Central Otago Winegrowers Association (COWA) has announced the results of a new survey that reveals it as the leading organic wine region in New Zealand.
The association conducted a survey of members after the 2019 harvest to assess the level of certified organic and biodynamic vineyards Central Otago. Results showed that 17% (320 hectares) of vineyard land in Central is now fully certified in organic and biodynamic production with another 6% (115 hectares) of the region in the official three year organic conversion process. Land must be managed to a certified organic standard for three years before full organic status is granted by an organic certifying body; the leading one in New Zealand being BioGro NZ.
This means 23% of the region’s vineyard land is now being farmed under certified organic or biodynamic practices.
Organics has been a long term focus forCentral Otago's winemakers. In 2007, Central Otago Winegrowers Association members gave a clear directive to move towards a collective approach to adopting organic practices. Moving towards achieving this goal was accelerated by funding received from Organics Aotearoa New Zealand (OANZ) to design and implement a pilot programme for Central Otago to support winegrowers to transition towards becoming organic.
Organic Winegrowers New Zealand (OWNZ) has been instrumental in helping to achieve this high proportion of organic winegrowing, through projects such as the Organic Focus Vineyard project and other industry-led workshops.