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the inside scoop

Organic & Biodynamic Winegrowing Conference

As printed in the current edition of WINEPRESS magazine, Editor Sophie Preece interviewed OWNZ's marketing & events manager Stephanie McIntyre to get the inside scoop on their upcoming conference.


The Organic and Biodynamic Winegrowing Conference is on in Marlborough from June 25 to 27. Organiser Stephanie McIntyre spills the (organic) beans on what to expect...

SP: The inaugural 2017 event was a hit. How will you keep it fresh?

Honestly, it’s not difficult. Organics is a dynamic sector of the wine industry and every day I, and the conference committee members, come across new people, research, data and trials that speak to the benefits of organic and biodynamic grape growing. Our job is to distil this info into a succinct list of 30 speakers. Our biggest challenge is ensuring that our conference engages the whole audience, as our delegates will include conventional growers through to biodynamic pioneers. Each year we work to a theme, which this year is Vitality, and this helps us streamline a programme that could otherwise get unruly. We work hard to ensure balance between viticulture, winemaking and marketing, and spend more than a year sourcing charismatic, innovative and informative speakers.

OWNZ's conference committee. (LtoR) Stephanie McIntyre, Bart Arnst, Fabiano Frangi, Clive Dougall

SP: What’s one of the highlights this year?

Just one? From within New Zealand, I am going to say it’s The Bugman, Ruud Kleinpaste. He is such a personality and backs it up with immense knowledge and experience around entomology, the study of insects and their relationship to humans, the environment and other organisms. It is really fascinating stuff.

SP: What’s the biggest myth about organic and biodynamic winegrowing?

Probably that it isn’t viable at a commercial level. I know that it takes effort and an initial financial outlay to convert, but the benefits to the land and the consumer absolutely outweigh the short-term hardships. We have a couple of keynote speakers this year who we hope will lessen concerns in this area.

2019 conference speakers include (LtoR) Dog Point Vineyards, Vaughn Bell, Waikaitu, Ruud Kleinpaste, Emiliana Vineyards, Sophie Otton

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