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Waipara Valley Vineyard Project

Waipara Valley Vineyard Project

Our company has a strong commitment to sustainable wine production and we have been growing and producing wine in accordance with the Sustainable New Zealand Wine Growing (SWINZ). SWINZ is an independently audited programme that covers biodiversity, soil, water and air, energy, chemicals, by products and business practices. Over the next few months we will be posting regular blogs on what this means and our company’s sustainable practices.

One particular project that we would like to share with you is our Waipara Valley Vineyard project. Jean-Luc Dufour is heading up a project to experiment organic management with several smaller blocks over the next 2-3 years. We have chosen four different grape varieties including Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris, Riesling and Sauvignon Blanc, blocks of between 1-2 ha each.

The aim is to experiment and gain organic management experience with these smaller blocks with the view to in time increase to a larger scale. This means no synthetic chemical fertilisers, pesticides, or herbicides will be permitted in this part of the vineyard. Instead we will gain understanding and work with ecological processes and naturally derived products.                 

The main visual difference will be grass covering the whole vineyard floor, or under plant cultivation in some parts as opposed to the conventional herbicide strip under plants. The other big change will be with our spray programme, although this is not visually noticeable. We will control disease with natural and biological products. Pruning, at this stage, is the same, but we may have to adjust it, in time, to keep plants in balance.

We have recently completed some trellis alterations, moving irrigation lines to make it friendly for under vine mowing and cultivation. Also, we will put some soil drench of seaweed and will be starting our spray programme with sulphur, seaweed and soap.

We look forward to keeping you up to date with this project providing some stories and photos along the way. Our first photo shows the first visual difference – the row on the left is first row of our project and the row on the right is conventional (herbicide use can be seen on the floor between plants).

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Waipara Hills

Waipara Hills, 780 Glasnevin Road
State Highway 1, Waipara, North Canterbury, New Zealand

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