New Zealand Wineries Take Part in 'Greening Waipara'

    Climate change has focused attention on environmentally sound practices throughout the commercial world, if only because consumers

are increasingly averse to buying products with high environmental


      This is most obvious for land-based industries, whose farming

activities have obvious environmental effects. But even without the

impetus of improved marketplace performance, being mindful of how the

environment is bearing up can boost the bottom line.

      This was one of the drivers behind a Lincoln University

biodiversity exercise in the Waipara winegrowing district of North

Canterbury. Working with Waipara Valley Winegrowers, Landcare Research

and the Foundation for Research, Science and Technology, Lincoln’s

National Centre for Advanced BioProtection Technologies has developed

the Greening Waipara project, which aims to revitalize the natural

biodiversity of the district against the trend to monoculture that

winegrowing often involves.

      Breaking up the monocultural vineyard landscape with areas of

native vegetation once common in Waipara has visual benefits, as well

as nurturing insects that pollinate and others that act as pest

predators. These are further encouraged by inter-vine planting of crops

such as buckwheat, where leafroller-munching wasps thrive, while

botrytis is kept in check with the use of organic mulches that in

Waipara eliminate the need for any fungicide in a normal season.

      According to the New Zealand Herald, the experiment had its

genesis in a project initiated by the Hurunui District Council to put

an economic value on the services provided free by nature to

agricultural, pastoral and horticultural commerce. This research

project set out to establish such grassroots values as the worth of a

worm in maintaining soil fertility, and the economic contribution of

bees in fertilizing crops, from grass to grapevines.

      While this research is continuing, and for many is simply a

quantification of a value that is already acknowledged by farmers, it

quickly became apparent that there was considerable immediate economic

benefit to be had in promoting biodiversity throughout the winegrowing


      A key part of the Greening Waipara project is the development of

biodiversity trails at wineries, where visitors can be exposed to each

brand’s green image.

      The trails take visitors through the native plantings that are

home to local insects, reptiles and birds. Ultimately, the trails are a

shop window for the project, showing how human systems can be more

natural and in tune with their environmental context.

Posted in Wine and the Environment
Members-only Wine sampler specials delivered straight to your inbox via our Cyber Circle newsletter.

%d bloggers like this: