“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,” the report quoted organic grower and winemaker James Millton, chairman of Organic Winegrowers New Zealand (OWNZ), saying.
OWNZ is a 140-member national association, led by growers seeking to share and promote the organic way.
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.
Gregan said the expansion of organics over the next decade is an important component of the industry’s commitment to sustainability and would support New Zealand’s 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.
It is not just small artisanal growers who are turning green; many major New Zealand wine companies are now going organic.
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.
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.
For more info, contact: Rebecca Reider, National Coordinator, Organic Winegrowers New Zealand [email protected]; +64 (0)27 359 4522
— Source: FoodWorks Directory