Villa Maria expanding to cater to high demand
Villa Maria is rearranging the layout of its Marlborough winery and beefing up its processing power to increase efficiency as well as wine production.
The New Renwick Rd winery's 16,000-tonne capacity, will increase to 18,000 tonnes to accommodate a targeted growth of pinot noir and sauvignon blanc.
The winery is part of the New Zealand wine company Villa Maria Estate founded in Auckland by George Fistonich, who now lives in Hawke's Bay.
The expansion in Marlborough follows the company's purchase of Te Awa Winery in the Gimblett Gravels area of Hawke's Bay, in September.
Villa Maria senior winemaker Jeremy McKenzie said the company's expansion is driven by growing demand for their wine in Russia, China, Sweden, Norway and Australia.
"It's important for us to secure a good quality Marlborough grape supply into the future, and it's also about security for our growers - that we have the space for their fruit when it's ready."
The winery is increasing its area in Marlborough through existing growers planting more grapes and taking on more contracted growers, he said.
The expansion includes an additional eight 20,000-litre tanks for sauvignon blanc and a new barrel hall to hold an extra 1200 barrels of pinot noir.
The rearrangement of the winery's layout includes moving the receiving pits and presses to the centre of the winery, to create a hub for the fruit to be delivered and processed, then distributed to the tanks to ferment and complete the winemaking process, he said.
"It's a great plan in terms of efficiency - from the harvester to the tank, this area will pretty much become the heart of the process."
Careful thought has also been given to improve energy efficiency such as the use of insulated concrete tilt panel walls to control temperature and humidity, he said.
Landscape designer Jo Saunders designed the park-like grounds, to help reduce the visual impact on their neighbours on Marlborough Ridge, he said.
T & D Construction, which built the original winery in 1998, is managing the project along with other Marlborough firms including Taylors Engineering who have built the tanks and Deans Lifting.
T & D director Geoff Morgan said they are on target for completion by February 22.
- The Marlborough Express