Kono, a Maori-owned winery in New Zealand’s Awatere Valley, reports a bumper 2022 harvest despite early environmental challenges during the growing season.
As demand for New Zealand wines increase, the success of this year’s vintage is vitally important. Although February was cooler and wetter than average in the Awatere Valley, ideal weather over the following months created excellent conditions for a slow ripening season. Kono escaped major disease pressure and produced record yields.
“While Awatere can often be a challenging environment for viticulture, our hardworking and detail-oriented team of winemakers produced excellent quality and perfectly ripe grapes,” says Head Winemaker Bruce Taylor. “The 2022 Kono Sauvignon Blanc is on its way to the US as we speak, ready to meet demand for New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc. The 2022 wines from our Tohu Whenua Matua vineyard are currently maturing in the cellar, and I think these will be the ones to watch in the coming year.
Despite unpredictable growing seasons in the Awatere Valley, Kono remains committed to sustainable viticulture and winemaking. The Kono winery, which produces both Tohu and Kono wines, are accredited by Sustainable Winegrowing New Zealand (SWNZ), the national wine industry body developed to provide a best practice model for environmental sustainability.
“During harvest, we strive to work in an environmentally responsible manner without compromising quality and integrity, and we adhere to the highest standards,” comments Anthony Walsh, Vineyard Manager at Tohu Wines. “We’re sticking to a 500-year plan because we want our children’s children to have the same resources as us.”
New this year, Kono works hand-in-hand with Toitū Envirocare (previously known as Enviro-Mark Solutions), which provides science-based tools, action plans, and evidence of sustainability progress through carbon emissions management. Kono will receive its Toitū carbonreduce certification by the end of this year, effectively managing and reducing its carbon impacts.
Since its inception in 1998 as New Zealand’s first Maori-owned winery, Kono has become known for its premium wines produced from a range of varietals. Kono has received numerous accolades for its wines, including its Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Riesling, Pinot Noir, and Méthode Traditionnelle sparkling wine. More recently, the 2021 Tohu Awatere Valley Pinot Gris and the 2021 Tohu Awatere Valley Sauvignon Blanc each received 97 points at the Decanter World Wine Awards, both winning platinum medals. According to Sarah Jane Evans MW, co-chair of the Decanter World Wine Awards, a platinum medal indicates that the wine is at a “stratospheric level”.
Kono is a New Zealand Top 100 Food and Beverage Maori company that employs over 400 people, operates over 530 hectares of land and sea and exports to over 40 countries. Brands include Tohu Wines, Kono Wines, Hop Federation, Tutū Cider, Kono Molds and Annies Fruit Snacks. Kono also grows apples, pears, kiwis and hops.