The Shout Magazine (New Zealand)

Central Otago winery takes out Farm Environment Award

Central Otago wine company Te Kano Estate has taken out the Agri-Science award at the Farm Environment Awards held last week.

Owned by Keith and Rhonda Lloyd, Northburn is one of four Te Kano vineyards which together deliver everything from grape to glass.

The 120ha (41ha effective) Northburn vineyard is located in the landscape of Cromwell and is managed by Mark Naismith and winemaker Dave Sutton.

Since 2015, it has been transformed from dryland sheep country to an irrigated vineyard surrounded by large areas of native plants.

The team is focused on developing a premium product and they’re achieving this by using innovative techniques tailored to the land.

The judges said they were impressed with the company’s awareness of the environment, partially based on soil maps that were generated by ground-penetrating radar before planting.

Since then, they’ve gradually built organic matter by using such things as cover crops, mulching and crimping, while also introducing organic approaches.

Owner Rhonda Lloyd says that winning the award was the culmination of several years of planning and hard work.

“It is a wonderful accolade for our team and testament to their hard work. It shows us we are on the right track and our vision to create exceptional wine, whilst giving back to the land can be a reality.”

The judges commended the significant areas of native planting, largely using eco-sourced seeds that are grown at an on-site native plant nursery. As well as attracting native wildlife, the rejuvenated areas are protecting streams.

Northburn is seen as a multi-generational project, with this vision guiding decision-making and setting the vineyard up to ensure its best vintages are still to come.

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