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Bragato Research Institute (BRI) is delighted to announce that the New Zealand Green Building Council (NZGBC) has awarded its Research Winery in Blenheim a 5 Green Star NZ Built rating.

The Research Winery is the first building in the Marlborough region to receive a Green Star rating. It was planned from the start to meet Green Star building standards, as a leading example for the wine industry.

NZGBC’s chief executive Andrew Eagles congratulated BRI on the fantastic achievement, which represented New Zealand Excellence.

“Congratulations to BRI and all involved in this great project. A 5 Green Star rating shows real leadership in sustainable building. This is especially exciting as the first rated building in Marlborough as well as the country’s first Green Star certified winery. Aotearoa is a world leader in wine. This project is a brilliant example of the steps wineries can take to lower carbon and deliver healthy places for people to thrive in,” said Andrew Eagles.

BRI is a wholly owned subsidiary of New Zealand Winegrowers (NZW), and the winery has been designed to undertake winemaking trials, test new technologies and processes, and be a model for how wineries might operate sustainably. Much of the work undertaken in the winery assists the industry to answer questions about viticulture and winemaking challenges which enable long-term sustainability.

The winery is a single story 752 m2 building, that mainly comprises of a functional winery, alongside several processing and storerooms, an office space, and a conference room which serves as a venue for the industry.

The winery is utilised for BRI’s own research, as well as trials for commercial clients. It provides specialised facilities for research partners locally and internationally, and an educational resource for co-located Nelson Marlborough Institute of Technology.

BRI’s CEO Jeffrey Clarke commented “NZW has four areas of focus and operation – sustainability, research, advocacy, and marketing. Sustainability is central to what we do as a research organisation, and is fundamental to winegrowing in New Zealand. BRI was committed to a design and construction process that understood that. Building the Research Winery to meet Green Star’s exacting standards was our way of following through on that commitment.”

Simon Hall of Jerram Tocker Barron Architects, who designed the building, said “the trick with this project was keeping it cost-effective and environmentally sustainable. It also had to fulfil the requirements necessary for the diverse range of activities carried out by BRI while having an elegance which sat well in the environment.”

Central to the design is an efficient Building Management System, an integrated automated technology system that monitors energy, heating, lighting, along with water and air quality. As demands for these alter, it allows modifications to take place so that the building meets the needs of its research activities and adds to the comfort of staff working inside.

The building’s sustainable design and functionality are best summed up by Research Winery Manager Dr Tanya Rutan: “Working in the Bragato Research Winery is such an amazing experience and I feel extremely fortunate to carry out operations in such a well-designed state of the art building. The thoughtful lay out and hi-tech management system provides for efficiency and high productivity – but it’s the natural light and openness that instils a more important sense of wellbeing. It’s truly one of those places where you walk in and simply say, wow!”.


  • A rainwater harvesting system that provides water for all the fixtures in the building, relying on the town water supply only as a back-up during dry spells.
  • A 15kW photovoltaic PV array that will supply approximately 20% of the building’s total energy needs.
  • A new level of building services control, with occupancy sensors for lighting and WC extract, daylight sensors to dim conference room and office lighting and timers on basins and showers.
  • All major lights are LED to reduce energy use and produce less heat.
  • Natural ventilation based on CO2 control maintaining internal air quality (winemaking produces excess CO2 through fermentation).
  • ECNZ and other international environmental certification systems certified materials used where possible.
  • DALI controls and occupancy sensors used where appropriate, automatically turning off lights in unoccupied areas.
  • All sanitary fixtures within one star of the maximum WELS rating for their type at the time of selection.
  • Low VOC and formaldehyde products used to increase indoor air quality.
  • All exhaust fans controlled by occupancy sensors to optimize energy usage.
  • Zero ODP refrigerants and insulants.

In 2021 the building won the New Zealand Architecture Awards’ Commercial Architecture Award in the Nelson Marlborough region, for Jerram Tocker Barron Architects. That year the building also won a Master Builders Commercial Project Silver Award for Scott Construction.

Photos of BRI’s Research Winery are available to download here.

For more information, please contact Trish:  tel: 021 984 324