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Montana winery recognised for sustainable approach

Published:  23 July, 2008

New Zealand category driver, Montana, has announced that it has now been certified with the ISO 14000 international environmental standard, for all sites, three months ahead of schedule.

This key certification is a platform for sustainable management and a benchmark for growers and suppliers worldwide. The news is part of a second phase in award-winning Montana's environmental commitments and includes further recycling initiatives, a reduction in the use of resources and the promotion of biodiversity in its vineyards. These initiatives follow news earlier this year on the increased use of natural fertilizers, a large scale planting project and a significant commitment to a reduction in landfill.

All sites now meet international environmental management standard

Sauvignon Blanc expert Montana was a founding member of New Zealand's original sustainable winegrowing initiative in 1995, two years before it was officially launched. Today, it announces that it has met the ISO 14001 international environmental standard three months before it was anticipated, giving the pioneering winery an environmental stamp of approval.

"We work to ensure that all aspects and impacts of our winery and storage systems minimise environmental impact," says winery manager Ken Rogers. "We have specific targets to reduce waste, reduce water and energy usage, protect against environmental spills and keep tight control of chemicals on site."

One of the innovative systems used to minimise energy usage is to use the latent heat from compressors as the first stage to heat water, so that it does not have to be heated from zero in the boilers. Low-energy light bulbs have been fitted, with movement sensors that ensure the lights are off when there is nobody around.

Water usage is also minimised by reusing rinse water for other purposes where purity is not essential.

Further recycling initiatives

Recycling on Montana's vineyards and wineries has made great strides in recent years, with minimal waste going to landfill. 100% of the plastic used on Montana's vineyards is recycled. Plastic is used on vineyards for chemical containers, sheeting, grow guards for young plants, bird netting, irrigation equipment and packaging material.

A reduction in scarce resources

In recent years, Montana has made huge strides in the reduction of resources used on vineyards.

In the past, viticulturists tended to apply resources such as water and chemical sprays on a predetermined schedule. Now these are only applied when there are clear indicators that it is needed. Fertilizer is also used only in accordance with soil fertility and plant nutrient tests to keep vines in balance, rather than as a necessity.

As far as possible, natural biological means are also used to combat pests and diseases. Ongoing trials on Montana vineyards have seen improvements in the use of biocontrols to combat botrytis. When spraying is needed, Montana saves energy by using multirow sprayers, so that the tractors do not have to travel up and down every single row.

Promotion of biodiversity

Having developed more vineyards in New Zealand than anyone else, Montana takes its responsibility to protect them very seriously.

Montana has planted tens of thousands of native plants around its vineyards and can therefore rightly claim that many parts of the land are now in an environmentally healthier state than before the vineyards were first developed.

In Hawke's Bay, wetlands have also been reclaimed at Montana's Tuki-Tuki and Korokipo vineyards, while native plantings at Twin Rivers helped to resettle native birds.

"We're continually trialing ways to use natural biological means to protect our vines and grapes, rather than having to rely on chemical intervention," says Ken.