24 Aug 2012

Sustainability needs to step up - grapegrower

11:25 pm on 24 August 2012

A Hawke's Bay grapegrower who was one of the pioneers of an integrated management programme for winegrowing, says the bar for sustainable grape growing and wine making needs to be lifted.

New Zealand Winegrowers sustainable winegrowing chairman Mal McLennan told the annual Romeo Bragato conference in Blenheim there's been considerable progress since the concept was first floated about 18 years ago.

But he says more needs to be done to underpin use of the sustainability label.

"It's not just going to be about fixing past damages - it's going to be about improving things," he says.

"Sometimes soils are little bit fragile - if we can improve those soils through our management practices ... we will have a more durable industry."

Growers are trying to use increased grass cover and improve biodiversity in their vineyards, he says.