Life­style

The wine in­dus­try is forg­ing the sus­tain­able path for New Zealand busi­ness, mostly be­cause the overseas de­mand for light-foot­print prod­uct is ever-in­creas­ing.

Element - - CONTENTS - By Yvonne Lorkin

When the first Euro­pean set­tlers ar­rived in New Zealand, there was noth­ing else for it. Build a house, burn the bush, grow grass, sort your­self out a farm or at least die try­ing. This ‘growth at all costs’ men­tal­ity meant we were soon in dan­ger of stretch­ing our lit­tle piece of the pa­cific to un­sus­tain­able lev­els. Our fish­eries, forestry and farm­ing were all as bad as each other and grape­grow­ers were no ex­cep­tion. In­crease pro­duc­tion by killing the weeds and bugs with chem­i­cal sprays and she’ll be right; elec­tric­ity’s cheap, use as much water as you want, chuck out all your waste, where’s the harm?

Thank­fully over re­cent decades, an en­vi­ron­men­tal par­a­digm shift has taken place within our wine in­dus­try and now con­sumers can choose from a smor­gas­bord of sus­tain­abil­ity cham­pi­ons. At the 2012 Air New Zealand Wine Awards, a record 92% of en­tries were sus­tain­ably ac­cred­ited, com­pared with 75% in 2011.

Un­der NZ Wine­grow­ers’ Sus­tain­abil­ity Pol­icy, wine must be made from 100% cer­ti­fied grapes in fully cer­ti­fied wine­mak­ing fa­cil­i­ties and cer­ti­fi­ca­tion must be through an in­de­pen­dently au­dited pro­gramme — ei­ther Sus­tain­able Wine­grow­ing New Zealand or one of the recog­nised or­ganic or bio­dy­namic cer­ti­fi­ca­tions.

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