Hamlet: The way we grow grapes today will not be acceptable in the future

The days of using pesticides and herbicides in the grape growing process are numbered according to Villa Maria Estate’s viticulturist, Jonathan Hamlet.

Villa Maria’s viticulturist Jonathan Hamlet believes the days of using herbicides and pesticides in grape growing are numbered

Speaking at the second International Sauvignon Blanc Celebration in Marlborough, New Zealand, last month, Hamlet told attendees:

“The way we grow grapes today will not be acceptable in the future. We need to respect the land, learn to adapt, and stop using pesticides and herbicides. We live in a world of conscious, value driven consumers who want products that reflect their values. We need to listen to them as they hold the power.”

Jonathan Hamlet and his furry friend

In order to produce quality fruit with great resilient, Hamlet stressed the need for winemakers in New Zealand to look after their land.

“We need to focus on value not volume. New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc is unique and special and has put us in an enviable position in the world market but we can’t stand still, we have to be proactive in making changes.

“Marlborough is coming into a long season of redevelopment and we need to plan for the future as we’ve got 40 years of re-planting ahead of us.

“We’re far more advanced and confident now and are incorporating organic practices more successfully. Organics is profoundly simple – it’s growing without synthetic products. It can be expensive initially but is worth it in the long run,” he said.

Hamlet also spoke of the importance of finding an effective alternative to copper in tackling downy mildew.

“The use of copper among organic growers in New Zealand is extremely low. There aren’t consistently effective alternatives to copper at the moment but a lot of trials are being done,” he said.

There are currently 1,715 hectares of certified organic vineyards in New Zealand, accounting for 4.5% of total vineyard area.

Central Otago leads the way in organic viticulture with 16% of vineyards in the region certified organic. New Zealand exports NZ$46m of organic wine a year. The global market for organic produce is growing by 10% per year.

One Response to “Hamlet: The way we grow grapes today will not be acceptable in the future”

  1. smallmindstillrule says:

    Most of this sounds like PR fluff. How much copper is used in making NZ wine ‘safe’ to be bottled under screwcaps? The much bigger issue would seem to be can NZ continue to irrigate all of its vineyards in future? Talking about organics and reduced pesticides is so 2000, why is it still being promoted as the future?

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