The BRI research winery has completed all of this year’s 2020 vintage trials, allowing winery staff and industry clients to reflect on the process as well as the research outcomes.

From the 2020 vintage, the research winery completed nine commercial trials involving 67 ferments of both red and white wines, in addition to running their own research and process validation trials.  The trials covered a diverse range including understanding the subtleties of how different yeasts influence Marlborough Sauvignon blanc flavours, through to measuring the impact of viticultural practices on wine flavours and colour.

“While vintage 2020 will be remembered as a most unusual harvest due to Covid-19, the fruit was healthy, disease free and ripened to produce some outstanding wines.  The research winery was privileged to continue its operation under lock down with much success,” says Research Winery Manager Dr. Tanya Rutan.

BRI was heartened to receive positive feedback from clients that the service and results from the winery met or exceeded expectations.  This was especially given it was the first time the winery (which opened in February) had been used, with the additional challenges presented by the COVID-19 lock down. Customers  indicated that the benefit of having the research winery was the convenience of having trials run independently to their own operations at this busy and pressured time of year, and having access to the high levels of scientific expertise and rigor provided by the research winery team.

Alex Easton, Technical Viticulturalist at Cloudy Bay, said their results exceeded expectations given the circumstances and that communication has been good throughout the process.  “The winery was able to add some additional trials at very short notice, so we appreciated the flexibility.” Cloudy Bay’s trials involved alternatives to herbicides with under-vine management, and some small-scale irrigation trials.

Aaron Thompson from FruitFed, who undertook a trial on wine enzymes, commented that they had received great service. “Tanya was very professional, and a good communicator and the trial totally met our expectations,” he said. “We have a couple more trials booked in for this coming year.”

Frank Benkwitz, head of Labs and R&D at Constellation Wines commented that the team was very thorough and worked hard to accommodate their needs.  “We were really impressed with the results of the trial and the quality of the wines that were produced. They were the equivalent of commercial scale results, which is very difficult to achieve on a smaller scale.” Constellation undertook yeast trials, amongst others.

Romina Meloni, from yeast supplier Lallemand, would definitely recommend using BRI’s research winery. “We are happy with the results, and prompt and professional service, especially given the challenges of it being the first vintage in the winery and with COVID-19 disruption. It went really well.  Lallemand works with many different research institutes around the world so we have a good comparison.  The communication and service were very good despite the challenging circumstances.”

The research winery is now accepting bookings for 2021 vintage trials so please get in touch if you would like to secure your spot. Further information on this service can be found on our website or please contact our Business Development Manager Augusta van Wijk augusta.vanwijk@bri.co.nz