Winery owner Peter Yealands shared the secrets of his success at a field day on Thursday which celebrated his Farmer of the Year award.
More than 150 people turned out to congratulate Mr Yealands for winning the Lincoln University South Island Farmer of the Year 2013 award.
Mr Yealands spoke of his pride and delight at receiving the award last November.
"It's not my nature being in the limelight. I like to be in the background . . . [but] look what we have managed to achieve in the short time we've been here."
Lincoln University Foundation chairman Ben Todhunter said visiting award recipients every year was his "favourite little job".
"We look for excellence and innovation . . . and Yealands has outstanding excellence and innovation."
During a period of five years, Yealands has become the sixth-largest wine exporter in New Zealand, he said.
"Mr Yealands justifiably won the Farmer of the Year title for the way the family had looked at all aspects of their business, often finding better and more environmentally sustainable ways to run the operation."
Yealands, one of six finalists from throughout the South Island, won $20,000 grant towards overseas travel for study, research and marketing.
Mr Yealands said he wanted to produce the world's best Sauvignon Blanc, be recognised globally for sustainability and be one of the largest exporters, he said.
"We are all of that now. We are very, very lucky, someone has been looking down on us."
Mr Yealands told the crowd about his innovations and ideas.
A new programmable self-drive tractor, controlled by a GPS, is the latest addition, he said.
It was efficient, but a work in progress.
He also spoke about compost, hydrogen generator tractors, babydoll sheep, and his new Sauvignoir wine.
Visitors got the opportunity to tour his winery and vineyards.
- The Marlborough Express