After a bumpy start, New Zealand wine’s green revolution is taking shape, albeit fitfully.
Virtually every vineyard–and 100% of those exporting wine–are now part of the national wine sustainability programme, Sustainable Winegrowing New Zealand (SWNZ). Founded in 1994, this aims to provide pathways to help wine-growers accurately calculate their overall environmental footprint with a view to then reducing it. A key focus is to restore native habitats in and around vineyards, eliminating often invasive non-native species of plants. Another focus concerns reducing water and energy use during winemaking. SWNZ should be seen a first step towards fully organic or biodynamic methods, not least because it makes growers think about the amount of energy and other resources that go into a bottle of wine.
New Zealand vies with Austria for the premium quality of its organic and especially biodynamic wine-growing. One main reason for this is most NZ vineyard owners also own sheep, cattle or both (and sometimes draft horses too, see above). They graze the vineyards in winter and provide a plentiful supply of manure. The manure is used for compost or compost teas to maintain soil fertility and structure, overall biodiversity, vine and grape health, and thus overall wine quality.
The national body which represents New Zealand’s organic and biodynamic winegrowers is Organic Winegrowers New Zealand. In 2015, 12% of all New Zealand wine growers had an organic vineyard, and approximately 6% of all the national vineyard area was certified organic. The (over-ambitious) aim for 20% of New Zealand’s vineyard area to be certified organic or biodynamic by 2020 has been quietly dropped, however.
Certified organic or Biodynamic
Antipode Estate (Paul Irwin, Jacqui Irwin-Harris), Wairau Valley, Marlborough. Certified Organic 2009+.
Artisan Wines (Sunde family), Oratia Valley, Auckland. Certified Organic 2010+.
Aurum (Lawrence family), Lowburn, Central Otago. Certified Organic 2014+.
Bellbird Spring (Porter family), Waipara Valley, North Canterbury. Certified Organic 2016+.
Carrick (Steve Green et al.), Bannockburn, Otago. Biodynamic practices. Certified Organic 2011+.
Clos Henri (Henri Bourgeois of Sancerre), Wairau Valley, Marlborough. Certified Organic 2013+.
Churton (Sam & Mandy Weaver), Southern Valleys, Marlborough. Biodynamic practices. Certified Organic 2015+.
Fancrest (Diane Holding), Waipara Valley, North Canterbury. Certified Organic 2011+.
Fromm, Marlborough. Certified Organic.
Greenhough. Certified Organic.
Hans Herzog, Blenheim, Marlborough. Certified Organic 2011+.
Kaimira. Certified Organic.
Millton (James & Annie Millton), Gisborne. Certified organic 1989+. Demeter Certified Biodynamic 2009+.
Mount Edward (Duncan Forsyth), Central Otago. Biodynamic practices. Certified Organic 2009+.
Muddy Water (Thomas family), Waipara Valley, North Canterbury. Certified Organic 2011+.
Ohui, Coromandel. Certified Organic.
Quartz Reef (Rudi Bauer et al.), Cromwell, Otago. Demeter Certified Biodynamic 2011+.
Pyramid Valley Vineyards (Weersing family), Waipara Valley, North Canterbury. Demeter Certified Biodynamic 2014+.
Richmond Plains (Lars & Sam Jensen), Nelson. Certified organic from planting 1992+.
Rock Ferry #Marlborough (Tom Huchison), Wairau Plains, Marlborough. Certified Organic 2009+.
Rock Ferry #Otago (Tom Huchison), Bendigo, Otago. Certified Organic 2012+.
Schubert (Kai Schubert, Marion Deimling), Martinborough and Gladstone. Certified Organic 2013+.
Seresin (Michael Seresin), Marlborough. Demeter certified Biodynamic 2010+.
Söderberg Certified Organic.
Stonecroft (Dermot McCollum, Andria Monin), Hawke’s Bay. Certified organic 2013+.
Sunset Valley Vineyard (Ros Squire, Ian Newton), Upper Moutere, Nelson. Certified organic 1997+
Super-Natural Wine Co (Greg Collinge, Gabrielle Simmers),
Takamuta Valley Vineyards
Te Whare Ra (Jason & Anna Flowerday), Marlborough. Biodynamic practices. Certified Organic 2010+.
Turanga Creek (Allen family), Auckland. Certified Organic 2011+. Demeter Certified Biodynamic 2013+.
Tua Marina Vineyards
Urlar (Angus Thompson), Gladstone, Wairarapa. Biodynamic practices. Certified Organic 2010+.
Vynfields (John Bell, Kaye McAulay), Martinborough, Wairarapa. Biodynamic practices. Certified Organic 2006+.
Walnut Block (Clyde & Nigel Sowman), Marlborough. Certified organic.
William Murdoch Wines
Making wine from both certified organic/Biodynamic & conventional grapes (whether their own or purchased)
Babich, Dog Point Vineyard, Framingham, Gibbston Valley, Giesen, Love Block, Mahi, Matua, Mission Estate, Neudorf, Peregrine, Pernod Ricard New Zealand (who own Brancott Estate), Vidal, Villa Maria, Wither Hills.
Converting part or all of their vines to organics/Biodynamics
Black Estate, Burn Cottage, Greystone Wines, Ormond Estate, Saltings Estate.