Major Programmes


We currently have 4 major programmes underway. Each of these comprise multiple related projects and span multiple years.

Lighter Wines

Vineyard Ecosystems

Pinot Noir

Climate Change

Other Projects


As well as these large programmes of work, we fund and undertake a large number of projects, often in collaboration with other New Zealand and international research partners.

Quality wine styles for existing and developing markets

Prevention of quercetin instability in bottled wine

Villa Maria Wines Limited

The objectives of this project are to determine the influence of viticulture, winemaking practices and climate on the stability of quercetin in wine and to develop a set of tools that can be used to  evaluate the risk of precipitate formation and to manage the winemaking process to eliminate the risk of precipitation in bottle.

Understanding green character in Pinot noir wine

Lincoln University

The aim of the project is to identify key ‘green’ and ‘herbaceous’ notes in NZ Pinot noir wines that drive judgements of high or low quality.  The researchers will work in a complementary fashion with chemistry colleagues investigating components of Pinot noir wine chemical composition associated with nuances of ‘green’ and ‘herbaceous’ notes (e.g., methoxypyrazines; C6 compounds; phenolic compounds). quality.

The effect of winemaking decisions on polysaccharide content in wine

University of Auckland

The objectives of this project are to develop an analytical method to measure high, medium, and low molecular weight polysaccharides in wines and to determine the effect of different yeast strains and  of different pectolytic enzymes on polysaccharides concentration in Pinot noir wines during winemaking.

Pests and Disease

Future-proofing the wine sector with innovation: evaluation of ground cover, amenity & native plants as potential reservoirs of pathogens of grapevines.
Plant and Food Research (Vaughn Bell)

The objectives of this project are to test if selected clover species/cultivars are alternative host plants for Grapevine leafroll-associated virus 3 (GLRaV-3) and to determine the period of time over which mealybugs feeding on selected clovers are no longer infected with GLRaV-3. The project also aims to understand what pathogens may be present in ground cover, amenity & natives plants in NZ vineyards and if pathogens are detected in ground cover, amenity or native plants, understand what influence and any potential implications it (they) may have for future vineyard management.

Improving the outcomes of mealybug insecticide use in vineyards.

Plant and Food Research (Vaughn Bell)

With a focus on the mealybug insecticide active ingredients, buprofezin and spirotetramat, the best practice recommendations outlined in NZW and commercial fact sheets will be reviewed. An inventory of the recommendations to compare them and identify any inconsistencies between fact sheets for the same active ingredients will be developed.

10 commercial vineyard blocks will be supported to optimise spray management outcomes, including sprayer calibration. Annual vine leaf assessments to estimate mealybug abundance will be a measure of spray management success or a catalyst for change/improvement.

Gisborne mealy bug parasitoid monitoring.

Plant and Food Research (Vaughn Bell)

The objectives of the project are to investigate the effect of different vineyard pesticide spray programs on mealy bug parasitoid populations in Gisborne vineyards and to compare mealy bug parasitoid species and level of parasitism in Gisborne vineyards with those already documented in Hawkes Bay and Marlborough vineyards.

Pheromone trapping will be used to track and compare adult male mealy bug numbers in vineyards with different spray programs and the understanding of what impact pesticide sprays may be having on beneficial parasitoid species in Gisborne vineyards will be improved.

Impact of grapevine trunk fungi in hot water-treated planting materials on young vine health.

Linnaeus Ltd

The objectives of this project are to assess Sauvignon blanc vines for young vine decline and trunk disease symptoms and to evaluate the trunk disease pathogen populations 4-5 years after hot water treatment.

Pathogens and vineyard reservoir plants.

Plant and Food Research

The objectives of the project are to test if selected clover species/cultivars are alternative host plants for GLRaV-3 and to determine the period of time over which mealybugs feeding on selected clovers are no longer infected with GLRaV-3. The project also aims to understand what pathogens may be present in ground cover, amenity & native plants in NZ vineyards.


Cost efficient optimisation of weed management in vineyards
Thoughtful Viticulture (Mark Krasnow)

The objectives of the project are to investigate the effects of different undervine vegetation management practices on vine vigour, health, productivity, and fruit quality.

For reports on weed management please click here and you will be taken to the Member login section of the NZW website.

Optimisation of irrigation and water savings in Marlborough Sauvignon blanc and Pinot Noir and Hawke’s Bay Chardonnay and Merlot
Thoughtful Viticulture (Mark Krasnow)

The objectives of this project are to produce the same tonnage and quality of fruit from Marlborough Sauvignon blanc and Hawke’s Bay Chardonnay vines, but with less water usage and to achieve target yields, improve fruit quality, and reduce water use in Pinot Noir and Merlot by precision vine stress management.

Viticultural treatments for improving Syrah quality

Thoughtful Viticulture (Mark Krasnow)

This project aims to compare the effects of regulated deficit irrigation versus normal irrigation on Syrah vine performance, yield, and wine quality and to quantify the effects of deep root pruning on canopy development, yield, and grape quality. The research will also determine the effects of foliar calcium sprays on grape skin toughness, fruit composition, and rot at harvest.

Electronic Spray Deposition Sensors (ESDS)

Lincoln Agritech Ltd.

Using an electronic spray deposition sensor will improve coverage of the target surfaces (leaves) by providing instant real-time quantitative feedback to sprayer operators on spray coverage and deposition in vineyards. The objective is to increase the efficacy of fungicide treatments of grape bunches and reduce the amount of pesticide used.

Potential applications of nanotechnology for wine growing in New Zealand

University of Auckland.

The aim of the projects is to identify promising applications of nanotechnology to increase the sustainability of the wine growing sector and to discover the most pressing issues perceived by wine growers in NZ in relation to plant protection, plant nutrition and sustainability. The researcher will analyse how they could be addressed by nanotechnology and the perception of growers about nanotechnology.

Cost Reduction/Increased Profitability

An automated grape yield estimation system (Rod Bonfiglioli Scholarship)
Massey University (B Parr)

The objectives of this project are to develop a colour + depth camera system for scanning grapevines and to validate camera performance through lab and field measurements. The system will automatically identify grape bunches from the camera data and an artificial intelligence based algorithm will be developed and implement it as an application software package to estimate the grape volume/quality from 3D scans.

Climate Change

Microbial community and vine responses to increasing temperatures in the New Zealand context

University of Auckland

This project will quantify how vines and microbial communities sourced from regional wine growing locations respond to increased temperatures as predicted under climate change scenarios and will determine the effects of microbial communities on fruit development and composition. It will ascertain whether changes in microbial communities, due to increases in temperature, translate into differences in wine composition.

Climate case study – Managing hail damaged vineyards

Bragato Research Institute

The aim of the project is to document various hail recovery management strategies applied by viticulturists using a case study type approach and to increase the volume of information available to growers, to help inform future decision-making following hail events. A scorecard will be created and this may offer an industry standard approach to assessing hail and/or frost damage.