December 20, 2021

'Vine to Wine' Sustainability

All of the vineyards in the New Zealand Wine Navigator portfolio are audited and accredited by Sustainable Wine growing New Zealand™ (SWNZ).

The New Zealand wine industry was the first in the world to establish a national sustainability programme. SWNZ started as an industry initiative in 1994 and was introduced commercially to the whole industry in 1995. More than twenty years later, SWNZ is still widely recognised as world-leading. Today, SWNZ certifies all parts of the production chain including vineyards, wineries, bottling facilities and brands. 

Sustainability for our wineries is about delivering excellent wine to consumers in a way that enables both the natural environment, and the businesses and communities involved in production to thrive.

The programme is based on continuous improvement and adherence to the Sustainable Winegrowing NZ standards, which ensures members meet international guidelines for sustainability practices in the vineyard and winery. The standards have seven ‘pillars’, or key focus areas, which include:

• Biodiversity
• Soil, water and air
• Energy
• Chemicals
• By-products
• People
• Business practices

Our winegrowers are continually looking at new ways to improve. They believe in a hands-off approach towards the grapes, allowing the fruits to take the lead in their growth and maturity. “We think organic grapes give you a better grape, better wine. We seem to get really thick skin on the grape and that's actually where a lot of the flavor is. The thicker the skins, the more flavor we’re actually getting.” -  Chris Darling, Winemaker. The Darling Wines employs committed, qualified vineyard and winery teams who not only produce world-class, handcrafted wines but help to keep things in balance for a healthy, sustainable future.

Some of the eco-friendly wine production techniques used by our vineyards include:

• Biodynamic growing practices
• Cover crops as companion plants to attract beneficial insects 
• Intensive work in the vineyards to create disease free canopies
• The use of sheep to reduce the need to mow and burn fuel 
• Regulated irrigation systems
• Composting and recycling winery waste (grape skins, stalks, seeds) 
• Sourcing sustainable stationery, promotional brochures, bottles, papers, printing inks and packaging products 

For the last four years The Darling Sauvignon Blanc has received gold medals consecutively at the New Zealand Organic Wine Awards, making it the most awarded wine at the honors. The Darling Wines commitment to maintaining a good relationship with their solely organic growers is key to keeping their brand honest. 

The Darling is certified organic in New Zealand, using natural insecticides that are easy on the fruits. By having full control over the process, they are able to guarantee healthy soil, grapes and vines which in turn allows natural depth and textured wines.

The complete package – from vine to grape to wine sustainability, is something our customers can feel good about when purchasing natural New Zealand Wine Navigator wines.