New Zealand’s first  ever Organic Wine Week (17-23 September 2018) will see organic wine producers teaming up with six of the country’s leading restaurants – The Grove in Auckland, Shepherd in Wellington, Bistronomy in Hawke’s Bay, Arbour in Blenheim, Gatherings from Christchurch and Sherwood in Queenstown – to deliver some exciting organic wine and food experiences.

There will also be organic wine tastings open to the public at Glengarry in Auckland and at Commonsense Organics in Wellington.

Meanwhile in London, Quartz Reef and Felton Road, two Central Otago biodynamic wine producers will host a masterclass at NZ Winegrowers headquarters and NZ organic wines will be the focus on wine lists at several key London restaurants. There will also be organic wine tastings at the New Zealand Cellar in London and at NZ Winegrowers events in Hamburg and Warsaw.

There are 65 certified organic wineries across New Zealand with a national goal of 20% of all wineries becoming organic by 2020. So far Central Otago is leading the way with around 25% of its vineyards already committed to organics.

In Europe there has been increasing demand for organic wines, with the market in France growing at around 20% in recent years. In New Zealand the organic wine market is also growing as consumers become more concerned about protecting the environment and about healthy eating and drinking.

For our organic viticulturists and wine makers it’s all about respecting the land, and the people who work the land, and of course producing higher-quality and better-tasting wine. As Carrick’s winemaker and general manager, Francis Hutt, says, “We want to maintain the longevity of our land and our business.”

Organic wines are produced without the use of synthetic chemical fertilisers, herbicides, or pesticides in the vineyard, and in the winery no synthetic chemical additives are allowed. The aim is to make better wines that are true to the earth. Biodynamic vineyards use organic practices too, but with a deeper focus on understanding and managing the vineyard as a holistic organism. Biodynamic methods also include the use of special plant, animal and mineral preparations.

At The Grove in Auckland there are over 70 organic wines on their wine list throughout the year but for Organic Wine Week they will showcase three regions, Gisborne, Marlborough and Central Otago with wine producers Millton, Churton and Burn Cottage bringing produce from their estates and neighbouring farms, as well as their biodynamic wines.

At Shepherd in Wellington there will be a curated five-course menu that will challenge five guest winemakers to find the best wine match for each course – Supernatural, Greystone, Seresin, Schubert and Carrick.

Bistronomy in Hawke’s Bay will showcase fresh local produce in a six-course degustation meal and local organic wines from Supernatural and Stonecraft will be served. It’s all about “our place” on the plate and in the glass.

Arbour in Blenheim will offer a seasonal set menu across five nights, showcasing organic food and wine, hosted by different local and guest winemakers each night. Babich, Dog Point, Giesen, Mammoth, Neudorf, The Darling, Urlar and Wright are all taking part.

Gatherings from Christchurch will take over the vineyard restaurant at Black Estate in Waipara for one special night, offering a seasonal menu, including food from their own vege garden and food foraged from across North Canterbury.

In Queenstown there will be a special weekend of organic food and wine at Sherwood. At a progressive dinner local produce will be matched with organic wines served by the winemakers, and wine tasting at an outdoor wine lounge will be open to the public, while ticketed master classes will be hosted by organic winemakers from the region.