Fonterra's record payout for organic milk reflects the value of being certified organic, according to Brendan Hoare, Buy Pure NZ managing director.
Currently 5.4% of all viticulture land in New Zealand is certified organic and over 12.5% of winegrowers have at least one certified organic vineyard. BioGro is the premier certifier for New Zealand's organic wine industry. Around 95% of all certified viticulture land is currently certified with BioGro.
Although "20% by 2020" seems awe-inspiring, BioGro believes it is a goal that is very achievable. Organic wine production is making steady progress amongst New Zealand's prominent winemaking regions. Over the last 20 years New Zealand's organic wine production has grown exponentially.
The newest figures show that New Zealand is not only on par with the rest of the world, but we are global leaders.
Organic winegrowing is more than spray or residue free. It is a holistic approach to farming where the health of the soil and environment is prioritised, including the surrounding flora and fauna. Vine and grape health is built from the ground up. Having to eschew the use of routine synthetic pesticides means vines and soil quickly gain vast improvements in health, nutrience and fertility.
But as we know, organic production takes skill, attention to detail and commitment. It is backed with science, practical techniques and independent certification.
Because of this BioGro recognises that New Zealand winegrowers need support to become certified organic.
New Zealand's organic industry as a whole is built on networks and connections. It is helpful to be informed and prepared about certification and the transition to organic before taking the step. This is where BioGro's newest organic service comes in.
Launched in November 2014, BioGro's Initial Contact Meetings are the industry's newest on-boarding programme to help make it easier for anyone to 'go organic.'
The Initial Contact Meetings have so far proved increasingly popular with over 25 farmers, producers and manufacturers taking part, including wine brands and growers.
BioGro's CEO Donald Nordeng says the Initial Contact Meetings are a critical part of assisting winegrowers transition to organic production. "The idea around the Initial Contact Meetings is to give people thinking about organic production an opportunity to learn about what's involved and how it can benefit them."
As part of an Initial Contact Meeting a BioGro auditor visits your vineyard or operation to gain a better insight into your brand and business. They provide an in-depth overview about BioGro, the transition process and organic management. They also assess how viable your property and winemaking facilities are in becoming certified.
Commencing an Initial Contact Meeting, BioGro provides you with an initial application pack and a personalised evaluation report. Each meeting is 1-2 hours and costs $150 plus GST. However if certification is applied for within three months of the initial visit, BioGro will deduct 50% of the Initial Contact Meeting fee off the application for certification.
BioGro sees their role (not only in organics but New Zealand as a whole) as enabling a sustainable and ethical future for producers and consumers. Organic certification has been the way they have supported and implemented this vision.
With an image of clean and green, New Zealand has an enviable image amongst overseas markets and consumers. BioGro's Initial Contact Meetings are the first step for a winegrower or wine brand to be part of this image, and part of the "20% by 2020" vision.
BioGro certification enables wine brands to communicate their sustainable and organic story, and tap into the growing consumer demand for organic wine worldwide.
Want to know more? Visit www.biogro.co.nz to apply for BioGro certification or an Initial Contact Meeting.