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Another Hawkes Bay winery strikes gold at the NZ International Wine Show.


Squawking Magpie Wines

Squawking Magpie have added a prestigious "Best of the Best" trophy to the awards cabinet with 'The Nest' Merlot 2013 Gimblett Gravels taking out the top prize for Champion Merlot and Blends at the New Zealand International Wine Show.

It had earlier picked up a gold medal but at the awards evening was declared "the best" of its class.

There were 2130 wines from 12 countries entered for this year's awards - with 206 gold medals being awarded.

The Hastings based winery produced their first vintage red wine back in 1999 and hit the mark with judges at the Bragato Wine Awards - picking up a gold.

Sweet business brings Hawkes Bay gardens to life.


A sweet Hawkes Bay business has been offering their services to the community and is doing their bit for the environment.

Kiwi Bees offers bees for pollination and a qualified beekeeper to tend them as more people are recognising their value.

While home beekeeping is on the rise Kiwi Bees say their service had less risk of disease and advised do-it-yourselfers to register their hives and only allow qualified beekeepers to tend them.

Results for Kiwi Bees customers has been positive with many saying their gardens have come alive from using the service and the honey is an added bonus.

Falling dairy prices and rising interest rates hit the Hawkes Bay dairy industry hard.


A recent Westpac bank survey paints a gloomy picture of the dairy industry as nationwide regional confidence in the sector slumps.

Falling dairy prices and rising interest rates are knocking confidence in some regions with flood-hit Northland looking especially glum .

Confidence is measured by the balance between households expecting good as opposed to bad economic times in their region in the coming year and as a percentage of total households regional confidence is down 9 points to a net 23 per cent positive in the September quarter.

Westpac forecasts that revenue for dairy farms this season will be down about $5 billion on last year and higher interest rates may also be weighing on the minds of consumers in many regions.

The biggest fall in confidence was seen in Northland, down a massive 34 percentage points to a net 17 per cent negative with Gisborne and Hawke's Bay down 28 points to a net 2 per cent negative.


Hawkes Bays Villa Maria has sweet success at awards ceremony.


It was sweet success for Villa Maria on Saturday, collecting nine gold medals and the trophy for Champion Sweet Wine at the New Zealand International Wine Show, held at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Auckland.Sweet Success for Villa Maria at International Wine Show

The New Zealand International Wine show is the country's largest wine show, in its tenth year with over 2000 global entries, it gives recognition to wines that are or will be sold in New Zealand.

The world renowned show organised by Kingsley Wood of First Glass Wines of Auckland, has a panel of over twenty experts judging the high calibre of entrants, overseen by Chief Judge Bob Campbell, MW.

Thrilled to accept Villa Maria's medals and trophy was Auckland based winemaker, Dave Roper. "As a winemaker it is always an honour to receive an award, not only is it recognition for the team, it also confirms we're producing some great wines for our customers to enjoy," Roper said.

A highlight for Villa Maria was receiving a gold medal for Villa Maria Reserve Syrah 2012 coming from a particularly tough vintage in Hawkes Bay.

The surprise for the evening was winning the trophy for Champion Sweet Wine for Villa Maria Reserve Noble Botrytis Riesling 2012. This unique, classy concentrated dessert styled wine from Marlborough has gained a reputation amongst connoisseurs.


• Reserve Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2013

• Reserve Marlborough Chardonnay 2013

• Reserve Marlborough Noble Riesling Botrytis Selection 2012

• Reserve Marlborough Noble Semillon 2011

• Reserve Gimblett Gravels Hawkes Bay Cabernet Sauvignon Merlot 2010

• Reserve Gimblett Gravels Hawkes Bay Syrah 2012

• Cellar Selection Marlborough Dry Riesling 2013

• Cellar Selection Hawkes Bay Organic Merlot 2013

• Private Bin East Coast Pinot Gris 2014

Hawkes Bay land sale to foreigners has New Zealand First seeing red.


As yet another farm is sold to a foreigner, it is time for Prime Minister John Key to freeze foreign purchases and fully investigate the impact of land sales, says New Zealand First.

"The sale of our land is going unchecked, with no proof that there are benefits to New Zealand," says New Zealand First Leader Rt Hon Winston Peters.

"With a million voters supporting four political parties that realised the need to ban sales to foreign interests, Mr Key has an obligation, at the very least, to call for a breather.

"Clearly, foreign dollars are driving the price of land higher and higher, and out of reach of New Zealanders.

"Mr Key needs to explain in detail how New Zealand and New Zealanders have become better off from previous sales. What significant rewards have been achieved by foreigner owners over and above what a New Zealand owner could achieve.

"Can Mr Key explain how the purchase of farms in Wairarapa by American film director James Cameron added jobs, increased productivity and created export earnings. Apart from the formation of a tramping track, how did the purchase of a high country station by Canadian singer Shania Twain create more permanent jobs and add to agricultural wealth.

"Now we have a German paying around $8 million for 487 hectares near Havelock North. Will he do more than the owners of Canterbury high country station Flock Hill, who promised to increase stock units and the farm’s economic viability but appear to have done little, except damage the business of a tour operator.

"No other country has such open-ended rules over property and land ownership as New Zealand does. It is high time some sense was brought to this issue.

"To suggest that buyers have to be scrutinised by the Overseas Investment Office is complete nonsense. As we have said all along, it’s a rubber stamping machine."

DoC charge a Central Hawkes Bay farmer for illegal grazing.


A Hawke's Bay farmer was given diversion after the Department of Conservation (DoC) laid charges relating to illegal grazing at Hiranui Scenic Reserve. 

The man was charged after he cut through boundary fences and allowed approximately 61 of his cows to graze on reserve land.

DoC say they sympathised with farmers struggling to feed their stock in drought conditions but people must still abide by the rules.


Napier wool sale indicates the market is easing.


New Zealand Wool Services International Limited's General Manager, Mr John Dawson reports that the wool sale held in Napier today was firm to slightly easier in comparison to the previous North Island sale held on the 4th September.

We compare today's sale to the last North Island sale largely due to the similarities of selection, a predominately Crossbred Early Shorn and Second Shear offering.

Recent purchases from China are still having some influence on most types at today's sale.

Fine Crossbred Fleece remained firm. Fine Crossbred Early Shorn and Second Shear types were mixed as 33 to 36 micron wool of 3 to 5 inch were firm to 1 percent dearer while 31 to 36 micron 3 to 4 inch eased slightly by 1.5 percent. 32 and 33 micron 2 to 4 inch remained firm, 34 to 36 micron 2 to 4 inch were 5 percent cheaper.

A limited offering of Coarse Crossbred Fleece remained firm.

Coarse Crossbred Early Shorn and Second Shear 37 micron and coarser 3 to 5 inch were firm while 3 to 4 inch and shorter were 1 percent cheaper.

Clothing Oddments 2 to 4 inch remained firm while 2 to 3 inch was 2.5 percent cheaper.

Next sale on the 25th September comprises approximately 11,680 bales from the South Island.

Environment Minister awards funding for a facility in Napier to turn industrial waste into compost.


Environment Minister Amy Adams today announced funding of $468,000 for a facility in Napier which turns construction, demolition and industrial waste into compost.

The funding has been awarded to BioRich from the Government's Waste Minimisation Fund.

"This money will help BioRich expand its facility to accept waste streams such as bark, wool dust, paper towels, plasterboard and tannery waste," Ms Adams says.

"BioRich currently processes about 30,000 tonnes of organic waste annually. It is estimated the expanded facility will be able to process an additional 6600 tonnes per year at the site.

"The composting facility offers an innovative solution to deal with wastes that are usually difficult to process.

"The material that is being composted would normally go to landfill. Instead, it is being processed into agricultural grade compost which can be used to enrich the soils of Hawke's Bay farms.

"This project is a win-win for the local economy and environment. It will reduce pollution and the amount of material going to landfill, while providing nutrients to make soils more productive and reduce the need for fertilisers.

"Any initiative that reduces material going to landfill is making a difference for our environment."

Several Hawke's Bay companies are already supplying their waste to BioRich for composting.

The $468,000 for the project comes from the Government's Waste Minimisation Fund. The Fund provides financial support to projects which increase resource efficiency and decrease the amount of waste going to landfill.

To date the Government has awarded more than $50 million to 100 projects through the Fund.

Hawkes Bays Gimblett Gravels 2012 Annual Vintage Selection is revealed.


On concluding a tasting of Gimblett Gravels red wines to select the top twelve wines to represent the 2012 vintage, Andrew Caillard MW applauded the winemakers who rose to the challenge of one of the most difficult vintages ever to produce “fragrant expressive” wines.

The fifth year of this initiative from the Gimblett Gravels Winegrowers Association (GGWA), the Annual Vintage Selection serves as a unique snapshot of a particular vintage and helps to chart the evolution of Gimblett Gravels wines on a vintage by vintage basis.

Based in Sydney, Andrew Caillard MW has been the independent selector for all five vintages, 2008-2012, inclusive. Highly respected, he is internationally recognized as a leading wine critic.

In making the selections for the 2012 Annual Vintage Selection, Andrew commented that although 2012 was a challenging vintage, “there were many fragrant expressive wines with generous fruit complexity and underlying savoury nuances” and that the very “best wines possessed mid-palate richness and volume”.

Chairman of the GGWA, Tony Bish commented “the ability to pull through quality wines from such a difficult year is a credit to the sub-region. The Gimblett Gravels Winegrowers Association has the opportunity to quieten some critics who have judged the vintage before the wines themselves, further strengthening our sub-region’s unique capabilities and quality reputation”.

The 2012 Annual Vintage Selection will comprise the following wines (in alphabetical order):

Blended reds (Merlot or Cabernet Sauvignon dominant):

Alluviale Merlot Cabernet Sauvignon

Babich The Patriarch

Babich Irongate

Unison Selection Cabernet Sauvignon Merlot

Villa Maria Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon Merlot


Craggy Range Gimblett Gravels Vineyard

Mission Estate Reserve

Sacred Hill Deerstalkers

Squawking Magpie Stoned Crow

Trinity Hill Gimblett Gravels


Villa Maria Reserve