We conduct research, produce educational resources, and hold field days and seminars to help growers learn about organic practices.
Our biggest research project to date was the Organic Focus Vineyard Project.
New organic growers often ask:
What are the steps to take a vineyard into organic production?
How do I manage weeds, pests and diseases organically?
How do the outcomes of organic production stack up against conventional growing methods?
What does it cost to grow organically?
We set up the Organic Focus Vineyard Project to offer some answers.
From 2011-2014, with funding from the Ministry of Primary Industries Sustainable Farming Fund and New Zealand Winegrowers, OWNZ conducted this project to document the realities of organic wine production.
Three prominent wineries, in three different wine regions, provided vineyard research sites. Each focus vineyard was split in half: one half to be managed conventionally, and the other converted to organic production.
Vineyard managers kept detailed records of their practices, field observations and yields. Financial operating costs, pest and disease incidence, soil health, water use, and fruit and wine quality were all monitored by independent researchers.
The results were highly positive. Organic growers faced no real increase in pest and disease levels, and were in most cases able to maintain desired yields. Wine quality from the organic vineyards was high.
Throughout the project, wine industry members followed the focus vineyards' organic conversion experiences in real time, through regional field days and blogs from each vineyard.