Nearly 25% of Central Otago’s vineyard land is now producing certified organic grapes, according to a new survey, results of which were released last week by the Central Otago Winegrowers Association (COWA). The aim of the survey was to assess the level of certified organic and biodynamic vineyard production in Central Otago. Results revealed that 17% (320 hectares) of vineyard land in Central is now fully certified in organic and biodynamic production, with another 6% (115 hectares) in the official three year organic conversion process. This means that 23% of Central’s vineyard land is now being farmed under certified organic and biodynamic practices.

The region has had a long term focus on organics, says Aotearoa New Zealand Fine Wine Estates Estate Manager and COWA Chairperson Nick Paulin.

Organics has been a long term focus for Central Otago winemakers who agreed to move towards a collective approach to adopting organic practices in 2007. Funding received from Organics Aotearoa New Zealand (OANZ) helped the region’s winemakers to implement a pilot programme  to support winemakers to transition towards organic practices.

Organic Winegrowers New Zealand (OWNZ) has also helped to achieve this high proportion of certified organic wine through projects such as the Organic Focus Vineyard project and other  workshops.  

  • Land must be managed to a certified organic standard for three years before full organic status is granted by an organic certifying body.