc to New Zealand doesn’t wash with Dominic Pecchenino, who won’t hear a bad word said about the variety. “I really hate it when people slag it off,” says the viticulturist and wine research stalwart, who moved to Marlborough from the US in the early 1990s. “A lot of doors in the world have been opened for Marlborough and the only reason for that is Sauvignon Blanc.” The variety is not only the star of today but the star of the future, due to the fact no one else can produce it like Marlborough can, Dominic says. “We own Sauvignon Blanc - we own the style – no one else can do it. There is no secret clone, it is solely our terroir. The fruit develops at a time when weather conditions are perfect. And our demographic continues to grow so there is no end in sight for opportunities.” The challenge to grape growers, winemakers, viticulturists and wine companies is to produce quality grapes and a premium product at the high end of the market. “We must always overproduce on quality,” he

18 / Winepress February 2020

says. Dominic first came to New Zealand in 1994 after sending his CV (“by fax….that’s how you did it in those days”) to Matador Estate’s John Webber, who was seeking someone with experience in phylloxera. Back then, many of Marlborough’s grapes were planted on their own rootstock and the aphid, which feeds on the roots of grapevines, was widespread. At the time, Dominic was working for himself in the San Joaquin valley and didn’t think too hard about the Marlborough opportunity, having never been to the southern hemisphere, let alone New Zealand. He didn’t think he’d hear back, but the Matador team were impressed, and in particular with his experience in dealing with phylloxera, which had been rampant in California. They flew him to Auckland, where he met with John and Mark Nobilo and Ivan Selak, before heading to Marlborough to look at Matador Estate, which was badly affected by phylloxera. Back then the Matador Estate was 80 hectares and the largest privately owned contiguous vineyard in the country. It was tiny compared to the 3,200ha vineyard Dominic had

been working on back in California. Dominic’s handwritten report was presented and he was offered a permanent position, which, after some discussion with wife Marianne, he accepted. Marlborough presented challenges for this all-American

“I’m very proud of the research done under my watch. It’s outstanding world class research that is being used by other people in other countries.”


CELEBRATE

family. “We thought we spoke English but got very lost on the terminology,” he says. “Having children made it much easier - the children assimilated into school life and we made friends outside the wine industry which was important.” Keeping American traditions such as Halloween and Thanksgiving alive and involving friends in the local community helped enormously, he says. The Peccheninos returned to the States in 1998, when Dominic was headhunted to run a prime property in the Napa Valley, producing high-end fruit at a time it was commanding prices of $6,000 a tonne. In 2001, Marlborough came calling again and the family returned for good, set up a business and bought property, and now regard the province as home. Dominic has impeccable pedigree when it comes to viticulture. His great-grandfather immigrated to the States from Italy and was a cobbler. “As all Italian immigrants did, he made a bit of wine on the side, so during prohibition people got their shoes fixed a lot - they’d get to sample his red wine at the same time,” he says. At junior college Dominic had no idea what to do, but was working part time at a deli that sold fine foods and high-end wines when he met Julio Gallo of the winemaking Gallo family. “I was thinking about geology, but he told me to consider viticulture so I did, going to California State University, Fresno, and doing a four year degree in plant science,” he says. Four years later he returned to get his master’s degree in viticulture. Being in Marlborough during tumultuous times has been inspiring for Dominic and he relished the challenges of tackling phylloxera. “Coming to New Zealand was great for me viticulturally,” he says. During his Marlborough years, he has been deeply involved in the wider industry, including as a past chair and vice chair of the Marlborough Winegrowers board, during which time he helped bring in the first Silver Secateurs competition and lobbied the Government on labour issues. He is currently on the boards of New Zealand Winegrowers (NZW) and the Bragato Research Institute, and is chair of research for NZW. Dominic has been involved in producing books on botrytis and Sauvignon Blanc, and worked with Ruby Andrews to co-write NZW’s definitive manual on frost protection. He and Simon Hooker also established the Grape Days seminars, which draw more than 800 industry participants every year. “I’m very proud of the research done under my watch,” he says. “It’s outstanding world class research that is being used by other people in other countries.” He also instigated mechanical thinning, which is now being used in all grape regions for thinning and botrytis control, and was the first viticulturist to use vine prunings and winery waste to make compost and mulch to put back on the vineyard. The mulching operation he established was one of the largest in the southern hemisphere at that time. The new Bragato winery, which Dominic has been very

involved with, will be up and running this month. That is a “huge milestone”, he says. “It’s going to be the best research winery in the southern hemisphere, sitting right here in Blenheim.” He has seen the industry grow from just a few hundred hectares to thousands. “The industry went from to strength to strength in a very short time. It was making some really bad wines - remember them? But New Zealanders went away to get trained and built brand new wineries. We have been on a steep learning curve, and look at the Sauvignon Blanc now.” Dominic praises the way those in the wine industry in New Zealand get on, particularly in terms of a national body. “It’s very unique in this industry to have one united industry body - New Zealand Winegrowers - and everyone belongs to it, whether you are a grape grower, viticulturist or winemaker,” he says. “In other countries you can have different bodies and a lot of in-fighting - many countries envy the Zealand situation.” Despite his years in the industry – both here and in the States – Dominic says he greets every day with enthusiasm and passion, often jumping on a tractor in the vineyard if he has to. “I learn something every day and am passionate about the industry and keen to see the success go to the next level,” he says. “We have such a solid and sound level of knowledge and experience here and we don’t want to be at the trailing edge – we want to be at the leading edge. We need to produce quality, quality, and quality.”

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Winepress February 2020/ 19


PROTECT Maren Ricken amid buckwheat and vines at Dogpoint Vineyards

Forgotten Corners Growing diversity one row at a time SOPHIE PREECE

MAREN RICKEN isn’t really content just sowing the seed of an idea. In fact, when it comes to increasing soil health and biodiversity in Marlborough, Kiwi Seed’s horticultural agronomist admits to being quite pushy. “Under a strip of 10 years’ glyphosate, there is no life, and how can you grow good quality wines in soil that is dead?” she asks. Increasingly, her words are falling on eager ears. “People get the idea that

they need to do things differently now. They are asking what they can do to improve.” Maren consults with grape growers to determine what species will work best for them in the vineyard, taking into consideration management techniques, water availability, soil types, pest and disease pressure, and whether or not the vines will be grazed, mowed or rolled. In some cases she’ll seek to build nitrogen, and uses cover crops to grow organic matter and soil structure, increasing fertility and

Protect your patch

“The regenerative farming idea is coming. It’s a big wave that is just hitting New Zealand and it is starting to show in vineyards.”

diversity at the same time. Where soils have too much vigour, she chooses competitive plants “those that are a bit more active in spring and summer as well”, she says.

Want to know more about invasive plant pests such as Chilean needle grass? Marlborough faces an ever-present risk of new pests arriving or spreading further. Putting in place good biosecurity measures protects our environment, primary industries and quality of life. Liam Falconer, Senior Biosecurity Officer can help you with advice and assistance. Or check out the information on the Council’s website at: www.marlborough.govt.nz/environment/biosecurity Liam Falconer DDI: 03 520 7400 M: 027 242 1132 Senior Biosecurity Officer liam.falconer@marlborough.govt.nz www.marlborough.govt.nz

20 / Winepress February 2020


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“And on the very dry sites we like to use winter active and summer dormant things, so it doesn’t compete with the plants for moisture in summer.” Buckwheat and phacelia are very common in Marlborough, partly because they help nourish the soil, and partly because they attract a small native wasp that predates on the leafroller caterpillar pest. Beneficial insects like lacewings are also attracted, which help control mealy bugs, says Maren. Other popular choices are tick beans, lupins and oats in winter, which can help build organic material and improve soil health. But she emphasises that different sites have different requirements, and it’s far from a one-species-fits-all scenario. Growers may need to trial a mix before they find the right fit, she says. “This is what I like people to understand. That they have to try in order to learn - and like a child learns running, they’ll be falling. But if you do take your notes and learn from that then you do make progress.” As well as unique situations on different vineyard blocks, the season can add complications, with too much dry or too much rain, or extremes of cold and heat, all influencing seeds as well as the way a vineyard will be managed. Once she’s come up with a list of species (and the highest count of different complementary species on one vineyard so far is 42), Maren discusses how and when to sow, and how best to manage the inter-row crop. In some cases, the grower will allow every second row to stay in bloom after the rest are mowed, allowing seed to set and maintaining a food source for beneficial insects and bees. Maren studied horticulture in Germany and joined Kiwi Seeds in Marlborough in 2010, working mainly in vegetable seed production. “But I very quickly started moving into the vineyards,” she says. Her initial work was with organic growers, but more and more people are looking for something to plant amid their vines. “Bit by bit the conventional guys are starting to open up, though maybe not

to the same level… You don’t have to be organic to do things differently.” She says the idea of regenerative farming practices is a “big wave” that is just hitting New Zealand, “and it is starting to show in vineyards”. The shift in attitudes has made it a lot easier for her to get the message across, and in the past few years she’s spoken to several groups about their soil and the potential for plantings. “That’s the way New Zealand works,” she says. “You need one or two people doing it across the road, and then they have a field day and other people get interested.”

Blooming boundaries Barren fence lines could become a buffet for bees, says Maren Ricken. The Kiwi Seed agronomist is on a mission to bring blooming borders to the edges of the roads running from Blenheim to Murchison, so tourists and other travellers see more than glyphosate strips. As well as being a prettier picture, the plantings improve soil health, help address Marlborough’s monoculture, and give bees and other insects a more abundant source of food. “I don’t see the point in spraying and mowing a fence line,” she says, while standing on a boundary line of poppies on State Highway 63, planted by a vineyard operator who is on board with her plan. Every convert makes a big difference, because others see the charm of the floral border, she says, referring to the influence of Fromm Wine’s successful floral fence line on State Highway 6 a few years ago. “That’s the sort of thing that helps promote the idea.” Maren sings the praises of wildflower fence lines in every Kiwi Seed seasonal newsletter she sends. “I have been very pushy in that department.”

Green Company of the Year Pernod Ricard Winemakers has been announced Green Company of the Year by the Drinks Business Green Awards 2019. One of the major sustainability steps recognised by the judges was the move to 100% renewable electricity in Australia in November last year – the first wine company of its size in the country to do so. In New Zealand, Pernod Ricard helped to restore more than 10 hectares of native wetlands in Marlborough, with more than 10,000 plants now thriving. Judges were also impressed by a company-wide banning of plastic straws and a move towards the use of lightweight glass in Australia and New Zealand, which has reduced Pernod’s carbon emissions associated with glass by 30%. “Our judges felt the entry offered ‘the best of both worlds’ – local thinking with a global reach”. Pernod Ricard’s sustainability manager New Zealand, Tracey Marshall, says she’s proud of the New Zealand team’s contribution to the award. “We won’t be resting on our laurels and are committed to continual improvement, and have a number of targets through our sustainability and responsibility roadmap, ‘Good Times from a Good Place’.” She says the roadmap is based on four key pillars that address all aspects of the company’s lifecycle, from grain to glass, “with clear 2030 objectives supporting the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals”.

Winepress February 2020 / 21


GROW

Generation Y-ine A good craic in New Zealand’s wine industry KAT DUGGAN

WINEGROWERS AND makers will be kept up to date with research insights thanks to the newest team member at Bragato Research Institute. Michelle Barry is a long way from her native Ireland but is right at home in her new role as the institute’s technical communications specialist. The environmental scientist has a particular interest in soils, with a research Masters in soil science, and has worked across both viticulture and farming sectors. Using her knowledge, Michelle will share technical insights from Bragato Research Institute (BRI) research in plain language, to allow it to be picked up and used easily by all industry members. “The main focus of my job is to take research findings and put them in a format that growers and winemakers can easily absorb,” she says. “The research can then be put into action in the vineyard and the winery.” A career in agri-environmental science followed a childhood of hiking on farmland and getting outdoors in and around Michelle’s hometown of Tralee, in southwest Ireland. “Dad develops wind farm projects and then my mum had a plant nursery at home. We were always dragged out hiking and stuff as kids,” she says. “I’ve always been an outdoorsy person, and that’s why I gravitated towards working in the primary industries.” Specialising in soils was not always the plan, but something Michelle happily fell into during her studies. “I worked on a national soil classification programme as an 22 / Winepress February 2020

assistant and it was my first introduction to working with farms and soils. I learned so much and it was fascinating,” she says. Michelle takes particular interest in how the health of soils can impact on plant growth. She made her way to New Zealand in 2015 and began utilising her skills to enhance the wine industry. “I came to New Zealand wanting to live in a different country, but also for the job opportunities,” she says. “I gravitated towards viticulture because of the concept of terroir and thought I would learn how to manage soils in vineyards.” Michelle spent time in Martinborough at Craggy Range Winery before moving to Blenheim in 2016 and working as an assistant vineyard manager for Giesen Wines. After leaving to experience vintages in both Germany and South America, Michelle returned to Marlborough and took up the position at BRI. She enjoys being part of an organisation that works to empower the industry as a whole. “To keep New Zealand at the forefront of wine production we really need research programmes, and Bragato manages those programmes,” she says. “I’m happy that I’ve transitioned into working in the wine industry - it’s a very dynamic and exciting industry to work in.”

“It’s a very dynamic and exciting industry to work in.” Michelle Barry Michelle has also started her own wine label, Emerald Wines, with her partner Tom Hindmarsh, and the couple recently bottled their first vintage. The first collection of around 2,500 bottles is named Craic, and includes Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris, Sauvignon Blanc and Rosé. Using her technical knowledge of soil and plant health, Michelle hopes to develop her skills in the winery and bring the two together. “Professionally I would like to marry building soil health with growing healthy vines and then producing the best wine that you can,” she says. “Whether that’s having our own vineyard one day, and I get to do that there, or if I help other growers do that, we will see.” What began as a short stint in New Zealand is now open-ended. “I love living here, it’s been so positive for me both professionally and personally; I’ve had so many opportunities that I don’t think I would have had anywhere else.”


CELEBRATE Grove Mill

Sustainability Goals NEW ZEALAND Winegrowers (NZW) is working to narrow the focus of its sustainability initiatives, with water, waste, pest and disease, climate change and people making up five key focus areas. NZW general manager sustainability Edwin Massey emailed members last month to explain how those focus areas “encapsulate the areas of sustainability that are most relevant for our industry, our people, our stakeholders and our markets”. Each focus area has its own specific goal: •Water - be a world leader in efficient water use, •Waste - minimise the environmental impact of the materials we use, •Pest and disease - understand, reduce and mitigate impacts of existing and potential pest and disease,

Five focus areas: Water - be a world leader in efficient water use: • Ensure water efficiency across operations. • Strive to improve downstream water quality. • Invest in the restoration of water ecosystems to ensure sustainable water withdrawals. •Eliminate the use of chemicals and materials that can be detrimental to water quality if improperly disposed. Waste - minimise the environmental impact of the materials we use: • Reduce chemical residues, diffuse discharges, singleuse plastics, treated timber and waste to landfill. • Develop innovative solutions for dealing with waste and alternatives to troublesome/dangerous waste products. • Improve supply chain efficiency. Pest and disease - understand, reduce and mitigate impacts of existing and potential pest and disease: • Educate members on integrated pest management and resistance management guidelines to ensure the ongoing use of effective controls. • Enable members to make informed choices on chemical

•Climate change – reduce carbon emissions, •People – be an industry of choice for workers, “It’s through these goals that our industry demonstrates its commitment to protecting the places that make our famous wines,” Edwin told members. “It is important that all members measure their progress towards these goals so that they can improve the sustainability of their businesses.” The industry goals align with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) developed in 2015, he said. “The UN SDGs are the blueprint to achieve a better and more sustainable future for all, as they seek to mobilise global efforts around a common set of targets.”

use options. •Encourage members to use softer chemical and nonchemical controls for efficient and sustainable pest and disease management. • Commit to and implement responsible sourcing practices beyond compliance for all raw materials and commodities. Climate Change - reduce carbon emissions: • Minimise the carbon footprint of our industry, •Meet or exceed the Government’s expectations regarding industry responsibility for greenhouse gas emissions, • Demonstrate leadership around climate change mitigation and adaptation. People - be an industry of choice for workers • Promote diversity and inclusion in the workplace. • Ensure all employment practices in the industry are fair and legal. • Invest in labour attraction and retention. • Invest in industry leadership, skills development and mentoring programmes. • Maximise workplace health and safety .

Winepress February 2020 / 23


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Biosecurity Watch Biosecurity Act 1993 under review SOPHIE BADLAND

LAST JULY, Biosecurity Minister Damien O’Connor announced a review and overhaul of the Biosecurity Act 1993 in the wake of the devastating Mycoplasma bovis incursion. “The Mycoplasma bovis outbreak is the single biggest biosecurity event New Zealand has faced, and it highlighted flaws in the NAIT scheme and Biosecurity Act,” he said. “We need to learn from the bovis experience and have better pieces of legislation as a result of it.” A number of other highprofile biosecurity responses over the last few years such as Bonamia, myrtle rust and Psa have also triggered the need for a review of the Act. Not surprisingly, biosecurity response funding is one of the underlying drivers for the Act review. The Ministry of Primary Industries (MPI) are allocated a set amount of funding to respond to biosecurity incursions, but the costs of eradicating unwanted exotic pests and diseases when they arrive in New Zealand regularly exceed the allocated budget, even with industry cost-sharing in these responses via the Government Industry Agreement (GIA). It’s estimated that the bovis response alone will cost $870 million over the 10-year eradication period. A sustainable approach to biosecurity funding is required, and

this needs to be able to account for the unpredictable nature of biosecurity incursions from year to year. “We’re operating in a different world than we were in 1993,” the minister pointed out. New Zealand’s biosecurity legislation is now 27 years old, and in that time, international trade and travel volumes have increased exponentially, many new markets have opened up, and there have been huge technological advances in the freighting sector. All of this means that it is far easier for exotic

pests and diseases to arrive in New Zealand, establish populations and cause problems for primary industry and indigenous biodiversity. As well as increased border pressure, climate change is likely to induce impacts from ‘sleeper pests’ - species that are already present in New Zealand in low numbers but not yet causing issues. With warming temperatures, there is

greater opportunity for these pests to thrive. A review of the Biosecurity Act offers an opportunity to go back to first principles and to look at what New Zealand’s biosecurity system needs to achieve, and how it should operate. There is an opportunity to change perceptions that the biosecurity system should be able to eliminate all risk, and that any incursions are a failure on the part of the system. The biosecurity system will never be able to reduce the risk of an incursion to zero. There are too many factors, too many pests to keep out, too much movement of people and goods for that to be a possibility. The system is set up to reduce or mitigate the risk as much as possible, and there are contingencies in place (such as high-risk site surveillance, planned response tactics, and long-term management plans) to deal with harmful organisms that may still arrive. All of these are important parts of the system as a whole. The review of the Biosecurity Act has implications for New Zealand’s primary industries, which are often the major beneficiaries of the biosecurity system’s activities. As well as funding, the review will consider the primary legislation around compliance with the Act, enforcement, incentives, and compensation in the event of

IF YOU SEE ANYTHING UNUSUAL

CATCH IT . SNAP IT . REPORT IT . Call MPI biosecurity hotline 0800 80 99 66 24 / Winepress February 2020


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property or business being damaged or lost during a response situation. It is important that industries have their say in this conversation; the impacts of a biosecurity response are often damaging and widely felt by affected industries. MPI representatives visit Marlborough On January 21, two members of the MPI Biosecurity Act Review team visited a couple of Marlborough vineyards and met with representatives from the Marlborough Grape Growers Cooperative (MGGC). Rose Lark, MPI senior policy analyst, is leading the workstreams covering on-farm biosecurity practice and compensation, and Ali Horsley, also a senior policy analyst, is the workstream lead for readiness and response activities. The purpose of their visit was to engage with growers on these issues and get a first-hand

The outbreak of cattle disease Mycoplasma bovis has caused New Zealand’s biggest biosecurity response yet, highlighting issues with biosecurity legislation.

feel for the biosecurity challenges winegrowers face in the vineyard. The first site they visited was Peter Campbell’s vineyard, hosted by Steve Hayman, before moving on to Robert Black’s vineyard where they had a sit-down discussion and afternoon tea with a group of growers who are part of the MGGC. The discussion was engaging and wideranging, with growers taking the opportunity to ask MPI questions and in turn putting forward their views on current pest and disease issues, border biosecurity, the biggest risks for their businesses, how to motivate and drive behaviour change, reluctance to report potential problems, the challenges of vineyard biosecurity planning, the need for greater education of vineyard staff and crop scouts, and the realities of a biosecurity response and compensation. New Zealand

Winegrowers would like to thank Johnny McMillan for helping to co-ordinate these site visits, Steve Hayman and Robert Black for hosting, and all the other MGGC members who made the time to come along and share their views. MPI will also be offering opportunities for public consultation and intend to publish a discussion document, which will be available in March or April this year. Interested members can go to biosecurity.govt. nz/law-and-policy/legal-overviews/ biosecurity/biosecurity-act-1993overhaul to find out more about the Act review and how to participate in consultation. Keep up to date with the latest in biosecurity and sustainability news from New Zealand Wine – join our NZW Kaitiaki Facebook group at www. facebook.com/groups/nzwinekaitiaki/

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Winepress February 2020 / 25


Industry News Pinot Paradise Pinot Noir NZ 2021 is set to be “a slice of Kiwi Pinot heaven”, says event co-chair Helen Masters of the threeday perusal of all things Pinot. There are 120 New Zealand producers signed up for the event, including 42 from Marlborough, ranging from large to boutique wineries. “Across the three days, attendees will have multiple opportunities to meet, talk and taste their way around some of the country’s most impressive wineries,” says co-chair Penelope Naish. “This will give them an in-depth look at the complexity and breadth of New Zealand’s remarkable Pinot Noir culture.” The Pinot celebration will be held in Christchurch from February 23 to 25, 2021. Tickets are on sale this month, from Monday, February 10.

NZSVO Rosé Workshop Rosé wines will be under the spotlight at the next New Zealand Society for Viticulture and Oenology (NZSVO) workshop, to be held in Marlborough in July. The programme will explore market influence, viticulture and winemaking, as well as technical trials and comprehensive tastings. The workshop is on July 28 at Marlborough Vintners Hotel in Renwick.

industry, including sales and marketing, cellar door, general management, operations, logistics, laboratory, administration, viticulture, cellar hand and winemaking. The programme aims to match one woman with an experienced female mentor from the wine industry within their region, subject to the number of applications received and suitable matches available. The mentoring programme is a Women in Wine initiative, while the New Zealand Winegrowers (NZW) mentoring programme - open to all members regardless of gender - will run again later in the year. To apply for the Women in Wine mentoring programme, applicants must work for an organisation that is a NZW member. Find out more on the members pages of nzwine.com

Wine Marlborough Update VANCE KERSLAKE Wine Marlborough is part of the RSE Cap Working Group. We need to demonstrate we are meeting the Minister’s challenges to get the 2020 cap increase. We will be asking members for information in February to support our case. A Marlborough Regional Skills Leadership Group is being established and Wine Marlborough helped organise an industry seminar this month. This group will give Marlborough a direct line to government on labour and skills issues on a level playing field with other regions. Education to Employment Brokers to liaise between schools and employers to highlight local job opportunities are being established. Wine Marlborough assisted the Chamber of Commerce in an application to bring one of these positions to Marlborough. This would complement the School of Winegrowing, which is already a great success. The next Marlborough Winegrowers meeting with the Marlborough District Council is on February 25. If you have any issues you want us to raise with council, email Vance Kerslake, Advocacy Manager advocacy@winemarlborough. nz

Bird Scaring

WiW Mentoring Programme Applications to join the Women in Wine mentoring programme close on February 9. The programme is open to women of all ages working in all roles within the wine

26 / Winepress February 2020

Vineyard operators wanting to shoo away grape gobbling birds are governed by the rules of the Wairau/Awatere Resource Management Plan. The plan has two categories for audible sound waves used for the scaring of birds, with the first category (a) covering percussive or explosive devices (excluding firearms) that scare or disturb birds by generating a shock wave from percussion or an explosion, including gas guns. The second category (b) covers other devices (but excluding firearms) that generate noise to scare or disturb birds, including vehicles or quad bikes tooting, and air horns. To learn about what you can and can’t do, search bird scaring on the Marlborough District Council website marlborough.govt.nz


Winery Wastewater Seminar Full compliance with winery wastewater rules is the aim for the 2020 vintage. Hear from Grove Mill winemaker Greg Lane (pictured), Marlborough District Council monitoring programme co-ordinator Rachel Neal, and environmental scientist, land Management, Matt Oliver about some of the easy fixes for non-compliance and progress the industry has made. The Winery Wastewater Seminar is at 10am, Tuesday February 18, at the Marlborough Research Centre theatre, 85 Budge Street, Blenheim. Please RSVP to Vance Kerslake advocacy@winemarlborough.nz.

Frost Fan Fans New Zealand Frost Fans (NZFF) has sold a 75% stake to Pencarrow Private Equity. The wind machine company is a leading supplier in Australia and New Zealand, and also sells fans to overseas markets including Turkey and Chile. FrostBoss machines are manufactured in Hawke’s Bay and NZFF also offers remote monitoring services.

Winegrowers Fellows at the New Zealand Wine of the Year Awards. Central Otago winemaker Jen Parr of Valli Vineyards was named the 2020 New Zealand Winemaker of the Year at the awards.

Les Nuits Romantiques Clos Henri will hold its annual Les Nuits Romantiques outdoor movie screening on February 14, from 7pm. The $60 ticket price gets you a bag of picnic food, a glass of wine at entry, and the French flick La Promesse de l’aube (Promise at Dawn), shown on the side of the cellar door church. They’ll also be serving cheese plates and wine by the bottle, so no BYO. The event, which is R18, will be screened at the winery if the weather is bad. Get tickets at trybooking. co.nz/DMD

SWNZ Team Leader Meagan Littlejohn has been appointed as the New Zealand Winegrowers (NZW) team leader for the Sustainable Winegrowing New Zealand (SWNZ) programme. Meagan, who is from Canada, first joined NZW in May 2018 as the systems administrator for SWNZ. The newly created team leader role will see her develop and lead the SWNZ and SWNZ Continuous Improvement (SWNZ CI) programmes as core components of the environment strategy. She says she is focused on helping NZW re-focus the SWNZ and SWNZ CI programmes to ensure that they are relevant and beneficial to members and the industry as a whole.

Gourmet Traveller Wine Jason Flowerday of Te Whare Ra Wines won the 2020 Viticulturist Award at last month’s Gourmet Traveller WINE New Zealand Winemaker of the Year awards. Jason tends some of the oldest vines in the Marlborough region, the organisation said on social media after awarding the title. “He’s a figurehead among organic viticulturists in New Zealand and a deserving recipient of this award.” James Millton took out the 2020 Leadership Award. “His vineyard, his wines and his personal example have given many other growers the motivation to become organic or biodynamic, and for this reason he’s regularly referred to as the country’s father of sustainable farming practices,” they said. Late last year, James and his wife Annie were made New Zealand

CLASSIFIEDS Sauvignon Blanc Grapes Sought Winery seeks contract for 1-5 years for 40-50 tons of premium Sauvignon Blanc grapes. Will pay above district average for quality. Established, Kiwi-owned brand. Please contact MarlboroughWinery@gmail.com

Winepress February 2020 / 27


Wine Happenings A monthly list of events within the New Zealand wine industry.

To have your event included in March Wine Happenings or Industry News pages, please email details to sophie@sophiepreece.co.nz by February 20. For more information on these events, email sarah@wine-marlborough.co.nz

FEBRUARY 7 Pre Marlborough Wine & Food Festival Soiree - Brancott Estate Cellar Door & Restaurant (eventfinda) 8 Marlborough Wine & Food Festival 9 Wine and Food Wind Down 2020 - Vines Village 9 Applications close for Women in Wine mentoring (see pg 26) 12 Crop modelling seminar, 4pm, MRC Theatre, 85 Budge Street 14 Nuits Romantiques - Clos Henri (sales@closhenri.com) 18 Winery Wastewater Seminar, 10am, MRC Theatre, 85 Budge Street (see pg 26) 20 Winemaker Survey Seminar 3.30pm, MRC Theatre, 85 Budge St (see pg 11) 29 Dog Point Classic Kiwi Picnic MARCH 13 Framingham 2020 Harvest Concert 28 Whitehaven Graperide MAY 9 Saint Clair Vineyard Half Marathon

Marlborough Wine & Food Festival - Feb 8

28 / Winepress February 2020

Framingham Harvest Concert - March 13

Saint Clair Vineyard Half Marathon - May 9


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