Constellation to expand Blenheim winery?

The owner of Drylands Winery has applied for resource consent that would allow the winery to double its processing ...

The owner of Drylands Winery has applied for resource consent that would allow the winery to double its processing capacity. Pictured are two 500,000 litre storage tanks built for the winery by Crown Sheet Metals.

A New Zealand wine heavyweight has applied to make changes to its Blenheim winery with a vision of doubling the volume of wine processed at the site. 

Representatives from Constellation Brands New Zealand put forward their case to expand the company's Drylands winery at a Marlborough District Council resource hearing on Thursday. 

Lawyer David Clark, acting on behalf of Constellation, said the company was applying to extend its Hammerichs Rd winery to allow for an increase in its processing capacity from 20 million litres per annum to 40 million litres. 

The company had invested in grape production in Marlborough and wanted to make a further investment in wine processing, with a focus on sauvignon blanc.

Options available to Constellation for expanding its processing capacity included expansion of the Drylands winery, developing a greenfields site or a facility at Riverlands Industrial Estate, Clark said.

Consultation with council had suggested that expansion at Drylands was preferable to a facility at Riverlands.

There were no obvious greenfield alternatives available to Constellation, Clark said. 

Constellation consulted with four neighbours of Drylands before lodging an application with council to extend the winery in July last year.

Consent for the extension was gained from three of four potentially affected neighbours, Clark said. 

A modified proposal was put together, which included comprehensive landscaping, a reduced footprint and moved the area of activity away from the neighbours who were unhappy with the plan.

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"Constellation wants to be a good neighbour and within the bounds of reason is prepared to modify its proposals to accommodate neighbour concerns," Clark said. 

Lawyer Nick McKessar represented Malcolm and Jill Adams at the resource hearing committee meeting. 

The pair, who live close to the winery, opposed the application to extend Drylands. 

McKessar said the Adams were concerned about increased light and sound pollution as a result of the expansion, as well as increased odour, sound pollution and traffic levels at the winery. 

They were also worried about the visual effects of the development. McKessar argued that the Constellation application should be treated as a non-complying activity rather than a discretionary activity. 

Although Constellation had promised to landscape the new development, the Adams argued that Constellation had not followed through with a commitment to landscaping areas as a condition of previous consents. 

They were concerned about the large number of storage tanks that would be at the Drylands winery if the application was successful. 

The Adams also objected to a "repugnant odour" that came from the Drylands winery, and a persistent high-pitched mechanical whine that came from the property.

"As the winery increases, this noise will only increase." 

The Marlborough District Council resource hearing committee was expected to make a decision on Constellation's application to extend the Drylands winery by the end of the year. 

 - The Marlborough Express


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