As a family owned and run winery, we can define and practise the values we think are important. We believe that we must work actively to protect and nuture our environment. 100% of our operations are certified by Sustainable Winegrowing NZ, an independently audited programme which covers climate change, responsible water use, managing waste, and protecting plants, the soil and the people that work on it.
Astrolabe Farm and Wrekin vineyard are certified organic vineyards with BioGro New Zealand. Wrekin vineyard was established to be an organic vineyard in 2002, gaining certification in 2019. Astrolabe Farm was planted in the 1980s, and Simon and Jane have been farming organically since 2012, becoming certified in 2021. Other vineyards are on a pathway to organics, and these are generally found in our Winemaker range. Organic certification restricts the use of synthetic pesticides, fertilisers and herbicides, and as organic grapegrowers, our focus shifts to nurturing and protecting the health of our plants so that we do not require the use of these chemicals. One of the biggest challenges with organic farming is weed management. Under our organic programme, we rely on hand-weeding and undervine mowing as well as competitive planting to suppress weeds. We constantly monitor soil health via testing to guide our work in making improvements.
Astrolabe Wines is certified net carbon zero through Toitū. This programme provides us with the tools to measure and monitor our carbon footprint annually. For the last three years, we have achieved carbon neutrality through a combination of reduction measures and off-setting. We use WineWorks to bottle and store our wines, and they are also certified carbon neutral with Toitū. Many of our suppliers are also certified or seeking certification, and we are working towards full product certification. At Astrolabe Farm vineyard, we are minimising tractor and vehicle use, using an electric bicycle for vineyard work, which has the additional benefit of creating less soil compaction. We are also trialling an electric motorbike for our viticulturalist, Stephen, for using to take samples and check on vine health at our sites around the Marlborough district. In 2008, we switched to a lightweight bottle, but the wastage due to breakages outweighed the carbon benefit, so we returned to a standard midweight bottle. We are now trialling a new lighter bottle, which we are excited and hopeful about.
Appellation Marlborough Wine
Astrolabe Wines is a foundation member of Appellation Marlborough, an organisation created to safeguard the quality of Marlborough wine. “All of these wines proudly carry the AMW icon on their label, guaranteeing they are wines of provenance, made with integrity and bottled in New Zealand. The AMW icon is the only guarantee a wine is 100% pure Marlborough. Nothing else, no exceptions.” — appellationmarlboroughwine.co.nz