Our Organic Practises
URLAR is fully committed to our Sustainability Programme – comprising eight key standards across its business. Set out to support the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the eight commitments are built on four key areas: nurturing terroir, valuing people, circular making and responsible hosting, with each seeking to address material issues facing the group and the world such as climate change, human rights and waste.
Each key area includes goals with measurements to ensure progress is monitored. “We are taking bold next steps in addressing both environmental topics, to preserve the terroirs its products come from, and always bearing in mind our social responsibilities by always considering our natural processes to help improve the quality of top soil, watersheds and ecosystems.”
Economic and environmental sustainability are our driving principals. These practices are about giving life back to the soil and managing the vineyard as a balanced sustainable farming unit. This includes organic practices such as recycling through composts and liquid manures and increasing plant bio diversity through inter-row crops.
Our own Highland cow herd provide the manure to drive our composting process. Using the biodynamic farming and gardening calendar, the rhythmic influences of the sun, moon, planets and stars are recognised and worked with where ever possible. Principally this practice is about giving life back to the soil and managing the vineyard as a balanced sustainable farming unit. This includes organic practices such as recycling through composts and liquid manures and increasing plant bio diversity. This commitment has been recognised and rewarded recently when we won the Hills Harvest and Gallagher Innovation Awards.
Our 31 hectare vineyard located on ancient free-draining soils has over 100,000 vines planted. Our seven year inter-row crop rotation maintains healthy soils full of life and bio diversity. Every year, one row in seven will be sowed in a variety of plants and beneficial flowers. These flowers, such as buckwheat, lupins and phacelia provide crucial protection to the vineyard attracting beneficial insects that will kill off unwanted pests that can destroy the fruit and vines. A good example of this is the Tasmanian Wasp which preys on the Leaf roller Caterpillar – a pest that causes harmful botrytis, a type of rot in the grape bunches. In another example, a fundamental vineyard activity such as applying foliar feeds (natural nutrients) is timed with the ascending moon, as the vine is more active during this period. By contrast, racking the wine is timed with the descending moon, ensuring the wine is calm and all the goodness and flavours are retained and not lost to the atmosphere.
We were certified as Sustainable by Sustainable WineGrowing New Zealand (SWNZ) from Day 1 of starting our planting, and then began the process of organic certification and using biodynamic practices in 2007 and in 2010 became fully BioGro certified. “We know that our customers have now come to expect our brands to be responsible and respectful of the environment – values that have been at the very heart of our business since its inception. These commitments provide us with a focused framework across our business in helping to address some of the biggest sustainability issues, so consumers can enjoy our products in a convivial and sustainable way.”