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Students change mix

SONIA BEAL
Last updated 05:00 14/12/2013
Richard Ballinger

Richard Ballinger and viticulture tutor Glenn Kirkwood at NMIT

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Viticulture students at the Nelson Marlborough Institute of Technology have been mucking in, replanting vines at the onsite vineyard in Blenheim.

The campus vineyard has 21 vine rows, 17 of which were originally planted with pinot noir.

But tutor Glenn Kirkwood said they were changing the mix and including some unusual varieties for the benefit of students and the wine industry.

"With the new varieties, we want to evaluate their benefit," Mr Kirkwood said. "Can they actually provide good quality wine for the industry in the region?"

Staff and students from the viticulture and wine production diploma course planted one row each of merlot, riesling and alvarinho at the beginning of November, along with eight vines of lagrein.

The replanting project began last year when five rows of pinot noir vines were replaced with tempranillo, gruner veltliner, syrah/shiraz, chardonnay, half a row of verdelho and half of muscat à petits grains.

Mr Kirkwood said the project gave students first-hand experience in young vine management through young vine training, pruning, weed management and canopy management.

As well as managing their growth, students had the opportunity to learn how to make wine from these varieties.

There are plans to replant a further two rows in the vineyard with saperavi and zinfandel next year.

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- The Marlborough Express

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