What is your role at The Landing and what does this entail?
I am The Landing’s Viticulturist. This encompasses all aspects of farming and growing grapevines, to optimise grape and wine quality.
Grape growing requires continuously updating plans and work inputs, to keep ahead of forecast weather conditions and vine growth. Currently, we are at the peak growth phase for the vines which requires continual canopy management, including positioning of vine shoots and the trellis wires which contain the shoots. Most weeks we apply foliar fertilisers of high-demand nutrients, which are in short supply in the soil and the vines, to support the rapid growth of the shoots and fruit.
How long have you been at The Landing?
I have been at The Landing for over two years.
What got you into the wine industry?
During my final year at Lincoln University I joined the post-graduate Viticulture and Winemaking Programme which immersed me in the world of wine and led to work in Waipara, followed by Hawke’s Bay and now the Bay of Islands. I love New Zealand, farming and wine, so working in the New Zealand wine sector suits me down to the ground.
Can you share an interesting fact about The Landing Wines?
The Landing Wines are grown on a coastal farm on multiple hillsides, which give an interesting mix of growing conditions with varying aspect, proximity to the sea and soil types. We have eight different varieties planted, which provides an interesting challenge to decipher which plantings will give us the best wines.
What is it like growing in the Bay of Islands, compared to another location in New Zealand?
A significant advantage of growing wine grapes in the Bay of Islands is the lower risk of vine-damaging frosts which often decimate parts of Europe and are a major risk to grape growing from Hawke’s Bay south. We enjoy generally warmer growing conditions but face greater challenges from higher humidity and rainfall.
How do you keep up with evolution of the wine industry and technology?
I follow developments in precision farming and other technologies.
As part of the mission to produce the best Syrah, in early November I attended the Biennial Syrah Workshop at Mount Ruapehu, where one French and 30 New Zealand Syrah growers and winemakers met to learn about improving the production of Syrah. Approximately forty Syrah wines were assessed over two days, with The Landing’s (still very young!) 2017 Syrah receiving general approval.