Friday, 11 October 2019 07:15

Challenged to think and do

Written by  Tessa Nicholson

The year 2050 was mentioned often in this year’s Bragato Conference.

Nearly everyone from keynote speaker Jack Bobo, to the Bayer Young Vit finalists brought it up. Why? Because 31 years from now, the landscape of New Zealand wine is bound to look very different from the one we currently experience. Just what the differences will be is hard to quantify, but the conference ensured that those attending had the chance to consider the challenges that the industry might face.

Whether that be climate change or the introduction of GMO’s, new breeding techniques or a changing tourist market, growing resilience to synthetic chemicals or a major bio security risk. All are challenges that will need to be addressed sooner rather than later.

The Challenge was thrown out there before the Bragato Conference even began with a Hawke’s Bay organic producer claiming the event was heavily weighted with a pro-genetic modification line up. John Bostock was “outraged” according to Stuff NZ, that Jack Bobo, the CEO of Futurity and an advocate for genetic modification was one the guest speakers on day one of the conference. Bostock believed the conference was heavily weighted towards GM concerns.

In his opening speech, New Zealand Winegrower Board Chairman, John Clarke refuted the claims, making it very clear where NZW stands in terms of genetic modification. 

 “To challenge you this year we have many sessions covering a wide range of topics. One of these sessions is on plant genetics and on new breeding technologies (NBT’s). Some people have taken from
this that we are supporters of GM – genetic modification. Let me be very clear. We do not support GM and I doubt we ever will. 

“We see no reason why our industry should not have a discussion about the role that new breeding technologies could, may, or might have in our future. That discussion can only happen if we have an informed industry, hence the session this year.”

The subject material was timely, thought provoking and for many energising. Ben Wickham, from Ormond Nurseries summed up the feeling of the conference better than anyone, when he told me: “After being in the industry for 44 years, it’s more exciting now than ever before.”

Over the next few pages, we take a closer look at some of the many thought-provoking subjects raised at Bragato 2019. Plus, we talk to the newly crowned Bayer Young Viticulturist of the Year, Simon Gourley. 

The challenges have been set, now members have the opportunity to think about them and take informed action. 

More like this

Rules driving farmers out

New farming rules around sustainability are driving elderly farmers out of the dairy industry, says agri-economist Phil Journeaux.

Dairy awards events canned

Organisers of the NZ Dairy Industry Awards have called off the rest of regional award dinners and the national finals.

New Frontiers – Q&A

Bragato Research Institute Chief Executive MJ Loza has had a busy 18 months, helping drive the establishment and development of the national wine research centre, based in Blenheim.


ANZCO makes a $30m profit

Meat company ANZCO Foods recorded its best-ever revenue of $1.7b and a net profit before tax of $30.6m for the year ended 31 December 2019.


M. bovis – we’re making headway

Ministry for Primary Industries chief science adviser, Dr John Roche on the indications New Zealand is winning the fight against Mycoplasma bovis.

Delays ruled out on water reforms

Delaying the introduction of new water reforms was not an option according to the two cabinet Ministers directly involved – Environment Minister David Parker and Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor.

$700m for freshwater clean up

The Government has announced a $700 million fund to support the primary sector and other groups in meeting new clean water standards.

» Latest Print Issues Online


Popular Reads

Breaking through the cloud

Two PhD students from Victoria University have developed a machine that could change the face of winemaking in New Zealand.

Green tea instead of Sulphur

A Marlborough winery is attempting to replace sulphur dioxide (SO2) from their organic Sauvignon Blanc with green tea.