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PAYING IT FORWARD FOR OVER 100 YEARS

Our sustainable, certified organic and vegan wines.

SUSTAINABILITY is more than a modern trend for us

It’s always been the roots of our legacy and philosophy. Since 1912, every generation of the Babich family has committed to building a sustainable business that allows the next generation to continue making wine.

We see it as paying it forward, for our family, for wine lovers and for the planet. And it starts with caring for the land and the vines. Our goal? To delight wine drinkers around the world and pay it forward by leading the style and evolution of sustainably-grown and crafted New Zealand wine, for another 100 years and beyond.

Sustainable from the start

In 1997, we were one of the very first vineyards registered with Sustainable Winegrowing NZ™. It was a natural progression for us as it sat well with our existing farming and winemaking philosophy. It is now widely recognised as a world-leading sustainability programme and one of the first to be established in the international wine industry.

Our sustainable practices
Grapes on the vine

A true love of wine includes a respect for and connection to the land. With a legacy of solid farming practices well established in our vineyards and demand for organic wines growing worldwide, the logical next step was to investigate the benefits of an organic approach to viticulture.

Harvesting the grapes

The art and science of winemaking has changed a lot over the years, and organic wines are currently experiencing a resurgence in popularity. But for a winery as experienced as ours, organic wine isn’t something new. It’s a rediscovery of an older way of growing, combined with the best of modern winemaking.

Vinyeards

Our Headwaters Vineyard, one of the biggest organic vineyards in New Zealand, is farmed in compliance with organic standards. It was here that we grew the grapes for our first certified organic Sauvignon Blanc in 2009. We are currently converting two more vineyards to organic. It’s no fad – we take it seriously and see it as an important part of the wine industry’s future.

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A NATURAL PROGRESSION TO VEGAN WINES

From the 2020 vintage all our organic wines will be certified Vegan by the New Zealand Vegetarian Society. We’ve taken great care in crafting superior wines that are free from animal-based proteins. It involves adjusting the fining agents, which smooth out the texture of the wine and remove astringency.

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Our Certifications

Sustainable Winegrowing New Zealand
BioGro New Zealand organic certification
New Zealand Vegetarian Society

Biodeversity

BIODIVERSITY
We have retained trees and forest habitats around the perimeter of our vineyards to increase the biodiversity of insects and the population of both native and exotic wildlife. During summer, we only mow every second row between vines, to encourage beneficial insects that feed on flowering field plants like clover and dandelions.

Weed control

WEED CONTROL
We graze sheep in the vineyards during the winter months and for as long as possible into spring to help control weeds. The use of herbicides has been pulled right back to the bare minimum on our non-organic vineyards – often just one treatment annually to assist with frost protection.

Water Conservation

WATER CONSERVATION
Water is used judiciously based on soil moisture measurements and vine health. We are experimenting with technology that accurately measures water requirements and allows us to apply water precisely when the vine needs it. This also reduces power consumption from our water pumps.

Packaging

PACKAGING
Packaging is recycled whenever possible. Cardboard vine guards are used instead of plastic sleeves on recent Marlborough vineyard developments. We are experimenting with replacing tanalised timber posts, which need to be disposed of when they break, with recyclable metal posts.

Tractors and Vineyard Machinery

TRACTORS AND VINEYARD MACHINERY
We use multi-row machines and multi-function tractor equipment to reduce our carbon foot-print and soil compaction. We also consider the fuel efficiency of any new tractors.

Looking to the future

There are a number of other measures we are investigating and evaluating at some
of our vineyards to improve our environmental performance:

Planting cover crops of phacelia and buckwheat to encourage beneficial insects that are attracted to blue and purple flowers.

Planting native shrubs to provide food and habitat for native birds, shelter to fish in the neighbouring stream and to stop soil erosion.

Trialling mulches to suppress weeds, retain soil moisture and improve the soil microbiome.

Installing underground irrigation to reduce water use and suppress weed growth.

Introducing chickens as pest control.

Trialling low-growing under-vine plants that smother weeds and grasses as well as changing soil structure.

Using organic fertigation to improve vine health and vigour on organic vineyards

A FINAL WORD FROM OUR VITICULTURALISTS

One thing can’t be measured, but comes up time and time again. It’s the feeling that we’re doing something right. The further we go with our sustainability measures, the more our viticulturalists say that our vineyards just “feel better”. We’re paying it forward and that feels good.

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