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.
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.
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.