Respect for nature and an understanding of our role as custodian of the valleys in which we operate inspires our commitment to environmental positivity. We are mindful of conserving ecological balance, enriching and enhancing the environment all around us.
New Zealand is a unique land with many native animals, insects and plants that add to our uniqueness. Therefore, supporting, strengthening, and regenerating the natural habitats, landforms, flora and fauna that share the environment in which we operate is important.
- We have native planting projects surrounding the winery and on our vineyards, this combined with a pest control program and some inter-row planting trials are designed to help create healthy, thriving ecosystems around our land.
- Many New Zealand native trees, insects and animals are particularly susceptible to the effects of invasive pests. To protect these natives and to foster a healthy, thriving ecosystem, Whitehaven has implemented a full pest trapping programme across all company owned vineyards.
- We implement initiatives to preserve and enhance the quality of waterways, soil and topography within the environment in which we operate.
- We are doing some trial work in our vineyards to incorporate more biodiversity and greater resilience. Seeds are directly sown into the grass sward between rows, our aim is to have a permanent polyculture of mixed species that feed various soil organisms, and in return make nutrients available to the vines. In time we will sow additional diversity of seeds into the sward, aiming for an even greater mix of species.
- By exploring new technologies and methods, we are building on current practices to leave as minimal footprint as possible. A new, low impact under-vine mower helps us to manage weeds as part of an approach to restore our ecosystems and soil health. This encourages the reduction of inputs (sprays fertilisers etc) while prioritising good soil health and structure. It is our goal to increase the organic carbon stored in our soils while nurturing the sensitive microbial ecosystems that call it home.
- We have sheep grazing in some of our Vineyards over the Winter season. The sheep help to keep the grass low, eating unwanted and hard to get rid of weeds, and also provide natural fertiliser as they graze.
- We're focused on ensuring our soils are balanced and fostering a diversity of life. Every winter we carry out soil testing on our vineyards - this is a requirement for Sustainable Winegrowing NZ (SWNZ) and gives us information on the condition and ability of our soils to support the growth of the grapevines. We test for various nutrients in the soil, and measure how much organic matter is present. All these components need to be in balance for a healthy functioning soil. Our soil is such an important resource we need to look after and a focus area for SWNZ.
Biodiversity in Whitehaven's vineyards takes many forms. Chickens at our Boundary Bay vineyard help to control insect pests and add organic matter to the soil. They also provide incredible eggs for our staff morning tea!