Conference inspires, educates
The 2017 Organic and Biodynamic Winegrowing Conference has built on the success of the previous inaugural conference in 2015, with overwhelmingly positive feedback from delegates, and also highlighted areas of interest for future conferences.
Organic Winegrowers New Zealand (OWNZ) events and marketing manager Stephanie McIntyre says the committee worked tirelessly to secure a range of speakers to inspire, educate, and entertain this year’s conference, held in Marlborough.
This conference, themed Liquid, Life & Label, covered three significant topics.
“Water and microbiology featured strongly, with a variety of specialists sharing their research and discoveries,” she says.
These include Netafim agronomist Jamie Zapp, who helps growers throughout Australia to understand their crop’s water and fertilizer requirements, maximising their yields and improving their on-farm efficiencies.
He discussed his work developing, investigating and demonstrating sub-surface irrigation.
Carsten Heinmeyer from 2B Concept Consulting brought a wealth of knowledge, practical experience, and scientific research to the conference focused primarily on yeasts and microbiology.
Scientist in AgResearch, Lincoln’s Soil Biology group Dr Nicole Schon talked about her current research into earthworms and the benefits they bring to our ecosystems, and what can be done to enhance their populations.
Lincoln University associate professor Dr Hayley Ridgway spoke about the interaction of arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi with grapevines, the benefits of these associations, and how viticulturists can enhance these microbial communities in their soil ecosystems.
On the third featured topic , marketing, OWNZ conference shared insights and stories, and challenges and successes in the marketing of organic wine.
Speakers on this topic included Huckleberry chief operating officer Richard Lees, who has taken New Zealand’s leading organic grocery company from three stores and 70 staff to 12 stores and close to 250 staff in the past two years.
He says organics is now a global commercial movement, and New Zealand needs to embrace the chance afforded to us to develop robust, collaborative, and coherent strategies to see organic products continue to develop into the future.
Wine writer, radio and television host, and co-founder of personalised wine delivery service WineFriend, Yvonne Lorkin, has a close consumer connection through her various roles, shared her learnings from this ever-changing market with the OWNZ conference, looking directly at organic and biodynamic wines and the affiliated consumer interest.
Other speakers included wine writers, wine judges, organic and biodynamic winegrowers, BioGro CEO Donald Nordeng, and Olympian and marathon rowing champion Rob Hamill for a motivational message which links his passion for water and a sustainable future with OWNZ’s values and vision.
Chef Bevan Smith of Riverstone Cafe, Oamaru, was back by popular demand for the conference’s Organic Feast, again delivering a meal to remember.
The conference closed with the International Organic Tasting, with a selection of wines carefully curated by Clive Dougall of Seresin Estate, liaising closely with Dan Gillett of Wine Diamonds and Scotch Wine Bar to secure an impressive tasting line-up.
“This tasting reaffirms the place of organic wines in the global wine world, and highlights that some of the world’s best fall into this category,” Stephanie says.