Final Results of the Organic Focus Vineyard Project
The Organic Focus Vineyard Project, intitiated and managed by Organic Winegrowers, has successfully come to a finish with all three participating vineyards receiving organic certification.
The organic viticulture industry has risen significantly over the last few years. Today, approximately six per cent of all viticulture land is certified organic. Many growers are also in the process of converting to organic management.
The Focus Vineyard Project began in 2011 in response to the new questions and requests from viticulturists wanting to investigate organic winegrowing. The project documented and demonstrated the realities of organic wine production over a three year period.
As part of the project, Wither Hills (Marlborough), Mission Estate (Hawke’s Bay) and Gibbston Valley (Central Otago) converted blocks of vines to organic management, managing them alongside conventional areas of production.
The vineyards grew two grape varieties characteristic of the region. They kept detailed records of their progress through photos, on-going scientific testing and numerous blog entries.
The three focus vineyards showed that each vineyard’s pathway into organic production is unique. Although each vineyard needed to adapt individually to their situations, some common themes emerged throughout the conversion process.
These common themes included; low levels of pest and disease on the organic blocks; a reduction in soil compaction undervine; and the achievement of good yields to the satisfaction of all three wineries. Weeds were harder to manage, but all focus vineyards believed they had achieved good weed control overall.
The future of New Zealand’s organic viticulture industry is looking bright. Mission Estate, Wither Hills and Gibbston Valley are all choosing to either maintain or expand their blocks under organic management with BioGro.
The final report for the Organic Focus Vineyard Project is out now, capturing the experiences of all three participating vineyards beyond the numbers. With these results, it is no wonder organic viticulture has grown exponentially over the last few years. For more details, download the full-report.
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