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Organic is Booming– and Wine is Leading the Way

For Immediate Release – 4 March 2013

Organic is Booming in New Zealand – and Wine is Leading the Way

The latest New Zealand organic market research report (to be launched in Parliament on March 6) finds that the organic food and agriculture sector has grown around 25% in the past three years – an impressive feat during a time of global recession.

The numbers have spoken: the wine industry is leading the way. Wine has been the country’s fastest growing organic sector for the past three years. The amount of organically managed vineyard land in New Zealand has quadrupled since 2008. By the 2012 vintage, over 100 vineyards, comprising 7.6% of the country’s vinelands, were in the organic certification process.

“It is enlightening to see wine producers from throughout the country, corporate and boutique, starting to follow the lead from the early pioneers in now making a product with true reverence to the land and its people,” says James Millton, the country’s first organic winegrower and now chair of Organic Winegrowers New Zealand. “Some of the country’s finest producers are now well down the ecological track and practicing organic viticulture and sensitive winemaking.”

Organic Winegrowers New Zealand, a growers’ association dedicated to encouraging and supporting organic production, credits multiple factors for the rapid blossoming of organic vineyards. These include an industry-wide commitment to sustainability; a passion to produce high quality grapes, coupled with a growing understanding of the merits of organic practices; a prospering organic market worldwide; and existing organic producers leading the way, showing their peers how to produce excellent wines, cost-effectively, using only naturally derived products and processes.

Support from industry body New Zealand Winegrowers has facilitated the growth in organic production as well. Together Organic Winegrowers New Zealand and New Zealand Winegrowers have championed a goal of “20 by 2020”: 20 percent of the country’s vinelands under certified organic management by the year 2020.

“Certification to international standards takes a lot of effort and dedication from the growers,” says James Millton, but it is worth it: “This is a fantastic vehicle to carry the good message of an organic and biodynamic product, grown in a true sustainable manner, to the world.”

Organic food and beverage exports and domestic organic retail are both growing significantly in New Zealand, according to the organic market report.


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