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Element - - LIFE STYLE - Glad­stone Vine­yard glad­stonevine­yard.co.nz

Prior to 2005, Glad­stone Vine­yard in the Wairarapa was very much in the con­ven­tional camp when it came to grow­ing their grapes. “Chem­i­cals had long been an ac­cepted part of grape grow­ing and we re­lied on them heav­ily,” ex­plains owner/wine­maker Chris­tine Ker­nohan on the NZ Wine­grow­ers web­site. “It wasn’t un­til we at­tented a sem­i­nar chal­leng­ing this ap­proach that we re­alised it was no longer suit­able for us as a se­ri­ous wine pro­ducer”. That led to them over­haul­ing their vine­yard man­age­ment prac­tices and em­brac­ing alternative meth­ods for pro­duc­ing wine in a more en­vi­ron­men­tally re­spon­si­ble ways. “We be­gan to look at treat­ing the causes of disease in our vines rather than sim­ply chem­i­cal­lytreat­ing the symp­toms” she adds. One of the first things they did was to re-sow the ground be­neath the vines with a soil-build­ing seed-mix of chicory, lucerne and clovers to build up the soil bi­ol­ogy. Then they be­gan us­ing or­ganic liq­uid bi­o­log­i­cal cul­tures to in­ject ex­tra nutri­tion into the soil. Af­ter twenty years of chem­i­cal in­ter­ven­tion, elim­i­nat­ing the usual meth­ods of chem­i­cal pest, disease and weed con­trol meant the first cou­ple of years weren’t with­out their scary mo­ments. “Stress­ful” is the word Ker­nohan uses. “We could only wait and hope for pos­i­tive re­sults”. Th­ese days life at the cer­ti­fied-sus­tain­able Glad­stone Vine­yard is cleaner, greener and the wines just keep get­ting bet­ter.

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