28 May 2023

Sheep to the rescue: A winery’s eco-friendly solution for growing grapes

8:26 pm on 28 May 2023
Greystone Wines' high vine system they are trialling.

Greystone Wines' high vine system they are trialling. Photo: Supplied

Only in New Zealand - a North Canterbury winery is setting up its vineyard so sheep can graze under the vines.

Greystone Wines' high vines system aims to cut costs and emissions by growing grapes higher off the ground.

With sheep doing the mowing and replacing the need for high-emission and high-cost diesel vehicles and tractors, growing grapes becomes cheaper, more eco-friendly and quieter.

Greystone Wines winemaker Dom Maxwell said keeping the grapes out of reach for sheep also meant they could not eat the fruit, which was always a worry during the growing season.

"The other benefit of growing higher is less frost risk in the spring season," he said.

Maxwell said the winery had been trialling the high-vine system in some areas for about a year, and so far they were seeing about a 40-percent saving in emissions.

He said he believed the quality of the wine would be unaffected by the high vine way of growing.

"We've got wine in the barrel from this high vine harvest from that block so we'll be carefully looking to see how that unfolds over time," he said.

Greystone Wines was also looking at other sustainability projects such as lighter weight bottles to save money on the weight of glass.

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