Wine Growing Continued
By nature viticulture activities are relatively less demanding on resource use including water and fertiliser use with much lower environmental impacts on water or soils.
Vines are irrigated with trickle irrigation systems and hence water wastage is minimal. Fertiliser needs for grape are also minimal. Any nitrogen fertilising (if needed) has to be managed carefully because excess N is likely to affect grape adversely than by a small N deficiency. With its very frugal use of resources viticulture could be an ideal land use in nitrogen sensitive catchments.
With a lower environmental foot print coupled with the highest revenue per land area, in the primary production sector, viticulture has proven to be at the top of the New Zealand sustainability ladder.
However, there are few issues a viticulturist needs to be aware of in terms of environmental management. Burning plant residues, pesticide use and waste water management are few issues to manage. Water permit is another issue that requires some attention particularly for new viticulture developers in water short catchments.
Wine growers are represented by the New Zealand Wine Growers Association. The Rural website also has some useful information on wine growing and wine. Other industries such as Irrigation New Zealand also provide useful information and support to viticulturists on irrigation matters.
What can you do to NZ’s sustainability?
Apart from choosing viticulture as a lifestyle profitability and environmental management should be the key factors to sustain wine production and New Zealand economy. To maintain or improve profitability, vine performance is critical for which (minimal) nutrients, frost/bird/pest protection and water are essential. Long-term profitability also improves with energy efficient practices.
Therefore as a viticulturist your main focus should be efficient, effective and proactive management of
- Pests (including birds)
- Plant residue
- Waste water
- Water and