New Zealand has long prided itself on its clean, green image.
Our unspoilt landscape is rich in natural resources, providing the ideal growing conditions for many agricultural industries, including winemaking, which we are fortunate to be apart of.
In the tradition of Kaitiakitanga (guardianship) of Papatuanuku (earth mother) we are focused on conserving our fertile lands and nurturing this truly magnificent gift for future generations of Maori to enjoy and prosper from.
As a sign of our commitment to our environment, Tohu's winery and vineyards are Sustainable Winegrowing New Zealand (SWNZ) certified. SWNZ was established in 1995 by volunteer grape growers and is managed by New Zealand Winegrowers — New Zealand's national wine industry body. In 1997 the programme was commercially introduced to the wine industry and by 2010 all wines entered in New Zealand's premier wine competition — the Air New Zealand Wine Awards — must be certified SWNZ as a minimum entry requirement. This stipulation will prompt the majority of New Zealand wine producers to be certified SWNZ, which is a huge commitment to the industry's collective values in environmental sustainability.
The SWNZ programme was developed to provide a "best practice" model for environmental sustainability in the vineyard and winery. Displaying the SWNZ logo guarantees a quality assurance from the vineyard through to the bottle for consumers enjoying our wines. The SWNZ programme also addresses growing concerns regarding the environment and the impact grape and wine production has on the landscape.
Being apart of SWNZ provides Tohu with a framework to assist our viticultural practises and protect the environment, whilst efficiently and economically producing premium grapes. This includes vineyard practices such as:
- Pest & Disease monitoring to assist with spray programs, this is as apposed to calendar spraying, ensuring that agrichemical selection is targeted and we spray only areas as required
- Agrichemical review pre-season to include post season review, products, costs, effectiveness, considering BioGro certified sprays
- Record use of fuel for all machinery
- Identify areas where "best practices" can be achieved
- Monitoring water use by recording pump efficiency, irrigation scheduling
- Planting native plant species in areas outside of vine production, restoring the native vegetation to the vineyard
- Use of sheep to graze grasses and weeds (at least 4 months of year) results in no need to mow and or spray, improving soil health and saving on fuel and spray costs as well as carbon emissions
- Staff attend SWNZ workshops on various topics to continually improve skill and knowledge base
- Completing annual spray diaries and scorecards
- Auditing by SWNZ to ensure the integrity of the programme is upheld
- The following is carried out in the winery in order to adhere to SWNZ stipulations, such as:
- Marlborough Vintners must be fully compliant with local and govt legislation i.e. Resource Management Act, District Plan, building consents, water and discharge rights
- Wastewater at Marlborough Vintners is clarified and irrigated onto a neighbouring paddock that is being developed into a tree lot with the neighbouring property
- By-products, includes lees are collected and disposed of through waste recyclers in Blenheim
- Staff are trained in minimising water and additives, such as chemical cleaners etc, to ensure minimal impact on the environment.
Key to the enduring success and integrity of the SWNZ programme is the format for continual improvement in our operational activities. Annually we are audited to ensure we are adhering to these guidelines.
Looking towards the future, Tohu is assessing a variety of environmental programmes to join and cement our commitment to Papatuanuku.