Bragato Research Institute

Bragato Research Institute was established as a Regional Research Institute with funding from the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment.

Owned by New Zealand Winegrowers, our aim is to provide leading-edge science, research and innovation to benefit New Zealand’s wine industry, and its key stakeholders.

Regionally based in Marlborough, we have a national focus, and global reach, providing research and innovation for commercial grape and wine production. Some of this work will be undertaken by our own science team and other work will be contracted, depending on the capability and expertise required.

Industry involvement and engagement in research and development is a key driver for us – it shapes the work we do, and the work we fund, and gives us the tools to ensure the outcomes from our research programme can be taken up by members to deliver industry and national benefits.

Marlborough District Council also financially supported our establishment, reflecting the important economic development benefits we will deliver.

We also work to improve integration between those involved in grape and wine research, and the commercial companies operating in the industry.

Vision, Mission & Purpose

Vision Mātauranga

Embedding Vision Mātauranga into BRI research

New Zealand Winegrowers


New Zealand Winegrowers is the national organisation for the country’s grape and wine sector, with around 850 grower members and 700 winery members.

Established in March 2002, it is the only unified national winegrowers industry body in the world.

New Zealand Winegrowers conducts a wide range of tasks to support our members including:

  • advocacy at regional, national and international levels
  • providing a global marketing platform for New Zealand wine
  • facilitating world-class research on industry priorities
  • giving the industry timely and strategic information
  • leading the development of sustainable production practices
  • organising sector-wide events such as the Bragato Conference, Grape Days, Spray Days and the New Zealand Wine of the Year™ Awards

The New Zealand Winegrowers levy-funded research programme is delivered through the Bragato Research Institute and supports the New Zealand grape and wine industry to remain internationally competitive as the leading producer of premium quality wines.

NZW owns the Bragato Research Institute and appoints directors of the BRI, as well as Research Advisory Committee members.  NZW provides approximately $2m of funding per annum to the Bragato Research Institute.

More information regarding New Zealand Winegrowers, and the New Zealand wine industry can be found on their website.


Bragato Trust and Romeo Bragato


The Bragato Trust is an important element of the New Zealand wine industry’s ecosystem, and is an entirely separate entity to the Bragato Research Institute, though we work closely together and support each other’s objectives.

The aims of the Trust include providing scholarships in subjects of relevance to the viticulture and the wine industry, and promoting the development and dissemination of viticulture knowledge and practice in New Zealand.

More information on the Bragato Trust can be found here.

Romeo Bragato

The Bragato Trust was formed in memory of Romeo Bragato, viticulturist and visionary. Bragato trained at the highly regarded School of Viticulture and Oenology in Conegliano, Italy 1878 – 1883. Bragato was the Victorian Government Viticulturist Expert 1888 – 1901. He visited New Zealand in 1895 and 1901 before moving to New Zealand in 1902. Bragato was the New Zealand Government Viticulturist 1902 – 1909.

He came with impressive credentials, having spent four years at Conegliano, Italy’s famous school of viticulture where he obtained a diploma of Oenology.

He was escorted by Government officials from one end of the country to the other. His report, ‘Prospects of Viticulture and Instructions for Planting and Pruning’ submitted to the Premier on 10th September 1895 was reasoned and enthusiastic. Bragato strongly urged that associations be formed in the various districts, “A competent body in each district would determine the most suitable varieties for planting, collect and spread local data and thus in great measure secure the industry against failure. Each district would subsequently gain notoriety for the wine produced as in the famous districts of the Continent”.

He had found phylloxera in the Auckland vineyards of Mr Bridgman and Mr Harding of Mt Eden Road and strongly recommended an inspection of all vineyards. He also recommended the importation by the Department, from Europe, of cuttings of American resistant vines. Signor Bragato returned to Australia, leaving behind him a farming population excited by the prospects of wealth from viticulture. But two pests, Phylloxera and Oidium Mildew, and a lacklustre policy by the Department of Agriculture dampened the enthusiasm of most except the wealthy gentlemen farmers of Hawke’s Bay, the missionaries, and a new breed of wine growers entering the field, the Dalmatians.

In 1901 there was another flicker of interest by the New Zealand Government in viticulture and they asked Bragato to come back and report on the phylloxera which by now was having a heavy toll on the vineyards of the North Island, as it had done earlier in the vineyards of Europe. He had already given New Zealand the answer in his report of 1895 – root out the diseased vine, import and plant American resistant vines, (root stock grafted with European varieties). This time he was offered a permanent position and came back in 1902 to the newly created post of Viticulturist and Head of the Viticultural Division of the Department of Agriculture based at Te Kauwhata.

Bragato imported disease resistant stocks and in his handbook, Viticulture in New Zealand published in 1906 by the Department of Agriculture, showed growers how to graft the European classical varieties which predominated in the country at that time, on to the American root stocks.

Bragato’s work identified the varieties to plant, the Phylloxera resistant rootstocks to graft them to, the regions in which to plant vines, the varieties suitable to each region, vineyard layout, pruning methods and much more.

Regrettably his work was not acted on and lay forgotten for over 60 years. Dusted off by a few pioneers in the 1970’s early 1980’s, many of the recommendations of Romeo Bragato form the basis of modern New Zealand viticulture practices.