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Organic pioneer reaping rewards

Organic pioneer reaping rewards
Konrad Hengstler, managing director and co-owner of Konrad Wines with wife Sigrun, says producing organic wine gives his company a point of difference in a competitive industry.

Marlborough based Konrad Wines have been at the forefront of the organic wine industry in New Zealand and being early adopters is paying real dividends.

The company has just received a gold medal for its 2016 Konrad Single Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc at the recent 2017 New Zealand Organic Wine Awards.

“Out of 63 wines ours stood out. This shows we are producing consistently great wines in accordance with organic principles,” says company managing director Konrad Hengstler.

“Even though we don’t get a premiu m for producing organic wine it’s a big help in marketing it as it gives us a point of difference in a competitive industry.

‘We are on the wine list of top restaurants in cities such as Melbourne and around the world with organic wine becoming more appealing to consumers.”

Konrad Wines are fully owned by Konrad and wife Sigrun, who work alongside their team of professionals.

The decision to go organic was an easy one, says Konrad, to reduce environmental impact and create the opportunity to distinguish the brand within the consumer market.

He says that Marlborough produces high quality wines due to the high sunshine hours and cold nights, which gives the grapes a long, slow period of ripening.

“This is what gives our grapes fresh vibrant fruit flavours and aromas,” he explains.

“We are very proud of our range of wines and our key focus is on quality and a commitment to reasonable pricing that is value for money for the customer. Consistent flavours and quality have placed us as one of the top wine producers both nationally and internationally, where we now export to 19 countries around the world.”

Konrad, who visits all of the company’s distributors throughout the world annually, notes that in his time in Marlborough he has seen the industry develop.

For example the region has gone from producing green, grassy character sauvignon blanc, meant to be drunk quickly, to a more European style that is heavier on the mid palette and longer on the back palette and can be kept for five years in the cellar.

He says that New Zealand is now recognised as the number one wine producer in the world for high quality premium wines and New Zealand wine per litre is the most expensive wine being imported in the United Kingdom.

Konrad says that over the years there has been a steady growth in organics and the industry aim is to have 20% of all vineyards converted to organic by 2020.

He says Sauvignon Blanc is still trending, while varieties such as Riesling and Pinot Gris starting to trend while Pinot Noir is consistently popular.

There is an overall trend toward high quality aromatic wines.

“You can’t make good wine from bad grapes and it’s very hard to make bad wine from good grapes,” says Konrad.

“We’re constantly hands on in the vineyard as this is the most important part of producing quality wines.”

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