UPfront: Of wine and wetlands

What does an Australian winemaker have to do with protecting New Zealand wetlands? Surprisingly, quite lot.

As part of its “good citizen” market cred, Banrock Station Wines has committed to helping restore degraded wetland areas in countries where its wine is marketed. There are 40 in all, and New Zealand is in the top nine.

Because Kiwis quaff around 100,000 cases year, the company has already been involved in two wetlands projects here and is now looking for its third.

It started in the company’s own backyard, explains eco-scientist and Banrock Station manager Tony Sharley on recent visit.

Alongside its 250 hectares of vines, the company had around 1000 hectares of wetland and with help from Wetland Care Australia restored these adding more value to its property – and bit of extra biological pest control for the vineyard.

“There are now lot more waterbirds and they like to eat insects,” says Sharley.

The company has worked with local groups to help develop wetland in Wellington’s Karori Sanctuary (below) and restore wetland area in Masterton – its 33rd successful project worldwide.

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