Raising a glass to nature

Raising a glass to nature

Toi Toi Wines raised more than $10,000 to support Forest & Bird last year after hearing how the beech seeding mast would lead to exploding numbers of introduced predators decimating rare native birds such as the orange-fronted kākāriki.

The family-owned company plans to continue the relationship this year, with fundraising likely to be based around improving the quality of New Zealand’s freshwater.

fb pic2Toi Toi Sales and Marketing Manager Samantha Joyce, who is also the daughter-in-law of company founders Kevin and Sara Joyce, says focusing on the highly endangered orange-fronted kākāriki was a great success.

“That story really connected to our consumers,” Samantha says. “We saw a strong uplift in sales over the duration of this campaign, which meant we were able to see the true level of engagement, and that was really exciting for us and for Forest & Bird.”

Between July and August last year, Toi Toi Wines counted all bottles sold that carried neck tags with a photo of the orange- fronted kākāriki. The company donated a percentage of the sales of these bottles to Forest & Bird, and buyers also had the chance to enter a competition for a weekend at Forest & Bird’s Mount Ruapehu Lodge. Samantha says the conservation cause is close to the company’s heart.

“One of our core values is that we are kaitiaki – guardians of our lands and water for future generations – and our association with Forest & Bird is testament to that.”

Toi Toi’s name has an obvious connection to New Zealand native flora, and it takes its environmental responsibilities seriously, including gaining Sustainable Winegrowing NZ accreditation. Achieving accreditation requires meeting standards related to seven key areas of biodiversity, soil, water and air, energy, chemicals, by-products, and business practices.

One example of sustainability is the company’s use of fertilisers. “Our predominant fertiliser is sea kelp. It’s completely natural and nutrient rich, which helps improve the strength and quality of the vines,” says Samantha.

Like all businesses, Toi Toi has been feeling the impact of coronavirus and the economic dislocation it is creating. But the company was lucky its grape harvest was a little early this year, going ahead without a hitch. Chief winemaker Tim Adams says grape quality is among the best for a decade. Samantha is looking forward to raising a glass of Toi Toi’s 2020 vintage to the company’s relationship with Forest & Bird.

Jo Prestwood, Forest & Bird’s relationships manager, says working with Toi Toi has been a great experience. “Toi Toi donates a percentage of its sales to Forest & Bird. It’s a simple fundraising model and a win-win partnership. We are really grateful for their help in protecting what makes New Zealand so special.”

If you would like to help support Forest & Bird’s work, contact fundraising@forestandbird.org.nz.