About Me

Gavin Hubble - (BSc & Post Grad. Business Marketing) - I started working in the wine industry over 23 years ago in New Zealand. Working in; wine retail, sales, wine production, label & packaging design, marketing, wine buying, consulting and wine education. I am responsible for the Brand Health of 60+ wine brands distributed here in New Zealand. Wine Brands from New Zealand, Australia, France, Italy, Spain, Portugal, Chile and Argentina. I work closely with the Trade Industry - (Retail Stores & Restaurants) introducing, educating and positioning exciting and unique brands to wine enthusiasts all over the world.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

‘Marlborough Smart and Connected’

In June of this year an exiting initiative was launch called: ‘Marlborough Smart and Connected’, an economic development project presented by project leader Economic Anthropologist Amanda Lynn. Amanda explained that too often communities focus on economic growth, and that a focus on growth alone may not be sustainable. Amanda gave the example of economic incentives to encourage the establishment of a ‘gumboot factory’ in a rural New Zealand town which while meeting the objective of economic growth - unfortunately was not sustainable, as a few years later the factory moved to another town that offered better incentives. Unfortunately the town’s economy had become dependent on the factory and the loss was catastrophic for the community.
The ‘Smart and Connected Project’ is aimed at getting Marlborough to think innovatively and work together to create and market their products more effectively. The presentation was interesting, however it was focused on strategy, which, while important, must lead to actions or all the effort will be for nothing.
Marlborough is such a great place - with many talented and successful people from all walks of life who choose to live and contribute to the community/ region. There is a diverse range of skills which can be leveraged and ensure success with a ‘smart and connected’ strategy.
Marlborough has quite a few strings to its economic bow. The largest wine-growing region accounting for over 70% of New Zealand’s wine production. They also have dairy, sheep, beef and arable farming, cherries, apples, forestry, aqua-culture, fishing, aviation and tourism based around the Marlborough Sounds and the surrounding wine industry. Marlborough also has a ‘Tui’s to Town’ project, with the aim being to encourage residents to plant appropriate native species to attract native Tui birds back into the town environment of Blenheim.
There are innovations underway in Marlborough that could be linked together in a ‘Smart and Connected’ way such as Doug Avery’s model farm situated on the dry east coast. In this part of Marlborough farms are struggling with soil erosion and lack of profitability and yet Doug Avery has tackled both problems head on with great success. Doug’s farm is great example of working with the land and the environment for a sustainable (including financial) future.
Sustainable Winegrowing New Zealand which is based in Marlborough, is a sustainability program designed to provide a ‘best practice’ model of environmental practices in the vineyard and winery. The scheme ensures a quality assurance from the vineyard to the bottle and addresses consumer concerns regarding products, which are made taking care to respect the environment.
If all of these threads are pulled together Marlborough could become a sustainability hub encompassing more than just the wine industry. Marlborough’s forestry, marine farming and traditional agricultural industries; would all benefit from a region wide sustainability regime that linked all of these industries and the community as a whole.
The wine industry as the dominant land user close to Blenheim could be encouraged to plant small areas of appropriate native species in the ephemeral streams that run through many vineyards, to hop scotch the Tui’s from the hills onto the valley floor and back into town. The expertise that ‘Sustainable Winegrowing New Zealand’ has built up over the years could be adapted and applied to other Marlborough industries.
Sustainable Winegrowing New Zealand is an independently audited production system, where winegrowers must report all of their inputs and complete a scorecard. There are practices that are banned, such as some chemicals that lead to unacceptable environmental effects and or residues in the finished wine, practices that deteriorate the soil and or lead to erosion, labour practices and minimizing fuel use. That is by no means a full list of requirements, but I’m sure you get the picture.
Importantly accredited members must complete a scorecard and have complete records of all their inputs, vineyard practices and compliance with resource consents etc - and accreditation requires that vineyards and wineries be independently audited.
A key aspect of ‘Sustainable Winegrowing’ is that it is an iterative program that evolves over time as new practices and technologies come along. While the program has been designed for vineyards and wineries it could easily be adapted to other industries and that flexibility could be used in a ‘Smart and Connected’ way to pull Marlborough’s strengths together and make the region the ‘Sustainability Capital’ of New Zealand. This will undoubtedly lead to sustainable economic development for Marlborough.
For more information on Sustainable Winegrowing NZ - CLICK HERE:

*(Key contributor to this article; Mr Stuart Smith - New Zealand Winegrowers Chairman, and proprietor / owner of Fairhall Downs & Torea Wines)

1 comment:

  1. Hi Gavin, this is a great example of how the Marlborough Smart and Connected vision could be applied across multiple industries to the benefit of all, whilst aligning with values such as environmental sustainability - identified in Amanda’s research as being important to all of us when we’re asked what we value about our Marlborough way of life.
    You’re right, action must follow on from strategy – currently those involved with Marlborough Smart and Connected are taking that vision out to the community with the goal of involving as many people as possible in the decisions as to what shape the final vision takes; the action of being involved in the decision making process will be the first step for many individuals and businesses in the actions we take together as a community to make the Marlborough Smart and Connected vision a reality.