The Power of Green: Reducing agrichemical use in the New Zealand wine industry

With their picturesque settings and delicious end results, it can be all too easy to forget vineyards are indeed actual working farms. This is not something readily forgotten by those charged with their stewardship however, and managing the seasonal cycle of land, vines and elements can prove a constant challenge. Carrying out this work in a sustainable fashion adds another layer of complexity, not least when it comes to the unforgiving onslaught of pests and disease. In their approach to chemical use though, New Zealand producers are again showing their impressive commitment to sustainability that combines pragmatic farming and winemaking realism with an eye to a clean, green future for both the land and its people.

Winegrowers use chemicals for management of the vine and surrounding vineyard, to enhance soil nutrition and for the control of pests and diseases. In the winery, chemical use encompasses cleaning and hygiene requirements plus any food-standard additions for wine stability. The impact of chemical use is not only environmental but also social, with use affecting not only a producer's vines, land, ecosystem and people, but potentially also their neighbours and the wider community.  Producers must weigh up chemicals' direct costs (both purchase and application) alongside any potential impact on the environment, its people and animals; they must also work with regulatory bodies to adhere to local and central requirements.

With nearly all the country's producers either members of Sustainable Winegrowing New Zealand or part of an organic or biodynamic certification programme, the commitment to sustainable chemical use in both vineyards and wineries is comprehensive and well-supported...

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