Local Govt | National News Video | Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Search

 

Growers campaign to turn New Zealand’s vineyards organic


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

20% by 2020:

Growers drive campaign to turn New Zealand’s vineyards organic

Organic wine producers in New Zealand have announced a bold new goal: 20% of New Zealand vineyards will be organic by the year 2020.

“By 2020, even if we only achieve 20% of the vinelands in our country as being certified organic and biodynamic, it will be a giant step towards enforcing our very precious environmental image to wine connoisseurs all over the world,” says organic grower and winemaker James Millton, chairman of Organic Winegrowers New Zealand (OWNZ).

OWNZ is a 140member national association, led by growers seeking to share and promote the organic way.

“Organic winegrowing encompasses the goals of social, environmental and financial sustainability for our nation,” Millton says.

New Zealand Winegrowers, the national organisation for New Zealand's grapegrowers and winemakers, is strongly supportive of the “20% by 2020” goal set by OWNZ, according to NZW CEO Philip Gregan. "We see the expansion of organics over the next decade as an important component of the industry's commitment to sustainability and are confident it will strongly support our brand positioning in global markets.”

The amount of NZ vineyard land under organic certification has tripled in the past three years. The country’s organic wine and grape industry has taken off as growers pursue environmental quality and wine quality, striving to differentiate themselves in a tough wine marketplace.

Nationwide, nearly 1500 hectares of vines on 115 vineyards are now managed organically – representing 4.5% of all vineyard land.

In 2010 OWNZ and New Zealand Winegrowers signed a Memorandum of Understanding to promote organic production together, through education, research, and marketing initiatives, with funding from wine industry levies. The agreement made the wine industry the nation’s first to make such a formal long term commitment to supporting organics.

Making the switch

It is not just small artisanal growers who are turning green; many major New Zealand wine companies are now going organic. “We are attracted to the natural approach to growing, which is the core of our business,” says Caine Thompson, viticulturist for Mission Estate in Hawkes Bay, New Zealand’s oldest winery. This season, Mission Estate became the first “Organic Focus Vineyard” in a threeyear research and education project. The project, funded by NZ Winegrowers and run by OWNZ, is comparing the merits of organic and conventional vineyards growing side by side. Growers nationwide are watching the trial unfold in real time, through field days and through a website at http://organicfocusvineyard.com. And the results so far? Both the conventional and organic blocks are progressing in good health – and the organic block has actually been slightly cheaper to operate. “Growing organically has been very fascinating and satisfying,” says Mission viticulturist Caine Thompson. “I’m finding that organic growing has raised awareness within myself and staff about how the vineyard block is looking and feeling. Blocks are visited and monitored more often, resulting in a genuine attachment to the land and the vine growing within its environment.”

Crazy – in a good way

No synthetic chemical fertilisers, pesticides or herbicides are permitted in organic vineyards. Instead, organic producers must work with ecological processes, biodiversity, and naturally derived products.

“The main outcome with organic winegrowing, and any other form of growing organic plants and animals, is that a closer relationship is established with Mother Nature,” says OWNZ Chair James Millton. “If you are good to her she always repays you.” The latest repayment for the Millton Winery: one of the highest honours in the recent Air New Zealand wine awards, a champion trophy for their 2009 Riverpoint Viognier.

When James Millton and his wife Annie started their organic vineyard in Gisborne in 1984, they were the only ones doing it in New Zealand. Says James: “In 1984 they thought we were crazy. We’ve just spent the last 28 years proving to everyone that they were right. We are crazy. But now it seems everyone wants to be crazy too and it’s just what this planet needs.”

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Back Again: Government Approves TPP11 Mandate

The Government has approved a negotiating mandate for Trans-Pacific Partnership 11 (TPP11), which will ensure New Zealand businesses remain competitive in overseas markets.

Trade Minister Todd McClay says New Zealand will be pushing for the minimal number of changes possible to the original TPP agreement, something that the remaining TPP11 countries have agreed on. More>>

ALSO:

.

 
 

Gordon Campbell: On Why Labour Isn’t Responsible For Barnaby Joyce

As a desperate Turnbull government tries to treat the Barnaby Joyce affair as a Pauline Hanson fever dream – blame it on the foreigners! We’re the victims of the dastardly New Zealand Labour Party! – our own government has chosen to further that narrative, and make itself an accomplice. More>>

ALSO:

Rail: Greens Back Tauranga – Hamilton – Auckland Service

The Green Party today announced that it will trial a passenger rail service between Auckland, Hamilton and Tauranga starting in 2019, when it is in government. More>>

ALSO:

Housing: Voluntary Rental Warrant Of Fitness For Wellington

Wellington City Council is partnering with the University of Otago, Wellington, to launch a voluntary Rental Warrant of Fitness for minimum housing standards in Wellington, Mayor Justin Lester has announced. More>>

ALSO:

Treaty: Agreement In Principle Signed With Moriori

“The Crown acknowledges Moriori was left virtually landless from 1870, hindering its cultural, social and economic development. The Crown also acknowledges its contribution to the myths that the people of Moriori were racially inferior and became extinct." More>>

ALSO:

Susan Devoy: Call For Inquiry Into State Abuse Reaches UN

Race Relations Commissioner Dame Susan Devoy is in Geneva and has asked a United Nations committee to urge the New Zealand government to initiate an inquiry into the physical and sexual abuse of children and disabled people held in state institutions. More>>

ALSO:

(Not National): Cross-Party Agreement On Pike River Re-Entry

The commitment was signed this afternoon by the leaders of Labour, United Future, The Maori Party, and the Green Party and, together with the earlier commitment by New Zealand First, means that there is now a Parliamentary majority behind the families’ fight for truth and justice. More>>

ALSO:

Earlier:

 
 
 
 
 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

  • PARLIAMENT
  • POLITICS
  • REGIONAL
 
 

Featured InfoPages

Opening the Election
 
 
 
  • PublicAddress
  • Pundit
  • Kiwiblog