Updated: Aug 1, 2019
To help our growing membership keep track of each other, we run a Q&A with a certified organic OWNZ member in each issue of Organic Matters. Here is our interview with Francis Hutt of Carrick Wines from our current Summer issue.
Carrick are no strangers to organic production or to accolades. Still, their scooping both new organic trophies at the recent New Zealand Wine of the Year Awards turned some heads...
Where are your vineyard and winery located?
Bannockburn, Central Otago
What’s your role in the business?
Winemaker & General Manager
What varieties do you grow, and how much of each?
Pinot Noir 14Ha
Pinot Gris 2.5Ha
Sauvignon Blanc 1.5Ha
Pinot Blanc 1.0Ha
How long has your operation been certified organic?
Started conversion with BioGro in 2008, received the block of wood in 2011.
What inspired you personally to get involved in organic production?
A number of brilliant people along the way and the disbelief of the mindless behaviour of some others.
What are the biggest challenges for your company around growing organically?
Communicating its value to our customers. This extends to all our staff, all our suppliers and all those other key partners like our distributors.
We achieved organic certification in 2008; we had to pay for auditing and do all this extra stuff just to prove that we don’t do what everyone else does in terms of what they put into their wines and onto their land.
I wonder what it would be like if it was the other way round? If organics were the norm, and anyone adding extra stuff to their wine had to have a label saying so. New Zealand cannot be far away from mandatory ingredient labelling on wine, and a bit of onus put onto the farmer as well. In that regard I think BioGro has really helped to future-proof our business in the form of operational excellence.
What’s an interesting experiment or innovation you’ve tried in producing organically?
We have been making some natural wines for the past few years, lots of fun. 100% grapes, no preservatives, zero additives and super delicious.
What reflections do you notice in your vineyards and wines that you believe are related to your organic status?
Carrick is all about people and place; this is in our emblem the Carrick Knot, which ties these two entities together. The benefits I see are twofold. The workers in the vineyard, from employees that have been with us for a decade to the backpackers working in the vineyards for six months – it feels good to reduce the chemicals they face (literally) on a daily basis. It’s not hard to extend this concept to the land and the river that borders our property. The benefits for the consumer of the wine are less processing, and of course quality. Organic viticulture has given us better tasting grapes, and in our single vineyard scenario the wines have become a true representation of the tūrangawaewae, their sense of place.
Do you have any particular aspirations for the future?
Make delicious wine.
travelling to central otago? don't forget to visit francis and team carrick!
Carrick winery incorporates a cellar door and restaurant that overlooks the spectacular Bannockburn Inlet. The restaurant was opened in 2002 and has received many accolades.Open daily - 11am to 4pmBook by phone at 03.445.3480 or send an email.For more information, check out the Carrick website.