THE OFFICIAL MAGAZINE OF WINE MARLBOROUGH
ISSUE NO. 293 / JUNE 2019
Photo: Jim Tannock
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10 Dam Right
6 20 22 24 26 28
Editorial - Sophie Preece
The dry 2019 season was a timely reminder of how much Marlborough’s wine industry relies on water, say those advocating bigger dams and more efficient irrigation systems.
From the Councillor - Geoff Evans Tasman Crop Met Report - Rob Agnew Industry Pioneer - Allan Scott Generation Y-ine - Hannah Ternent
Eutypa and Botryosphaeria dieback threaten the sustainability of New Zealand’s wine industry, and Marlborough’s Sauvignon Blanc crops are certainly at risk. “You can ignore the problem, but it’s not going to go away,” says Villa Maria’s Hannah Ternent.
18 Grape Marc
Cover: Jim Tannock’s stunning photo of the Awatere River, Mount Tapuae-o-Uenuku, and a patchwork of autumnal vines.
14 Trunk Disease
Biosecurity Watch - Sophie Badland
ANZ Wine Happenings
Drying grape marc is a difficult business, but PacRimEnviro’s vintage trials were worth the effort, says Chris Bowhill. “The whole premise of what we were doing is if you take the moisture out, the leachate is gone. We are left with a product that is stable.”
Winepress June 2019 / 1
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From the Editor IT’S EASY to forget how good we have it in Marlborough, but May often acts as a reminder. The vines are stunning in their autumn garb, cloaking Marlborough in a patchwork of orange, gold and red. And their beauty, of course, is far more than skin deep, with those endless rows pumping the lifeblood of this region, responsible for more than 2,200 jobs (NZIER, 2015) and the lion’s share of more than $1.5 billion in New Zealand wine exports. Beyond good looks and a strong bank balance, our vineyards and the industry they’ve grown give this rural province a sophisticated edge, with restaurants, wine lists and events that are a far cry from those available in your average country town. May was fair bursting with all of the above, beginning with Sauvignon Blanc Day, our homage to Marlborough’s flagship wine. Then there was Feast Marlborough, with 55 producers at 15 events over four days. Thirty-six wine producers were involved in events around the region, and 4,000 guests devoured their share of the 145 dishes created across the festival, each one celebrating Marlborough and its produce. Founder Chris Shaw says the sky is the limit for Feast, which exists because the region is so famed for its wine and increasingly known for its food, from game in the high country to kai moana from the “Cook Strait larder”, he says. “There’s all this wild pork and wild venison, and honey and cheese. It’s burgeoning and it can only be a good thing for the region and for the wine story. That’s the goal of Feast - to tell Marlborough’s produce and wine story.” Meanwhile, the Saint Clair Vineyard Half Marathon drew more than 3,000 participants, many of them from out of town, who walked or ran 21km through 22 vineyards, tasting Marlborough produce along the way. I strolled the beautiful course with friends, stopped at Cloudy Bay for some Pelorus at the 8km mark, and sampled every taster on the trail, while we applauded our region’s vines, people and produce. That evening I went to Five Tapped for Feast’s Banquet in the Boom, while hundreds of other Marlburians and vineyard half visitors attended other Marlborough Underground events across the region, from Hākari with the Aunties at Omaka Marae to Head in the Clouds at Cloudy Bay. Last week someone asked me to imagine the Wairau Plains under dairy expansion, with fields of cows and kilometres of pivot irrigators, in lieu of that autumnal vine vista. It was a wake-up call to how lucky we are to have rows of vines instead, with the postcard perfect landscapes, economic wellbeing and delicious opportunities they bring.
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 June 2019 / 3
From the councillor We need real rural councillors GEOFF EVANS
WE IN the rural community need to promote rural people standing for election to the Marlborough District Council. I won’t be there after October, as having served three terms I am not seeking re-election. But we need farmers and other independent land managers to explain, and perhaps inﬂuence, the eﬀect of the many regulatory, civil and rating decisions made by council. The beauty of the Wairau Plain in autumn, with its manmade patchwork of changing colours, and the Awatere’s rolling hills and the surrounding mountains, cannot be matched anywhere else in the world I have visited. It is a truly wonderful place to live and work, which needs good men and women to sustain it. Rural Marlborough requires input from all our major resource and land users. Rating policy, roading, subdivisions, vineyards, forestry, aquaculture and farming are the heart of Marlborough’s economy. In particular grape growers have had a huge impact on Marlborough’s landscape and economic well-being. I stood for election in 2010 after searching without success for rural candidates to put their names forward. Two hours before nominations closed, I decided to try it myself - not an ideal time line! My motivation was concern at the direction of the proposed Marlborough Environment Plan and rating impacts in the global ﬁnancial crisis. Don’t do what I did. Find suitable candidates now, in good time for them to prepare - and then support them during the
4 / Winepress June 2019
election period and afterwards on council. Once elected there can be considerable support for new recruits, from other councillors, staﬀ and Local Government New Zealand. Relevant and specialised training enables newbies to fulﬁl what is an important and interesting “big picture” governance and decision-making role. The council runs on a committee system so those elected are usually placed in a team most suited to their knowledge and experience. A rural councillor also gets new perspectives and contacts from all parts of the province so keeping an open mind is essential. The Marlborough District Council is a large unitary council and a very powerful regulator and manager, so the elected councillor’s responsibility is vital to help direct these powers in a fair manner. Given rural people are so geographically scattered, being heard is diﬃcult. Rural councillors are essential to advocate for and, most importantly, create, understanding of the pressures and drivers of the rural environment. Having said that, each councillor must also have regard for all Marlborough residents, not just those in their ward. Connectivity is key so I set up the Rural Advisory Group (RAG) in 2015 to provide a rural voice direct to council. RAG is independent and covers virtually all the old county council areas. It includes representatives from rural associations, businesses and farming/land use groups, including Marlborough Winegrowers.
During my time on council, I have worked with focused people of integrity, both elected and staﬀ. Now ﬁnd a new candidate for the Wairau Awatere Ward. Standing for the Marlborough District Council Candidate nominations open on July 19 and close at midday on August 16, 2019. To stand for the council, you must be: • a New Zealand citizen. • aged 18 years or older. • enrolled on the electoral roll. To get nominated you must: • Complete a nomination form during the nomination period. • Get two people to nominate you. They must be aged 18 years or older and enrolled to vote in the area you wish to stand in. • Provide a deposit of $200. This may be refunded, depending on how many votes you receive. There are regulations around campaigning, including how much you can spend and how and when signage can be displayed. Further information will be available in the 2019 Candidate Handbook. For more information, email the council’s electoral officer at election@ marlborough.govt.nz
Organic Conference Q&A with Robyn O’Brien THE ORGANIC and Biodynamic Winegrowing Conference (organicwineconference.com) is on in Marlborough from June 25 to 27. Robyn O’Brien, author of the bestselling book The Unhealthy Truth, will be there to talk about her journey to organics. You are vice president of rePlant Capital. What does your investment firm do? We are an impact investment firm, focussed on addressing climate change by investing in regenerative, organic farming. We recognise the powerful and critical role that farmers and soil play in the health of our planet and through a series of funds, leveraging philanthropic capital, we provide value aligned capital, technical expertise and deep relationships in the food industry to farmers looking to transition to and grow regenerative, organic crops. What is the appetite for organics in the United States, and why? Is this driving organic conversions? In the United States, 80% of households now purchase some organic, and 75% of all categories in the grocery store now have an organic offering. A food awakening has occurred, unfortunately because consumers became increasingly sick. Diagnoses for diabetes, obesity, food allergies, autism, ADHD, asthma and cancers have skyrocketed in the last 20 years. One in two American men and one in three women are expected to get cancer in their lifetimes. Consumers are now asking what they can do to exercise prevention and seek products that are free from artificial ingredients, glyphosate, GMOs, artificial growth hormones and artificial colours.
Consumers are realising that health care starts in the grocery store. Does consumer interest in organics extend to organic wine? Consumer interest in organics is extending into wine, spirits, pet food and other categories. The food awakening is driving an awareness across all consumer products – from vodka, to wine, to clothing. Wine and spirits consultancy IWSR forecast global sales of organic still wine will top 1 billion bottles by 2022, up from 676 million last year and nearly three times the 349 million bottles sold in 2012. Growth in the five-year period from 2017 to 2022 will be driven by the United States,
“Wine and spirits consultancy IWSR forecast global sales of organic still wine will top 1 billion bottles by 2022.” with a more than 14% rise, followed by South Africa and Norway at 13.5%. Europe will account for 78% of the global organic wine market by 2022.
The Americas will represent about 12% of total organic wine consumption. Total organic area under vine, the report shows, has increased by 234% since 2007. More than 70% of organic wine sold in the United States is produced in the United States. What’s the biggest myth about organics? That it cannot feed the world. The agrochemical model brought to us by Monsanto and the chemical industry in the 1990s led to an overuse of pesticides, insecticides, fungicides and more, placing farmers on a treadmill of chemical use. Today, leveraging 21st century technology, artificial intelligence and data, organic farming has a contemporary profile and the ability to not only restore soil health, which plays a significant role in climate, given the soil’s ability to capture carbon, but also to restore a nutrient density to food, as regenerative and organic farming practices restore the health of the soil.
Winepress June 2019 / 5
MET REPORT Table 1: Blenheim Weather Data – May 2019 May May 2019 May 2019 Compared LTA to LTA GDD’s for: Month - Max/Min¹ 90.0 149% 60.5 Month – Mean² 100.3 137% 73.2 Growing Degree Days Total July 18 to May 19-Max/Min 1590.8 115% 1382.5 July 18 to May 19 - Mean 1632.3 114% 1428.5 Mean Maximum (°C) 18.6 +2.1°C 16.5 Mean Minimum (°C) 7.1 +1.3°C 5. Mean Temp (°C) 12.85 +1.75°C 11.1 Ground Frosts (<= -1.0°C) 2 3.5 less 5.5 Air Frosts (<0.0°C) 0 1.4 less 1.4 Sunshine hours 214.6 123% 175. Sunshine hours – lowest 114.7 Sunshine hours – highest 214. Sunshine hours total – 2019 1258.8 116% 1085.4 Rainfall (mm) 55.0 95% 58.0 Rainfall (mm) – lowest 13.5 Rainfall (mm) – highest 182.6 Rainfall total (mm) – 2019 241.6 102% 236.8 Evapotranspiration – mm 53.7 118% 45.4 Avg. Daily Windrun (km) 213.0 98% 217.6 9am mean soil temp – 10cm 11.0 +2.3°C 8.7 9am mean soil temp – 30cm 12.6 +1.4°C 11.2
Period of LTA
(196-2018) (1996-2018) (1986-2018) (1986-2018) (1986-2018) (1986-2018) (1986-2018) (1986-2018) 1969 2015 (1986-2018) (1986-2018) 1936 1948 (1986-2018) (1996-2018) (1996-2018) (1986-2018) 1986-2018)
1625.9 1653.1 16.0 6.5 11.3 5 2 171.2
452.8 51.4 230.7 10.0 12.4
¹GDD’s Max/Min are calculated from absolute daily maximum and minimum temperatures ²GDD’s Mean are calculated from average hourly temperatures May 2019 recorded well above average mean temperature and sunshine hours, average rainfall and wind-run, and below average number of frosts Temperature May’s mean temperature of 12.85°C was 1.75°C above the long-term average (LTA). May 2019 is the second warmest May on record for Blenheim, for the 88
years 1932 to 2019. However, May 2019 was only fractionally (+0.02°C) warmer than May 2011, so these two month’s essentially have the same mean temperature. Of interest is that four of the five warmest May’s on record for the 88 years 1932 to 2019, have occurred in the last 13 years, since 2007. Table 3: Warmest May temperatures on record for Blenheim for the 88 years 1932 to 2019 May 2007 May 2019 May 2011 May 1962 May 2016
13.1°C - 1st 12.85°C - 2nd 12.83°C - 3rd 12.7°C - 4th 12.6°C - 5th
Figure 1 indicates that mean May temperatures for Blenheim have been trending upwards over the last nine decades. The trend line indicates an increase of 1.96°C in the May temperature from 1932 to 2019. However, that doesn’t preclude the fact that some years can still be well below average, as shown (2008, 2009 and 2012). Frosts Two ground frosts were recorded during May on the 18th and 25th. However, a further three mornings, 21st, 22nd and 23rd May all recorded negative grass temperatures between 0 and -0.99°C. For a ground frost to be recorded the grass temperature has to be -1.0°C or lower. No air frosts were
Table 2: Weekly temperatures, rainfall and sunshine during May 2019 1st - 7th 8th - 14th 15th - 21st 22nd - 28th 29th – 31st (3 days) 1 – 31 May LTA 1986-2018 6 / Winepress June 2019
Mean Max (°C) 18.9 (+2.4) 19.2 (+2.7) 17.5 (+1.0) 19.0 (+2.5) 18.3 (+1.8) 18.6 (+2.1°C ) 16.5
Mean Min (°C) 5.9 (+0.1) 9.2 (+3.4) 6.1 (+0.3) 5.1 (-0.7) 12.1 (+5.0) 7.1 (+1.3°C) 5.8
Mean (°C) 12.4 (+1.3) 14.2 (+3.1) 11.8 (+0.7) 12.0 (+0.9) 15.2 (+4.1) 12.85 (+1.75°C) 11.1
Ground Frosts 0 0 1 1 0 2 5.5
Rainfall (mm) 0 23.2 2.2 17.0 12.6 55 (95%) 58.0
Sunshine (hours) 56.0 38.6 55.9 50.5 13.6 214.6 (123%) 175.1
Figure 1: Mean May temperatures for Blenheim: 1932 to 2019
2018). The additional 81.1 mm rain, above the LTA total over these three months, recovered the rainfall deficit of 72.8 mm that was created in January and February, when only 11.8 mm rain was recorded. Temperature and Frosts
recorded in May. In contrast May 2018 recorded five ground frosts and two air frosts. Sunshine Blenheim recorded 214.6 hours sunshine in May, 123% of the LTA. This is the highest total on record for May for the 88 years 1932 to 2019. The May 2019 total exceeded the previous highest total of 214.1 hours, recorded in May 2015 by only 0.5 hours. Blenheim has recorded 1258.8 hours sunshine for the five months January to May 2019, 116% of the LTA. The battle for sunshine supremacy continues between Blenheim and Richmond. At the end of April Richmond was 34.8 hours ahead of Blenheim. However, Blenheim recorded 14.9 hours more sunshine than Richmond in May, so Richmond’s lead has been cut to 19.9 hours at the end of May.
Rainfall Blenheim recorded 55.0 mm rain in May, 95% of the LTA. Total rainfall for the five months January to May 2019 was 241.6 mm, 102% of the LTA. Although rainfall for the first five months of 2019 was very close to average, it was 211.2 mm lower than the total for January to May 2018 of 452.8 mm, (191% of the LTA). Autumn Summary – March to May 2019 Sunshine March to May 2019 recorded 651.5 hours sunshine. This is the third highest autumn sunshine total on record for the 88 years 1932 to 2019. Rainfall March to May 2019 recorded 229.8 mm rain. This is 154% of the LTA for this 3-month period of 148.7 mm (1986-
March to May 2019 recorded a mean temperature of 14.6°C. This was 1.0°C above the LTA (1986-2018). This is the ninth warmest autumn on record for the 87 years 1933 to 2019. As has have pointed out on many previous occasions in Met Report, Blenheim’s autumn and winter temperatures have been trending upwards over the last few decades. With the increasing air temperatures, the number of frosts being recorded has decreased substantially. Figure 2 presents the total number of autumn ground frosts over the 87 years 1933 to 2019. Despite the downwards trend the 10-year mean has moved up a couple of times over the last 35 years. The spike in frost numbers in 1992 can be linked to cooler temperatures following the eruption of Mt Pinatubo in the Philippines in June 1991. However, the trend line indicates a marked decrease in the total number of autumn ground frosts over the 87 year period. Rob Agnew Plant & Food Research / Marlborough Research Centre
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Figure 2: Total number of autumn (March, April, May) ground frosts in Blenheim: 1933 to 2019
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Winepress June 2019 / 7
Amayzing Marborough Sauvignon Blanc Day Impressions 1.4 million Engagement 242,000 Video views - 212,000
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Photos by Richard Briggs
8 / Winepress June 2019
Water Management Awatere Water Users Group SOPHIE PREECE
WATER USER groups offer “a voice for your community” when dealing with the Marlborough District Council and other stakeholders, says Guy Lissaman. “I think the need is there for more water user groups to be established in Marlborough for the future.” Guy has been chair of the Awatere Water Users Group since its inception in the mid-1990s. The group has 50 members, which includes more than 90% of the valley’s water users, with representation from community irrigation schemes, large corporate wine companies and individual landowners. Guy says communication and collaboration are key foundations for any water user group. “And you need good representation right across your community.” In last month’s Winepress, Wine Marlborough general manager Marcus Pickens said a community approach to water use could help cushion grape growers from dry seasons and the impacts of new environment plan rules. The organisation hopes to help establish water-user groups to help
collect information, share knowledge, and deepen understanding of the water resource, and to engage with council to improve water management. The Awatere group has been involved in a range of activities since it was formed, including being the catalyst for feasibility studies to
“You need good representation right across your community.” Guy Lissaman assess the potential for a large-scale community irrigation scheme in the early 2000’s. A number of community irrigation schemes were developed after the study, including Blind River Irrigation Ltd, Marama Irrigation Ltd and Awatere Irrigation Ltd, and there was also a “high uptake in individuals
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and groups of individuals developing storage in the Awatere”, says Guy. Since 2000, the land area under irrigation has increased from 3000ha to more than 10,000ha in the Awatere/ Blind River area, with the majority of this water sourced from the Awatere River. The water user group also worked with council, the Department of Conservation and other stakeholders to develop the Awatere River Bed Activity Guideline document, to create a greater awareness for any individual and contractors undertaking river works, Guy says. “There are a large number of considerations to be taken into account, including environmental impacts and downstream water users, and there are good management practices that we can undertake to mitigate those effects.” More recently, the group presented submissions on Water Allocation at the Proposed Marlborough Environment Plan Hearing. Guy says any community group looking to unite over water has to be prepared to be collaborative and work with the council. “To get good interaction, that’s imperative.”
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Driving Crop Performance Winepress June 2019 / 9
Dam Right Long dry summer focusses attention on water storage SOPHIE PREECE
MARLBOROUGH HAS plenty of water, says Marlborough District Council hydrologist Val Wadsworth in the wake of a summer drought. “It just doesn’t have water in the right place or at the right time.” He is one of many advising the region’s wine industry to invest in sufficient water storage, to protect itself from dry summers and tightened water restrictions. Wine Marlborough general manager Marcus Pickens says increased water storage in the region is something he would gamble on. “If you could have it you’d want it, if you couldn’t have it you’d want it, and in some cases if you have it you’d want more of it.” But it’s not always an easy solution, he says. “Unfortunately, the costs and location, approval and other factors mean that not every box can always be ticked.” Marlborough currently has 124 water storage facilities, ranging from 10,000 to 1,000,000 cubic metres, according to council records. But those
10 / Winepress June 2019
records don’t capture the full picture, with many dams built as a permitted activity, says Val. “Sometimes the best way to tell is looking at aerial coverage.” He says it’s heartening that several large developments have been progressed with large-scale water storage, and there has also been a surge in interest in dams on existing properties. While it was once typical to find “a corner at the back of your farm”,
“It would be great to get 100-plus days of storage, but it’s cost versus risk.” Stuart Dudley
growers are now putting their dams on valuable flat land in the middle of a block. In the past two years, Villa Maria has been involved in building a 65,000m3 dam on a 100 hectare vineyard development on the Northbank, and a 25,000m3 dam on a new 40ha block in the upper Wairau Valley. Viticulturist Stu Dudley says the dams each hold 35 to 45 days’ capacity, which should be more than needed in most dry years, but are still less than ideal. “It would be great to get 100-plus days of storage, but it’s cost versus risk. The dams also take up vineyard space which in itself has value.” As well as factoring storage into new developments, two existing Villa Maria-managed Terra Vitae vineyards have installed large reservoirs, sacrificing existing plantings to do so. These reservoirs not only provide security during periods of low flow, but also allow a supply of good water when the river is dirty, after a large
Lessons in water management SOPHIE PREECE
The dry 2019 season was a timely reminder of how much Marlborough’s wine industry relies on water, says Rapaura Springs owner and managing director Ian Wiffin. “We need to ensure we protect that resource at all costs, and that includes building storage to harvest water when it’s abundant, and efficient irrigation systems to preserve it when it’s not.” Last year the company bought a 356 hectare property at Blind River in the Awatere Valley, with plans to expand the 130ha already under canopy by 30ha over the next few years. The property came with shares in the Blind River Irrigation Scheme, as well as two dams, one 286,000 cubic metres and the other 65,000m3. Ian says the dams fill with water piped in from the scheme, but also capture natural run-off, “which is an added bonus for us”. If both dams are full at the beginning of spring, there’s enough water to get through a typical growing season and vintage, says Ian. “We wouldn’t have purchased the property without the dams.” The storage is partly about supplying the vineyard with water when the Awatere River silts up after a heavy rain event, and unsuitable for irrigation, says Ian. The Blind River property is one of the driest places to grow in Marlborough, but that’s mitigated by a creek and the dams as well as efficient irrigation, says Ian. “We have spent $700,000 upgrading the irrigation system and monitoring equipment, and our guys can now run the entire scheme off their smart phones… Every block is monitored 100% of the time.” The upgrade was done by SWE, which “conservatively estimates” that running the system requires at least 90% less manual intervention than before the project was started. “The application rate is more uniform, and water efficiency has improved notably,” it says in a report on the project. The work included the installation of electric pump stations and replacement of all the ageing and labourintensive diesel pumps. They upgraded the pump control systems, and the wine company now has app and webbased software that allows them to easily control elements such as how long the system runs for, and flow rates, SWE’s report says. “This also allows the client to ‘drive’
and monitor the entire system remotely – and provides real-time insights which can assist in the client’s decisionmaking.” Ian says many vineyards throughout Marlborough got through the dry summer season well, especially growers operating with dams and on heavier soils, even if their water rights were shut off. “But where you had lighter soils and bigger crops, they were definitely affected,” he says. “I think most of the crops were harvested, but certainly the berry weights in areas without irrigation were affected and total tonnage is significantly down on expected volumes.” People with sophisticated monitoring equipment had the highest weights, as they could irrigate the plant as required, rather than by default. All vineyard owners should be putting water on as per the plants’ requirement not on a calendar basis, he elaborates. “It should be only as much as the soil and the plant needs.” Because Rapaura Springs’ Wairau blocks are at the lower end of the valley, they did not suffer irrigation shutdowns. One of their smaller growers did struggle with access to water so they trucked water used in the winery, which has a membrane bio-reactor plant to treat water to a level that allows it to be reused via drip line irrigation. That’s another element in the company’s waterfocussed philosophy, Ian says. “Given our Rapaura Springs brand name originates from a water source, all aspects of how we manage, conserve and recycle water are deeply embedded into our philosophies and ways of working. Water supply is undoubtedly a crucial aspect and is a huge factor in successful agricultural and viticultural endeavours. New Zealand is fast waking up to this fact and we owe it to our future generations to be guardians of this precious resource. We like to think we’re doing our part.”
Winepress June 2019 / 11
rainfall in the hills, says Stu. The company is also successfully trialling subsurface irrigation in the Awatere, in another effort to ensure sustainable water use. “It’s looking really good. The vines are performing well and we are comfortable that we are getting better efficiency of water use.” Villa Maria’s appetite for risk is declining, Stu says, citing the likely impact of climate change on the region, with more extreme weather events predicted, as well as the need for security of grape supply. Having good water storage also takes pressure off the waterways. Stu, who is a member of the Marlborough Winegrowers board, says the dry summer was a timely reminder of the increasing demand on water and the potential of community water schemes. “There are probably some cases where people can come together and see if there is a joint option available. It’s a chance for people to start talking to each other about what the possibilities are.” (see pg9)
12 / Winepress June 2019
The WARMP and the PMEP The Marlborough Environment Plan (MEP) encourages the storage of water, as does the previous Wairau/Awatere plan. Both plans provide a specific allocation of water for storage purposes called C class. The C class allows water to be taken during periods of higher flow, stored, and then subsequently used during periods of low flow. The taking of C class water is a controlled activity, which means that although a water permit is required, it must be granted if the standards and terms are met. This provides certainty to water users when making capital investment decisions. In addition to the C class, the MEP has also enabled the storage of Class A and Class B water over the irrigation season, under some circumstances. In particular, the rate of abstraction cannot exceed the authorised daily rate of take for irrigation purposes. In terms of constructing a dam, resource consent is required under the Wairau/Awatere Resource Management Plan if the dam wall is 4 metres or higher, the dam holds more than 20,000 cubes, the dam is built within 500m immediately upstream of a dwelling, public roadway or building, and the dam catchment is greater than 50 hectares. A dam consent is required under the MEP if it is built on-stream, or if it is to be built within 500m upstream of a dwelling, formed public road or designated rail infrastructure. A building consent is required for any large dam. A large dam is any dam which has a height of 4m and the dam holds more than 20,000 cubic metres of water or other liquid. The MEP encourages the construction of “out of river” dams in preference to those in river beds. Anyone considering the construction of a dam should make contact with the council’s duty planner.
Water Related Stress in 2019 JIM MERCER
Marlborough has just experienced another season of two dramatic weather halves, albeit one that is the polar opposite to 2017/18. The hot and dry mid-summer has led winemakers to report receiving some of the best quality fruit for many seasons. Regular rainfall events from mid-October through December kept irrigation demand low, with only 14mm average applied during that period across all the vineyards that use Fruition’s weekly soil moisture monitoring service. The seasonal total was surprisingly about average at 91mm, partly due to the low first half, and also water supply restrictions limiting irrigation on some vineyards in the second half. After Christmas the rain events ceased, the heat increased and before long water restrictions were in place for the Southern Valleys Irrigation Scheme and abstraction from the Wairau River. Restrictions were in place for over five weeks and many of the affected growers had only partial back up capacity, with some having to tank in water. In a few blocks this resulted in severe vine stress with leaf loss, reduced berry weight and a loss of fruit quality and flavours, with Sauvignon Blanc being the variety most impacted. I was an observer of many vineyards, and was interested to see how different soils and locations responded to the hot dry weather, and restricted or nil irrigation. The top photo shows severely water stressed Sauvignon Blanc on March 19 in the Wairau Valley, on a medium silt loam. The defoliation was caused by four weeks without irrigation and only 9mm rain during February. The bottom photo is a block of Sauvignon Blanc in the Spring Creek area on February 26, with no irrigation installed on a deep silt loam with a high water table. Two massive extremes in the same season. There are many factors that influence the extreme disparity between these two examples, but this past season brings home how important understanding your soil and site is in relation to water requirements. Pressure on water availability, whether by climate or regulation, is only likely to increase in the future There is no blueprint as to how to manage irrigation in wine grapes - it will depend on the grower’s objectives, soil type and texture, stone percentage and size, location, variety, water availability, and winemaker’s requirements amongst other factors. Soil moisture monitoring using a variety of technologies is now widely used in the wine industry. A pressure bomb (we have had one since 2003) is also a useful tool to help confirm soil moisture stress points. Whatever soil moisture system you use, what is most important is to follow a strategy to only apply the
Two massive extremes in the same season.
water required to reach your required objectives. A Pinot Noir crop destined for premium table wine will have a completely different requirement to four cane Sauvignon Blanc. Strategy is all about timing and understanding the influence of water at each stage. During flowering, research shows adequate soil moisture is required to maximise fruit set. In early January, fruit cell division can be reduced with inadequate irrigation leading to lower berry weights. From veraison to harvest, there are quite varied approaches by viticulturists. Too much irrigation during this time can lead to excessive growth, high canopy control costs and disease pressure. Too little can lead to reduced yield, while water stress can cause leaf defoliation, loss of flavours and poor fruit quality. It is worth having another look at the summary of the Sustainable Farming Fund trial carried out at Nautilus Estate between 2003 and 2007, as it is particularly pertinent to the season just past. To access the report go to fruition.net.nz/2016/08/maximising-irrigation-savingsin-grapevines/ In that trial two treatments received less than 40% ETc (only 20mm to 40mm irrigation each season for three years) which caused serious loss of yield and cane growth. However, encouragingly for growers who experienced severe water stress this year, the low irrigation treatments rebounded remarkably well after going back to ‘standard’ irrigation in year four (80-90 mm irrigation). The conclusions around timing of irrigation being more important than total irrigation really ring true for 2019. Jim is Fruition Horticulture’s manager and consultant in Marlborough
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Trunk Trials Trunk disease a ticking time bomb SOPHIE PREECE Hannah Ternent, Samarth George and Craig Thomson at Villa’s retrunked winery vineyard
EUTYPA AND Botryosphaeria dieback threaten the sustainability of the New Zealand wine industry, says Mark Sosnowski, senior scientist at the South Australian Research and Development Institute. At this month’s Grape Days event in Marlborough, he will present the results of surveys conducted with funding from the Bragato Research Institute on several hundred Hawke’s Bay and Marlborough blocks during the springs of 2013 and 2018. A section of 200 vines was randomly selected in each block and visually assessed for dieback and foliar symptoms. Between surveys, the average vine age had increased from 12 to 17 years, and the overall mean incidence of dieback increased from 8% to 20%, with foliar symptoms increasing from 0.1% to 0.3% . Visual signs of trunk disease are just the tip of the iceberg, says Villa Maria Marlborough assistant viticulturist Hannah Ternent. “You can ignore the problem, but it’s not going to go away.” Hannah says foliar signs are indicative of the vine shutting down, at which point it is too far gone. 14 / Winepress June 2019
Where there is a canker but no foliar symptoms, there is evidence of trunk disease, but the plant could survive for longer. Since 2016, Hannah (Generation Y-ine, pg 22) has conducted a survey of Villa Maria’s older plantings, to get a handle on the extent of the problem. On Villa Maria’s winery block, which has since been successfully retrunked (see pg 15), the survey found visual signs of trunk disease in 4% to 5% of the vines. However, a subsequent destructive survey revealed that 100% of the plants were infected, and that 20% of the vineyard was beyond remedy, requiring replanting of those vines. Villa Maria’s Marlborough grower viticulturist Craig Thomson says Sauvignon has “soft blowsy wood”, which makes it susceptible to trunk disease. Add to that a period of “sloppy pruning” in the early 2000s, and Marlborough has something of a perfect storm for dieback. “If you were a person who planted in 2000 and painted (pruning wounds) religiously, you will find a lot less trunk disease,” he says. “But very few have done that.”
Viticultural advisor Mark Allen says Marlborough grape growers are reaching their production peak, with the majority of Sauvignon Blanc vines likely to be impacted by trunk disease. “People need to work out their rejuvenation plan and think ‘how will my vineyard be performing in 10 years from now?’ I cannot reiterate enough that if you leave it too long, it will make it hard.” Sauvignon Blanc and Cabernet Sauvignon vines are “by far the worst”
Costly cuts Mark Allen says battling trunk disease is an expensive exercise, with the cost of retrunking about $7,000 to $10,000 per hectare. But once the dieback has passed the graft union, retrunking is no longer an option. Replanting a block costs around $40,000 to $60,000 per hectare, depending on whether trellis and irrigation needs to be replaced. A first crop is possible in 18 months with good vines and soil, but will take two to three years in more challenging cases.
Retrunking - revving a V8 in a hatchback Retrunking can be a viable and cost-effective way of restoring vineyard health, enabling a harvest within 18 months of trunks being chopped and new canes trained. That’s the experience of Villa Maria’s Marlborough viticulture team, which harvested a good crop off its winery block 18 months after cutting the vines back to a little above the graft union. Assistant viticulturist Hannah Ternent began the company’s trunk disease survey in 2016 and in 2017 helped run trials at its winery vineyard, where yield quality and quantity were in decline. Like many vineyards in Marlborough, the block was between 15 and 20 years of age, a susceptible time for Sauvignon Blanc vines, and had suffered from rough pruning in the 2000s, with big cuts left open to rain and wind-borne pathogens, she says. The initial sweep found visual signs of trunk disease in 4% to 5% of the vines, but a subsequent destructive survey revealed that 100% of the plants were infected. Instead of replanting the block, which would result in three years of lost production, they trialled retrunking, by cutting the trunk beneath the disease, then growing canes up. One fifth of the vines were diseased too deeply, with staining within 200mm of the graft union, so were replanted. In the 2019 vintage, the block yielded crops of nearly 10 tonnes per hectare, despite the region’s poor flowering for Sauvignon Blanc and the zero production of the 20% replanted vines. Villa Maria grower liaison Samarth George says the rapid return to form is largely thanks to the power of the established roots, which are akin to “putting a V8 engine into a small hatchback”. That ‘V8’ vigour caused challenges in the trial period, which started with two or three canes being grown from the cut. They grew so quickly that the wood was spindly, with extended internode spacing, leading the team to change tack and train five or six canes to slow the growth and shorten the spacing, later cutting back unnecessary wood. The replanted vines also provided learnings. Grower viticulturist Craig Thomson says the big vines “punish” the little ones, which can be a problem. He advises using a tall stem vine for replanting gaps, and root-cutting surrounding vines in order to get the new ones up and running as fast as possible.
Before Hannah developed a technique for surveying vineyards, the company did not understand the extent of the problem in its vineyards, whether company or grower owned, he says. “Don’t assume because you can’t see it that it’s not there… What we have realised as a group is that if we ignore it, it is going to happen anyway, and we are going to be ripping vineyards out and replanting them.” The Villa trio says retrunking is not always the best option, and vineyards with serious dieback or high virus levels are not viable. Replanting can also be an opportunity to change variety or vineyard design, such as row spacing, while also dealing with trunk disease. But in cases where retrunking is a more cost-effective option, growers have to get themselves organised, Craig says. “Do a survey, have a plan and know how you are going to do it.” While replanting can be challenging when done piecemeal, with retrunking you could do as little as four rows a year, because all the other management will be the same. “You might be able to save your vineyard by doing this,” he adds. “If you looked at the basic economics and you felt you were relatively free of virus in your block, I would say go for retrunking any day.” Dr Mark Sosnowski, senior research scientist with the South Australian Research and Development Institute, says Villa Maria has been one of the most proactive companies in the retrunking space, and have field tested strategies developed from research, providing valuable feedback.
“What we have realised as a group is that if we ignore it, it is going to happen anyway, and we are going to be ripping vineyards out and replanting them.” Craig Thomson
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varieties for trunk disease because of their vigour, with more trunk area for spores to land on and a comparatively open vascular system, says Mark. “If it was Riesling or Pinot Noir or Chardonnay, we would have another 10 years easily.” Instead, Marlborough has thousands of hectares of 15 to 20-yearold Sauvignon Blanc vines that will need replacing or retrunking. A look at Sancerre on Google Earth provides a sobering snapshot of implications of trunk disease, he adds. “The number of holes in vineyards is eye opening – many with up to 40% gaps.” A number of growers in Marlborough find it hard to imagine such a level of decline, “which is completely understandable because a lot of 20-year-old-vineyards still look reasonably okay. But they have changed quite a lot over the last two or three years”. The “take home message” is to act sooner rather than later, he says. “For successful retrunking you need to do it before the vines start showing symptoms.” Trunk disease spreads from the top of the vine down, so if caught in time the root system can be healthy, Mark adds. “If the ‘new’ trunks are protected with wound paint, the vine could last another 20 years or more.” However, once any individual block exceeds 15% visual
symptoms, then a staged replanting of entire blocks becomes the most viable option, he says. The least viable option is replanting new individual vines as the old vines die of trunk disease. “It is a commitment to a continual replanting programme that Mark Allen never ends, and also it is a very costly exercise managing young vines amongst producing ones.” Hannah urges all companies to do a survey of their vineyards, and then make a plan for the future. She would also like everyone to up the ante in terms of pruning hygiene. “The first step I would like to see from all growers in Marlborough is wound protection. If people are not doing wound protection now they are really burying their head in the sand, because there is really clear evidence that painting or spraying is protecting your vines from trunk disease.” Hannah, Craig and Villa Maria grower liaison Samarth George spoke at Wine Marlborough’s Grower Field Day last month, discussing retrunking but also urging growers to be vigilant with precise and painted pruning
wounds. Samarth laments the fact that the people who attend such events are generally those already aware of the problem, rather than those who need to learn that, “at the end of the day these (vines) are the most important assets we have”. Mark Sosnowski says his surveys reveal variation in dieback incidence between vine ages, varieties, clones, rootstocks and pruning styles, and also demonstrates the short-term success of using remedial surgery for controlling trunk disease and the effect of implementing a wound protection programme. To learn more about the trunk disease survey, register for Grape Days at nzwine.com
Replanting Ormond Nurseries director Marcus Wickham says nurseries are gradually shifting from supplying brand new vineyard plantings to replanting older sites. That means there is plenty of nursery capacity right now, although this will change as the number of vineyards reaching 20 years old increases, he says. However, he believes replanting will be a gradual process. “People don’t tend to replant whole vineyards in one hit - they bite off smaller bits each year. This helps with cash flow.” Some customers are staging their replanting and have negotiated with their wine companies to increase their yield caps slightly on remaining blocks “to help soften the financial blow”. The nursery has started a replant project on one of its own sites, doing 1ha per year. “This has been good as we have learned a few things about how to manage this process the best. We have found that it’s best to bite off
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manageable sized chunks and do them in stages,” Marcus says. It is also key to minimise time out of production, “as well as trying make the replant simple and easy to manage in conjunction with the current season’s crop management”. The company’s HI- STEM vines “come into their own” at that stage, as they have a higher chance of cropping at 18 months, and require no spray guards and minimal training passes to get them to the fruit wire, he says. “Basically there are less management distractions and less cost.” Marcus says anyone replanting should take into account climate change and predictions for more severe weather patterns. That includes planting more than one rootstock type, so that different phenological development patterns reduce the risk of a poor flowering or wet harvest.
Mechanical Shaking A review of this season MARK ALLEN
FROM A botrytis risk and incidence perspective, the 2019 vintage has been one of the kindest for several years. The Beresford botrytis prediction model in December picked up early infections over flowering. If further infections had occurred during January and early February, the model suggested that the risk of pre-harvest infection would be high. However, the rain stayed away for January and February, with no infection periods. Then March - as Rob Agnew has shown in Vine Facts #26 - changed, with 94mm of rainfall spread over two events. Normally this would have kicked off a couple of infection periods, but the combination of low spore counts and quick drying winds with the second rain event prevented a major botrytis infection. Despite the low botrytis risk, growers naturally adopted the normal preventative botryticide and mechanical shaking programmes. It would be fair to say that nobody in December or January would restrict their botrytis spray programme or mechanical shaking based on a long range forecast. We live in a maritime climate where change is unpredictable and inevitable. The risk of not taking preventative action would be too great. Part of the three-year trial from 2011 to 2014 on mechanical shaking, conducted by Plant & Food Research and funded by New Zealand Winegrowers and Ministry for Primary Industries, was to evaluate the cost sensitivity of mechanical shaking for botrytis control. The conclusion was, and the same could apply to spraying botryticides, that two years out of 10
may not see the cost benefit due to the low incidence of botrytis. This is precisely what has happened this year. When a similar season will occur is impossible to predict. As with preventative spraying, many vineyards carried out mechanical shaking for botrytis reduction. I have again monitored a considerable number of sites where control rows were left. After nine years of monitoring sites, I am seeing the same relative response each year. No matter what the level of botrytis total infection is in the control rows, the shaken rows are consistently showing 50% to 70% less infection. For example, in most years I am
“No matter what the level of botrytis total infection is in the control rows, the shaken rows are consistently showing 50% to 70% less infection.” Mark Allen
seeing 10% infection in the control rows and 4% in the shaken rows. Last year, with exceptionally high disease pressure, the controls were averaging 25% infection and the shaken 10% infection. This year the controls have averaged 4% total infection, and the shaken are all below 2%. We are seeing the same relative difference regardless of the level of infection. In my view, to have had the same response for the last nine years is as close as you can get to guaranteeing that the process of mechanical shaking for botrytis reduction works. To take mechanical shaking out of a vineyard’s preventative programme would, I believe, be as great a risk as taking botryticides out of the preventative programme. Mark is a viticultural advisor who has worked on mechanical shaking trials since 2011. Winepress June 2019 / 17
Grape Expectations Drying expert sees countless opportunities in grape marc SOPHIE PREECE
CHRIS BOWHILL has dried everything from crusty mussel shells to sticky honey, but he’s never faced a challenge like grape marc. “This is the hardest thing I have ever had to dry,” he says happily, holding chip-dry marc that was worth the effort. PacRimEnviro ran a proof of concept pilot project near Riverlands Estate this vintage, putting around 40 tonnes of grape marc through a machine that saps the water content. “The whole premise of what we were doing is if you take the moisture out, the leachate is gone. We are left with a product that is stable,” he says. It’s far easier said than done, because grape marc has a high water content like the oysters, mussels and seaweed he has dried in the past, as well as high sugar content like the honey. “I have never done the two together and that is how people are getting into real trouble all around the district.” The high sugar means the marc - the grape skins, stalks and seeds left over after winemaking - ferments and smells, while the moisture creates leachates. The first 12 days of the vintage 2019 trial were spent fixing issues with the machine and process, and by day 13 “we were flying through”, transforming 4.5 tonnes per hour into dry product, he says. Now that the pilot has proved itself by meeting the product targets, passing emissions testing and proving a low odour, low disturbance solution, Chris and his fellow founding director Chris Walbran say they are gearing up for commercial processing in time
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for vintage 2020. “The trial has proven the process is commercially Chris Bowhill feasible and results obtained through scientific testing by two separate laboratories has provided the company with the confidence to proceed.” Beyond addressing the problem of grape marc pollution, the project is rich with value-add opportunities, says Chris. “Grape marc will become a useful resource, not a waste product.”
“The whole premise of what we were doing is if you take the moisture out, the leachate is gone.” Chris Bowhill He sees potential for the dried marc to replace palm kernel on Canterbury dairy farms, or as a slow release soil conditioner, “reducing the carbon footprint and enhancing the sustainability of viticulture”. The dried marc, which burns hot, could also be transformed into pellets, he says. He is inviting others to develop
products out of the dried marc, whether that be animal nutritionists using it as a base ingredient, or dieticians wanting to extract fibre. “What we have done is created an industry that other people can be a part of… there will be a lot of things that we don’t know, that it can be used for.” Chris doesn’t think the grape marc issues faced by the region, which produces around 70,000 tonnes of the winemaking by-product each year, will be solved by his dryers alone. “I believe the industry needs three or four options. It can’t be one because if it falls over we are back where we started.” As well as dealing with grape marc coming direct from wineries at vintage, the drying machine can be used to dry marc that has been stored, if another solution fails. “If there are problem areas we can clean that up as well.” PacificRimEnviro also has plans to deal with other bio waste materials, including garden green waste and forestry slash. Chris Walbran says the company’s approach will be flexible, and contracts tailored to the client’s needs. The company will also offer a rebate scheme based on a share of profit from repurposed marc sales. Wineries looking for a grape marc solution, and growers interested in repurposed products as a soil conditioner, can contact email@example.com
Frost Fighting - Protecting your investment Regular servicing of frost fans is low-cost risk mitigation, says Andy McCallum, who is frustrated to see some vineyard owners trying to save themselves the cost of a service while risking their crop. ”It’s not like a tractor where if you can’t start it, you can call the mechanic and get it going a few hours later or the next morning,” says the manager of the New Zealand Frost Fans Marlborough service centre. “If a frost fan doesn’t start or has an issue during a frost event, you’ve not just got a repair bill. A full service works out to about 0.5% of the crop value being protected, he says. “A question we sometimes get is, “why should I service my fan, it’s hardly been used?” But frost fans need to be serviced based on distance/run
hours or a set time period, whichever comes first, Andy says. Oil doesn’t break down, but it does become contaminated. A frost fan’s top gearbox operates at approximately 70ºC to 80ºC so, when it shuts down after a frost event, the gearbox is cooling in moist air which gets drawn in, he adds. “We have seen top gearboxes, which have been neglected through lack of maintenance, where the oil is white with water contamination.” Andy says all frost fans, regardless of make or model, should ideally be run
every four to six weeks for at least 10 minutes at operating revs. Doing this brings the engine to operating temperature, gives the battery a charge-up from the alternator, moves oil thoroughly through the top and bottom gearboxes and helps reduce any build-up of water condensation.
Preparing for climate change New Zealand viticulture is well placed to mitigate the impacts of climate change, with three decades of innovation under its belt. That’s one of the conclusions of Damian Martin, Plant & Food Research group leader for viticulture and oenology, in a podcast on the challenges ahead. Damian, who is based at the Marlborough Research Centre, gives an overview of what makes New Zealand wine unique, including the impact and branding power of Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc. The climate responsible for its signature fresh, lively and green flavour - high UV by day and cool by night - will be impacted as the weather warms, says Damian. History has shown that it becomes difficult to make Marlborough’s classic herbaceous style in warm vintages, like that experienced in 1998, he says. “We become more ordinary and less differentiated”. Damian notes that there is
not yet a consistent trend of climate change in the country’s wine regions, but the industry is “very concerned” because climate is so influential on the style of wine it is known for. However, it is not held back by regulation or tradition, so will be open to changing practices in preparation for the changing climate, he says. “We have a culture of innovation right through agriculture and horticulture in New Zealand.” There’s also something of a natural advantage, because of the cooling effect of being an island in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, he says. “We are quite lucky in that we have quite a bit of time to adapt as the climate warms. We are pretty certain it will… the questions is, how much?” Plant & Food, alongside Canterbury and Lincoln Universities, has been involved in a European climate change modelling project,
which works on a macro scale, and is now working with climatologists to take that climatic data to a mesoscale, so that growers can look at modelling on a property-by-property basis. That’s also an opportunity to see what grape varieties might be more successful in the future, including more red varieties, says Damian. To listen to Damian’s piece go to the podcast page at plantandfood.co.nz/ page/news/podcast-index/podcast/ uncorking-the-science-climatechange-wine/
Winepress June 2019 / 19
Industry Pioneer Timing is everything, says pioneering grape farmer Allan Scott BRENDA WEBB
ALLAN SCOTT insists he was simply in the right place at the right time, looking for something to get his teeth into. That right place was Marlborough and the right time was 1973, when he secured a job with Montana, pulling out fences, cultivating the soil and planting grapes. Forty-six years after a farmfocussed young man laboured at the frontier of Marlborough’s wine industry, he remains at the helm of one of the region’s best-known family wine brands. “These days it’s more ambassadorial than at the coal face,” says the managing director of Allan Scott Family Winemakers. “This is the first harvest that I haven’t physically had a hand in doing something, which has taken some getting used to.” Allan grew up in a North Canterbury farming family, but moved north to Marlborough, his wife Cathy’s home province, in 1971, a year after they married. He spent a couple of years “pottering about”, shearing and driving lucerne harvesting trucks, establishing a small tree and seed
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nursery, and building their first home. He was looking for something more permanent when Montana kickstarted the region’s wine industry and John Marris, the real estate agent who had found Marlborough land for the company and went on to lead its vineyard development, put out the call for labour. Everyone involved in those early days was a pioneer and innovator because it was all so new, Allan says. “It was a case of the blind leading the blind, and no one really knew what they were doing.” Local historians warned of spring frosts and winter chill, “but, sadly, little mention was made of how extremely hot and dry Marlborough becomes in the summer”. That meant they were entirely focussed on cold snaps in that first year, ignoring the threat of the incessant north-westerly winds, which blew in one of the driest summers on record. They were years of endless errors and countless learnings, as growers grappled with climate, bureaucracy, trellising systems, vine density,
variety choices, water rights, frost risk, phylloxera and root stock, in an era where leaning across the fence to talk to a neighbour often yielded help and advice. Allan was educated first amid the vineyard rows and then through corporate roles with two major wineries. In 1980 he moved to Corbans and oversaw the establishment of their Marlborough vineyards, becoming senior viticultural manager, while also working with the winery team. That was a “lightbulb moment”, he says. “That’s when I realised the planting of the varietals still favoured today, along with changes in viticultural technique and a much closer liaison with winemaking, was important to the final outcome for good quality wine.” He remembers one of his first discussions about wine with friend Alex Giesen, a co-founder of Giesen Brothers. “We were living in Old Renwick Rd, handy to central Blenheim at the time, and the property had a shed on it. I joked with Alex about a plan to make wine in the shed
and sell it by the flagon,” he laughs. “That never happened – thankfully.” In 1985, the Scotts bought 8 hectares of stony, bony land on Jacksons Rd, an area considered by many at the time - including Cathy’s father - as wasteland. It was the same year that Cloudy Bay was established across the road, and within two years Allan and Cathy had planted grapes on soil that would soon be highly sought after. In the years since, Allan has seen wine establishments come and go and his own family business struggle, survive and thrive. The governmentfunded vine pull in 1986 was a saving grace for the industry long-term, giving growers the chance to replace unsuccessful varieties with those that were proving themselves, including Sauvignon Blanc, says Allan. There was another “watershed” moment more than a decade later when the industry was hit by an oversupply, which combined with the Global Financial Crisis. That was pivotal for the industry as a whole, he says. “We were doing reasonably well when we were hit with a large harvest and were committed to paying growers for huge crops which were difficult to sell as the export market had stopped buying.” It took many years to recover and many didn’t, says Allan, who watched the failure of friends and competitors alike. “You can’t take your eye off the ball for a minute and you can never take things for granted,” he says. “The market tends to be fickle and relationship-based no matter how
big you are.” That’s one of the reasons he continues to remain within the family company, despite now taking a back seat as his children take over. Allan still loves the industry, but has long been concerned by the dominance of grapes and production of lower value wine. Much of the Wairau Plain has been cleared of established trees and hedgerows, and he has made a point of planting trees wherever possible.
“You can’t take your eye off the ball for a minute and you can never take things for granted.” “Having a monoculture is incredibly dangerous,” he says. “In Europe they mix vineyards with cropping and forested areas. Trees do bring bird
problems, but we have learned to live with nature, as they do in Europe.” As for the future, Allan sees climate change, bulk wine and the protection of industry standards as key challenges facing the local wine industry. He’d like to see Marlborough focus on yields aimed at higher value and less volume, and regrets that he and fellow winemakers were unable to establish a regional quality parameter standard years ago, to slow the proliferation of bulk wine. With his children doing a good job of running the family business, Allan plans to spend more time at his Pinot Noir block in Central Otago. But it’s unlikely he’ll be relaxing. Having just returned from a trip to Antarctica with the Antarctic Heritage Trust Inspiring Explorers, which is supported by the family’s Otago wine company Scott Base, he’s pretty inspired himself. “I can’t wait to go again.”
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Winepress June 2019 / 21
Generation Y-ine An assistant viticulturist on the cutting edge of trunk disease research SOPHIE PREECE
HANNAH TERNENT is getting to know Marlborough vineyards inside out, thanks to a sharp saw, a regional survey, and an increasing understanding of the threat of trunk disease. Villa Maria’s Marlborough assistant viticulturist has been conducting a trunk disease survey since 2016, building a case for the rehabilitation of some Sauvignon Blanc blocks through retrunking. “Going forward I think there will be ground-breaking trials in Marlborough, particularly on Sauvignon Blanc and how it responds when you are retrunking vines,” she says. Her work begins with recording visual clues to trunk disease, which is caused by pathogens infecting vines through pruning wounds, and the subsequent disease strangling the vine. But the visual signs are just the “tip of the iceberg”, because it is not until Hannah cuts off the head that she can see the extent of the staining, giving her a concerning insight into the issues Marlborough faces over the next few years. The survey is just the latest opportunity Hannah has grabbed in an industry she joined 15 years ago as a 19-year-old in a Marlborough contract gang. She’d left home in Kaikoura to train as a chef in Christchurch, but after a couple of summers in the kitchen decided that wasn’t the life for her. Instead, she moved to Marlborough to work in the vines, where pruning led to supervising and then a shoulder tap from a Villa Maria
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vineyard manager looking for a vineyard assistant/machinery operator. “I said, ‘look I haven’t really driven a tractor much, but I’ll give it a go’.” That can-do attitude has taken her a long way in the 13 years since. “I have been really fortunate because I have moved around the vineyards and worked for different managers, and had the chance to learn from a lot of different people,” she says. “I have had some really great mentors who have pushed me forward and piqued my interest in wanting to learn more. I have tried to develop my knowledge and apply it as best as I can.” In 2014, after two years working in an Auckland vineyard and stepping up to roles of supervisor and assistant vineyard manager in Marlborough, she left work to have a child, which took her “out of the fold” for a year. She says Villa Maria was “absolutely amazing” in helping her return to work, first as a tech and then her current position. She says there’s no need to “pigeonhole” yourself in the wine industry. “You can always look for new opportunities to grow and learn.” So when Hannah was offered the chance to jump into the trunk disease work, “I got right into it, boots and all”, she says. “Having such amazing people to learn from has been fantastic. It’s exciting to be part of it and know that what we are doing is challenging the norm.”
The trunk survey has evolved from the initial assessments and trials at the winery block to working closely with the regional viticulturist to decide which blocks to retrunk and how to implement the process. “We have some really good protocols around that, but they are always changing as we learn more.” She also works closely with scientist Mark Sosnowski to marry her survey with his trunk disease research. “Mark came out from Australia last year and I got to spend some time with him. I have learned so much from him in a very short period of time… and I think the work we have done has led him to realise the need to look closer at Sauvignon Blanc for further research projects.” Hannah and her vineyard manager husband also have their own Guernsey Rd vineyard, owned in partnership with friends, planted in Pinot Noir and Sauvignon Blanc. She has no regrets about trading in the kitchen for a vineyard view, and says she never tires of visiting Villa’s vineyards. “I am often in awe when I am in the Awatere looking up and down the river.”
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Winepress June 2019 / 23
Biosecurity Watch Stricter stink bug controls on the way SOPHIE BADLAND
IN APRIL 2019, the Ministry for Primary Industries announced it was seeking feedback on proposed changes to two import health standards – those for Vehicles, Machinery and Equipment, and Sea Containers from All Countries. These two standards set out the rules for all vehicles, machinery, equipment and sea containers coming into New Zealand, and have a key role in mitigating the risks posed by brown marmorated stink bug (BMSB). Proposed changes One of the major changes is that the list of exporting countries subject to BMSB treatment requirements (known in the standard as ‘Schedule 3’ countries) has almost doubled – there are now 33 countries on the list. These countries either have wellestablished BMSB populations or are in close proximity to those that do, with no significant border controls or interventions in place to prevent invasion. The proposed changes to the Schedule 3 list have resulted from Ministry for Primary Industries’ (MPI) liaison with the Australian Department of Agriculture and Water Resources (DAWR). The two agencies have aligned their import requirements. This will make it simpler for treatment providers and businesses exporting to both countries, as they will not need to
adhere to two completely different sets of regulations. The other noteworthy proposed change is that from the beginning of the next high risk BMSB season, vehicles, machinery and equipment coming into New Zealand from Schedule 3 countries during the risk season will need to be treated prearrival by an approved treatment provider, prior to shipping. With live BMSB interceptions rapidly increasing each year on these commodities, it is less risky and more effective to deal with the risk offshore – BMSB that have been killed as a result of treatment do not pose an establishment risk. This change should also ensure that vehicle-carrying vessels are not arriving into New Zealand ports heavily infested with live BMSB, and then being turned away without discharging their cargo. There are several other minor changes to the Vehicles, Machinery and Equipment Standard, many of which are simply clarifications that make the current requirements more explicit for the likes of transhipped goods and vehicle parts. BMSB populations have increased rapidly in Italy in recent times. Consequently, MPI is proposing that all containers from Italy will need to be treated for BMSB pre-arrival or may be subject to MPI inspection on arrival
should the cargo be fumigant-sensitive. While the majority of treatments for BMSB will now be handled offshore, MPI intends to retain emergency on-arrival treatment capability at ports of first arrival, to deal with treatment failures or other breaches of requirements. Implications for NZW members New Zealand Winegrowers (NZW) sees these changes as very positive for the New Zealand wine industry. Managing the risk offshore and requiring treatment for more risk items from more countries means there is less opportunity for live BMSB to make it through the border undetected. However, the changes may mean some extra considerations for members wishing to import vineyard machinery or wine making equipment from countries affected by the BMSB treatment requirements. These include: Cost The requirement to have items treated offshore prior to shipping may result in a change in the costs of importing goods from Schedule 3 countries. Members should talk with their supply companies to clarify what this may mean. Timing BMSB is most likely to enter New
IF YOU SEE ANYTHING UNUSUAL
CATCH IT . SNAP IT . REPORT IT . Call MPI biosecurity hotline 0800 80 99 66 24 / Winepress June 2019
Zealand between September and April. For Schedule 3 countries, including most of Europe, pre-arrival treatment will be required during the highrisk season only. NZW recommends importing equipment during late autumn and winter (outside of the high-risk season) where possible – this should also ensure you receive your goods well in advance of the next vintage. With extra treatment requirements, the importation process during the high-risk season could well take longer than expected – treatment failure has been known to occur from time to time – and verification inspections on-arrival may be required by MPI at the border. While NZW acknowledges delays in receiving imported equipment can be frustrating, it is critical that biosecurity takes priority, particularly where a pest as potentially damaging to the industry as BMSB is concerned. Understanding the import process NZW advises members to take the time to understand the measures their imported goods will be subject to and plan accordingly. The Import Health
Standards which specify the requirements can be found online at https://www. biosecurity.govt.nz/law-andpolicy/requirements/ihsimport-health-standards/. Any queries can be directed to MPI at firstname.lastname@example.org, or the NZW biosecurity team at email@example.com. Source: Vehicles, Machinery and Equipment Import Health Standard – Draft for Consultation, 3 April 2019, Members are also advised MPI to ask the companies they are purchasing goods from Remaining vigilant for biosecurity about their biosecurity processes threats and how they ensure the goods they are sending over do not contain any Although the proposed changes will biosecurity contaminants. Most types significantly strengthen the biosecurity of imported industry-related goods requirements for vehicles, machinery will require biosecurity clearance and and equipment, the system will never MPI will need to issue a Biosecurity be able to catch everything. NZW Authority Clearance Certificate for urges members to remain vigilant the consignment before it can be and unpack imported items in an released. This document will specify enclosed space, inspect items and all the requirements, including treatment, packaging thoroughly for biosecurity for biosecurity clearance. Members contaminants (including underneath importing privately, rather than using a machinery and inside small customs agent, should ensure they are compartments), and report anything familiar with this document. unusual to the Biosecurity New Zealand hotline on 0800 80 99 66.
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Winepress June 2019 / 25
Industry News Wine Marlborough Update VANCE KERSLAKE
Positive feedback was the theme of last month’s meeting with the Marlborough District Council. Over vintage there were very few grape spills on the road (20) and 22 winery inspections found no significant wastewater issues. Grape marc handling was much improved, both at the large scale sites and across 15 green-spreading operations. We discussed future work with council on bird scaring (lasers and drones) and frost fans. We also gave council some positive feedback about improvements to licensing at Feast Marlborough, creation of the Smart+Connected for Labour & Skills, and council’s housing reports which we used in the RSE cap increase application. The Marlborough District Council has advised consent holders that previously contracted Indigo Systems as a water meter telemetry provider that the data host has shut down. Those affected need to ensure they change to a new telemetry provider as soon as possible to ensure they are compliant with their resource consent and the Resource Management (Measurement and Reporting of Water Takes) Regulations 2010. Vance is Advocacy Manager at Wine Marlborough Real Estate Update The Marlborough vineyard market was very quiet in the first five months of the year, with only two reported sales, says Joe Blakiston of PGG Wrightson. “Listings of smaller blocks are meeting reduced demand as many grape supply agreements restrict buyer enquiry.” He says the very dry summer and associated water restrictions have created a need for water storage on farm for many Southern Valley vineyards. “New storage is factored into these properties as well as new development blocks.” Joe says vineyards with good storage will generally be easier to attract buyers to. Future of Work Marlborough senior college students will learn about the multitude of exciting career prospects in the region at this month’s Future of Work conference. The day-long conference, organised by the Graeme Dingle Foundation Marlborough and the Marlborough District Council, will also help 160 students from the region’s colleges better understand the opportunities and challenges facing 26 / Winepress June 2019
tomorrow’s workforce, says Career Navigator programme coordinator Lisa Preece. “We recognise that there is strength in developing our local talent and ensuring they are well placed to prosper in tomorrow’s workforce,” she says. “We also recognise that Marlborough business is at the cutting edge of many industries, and that the best opportunities may lie right here in the region.” Students will hear from a series of keynote speakers, including several from the wine industry, and will work in groups to consider employability skillsets for the future and local industry perspectives on what the future of work means. The Future of Work conference is on June 12 at the Marlborough Convention Centre. Register at bit.ly/ FutureofWork2019 IWC Awards The Saint Clair Wairau Reserve 2018 has been awarded the New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc trophy and the International Sauvignon Blanc trophy at the International Wine Challenge (IWC) in London. The Saint Clair Wairau Reserve has previously won
the IWC trophy in 2008, 2007, 2005 and 2003. Managing director Neal Ibbotson says the recognition is overwhelming. “We are fortunate to have exceptional selected vineyard sites and a great team of highly skilled people creating a wine that can claim to be the best of its variety in the world.”
Photo Richard Briggs
Grape Days Grape Days is on at the ASB Theatre in Blenheim on June 19. Climate change, biosecurity and vineyard health are the themes for the 2019 New Zealand Winegrowers’ event. The programme includes a vintage 2019 update by Philip Gregan, a vineyard ecosystems programme update, mealy bug control, climate change and what it means for your region, and a biosecurity update that includes the harlequin ladybird. Global Talent Villa Maria viticulturist Stuart Dudley has been shortlisted for the new international Future 50 awards, which will “identify 50 of the global industry’s up-and-coming talent from all areas of the trade at a range of levels”. The initiative was launched this year by the Wine & Spirit Education Trust (WSET) and the International Wine & Spirit Competition (IWSC), with judges looking at achievements in the drinks
industry over the past three years, including career, academia, social responsibility and innovation. Stuart won the New Zealand Young Viticulturist of the Year Competition and Young Horticulturist of the year in 2010. Since then he has been a key player in New Zealand’s wine industry - driving new initiatives at Villa Maria, chairing the Bayer Marlborough Young Viticulturist of the Year Competition, and now as deputy chair of the Marlborough Winegrowers board. “I love the industry and I always want to keep learning,” he says. “There is plenty at work that challenges me, but it’s nice to be part of something a bit bigger. That wider industry work is quite exciting, and there is a satisfaction in contributing back in some way.” He says the Future 50 nomination came as a surprise, let alone being shortlisted. But it is exciting to be on a list of global players from all aspects of the industry. “I feel privileged to be in the same company as anyone on that list. And I think it’s great that viticulture gets noticed.” Christchurch hosts Pinot Noir New Zealand A 115-strong collective of New Zealand Pinot Noir producers are bringing their international celebration to Christchurch for the first time in 2021, shining the global spotlight on one of New Zealand’s most exciting wines. Pinot Noir 2021 co-chair Helen Masters, winemaker at Ata Rangi in Martinborough and New Zealand Winemaker of the Year 2019, says the New Zealand wine industry is becoming mature and confident and “comfortable about who we are and how we talk about ourselves”. Rural Contractors New Zealand Rural Contractors New Zealand (RCNZ) is hoping more of the viticultural contracting sector will join its ranks. Chief executive Roger Parton says the body has 10 Marlborough members but only one that is involved in viticulture, with another six viticulture members nationwide. “We
A Promise of Provenance Marlborough’s wine industry has welcomed the development of a quality mark to protect the authenticity, integrity and sustainability of Marlborough wine, says Appellation Marlborough Wine (AMW) chair Ivan Sutherland. Speaking at the AGM last month, a little under a year since the initiative was launched, Ivan said there were already 30 Sauvignon Blanc labels from the 2018 vintage wearing the quality mark. “Appellation Marlborough Wine is about protecting the reputation this region has worked hard to build. It provides the wine buying public of the world with an assurance they can see and trust.” He said wine writers and distributors had welcomed the initiative warmly, with their most pressing question being, ‘why did it take so long to eventuate?’ Cloudy Bay estate director Yang Shen said the AMW brand was a necessary evolution for a maturing wine industry, with its increasing range of producers, wines, markets and motivations. “Our members know that it is vital to protect the integrity of our industry, recognising that Marlborough wine is globally unique, extraordinary and 100% worth protecting.” To bear the AMW brand, members have to ensure the wine is made from grapes grown entirely in Marlborough and cropped at or under stipulated levels, set according to the season, the variety and the land. Where yields exceed the level set, a wine can be certified if it gets the nod from an experienced tasting panel. The wines must come from grapes harvested from vineyards certified as sustainable, and must be bottled in New Zealand. www.appellationmarlboroughwine.co.nz find this light membership from the grape industry quite ironic as RCNZ was very involved in getting the RSE (Recognised Seasonal Employer) scheme established.” He says there are many benefits for members, with access to health and safety, transport, employment legislation and accreditation services. “We also each year apply for an Approval in Principle (AIP) process with Immigration New Zealand to bring in skilled overseas operators for the spring-autumn season to drive agricultural machinery.” Roger says a “continuous flow” of information goes to members on everything from the latest agrichemical update or training opportunities to the new minimum pay rates. “Most contractors do not have large office staff and we are able to keep them up to date.” The organisation has a code of
conduct for all members, as well as a code for bringing in overseas workers. “Both are important and cornerstones for RCNZ.” There are also accreditation schemes for agrichemical sprayers (Registered Chemical Applicators), says Roger. “RCNZ stays on top of the changes with sprays, training, new requirements and keeps its members advised on what they need to be doing.” RCNZ has its annual conference in Nelson from June 25-27. For more information, go to ruralcontractors.org. nz
CLASSIFIEDS Winery seeks contract for 1-5 years for 40-50 tons of premium Sauvignon Blanc grapes. Will pay above district average for quality. Established, acclaimed, boutique brand with Kiwi owner. Excellent reviews and references. For more details, please contact MarlboroughWinery@gmail.com.
Winepress June 2019 / 27
Wine Happenings A monthly list of events within the New Zealand wine industry.
To have your event included in next month’s Wine Happenings or Industry News pages, please email details to email@example.com by June 20. For more information on these events, email Harriet Wadworth at harriet@wine–marlborough.co.nz
JUNE 12 12 19 20 22 25-27
Future of Work conference, Marlborough Convention Centre Chilean Needle Grass and Biosecurity field day 12.30-4pm. Tim Struthers, 150 Casey Rd, Blind River Grape Days, ASB Theatre, Blenheim Family of Twelve Winter Feast at Arbour - www.arbour.co.nz Rockferry Winter Solstice - eventfinda.co.nz Organic and Biodynamic Winegrowing Conference, Marlborough
JULY 4 5-7 8 19
Bayer Marlborough Young Viticulturist of the Year Competition Marlborough Book Festival - marlboroughbookfest.co.nz New Zealand Winegrowers Diversity and Inclusion Seminar Local body elections candidate nominations open
AUGUST 7 Tonnellerie de Mercurey Young Winemaker Marlborough Competition 16 Local body elections candidate nominations close at midday 28-30 Bragato National Conference, Hawke’s Bay
Grape Days - June 19
28 / Winepress June 2019
Family of Twelve Winter Feast - June 20
Organic & Biodynamic Conference - June 25-27
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In this issue we explore what being a rural councillor involves, discuss the potential for dams and other mitigations for dry seasons, talk...
Published on Jun 10, 2019
In this issue we explore what being a rural councillor involves, discuss the potential for dams and other mitigations for dry seasons, talk...