Hill Laboratories, New Zealand's largest independent laboratory, officially opened its newest facility in Blenheim last week. As part of the purchase agreement from the Cawthron Institute sale in March 2012, the new lab offers an established wine and microbiological testing service to a region that has seen an increased demand for these resources.
As one of the largest wine producers in the country, Marlborough is in the heart of the wine industry, making the centralised location of Blenheim a prime choice for a wine testing laboratory said Sue Davison, South Island Laboratory Manager. The new lab will provide the rapidly expanding New Zealand wine industry with expert technical assistance and laboratory support on a local level.
"As the demand for export certification testing continues to grow," Sue said. "The Blenheim lab allows us to strengthen our services to our wine industry customers."
Hill Lab's own in-house oenologist, Kirsten Creasey agrees that the acquisition of Cawthron's wine testing expertise along with the new wine lab that recently opened in Christchurch will help expand Hill's offering to the industry. She added that the Blenheim lab is in a central location creating the perfect satellite facility for the growing market.
"The Blenheim lab also offers a wide range of microbiological testing that will meet the needs of many local food businesses such as the seafood industry," Sue said. "The other key area of our business, environmental testing, has also been advanced with the new lab."
Laboratory veteran and microbiologist, Sam Murray, will lead the team of seven laboratory professionals in Blenheim, providing regional access to Hill's leading analytical tools.
"The Hill acquisition is transforming the lab in the best way possible," said Sam. "We've now got the resources to expand and meet our customers' needs as the industry demands it and as our developing clientele require it."
"Not only will we be able to offer the most advanced testing methods available in New Zealand but we are set apart from other labs by our genuine approachability," he said. "If people have any queries or concerns, they can just come and see one of us. It's as simple as that. We are right here for them."
At the beginning stages of the changeover, there were some concerns over staff turnover but according to Sue, no staff members have been made redundant. "In fact," Sue said. "The transition has been extremely smooth. We have even hired more staff and now offer our customers a really great team right in their own community."
Hill Laboratories' Blenheim site is located at Grovetown Park just north of Blenheim.�
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