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Major wine industry conference opens with focus on sustainability

A major wine industry conference was opened in Auckland today by the Prime Minister Rt Hon Helen Clark, who addressed the 500 conference delegates on New Zealand’s path to sustainability, and commended the New Zealand wine industry for its long commitment and support to sustainability.

The Prime Minister used her speech to congratulate the wine industry on the lead it is taking to encourage sustainability amongst winegrowers, and urged it to keep up the momentum for change. She outlined the importance for the wine industry, and other exporters, of protecting New Zealand's international reputation as a sustainable producer of quality goods and services.

Chairman of New Zealand Winegrowers, Stuart Smith, reflected on the success of New Zealand’s wine industry in recent times and believes the importance of sustainability has never been greater or clearer.

“As an industry, we are facing up to the range of sustainability challenges. Experts will speak at this Bragato conference and inform members about international trends and developments – and our industry has a sound understanding of the issues at a local level to then continue to build on our strong track record in the sustainability area,” said Mr Smith.

Romeo Bragato 2007, a three day conference which runs from 23–25 August in Auckland at the Ellerslie Event Centre, is New Zealand’s major technical conference for the grape and wine industry, and named after one of the pioneers of the New Zealand wine industry.

The conference, themed Treading lightly – our sustainable footprint, will see Professor Greg Jones, United States-based climatologist and world leader in climate change, look at the impact of climate change on viticulture in the Bragato Address.

Other speakers during the three-day conference include Peter Berry, who will give the Rabobank keynote address on maintaining a profitable business and providing leadership to ensure ongoing success; Chris de Freitas, Associate Professor, Deputy Director of School and Associate Director (Postgraduate Affairs) at the University of Auckland on climate change and its causes; and Jim Salinger, principal scientist with the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (NIWA) on likely scenarios for New Zealand production under existing climate change models.

The esteemed Romeo Bragato Wine Awards, Young Viticulturist of the Year and winner of the Silver Secateur Award will be announced at a gala dinner on Saturday, 25 August.

For more information visit www.bragato.org.nz

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