Sus­tain­able mis­sion pos­si­ble

Mis­sion Es­tate’s an­nual car­bon foot­print is equiv­a­lent to that of four peo­ple. Good finds out how.

Good - - WINE NOTES - Words Carolyn Ent­ing

It’s an as­tound­ing fig­ure and one that Mis­sion Es­tate chief wine­maker Paul Mooney is rightly proud of.

For every litre of wine pro­duced at the Hawke’s Bay win­ery, the power us­age is an in­cred­i­bly low 0.13kWh. To put that in con­text, Mis­sion Es­tate crushes 1000 tonnes of grapes each year, which is bot­tled into more than 80,000 cases of wine an­nu­ally.

“Do the math on that and the car­bon foot­print works out to be the equiv­a­lent of four New Zealand in­di­vid­u­als,” says Mooney.

Mis­sion Es­tate was one of the first winer­ies to join Sus­tain­able Wine­grow­ers New Zealand and every as­pect of its pro­duc­tion is man­aged to cre­ate wines with min­i­mal im­pact on the en­vi­ron­ment.

Each year its vine­yards and win­ery are au­dited to en­sure Mis­sion Es­tate op­er­ates in a sus­tain­able man­ner – in­clud­ing its con­tract grow­ers.

“We are com­mit­ted to pro­tect­ing our en­vi­ron­ment by re­duc­ing the use of nasty chem­i­cals, en­ergy, wa­ter and pack­ag­ing and, wher­ever pos­si­ble, reusing and re­cy­cling ma­te­ri­als and waste,” says Mooney. “We haven’t made a great deal of noise about it. We just get on and do the busi­ness and do things as well as we can.”

For wine lovers who also love the en­vi­ron­ment, these cre­den­tials make sweet read­ing.

The new win­ery build­ing is a fully in­su­lated, ther­mos-mass con­struc­tion and has a re­frig­er­a­tion sys­tem de­signed to min­imise en­ergy use. Its wa­ter use is be­low two cu­bic me­tres for every tonne of grapes crushed, sheep are used in a num­ber of vine­yards to help with mow­ing and leaf pluck­ing, and the Mis­sion Restau­rant has an or­ganic herb gar­den. Some of the com­pany’s vine­yards have also been con­verted to or­ganic pro­duc­tion.

Mis­sion Es­tate’s viti­cul­tur­ist Steve Wheeler, win­ner of the 2015 Bal­ance Farm En­vi­ron­ment Award for soil man­age­ment, helmed the ‘Or­gan­ics Fo­cus Vine­yard Project’, New Zealand’s first pub­lic trial of or­ganic grapes be­ing grown side-by-side with con­ven­tional crops.

The dif­fer­ence be­tween the blocks is in the pest and dis­ease con­trol and weed­ing. Grapes are un­der-vine cul­ti­vated in­stead of be­ing treated with her­bi­cides, and the goal of healthy soils, healthy vines, a thriv­ing land­scape and of course premium-qual­ity wines has cer­tainly been achieved.

Or­ganic wine from these blocks has been used to make some of Mis­sion Es­tate’s premium wines in­clud­ing Mis­sion Huchet Syrah. The 2013 vin­tage, which was a great year, is $129 a bot­tle and worth every cent.

“We were quite sur­prised,” ad­mits Mooney. “I didn’t think it would have that much ef­fect in grape and wine qual­ity but the or­ganic is su­pe­rior in both taste and the qual­ity of wine that it pro­duces.”

Mis­sion Es­tate was among the first NZ winer­ies to estab­lish an en­vi­ron­men­tal man­age­ment sys­tem. On a mis­sion

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