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ISSUE NO. 303/ MARCH 2020



Photo: Jim Tannock




ALTOGETHER LEASED I have customers looking for vineyards to lease after the 2020 vintage. If your vineyard is becoming contract free then this may be a great option where you can continue to enjoy living on the property without the daily bind of operating and managing your vineyard. Get in touch to discuss leasing your vineyard after harvest. 027 6655 477 | mike.poff@bayleys.co.nz BE MARLBOROUGH LTD, BAYLEYS LICENSED UNDER THE REA ACT 2008




Marlborough 130 Selmes Road

Marlborough 2384 State Highway 63

Marlborough 23 Hawkesbury Road

Wishing the Marlborough wine industry and supporting industries a safe and prosperous harvest for 2020

Mike Poff Wine Industry Specialist - Sales and Leasing 027 6655 477 | mike.poff@bayleys.co.nz BE MARLBOROUGH LTD, BAYLEYS LICENSED UNDER THE REA ACT 2008


this issue...


3 4 20 22 24 26 28

Editorial - Sophie Preece



From the Mayor Profile - Jason Flowerday Generation Y-ine - Sophie Parker Thomson Biosecurity Watch - Sophie Badland


Industry News Wine Happenings


The first day of Cloudy Bay's 2020 harvest. Photo by Jim Tannock.


Harvest 2020 Marlborough has had a “dream run” in the lead-up to the 2020 harvest, with excellent flowering, sunny weather and little disease pressure. “Who wouldn’t be happy with weather like this?”Asks Mike Insley from Yealands. Vintage Hours Winemakers are working massive hours over vintage, with many going seven to eight weeks without a day off, according to the recent Winemaker Survey conducted by Wine Marlborough.

14 Environment Plan


Marlborough wine growers have retained the status quo for surface water irrigation in the Proposed Marlborough Environment Plan, but need to future proof against water scarcity, says Wine Marlborough general manager Marcus Pickens.


Winepress March 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 and Subscriptions: Sarah Linklater 021 704 733 sarah@wine-marlborough.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 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. This document is printed on an environmentally responsible paper, produced using elemental chlorine free (EFC), third party pulp from responsible sources, manufactured under the strict ISO 14001 Environmental Management System and is 100% Recyclable.

From the Editor This editorial was meant to be about the excitement of sparkling harvest kick-starting vintage 2020 (pg9), and the excitement of a sparkling new research winery in Marlborough (pg16). The two subjects collided somewhat at the launch of the latter in late February, where at least a couple of winemakers looked somewhat distracted by the allconsuming business of brix. Both subjects are still exciting, but occurred against the busy background of covid-19 coronavirus, which is an increasingly compelling, and fleet-footed, subject. The morning after BRI’s beautiful new research winery was opened, a crosssector “Marlborough Pandemic” meeting was held to discuss the risks of the virus to the Marlborough region. “Our primary industries are wine, seafood, forestry and tourism and they are each exposed in different ways,” said Kaikoura MP Stuart Smith, who convened the meeting. It’s a subject on many wine minds as this edition goes to print, with the implications on tourism, exports, supply lines, industry travel and the arrival of vintage workers from Europe all being discussed. The potential disruption to the arrival of Recognised Seasonal Employer scheme labour for pruning is also on some minds, with companies considering the ‘what if’ in their contingency planning, says Wine Marlborough general manager Marcus Pickens. On the day of the cross-sector meeting, organisers of ProWein in Düsseldorf confirmed the March 15–17 event would still go ahead, but within a couple of days it had been postponed, with many people rapidly rearranging their plans. Marcus said the wine industry seemed to have “woken up” to the risks they face if the virus spreads further through Europe, or reaches New Zealand New Zealand Winegrowers has formed a Covid-19 Wine Industry Response Team, and now has a dedicated webpage that will act as a central point of relevant industry information for regions and members. Marlborough Mayor John Leggett said all employers in Marlborough need to start thinking about their own contingency planning if the virus reaches New Zealand. “Having a business continuity plan is really important,” he told the sector meeting. “It’s important to appreciate how each part of the Marlborough economy might be affected should coronavirus arrive here.” An All-ofGovernment website has been set up as the key information hub for coronavirus at govt.nz/novel-coronavirus-covid-19.

“It’s important to appreciate how each part of the Marlborough economy might be affected should coronavirus arrive here.” John Leggett

SOPHIE PREECE Winepress March 2020 / 3


From the Mayor BEFORE THE local body elections last year, Winepress asked all candidates how they would help Wine Marlborough achieve its goal of making Marlborough the world’s greatest wine region. Mayor JOHN LEGGETT elaborates on his response. Vintage is an exciting time for everyone. The influx of workers, the buzz of the harvest and the long days and nights of hard work. Ultimately, that work will pay off and wine drinkers around the world will enjoy the fruits of your labour once again, with some outstanding Marlborough wines. Making Marlborough the world’s greatest wine region is a lofty goal and for us to get anywhere close to achieving it will require a lot more hard work. We have come a long way fast and an audacious goal is a good thing, but achieving greatness takes more than just having a vision. We all need to be clear on what our individual and collective responsibilities are to deliver on that. It will require a genuine

“The council places great store on good working relationships with the wine sector, which is our region’s biggest job generator.” 4 / Winepress March 2020

and passionate commitment from everyone. Marlborough certainly has all the ingredients to be great and the Marlborough District Council supports your aspiration, but ultimately the industry’s reputation is to a large degree dependent on its own actions. Environmental, labour or winemaking breaches don’t contribute to a reputation of greatness or of sustainability. It takes only one transgression for the reputational damage to ripple around the world and for our competitors to take advantage. The wine industry has transformed Marlborough and built its economy and reputation. It’s a remarkable story of success, thanks to the imagination and foresight of the early winemakers and researchers who saw the potential of our soils and climate. It’s even more exciting to think that viticulture has not yet reached its peak; the Bragato Research Institute is the beginning of a new exciting chapter. The council is an important player because we are responsible for setting the rules for resource management, adopted following several years of consultation and discussions with the sector, iwi and wider community. The Marlborough Environment Plan was launched just two weeks ago, and it brings together our key resource management documents into one plan, setting out the rules clearly for everyone. It’s a really important bottom line from which the industry’s environmental greatness can be built. In any industry, to stay ahead of the game, new ideas and thinking are always going to be required. To maintain your competitive edge and productivity, the advice is pretty consistent: “If you’re not innovating then you’re just waiting for the date when your business or industry will

expire.” Council is the keeper of an enormous amount of data. Information sharing is something that I’m keen to foster. The council has learned all too well that vineyard waste – grape marc – has severe impacts on ecosystems if not handled well. It’s great to see some major progress has been made to find workable solutions for that particular challenge. We’re acutely aware of biosecurity threats here - and the speed and scale of damage which any incursion could bring – so we work closely with the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) to support their efforts. Water storage is another area where we are seeing progress by the wine industry. Marlborough’s water sources can become very stretched, especially in our long, dry summers. I know that the wine industry is already thinking seriously about mitigating and adapting to climate change and that you are actively seeking to diversify your grape varieties. The council places great store on good working relationships with the wine sector, which is our region’s biggest job generator. So let’s collectively unpack what being the world’s greatest wine region looks like, identify and agree steps to achieving it, plan and commit to it 100%. We’re with you on that.

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Winepress March 2020 / 5

MET REPORT Table 1: Blenheim Weather Data – February 2020 February February 2020 February Period February 2020 Compared to LTA LTA of LTA 2019 GDD’s for: Month - Max/Min1 267.4 119% 225.2 (1996-2019) 248.0 Month – Mean2 258.9 119% 217.3 (1996-2019) 246.0 Growing Degree Days Total Jul 19–Feb 20 – Max/Min1 1086.7 93% 1026.9 (1996-2019) 1166.1 Jul 19–Feb 20 – Mean2 1132.0 94% 1058.9 (1996-2019) 1201.4 Mean Maximum (°C) 24.9 +1.7°C 23.2 (1986-2019) 25.0 Mean Minimum (°C) 13.5 +1.0°C 12.5 (1986-2019) 12.7 Mean Temp (°C) 19.2 +1.3°C 17.9 (1986-2019) 18.9 Grass Frosts (<= -1.0°C) 0 Equal 0.00 (1986-2019) 0 Air Frosts (0.0°C) 0 Equal 0.00 (1986-2019) 0 Sunshine hours 270.9 118% 229.4 (1986-2019) 289.3 Sunshine hours – lowest 133.6 2012 Sunshine hours – highest 298 1968 Sunshine hours total – 2020 515.9 105% 492.9 (1986-2019) 607.2 Rainfall (mm) 8.6 16% 44.5 (1986-2019) 8.0 Rainfall (mm) – lowest 1 1973 & 1983 Rainfall (mm) – highest 181.4 2019 Rainfall total (mm) – 2020 8.8 9.5% 92.2 (1986-2019) 11.8 Evapotranspiration – mm 140.3 123% 114.1 (1996-2019) 151.0 Avg. Daily Windrun (km) 245.7 98% 250.7 (1996-2019) 237.5 Mean soil temp – 10cm 19.4 +1.1°C 18.3 (1986-2019) 19.2 Mean soil temp – 30cm 21.3 +0.6°C 20.7 (1986-2019) 21.7 1GDD’s Max/Min are calculated from absolute daily maximum and minimum temperatures 2GDD’s Mean are calculated from average hourly temperatures February 2020 was very warm, sunny and dry with average wind-run Table 2: Weekly temperatures, rainfall and sunshine during February 2020

Mean Max (°C)

Mean Min (°C)

Temperature The February 2020 mean temperature of 19.2°C was 1.3°C above the long-term average (LTA). This was warmer than in the previous three years (2017-2019) but well below the very warm mean of 20.0°C recorded in February 2016. The weekly maximum temperatures during February were all above average (Table 2). However, the second week of February experienced three days with cool overnight minimum temperatures which dragged the mean minimum for the week down and as a consequence the mean temperature for the second week of the month was slightly below average. The hottest maximum temperature recorded in Blenheim was 33.0°C on 2 February. This was the hottest February maximum temperature since 6 February 2011, which recorded 33.4°C. The coolest minimum temperature recorded in Blenheim was 6.8°C on 9 February. Four days during February 2020 recorded temperatures of 30°C or higher. February 2019 recorded five days above 30.0°C. The average number of days above 30°C during February over the 73 years 1947 to 2019 is only one; i.e. February 2019 and 2020 are the exception rather than the rule.




(°C) (mm) (hours)

1st - 7th

26.0 (+2.8)

14.7 (+2.2)

20.4 (+2.5)



8th - 14th

24.0 (+0.8)

11.4 (-1.1)

17.7 (-0.2)



15th - 21st

26.2 (+3.0)

15.8 (+3.3)

21.0 (+3.1)



22nd - 29th

23.6 (+0.4)

12.4 (-0.1)

18.0 (+0.1)



1st – 29th February LTA 1986-2019

6 / Winepress March 2020

24.9 (+1.7°C )

13.5 (+1.0°C)

19.2 (+1.3°C)

8.6 16%

270.9 118%






Summer temperatures

than in the previous two years. The 2017-18 (+1.8°C) and

2018-19 (+1.4°C) summers were the second and fourth equal December started out very warm in the first week, warmest summers on record. but the rest of the month saw average to below average temperatures. The first three weeks of January 2020 were Sunshine much cooler than average. Summer temperatures finally February 2020 recorded 270.9 hours sunshine, 118% of turned up in the last 10 days of January 2020. February 2020 the LTA. Average daily sunshine hours in February were was by far the warmest month of the summer of 2019-20. the highest of the three summer months. December 2019 February 2020 was 2.5°C warmer than December 2019 and recorded below average sunshine hours (Table 3). Total 1.7°C warmer than January 2020. February temperatures sunshine hours for summer in the last three years have been were largely much more stable than in December and January. The summer of 2019-20 will be remembered as OK, above average. However, it is interesting to note that in each of these three years one month has recorded below average with mean temperature of 17.8°C, 0.17°C above the LTA. sunshine hours. However, the three months as a whole were much cooler Table 3: Sunshine hours over the summers of 2017-18, 2018-19 and 2019-20 December January February Total

Long-term 2017-18 % of 2018-19 %of 2019-20 % of Average LTA LTA LTA 250.6 319.1 128% 213.2 85% 272.6 109% 263.5 243.6 93% 317.9 121% 245.0 93% 229.4 226.4 100% 289.4 127% 270.9 118% 743.5 789.1 107% 820.5 1 11% 788.5 106%


on record. Almost all of the three month rainfall in 2019-20 occurred in the first 20 days of December 2019 (91.2 mm). In the 63 days from 21 December to 21 February only 1.0 mm of rain was recorded. A further 7.8 mm was recorded between 22 and 29 February; i.e. in the 71 days from 21 December to 29 February only 8.8 mm rain was recorded. This is the lowest consecutive 71 day rainfall total over the 80 years 1941 to 2020. Table 4 indicates the marked contrast in December/January rainfall in 2017-18 compared to 2018-19 and 2019-20.

February 2020 recorded 8.6 mm rain, 16% of the LTA. This is the 10th lowest February rainfall total on record for Blenheim (1930-2020). February 2019 recorded an almost identical total with 8.0 mm. In contrast February 2018 recorded 181.4 mm, the highest total on record. Total summer rainfall in 2019-20 (Table 4) of 100.0 mm was 71% of the long-term average total. This is the 25th lowest summer rainfall on record for the 90 years 1930 to 2020. Summer rainfall of 65.4 mm in 2018-19 is the sixth lowest

Table 4: Rainfall for the summers of 2017-18, 2018-19 and 2019-20 December January February

Long-term Average 48.1 44.5 47.7



2017-18 % of mm LTA 21.6 45% 80.4 181% 181.4 380% 283.4mm


Wind Run Average daily wind run for February 2020 was 245.7 km, 98% of the LTA (1996-2019). Although the average daily wind-run during February 2020 was slightly below average, this was the highest average daily wind-run since February 2005. The 15 years 2006-2020 have all recorded lower than average wind-run during February. Conversely most of the 10 years from 1996 to 2005 recorded well above average wind-run. Shallow Soil Moisture Average shallow soil moisture (5–35 cm depth) at the Grovetown Park weather station for February 2020 was 14.9%. Given the fact that January 2020 only recorded

2018-19 % of mm LTA 53.6 111% 3.8 9% 8.0 17% 65.4 mm


2019-20 % of mm LTA 91.2 190% 0.2 0.5% 8.6 16% 100.0 mm


0.2 mm rain, the topsoil was very dry at the beginning of February (15.6%) and only dropped by 1% during the month to be 14.6% on 29 February; i.e. the topsoil was bone dry during most of February. Figure 1 indicates that the shallow soil moisture line for the 2019-20 season to the end of February has followed a very similar path to the previous 2018-19 season. At the end of February in both seasons the topsoil was close to its minimum value. It is interesting to note the rapid rise in soil moisture from 7 to 9 March 2019 accompanying 56 mm rain over those three days. While most of the agricultural community would welcome some respite to the very dry conditions that have prevailed from mid-December 2019 Winepress March 2020 / 7

Figure 1: Shallow soil moisture (5-35 cm depth) at the Blenheim weather station

through until the end of February 2020, three days of rainfall and accompanying wetness are not what the wine industry would want in March 2020 leading up to harvest. Potential Evapotranspiration

very high potential water deficit in the previous summer (2018/19). Table 5: Potential Water Deficit for the summers of 201718, 2018-19 and 2019-20

Potential evapotranspiration for February was 140.3 mm, 123% of Februaryâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s LTA.

Potential Water Deficit




Potential water deficit is the difference between monthly rainfall received and potential monthly evapotranspiration lost. Potential water deficit for February 2020 was -131.7 mm, 175% of the LTA. Potential water deficit for the three summer months December 2019 â&#x20AC;&#x201C; February 2020 was -314.3 mm, 117% of the LTA. While the potential water deficit this summer was well above average, it was well below the







Long-term 2017-18 % of Average mm LTA

2018-19 % of mm LTA

2019-20 % of mm LTA











-178% -143.0




Total -269.1mm -152.4mm 57% -387.4mm 144% -314.3mm 117% Rob Agnew Plant & Food Research / Marlborough Research Centre

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Harvest 2020 A bubbly start to the vintage SOPHIE PREECE

MARLBOROUGH HAS had a “dream run” in the lead-up to the 2020 harvest, says Cloudy Bay technical director Jim White, two mornings in. Cloudy Bay began hand picking Pinot Noir for sparkling on Monday February 24, harvesting clean fruit with good flavour and balance of acids and sugar, he says. The Pinot harvest was to continue into early March, at which point the pickers would move to Chardonnay for sparkling wine. Pinot Noir for still wine should be ready around March 10, with the Sauvignon Blanc harvest expected to fall between March 23 and April 7, says Jim, noting similarities between 2020 and the harvests of 2014 and 2015. He’s got his fingers crossed for a continued “dream run”, with more dry sunny days, the promise of cool nights, and continued access to irrigation, which was still on in late February. Hunter’s planned to start its sparkling harvest early this month, and Sauvignon was likely to kick off on March 20, which is typical for the company, says chief winemaker James Macdonald. “It’s always on my birthday, which is the life of a winemaker.” Combatting the dry was a challenge in the lead-up to harvest, with the Waihopai Valley particularly arid, and vines stressed as a result. Irrigation was still possible in those vineyards at the time of writing in late February, but likely to switch off soon, he said. On the plus side, the dry weather has meant less disease pressure. With average yields and clean fruit, “it has the potential to be a really good vintage,” says James. “But

Picking begins at Cloudy Bay. Photo Jim Tannock

let’s wait and see. I have been wrong in the past.” In the Awatere Valley, Yealands chief operating officer Mike Insley says that with warm dry weather, winds dying down, rain in the headwaters but not on the vines, and the Awatere River still flowing well, the company was relaxed as it cruised towards harvest. “Who wouldn’t be happy with weather like this?” Mike says yield predictions earlier in the season were relatively low, based on cluster counts. But “beautiful” flowering weather boosted berry weights, so crop loads look good. Dog Point Vineyards’ viticulturist Nigel Sowman is looking forward to a “really good” harvest, likely to kick off around March 10 to 15, with early Pinot Noir from hill sites. Disease levels are low, with only a small amount of powdery mildew “nothing threatening” - and no botrytis due to the consistently dry weather, he says. The Pinot harvest for Dog Point is likely to take around two weeks, with some Chardonnay picked towards the end of that period, then Sauvignon Blanc from warmer hillside blocks taken in at the end of March, followed by the main Sauvignon harvest around April 1. Nigel says the size of the bunches came as something of a surprise this season. There had been talk of a poor flowering, but in reality it was

“Who wouldn’t be happy with weather like this?” Mike Insley

“fantastic” with 70-80% of florets successful, compared to 30-40% in a typical year. “That means that instead of the average 100g bunch of Sauvignon, it is pushing up around 150g per bunch weight.” Bunch numbers were down before flowering, so the crops are still at reasonable levels, although the company is still dropping fruit where necessary, especially in Pinot Noir, he says. One of the highlights for Nigel is the success of the Mendoza clone of Chardonnay, which is typically fickle and can tend towards small berries. This year he is seeing a lot of big berries, “which is great for Chardonnay”. Moving into harvest, he is looking for more of the warm days, the onset of cooler nights, and morning dew to refresh the canopy. “If this weather pattern continues, it looks like it will be a reasonably relaxed harvest.”

Winepress March 2020 / 9


Wine & Food Iconic festival serves up a tasty programme SOPHIE PREECE

A LIST is already building for the 2021 Marlborough Wine & Food Festival VIP tent, after this year’s allocation sold out “super fast”. Wine Marlborough events manager Loren Coffey says the VIP tent and main grounds were jam packed with good food, good wine and good music, making for a great day out in Marlborough. There were more than 7,000 people at the iconic event, with Marlborough locals making up a third of the audience, and visitors from Auckland the next largest category. Loren says the music was a highlight, but the culinary tent also drew a full house throughout the day, starting with Marlborough chef Bradley Hornby who worked with local producers Cranky Goat, Uncle Joe’s, Premium Game, and Marlborough Garlic. He was followed by culinary superstar Peter Gordon, brought in by Cloudy Bay Clams, then Nick Honeyman, showcasing Mills Bay Mussels. Meanwhile, both of the master classes - Sauvignon Blanc & Cheese followed by the Secrets of Sashimi - were sold out, says Loren. “The highlight for a lot of people was the sashimi master class with Jason Roberts, who is a phenomenal chef from Australia brought in by Ōra King.” The session included Jason filleting a whole king salmon for the crowd, and all the dishes prepared were matched with Marlborough Wine Show gold medal wines, says Loren. A new Food Truck Alley sprung up outside the culinary tent this year, and on the main ground wine and food producers paired up to vie for the title of best match. The 2020 title went to Mills Bay Mussels’ raw mussels in Asian dressing, matched with Misty Cove’s 2019 white blend from the Waihopai Valley.

10 / Winepress March 2020

Photos by Richard Briggs

The best site design went to Cloudy Bay, which served up a verdant haven, with 100% oasis and 0% waste. The site was decorated with native grasses and flax, which were then planted out at Cloudy Bay vineyards as part of a growing biodiversity project. A water feature at the centre was designed and created by Cloudy Bay Estate groundsman Mark Lovegrove, with water tumbling from wine bottles into a pyramid of glasses, then down into a half wine barrel. Cloudy Bay hospitality coordinator Lieke Tegels says the launch of the company’s 2019 Sauvignon Blanc marked 35 vintages and the company decided to celebrate that with a nod to its sustainability initiatives. “We are focusing on everything we do being sustainable,” she says. “How we treat the vineyards, how we work in the winery, recycling everything we can at hospitality and limiting our waste.” Festival committee member Glyn Walters, who helps devise the music selection, says getting the right mix of bands and performers is always a challenge. “People’s music tastes are very personal to them but I reckon there was something for everyone at this year’s festival.” Katchafire and The Feelers drew crowds to the dance floor, he says, noting that the Katchafire crew set off for LA on a US tour straight after their festival slot. “They have evolved from a pure reggae act into something much broader, incorporating hip hop and RnB.” Local acts Eden Kavanagh, Daily J, Jocee Tuck and The Steeps all went down well “and Chocolate Box Deluxe closed things off nicely with covers and dance numbers”, says Glyn.


Winepress March 2020 / 11

Under the Pump Culture change required around vintage SOPHIE PREECE

THE EXCESSIVE hours worked by winemakers over vintage is a risk to individuals, businesses, and the wider community, say industry members. Around 50 people attended a Wine Marlborough presentation last month to hear the results of a winemaker survey sent out late last year. Thirty of the 99 survey respondents worked 85 to 96 hours a week over the vintage period, while another 16 worked more than 96 hours, with a handful toppling into 100 plus. Wine Marlborough advocacy manager Vance Kerslake said the median was for 84 hours per week, representing seven 12-hour days, “but there are an awful lot of winemakers who are working more than this”. The long periods between days off exacerbated those findings, with a significant number of people working seven to eight weeks without a day off, Vance said. The majority of respondents worked three weeks or more at a stretch during vintage, with 15% working between 36 and 57+ long days in a row. Several winemakers at the presentation voiced concerns at the expectations of vintage work, including the risk of overworked employees injuring themselves or others at work or driving home between long shifts. Vance noted that while the long days on end are allowed for in New Zealand law, an accident would bring in WorkSafe, which would look to hours worked. “How comfortable would you feel with the answer, ‘12 hours a day for 56 days’?” Winemakers Matt Ward, Stewart Maclennan and Clive Jones motivated the survey, after speaking to Vance about

12 / Winepress March 2020

Photo Richard Briggs


“Nearly all of the respondents ‘agreed’ or ‘strongly agreed’ that they were passionate about Marlborough’s wine industry.” their concerns around vintage hours, as well as the lack of recovery time after that big harvest push. In February’s Winepress, Stewart said winemakers had little opportunity to bounce back from the grind of harvest, especially when it comes to getting Sauvignon Blanc blended, prepared and into market. “It’s not a Merlot that will sit in a barrel for three years, so the next vintage is highly anticipated.” Matt says something has to change. “As winemakers we need to give ourselves time to recover –-during harvest and after - so we can show up to work and effectively manage the staff and interns who work with us. We’re no good leading anybody if we’re exhausted.” More than half of the respondents ‘agreed’ or ‘strongly agreed’ that their workload has had a negative impact on their mental well-being in the last 12 months, and 37 of the respondents said they had to move on for the sake of their own well-being. One respondent said the industry needs to refocus the work-life balance of employees to avoid burn-out: “The current trend is to run fairly lean teams with a high load and high expectations of staff.” Another said that they really look forward to vintage, “but the toll it takes on me and in particular my family is unfair”.


That seems to reflect a general sense of many winemakers surveyed, who clearly love the industry they work in, but think the workload, particularly over vintage, is a concern, says Vance. Nearly all of the of the respondents ‘agreed’ or ‘strongly agreed’ that they were passionate about Marlborough’s wine industry, and 91 of the 95 said the region was a great place to be a winemaker. “What’s impressed and relieved me in the results is that we still love making wine and making wine in Marlborough,” says Matt. “But also, we aren’t the only ones asking if our industry can work in a more balanced and sustainable way.”

The six-day vintage week Twenty-eight of the 99 respondents in the Winemaker Survey worked six days at a time, likely reflecting a sixday vintage roster. That’s something many winemakers at the survey presentation wanted to know more about, calling for a culture change in wine industry workloads. Matt Ward is one of the three winemakers who approached Wine Marlborough advocacy manager Vance Kerslake to voice concerns about industry pressures, motivating the creation of the survey which was sent out late last year. He told the presentation attendees that Wither Hills has used a compulsory six-day vintage roster in the winery for several years and recently pushed it out into the viticulture team as well. “People are more productive having a day off,” he said. Saint Clair senior winemaker Stewart Maclennan (pictured), another winemaker behind the survey, also applauds his workplace’s

“It would be nice to think that the industry could change and we could become an example to other countries of how it could be done.”

at first realise.” Vance says the region’s wine industry has a remarkable culture of sharing information and insights. “If we can get together and talk about how some of these successful workplace programmes are implemented, we can hopefully change the outcomes for the people we rely on to make the region’s extraordinary wine.” In the words of one of the winemakers surveyed: “It would be nice to think that the industry could change and we could become an example to other countries of how it could be done.”

Survey Respondent six-day vintage weeks. Rested staff are more productive and it is valuable for others to step into the breach when a senior staff member is not at work, he said in the February edition of Winepress. “There are a lot of strengths to be gained that companies might not




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Winepress March 2020 / 13


Water Warning Environment Plan released to relief of many grape growers SOPHIE PREECE

MARLBOROUGH WINE growers have retained the status quo for surface water irrigation in the Proposed Marlborough Environment Plan, released last month. But Wine Marlborough advocacy manager Vance Kerslake says the industry should treat the decision as a wake-up call, not a victory, with water scarcity an ongoing challenge due to the pressure of climate change and regulations. “Now is the time to invest in storage, and implement better conservation and efficient use of the resource,” he says. “There will never be more water in the future, and it is likely there will be less.” Wine Marlborough spent nearly $70,000 in hearings on water use and allocation in the Proposed Marlborough Environment Plan (PMEP), calling on evidence from a resource management expert, hydrologist, ecologist and economist, as well as wine industry experts who donated their time to support the Wine Marlborough submission in hearings. The submission supported the irrigation provisions of the PMEP, which were opposed by groups including Forest & Bird and Fish & Game. Wine Marlborough general manager Marcus Pickens says the decision was a relief for the industry

14 / Winepress March 2020

body and its members, and reflected the quality of the science conducted by the Marlborough District Council and by experts commissioned by Wine Marlborough. The long dry period in the 2019 summer, when irrigation shut downs culminated in severely stressed vines, was a compelling background for the hearings panel, who heard evidence around water use at that period. “That was a pretty stark reminder of what happens when grape growers lose the ability to water their vineyards,” says Marcus. He emphasises that there are plenty of other potential changes ahead, given central Government consultation on fresh water, and the industry needs to future proof itself against water scarcity. “There is a lot of work to do. Hopefully this, along with the threat of climate change, is a wake up call to users to get smarter about using water.” Marcus says Wine Marlborough will now commission experts to assess the 1,300 pages of the PMEP document to ascertain impacts relevant to the wine industry. They will also await the April 16th deadline for appeals to the released document. The PMEP decision document was released in a ceremony at Omaka Marae last month, after two years’

work by the hearings panel, submitters and council staff. The plan brings three of the region’s major management plans, the Marlborough Regional Policy Statement, the Marlborough Sounds Resource Management Plan and the Wairau-Awatere Resource Management Plan into a single document and sets out the rules around appropriate activities in Marlborough’s urban, rural and coastal environments. More than 1,300 submissions were made on the plan, covering more than 17,000 individual submission points in support of, or in opposition to, the notified provisions. You can read the Proposed Marlborough Environment Plan decisions document on the Marlborough District Council’s website at: marlborough.govt.nz/your-council/ resource-management-policy-andplans/proposed-marlboroughenvironment-plan/decisions-onthe-pmep. Copies of the decisions document can also be viewed at the council’s Blenheim and Picton offices, and at the Blenheim and Picton libraries.






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Winepress March 2020 / 15 Helping grow the country


BRIlliant Winery New research winery wows industry

Photos by Richard Briggs


“TODAY WE are not just unveiling a building but an opportunity,” said Tracy Atkin at the opening of a new research winery in Blenheim last month. “An opportunity to lead the world in winemaking innovation and bring the world to Marlborough.” Scientists, winegrowers and winemakers joined funders, Bragato Research Institute (BRI) board members and Marlborough District Council representatives at the launch of the sleek BRI winery, where a raft of sustainability components - all of them enabled for continuous improvementwill ensure Marlborough’s first five-star certified build with the New Zealand Green Building Council. Inside the black-steel and gleaming-glass façade, guests found a spacious, well-lit interior, holding long lines of world-first 200 litre trial tanks, all with optional inserts and automated functions for remote control. The tanks, along with a stainless steel egg fermenter ready for 2020 vintage trials, represent the ethos of cutting-edge innovation driving the facility’s build and fit out, said Tracy. The winery’s project manager says the opening was the culmination of three years of work, starting with a small group working on an idea, and ending with completion of the project, 16 / Winepress March 2020

thanks to a large and multifaceted team. She began the project as an Aucklander, but called herself a proud Marlburian now, and applauded the “incredible talent” of the top of the South. “Not only did we not need to go outside of the Marlborough Tasman region for anything, I don’t believe we would have the result we have today if we were anywhere else,” Tracy told the guests. “Because the team have worked as a community on this, continually coming up with new ideas and inspiration, working together for what you see today.” The initial BRI funding came from the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment’s Regional Research Institute initiative, bolstered by funding from the Marlborough District Council, and Tracy said there had already been the equivalent of 100 jobs created through the project, “100% of them local”. The fact that it was done on time and under budget was testament to the calibre of the team, she said. “There was not one situation

where, faced with a challenge, someone said ‘it can’t be done’. The attitude from everyone involved has always been ‘how can it be done, and how can it be done better?’” BRI Chief Executive MJ Loza said that while based in Marlborough, the BRI and its research winery are here for New Zealand at large. “Being owned and supported by New Zealand Winegrowers, one of our unique strengths is our industry connection,” he said, talking of being guided by industry’s priorities and “hardwired” into its networks. That would ensure research is relevant and delivered back to industry. Its mandate is to partner nationally and internationally to ensure the BRI “adds to the research ecosystem not duplicate it,” he said.


Global Change Cloudy Bay to be herbicide free by 2025 SOPHIE PREECE

CLOUDY BAY is exploring a herbicide free future, after parent company Moët Hennessy announced its Champagne concerns would have no herbicide by the end of the year. Cloudy Bay technical director Jim White has been part of Moët’s international advisory committee for the past four years, exploring the future of herbicide-free viticulture. He says Veuve Clicquot has not used herbicide for two years, and Moët Chandon is hard on its heels. But it’s been a long and hard road, full of pitfalls, to reach a system where the machinery, technology and people are well enough adapted, says Jim. Regulatory pressures have urged the company on in France, where there is an ambition of stopping the use of herbicide in all agriculture by 2025, and a dwindling number of chemicals available for use. Moët will also invest €20 million in a research centre in the Champagne region to undertake science around sustainable viticulture. Jim says there’s “every chance” similar regulations to those in France will eventually come to New Zealand, and Cloudy Bay wants to be “ahead of the curve”. Moët Hennessy’s announcement, made at its forum on Living Soils in Paris last month, was not limited to the Champagne forerunners, and there is an expectation that the rest of its wine brands will be herbicide free by 2025, says Jim. He has assessed the decades of work done in Champagne, and is now rolling out an extensive

Jim White

project in Cloudy Bay’s Central Otago and Marlborough vineyards, to tackle the myriad challenges of transforming viticulture while maintaining wine style and quality. That “huge undertaking” begins with an understanding of the consequent requirements of people and machinery across 450 hectares of companyowned or managed vineyards, he says. Being herbicide free is likely to require twice the existing vineyard workforce, which is a mammoth challenge on its own, given New Zealand’s tight labour market, he says. “Employing tractor drivers is already hard enough, let alone having to find more.” They will also need more equipment, and he’s researching and trialling new technology, including options for weed control, such as microwave research coming out of Melbourne University. He hopes to establish a relationship with a French robotic company that has been working with Moët Hennessy on automated vineyard cultivation. Jim says the challenge ahead is likely greater than that faced by the Champagne producers, because the stony soils in the Wairau Valley make it “incredibly difficult” to cultivate. The company is trialling up to eight different machines that could denude vegetation under the vines or mow the strip between them. Because

of the variety of soils around the region, “there is no one-size-fits-all in Marlborough”, he says. “We are looking at a block-by-block approach across our vineyards.” Add to that seasonal variations, and it’s a very complex management change, he says. “So we are running an extensive trial programme for the next three years.” That includes measuring the carbon footprint of the new techniques, which could be more energy hungry. Meanwhile, the team will be following the wine through the winery, looking at the impact on aromatics, wine quality, the nitrogen levels of juice, and yields. “It’s about being able to then model what are going to be our requirements for the future, with regard to water, people, tractors and the like, so we can move forward in a much more significant fashion over the next five years.” The ultimate ambition is to continue to improve the quality of the wines “and to do that in a changing landscape of consumer expectations in regards to sustainability”, he says. “This is not a single piece of work, but a much broader sustainability piece, looking at water, energy, packaging and waste, all the way through the supply chain to market. The herbicide piece is just a small part of what is a much bigger programme underway for Cloudy Bay.” Winepress March 2020 / 17


Water Matters Dealing with another dry season SOPHIE PREECE

MARLBOROUGH HAD its longest recorded dry spell this summer, suffering more than two months without substantial rain. But vineyards came through February in better shape than the same time last year, when many growers lost irrigation rights from early February. While “it is certainly getting pretty dry”, vines overall are looking significantly better than this time in 2019, said Fruition’s Jim Mercer in late February. “We’re in a better situation, but if we don’t get significant rain in the next three weeks, some people could start to struggle.” Plant & Food Research scientist Rob Agnew says the Blenheim station recorded just 1mm of rain between December 21 and February 21, then a 5.2mm addition on February 22, making it just 6.2mm of rainfall in the 66 days from 21 December to 24 February. “This is the lowest rainfall total for that length of time on record.” But while rainfall was lower than the same period in 2019, the Wairau River was better off, hovering between 8 and 12 cumecs throughout most of

February, but not dropping below the 8 cumec cutoff for irrigators taking Class A water from the Wairau. That is likely due to rainfall further up the catchment, as well as Trust Power operations, says Rob. “Up until the last week of February we have dodged a bullet compared to last year.” In 2019, the continued dry and limited irrigation opportunity saw leaves fall off stressed vines, while some growers caught short trucked in tanks of water. Jim says the industry has learned from that, and this year have been at pains to improve soil moisture levels before water shutdowns, while not watering so much that the canopy becomes too lush. Meanwhile, more dams are going in, with 16 resource consent applications for new dams in Marlborough last year, according to records from the Marlborough District

Feeling parched?

“With irrigation on for half an hour it will not infiltrate any depth and won’t be efficient.” Council. Eleven of those have been consented and five are still being processed. Jim says companies are also investing more in the maintenance of their irrigation systems. That can be a “constant battle” because of pumps clogging or wearing out, solenoid malfunctions and hares and rabbits damaging driplines, by chewing through to find remnant water, says Jim. “They create a lot of small leaks…

Last summer highlighted how important Marlborough’s surface water resources are for irrigators. Hydrologist Val Wadsworth has years of experience and knowledge. Get in touch, especially if you want more water storage for your vineyard. Val can provide river flow and rainfall records and explain the science behind them. River and rainfall information can also be found at www.hydro.marlborough.govt.nz Val Wadsworth     Hydrologist

DDI: 03 520 7441 | M: 021 667 746 val.wadsworth@marlborough.govt.nz www.marlborough.govt.nz

18 / Winepress March 2020


that can become a major issue.” If water restrictions do hit, there are some key tools to protecting vineyards with little water, says Jim. They include: • Keep your vines trimmed. More canopy needs more water, so reduce your leaf area and the dominant shoots on top. • Water at night or early morning if possible, so you don’t lose water through evaporation. • If tanking in water, or eking out a small supply, don’t water all your plants a small amount every day. If

you have one or two litres per vine per day, double or treble that amount every second or third day, says Jim. “With irrigation on for half an hour it will not infiltrate any depth and won’t be efficient.” You can still irrigate every day, but alternate the blocks that get water. • Avoid undervine cultivation. It is good for controlling weeds, which compete for water, but opens up the soil to moisture loss. If you can, mow weeds instead. • Prioritise certain varieties. Pinot Noir, for example, has a lower water

requirement , but Sauvignon Blanc doesn’t like to get too stressed, says Jim. • Also prioritise watering according to soil type - vines on a heavy silt loam can cope far better with a limited water supply than those on a free draining gravel. •If your vines are carrying too much fruit, moderate the crop accordingly. The higher the yield the higher the water requirement in the ripening phase.

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Winepress March 2020/ 19

Vigilant Vigneron A passion for Marlborough vines and wines SOPHIE PREECE

IF YOU told a chef they had 50 dishes to their career, they would make sure each one was pretty special, says Jason Flowerday. That’s how he views his vines and wines, approaching each vintage as a rare chance to create something extraordinary. “We are here to try and make the best wine in Marlborough; that stands up against the best in the world,” he says of the work he and his wife Anna do at Te Whare Ra, a small Renwick vineyard with some of the region’s oldest vines. “Our focus here is, ‘how can we make really great wine that puts Marlborough at the top of its game?’” The 2020 Gourmet Traveller WINE New Zealand Viticulturist of the Year is also passionate about ensuring whoever has the 50 vintages after him inherits a healthy organism at Te Whare Ra, where organic vines, hay, cover crops, winery activities, cows, compost and people all play mutually interdependent roles. Jason’s approach, from vine through to wine, is the company’s “secret weapon”, making him more vigneron than viticulturist, says Anna. “Part of Jason’s greatest strength is that he’s a winemaker who also grows the grapes.” When he is planning inter row

20 / Winepress March 2020

crops - summer and winter - or pruning vines, it’s always with the wines they want to make in mind. “Our philosophy is, if it’s going to make the wine taste better, just do it,” says Jason. “There’s too much disconnection between growing grapes and making wine, because people see it as grape farming and beverage making. It’s not wine growing anymore.” The determination to get 50 great vintages from their own little paradise, each of them valued at their worth in the market, is sometimes overshadowed by Jason’s frustration at what he sees as a flood of low-priced Marlborough wines. That means companies like Te Whare Ra have to work harder to protect and build their reputation, says Anna. “It’s like a little whitebait trying to swim upstream against a school of salmon swimming in the opposite direction.” The couple remain amazed by how well Marlborough grows wine, insisting that the unique combination of soil, aspect and climate should never be taken for granted. For Anna, who grew up in a winemaking family in Australia, Marlborough was a revelation. For Jason, who was born four years after Montana’s first vines

Photos by Richard Briggs


“Our philosophy is, if it’s going to make the wine taste better, just do it,” Jason Flowerday were planted and one year before Te Whare Ra was established, it’s a terroir to be treasured. He clearly recalls helping his dad Ross plant vineyards in Rapaura in the mid to late-1980s. “It was just part of what you did after school or on the weekends. When mum and dad were working, so were we.” In those early days of Marlborough’s industry, blocks were marked out with one person looking down the scope of a .22 rifle at one end of the row, while another moved the wire along the row to line it up. He also remembers marking out blocks with painted ice block sticks where the plants and posts were to go. In 1996, aged 17 and doing some vintage work for Almuth Lorenz at Merlen Wines, Jason made his first wine “in a vineyard shed at home”, helped by winemaker Mike Just. He went on to do two seasons at Drylands, where Darryl Woolley gave him his first real vintage experience, before


heading to Hardy’s Tintara winery in McLaren Vale, Australia, for vintage 1999. Jason learned a huge amount there - including the fact that a big operator can maintain absolute attention to detail - and earned the nickname MacGyver, for the fixanything approach that impressed the winemaking team, including a young Australian named Anna Burgan. He still thinks outside the box, says Anna 24 years on, talking of the thoughtful and honest approach Jason brings to growing and making wine, uninfluenced by mainstream thinking. The two became a couple while at Hardys, and when Anna received a promotion in 2000, Jason moved to the Clare Valley with her, working vintages at Kirribilly, then Crabtree Wines, and Leasingham. He also managed their own 8-hectare dry-grown vineyard in Watervale, while gleaning a wealth of learnings from older growers who were adept at managing vines as old as his grandfather, he says. “They were really invested in caring for old, low fertility soils and coaxing the best out of them.” Jason and Anna also got to know Tony and Lita Brady of Wendouree, who proved to be a “huge inspiration”, with their small estate, old vines and small batches of “very sought after wines”. Spending time with them helped the young couple cement the idea of doing something together that was hands on and high end, giving

them control throughout the process. They bought the 14ha Te Whare Ra in 2003, with a clear “long game” in mind, says Anna. “We knew we weren’t one of the biggest, but we set out from that time to be one of the best. That’s been the driving force the whole time.” Te Whare Ra appealed to the couple because of its established name domestically, its honest provenance, its old vineyard, and its interesting mix of varieties. “The old vines was a big one,” says Anna. “I don’t think they make better quality wines, but I do think they make more interesting wines.” The range of varieties planted was key too, because they saw the ability to make their mark by growing wines of depth and diversity, showing Marlborough had more tricks than Sauvignon Blanc up its sleeve, she says. “We truly believe Marlborough is a place that can grow a range of things at a really high level.” Te Whare Ra moved to organic farming from 2007 and gained full BioGro organic certification for vintage 2012. They make no secret of how important that is to them, wearing t-shirts to explain, “don’t panic, it’s organic”, and readily sharing their love of their cows, compost and mid row cover crops, as well as careful pruning methods and meticulous canopy management to guard against disease. For the past 16 years they have been “head down, bum up” making

great wines, finding new markets and earning peer respect, says Anna. “Lots of people say ‘wow, you are getting all these writer visits’. But for the first 10 years we got nobody.” Jason also consults to a couple of other organic vineyards and helps to convene viticultural workshops for MANA Winegrowers, a collective of organic winegrowers in Marlborough, of which Te Whare Ra was a founding member. When Te Whare Ra won Raymond Chan’s New Zealand Winery of the Year in 2014, the wine reviewer applauded their wine and philosophy, saying they “represent the modern and young face of winegrowing in New Zealand, making a range of beautifully elegant, exceptionally high quality wines, with the greatest respect for the environment from which the fruit is obtained”. During his acceptance speech for the Gourmet Traveller award, Jason acknowledged “unwavering” support from both their families when it comes to the vision for Te Whare Ra. “They have always been there when we needed them”. He also thanked the small but valuable Te Whare Ra team. “We have been really lucky to find staff that understood why we wanted to do things differently and who bought into that vision, and worked their butts off to help us get there.”

The Te Whare Ra team

Winepress March 2020 / 21


Generation Y-ine Mastering the world of Marlborough wine KAT DUGGAN

MARLBOROUGH IS set to become home to a Master of Wine as Sophie Parker-Thomson places the final touches on seven years of study. It’s the second major qualification for the co-founder of Blank Canvas Wines, who at just 31 years old is also a qualified solicitor. Sophie hopes to use her knowledge to promote the wine region as one of the world’s best. “I’m passionate about Marlborough and I have great belief in its potential - the quality of the wines is improving year on year. I’m eager to use my Master of Wine to champion the message that Marlborough is not just one homogenous region producing one style of wine. There’s so much more detail in the sub-regions, varieties and styles we are making,” she says. “The other exciting thing is that I don’t believe Marlborough has its own MW yet, but I’m confident we are not far away from having more.” Sophie had not long completed her bar exams when she decided to make the transition to the world of wine. “I enjoyed the intellectual challenge of law, and the whole idea of being in the [law] profession was quite attractive to me,” she says, but admits the move to wine had been calling for some time. She studied at Otago University, doing some wine writing on the side as she made it into and beyond second 22 / Winepress March 2020

“I’m passionate about Marlborough and I have great belief in its potential.” Sophie Parker-Thomson year law, in itself quite the challenge. “I wasn’t particularly enjoying it, but because I got into second year law I thought I should stay and finish it… I kind of knew deep down it wasn’t right for me,” she says. A half-joking suggestion by Sophie’s mum to become a Master of Wine stuck, and shortly afterwards she was studying toward her Wine & Spirit Education Trust qualifications. She pursued both avenues, but it wasn’t long before the pull of the wine industry took over. “I finished my [law] degree and I was working in Queenstown, thinking about finding a law job but secretly contemplating, ‘what am I doing?’ I ended up finishing my bar exams… and then the opportunity arose to come to Marlborough to do a vintage.” By that time, Sophie had been wine writing and reviewing wines under the name ‘Lady Parker’ for a couple of years. Sophie was born in Gisborne, with a winemaking father, and moved to Central Otago at age 14, sparking more interest in the wine industry. A vintage in Marlborough provided her with an opportunity to gain a deeper understanding of the

winemaking process. “I toyed with the idea of being a wine writer, but felt I needed to know more about the technical side; I had grown up surrounded by wine but I didn’t know a great deal about viticulture and production,” she says. “Matt [Thomson], my nowhusband, came across a review I had done of one of his wines and thought it was one of the most accurate reviews he’d seen.” Kiwi-Oeno, Matt’s wine consultancy business, invited Sophie to work the 2011 vintage in Marlborough and she never left. “I fell in love with Marlborough, and inevitably its people,” she says. Matt and Sophie later married, launched their business Blank Canvas in 2013, and had a daughter, Isabella, who is now five. Sophie is a self-proclaimed ‘perpetual student’ and attributes much of her success to the support of Matt and her family, who have helped her juggle work, motherhood and study. “I am really looking forward to finishing the qualification. I owe so much to all my family, friends and the wine community who have supported me over the years.”

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Biosecurity Watch Biosecurity Act 1993 under review SOPHIE BADLAND

HARVEST IS an extremely busy time of year where there are generally significant increases in the movement of people, vehicles and machinery in and around vineyards. This means there is also increased risk of them bringing in unwanted pests and diseases. The time pressures on vineyard staff at harvest mean there is potential to cut corners with biosecurity risk management, but it’s even more important to maintain good practice during this period. Here are our top tips for minimising your vineyard’s exposure to biosecurity risk this harvest:

prompt visitors and contractors to consider the risks they may pose before they enter your property. Include a contact number for the vineyard manager. Vineyard biosecurity signage is available online from sites such as thesignmaker.co.nz

1. Restrict entry points and use signage

3. Sign in/induction

Have biosecurity signage in place at entrance gates. While signs alone won’t keep pests and disease out, they should

2. Control vehicle access Have a designated parking space for visitors’ vehicles away from the vines and harvest area. Minimise vehicle movements around the vineyard as much as possible and use site vehicles (that stay on the property) where available, sticking to regular pathways.

Keep record of all people and machinery that enter the vineyard area. If possible, provide a brief biosecurity induction alongside any

health and safety information for all contractors and others working in the vineyard. Ask people to check tools and footwear are clean and free of soil and plant material before entering the vineyard. Having a station set up, where cleaning equipment is provided, will assist with this, or consider investing in footwear biosecurity tools such as Jacson’s PE boot cleaner or Jacson Cube (cleanboots.co.nz). 4. Cleanliness of machinery and equipment Check contractor equipment for cleanliness before allowing entry to your vineyard. Equipment and machinery covered in soil and plant

“Check contractor equipment for cleanliness before allowing entry to your vineyard.”

Photo by Richard Briggs


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


material can spread pests like mealybug and weed seeds like Chilean needle grass very easily between sites. If possible, provide cleaning and wash-down facilities with high pressure air or water for dirty equipment, redirect to an offsite cleaning facility, or if necessary, refuse entry until the equipment has been cleaned. 5. Harvest bins Clear harvest bins of all plant material and sanitise the bins before use. During harvest, try to minimise plant debris and soil build up in/around the bins. Remove any obvious plant material prior to transporting bins to the winery. They should be cleaned again at the winery once grapes have been removed, before being returned to the vineyard. 6. Pest and disease surveillance At this time of year, staff in vineyards are actively monitoring the ripeness of grapes, walking the rows or driving around in a tractor or harvester and looking at the vine canopy. This is a great opportunity to do a quick check for any unusual pest and disease symptoms, as well as keeping an eye out for the harlequin ladybird. Ensure staff know what to do if they see anything unusual – Catch It, Snap It, and Report It to the Biosecurity NZ hotline on 0800 80 99 66, and get in touch with the New Zealand Winegrowers biosecurity team (biosecurity@nzwine.com). PCL AD Winepress 2016.pdf



3:21 PM

Harlequin ladybird surveillance The harlequin ladybird is a recently-arrived potential wine industry pest which can now be found in all of New Zealand’s wine regions, including Central Otago. As temperatures start to drop at the end of summer, harlequin ladybirds start to search for overwintering sites and will aggregate together in large groups. Overseas, they have been known to aggregate inside grape bunches prior to harvest, although this behaviour hasn’t yet been observed in New Zealand. When harlequin ladybirds become startled, they release methoxypyrazines designed to deter predators; unfortunately, these chemicals are able to cause taint to wine. New Zealand Winegrowers (NZW) recommends growers who have noticed the presence of harlequin ladybird in or around their vineyards do some surveillance prior to harvest to ensure they are not clustering inside grape bunches. If you do find them inside bunches, get in contact with the NZW biosecurity team (biosecurity@nzwine. com or call Sophie on 027 700 4142). The harlequin ladybird has distinctive markings and is larger than other ladybirds


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Winepress March 2020 / 25

Industry News Wine Marlborough Update

New Zealand wine exports soar

VANCE KERSLAKE We are awaiting the Marlborough District Council’s legal review of tanker water for emergency irrigation from the Blenheim urban supply. 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. Wine Marlborough is part of the RSE Cap Working Group. We need to demonstrate we are meeting the Minister of Immigration’s challenges to get the 2020 cap increase. We had hoped to ask members for information in February, but government officials are yet to confirm what information is required to support our case. The next Marlborough Winegrowers meeting with council is on May 19. If you have any issues you want us to raise with council, email Vance Kerslake, advocacy manager: advocacy@winemarlborough.nz

There was an 8% increase in New Zealand wine exports in 2019, with total export value now reaching a record $1.86 billion, according to New Zealand Winegrowers (NZW). The United States continues to be New Zealand wine’s largest market with nearly $600 million in exports. The non-stop increase in international demand is testament to the premium reputation of New Zealand wine, especially in its major markets. The country remains either the highest or second highest priced wine category in the USA, UK, and Canada, says NZW chief executive Philip Gregan. “Achieving yet another record level of wine exports is an outstanding achievement for New Zealand wine exporters, and demonstrates the rising global demand for our unique and sustainable wines.” Philip says sustainability is an integral part of the New Zealand wine story, “and ongoing focus and effort in areas where we can make a real positive impact is critical to the ongoing success of our industry”. New Zealand wine is exported to more than 100 countries, and is New Zealand’s seventh biggest export good.

Safety Expo The Marlborough Health and Safety Forum will be held on September 3 at the Marlborough Convention Centre, and will look at building capability. The morning session includes insights from Clearview Cleaning, giving a small business perspective, followed by Dr Phil Voss from Leading Safety Ltd. The afternoon sessions will focus on leadership, with presentations from Fulton Hogan’s Tim Talbot, on what happens if there is a fatality in the business, and Francois Barton, of the Business Leaders’ Health and Safety Forum, on building capability within the executive and leadership team. For more information go to marlboroughsafetyforum. com Lines Peril Marlborough Lines is reminding wine companies, vineyard owners and contractors to take great care with power lines this harvest. In 2017, a grape harvester hit an 11,000 volt power line, with the driver only unharmed because they stayed in the cab. The New Zealand Electrical Code of Practice 34 states that there must be at least 4 metres between a live overhead electric line and any part of any mobile plant or load, unless the operator has received written consent from the lines owner allowing a reduced distance. Marlborough’s vintage period involves many types

26 / Winepress March 2020

New estate director for Edmond de Rothschild Anne Escalle has become estate director of Rapaura’s Rimapere Vineyard, owned by Edmond de Rothschild Heritage (EDRH) New Zealand. Benjamin de Rothschild bought 24 hectares in Marlborough in 2012, intent on creating a world class Sauvignon Blanc. “After six years of experience and discovery, we have decided today to move up a gear by recruiting Anne Escalle as our estate director,” says Boris Bréau, managing director for EDRH Wines. “Anne is a unique asset in our organisation thanks to her dual French-New Zealand nationality and her distinguished

of mobile plant, which includes “any device capable of being raised or lowered”, such as a gondola. In a letter to harvesters in 2018, Marlborough Lines noted that “in almost every harvesting situation there is likely to be a mobile plant operating which is capable of encroaching into the required safe working distance from live lines”. Marlborough Lines can issue a ‘Close Approach Authority’ after a site visit. The Code of Practice also requires that any mobile plant “likely to be used at any time in the proximity of overhead electric lines”, must have a warning notice as near as practicable to the driver’s position

stating “WARNING KEEP CLEAR OF POWER LINES”. These stickers can be obtained from Marlborough Lines free of charge.

academic background and professional career.” Ariane de Rothschild, president of the executive committee for Edmond de Rothschild, says Rimapere belongs to an “exceptional” terroir. “It is a real gem: It is up to us, our expertise and our courage to make it shine. Today marks an important step in the Rimapere adventure and its ambition.”

Anne Escalle and Ariane de Rothschild

Minimum Wage Increase Wine growers, wine companies and associated businesses are preparing themselves for another rise in New Zealand’s minimum wage, which will lift $1.20 to $18.90 an hour from April 1. Wine Marlborough advocacy manager Vance Kerslake says that with export wine prices static and low inflation, “it is tough for employers to fund another 6.8% minimum wage increase, especially when you factor in the flowon effect to wage relativities for other staff”. The April rise is the latest step in the Government’s plan for a $20 minimum wage by 2021. Workplace Relations and Safety Minister Iain Lees-Galloway said in December that would see around a quarter of a million workers better off this year. “The new $18.90 rate will mean an extra $48 per week before tax for Kiwis who work for 40 hours on the current minimum wage.” Starting out and training wages will also see a boost, with a rise to $15.12 per hour from April 1, remaining at 80% of the adult minimum wage. Getting Jumpy Marlborough’s wine industry has stepped up - and off - for a good cause. Several wine industry members took a ‘leap into the unknown’ last month, by skydiving in support of Kiwi Can, Stars, and Career Navigator, the three Graeme Dingle Foundation (GDF) programmes offered in Marlborough.

Kelvin Watt, regional manager of the GDF Marlborough, says the aquaculture industry originally came on board with the fundraising efforts then challenged other industries. “The wine industry took up the challenge with participants across the sector, from grape to bottle,” he says. This year that included a husband and wife competing to raise more money than each other. Between them, Fred de Zwart (pictured) from WineWorks and Di de Zwart from Constellation Brands raised more than $4,000. Kelvin says the reach of GDF programmes locally has continued to grow, and this year will reach more than 3,000 Marlborough young people. That’s almost entirely built on the support of the local community, he says. “It’s great to have people from such a significant sector, such as the wine industry, getting behind what we do.” The event had raised around $70,000 by late February, with five people left to do their jumps. The link to donate is: givealittle.co.nz/event/dyfmarlborough

the opportunity to visit Corteva Agriscience’s research farm based in Taranaki, and the winner will also win a study tour to an Australian viticultural region accompanied by Corteva’s viticultural specialist. The Corteva New Zealand Young Viticulturist of the Year Competition 2020 will begin with six educational days around the regions during May, before the six regional competitions run throughout June and July. The winner from each region will then go onto the national final in August.

Young Viticulturist of the Year

Kellogg Rural Leadership Programme

Corteva Agriscience has become the new naming sponsor of the New Zealand Young Viticulturist of the Year Competition. “We are thrilled to have Corteva on board and are looking forward to working with them to continue growing this competition, so it benefits even more young vits within our industry,” says New Zealand Winegrowers’ leadership and communities manager Nicky Grandorge. Viticulturists from the crop protection company, which has an increased focus on biologicals, will share their knowledge and passion at the education days, and at the regional and national competitions. The national finalists will also have

Regional Competition Dates: • Auckland/Northern - June 5 • Hawke’s Bay - June 11 • Wairarapa - June 18 • Marlborough - July 2 • South Island Regional - July 10 • Central Otago - July 16

Applications for the June 2020 Kellogg Programme (ruralleaders.co.nz) close on March 16. This well-respected programme provides leadership skills, tools and applications through workshops with topic specialists and sessions with industry leaders. The course runs over six months with 17 days of programmed content delivered in three residential-based phases. Participants complete and present a project in a topic of interest and value to them.

CLASSIFIEDS VINEYARD FOR LEASE 2021 WAIRAU VALLEY 8.4 Ha Sauvignon Blanc in full production. Additional 6.5 Ha proposed development. Enquires to: fishtailvue@slingshot.co.nz

Winepress March 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 March 20. For more information on these events, email sarah@wine-marlborough.co.nz

MARCH 8 North Canterbury Wine & Food Festival 13 Framingham 2020 Harvest Concert 14 Wairarapa Wines Harvest Festival 28 Whitehaven Graperide MAY 1 #SauvBlancDay 8 Feast Marlborough 9 Saint Clair Vineyard Half Marathon JULY 2 2-3 3-5 28

The Corteva Marlborough Young Viticulturist of the Year Competition 2020 Australasian Symposium for Greening Vineyards, Lincoln University - vineyardgreening.com Marlborough Book Festival - marlboroughbookfest.co.nz NZSVO RosĂŠ Workshop

SEPTEMBER 3 The Marlborough Health and Safety Forum - marlboroughsafetyforum.com

Framingham Harvest Concert - March 13

28 / Winepress March 2020

#SauvBlancDay - May 1

Feast Marlborough - May 8


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