Alongside his wife Samantha, Lars Jansen has run a small certified organic family winery in Richmond since 1991. Lars says Nelson enjoys the most sunshine hours of all the New Zealand winegrowing regions which gives their wine great fruit intensity and flavour. Richmond Plains produced New Zealand first certified organic Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Noir, and New Zealand’s first Blanc de Noir!
Lars says making wine is truly a labour of love, a venture that you don’t want to take on unless you seriously love your vino!
Richmond Plains are passionate and committed to working with nature, which starts with their organic certification, held since they started. Being a certified organic wine maker brings a whole range of responsibility and challenges. The intensive manual techniques involved in caring for organic vines incur extra costs and longer hours, but it’s worth it. Richmond Plain’s winemaker, Steve Gill has decades of experience in organic winemaking in Aotearoa and internationally.
“By using organic methods to grow and nurture our vines without the use of synthetic chemicals, we can naturally express the vineyard’s character in our wine, preserving the natural environment for future generations and providing a healthy choice for consumers” He says.
But you won’t just find grapes in the vineyard, the place is buzzing with plants, insects, animals and human activity that all contributes to the vineyard’s ecosystem so that the property can operate as regeneratively as possible. Sheep graze during the winter months and during the summer the vines are leaf plucked by sheep. Cow pats are the magic ingredient in the compost the vineyard produces along with a lot of grape skins and seeds, this is then used in the vineyard to help the grapes grow. The family has planted plants like harakeke and kōwhai to attract native birds. They have also planted wild flowers to encourage bees. ‘Nature strips’ are used throughout the vineyard to attract other beneficial insects (this is a strip of land that is completely left alone to do its thing, no weeding, ploughing or planting). For Lars’s family, staff and friends there is a large fruit orchard and vegetable garden to enjoy, which Lars’s wife Sam cares for.
All wines from Richmond Plains are certified organic and vegan, find them at your local Commonsense store.