The world expects high quality, unique wines from New Zealand. To maintain our standards we need ensure our vines, grapes and wines are protected from the impacts of weather, disease and pests.
The profitability and sustainability of a vineyard relies on the health of its vines and quality of its canopies, therefore limiting impacts from pests and disease is essential.
Pest and disease management through the use of agrichemicals is not only expensive, but the potential environmental and social impacts are concerning to viticulturists, communities, and local and central government authorities - which heavily regulate use.
The New Zealand wine industry has a holistic, integrated approach to pest and disease management. Members focus on the life cycles of pests and diseases, and how they interact with their environment.
By understanding the bigger picture, impacts can be managed in a more cost-effective way, with the lowest possible impact on people, property and the environment.
Integrated management favours biological methods and promotes increased tolerance of weeds, which can enhance biodiversity and reduce vine vigour. Vineyards may only use agrichemicals to enhance other pest and disease prevention and control practices already employed. Chemicals used must be approved and be the least options harmful available.
At the same time, all significant vineyard pests and diseases are being intensively researched by the sector, and future control strategies are being developed within the integrated management framework to ensure that chemical use continues to decline.
In the winery too, there’s a focus across minimisation, selection and safety. The use of any wine protectants or preservatives (organic or otherwise) is regulated by food safety regulations and audited yearly.
Disinfectants and cleaning agents are regarded as an essential part of maintaining health standards, yet here too chemical use is in decline, and the most environmentally friendly alternative is always the preferred choice.