Bevan Lambess (vineyard manager) and the Urlar team of Urlar

17/07/2022

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2022 Finalist: Bevan Lambess (vineyard manager) and the Urlar team of Urlar – Viticulture

Nurturing the soil and carefully managing nutrients is paying dividends at this successful organic Gladstone vineyard which is the largest single fully organic vineyard and winery of its kind in the Wairarapa.

Urlar has been Bio-Gro certified organic for 15 years and is currently converting a further two leased blocks to organic certification under BioGro.

Vineyard manager Bevan Lambess and his team are committed to finding organic solutions that continually improve the quality of soil and fruit across the 45ha property. Bevan has been running the vineyard/farm for 10 years and still manages the day-to-day operation which is guided by his long-term knowledge of organic principles.

The last vintage produced about 170 tonnes of hand-picked grapes from 36ha – all of which supply the onsite winery. A lease block of 9ha has since been added which will contribute to the coming vintage.

The Urlar team has a strong focus on quality over quantity when it comes to producing grapes, using an innovative, biodynamic approach as they gradually expand the operation. Part of this expansion is the construction of a winery extension on-site, complete with an event space and cellar door for visitors to the region.

Soil fertility is actively managed to support the growth of quality grapes, and crops such as clover are planted under the vines – reducing cultivation and subsequently improving the topsoil. Beneficial insects are attracted to the vines by planting mixed plant species between the rows.

Bevan and his team have a good understanding of climate change and his planning includes using grape varieties that are more resilient to potential diseases that could affect vine health. Water and nutrient requirements are closely monitored, ensuring the efficient management of inputs.

To complete the cycle, composted fertiliser is prepared on-site, with all waste graded and recycled. This ensures the entire wine-making process is sustainable, from caring for the soil through to production of the wine.

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