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NMIT Trials New and Classic Grape Varieties

10 December 2013
NMIT Media Release –for immediate release
NMIT Trials New and Classic Grape Varieties at Campus Vineyard

Nelson Marlborough Institute of Technology (NMIT) is replanting vines at its Marlborough Campus vineyard to trial some new and classic varieties and a new type of steel trellising post.

The on-campus vineyard consists of 21 rows. Previously, 17 of the 21 rows were planted to Pinot Noir. The project started in 2012 when five rows of Pinot Noir vines were replaced with five new varieties by staff and students from the Diploma in Viticulture and Wine Production programme. This year, another three rows were replanted and in 2014, there are plans to replant a further two. The new plants have all been donated by Riversun Nursery in Gisborne – a recognised market leader in plant importation, quarantine and certified production methods for plant propagation. Eco Trellis Systems, a company producing new state-of-the-art steel trellising posts has also donated enough posts to re-post four of the rows.

NMIT Viticulture Tutor Glenn Kirkwood says he thought it would be beneficial for both students and industry to replace a number of rows of Pinot Noir vines with more classic and unusual varieties.

“The students have been involved right from the beginning and are therefore exposed to all the intricacies of replanting a vineyard. They’re involved in all the young vine training, pruning, weed management, canopy management – thereby gaining first-hand experience on young vine management. In the longer term, they will also be exposed to the latest varieties that are imported to this country that may be the ‘next big thing’ for New Zealand! They will have the ability to learn how to make wine from these varieties as well as learn how the vines are best managed. For industry, people interested in planting any of these varieties will be able to view them first-hand on our little vineyard – and the same with the steel trellising posts.”

A mini excavator has been used to remove the old vines and everything else has been done by hand.

The new varieties planted are:

• 1 x row Tempranillo (Spanish red variety famous for making Rioja)
• 1 x row Gruner Veltliner (Austrian aromatic white variety)
• 1 x row Syrah/Shiraz (Australian clone from the Rutherglen region of Victoria)
• 1 x row Chardonnay (A new clone called 809)
• 0.5 x row Verdelho (Spanish white variety from the Isle of Madeira) 0.5 x row Muscat à Petits Grains

• 1 x row Alvarinho aka Albariño (One of the first Portuguese white grape varieties to be bottled as a single variety)
• 1 x row Merlot (A good clone with an open bunch structure)
• 1 x row Riesling (A German clone from the famous Geisenheim grape breeding institute)
• 8 vines of a variety called Lagrein. (A cool-climate red variety from Alto Adige, near Bolzano in North Italian Alpine region)

2014 will include
• Saperavi (A small-berried, cold-tolerant red variety native to Georgia)
• Zinfandel aka Primitivo (Thought to be a native to Italy, made famous as a red grape from the Napa Valley in California)


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