Just as we go to print, New Zealand Winegrowers is celebrating the very first vines being planted in New Zealand. It was on 25 September 1819 that Reverend Samuel Marsden planted those vines in the grounds of the Stone Store in Kerikeri.
It would be some time however before the fruits of the vine became available to the people of New Zealand and there were many challenges to overcome in the interceding years. As there have been in the past 200.
To help celebrate the bicentennial, this issue we look back at some of our modern-day pioneers who have helped create the wine industry as we know it today. The challenges they undertook to get where they are and what they hope for in the future. None more so than our oldest winery, Mission Estate, founded in 1851. Plus, one man who has been a part of Mission for nearly a quarter of its 168 years, Paul Mooney, looks back at his role in the rich history of the company.
Just as there were challenges in getting from 1819 to today, there are certain to be more in the years ahead. Bragato 2019 focused on some of those, with the theme of Challenge, Think, Do. We have in-depth coverage of the conference that was both enlightening and thought provoking for all those attending.
If there is one challenge outside of climate change that is concerning those in the field, it is trunk disease. While none of the original vines planted 200 years ago are still around, those that are in the ground are facing a crisis of their own; age, and disease associated with age – grapevine trunk disease (GTD). Dr Richard Smart says GTD is a shadow hanging over the country’s largest wine region Marlborough and its aging Sauvignon Blanc vines. But he offers some solutions, that could help brighten the future.
So, from the challenges of 200 years ago, to the challenges that face us moving forward, this issue of NZWinegrowers offers up plenty of salient reading.