Forgotten corners: Boosting biodiversity on Marlborough vineyards

Winepress | Sophie Preece – 12/8/19

Pernod Ricard’s Kaituna wetlands project has seen large numbers of natives planted | Derek Flynn

Thousands of “forgotten corners” in Marlborough vineyards could be planted with native species, enriching the region’s biodiversity. That might require a change in mindset for growers who like their rows straight and their fence lines sprayed, says Marlborough District Council environmental scientist Matt Oliver.

But it would help mitigate the monoculture of Marlborough, he adds. “We have imposed our will on nature across the Wairau and Awatere Plains. The very least you can do is give up a bit of control in these little pockets of land.”

He describes forgotten corners as “the annoying space that every vineyard manager has in their vineyard, whether it’s a funny shaped piece that is not big enough for vines or a few sheep or a drain that you have to spray twice a year”.

Planting those areas in native grasses, flax and kowhai would cost a few hundred dollars. They will require a bit of weeding initially but this could be done in the time operators would have otherwise have spent backing the tractor in to spray, he says. “In a few years’ time, you might have tui in the kowhai and giant kokopu in the drain. You’ll find you’ve saved a bit of money and done something good. It might even make a good photo for your marketing.” Wine Marlborough advocacy manager Vance Kerslake says the organisation fully supports industry front-footing biodiversity projects.

“We sponsor the Cawthron Marlborough Environment Awards and love to see and promote the work being done by growers and wine companies to mitigate monoculture,” he says. “Industry members are increasingly seeing how important that is for the environment, primarily, but also how it adds richness to the story of individual companies, as well as the reputation of brand Marlborough.” MDC biodiversity coordinator Mike Aviss, who runs the Significant Natural Areas project, as well as Tui to Town, says the plains have lost 99 per cent of their natural cover since Europeans settled here. “All the drainable wetlands have virtually been drained, along with the
kahikatea and swamp forest. This was once a huge wetland system.”

With every change in land use there’s loss of native land cover, he says. That is certainly true of vineyard conversions, which typically run in straight lines, putting creeks and trees at risk. “It really depends on how focused the developer is on wanting to get the most out of the land,” says Mike. “Whether they are driven by converting every inch to grapes, or see themselves as part of the landscape, and can see the value in keeping areas of natural habitat.”

Some companies already have biodiversity targets that include small pockets of new plantings or large expanses of restored natives, including Pernod Ricard’s Kaituna wetland, Wither Hills’ nationally significant Rarangi wetland, and Spy Valley’s Hillocks Rd restoration. “There are some pretty neat forgotten corners out there,” says Matt. “But there are so many more to develop.” The Forgotten Corners is not a council policy, but Council can assist with funding through the Tui to Town project and other funding to assist landowners. In the meantime, Matt and Mike hope vineyard owners will spring the $2.50 for a native grass or $3.50 for a kowhai and do their bit for biodiversity.

Cellar Club BBQ – 26 January 2020

As ever we start our year with the BBQ at the usual place on 26 January.

We’ll send more information to members in mid-January. As always we give special thanks to Derek Thompson for making his excellent facilities available.

Quote – My first outdoor cooking memories are full of erratic British summers, Dad swearing at a barbecue that he couldn’t put together, and eventually eating charred sausages, feeling brilliant.  – Jamie Oliver

South American Wine & Food Matchings, November 2019 – Cenna Lloyd – Negociants

Another great night with some lovely South American wines tasted. Must also say thank you to the committee members who prepared food matches. The combination of food with the wines gave the evening an interesting perspective.

The wines tasted with food matches are repeated below:

  • 2018 Vina Aquitina Rose (Chile)
  • 2018 Casa Marin Cartagena Sauvignon Blanc (Chile) – South American Ceviche
  • 2018 Tilia Mendoza Chardonnay (Argentina) – Brazilian Cinnamon ‘Raindrop’ Doughnuts
  • 2018 Alamos Malbec (Argentina) – Argentinian Fried Bread
  • 2015 Catena Alta Malbec (Argentina) – Red Wine Chorizo Bites
  • 2012 Queulat Cabernet Sauvignon (Chile) – Brazilian Beef Croquettes
  • 2014 Queulat Carménère (Chile) – Steak with a Chimichurri sauce

If anyone is interested in any of the recipes used on the night, let me or Wayne know. We can provide. May I just point out though, that if anyone believes it is only 5 minutes preparation time for the Argentinian Fried Bread, they are delusional.

Year in review

Well, December already team. It has been a strange year with a few downs to go along with the ups for some of us on a personal level.

       

That is not to say that it has been a bad year for our Cellar Club, quite the contrary in fact. Let’s review our year. By a long-established tradition, we began with our summer BBQ at the end of January. The usual excellent occasion and we continue to appreciate that Derek makes his premises available. February saw us heading to Askerne Estate in Hawkes Bay. The Hawkes Bay wineries never let you down. March was with the very well established Villa Maria presenting. While the winery originated in Auckland, the company has expanded over the years and produces wines from most of the major regions in New Zealand.

April saw something of a coup for the club with Joelle Thomson presenting. Joelle is a well-recognised personality in the New Zealand wine world as an author, wine writer and tutor. Another great tasting. May is the inevitable AGM then in June Simon Bell from Colab Wine Merchants took us on a tour of Europe. Simon brought along some large wine glasses and some time was spent on discussing the virtues and differences that wine glasses can make to your wine experience. On to July for the mid-year dinner at the Trade Kitchen.

Off to Nelson for the August tasting with Waimea Estate. Over the years Waimea has gathered 150+ Gold Medals and 26 Trophies across nine different wine styles. Nelson producers are right up there as a wine region. Cenna Lloyd for Negociants presented in September. She presented wines from two wineries, Misha’s Vineyard and Two Paddocks, both from Central Otago. Much enjoyed by those who attended and really great orders from a smaller group attending.

In October we celebrated the Rugby World Cup with a selection of wines from countries competing in the Cup. Keith Tibble was the presenter. November saw the very early return of Cenna Lloyd for the South American wine and food match evening outlined below. Cenna had been to South American after presenting in September and was keen to share her experience.

It only remains to anticipate yet another December Dinner. We have been to Cashmere Lounge before and we are sure you will not be disappointed.

Best wishes for the festive season.

Cheers
Robin Semmens
Editor

Seifried Estate Shines with Sauvignon Blanc – Seven Gold Medals and Best of Show

Quality and consistency have put Seifried Family Winemakers on the map with their 2019 Nelson Sauvignon Blanc releases – awarded a combined haul of seven gold medals and the “Best of Show” trophy.

The winery’s premium Aotea by the Seifried Family Sauvignon Blanc 2019 has been awarded three gold medals across New Zealand and international wine shows, including the title ‘Best of Show NZ White’ in the MUNDUS VINI 2019 in Germany. Their Seifried Nelson Sauvignon Blanc 2019 has now achieved its fourth gold medal since release to market.

Both Sauvignon Blancs have just been awarded gold medals at the 2019 New Zealand Wine of the Year™ (the official NZ wine industry competition, replacing the Air New Zealand Wine Awards). Recognition at these awards is particularly huge, given the hundreds of entries. An accolade at this competition is about celebrating New Zealand winemaking excellence, and is a win that is proudly shared among the whole team at Seifried.

Seifried Estate says that although it is a small grape growing region, Nelson’s climate and talent for crafting world class wine is clear. “We’re so proud of the recognition for our team’s commitment and hard work to making great wines. We’re also very proud of Nelson / Tasman and our fellow growers and producers, many who, like us, started from humble beginnings.

Combining the famous creative artisan spirit with the soil and climate in this special place at the centre of New Zealand, Nelson is a region known for some of the finest food and beverage products in the world.

We’re incredibly proud to call this place home.” – Seifried Estate Sales and Marketing Manager, Anna Seifried.

The third generation of Seifried family carry on the legacy during this year’s harvest.
Photo credit: Chocolate Dog Studio.

Proven over time – a snapshot of achievements:

The accolades begin with New Zealand’s most awarded dessert wine, Seifried Winemakers Collection Sweet Agnes Riesling. Awards include ‘Champion Sweet Wine’ at the 2015 Air New Zealand Wine Awards, as well as ‘Best New Zealand Sweet’ at the UK Decanter World Wine Awards 2017 – to name a few.

Seifried Nelson Pinot Noir has had its share of recognition and was named as a “Rising Star” in the ‘2019 Great New Zealand Pinot Noir Classification’ which lists only the top quarter of New Zealand’s Pinot Noir producers.

It’s not always the garden varieties associated with Nelson or New Zealand either. Aotea by the Seifried Family Méthode Traditionnelle NV took out the ‘WineWorks Champion Sparkling Wine’ at the 2017 Air New Zealand Wine Awards.

The family is working hard with some lesser known varietals too, such as the Seifried Nelson Würzer, an aromatic white wine found only in very small quantities, even in its home country of Germany. Seifried Nelson Zweigelt, the Austrian classic, made with a Kiwi twist is another – “Great stuff for someone looking for something different. Real presence and grip.

Further information –

Aotea by the Seifried Family Nelson Sauvignon Blanc 2019
‘Best of Show New Zealand White’ – MUNDUS VINI 2019 Summer Tasting, Germany
Gold – MUNDUS VINI 2019 Summer Tasting, Germany
Gold – New Zealand Wine of the Year™ 2019, New Zealand
Gold – AWC Vienna 2019, Austria
94 Points – Bob Campbell MW, ©The Real Review, therealreview.com, August 2019

Seifried Nelson Sauvignon Blanc 2019
Gold – New Zealand Wine of the Year™ 2019, New Zealand
Gold – The New Zealand International Wine Show 2019, New Zealand
Gold – AWC Vienna 2019, Austria
Gold – MUNDUS VINI 2019 Summer Tasting, Germany
93 Points – Cameron Douglas MS, The Shout, August 2019, New Zealand

List of recent awards

New Zealand Wine of the Year™
GOLD: Aotea by the Seifried Family Sauvignon Blanc 2019
GOLD: Seifried Nelson Sauvignon Blanc 2019
Silver: Seifried Nelson Gewurztraminer 2019

25th Grand International Wine Award MUNDUS vini
“Best of Show New Zealand white”: Aotea by the Seifried Family Nelson Sauvignon Blanc 2019
GOLD: Aotea by the Seifried Family Nelson Sauvignon Blanc 2019
GOLD: Seifried Nelson Sauvignon Blanc 2019

AWC Vienna – International Wine Challenge
GOLD: Aotea by the Seifried Family Sauvignon Blanc 2019
GOLD: Seifried Nelson Sauvignon Blanc 2019
Silver: Old Coach Road Nelson Sauvignon Blanc 2019

NZ International Wine Show
GOLD: Seifried Nelson Sauvignon Blanc 2019
GOLD: Seifried Winemakers Collection Nelson ‘Sweet Agnes’ Riesling 2019
Silver: Seifried Nelson Riesling 2019
Silver: Seifried Nelson Pinot Noir Rosé 2019

Contact
SEIFRIED ESTATE
Chris Seifried – Winemaker
Email: chris
Tel: +64 3 544 5599
Cell: +64 21 544 750
www.seifried.co.nz

Rugby World Cup – Keith Tibble – Eurovintage, Oct 2019

The Rugby World Cup might not have panned out as we would have hoped but this did not include our October tasting.

It was great to have Keith Tibble presenting again. Keith has been a valuable contact for our club and has been responsible for a number of great tastings over the years.

I don’t have a list of the wines that were tasted but my information is that as usual Keith was easy to deal with and came up with a format for the evening that worked well. A Gin and Tonic was the quaffer to represent Ireland and England. Feedback received from one member indicated that it was the best tasting in years. It was lots of fun as attendees turned up in their rugby gear. Having a similar theme tasting for the Olympics in 2020 could be a great idea for the committee to consider.

 

Newsletter, Save the Date, Dinner

Newsletter

Rest easy team, I am back. I would like to follow up on Wayne‘s message re the bit of disorganisation over the newsletter. Much has been happening in the last couple of months and Pat and I have spent six weeks in Sydney and are still getting back into a groove. Overseas visitors and other activities have further impacted. Please bear with us, things will come right in time. Some really excellent events coming up over the next year so there is much to look forward to.

Save the Date

This feature will continue over the next few months with the March event being the first of 3 special themed events your committee is planning in 2020 to celebrate our 40th anniversary. A full calendar of events will be sent out separately so you can update your diaries.

Dinner

Please find attached the menu for the December Dinner. The second attachment is the payment advice for the November tasting. This includes a section allowing you to indicate preferences for the Dinner. The ability to let the restaurant know our requirements in advance is of benefit in keeping costs down.

See you there Wednesday,

Cheers
Robin Semmens
Editor

Winemaking in Central Otago

Did you know?

The first winemaker attracted to Central Otago was John Desiré Feraud who came to the area during the Dunstan gold rush of 1862, and after investing in a claim became rich overnight. Feraud, who was from a French winemaking family, recognised the potential for grape growing, and leased 40 hectares in Clyde where he planted the first wine grapes in 1864.

Over the next 20 years, he made a variety of wines even winning a prize for his Burgundy-style wine in Sydney in 1881. His farm, named Monte Christo Gardens, was an extensive garden of fruit trees, vegetables and 1200 vines, along with a winery which still stands today.

During this period, viticulturalist Romeo Bragato also visited Central Otago and declared the area as one of great potential for grape growing. However Feraud and Bragato’s enthusiasm for grape-growing did not spread to others and when Feraud left the region, commercial winemaking ceased. Over the next hundred years, no one tried to grow grapes again and the focus for Central Otago was on sheep farming and fruit production.

It wasn’t until the late 1970s/early 1980s that grapes were once again planted with the first commercial wines being produced again in 1987. So it’s been a little over 20 years since the riches of the land have been rediscovered.

2 iconic Central Otago wineries presented by Cenna Lloyd, Negociants

The wines tasted:

  • 2018  Two Paddocks’ Single Vineyard Pinot Rose
  • 2017 Misha’s Cantata Pinot Noir
  • 2018 Two Paddocks’ Pinot Noir
  • 2017 Two Paddocks’ Riesling
  • 2015 Misha’s Limelight Riesling
  • 2019 Misha’s Dress Circle Pinot Gris
  • 2018 Misha’s The Cadenza Late Harvest Gewürztraminer

     

For the 19 members and 1 guest that attended, this was a great tasting as evidenced by the fact that 101 bottles were ordered, such was the quality and pricing.

The low turnout was a disappointment but upon reflection, there were 3 couples overseas and another 4 people that contacted us beforehand and apologised because of sickness. These were 10 people that almost always attend and that, coupled with other regulars I have since heard were either out of town or sick, probably explains the low turn out. It can happen sometimes.

Cenna began her tasting presentation explaining the locations of Two Paddocks and Misha vineyards and as luck would have it, the wines presented covered the 4 main Central Otago sub-regions of Alexandra, Bannockburn, Gibbston Valley and Bendigo, Not covered was the area around Pisa Moorings or Wanaka.

She went onto explain that the reason for tasting the 2 Pinot Noirs first was so that any residual sweetness in our mouth from the whites would not destroy the delicacy of the 2017 Misha ‘Cantata’ Pinot Noir. All 3 red wines were excellent reflections of their styles but I especially enjoyed the savoury notes each had as compared to the dominate cherry flavours that tend to be more evident in other Central Otago Pinot Noirs.

The surprising wine of the night was Misha’s 2015 ‘Limelight’ Riesling. 4 years on, it still had a bright fresh citrusy flavour, This was a medium style Riesling with 34 grams/litre of residual sugar and I especially liked its delightful lingering finish. It’s hardly surprising to find later that wine writers have given this wine 5 stars. And to the surprise of everyone present, Jenny joyfully announced that she had finally found a white that she liked.

Misha’s 2019 ‘Dress Circle’ Pinot Gris was another of their whites to find great support from members. It had flavours of pear, citrus and spice, This is a very pleasing aromatic wine that will go well with Asian cuisine, which is hardly surprising, given that the owners worked in Asia for 16 years and set out to develop wines that would suit Asian as well as Western foods.

Of the two wineries, my personal favourite was Misha Vineyards with their theatrical named wines. So it was only fitting that the finale for the night was their 2018 ‘The Cadenza’ Late Harvest Gewurztraminer. This medium-sweet wine had aromas of apricot making it an
excellent match with fruit-driven desserts or with soft cheeses. As I said earlier, a great tasting.