Big winery project 'a good sign'

Wine industry has a strong future ahead

KAT PICKFORD
Last updated 16:09 01/11/2012
VinLink
Derek Flynn
Large scale: VinLink Marlborough general manager Dave Pearce in one of the three wine halls of the new 13,000-tonne capacity VinLink winery at Riverlands Industrial Estate, near Blenheim

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Construction of the new multimillion-dollar winery at Riverlands Industrial Estate south of Blenheim will be finished by February, its general manager says.

VinLink Marlborough general manager Dave Pearce said the winery's 10 million litres of ferment volume was already fully contracted for the 2013 vintage. "We are not in the business of speculating, we are in the business of supplying a service for people when they need it."

Their smallest customer had 2000 tonnes of grapes and their largest had 6500 tonnes, he said.

The winery is being built in the Taylor's Engineering workshop in Liverpool St. Taylor's Engineering is building and fitting more than 100 tanks, which range is size from 30,000 litres to 225,000 litres.

Taylor's will be moving to a new workshop being built just along Liverpool St by the end of the year.

Mr Pearce has been making wine since the late 1970s, most recently for 23 years with the New Zealand Wine Company, which was bought by American company Foley Family Wines in September.

The project was a good sign the Marlborough wine industry had a strong future ahead, he said.

"It just goes to show where the industry has gone, it's very big business here," he said.

Everything in the winery is built with economy of scale, making it very efficient to run.

The tanks were all indoors to protect the equipment and staff, and to help control temperatures and reduce electricity use, he said.

The large grape-receiving area with three bays and six presses is capable of processing 100 tonnes of grapes an hour, and is key to efficiently processing the 13,000 tonnes of fruit they are expecting in their first vintage.

Expansion had been taken into account as demand increases, with room for an extra two receiving bins and four presses, which would increase the intake capacity to 3000 tonnes a day, he said.

The winery will be run by 10 fulltime staff, including three winemakers, and they will take more staff on as required at vintage.

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- The Marlborough Express

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