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New Zealand, successful, sustainable

A last short story to hail New Zealand`s incredible achievements these past two generations, not just for its winemaking prowess, but for having achieved so much, in so few years, so sustainably.  For many it is the love, and the respect, for their beautiful land, and for the world we all live in, which drives them.  That they are creating a better world to pass on to their kids is not just important to them, it is vital. It`s a way of life. Indeed, it was the kiwis who were the first in the world to establish a national sustainability programme, to which a massive 95% of wineries prescribed. And the industry has pledged to be carbon neutral by 2050.  Organic winemaking, now representing 10% of all wine production, continues to increase as part of NZ`s winegrowers` commitment to sustainability. And NZ`s wine industry has its fair share of sustainability champions.  It`s to one of these I dedicate my story now, an eco-warrior, no less.   Anyone who read last week`s article about Central Otago may recall I alluded to one of two NZ`s first `grand cru` back in 2010, the Felton Road Pinot Noir. Well, the other one was Ata Rangi Pinot Noir, of Martinborough, owned by highly respected and successful Clive Patton, a man I was lucky enough to meet, on my visit to the winery, the very morning after he had picked up his auspicious award. We had both been at the awards ceremony in Wellington and were, the both of us, feeling a little worse for wear for the celebrations. Nonetheless we tasted some nine wines anyway, together with winemaker Helen Masters, and it was a high point of the trip for me because it represented the pinnacle of achievement, in my mind, from both a qualitative and sustainable winemaking perspective. The grand cru award [in Maori “Tipuranga Teitum o Aotearoa”] was recognition of the qualitative achievement. But here was also a champion conservationist, dedicated to restoring and protecting New Zealand native flora, committed to organic farming, and sustainability, and, via The Crimson Project and other initiatives, a leading light in the protection of New Zealand`s native trees. My hero. Cheers everyone!

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