NEW ZEALAND ranks with Austria for the high overall quality of its organic and Biodynamic wines. This is due to various factors, the key one in the case of Biodynamics being the influence of the late Peter Proctor, who instilled in New Zealand’s Biodynamic wine-growers the importance of making high quality Biodynamic preparations 500-508, high quality Biodynamic compost 502-507, and high quality Biodynamic compost sprays such as his Cow Pat PitNew Zealand is also blessed in that the majority of its organic or Biodynamic vineyards are grazed at some stage during the year by sheep, cows, horses or other livestock. This is important because Biodynamics sees the world as made up of three ‘kingdoms’, namely the mineral (in the soil for example), the vegetal (all plants, not just vines) and the animal. I think this living element really shines through in the best of of New Zealand’s organic and Biodynamic wines. Not that Peter Proctor would have known. He was teetotal.

NEW ZEALAND REGIONS

NORTH ISLAND / Auckland. / Central North Island. / Gisborne. / Hawke’s Bay. / Martinborough. / Northland. / Wairarapa. / Waiheke Island. 

SOUTH ISLAND / Canterbury. / Marlborough. / Nelson. / Otago. / Waipara. / Waitaki Valley. 

ORGANICS & BIODYNAMICS

The Biodynamic Association in New Zealand is in charge of Demeter Biodynamic certification there.

2015 / As of vintage 2015 New Zealand had 165 certified organic or Biodynamic estates in 2015 (12% of all NZ growers) with a collective 1,900 hectares (4,693 acres) of vineyards and 69 certified organic wineries. This meant arounf 6% of New Zealand’s vineyard land had certification (by Assure, Demeter or Bio-Gro). By region: 16.1% Otago. 4.9% Marlborough.

2012 / As of the 2012 vintage, Organic Winegrowers New Zealand reported 2,550 hectares of vineyard land under organic certification  – about 7.6% of the country’s total vinelands. Of these 2,550 hectares, approximately half were fully certified organic for the 2012 vintage, with the rest registered as in conversion to organic production.

2007 / In 2007 Bio-Gro New Zealand (the largest of New Zealand’s several certification bodies) certified 20 organic growers with 225 hectares (555 acres) of vineyards (Source: Jared White of BioGro 2015).

2002 / Andreas Welte reported a total of 13 certified organic vineyards, four in the North island and nine in the South Island, ranging from 3 to 50 hectares in size. Another 5 vineyards in the North Island, mainly Hawke’s Bay and Waiheke Island, were in conversion. A further six estates were in conversion or establishing new operations in the South Island, mainly in Nelson, Marlborough, Waipara, Christchurch and Otago.

1989-1999 / During the 1989-1999 period Bio-Gro New Zealand certified 6 organic growers (Source: Jared White of BioGro, July 2015).

VINTAGES

2018 Warm summer. Very early start to harvesting. 419,000 tonnes of grapes harvested, up 6% on the (small) 2017 tonnage, but lower than initially anticipated. 2018 saw increased production of red wines, with both Pinot Noir and Merlot up over 20% on 2017, a year in which both varieties had been down sharply. New Zealand wine exports were valued at $1.71 billion (mid-2018), up 3% in the past year. Wine is New Zealand’s fifth largest export good.

SEE ALSO

New Zealand Exports (non-wine). / New Zealand’s Flag. / Sustainable Winegrowing New Zealand (SWNZ).

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Jared White of BioGro, 10 July 2015, Organic Wine Conference, Blenheim, New Zealand.