Sustainability and certifications


Sustainable practices are at the core of everything we do year-round.

The winery building is managed sustainably: we use solar energy and recycle all water; being built into the hillside, the winery is insulated naturally and only uses minimal energy for heating and cooling. Environmentally friendly materials were used throughout construction.

The gravity-fed processing of the wines saves on energy, equipment and water. Cleaning practices are efficient and minimised, and because we use soft chemicals, the wastewater can be re-purposed for irrigation.

In the vineyard, hand-harvesting and hand-leaf plucking mean less machinery, less compaction and less fuel. All our equipment is modern and energy-efficient, reducing our carbon footprint further.

As a result, our wines have key sustainability certifications.

Ripe bunches of Gewurztraminer grapes at harvest time. The grapes are pink and glow in the warm sun light.  Around the grapes there are green leaves and in the background there is the next row of vines with bird netting draped over the top and blue sky.
A bottle of Blackenbrook Gewurztraminer next to a glass half full of white wine and a white vase with one purple flower standing on a white surface.  The background is white, too.

Low sulphur

We often hear from customers that our wines are easy and light on their body.

They tend to experience stomach upsets, reflux or headaches after a glass of wine, but don’t seem to get the same reaction with Blackenbrook wine. This might be due to the low sulphur level we work with.

Both white and red wines have to meet benchmarks for total sulphur in New Zealand and for export. Sulphur is added to grape juices and young wines as a protectant against oxidation. The gentle winemaking process Daniel uses greatly reduces the need for this protection. All the grapes are hand-picked and whole bunch pressed, minimising juice exposure to oxidation. After fermentation the young wines rest on their lees for two months. The old yeast cells still release small amounts of CO², enough to protect the wine from oxidation. Only once Daniel starts preparing the wines for bottling he’ll add small amounts of sulphur.

While New Zealand export certification requires wines to have no more than 250mg/litre of total sulphur, Blackenbrook white wines have less than half of that and red wines about 20 percent.

Sustainable Winegrowing NZ

We have been certified since 2010 with Sustainable Winegrowing New Zealand SWNZ. This is an industry-wide certification programme led by New Zealand Winegrowers. It is widely recognised as world-leading and was one of the first to be established in the international wine industry in 1995.

Every three years SWNZ audits our winery in an extensive process. We also file yearly comprehensive reports on energy, diesel and water use; all fertiliser and spray applications; what we do to increase soil health; our actions to better manage waste and recycling as well as steps taken to minimise our carbon footprint. The latest SWNZ figures from 2020 show our water and energy consumption were well below the average winery of our size.

Find more information at Sustainable Winegrowing New Zealand.

Black and white logo of Sustainable Winegrowing New Zealand
Vegan Certification for Blackenbrook Vineyard.  At the top there is the green vegan logo and at the bottom the logo of the certifying organisation NZ Vegetarian Society

Certified Vegan NZVS

Our Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Gris, Gewürztraminer, Chardonnay and Rose have been certified by the NZ Vegetarian Society since 2012.

To make these wines, we didn't use any animal products such as the classic fining agents fish, milk or egg extracts.