Olliver PowrieThe Villa Maria Single Vineyard Keltern Chardonnay 2007 has been awarded the trophy for Best Sustainable Wine, 2009, representing years of commitment to sustainable wine production by Villa Maria Estate.

Presented at the Romeo Bragato Wine Awards, it recognises both the wine as being of outstanding quality, and the commitment from Mark Dixon and his team at the Keltern Vineyard to sustainable grape production.

Villa Maria viticulturist Ollie Powrie, who oversees the Gisborne, Hawke’s Bay and Marlborough regions, says all the company owned vineyards are accredited with Sustainable Winegrowing New Zealand (SWNZ) and they are hoping their contract growers will all be accredited by the 2010 harvest.

On a day to day basis, operating sustainably means the company is particularly focused on minimising spray use, as well as other initiatives such as monitoring irrigation use, he says.

Villa Maria also uses the Agrecovery Container Recycling programme to dispose of used chemical containers.

‘Having this service available means we know that the waste plastic containers from our sprays and fertilisers are being disposed of safely and on top of that being recycled into a long term end use product, which is another great thing about the programme.’

It’s all part of the sustainable focus that Villa Maria has been keen to foster since very early on in the company’s history.

‘As well as our SWNZ accreditation, we also have one accredited organic vineyard, with two other vineyards currently in conversion to organics,’ says Ollie.