Friday, 11 October 2019 07:15

Challenged to think and do

Written by  Tessa Nicholson

The year 2050 was mentioned often in this year’s Bragato Conference.

Nearly everyone from keynote speaker Jack Bobo, to the Bayer Young Vit finalists brought it up. Why? Because 31 years from now, the landscape of New Zealand wine is bound to look very different from the one we currently experience. Just what the differences will be is hard to quantify, but the conference ensured that those attending had the chance to consider the challenges that the industry might face.

Whether that be climate change or the introduction of GMO’s, new breeding techniques or a changing tourist market, growing resilience to synthetic chemicals or a major bio security risk. All are challenges that will need to be addressed sooner rather than later.

The Challenge was thrown out there before the Bragato Conference even began with a Hawke’s Bay organic producer claiming the event was heavily weighted with a pro-genetic modification line up. John Bostock was “outraged” according to Stuff NZ, that Jack Bobo, the CEO of Futurity and an advocate for genetic modification was one the guest speakers on day one of the conference. Bostock believed the conference was heavily weighted towards GM concerns.

In his opening speech, New Zealand Winegrower Board Chairman, John Clarke refuted the claims, making it very clear where NZW stands in terms of genetic modification. 

 “To challenge you this year we have many sessions covering a wide range of topics. One of these sessions is on plant genetics and on new breeding technologies (NBT’s). Some people have taken from
this that we are supporters of GM – genetic modification. Let me be very clear. We do not support GM and I doubt we ever will. 

“We see no reason why our industry should not have a discussion about the role that new breeding technologies could, may, or might have in our future. That discussion can only happen if we have an informed industry, hence the session this year.”

The subject material was timely, thought provoking and for many energising. Ben Wickham, from Ormond Nurseries summed up the feeling of the conference better than anyone, when he told me: “After being in the industry for 44 years, it’s more exciting now than ever before.”

Over the next few pages, we take a closer look at some of the many thought-provoking subjects raised at Bragato 2019. Plus, we talk to the newly crowned Bayer Young Viticulturist of the Year, Simon Gourley. 

The challenges have been set, now members have the opportunity to think about them and take informed action. 

More like this

Bayer Young Vit of the Year

For the second year running an emerging leader from Central Otago has taken out the national title of Bayer Young Viticulturist of the Year.

A Forum for our Young Leaders

At the recent 200 year celebrations in the Bay of Islands, NZ Winegrowers was very pleased to announce a new development to support and encourage young leaders in the industry.

Gisborne turns it on

It was a first for New Zealand winegrowers, and an impressive welcome to overseas visitors.


No threat to farming from forestry

OPINION: There’s some agitation out there at the moment about farming being under threat from forestry. Much of what’s circulating is based on misinformation so it’s time to lay out the facts.


Women’s stories inspire many

Storytelling will help attract, retain and inspire the next generation in dairy farming, says Jules Benton, Dairy Women’s Network chief executive.

Pride is making a big comeback

Pride is returning to the dairy industry, says the new chair of Dairy Women’s Network, Karen Forlong, a Central Plateau farmer.

» Latest Print Issues Online


Popular Reads

Alcohol&Me reaches thousands

Initially established as an inhouse programme by Lion New Zealand, Alcohol&Me is now reaching nearly 30,000 New Zealanders.

Green tea instead of Sulphur

A Marlborough winery is attempting to replace sulphur dioxide (SO2) from their organic Sauvignon Blanc and replace it with green…