Raising a glass to sustainability

Sustainability. While some may regard it as a bit of a buzzword, both the concept and style of farming/viticulture have been seriously embraced across our wine industry.

The Sustainable Winegrowing New Zealand certification programme (SWNZ) had its inception in 1995 and New Zealand Winegrowers figures show that currently 96% of New Zealand’s producing area is SWNZ certified, with goals for the industry to be zero waste to landfill and carbon neutral by 2050.

New Zealand Winegrowers promotes focus across six key sustainability areas: climate change, water, winery waste, plant protection, soil and people. One example of this is in water management promoting initiatives for conserving and reducing water usage, while some wineries recover/recycle winery wastewater.

Another is winery waste as wineries generate a huge amount of organic matter in the form of grape stems, pips and skins. Already common in biodynamic wineries, more and more are composting this grape marc, with others converting it into stock food.

Soil health is another key area - from the reduction of chemical inputs, reducing erosion through the use of cover crops, along with no or low tillage regimes to combating soil compaction through to the use of drones for spraying, all of which can contribute to biodiversity and healthy soils.

An example of this is Greystone winery in North Canterbury, which has run its High Wire Trial Project in regenerative farming for the last three years, increasing the height of its vine canopy, allowing it to run sheep in the vineyard year round.

Having its four-legged weed eaters on the go has allowed the winery to minimise tractor use and mowing with both a significant reduction in its carbon footprint and a healthy monetary saving in diesel.

This minimal tillage approach along with an ongoing supply of natural, organic ovine fertiliser helps to improve soil structure and foster a thriving microbiome, while a diverse mix of pastures attract beneficial insects and contribute to natural pest control.

The initiative has been a real farm to table one too, with the lamb featuring on the menu in the winery’s restaurant. All in all it has encouraged Greystone to extend the project to 25% of its vineyard.

2022 Greystone Organic Waipara Chardonnay

Price: RRP $55
Rating: Outstanding
Leads with a touch of 
gunflint, toast, citrus, 
white peach, minerally, 
complex and 
fascinating nose that 
draws you in. Creamy 
texture, mouthfilling, 
somehow feels 
effortless, beautifully 
integrated, nothing out 
of place. An 
undercurrent of citrus 
and saline influences 
with fabulous length. 
Very smart wine that 
draws you  back, already 
drinking superbly but 
potential, too.


2023 Greystone North Canterbury Pinot Gris

Price: RRP $32
Rating: Excellent
The nose leaps out of 
the glass, white 
stonefruits, nutty 
aspects, lemon 
verbena perhaps with 
time. Good volume in 
the mouth, rich, 
mixing notes of apricot 
 and nectarine while 
again bringing in those 
nutty elements. Fruit 
sweetness with fruit 
cordial notes yet 
appealingly dry  and 
crisp on the finish. 
This just works, great 

2019 Greystone North Canterbury Pinot Noir

Price: RRP $29
Rating: Excellent to Outstanding
Nutty, chestnut, 
delightful fragrance, 
cherry, roast beetroot, 
notes, refined oak. 
Mouthfilling, deep, 
almost brooding, lead 
 shavings, chopped 
herb, dark fruits, 
spice, fine tannins, 
the savoury qualities 
begin to grow on the 
palate. Complex, 
elegant, with air the 
tannins build as does 
a truffley note. 
Delightfully complex.