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Getting set to make wine for at least another 100 years

by Babich WinesDecember 13, 2019

After making wine for more than 100 years, like we have at Babich, you get a different perspective. You take a longer view. Of course, we think about the wine we’ll make from the coming 2020 harvest, but we also think beyond that, to the wine we’ll be making in 10, 50, or 100 years. We want to make sure that the sixth generation of the Babich family will inherit healthy vineyards capable of growing grapes for their wines.

As chief winemaker Adam Hazeldine puts it, “You can’t keep pushing the land year after year and expect to keep getting the same quality from it.”

For our future wines to be as good as they can be, we need to make sure that our vineyards are fully sustainable, and the world we live in as sustainable as we can make it.

Simply put, you have to give back. Pay it forward, as we like to say. Invest now in our future… and the future pleasure of all those who enjoy Babich wines.

We’ve achieved part of our goal already – all our vineyards are certified sustainable by Sustainable Winegrowing New Zealand. In fact, our Fernhill vineyard was one of the first in the country to achieve this status, back in the 1980s. Ten years ago, we became an accredited member of Sustainable Winegrowing New Zealand. This means that 100% of our grapes and all of our winemaking facilities are sustainably accredited.

But sustainability is not a goal you reach or a box you tick, it’s a journey. We raise the bar year after year, always looking for ways to be more sustainable. By adding more gear to our tractors, we can perform more actions on a single pass past the vineyard rows – saving fuel and minimising soil compaction.

In our Hawke’s Bay vineyards, we haven’t used any glyphosate weed killer since early 2017 – something that would have been unthinkable only a few years ago. Some of our Marlborough vineyards have also achieved this milestone, while others are nearly there.

Our Headwaters vineyard in Marlborough is fully organic. This is a direction we’ll keep exploring.

“You can always do more and better,” says Adam. “It’s about us being kaitiaki, guardians of the land, and also about maintaining our ability to make great wines. Ultimately, sustainable winemaking delivers results you can see in the vineyard and taste in the glass.”

So, next time you enjoy some Babich wine, remember to raise a glass to the land!

The number on the bottom left tells the story – number 1. Our Fernhill vineyard in the Hawke’s Bay was one of the first in New Zealand to achieve sustainability accreditation.