Are you curious why 95% of New Zealand’s wineries are certified sustainable? We asked a selection of sustainable, organic and biodynamic winegrowers to share their personal inspirations. This short video is the beginning of our work creating a documentary film about the impact of sustainable practices in the world’s best wine regions.
Please stay tuned for additional stories and photos from those interviewed. Here’s a few of my favorite quotes that we didn’t have space for in the shorter teaser video.
“it’s about intuition, imagination, and inspiration…” James Milton
“Sustainability to me means approaching everything on a long term basis, looking into the future…the agriculture side, the winemaking side, the family side.” – Clive Patton, Ata Rangi
“The Bush block is very important, I think this because I can be overseas in some of my favorite cities, and every day I’m thinking about the bush block…..I need to connect with the land, have this place that grounds me, keeps me sane.” – Clive Patton, Ata Rangi
“I love the diversity, I love the intricacy, I like the way you’re not just thinking in simple cause and effect terms, you’ve got to take a holistic view of everything, and agriculture is that – you’ve got to take into account the multiplicity of interactions. That’s what I get inspired by. And in the end of course it’s the wine, that multiplicity of expression getting transported to the wine… Bringing that sense of place, that warmth all the way through, that heart, all the way from the farm through the wine in the glass.” Sam Weaver, Churton Wines
“Every piece of land is different – I’ve been a surfer for over 40 years and you have an understanding that every reef, every river, every movement of the tide adds a certain characteristic to the waves that you have the joy to surf. So this relationship between surfing and farming really is what guided me to that principle of the earth being a living thing. Often people talk about surfers having a real connection with nature and I think farming today we take ourselves away from the belief that we should be connected to nature, we strive almost dominate nature, and I think that’s real folly. When you’re surfing you can’t fight against the wave, you have to learn to work with it, you have to learn to relax, and you have to learn to be observant, and to learn to have respect with other people in the water, so they are important principles to take into our work.” – Colin Ross, Seresin
“As a farmer who stared farming in Australia, I became intensely interested in the Aboriginal mythology from Australia. They have a story called the dreamtime, the Australian Aborigines … had a sense of purpose that their role was to sing the earth into being, and for me biodynamics very much has that role where there is a requirement for the man being to connect to their particular land with their entire environment and nature that and sing it into being and ultimately be in harmony with it. The end product is food that nourishes the mind, the body, and the spirit. In terms of wine we end up with a product that is authentic, it has a reflection of that sense of place, and also I have a deep belief that the alcohol that we produce in that wine is intrinsically the spirit of that fruit.” – Colin Ross, Seresin
Biodynamics has allowed me… to really be able to find that rhythm between myself and the land rather than myself constantly imposing my ego on the land – it was time for me to listen and to hear what was needed from this property.” – Claudia Elze Weersing, Pyramid Valley Vineyard
“The concept of biodynamics… there’s a life energy that keeps you and me going.. it comes from somewhere and you can’t describe it, you either believe in it or you don’t. I think people are also quite frightened to believe in something they can’t grasp because it’s not rational. But you do know when you have a sense of bliss, in Austria it’s called Gluck, this fluke of unbelievable happiness, it doesn’t happen very often, but when it does there’s a life force sitting in there which enables you to continue to fulfill your dreams without getting held back… If you look at Central Otago… this region has enormous energy to continue what you want to do because it’s so striking.” – Rudi Bauer, Quartz Reef
“i think a key part of sustainability is the people that work… out in the vineyards, we need to insure that they’re happy… we nee their lives to be in balance as much as anything else, because they are a key part of the process in making wine.” – Stuart Dudley, Villa Maria
“Growing these grapes the way we do gives you a sense of where you are, and I am more attuned to being alive in the world and part of a natural cycle than if I didn’t have this vineyard… Minimalism, keep the hand out, be real, and let the fruit speak – this is not industrial winemaking… There’s a zillion wines in the world and only a few that people remember, but it’s wort taking that risk, it’s artistic farming if you come right down to it. – Glenn Schaeffer, Woolaston