Certified organic Muddy Water Pinot Noir, Riesling and Chardonnay to be available from 2011.
Muddy Water winery – a small family owned vineyard in Waipara, North Canterbury – has become Certified Fully Organic under the AsureQuality Organics Programme.
“What this means for wine lovers in New Zealand, and around the world, is that certified organic vintages of our widely acclaimed Muddy Water Pinot Noir, Riesling and Chardonnay will be available from 2011,” says Muddy Water owner, Jane East.
“Since establishing Muddy Water in the early 90s and beginning wine production in 2001, we have always taken steps to ensure our business meets our own sustainability objectives – both in our grape growing and wine production methods. To have our commitment to environmentally sound farming and business practices formally recognised is very exciting.”
Muddy Water chose AsureQuality as their certifier as it meets the strict international standards set down by IFOAM, USDA NOP and NZFSA.
“We could have simply gone down the path of marketing our wine as being produced using ‘organic principles’. But we knew we were already adopting many sustainable practices and with some changes to the way we did things could achieve full certification,” says Jane.
The team has been working towards certification since 2007, and considers being recognised as Certified Fully Organic, effective 1 October 2010, to be a significant milestone for the business.
“It’s impossible to ignore the marketing opportunity available to the New Zealand wine industry by building on our clean, green image and leading the world in the production of high-end organic wines,” says Jane. “We are definitely pleased to be one of the first few New Zealand wineries to take up this opportunity, but for us being recognised as fully organic has always been about more than this.”
The Muddy Water owners, Jane and her husband Mike East, firmly believe that organic production is better for the team out in the vineyard, better for the long term sustainability of the land and actually results in a better quality wine that expresses the special characteristics of the Waipara area.
Vineyard Manager, Miranda Brown has been leading the changes in grape growing and wine production methods, enabling Muddy Water to become Certified Full Organic.
“Since 2007, there have been a few significant and noticeable changes to the way we do things at Muddy Water, and a number of less noticeable ones,” says Miranda.
“Going through this process has definitely made me a better viticulturist, as I need to spend more time managing the vines, anticipating potential issues and proactively taking steps to deal to issues early.”
A key change is that weeds are controlled by cultivating under the vine instead of herbicide use. Many of the persistent weeds that can cause problems have disappeared, replaced with non-competing species such as clover and plantain.
Another big shift is in the way pests are controlled – by planting flowers such as buckwheat and phacelia, wasps and hoverflies are attracted that attack the pest species. Diseases are controlled with sulphur, seaweed, compost teas and biological fungicides such as Trichoderma sp.
The organic practices of the vineyard follow on into the winery with the use of wild yeasts, no additions to the wines and unfiltered bottling whenever possible.
“Waipara has the ideal climate for organic wine production – with its long hot summers and dry autumns. We hope a number of other wineries in the region follow our lead and help make Waipara famous for producing top quality organic wines,” says Miranda.