Since 2011, most of our vineyard has been dry-farmed, except for very dry season. (So far we irrigated 8 hours total in 2016 vintage, due to very dry early spring)
We only irrigate for the young vines to establish their root system.
We believe that there are several benefits, for both wine-style and environment, not to irrigate in the vineyard.
Raining pattern is one of the most important factor to shape the characteristic of vintage.
We would like to produce the wine which represent the vintage.
Root system tends to stay in the area where irrigation water is available.
To express the terroir where you grow your vine, we believe it is important to have broader root system.
When it comes to Sauvignon Blanc from Marlborough, Methoxypyrazines is one of the most important chemical compound, which contribute to herbaceous flavour.
Since Methoxypyrazines are by-products of photosynthesis, it requires larger canopy, more leaves, to create higher Methoxypyrazines. Without irrigation, our wine tends to have less Methoxypyrazines. This allows us to produce different style Sauvignon Blanc from this region.
According to the study by New Zealand Winegrowers, average irrigation in 2014/2015 vintage was 660L/vine. If it is a normal vineyard with 2,000 vines to the ha, it requires 1,320,000L/ha. (Most of our vineyard is planted as 4,000 vines/ha)
Dry farming can reduce significant amount of irrigation water which normally comes from either river or from aquifer.
However there are some disadvantage of dry farming, that yield can be variable from year to year. It is our challenge as wine producer to be sustainable in both environmental and financial.