On-site winemaker at Wineworks’ in Auckland, Renée Dale found her Romeo Bragato Exchange win reinvigorated her passion for Bachelor of Wine Science studies at EIT.
From the 500 delegates, through to the speakers, the Prime Minister to the board of New Zealand Winegrowers, there was a feeling of quiet satisfaction at having made it through some tough times.
The theme of New Horizons was accurate, as the conference dealt with the issues of where we are heading and what we have to achieve to get there. It was a case of not looking back and wringing our hands at bad times that have been, rather a case of looking forward to a very bright future.
The Honourable John Key, who opened the conference, was quick to point out that the New Zealand wine industry is a benchmark for other industries.
“Everything that was wrong with New Zealand, was personified in the wine industry years ago,” he said. “It was a very closed environment – fortress New Zealand. But look at the industry today – our wines are holding their own against some of the best in the world. New Zealand wines across the board are doing fantastically well. Why? Because the wine industry realised it just could not succeed if it didn’t lift its game. So you ripped out your plants, you fundamentally produced better quality stock and now you have Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Noir – grapes that the world wants to buy. You blazed a trail on fantastic product and quality. My sense is that the optimism in the industry is very strong. You are doing it off your own creativity, using science, research, marketing and a brilliant product with world-class winemakers. That is the New Zealand story.”
So we are doing alright – but the message to come out of Bragato was; we could do even more, because there are many countries lining up behind us, all too keen to take our place.
That was evident in all the discussions around sustainability. In our feature article, Where to From Here? (page 10) we delve into the potential for our sustainable programme. While we led the world with Sustainable Winegrowing and have 94 percent of the industry involved, there is more required.
Does the word sustainability even mean anything to the consumer? I had to agree with one of the delegates who asked why there was no mention of legacy in our sustainable story. Especially given the process is all about leaving a legacy for the next and future generations.
Could something along the lines of New Zealand Wine – A Sustainable
Legacy be a way of getting that message across?
Yes the New Zealand Wine Industry is doing alright. In fact we are better than alright – but none of us can rest on our laurels. We need to keep breaking new ground and ensuring we remain at the top of the pack.