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

Development and deployment of a high throughput genotyping methodology for identification and characterisation of transposon-induced mutations in recently produced grapevine somatic mutant populations.
Lincoln University (Darrell Lizamore)

The objectives of this project are to implement a next-generation sequencing-based genotyping assay capable of characterising differences among the majority of the ~200 families of transposable elements in the NZ grapevine mutants. It will use a two-dimensional multiplexing approach to enable rapid and efficient identification and characterisation of new transposon-based genetic changes in multiple plant samples simultaneously and use transposon-based genotyping to distinguish between individual clones of the same variety.

Population genomics of the wine spoilage yeast Brettanomyces bruxellensis. 
Auckland University (Matt Goddard)

The objectives of the project are to determine the genome sequences, sulfite tolerances and behaviour in wine of selected NZ Brettanomyces bruxellensis isolates from wine to establish a representative collection and to screen the data from the Vineyard Ecosystems DNA samples for Brettanomyces.

Pests and Disease

Powdery mildew extension project
Anna Lambourne

This project addresses the need for additional management guidance and enhanced extension to deliver disease management ‘best practice’ to the New Zealand winegrowing industry. Powdery mildew and other fungal disease pressure has increased substantially over the last few growing seasons, largely due to poor management practices coupled with conducive environmental conditions.  The aim is to address this with a combined research and extension programme designed to demonstrate best practice where it counts – in the members’ vineyards.

For more information on powdery mildew please click here and for spraying information please click here and you will be taken to the Members login area of the NZW website.

Spray protocols to quantify and optimise spray deposits applied to dormant grapevines (trunks, heads, cordons and canes)
Plant and Food (Monika Walter) 

This project aims to improve spray coverage and rates of deposition applied to wounds on trunks, vine heads and cordons for protection of woody trunk diseases and for the control of overwintering powdery mildew and virus transmitting mealybugs and will deliver a set of sprayer setup and operation guidelines for different dormant canopy spray targets.

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.


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.

Cost Reduction/Increased Profitability

Precision Grape Yield Analyser Project
Lincoln Agritech Limited (Armin Werner)

Three technologies for sensing grape attributes will be researched; Task A: microwaves, Task B; machine vision, Task C: optical NIR. Outputs from these and supplementary sensors, e.g. GPS-derived position & weather station data, will be incorporated in the GYA model. The predictive power of integrating on-vine and related measurements with bio- economic models for forecasting yield based on Bayesian approaches will be studied. 

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.