Mega warehouse on way
Contractors are expected to break ground on Marlborough's largest single building next month as part of a new development at Riverlands Industrial Estate.
The final design work for the building, a wine storage warehouse for bottling company WineWorks, was completed last week and work on the $15 million building would begin in July.
The building would encompass two of the seven new lots that were mapped out at the development site last week.
When completed the building would be the size of two rugby fields or the length of 2 Boeing 747s.
WineWorks managing director Tim Nowell-Usticke said he was told it was going to be the biggest single building in Blenheim - Lansdowne Park would fit inside it, including the grandstands.
Nowell-Usticke said the decision for another warehouse came after the increased demand from this year's vintage.
"We store all of our customers' wine in the warehouse on our current site and we had such an increase in fruit that came off Marlborough's vineyards this year that we had to store the wine in other warehouses around Blenheim.
"Next year we estimate the peak will be so high there will not be enough buildings in the Blenheim area to store it, so we need to build it so our customers can be confident we will be able to store all their wine in a temperature-controlled warehouse."
In addition to the warehouse, underground pipes would be laid so wine could be pumped between businesses operating in the Riverlands processing and bottling cluster, Nowell-Usticke said.
"This is mega. It probably is a world first."
This would allow new wineries to pump their finished wine directly to WineWorks for bottling - there would be no need for trucks to transport wine, he said.
Wine was already being pumped from a few wineries in the cluster, such as Saint Clair Family Estate, Mudhouse, Astrolabe, but the new pipes would allow other wineries at Riverlands to be a part of it, Nowell-Usticke said.
Another new feature, which was a first for Marlborough, was gas reticulation. "Next door on the site, it's taken up by a gas company and they will pump gas to the surrounding wineries."
All elements of the build were expected to be finished by the beginning of next year. Nowell-Usticke was confident it would be completed on schedule.
"We want the warehouse to be finished by February 28 next year, just in time for vintage."
The new state-of-the-art warehouse would have plenty of storage, Nowell-Usticke said.
"It's going to feature completely covered loading and unloading bays and we are going to use robots to stack the bottles on satellite racking. It will put away and rack more efficiently.
"From our point of view it's an investment in capacity for the wine industry."
The new warehouse "definitely means more jobs too", he said.
At the moment, WineWorks bottle and store wine for about 50 wineries in the region, Nowell-Usticke said.
The Marlborough Express