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Yealands Estate Launches Pioneering Winery

Contributor:
Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media
Yealands Estate.gif
Yealands Estate.gif

With the launch of its ground-breaking new Marlborough winery Yealands Estate pioneers sustainable premium wine production on an unprecedented scale.

Testament to the innovative thinking and 'can do' philosophy that has seen Peter Yealands develop New Zealand's largest privately owned vineyard in the rolling foothills of the Awatere Valley, the $NZ45 million winery features advanced green technology in every aspect of design and function. At full production it will accommodate some 11,000 tonnes of fruit all grown on the 1,000 hectare estate.

Guests at today's official opening of the Yealands Estate Winery sampled the inaugural wines from a production facility that has been built from the ground up to target a 6 -Green Star Rating or "world leadership" accreditation under the Green Star NZ Industrial Building rating system.

Aesthetically designed to integrate with the rolling hills of the surrounding vineyard, the 7,100 m2 winery is encapsulated in a highly insulated, solar reflective cladding. Around the perimeter, stormwater collection swales harvest water that will be used to irrigate the grapevines. Inside, temperature monitoring probes, state of the art energy management software and advanced heat recovery technology ensure maximum energy efficiency throughout the building - while up on the roof two 22kw solar panels assist in providing the winery's hot water requirements. Construction of the first two wind turbines has been completed with planning underway for further larger units.

"That's just a taste of what's to come," said Peter Yealands, head of the family-owned estate and long-time advocate of sustainable methods. "There's every possibility we'll be selling power to the national grid when the wind turbines are all up and running."

There's certainly plenty of wind at the winery's spectacular Seaview Vineyard site, and Yealands, a self-confessed maverick with a track record of innovation and entrepreneurial success, has never side-stepped a challenge.

Based in the Awatere Valley, along the south-eastern coastline of Marlborough, Yealands Estate spans some 1000 hectares of premium grape-growing land. Six years ago Yealands began transforming the rolling hills and gullies that many considered too steep for viticulture into terraced vineyard blocks of unprecedented scale. He pioneered the use of GPS technology to position the rows and invented a now patented protection device to shield the fledgling vines. Underpinning the entire vineyard development he has driven a total commitment to excellence in sustainable practices.

"I don't see the sense in doing something half-right particularly where the environment's at stake," said Mr Yealands, "We set out with a vision of best practice from the vine to the bottle. Building a winery that takes the sustainable production of premium wine to a whole new level has always been an integral part of that vision."

His vision has translated into a $NZ45 million production facility that incorporates state of the art green production technology alongside a host of innovative ideas devised by the Yealands team.

"The use of advanced heat recovery and exchange devices, energy monitoring and management technology comprehensive insulation throughout the facility will see us achieve total energy savings of some 949,000 kWh in our first year of operation," said Harold Norden, Sustainability Manager at Yealands Estate.

It's not only the operation of the winery that's committed to efficient resource use; during construction the entire site adopted a comprehensive recycling philosophy that resulted in less than 10% of the total volume of construction waste heading to the landfill.

In tandem with the on-going development of the estate vineyards, the winery has been specifically designed as a multi-phased project; capable of scaling upwards as the volumes increase while maintaining optimum conditions for wine production. Stage One was completed just in time for harvest 2008, processing 3,000 tonnes of premium estate-grown fruit. Stage 2 will see the winery capacity increase to 5,000 tonnes with total capacity of 11,000 tonnes reached in 2013 if not before.

Another key feature of the winery is its ability to process individual parcels of grapes, which enables the winemaker to capture the diverse flavour profiles yielded from across the Estate vineyards. This year Yealands Estate harvested 50 individual parcels of Sauvignon Blanc with a variety of flavours that range from intense passionfruit through to fresh herb and tobacco leaf.

The inaugural vintage of Yealands Estate wines, launched to coincide with the opening of the winery, will be available at leading retail outlets within the next few weeks. It is a three-tiered portfolio, comprising Yealands, Yealands Estate and a Yealands Estate Showcase. The Yealands 2008 range includes: Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Gris and Riesling, while the Yealands Estate 2008 range currently offers a Sauvignon Blanc with Riesling, Pinot Gris, Viognier, Gewurztraminer and Pinot Noir available very soon. Selected parcels of single block Sauvignon Blanc will be released under the Yealands Estate Showcase label later in the year.

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