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New Zealand wines shouldn't be smoked

New Zealand wines shouldn't be smoked

Green MP Ian Ewen-Street says vintners need to use their heads and not their matches when combating frosts. He was responding to a Marlborough Express report that some vineyard owners are burning paint tins, arsenic-treated timber and waste oils to prevent their grapes from freezing.

"Wine is a premium product and I doubt there's any demand, either here or overseas, for smoked sauvignon," said Mr Ewen-Street, the Green Spokesperson for Agriculture and Rural Affairs.

"Marlborough District Council should urgently issue abatement notices against offenders, it's against the district plan for good reason.

"Using such material as fuel is dangerous for consumers and for exporters. If word of this practice spreads to overseas markets, the damage done to the New Zealand wine industry will be far greater than that caused by a few chilly mornings.

"Smoke from oil, paint, plastic and treated timber contains many dangerous contaminants, potentially poisoning wine and endangering locals who are unfortunate enough to inhale the contaminated air.

"People doing this are being incredibly selfish and short-sighted. The entire industry is being risked by their behaviour.

"There are other methods of combating frosts and the wine industry needs to better communicate and share best practice with their members, rather than having a few falling back on short-term survival skills and endangering everyone.

"Otherwise a few cowboys will spoil what is a valuable and growing sector of our economy," said Mr Ewen-Street.

ENDS

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