Wednesday, January 12, 2011

New Zealand winemakers aim to be 20% organic by 2020

Big news from the New Zealand wine tasting yesterday. The organisation that represents organic wine growers Organic Winegrowers New Zealand (OWNZ) has announced that it has set a target that 20% of New Zealand wineries should be organic and biodynamic by 2020.

Currently only 1,500 hectares of vines are managed organically – 4.5% of New Zealand’s total. The goal is supported by the main industry association New Zealand Winegrowers which has already signed a joint memorandum with the OWNZ to promote organic production and has its own sustainability programme with which any producer who wants to get an export licence will have to comply by next year. (You can read more about it here and here.)

The development puts New Zealand back at the forefront of the debate about sustainable viticulture which it occupied back in the 90s although it was interesting that some of the principal protagonists such as Rippon, Millton and Seresin weren't present at yesterday's tasting. Nor was Mission Estate which according to this report on the New Zealand website Scoop is running an interesting trial that compares organic and conventionally treated vineyards side by side.

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