Sustainability is a concept that is much wider than the actual vineyard and winemaking practices. Sustainability impacts on the wider winery community embracing the social and economic context of the vineyard and winery.
The work in vineyards, wineries and winery restaurants fluctuates seasonally. At vintage and pruning time the need for staff increases and our rural winery restaurant is very busy during the summer, with another surge in staff numbers during the ski season. Casual labour can be seen to be a cost effective way of managing vineyard and winery staffing requirements.
Casualisation of the workforce may seem to make economic sense. But there is a down side, if individual workers miss out on consistent regular work, have fluctuations in weekly income with a lack of job security, communities are also disadvantaged. The negative effects of casualisation are compounded when the predominant work in communities is horticulture and hospitality where wages typically low.
At Carrick we have decided to commit to permanent staffing with job security, and ongoing relevant education if desired. We employ locals and guarantee to provide full time work in the vineyard. If they are employed in the restaurant, it is also a full time job. Over the summer, when our need for staff is greater we employ local students home for the holidays. We have a stable workforce, who, although they have their own specific jobs are part of the whole Carrick team
Our extra seasonal help at vintage come from overseas backpackers, via an informal network. Carrick enjoys an excellent reputation for harvest employment; we have frequent barbeques, and on the final day tour the winery and taste the wines with a long lunch in the restaurant. As a result we are rewarded with an excellent and reliable picking team, who take back good messages about New Zealand and their experiences.
Carrick is an organic vineyard and winery and permanent, educated staff are necessary to embed our organic principles into practice. Here at Carrick, we are very aware of the wider community in which we live and our responsibilities as members of that community, so a commitment to permanent staff is also a commitment to sustainability in our organisation and in our wider community.