10 Jan 2014

Inquiry after routine spray ruins vines

4:30 pm on 10 January 2014

The head of a chemical manufacturing giant has launched an investigation after winegrowers had their vines virtually destroyed after a routine insecticide spray went horribly wrong.

North Canterbury winegrowers Brent Knight and Trevor Bunting claim that a common moth insecticide used on the vines in early December last year had been mislabelled by Dow AgroSciences.

They say their vines have been devastated by the compound, which was sprayed over their vineyards.

The managing director of Dow AgroSciences says the company is investigating, but has not admitted liability. Pete Dryden says it is working with the growers to establish what happened, but would make no further comment.

The general manager of umbrella group Wine Marlborough, Marcus Pickens, says it is difficult when relying on information from others.

"Unless you're quite expert in understanding yourself ... on exactly what you've got in front of you, you do rely on expert information that's given to you by other parties.

"Apart from a few visual queues and a bit of knowledge you might have from past applications, if you're suspicious, I guess you stop and pause and get further information if you're not sure."

Mr Pickens has offered his support to the Canterbury winegrowers.