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Kuranui College gets miniature vineyard

By Beckie Wilson

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A new vineyard at Greytown’s Kuranui College has become the 84th winery in the Wairarapa region.

Cheryl Iro, a science teacher at the college, had been interested in establishing a vineyard for several years, and decided now was the right time.

After approaching Clive Paton, owner of Ata Rangi Vineyard in Martinborough who donated eight riesling and 16 pinot noir plants, the work began.

The last weeks of the school term involved the horticulture and agriculture students preparing the vineyard in time for the end of term.

Before the students, teachers and volunteers planted the vines, the students had added gravel and lime to the soil to break down the clay which wasn’t suitable for grape growth.

“The Year 11 students were also able to achieve NCEA Level 1 Hort credits during the process,” Mrs Iro said.

“Students get to learn about diseases and care of the vines, as well as bud rubbing and netting.

“We will now have a wonderful new teaching environment at the college.

“This is a fantastic opportunity for students to develop skills and interest in viticulture in a region where this industry is thriving.”

Mr Paton said the climate in the eastern side of the Wairarapa valley, combined with free-draining soils, made a number of great grape-growing locations.

“An association with Wairarapa College [and the vineyard] a few years ago generated enough interest from a group of ag students to produce a couple of winemakers who are now involved in the local industry,” he said.

“I believe this industry has a secure future in our region, bringing jobs not only in winemaking, viticulture, sales and marketing, but also via the spin-off from rapidly expanding, wine-related tourism.”

Local farmer John Phelps donated his time putting in posts and erecting fencing using wire donated by Kuranui principal Geoff Shepherd.

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