Vineyard Ecosystems

Everything is connected.

Lawson's Dry Hills Wines

Representing a shift in the way we look at vineyards, this wide-ranging research programme aims to better understand the many interactions in vineyard ecology. That, in turn, will help to increase vineyard longevity and profitability.

A New Zealand Winegrowers’ research initiative, Vineyard Ecosystems is a $7-million programme running from 2014 to 2021 (co-funded by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment).

This type of research has been characterised as the study of 'microbial terroir' – the influence of a vineyard’s specific fungi and bacteria and how they interact to affect everything from a soil’s organic matter to the flavours in its grapes and wines.


Microbial Terroir

With research expertise that encompasses viticulture, microbiology, entomology, pathology, virology, elemental chemistry and environmental science, this programme focuses on pest and disease management, reduced reliance on chemical interventions and a strong science foundation for sustainability credentials. The aim is to holistically evaluate and describe the nature of connections in vineyards.

This type of research has been characterised as the study of “microbial terroir” – the influence of a vineyard’s specific fungi and bacteria and how they interact to affect everything from a soil’s organic matter to the flavours in its grapes and wines.

Science partners include Plant & Food Research and the University of Auckland. Lead scientist Dr Mat Goddard (University of Auckland and University of Lincoln, UK) pioneered the study of variance in vineyard and wine microbes, and has led the way in reporting on next-generation DNA sequencing of vineyard samples – a technology that will also be employed in the current research.

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