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Sustainability a way of life for Hurunui winery – Hurunui District Council

Pegasus Bay winery’s Paul Donaldson talks about sustainable viticulture with the ease of someone who lives what he speaks.

With a degree in zoology and marine biology, and raised on the family winery, it’s a concept that sits as close as the grape skins which the vineyard returns to the earth as compost.

“With viticulture, the mindset is already there to look after the land. You can’t trash your area and keep the vines healthy.”

An example he gives is deficit irrigation. As with people, a bit of adversity can bring out the best in grapes. Overwatering not only causes disease but impacts the taste of the grapes. Pegasus Bay also adopts the practice of planting cover crops under the grapevines. This increases biomass in the soil and suppresses weeds, allowing the vineyard to avoid using pesticides.

As general manager of the winery, where he works alongside his three brothers and his parents, who planted the vineyard, Paul has helped to install an awareness of the need to protect not just his patch, but the planet.

Hurunui Council’s Waste and Compliance Support officer Nicole Hurinui is impressed with the methods the winery has implemented to reduce its impact on the environment as much as possible.

“It’s a wonderful example of how you can, as a business, incorporate daily habits that not only bring cost savings but also reduce the amount going to landfill,” Hurinui says.

Signs in the staff area remind everyone to separate out recycling from waste, and provide an education on how to keep recycling clean. Just as one bad grape can spoil a bottle, it takes one dirty item going into recycling to spoil the whole.

It’s a way of life that has been with the winery from the start.

“It’s incredibly rewarding working alongside our businesses who are incorporating such great environmental practices in their businesses and are happy for these to be shared with our other businesses,” Hurinui says.


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