Lauraine Jacobs

Food Writer and Author of Delicious Books

Wines to drink

25 May 2010


After the torrential rain that has swept the country I know for sure that I am safe saying New Zealand is a clean and very green country this week. The rain has washed everything squeaky clean and pastures, no longer craving to satisfy their thirst, are sprouting bright green shoots in the remaining warmth before the true onset of winter.

But, as we are all aware, it is not enough to glide along, singing the same old songs about sustainability, sound ecology and pristine environment. We have to make a larger collective effort to ensure guardianship of our land for the future and support individual and corporate environmental initiatives. Most wine companies are quite responsible, with 85% of the country’s producing grape area managed by wineries committed to the Sustainable New Zealand Winegrowing programme.

But I’m full of admiration for wineries that go a step further instigating a programme that engages the wine drinker with the vineyard, and makes a contribution to saving, protecting or restoring our lovely environment. The first I noticed were an early environmental label of Corbans (remember them?), Grove Mill’s wetlands project, and Atarangi’s ‘Crimson’ Pinot Noir that supported saving pohutukawas.

And now one of the biggies, Montana, is celebrating its commitment to protecting the natural environment with their Living Land Series. I tasted the Living Land Sauvignon Blanc and the Pinot Noir on Saturday and thought these wines were both imminently drinkable and quite expressive of the Marborough style we expect from these two varietals. One dollar from the sale of each bottle will be donated to support a range of environmental initiatives. Presently it is to save the threatened New Zealand falcon. I must confess, I am terrified of birds but apparently falcons are desired workhorses of the vineyard, deterring other birds that feed on grapes. So as a threatened species, I guess they are definitely worth conserving. I hope Montana’s Living Land Series makes many such differences.