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Photo: Jim Tannock



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this issue... REGULARS


3 4



From the Board - Jack Glover


Tasman Crop Met Report


The Block - Folium


Gen Y-ine - Abigail Maxwell


Biosecurity Watch


Industry News


ANZ Wine Happenings

Marlborough’s wine industry contributes $477 million to the region’s economy and has grown by 300% since 2000, according to a new economic impact report.


18 Yield Estimates

A challenge that faces viticulturists each season is estimating vineyard yields at a suitable time to enable appropriate management decisions to be undertaken. Dr. Mike Trought offers some advice.

22 USA-uvignon

Cover: Spring growth at Te Whare Ra, a member of Organic Winegrowers New Zealand. Photo by Jim Tannock


The United States has great growth potential for New Zealand wine, but it’s not the land of milk and honey, says winemaker Fiona Turner “There’s loads of potential there but that doesn’t mean you can just send your wine over, sit back and leave it.”


Winepress September 2017 / 1

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General Manager: Marcus Pickens 03 577 9299 Editor: Sophie Preece 027 308 4455 Advertising: Harriet Wadworth 03 577 9299 Wine Marlborough Board: Ben Ensor Callum Linklater Jack Glover Michael Wentworth Nick Entwistle Rhyan Wardman (Chair) Samantha Wickham Simon Bishell (Deputy Chair) Stuart Dudley Tom Trolove 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.

From the Editor New Zealand industries are “unbelievably good” at talking to themselves, Tourism New Zealand Chief Executive Stephen England-Hall told audiences at last month’s Romeo Bragato Conference. Tourism, for example, has plenty of gatherings where industry speaks to industry, “so everyone in the industry knows everything else about everyone else’s story in the industry - and it’s amazing”, he said. “We all feel good and warm and wonderful but when you stand outside you don’t see it.” His comment was in response to a question on how Marlborough could better leverage its position as New Zealand’s largest wine growing region, to attract more tourist dollar (pg 35). The region had done a great job so far, he said. “The question is, ‘how do you make that voice louder?’” A similar sentiment was heard at the Organic and Biodynamic Winegrowing Conference earlier in the year, when several speakers lamented the fact that the story of New Zealand’s organic wine was not getting through to the market, and was reiterated by a sustainability expert at Bragato. International speaker Sandra Taylor (pg10) told delegates that consumers are willing to pay more for products with proven sustainability stories, but the challenge is in communicating your message to them by integrating it into brand and marketing. Sandra was also one of the speakers at the inaugural New Zealand Winegrowers’ (NZW) Women in Wine event, which was held in Blenheim just before Bragato. The function sold out, indicating an appetite for the initiative to support women in the industry, and encourage more to take up roles of leadership and governance. Australian journalist Jeni Port also spoke at Women in Wine and Bragato, delivering some concerning statistics and anecdotes to the audience, as well as emphasising the many advantages of ensuring more women find leadership roles in the wine industry. NZW Acting Chief Executive Jeffrey Clarke emphasises that Women in Wine is open to anyone involved in the industry, regardless of gender or role. “We are an innovative industry and it is proven that diversity – gender, experience, perspectives and backgrounds – contributes to the development of new ideas. If we want to continue moving forward, initiatives that foster a more diverse and engaged industry will only drive our success.”

“If we want to continue moving forward, initiatives that foster a more diverse and engaged industry will only drive our success.” Jeffrey Clarke


Winepress September 2017 / 3

From the board JACK GLOVER

LAST MONTH two of our winery members achieved an exceptional rating for their Sauvignon Blancs from the revered Decanter Wine Magazine (see pg 35). The surprise to most of us is that this is first the time any Sauvignon Blanc has achieved this rare acknowledgement. Discussion has since centred around why it has taken so long for this to happen. Are these the best examples the magazine panel has ever seen? If so, what makes them so special? Or has Sauvignon Blanc been under loved or suffered under a perceived quality ceiling in the past? That said, have other varietals, styles or regions also met a ceiling score or rating that is very hard to break through? It is these last two last points I would like to touch on. Unfortunately, in wine much like life, there are opportunities to pigeonhole, categorise or segment from time to time. In the case of Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc, do our wines reach a ceiling in some international tastings as the perceived comparisons highlight different tones, notes or textures? Or does our expressive and clear wine style not deliver the complexity of additional handling, ancient vines, classifications or elevated price positioning? The answer is probably yes from time to time. The underlying challenge for all our members should of course be to continue to smash these ceilings, much like Tinpot Hut and Auntsfield did at the Decanter Magazine tasting last month, and many other producers have done since our first Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc was produced in 1979. In 2016, we hosted the inaugural International Sauvignon Blanc Celebration (ISBC). This was three days 4 / Winepress September 2017

of exploring our most important viticultural resource and giving depth to the integrity and complexity of our region and wines. It was a perfect opportunity to present reasons not to limit our wines with ceilings and perceptions. We also heard many global influencers’ stories of how our wines have paid no respect to pigeonholes, categorising, segmenting or limiting endorsements under ceilings. We will get a chance to add more weight to the story at the second instalment of the ISBC in February 2019. I do think when mentioning

“The underlying challenge for all our members should of course be to continue to smash these ceilings.” Jack Glover

possible ceilings we should also consider the “centre of gravity” of our wine scores and ratings. You only have to look at the share number of 90+ scores, five star ratings, trophies and gold medals that our Sauvignon Blancs receive annually across the world. Our Sauvignon Blanc turns heads and gets attention - we know that. This means the “centre of gravity” of wine scores is healthy and often easily applied to promotional opportunities. There are many varieties, style and regions where the ceiling is far lower than Exceptional at Decanter Wine Magazine. This is something to be extremely proud of and worth protecting - but that is another highly topical issue. So in order to keep pushing back the ceiling - or smashing through it we need to be collective and focused, and use our time with consumers, trade, media and influencers to push our message of quality, integrity and complexity as a variety, a style and a region.



With the healthiest scionwood and rootstock material harvested from our source block, we are now grafting for next years’ plantings.



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Winepress September 2017 / 5

Table 1: Blenheim Weather Data – August 2017 August August 2017 2017 compared to LTA 39.2 212% 51.0 144%

August LTA

Period of LTA

August 2016

GDD’s for month -Max/Min¹ 18.5 (1996-2016) 6.9 GDD’s for month – Mean2 35.3 (1996-2016) 25.8 Growing Degree Days Total Jul – Aug 17 – Max/Min 43.5 155% 28.0 (1996-2016) 14.3 Jul - Aug 17 – Mean 71.8 123% 58.5 (1996-2016) 57.3 Mean Maximum (°C) 15.5 +1.3°C 14.2 (1986-2016) 13.5 Mean Minimum (°C) 5.2 +1.3°C 3.9 (1986-2016) 3.0 Mean Temp (°C) 10.3 +1.3°C 9.0 (1986-2016) 8.2 Grass Frosts (<= -1.0°C) 7 3.5 less 10.5 (1986-2016) 10 Air Frosts (0.0°C) 3 0.8 less 3.8 (1986-2016) 5 Sunshine hours 184.9 103% 178.8 (1930-2016) 191.1 Sunshine hours – lowest 129.2 1941 Sunshine hours – highest 235.0 2011 Sunshine hours total – 2017 1608.2 103% 1556 (1930-2016) 1705.1 Rainfall (mm) 65.8 105% 62.5 (1930-2016) 39.2 Rainfall (mm) – lowest 4.6 1969 Rainfall (mm) – highest 172.1 1990 Rainfall total (mm) -2017 471.2 108% 437.0 (1930-2016) 399.6 Evapotranspiration – mm 55.8 115% 48.5 (1996-2016) 48.7 Windrun (km) 215.0 91% 235.7 (1996-2016) 199.1 Mean soil temp – 10cm 8.8 +2.3°C 6.5 (1986-2016) 6.1 Mean soil temp – 30cm 9.8 +1.3°C 8.5 (1986-2016) 8.1 ¹GDD’s Max/Min are calculated from absolute daily maximum and minimum temperatures ²GDD’s Mean are calculated from average hourly temperatures August 2017 in summary August 2017 mean temperature was well above average, with fewer frosts than average. Rainfall and sunshine hours were close to average. Wind-run was well below average. Temperature The mean temperature of 10.3°C for August was 1.3°C above the longterm average temperature of 9.0°C. August 2017 is now the third warmest August on record for Blenheim for the 86 year period 1932-2017. The warmest 6 / Winepress September 2017

August on record is 2009 with a mean of 10.85°C and the second warmest is 2013 with a mean of 10.77°C. It is very interesting to note how much warmer August has generally been since the turn of the new millennium. Of the 18 years 2000 to 2017, fourteen of those years have recorded warmer August mean temperatures than in the 79 year period 1932 to 2000. Although the mean temperature for August 2017 was well above average, the mean temperature in the first week was well below average

(Table 2). However, from the second week onwards the weekly mean temperatures were all well above average. The coldest day was 4th August, with a minimum air temperature of -1.3°C and a ground minimum of -4.6°C. (Not quite as cold as 9th August 2016 which recorded a minimum air temperature of -2.1°C and a ground minimum of -5.1°C). Winter temperatures The following table of winter temperatures and ground frost numbers was included in Met Report one year ago. It has been updated to give a quick indication of how the winter of 2017 compares with the previous four years 2013 to 2016, and with the long-term average. The overall average temperature of 9.0°C for winter 2017 was equal to 2016 and 2014, and 0.5°C warmer than average. The first two months of winter 2017 (June, July) both recorded mean temperatures that were close to average (+0.1°C). However, as detailed above, the last month of winter, August 2017 was well above average. The consequence of warmer winter mean temperatures over recent decades is that Blenheim is continuing to record far fewer frosts than earlier in the 20th century. The winter of 2017 recorded 30 ground frosts compared with the long-term average of 37.6 (1986-2016). However, in contrast, the long-term average number of ground frosts from June to August for the period 1932 to 1985, was 52.6 (data not shown in table 2). Figure 1 displays the total number of ground frosts recorded for the three winter months (June, July, August), for the 86 years 1932 to 2017. The blue line of individual years indicates that

Table 2: Weekly weather data during August 2017

1st - 7th 8th - 14th 15th - 21st 22nd - 28th 29th – 31st (3 days) 1st – 31st August 2017

Mean Max (°C) 13.4 16.0 15.6 17.0 15.6 15.5 (+1.3) 14.2

August LTA (1986 – 2016) LTA – Long Term Average

Mean Min (°C) 2.3 7.4 4.6 4.7 9.1 5.2 (+1.3) 3.9

Mean (°C) Deviation 7.8 (-1.2) 11.7 (+2.7) 10.1 (+1.1) 10.8 (+1.8) 12.4 (+2.4) 10.3 (+1.3) 9.0

Ground Frosts 3 0 1 3 0 7 (3.5 less) 10.5

Table 3: Winter temperatures and ground frosts for the five years 2013 to 2017 compared to the long-term average Mean Temp 2013 (°C) Mean Temp 2014 (°C) Mean Temp 2015 (°C) Mean Temp 2016 (°C) Mean Temp 2017 (°C) LTA Mean Temp (°C) (1986-2016) Ground Frosts 2013 Ground Frosts 2014 Ground Frosts 2015 Ground Frosts 2016 Ground Frosts 2017 LTA Ground Frosts (1986-2016) Mean Ground Frost Temp 2013 (°C) Mean Ground Frost Temp 2014 (°C) Mean Ground Frost Temp 2015 (°C) Mean Ground Frost Temp 2016 (°C) Mean Ground Frost Temp 2017 (°C) LTA – Long Term Average

June 8.9 10.8 9.0 10.1 8.8 8.7 11 2 13 10 10 12.06 -2.2 -1.3 -2.7 -2.2 -1.9

July 9.1 7.5 7.5 8.7 8.0 7.9 18 16 19 12 13 15.13 -2.5 -3.0 -3.4 -2.9 -3.5

August 10.8 8.6 9.2 8.3 10.3 9.0 6 13 9 10 7 10.45 -1.7 -2.7 -2.8 -3.2 -3.5

Mean or Total 9.6 °C 9.0 °C 8.6 °C 9.0 °C 9.0 °C 8.5 °C 35 31 41 32 30 37.6 -2.3 -2.8 -3.1 -2.8 -3.0

Figure 1. Ground frosts recorded in Blenheim (1932-2017) during winter (June, July, August)

Air Frosts 2 0 0 1 0 3 (0.8 less) 3.8

Rainfall (mm) 1.8 27.8 20.4 7.6 8.2 65.8 (105%) 62.5

Sunshine (hours) 35.8 31.1 46.8 59.7 11.5 184.9 (103%) 178.8

the total number of frosts can vary markedly from year to year. The yellow line indicates that the 10-year moving mean has largely been decreasing, notwithstanding that there was a slight increase from 2004 to 2010. The red trend line starts out at 61.9 winter ground frosts in 1932, however by 2017 this has dropped to 31.9; i.e. In 2017 Blenheim is only recording approximately half as many winter frosts as it did in 1932. Soil Temperatures Soil temperatures were well above average for August as a consequence of the warm air temperature. 10 cm mean soil temperature = 8.8°C; 2.3°C above average 20 cm mean soil temperature = 9.5°C; 1.9°C above average 30 cm mean soil temperature = 9.8°C; 1.3°C above average 100 cm mean soil temperature = 10.6°C; 0.6°C above average The shallower 10 cm soil responds rapidly to changes in daily air temperature. After two heavy ground frosts on 3 and 4 August, of -5.0 and -4.6°C, the 10 cm soil temperature was 5.7°C on 4 August. It rose to 10.2°C on 17 August after a couple of warm days but was only 7.2°C on 23 August after a few days of frost. In the week from 23 to 30 August the 10 cm soil temperature rose from 7.2 to 11.8°C. In contrast the deep soil at 100 cm only gradually warms up coming into spring and the few days of cold frost in August had little perceptible effect on the temperature at this depth. The 100 cm soil temperature rose from 10.4°C on 1 August to 11.1°C on 31 August.

Winepress September 2017 / 7

Sunshine August recorded 184.9 hours sunshine; 103% of the long-term average. Total sunshine for the eight months January to August 2017 is 1608.2 hours, also 103% of the longterm average (Table 1). Rainfall Rainfall total of 65.8 mm for August was 105% of the long-term average. Although August may have felt as if it was a wet month, it only received average rainfall. Rain was recorded on 13 days spread throughout the month, which probably gave the feeling that it was a wet month. However, the highest daily rainfall total was only 13.8 mm on the 14 August. Total rainfall for Blenheim for the eight months January to August 2017 is 471.2 mm or 108% of the long-term average of 437.0 mm. Total winter rainfall (June, July, August) for Blenheim was 146.6 mm, 79% of the long-term average of 186.0 mm. The below average 3-month total was because June was dry, with only 18.4 mm rain. Moisture Deficit Moisture deficit is the difference between rainfall received and

of Sauvignon blanc in central Rapaura normally occurs in the first week of October, the September temperatures will have a big influence on the date of budburst.

evapotranspiration lost. The moisture deficit in Marlborough going into the start of the 2016/17 season is much less (a higher positive number) than in either 2015 or 2016. Rainfall from January to August 2017 is 170 mm higher than for January to August 2015, and 72 mm higher than for January to August 2016. High rainfall in April 2017 is largely responsible for the lower moisture deficit to the end of August 2017.

Rob Agnew Plant & Food Research / Marlborough Research Centre

Wind Average daily wind-run for August 2017 was 215 km, with an average wind speed of 8.96 km/hr. The longterm average wind-run for August is 235.7 km (1996-2016). August was yet another calmer than average month. The only month to have recorded above average wind-run so far in 2017 is January, which was very windy. Outlook for the new grapegrowing season With August having been warmer than in any of the past three years (2014, 2015, 2016) and with warmer than average soil temperatures, we currently expect that budburst of grapes in Marlborough could be slightly earlier than it was in the last three years. However, as 50% budburst

GI Go New Zealand has 18 wine regions now protected by the New Zealand Geographical Indications (Wine and Spirits) Registration Act. That’s a “significant advance” for the New Zealand wine industry, says New Zealand Winegrowers Acting CEO Jeffrey Clarke. “Our Geographical Indications (GIs) - the names and places where our wines come from - are at the very heart of the New Zealand wine story and this new law provides an additional level of protection for them.” The Geographical Indications (Wine and Spirits) Registration Act formally recognises the collective

8 / Winepress September 2017

intellectual property of a wine region by allowing for registration of the region’s name as a GI. That ensures the name is reserved only for wine from that region, and will give the region’s winegrowers a greater ability to protect those GI names from misuse overseas.

Jeffrey says the registration of the 18 registered GIs will provide “a solid platform” for New Zealand wine producers to promote wines and regions in international markets “and ensure investment in our regional identities are better protected”.

The GIs for which applications have been filed are: • • • • • • • • •

Northland Auckland Matakana Kumeu Waiheke Island Gisborne Hawke’s Bay Central Hawke’s Bay Wairarapa

• • • • • • • • •

Gladstone Martinborough Nelson Marlborough Canterbury North Canterbury Waipara Valley Waitaki Valley North Otago Central Otago


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Romeo Bragato Exploring wine, from market to vine SOPHIE PREECE

THE DUST had barely settled on Grape Days and the Organic and Biodynamic Winegrowing Conference, when Romeo Bragato came to Marlborough. And it’s testament to the wealth of science and market research in New Zealand’s wine industry that the two day conference presented a programme of new and interesting content, to inform, educate and inspire. With its theme of Market to Vine, the conference delved into global trends, evolving wine styles, the importance of sustainability and the burgeoning opportunities in wine tourism, with speakers from New Zealand and abroad giving varied perspectives on the industry. The Lighter Wines Programme was a key component of the programme, with presentations on increasing market demand and the ways and means vineyards and wineries are working to help New Zealand wine lead the category. Forrest Estate’s Beth Forrest spoke of the company’s ten-year-plus journey to producing commercially viable, award-winning lower alcohol wines under The Doctors’ range. That journey began when her father John sensed an emerging interest in wine with typical characters but a quieter kick. Since then the company’s extensive trials into canopy manipulation have given them tools to slow sugar accumulation in the vines, while building flavour and losing acid, leading to wines that meet their market’s expectations of flavour and texture. When the Lifestyle Wines programme (now called Lighter Wines) was established, co-funded by New Zealand Winegrowers and the Ministry 10 / Winepress September 2017

for Primary Industries’ Primary Growth Partnership (PGP), John chose to share their learnings with the group, said Beth. “Our belief is that as a conglomerate, New Zealand’s wine industry working together is a really strong tool.” She compared the team effort to the success of the screw cap initiative. “When you work together there are great benefits to present it to the world.” The approach was also about ensuring New Zealand’s lighter wines are always good. “For us the ability to make sure not one bad lower alcohol wine leaves New Zealand is a fantastic aim. Then we can capture that point in the market.” Sustainability credentials were another hot topic at Bragato, with discussion of increasingly aware consumers and the attempts of other wine regions to match the success of

Beth and John Forrest

the Sustainable Winegrowers New Zealand (SWNZ) programme. Sandra Taylor, who is the Chief Executive of consulting firm Sustainable Business International and author of The Business of Sustainable Wine, emphasised that consumers do care about sustainability. Her statistics – 72% of millennials are willing to pay more for sustainable products, 50% of global consumers say they consider green factors when making decisions, and 56% of consumers are willing to pay more for sustainable brands – showed that the investment in sustainability could pay off in the market place. “You have as growers figured out the benefits and attractiveness of sustainability,” she said “Obviously because this industry is nearly 100% certified sustainable.” However, the next step was in letting consumers know. “I think they want it. They want to know and I think that’s the challenge.” Her book is about how sustainability can be integrated into brands and marketing. “I think the challenge of the industry is how we communicate that (sustainability) to consumers.” Rabo Bank research analyst Blake Holgate told delegates that sustainability has moved away from being a niche product to being a core function of the food service industry. Last year an annual American study of chefs found that environmental sustainability was number six on the list of “key hot trends”, but 42% predicted that within 10 years, it would be at number one.

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Winery Benchmarking Wine companies will do less but get more from this year’s New Zealand Wine Industry Benchmarking Survey, with New Zealand Winegrowers, Deloitte and ANZ collaborating for better results. The survey is now in its 12th year and typically attracts winery participants accounting for around 40 to 50% of the wine industry by volume. Those wineries confidentially submit financial information to Deloitte and receive both an industrywide analysis – split by turnover bands - and a full report specific to their business. Last year Deloitte simplified the survey, asking for just 130 inputs of financial information from the previous year, compared to the 400 plus wine companies had faced in the past. Peter Felstead of Deloitte told attendees at last month’s Bragato Conference that the change had reduced the time burden of participating to minutes or hours, instead of hours or days. However, the information and insights wine companies receive in return has not diminished, he said. In another change, Deloitte has brought ANZ on board to support the survey and increase the value to businesses involved, by offering additional insights from their footprint in the industry, as well as new perspectives on the data. ANZ Food and Beverage specialist Rob Simcic says the process

12 / Winepress September 2017

gives business owners valuable insights into how their business is performing compared to their peers. “It enables them to validate or identify opportunities to refine their growth strategies. It can also be a useful tool in the context of supporting investment decisions.” He hopes this year’s survey, sent out to wine companies this month, will attract many more participants, giving the results greater power to inform. Deloitte Associate Director Anteni Schalken says there are significant benefits for wineries that participate. “It’s easier than ever with the changes we made in 2016. There’s a customised report that goes back to all the wineries that clearly and visually helps identify areas of over or under performance.” Wairau River Wines General Manager Lindsay Parkinson says the company stopped doing the survey a few years ago, because it was too time consuming, but would jump back in this year, thanks to the prospect of a more succinct set of inputs. Assessing

Rob Simcic

a company’s financials within the wider industry numbers means looking at those “to the left and the right” of your own position, he says. “Looking at the band you are in but also looking at the band above and maybe the band below and thinking ‘where’s the sweet spot?’ You may not want to go up, you may want to go down, because there might be more profit at a smaller level.” He also hopes this year’s survey will receive many more responses, “to drive more useful data outputs”.

Photo Niki Boon

What’s Trending in Wine Science? From grape marc in food packaging to unknown viruses in vineyards, the research on offer at Bragato’s What’s Trending workshop was an impressive display of fresh wine science. What’s Trending is sponsored by Plant & Food Research (PFR), which selects four young speakers from New Zealand universities to present at the conference, based on an abstract of their work. PFR Marlborough Senior Scientist Dr Mike Trought says it provides an opportunity to hear from younger, “more exciting” researchers, with extraordinary work to share. This year’s session began with University of Auckland PhD student Charlotte Vandermeer talking of the potential for grape marc extract in active packaging, which helps prevent food spoilage. Grapes are rich in polyphenols, and especially condensed tannins, which have antioxidant and antimicrobial properties. Charlotte found that the grape marc extract her team produced with a “massive food processor” retained these properties, even when heated. When added to biodegradable ethyl cellulose food-grade plastic, the extract creates an active packaging with antioxidant properties that can kill bacteria and scavenge free radicals, to stop food from spoiling. Charlotte’s study also looked at the byproduct of the extract, with the

remaining grape marc mixed with commercial compost and used in successful growing trials of carrots and corn. Mike says the research is an example of the freedom PhD students have to look outside the square and come up with novel solutions to industry issues. “Often you are not constrained by funding requirements and output and it allows people to examine and test some of the dogma…I think it’s a really exciting time of research.” The research of Lincoln University’s Mewael Kiros looked at the effect of shoot trimming

“It allows people to examine and test some of the dogma.” Dr Mike Trought on Anthocyanin development in Pinot Noir, with assessment of concentrations after trimming at three separate sites before, during and after veraison. That was followed by University of Auckland PhD student Arnaud Blouin, whose research has used genetic sequencing to detect

and identify numerous plant viruses, including two that are new to science. The final speaker was Emma Sherman of the University of Auckland, whose research questions whether wine composition can predict quality. Emma used an expert panel of wine professionals to assess the wines, and an untargeted Ultra Performance Liquid Chromatography (UPLC) and Q-Exactive Orbitrap mass spectrometry system to obtain the non-volatile and volatile profiles of each wine. Emma analysed the chemical profiles and the perceived ratings, and found that non-volatile wine profiles were more strongly correlated with wine quality than volatile. Mike says the metabolomics approach to wine quality is another example of a researcher looking through an “unconstrained” lens to explore facets of wine.

Vote for your Board before 12 noon, 30 Sept. Authorised voters will recieve an email from Electionz Winepress September 2017 / 13

Continuous Improvement Strong appetite for continuous improvement SOPHIE PREECE photo by Richard Briggs

NEW ZEALAND Winegrowers’ Continuous Improvement pilot project was fully subscribed within days of being launched, showing the industry’s dedication to sustainability, says programme manager Tracy Benge. “This is a great outcome. I think it says a lot about our industry, and its commitment to continually seek best practice.” Fifty companies from across New Zealand, including growers, large multinational wineries and family owned businesses, rapidly opted in to the pilot programme, which will ultimately be available to any accredited Sustainable Winegrowing New Zealand (SWNZ) member, says Tracy. Continuous Improvement is a voluntary programme based on the existing pillars of the SWNZ scheme, and will allow growers, wine companies and wineries to develop their own aspirational goals, such as zero waste, then use a methodology of Plan, Do, Check and Act to plan, 14 / Winepress September 2017

achieve and record actions. Members will have access to Continuous Improvement Guides for each pillar, all of which will be

“I think it says a lot about our industry, and its commitment to continually seek best practice.” Tracy Benge updated as best practice changes, and can sign up for as many pillars as they like. The Continuous Improvement

programme currently has winery and grower guides for ‘water’, ‘energy’ and ‘waste’ - with the rest to be rolled out over the next two months. Participating members can also have their achievements verified, providing them with authenticated sustainability credentials. The programme is being run as a pilot for the first 12 months, so that participants can help refine it, “ensuring we deliver the best value to our members”, Tracy says. “A number of applicants to the pilot project said they looked forward to giving feedback on the programme, and how it might recognise companies going beyond the baseline standard.” Some were keen for the credentials the programme might give them on the international market, while others simply wanted ideas on how to improve their operation, she says. “The future of the industry is in good hands.”

A Cut Above Wine Marlborough’s Silver Secateurs competition THE LEVEL of skill at last month’s Silver Secateurs competition reflects a lift in the region’s pruning standards, says one of the organisers. Jeremy Hyland, who has been involved in the Wine Marlborough competition since it began in 1995, says there were record entries and exceptional competitors at the event. “There’s been a massive increase in quality over the past couple of years, with a lot of returning pruners coming through,” he says. “All the judges, some of whom have done it for many years, commented on how much it has lifted.” While one day of competition

is different to full days in the vines, Jeremy thinks the lift in standard indicates a change in the industry. “There’s been a lot of time and effort put into training and upskilling staff over the past five to 10 years.” The event at Yealands Estate Vineyard in Grovetown started with rain but cleared in time for the first event, and the grey clouds didn’t dampen the enthusiasm, says Jeremy. Many of the pruners involved are part of the Recognised Seasonal Employer

scheme, and a series of their national flags were carried around the vineyard, reflecting the countries represented in the field. The prize giving at Giesen Sports Centre in Renwick was a full house and a “really special evening”, that recognised the value of the pruners to the region, says Jeremy.

Silver Secateurs Results Vine Power Novice Wrapper: 1st Place: ARCHI ARU (Vinecraft) 2nd Place: THATDAO SRIRIMO (Alapa) 3rd Place: JEERAWAT BAPPHEE (Alapa)

Thornhill Contracting Championship Cutter: 1st Place: FRANCOIS JEONA (Vinecraft) 2nd Place: TIMOTHY PENI SELIAO (Thornhill) 3rd Place: IVALE VAOESEA (Thornhill)

Giesen Wines Novice Pruner: 1st Place: LELU SIOTALIMA (Thornhill) 2nd Place: PHONGSALE KROMTAMMA (Alapa) 3rd Place: AUTE JOSEPH (Thornhill)

Hortus Championship Vine Stripper 1st Place: LASANAI SONE (Alapa) 2nd Place: MATALE PUNA VAAGA (Alapa) 3rd Place: TUPU SAPATI (Alapa)

Fruitfed Novice Cutter 1st Place: FRANCOIS JEONA (Vinecraft) 2nd Place: ATTAPON SEERIT (Alapa) 3rd Place: TEVITA MAAKE (Pride Vines)

Turtle BoX Championship RSE Cutter: Winner: FRANCOIS JEONA (Vinecraft)

Pillar Tools Championship Wrapper: 1st Place: TAUALOFA KALIFA (Thornhill) 2nd Place: TIMOTHY PENI SELIAO (Thornhill) 3rd Place: NIRACHA SOPHO (Alapa) Farmlands Championship Pruner: 1st Place: TAVITA ESAU (Thornhill) 2nd Place: CHAI WAT SENJUNTA (Vinepower) 3rd Place: VALULUA SAO (Thornhill)

Wine Marlborough Overall Contractor: Winner: Thornhill Horticultural Contracting Tasman Crop Championship Team: 1st Place: Focus RSE 2: JAMES COLLINS, MARTIN MALESSAS, RYAN KAITIP 2nd Place: No Limit (Thornhill): TIMOTHY PENI, GIGILI PETERO, FUIFUI FAAVAE 3rd Place: Vinepower 1: JAMNONG MARTWISET, EMILE CHARLIE, KAMPHEE KAEWSAWA

Turtle BoX Championship RSE Pruner: Winner: TAVITA ESAU (Thornhill)

Turtle BoX Championship RSE Team: Winners: Focus RSE 2: JAMES COLLINS, MARTIN MALESSAS, RYAN KAITIP

Focus Labour Solutions Championship Female Pruner: Winner: AKENESE LONITENISI (STL Lonitenisi)

John Bibby Memorial Trophy: Winner: TAVITA ESAU (Thornhill)

Winepress September 2017 / 15

Economic Powerhouse Marlborough’s wine industry wages worth more than $130 million SOPHIE PREECE Photo by Richard Briggs

MARLBOROUGH’S WINE industry contributes $477 million to the region’s economy and has grown by 300% since 2000, according to a new economic impact report. The New Zealand Institute of Economic Research (NZIER) report, Contribution of Wine to the Marlborough Economy, was commissioned to get a better understanding of wine’s place in the region, says Wine Marlborough General Manager Marcus Pickens. “We did it so we can signal to the community the value of the wine sector in Marlborough, and so that when required, we have the numbers at our fingertips.” Wine accounts for 19% of Marlborough’s economy, with its share growing year on year. NZIER Deputy

Chief Executive John Ballingall says it is rare to have a single industry dominate a region as much as wine does in Marlborough. “Normally economic activity is spread over a wide range of activities, but in Marlborough it’s all about wine.” The wine industry employs 2,350 wine workers directy, which is twice the number employed in 2000 and equates to one in every 10 jobs in the region. Those jobs yield $52m in wages for grape growing - four times the amount in 2000 – and $78m in wine manufacturing. The direct wages account for $130m of income “into Marlborough households’ pockets”, which is 10.5% of total household income, the report says. John says the additional jobs and income for seasonal workers, including

those in the Recognised Seasonal Employer scheme, are not captured by the survey. The wine industry also indirectly supports another 2,500 jobs in other sectors, including significant numbers in meal services, packaging and agriculture support services. John says that is likely to be a conservative number, as it reflects the sectors that feed into the wine industry, but doesn’t take into account the retail and accommodation jobs that are closely linked. Neil Henry, the Marlborough District Council’s strategic planning and economic development manager, says the report confirms the “critical importance” of the wine industry to Marlborough’s economy, in terms of money, jobs, wages and profile.

Marlborough’s strong economic results The Infometrics report for the year to June 2017 shows Marlborough’s economy is growing faster than it has at any time in the past decade, almost a full percentage point faster than the rate of national GDP growth. House prices have gone up by almost 10% with a small boom in new housing, and residential consents rose by 38% over the past 12 months. Meanwhile, the unemployment rate has dropped below 3% and the

16 / Winepress September 2017

construction and retail sectors have had a good year. Marlborough Mayor John Leggett says the results indicate an expanding local economy, which has had to absorb both positive and negative economic effects from the Kaikoura earthquake. He says tourism spending is up by half a per cent and Marlborough’s valuable international visitor market continues to build, despite the earthquake.

Marlborough wine highlights

“Normally economic activity is spread over a wide range of activities, but in Marlborough it’s all about wine.” John Ballingall

Key Stats


Marlborough wine sector GDP

$477 million

Marlborough wine highlights Marlborough wine sector as % of Marlborough economy


Marlborough wine sector direct jobs Key Stats Wine sector’s share of total employment in Marlborough Marlborough wine sector GDP Jobs in sectors supporting the Marlborough wine sector Marlborough wine sector as % of Marlborough economy Total jobs associated with the Marlborough wine sector Marlborough wine sector direct jobs Marlborough wine sector wages Wine sector’s share of total employment in Marlborough Marlborough wine sector purchases from supplying sectors Jobs in sectors supporting the Marlborough wine sector

2,350 Value 10% $477 million 2,500 19% 4,850 2,350 $130 million 10% $695 million 2,500

Total jobs associated with the Marlborough wine sector


Marlborough wine sector wages

$130 million

Marlborough wine sector purchases from supplying sectors

$695 million

2016 values except Wine GDP and Price of inputs (2015 data) Source: NZIER, Statistics NZ, MBIE 2

Wine contributes $477 million to the Marlborough economy and has grown by 300% since 2000 2016 values except Wine GDP and Price of inputs (2015 data) Source: NZIER, Statistics NZ, MBIE


Wine GDP Marlborough, $ millions

“A key highlight is the value of wine manufacturing GDP being twice that of grape growing,” he says. “It is very important to the Marlborough economy that wine manufacturing is centred here.” The report says Marlborough accounts for a third of the New Zealand wine sector’s GDP, a figure borne out


Grape growing Wine manufacturing


477 400






284 200



205 198 197 by the New Zealand Winegrowers’ 2017 170 160 Vineyard Register, which reveals the 100 119 128 region’s 67.7% share of the country’s planted vineyard. “This is by far the most 0 2000 2002 2004 2006 2008 2010 important region for New Zealand wine”, says Neil. “The report demonstrates how strong past growth has been with future The report can be found on the Wine Marlborough website growth expected to be strong too.”




Source: NZIER, Statistics NZ, MBIE


Winepress September 2017 / 17

Number Crunching Predicting grapevine yield: Getting it right DR MIKE TROUGHT

A CHALLENGE that faces viticulturists each season is estimating vineyard yields at a suitable time to enable appropriate management decisions to be undertaken. Yield can be broken down into various components: 1. Row length per hectare - Measure it, it is surprising how often records are wrong. 2. Shoot number per metre of row length - Determined by the number of nodes retained after pruning and the percentage bud burst. Counting the number of effective shoots per vine (those 10 to 12mm in diameter), provides a reasonable estimate of the likely number of shoots the vine will produce in the following season. Large shoots (>13mm) may count as two, and small shoots (8 to 10mm) count as 0.5. . If the vines have a large number of (water) shoots arising from the head of the vine, consider â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;head shoot thinningâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; the following spring to remove these vigorous, generally unfruitful shoots, just retaining enough to lay down for the following year. 3. Bunch number per shoot - The number per shoot is determined by the diameter of the cane (canes smaller than 10mm in diameter are less fruitful), the position of the shoot on the vine (head shoots, those arising from nodes 12 and above on a cane and secondary shoots arising from a node are generally less fruitful than the primary shoots). The inflorescences are formed starting around flowering in the season before harvest, and warmer temperatures 18 / Winepress September 2017





at this time result in a greater number and larger bunches per shoot. Bunches higher up a shoot are generally smaller than those lower down - Observing the bunch position on a shoot and whether it has an outer arm (also called a wing) gives an early estimate of whether bunches are likely to be bigger or smaller than average. In practice bunch number per metre of row is most easily estimated using a 60cm quadrat (see Winepress Number 232). The number of quadrats needed to get a reliable estimate depends on the variablity between vines. Start with 40 to 50 measurements (equivalent to four bays). Bunch weight is the product of berry number and average berry weight - shoots from small diameter canes (<10mm) generally produce smaller inflorescences and hence bunches. Cool temperatures at flowering are associated with poorer fruit set. This is particularly noticable in varieties like Pinot Noir, which exhibit millerandage (hen and chickens). While Sauvignon Blanc berry weight is generally the least variable yield component (when compared to berry number per bunch or bunch number per vine), significant differences have been observed, particularly where significant rainfall has occurred shortly after fruit set to minimise any water stress. And then do a whole vine fruit strip - While it may seem wasteful to harvest vines in January,

Photo by Richard Briggs

harvesting 30 to 40 vines, counting bunches and weighing the fruit gives a reliable estimate of yield at that time. 8. Finally: a. Keep good records - They provide historic data to compare with your current season. It will take four to five years to provide sufficient data to be useful b. Changing seasonal management (ie. The number of canes retained after pruning) creates difficulties when making estimates c. Think about the consequences of weather events on fruitfulness of vines in terms of the forthcoming harvest(s) d. Believe your numbers. They are more likely to be correct than a casual estimate For more information check out these New Zealand Winegrowers reports, written by Plant and Food Research, at - Predicting grapevine yields: a review - Using meteorological data to predict grapevine yield and yield components in Marlborough

Weather Watch Can we predict frost regularity? THERE’S NO obvious correlation between winter and spring frost events, says climate consultant Stu Powell, in the lead up to the high risk season. Stu says he has frequently been told by growers that a high number of frosts in winter will be followed by a hard hit over spring or, conversely, that a kind spring comes after a harsh winter. Wanting to get to the bottom of those assumptions, he analysed 27 consecutive years of data from Marlborough’s Woodbourne weather station and found that neither was true. “A cold winter could very

easily have a spring that bears no resemblance, and vice versa,” he says. As well as looking at the number of frosts, Stu looked at their severity to see whether there was a pattern to that data, but again found no relationship, with every month unique. Looking at the season ahead, he says the current Southern Oscillation Index (SOI) is sitting on a zero line, producing neither El Nino nor La Nina weather patterns. “I call that El Neither,” he says. “It’s been bubbling either side of the zero line for some time now… It doesn’t want to sit firmly in one camp or another.”

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Winepress September 2017 / 19

Election 2017 In the lead up to New Zealand’s general election on September 23, four Marlborough wine industry members have posed questions for the Kaikoura Electorate candidates. In August, Rhyan Wardman asked about New Zealand’s clean green image while Michael Wentworth asked for perspectives on the industry’s skills shortages. This month it is research and biosecurity. Biosecurity plays an important role in ensuring the long-term sustainability of the wine industry. How would your party ensure New Zealand’s primary industries are protected from strategic biosecurity risks, such as forecasted growth in trade and passenger volumes? (Dr Edwin Massey, New Zealand Winegrowers Biosecurity Manager) Jamie Arbuckle – New Zealand First Frankly, Government and the Ministry for Primary Industries need to up their game with a succession of biosecurity threats happening or looming. Recently myrtle rust, giant aphid have turned up. The tree fungus Rapid Ohia Death that has devastated forests in Hawaii has now been detected in Tahiti, and with slack surveillance and attitudes the potential is for it to reach New Zealand. After fruit fly, myrtle rust, and 101 other things that have arrived in New Zealand, people have every right to be highly concerned about how seriously the government is treating biosecurity. New Zealand simply cannot afford another failure of MPI’s border biosecurity net. It’s vital to our primary sectors. NZ First would increase funding for biosecurity. It’s that important.

20 / Winepress September 2017

Richard Evans – ACT ACT recognises the importance of biosecurity to the rural sector and supports spending in the sector proportional to trade volumes to allow effective screening. ACT recognises the use of technology in tracking and risk identification and would support streamlining regulation and bureaucracy to ensure the benefits of technology can be utilised effectively to protect the sector. Richard McCubbin - Green One of the greatest advantages New Zealand’s primary production sector has over the rest of the world is its freedom from numerous pests and diseases. Organisms such as the marmorated stinkbug and the glassy winged sharpshooter are a huge potential threat to the wine industry. We must take strong measures to maintain this status by having a strict border security, quarantine and internal biosecurity regime and capacity. Recent changes to our biosecurity system have resulted in great improvements but there are still too many incursions that require

responses. The Green Party believes the system should have higher standards including more stringent inspections overseas. New policy is being developed in this area. Stuart Smith - National Last year we released Biosecurity 2025, a longterm plan for strengthening our biosecurity system. In Budget 2017, we boosted biosecurity funding by $18.4 million. Part of this will be used to manage biosecurity risk offshore. We’ve also introduced the Border Clearance Levy, which charges incoming passengers using our airports to pay for Customs and MPI biosecurity services at the border. The levy covers the total cost of services at the border, and the funding can only be used for these services. This means that as passenger numbers increase, funding for border services will match them. Janette Walker – Labour Labour when last in government doubled funding for biosecurity. Labour will separate out biosecurity from MPI. Disestablishment of the Food Safety Authority and its absorption

into MPI has been identified as a threat to effective resourcing and capability. Labour will re-establish an independent agency capable of meeting trading partner expectations. Government Industry Agreements (GIAs) initiated under Labour have delivered an increasing number of agreements between industry sectors. Labour will review and invest in improvements to existing GIAs, ensuring they are responsive to future risks and opportunities, not just current frontline border security. Funding has not kept pace with increased imports and passenger numbers. What role do you think government has in supporting research and innovation in the wine sector? (Dominic Pecchenino New Zealand Winegrowers Research Committee Chair) Jamie Arbuckle – New Zealand First Primary production is the backbone of New Zealand’s exports and economy. While industry sectors have a role to play in initiating research and innovation, so should government. It should be a joint effort, a partnership in the strongest sense. NZ First will properly resource government scientific agencies and assist industry groups to ensure research and development and innovation continues to provide our

primary producers with a cutting edge advantage over competitors. Richard Evans – ACT ACT recognises that business owners are best positioned to determine what research and innovation will best benefit their business. ACT proposes a 25% business tax allowing businesses to invest in R&D to suit themselves and their specific direction as well as allow them to attract investment from other businesses not directly involved in R&D. Removal of the crony based corporate welfare system will fund the business tax cuts. Enshrining property rights into the Resource Management Act will enable owners to invest in land-based research without excessive bureaucratic interference. Richard McCubbin – Green The Green Party supports the vital work of the Marlborough Research Centre and New Zealand Winegrowers. If in Government we would aim to redirect funding for research into the development of organic viticulture (as outlined in August 2017 Winepress Q&A). Stuart Smith - National The main way the Government supports the wine sector is through a Primary Growth Partnership programme called ‘Lighter Wines’. This $17 million project is designed to position New Zealand as number one in the world for high quality, lower

alcohol and lower calorie ‘lighter’ wines. It is the largest research and development effort ever undertaken by New Zealand’s wine industry. We’ve supported the establishment of four regional research institutes across the country, including the Marlboroughbased New Zealand Research Institute of Viticulture and Oenology, announced last year. The Institute will support innovation in Marlborough and bring jobs to the region. Janette Walker Regional development is a priority for Labour. We will develop a Regional Development Fund, providing financial backing for game-changing projects for regions that will deliver long-term sustainable growth. New Zealand’s investment in R&D as a proportion of GDP is almost half of the OECD average. The Callaghan Innovation model limits the opportunities for small - medium businesses. Labour, recognising the importance of the industry, funded the development of Marlborough’s Wine Research Centre. Labour will restore R&D Tax credits. Marlborough’s wine industry does have a finite period of expansion, requiring industry to look at further product development and adding value through R&D spending.

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Winepress September 2017 / 21

USA-uvignon US market dominated by big companies SOPHIE PREECE

A HANDFUL of large wine companies are responsible for the stellar growth in New Zealand’s wine exports to the United States, says economist Marc Soccio. The headline numbers look great, with those exports worth more than $500 million last year, an increase of $49m on the year before. “But really when you scratch the surface it’s a handful of companies doing most of the growth,” says Marc, who was until recently the senior wine analyst at Rabobank. He says there’s still “considerable room for growth” in North America, but there are also issues over the structure of the market, and finding and accessing distribution. “That’s what I am hearing a lot - the US is a very competitive market these days. Its imports have been growing for a long, long time and the market has been growing for a long, long time over there. Until China came on stream, it was one of the only major growth engines for the world wine industry, so everyone was focussed on the US.” More wine producers in a market make

22 / Winepress September 2017

for less space, even though it is growing, he says. “What we have also seen is consolidation in the distribution space.” The US is also very complicated when it comes to wine distribution, says Marc. “Different states are very particular in their nature and you have to approach them very differently.” Smaller wine producers are likely to have more success with a “much more focussed approach,” by dealing in one, two or three states, he says. “I think focus is the key.” Marc warns that while five to 10 years ago the industry’s growth was in every market, the opportunities are “far more select” now. “Given the growth we have experienced, we have to take a much more market by market approach to New Zealand wine and how the sector approaches those markets.”

Part of the challenge in moving forward in markets like Australia and the UK is to start to grow and broaden the New Zealand offering, he says. However, the “engine room” of Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc is a tough act to follow for wine producers in other regions. “The uptake of Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc has been quite extraordinary. It’s typically not that easy to build a category.”

Challenging the US Market SOPHIE PREECE

The United States has great growth potential for New Zealand wine, “but it’s not the land of milk and honey”, says the owner and winemaker behind Tinpot Hut. “You have to work at it,” says Fiona Turner, following a recent sales trip to the States. “There’s loads of potential there but that doesn’t mean you can just send your wine over, sit back and leave it.” Despite seeing huge opportunity, including in restaurants with no New Zealand wines at all, her recent visit raised red flags about the risks inherent in the dominance of large brands with sub-$15 Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc. “The thing about big companies and that massive growth is that it has opened up a whole new category of wine drinker who has never tried New Zealand wine before and that’s a positive thing. But I think there’s Fiona Turner possibly a risk of it becoming very one dimensional and I think we need - as a country and an industry and a region - to be telling some of those other stories alongside it.” Being a one-trick, low-cost pony is limiting the space for smaller players with a different offering and endangering the market’s perception of the region’s wines, she says. “I would never belittle what the big companies have done, but I think there is a risk that people think we’re all the same. There’s a risk of it being commoditised and I think for us as smaller companies, and as an industry as a whole, it’s important to tell the diversity of our story.” Tinpot Hut has been in the US for the past two years, and has grown 40% off a very small base, with distribution into California and four other states, “so it’s by no mean full coverage and by no means do I have the full history of New Zealand wines into the US”, Fiona cautions. But some importers and distributers wanted the label to be competition for Oyster Bay, “and a small company is never going to be competition for Oyster Bay, so there’s some education to be done,” she says. “They couldn’t understand why we

Photo by Jim Tannock

couldn’t produce at the same price…We said ‘we don’t need to compete there. What we want is a partner who is prepared to put us into the next category up and tell that story’.” Finding that partner was the hardest part of capturing a slice of the US market. “We spent seven years looking for an importer that was a good match… to find a company that was like us – family focussed, on-trade, high end.” Companies have to meet or find an importer that not only fits their style but also fits their size, she says. And once found, they need to visit them often to tell the story, so it can be passed on to the customer. Fiona says the flipside of the situation is a growing interest in other varieties, from people who have grown to trust Marlborough over the years. “While there was some push back at times on the Sauvignon, due to our pricing and its perception in the market place, there was definitely interest in other varieties. Our Gruner Veltliner was the door opener, and that surprised me. It was the foot in the door - not the Sauvignon.”

“I would never belittle what the big companies have done, but I think there is a risk that people think we’re all the same.” Fiona Turner

Winepress September 2017 / 23

Young Winemakers THREE YOUNG Marlborough winemakers took top positions at the 2017 Tonnellerie de Mercurey New Zealand Young Winemaker of the Year South Island Final last month, with Babich Wine’s Abigail Maxwell (see pg 30) taking out the title. Kelsey Daniels from VinLink Marlborough came in second with Peter Russell from Framingham Wine Company taking third place. Abigail and Kelsey will now compete for the ultimate title at the National Final later this month, putting their skills to the test against the first and second place winners from the North Island Final. The Young Winemaker competition, now in its third year, is tasked with finding the best winemaking talent in New Zealand, while also providing education and support for those in the industry under 30 years of age.

Organising committee member Nick Entwistle says the change to a South Island competition - which attracted six Marlborough contestants and two from Central Otago - worked well. The top scoring competitors were those that were good at every aspect, while those who were highly capable at some tasks and not at others missed out on key points. “Some can speak very well in the marketing side of it, but they might lack the technical skills from the lab or the on-your-feet thinking of the blending.” The South Island competition used eight modules, including wine blending, lab analysis, pitching a blend to a panel of judges, fault finding, public speaking and general wine knowledge, to test the winemakers. The Vin Olympics, something of a spectator sport, saw the competitors barrel rolling, blind tasting and wine

spitting their way through the course. The ninth and final challenge was in the public’s hands, with those attending the evening celebrations tasting wines the competitors had made during the day and voting for their favourite. The 2017 New Zealand Tonnellerie de Mercurey Young Winemaker of the Year will receive an educational training grant, full registration to the Romeo Bragato conference 2018, a profile in Cuisine Magazine, a wine allowance, plus a trip to the Tonnellerie de Mercurey Cooperage in Burgundy. The National Final Awards Dinner and Celebration will be held in Auckland on Wednesday 20th September at Ostro Restaurant, in partnership with Cuisine magazine. Tickets, which are limited, can be purchased directly from Ostro by phoning 09 302 9888.


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24 / Winepress September 2017

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18/08/2017 3:23:51 PM

2017 Tonnellerie de Mercurey New Zealand Young Winemaker of the Year South Island Final. Photos by Richard Briggs

Kelly Stuart, Cloudy Bay

Peter Russell, Framingham

Iqbal Bral, Matua and Anglea Beattie, Yealands

Jade McCormick, Amisfield

Kelsey Daniels, VinLink

Abigail Maxwell, Bacich Wine

Winepress September 2017 / 25

Young Viticulturist 2017 Bayer Young Viticulturist of the Year announced THE BAYER Young Viticulturist of the Year 2017 is Tim Adams from Obsidian, Waiheke Island, representing the Auckland/Northern region. Second place went to Annabel Bulk from Felton Road in Central Otago. Judges were impressed with the overall high calibre of all the national finalists, including Marlborough’s Anthony Walsh and Nelson’s Laurie Stradling. This year the finalists were given a project to research and write a report on in advance of the final, before presenting it on competition day at Villa Maria. Other tasks included challenges to test the finalists’ skills and knowledge, with budgeting, understanding of pests and diseases, tractor maintenance, trellising,

26 / Winepress September 2017

irrigation and general viticultural knowledge under the spotlight. They also had an interview, competed in the Biostart Hortisports and finally had to deliver a speech at the Bragato conference. Tim gains the title of Bayer Young Viticulturist of the Year 2017, as well as a prize package of a Hyundai Santa Fe for a year, a $5000 AGMARDT travel scholarship, engraved Bahco golden secateurs, $2000 cash, wine glasses and a leadership week. He will also go on to represent the wine industry in the Young Horticulturist of the Year Competition in November.

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The Block Dry vines dig deep at Folium Vineyards SOPHIE PREECE

TAKAKI OKADA stands in his small dry-farmed vineyard on a frosty July morning, with a cottage in the background, chooks in the foreground and a rippling line of blue hills on the horizon. Pet goat Ponsonby, raised by Takaki since she was a kid, chews determinedly on the winegrower’s clothing as he talks, while two other goats graze amid the vines. It’s easy to see why Takaki’s Japanese friends think he’s got the perfect life, but dry farming 6 hectares of vines comes with plenty of challenges, as does owning and marketing your own label, he says. “For them living in a vineyard is kind of a dream, but when you live in a vineyard and it’s your own, you always think about what you can do.” Takaki grew up on the outskirts of Tokyo, where it was relatively unusual to have wine in the home. However, his parents, who live outside Japan, always had some for visitors and he came to love the experience of enhancing food with wine, and vice versa. He went on to study viticulture at UC Davis in California, but decided to move on after September 11, when the United States became “a little bit patriotic”. Wanting to travel more, “like every young winemaker”, Takaki used Pinot Noir as his guidebook, because “there are not so many places in the world where you can grow good Pinot”. That raison d’être, along with a chance meeting with Marlborough winemaker Georges Michel at a wine tasting in Tokyo, saw Takaki set up

28 / Winepress September 2017

with a job at Clos Henri in the Wairau Valley, where he gained an appetite for growing vines with no chemicals and little water. After the 2009 vintage, he decided to set up his own label, and spent the next year looking for the right Japanese backers and the perfect Marlborough site. He eventually found financial support in Tokyo, thanks partly to the

“The benefit of dry farming is you definitely have a different wine every year.” Takaki Okada strength of the Yen, and a unique site on Brancott Rd, courtesy of organic wine label Fromm. The 8ha block was not officially for sale, but the Fromm team knew Takaki and his ethos, and saw him as a good match for the land,

which was planted in 1996 and 2003, with Pinot Noir, Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay covering 6ha in total. The vineyard perfectly aligned to the young viticulturist’s dream, with close plantings organically managed on a lovely site, stretching from stony lowlands to clay slopes, with a small sliver of vineyard at the edge of a stream. It was also the perfect size, Takaki says. “At the moment I have one person helping me, but in the first year I was doing everything myself. It was a little bit big for one person, but was achievable.” He named his brand Folium, Latin for leaf, reflecting the influence of the vines on its wines. While most alternative styles of Sauvignon are crafted in the winery, with barrels, natural ferment and skin contact, the winemaking process for Folium is much the same as the classic Marlborough examples, he says. “But I think we can do something in the vineyard.” For Takaki, that is a better way of creating difference, because the result does nothing to muffle the voice of the land and the vines. That’s why he has chosen organic management and dry farming, having turned off the tap when he took over the land in 2011.

He had experienced some success hours in total for with deficit watering at Clos Henri the whole year.” and decided that as a small producer Around 30% he needed something that set his of Folium is sold wines apart from the pack. “There are in Japan, where so many talented winemakers and the wine market vineyard managers around, but not is “definitely so many people willing to turn off the growing”, although water,” he explains. “And the benefit at a far slower rate of dry farming is you definitely have for New Zealand a different wine every year. In France than for other they talk about different vintages and wine regions of the one of the big factors is how much it world, Takaki says. rains. If you irrigate you have the same “In the last 10 to 15 rain every single year.” years people have sold 10 times more. The unirrigated vines have to But in Japan, New Zealand has only spread their roots more than their doubled in that time.” well-watered counterparts, “so you He is reluctant to be dependent can express what’s in the soil better on a single market and Folium is also than having the root system under growing its share in Australia, where the vines”, he says. The vineyard still Sydney is particularly successful. has irrigation systems in place, and in “Somehow I think a lot of sommeliers extremely dry years he will turn them are looking for a slightly different style on for minimal periods. “In 2016 we of Sauvignon Blanc. I think our wine only had 5ml of rain in the first two is not really big, tropical, herbaceous months and we needed decent growth Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc,” PCL season, AD Winepress 2016.pdf 3:21 PM I think our wine sits in that early so we irrigated1 8 15/07/16 he says. “So


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somewhere in between a New Zealand and French Sauvignon. That works well on their wines lists, I believe.” Distracting Ponsonby from the toggles on his shirt and surveying the winter vines, Takaki says he misses the cherry blossoms that transform Japan each April, when he’s hard at work in a Marlborough harvest. But there’s no place he’d rather be than Brancott Rd. “Living in a working place can be hard from time to time, but overall I think it’s a very nice life.”

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Winepress September 2017 / 29

Generation Y-ine BRENDA WEBB

ABIGAIL MAXWELL reckons her first taste of Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc set her up for a career as a winemaker. That career moved up yet another notch when she won the South Island 2017 Tonnellerie de Mercurey New Zealand Young Winemaker of the Year competition last month. The win was Abigail’s second in the Marlborough competition – she took the South Island title in 2015 and was runner up at the nationals – and one she is absolutely thrilled about. “There are a lot of incredibly talented and smart young people in the competition – that made me very nervous,” she says. “It was a huge thrill to take the title.” Born and raised in South Auckland, Abigail was a regular visitor to Marlborough as a youngster. “My poppa – Bill Sterritt – lived here and my parents would send us down for a few weeks in the holidays to give them a break,” she says. “I tasted Sauvignon Blanc when I was probably far too young to do so but it left a huge impression – I still have a vivid memory of it.” Abigail says she is lucky to have made up her mind early – she was 14 when she decided that winemaking was for her. Apart from the fact she enjoyed that first drop, winemaking fulfilled her ambitions of a career involving science. She also liked that wine is an integral part of life’s good times. “Wine, celebrations, happiness and enjoyment seem to go hand in hand, so that was influential.” Abigail took all the right subjects at school and then went to Auckland University to study biotechnology, which didn’t quite work out as she expected. “I was lumped in with nurses and doctors and we were in the lab 30 / Winepress September 2017

dissecting a rat when I had my epiphany – this isn’t Pinot Noir. I walked out,” she says. She took herself off to Hawke’s Bay EIT and completed a Bachelor of Wine Science which was much “more relevant”. Abigail then landed a job at Villa Maria and worked there before doing the ritual OE, including vintages Abigail Maxwell. Photo by Richard Briggs in Oregon and Clare Valley. In January 2014 she moved down should be able to fix it,” she says. to Marlborough to work for Babich She feels fortunate to be working where she is assistant winemaker. in Marlborough and sees it as the Abigail says she enjoys the skills perfect place for a young winemaker to be. “Being a young person in the industry trying to climb the ladder it’s great to be in the region where 80% of New Zealand’s production is,” she says. Despite Sauvignon being her kickstart into the industry, these days she has “a soft spot” for Pinot Noir and Riesling, while retaining a lot of respect for Sauvignon, which “is definitely the money maker”. Abigail’s big dream is to become a Master of Wine but in the short term she’d like to move up to a wine making position. Her success in the 2015 competitions was a huge career boost and led to promotion at work and recognition within in the industry. She hopes that will continue this time in what can be a tough industry. winemaking involves – not only the “It’s like a pyramid - there are a lot scientific and analytical side but the of highly skilled cellar hands and practical aspect. “You need a good base laboratory people wanting to move up. level of knowledge and it is important Participating in these competitions to have a practical side – if somethings helps you get recognition.” breaks down in the winery then you

“I tasted Sauvignon Blanc when I was probably far too young to do so but it left a huge impression.” Abigail Maxwell

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Winepress September 2017 / 31

Biosecurity Watch Biosecurity research - crucial for improved biosecurity risk management DR EDWIN MASSEY

THIS MONTH’S column examines the crucial relationship between biosecurity and scientific research and illustrates just how important research will be to address the knowledge gaps regarding the potential impact of our most unwanted pests on New Zealand’s wine industry. Pressures on the biosecurity system research a key alleviator The New Zealand Winegrowers (NZW) Biosecurity Strategy seeks to maximise the protection to members afforded by New Zealand’s biosecurity system. This system is under increasing pressure as New Zealand becomes increasingly connected in a global world. Table 1 highlights the significant increase in MPI biosecurity risk intervention activities at the border in the three month period between December 2016 and February 2017

compared with the same period from the previous year. It is likely that, year in year out, the cumulative weight of these pressures will increase faster than New Zealand’s collective ability to fund risk management activities. Biosecurity research is one of the key alleviators that helps us stay ahead of the curve. Biosecurity is built on science. In the short term, biosecurity research helps us close down the unknowns and helps us to mitigate risks across the system. In the long term, biosecurity research helps to future proof the biosecurity system against strategic threats such as climate change and the global spread of pests and disease. Why is biosecurity research important to the wine industry? Scientific research is fundamental to the success of the NZW Biosecurity Strategy. Without targeted biosecurity research, it will be impossible to achieve our strategic goal. Research

Table 1: Selected MPI biosecurity activities at the border Dec 2016 /Feb 2017 Passenger Arrivals 1.9 million Undeclared goods seizures 4737 Cruise vessel port visits 517 Targeted BMSB inspections 1059

Increase on Dec 2015 /Feb 2016 9% 12% 17% 160%

is not only critical to developing solutions to the complex biosecurity issues facing the wine industry, but also to applying these solutions in an environment that is always changing. The ongoing work of Plant and Food Research applied entomologist Dr Mette Nielsen into understanding the in-vineyard distribution of xylem feeding leaf hoppers such as the meadow spittle bug (Philaneus spumarius), a potential vector for Xylella fastidiosa (the causal agent of Pierce’s disease), is an excellent example. Dr Nielsen’s research will boost our understanding of the relationships between the pathogen, its potential vectors and the grapevine host, and sharpen our understanding of how Pierce’s disease could be transmitted from vine to vine and from vineyard to vineyard in New Zealand. Gaining this understanding is critical for planning response activities. These may differ significantly from those in California where they have been dealing with a much more robust and mobile vector, the glassy wing sharp shooter that is currently not in New Zealand. The Government Industry Agreement - boosting readiness through targeted research The Government Industry Agreement (GIA) is changing the


CATCH IT . SNAP IT . REPORT IT . Call MPI biosecurity hotline 0800 80 99 66 32 / September August 2017

Yellow sticky trap set to catch the meadow spittle bug

way biosecurity research is commissioned and delivered. Through GIA, NZW is much more closely aligned to the Better Border Biosecurity (B3) research network than it was previously. B3 is a multi-partner, cooperative science collaboration that researches ways to reduce the entry and establishment of new plant pests and diseases in New Zealand. B3 scientists will be key in helping to develop and implement a coordinated research plan for brown marmorated stink bug (BMSB) that is governed and funded by the signatories to the Brown Marmorated Stink Bug Operational Agreement, including NZW. This governance role is critical as it ensures that scientific research is prioritised to achieve the outcomes agreed to by signatories. To date, ongoing research regarding the potential BMSB biocontrol, the samurai wasp, has highlighted that this parasitoid may be the best tool available to combat an incursion of BMSB. Conclusion - research is a crucial for improving wine industry biosecurity Biosecurity research that addresses the challenges confronting the biosecurity system is essential to help ensure the sustainability of the New Zealand wine industry. As a GIA signatory, the wine industry can leverage research funding from the Crown and other industry organisations for research to improve biosecurity readiness and response. However, as outlined above, there are a range of strategic biosecurity questions that are much broader than just readiness and response. NZW is in the process of incorporating biosecurity research into our wider research strategy to continue to support the industryâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s sustainable export growth. If you have any questions about biosecurity or biosecurity research please contact Ed Massey, NZW

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Winepress September 2017 / 33

Industry News Exceptional Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc Two Marlborough Sauvignon Blancs have achieved a 98-point score in a Decanter Panel Tasting, marking a world first for the variety. Tinpot Hut Sauvignon Blanc 2016 and Auntsfield’s Single Vineyard Southern Valleys Sauvignon Blanc 2016 were both ranked as Exceptional wines in the August issue of the magazine, in what Decanter Tasting Assistant Natalie Earl says appears to be a first for Sauvignon Blanc. “Checking back through panel tastings (for where we’ve got the data), we’ve had no other Exceptionals for any other Sauvignon Blancs, from any region,” she says. Fiona Turner, owner and winemaker of Tinpot Hut, says Sauvignon Blanc is a variety that deserves to be taken seriously. “People think it is easy to grow here in Marlborough, and maybe that is true. But to grow really good Sauvignon takes a lot of work, a lot of commitment and just as much time and effort as many other varieties.” She says the fact that 25 of the 30 wines ranked with scores of 90 plus came from Marlborough proves just how “exceptional” the region is. The majority of the wines came from 2016, which she describes as a difficult vintage for many reasons. “The fact that we have so many good scores from that tasting (and that vintage) is really heartening.” The chairman of judges of the tasting panel, Bob Campbell MW, says some wine critics and members of the wine trade can tend to be dismissive about Sauvignon Blanc, claiming it doesn’t hit the high level of other varieties. “The message I would like to get across to ‘bored critics’ is that there is such a thing as great Marlborough Sauvignon. There is not a sameness about it, there are sub regional differences, there are winemaking differences and there are sheer quality differences that change from vintage to vintage. Sauvignon Blanc can be truly exciting at that sort of level.”

Show Up Marlborough’s wine community is being urged to take advantage of the Marlborough Wine Show industry tasting, which runs at the end of each judging day on October 10 and 11. Organiser Belinda Jackson says the event offers a “unique opportunity” to taste the significant range of wines produced in the region. “As well as experiencing style diversity within Sauvignon Blanc, be it by sub-region or by winemaker influence, attendees can also taste other wines styles including 34 / Winepress September 2017

Pinot Noir, Riesling, Chardonnay, Pinot Gris, Gruner Veltliner, sparkling, alternative white varietals and alternative reds, subject to them being entered.” The tastings are from 5-6pm at the Marlborough Convention Centre and are open to industry members only. Entry is via a gold coin donation, with money raised going to the Marlborough Riding for the Disabled. Any unopened wines from the competition will be auctioned off at 6pm on October 11, with the money raised going to a wine trust that helps fund professional enhancement and continued success of the New Zealand wine industry. Know Your Labour Contractor Members of New Zealand Winegrowers can now go online to check their labour contractor

has not be found to be in breach of employment regulations in recent years. The site has listed information published by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment on companies or individuals who have been found in breach of employment obligations. Since new regulations came into place on April 1 this year, these contractors may be subject to stand down periods affecting their ability to hire migrant workers. Spy Finance

Spy Valley’s new finance manager Dean McLoughlin is happy to be back in his vineyard, back in Marlborough, and back in an industry he loves. Dean had his first taste of the wine industry pruning grapes in his home town of Gisborne as a teenager, and planted a small vineyard on Guernsey Road when he and his family moved to Marlborough in 1998. Dean commuted to Wellington to work in banking and government, then moved to Nelson for a short stint before returning for his new role. Real Estate Update July and August were quiet months for viticultural sales, says Joe Blakiston of PGG Wrightson Real Estate. Joe says the only significant sale reported was an established 30-hectare production block on Swamp Rd, which was sold to a local wine company. The sale equates to close to $270,000 per hectare and shows “keen interest” in good producing blocks, with the vineyard a typically higher yielding property.

“There is a lot of discussion currently with growers interested in leasing their blocks instead of selling which may be a reason why there is little vineyard land currently being marketed,” says Joe. “However, with the positive vibe in the industry and the outlook for the medium term good, there may be a real upside to delaying the selling decision.” Saint Clair Family Estate

Saint Clair Family Estate has announced E. & J. Gallo Winery - the world’s largest family owned wine company - as its exclusive national distributor in the United States. Saint Clair Family Estate founder Neal Ibbotson says the agreement is a significant step in growing brand awareness for the company in the U.S market. “We share many of the same values – family, passion and quality - and the move is an exciting opportunity for us to further develop our brand in the U.S market.” Somme Scholarship

The New Zealand Winegrowers Sommelier Scholarship is to open up to New Zealand applicants, says New Zealand Winegrowers’ Global Marketing Director Chris Yorke. “For the first time this year we are opening the scholarship to the local sommelier community – all of whom we hope

Wine tourism focus Nearly a quarter of New Zealand’s international visitors are visiting wineries, vineyards and cellar doors, according to new research from Tourism New Zealand. New Zealand Winegrowers (NZW) is responding to the demand with a wine tourism section on its site, where more than 450 wine experiences are showcased. The new ‘visit’ section of the site allows tourists to search wine regions using a Google map tool, or to filter listings by region and experience types, with Sip (230 cellar doors), Dine (110 winery dining options), Stay (60 vineyard accommodation outlets) and Play (50 onsite tours or experiences) on offer. NZW Global Marketing Director Chris Yorke says wine tourism provides an exciting new opportunity to highlight New Zealand wines in their unique locations. “Our visitors are also able to meet the people and hear the stories behind the brands.” NZW is also partnering with Tourism New Zealand to develop online tourism training modules for wineries and Tourism New Zealand CEO, Stephen England-Hall, was a keynote speaker at the Romeo Bragato Conference last month. “Wine tourism has such wide appeal because visitors to New Zealand can explore wineries in any season, and across many regions during their stay,” he says. “Our research has found that wine visitors spend more, stay longer, and visit more regions than the average international holidaymaker.” Stephen says will enhance the experience that tourists have by providing useful information before and during their trip. “This allows visitors to make the most of their stay, and go home with great stories and memories.” will become true ambassadors for New Zealand wine. At the end of their experience we hope the scholars will share personal wine discoveries and insights from their trips with their customers and the wider sommelier community – something we simply can’t replicate in a classroom.” Successful applicants will engage with and learn from some of the greatest minds in the business while sampling benchmark wines from New Zealand on a unique experience at one of the sought after New Zealand Wine Sommits, to be held in Nelson and Central Otago. Hosted by Master Sommelier Cameron Douglas and Master of Wine Stephen Wong, the events are a celebration of the lesser known aspects of New Zealand wine, with particular emphasis on the facets that resonate with the sommelier community, says Chris.

Candidates are expected to have a strong passion for the wine industry, and be able to demonstrate a thirst for knowledge of New Zealand wine. A selection committee will review all applications with a shortlist of candidates invited to take part in a panel interview. Visit en/events/new-zealand-winesommit/ for more information and to apply. Advocacy Manager Vance Kerslake has joined the Wine Marlborough team as Advocacy Manager and is looking forward to tackling advocacy issues in areas members frequently face, including water, interaction with local and central government, labour, and community relationships.

Winepress September 2017 / 35

Brought to you by

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 by September 21. For more information on the events below email Harriet Wadworth at

SEPTEMBER 2017 20 Tonnellerie de Mercurey New Zealand Young Winemaker of the Year Competition – Auckland 22 Marlborough Wine Show entries close 25 Marlborough Wine and Food Festival tickets on sale, including VIP and Master Classes 29 Voting closes in Marlborough Winegrowers Association election OCTOBER 2017 7 New Zealand International Wine Show Awards Dinner - Auckland 9-11 Marlborough Wine Show judging 10-11 Marlborough Wine Show Tastings 5-6pm Marlborough Convention Centre (see pg 34) 26 Marlborough Wine Show Celebration Dinner NOVEMBER 2017 9-12 Nelmac Garden Marlborough 25 Air New Zealand Wine Awards Dinner

Wine Festival Tickets - September 25

Marlborough Wine Show - October 9

Nelmac Garden Marlborough - November 9


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36 / Winepress September 2017



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Winepress September 2017  

September Winepress includes coverage of the Romeo Bragato Conference, Yield Estimates, the US Market, Economic Impact plus more.

Winepress September 2017  

September Winepress includes coverage of the Romeo Bragato Conference, Yield Estimates, the US Market, Economic Impact plus more.