Our Research Winery opened in February 2020 on the Marlborough Research Centre campus in Blenheim. From here, we:
- partner with industry and other research organisations to set the national research agenda,
- trial world-first technologies,
- conduct commercial trials, and
- connect educators and students to science and industry.
Designed and built by Crown Sheetmetal, our custom fermentation tanks can hold 200 litres and be used for a single fermentation, or have four smaller (17-litre) tanks inserted to house four individual fermentations, all controlled under the same conditions. This is an important aspect of the tank design, reducing variability between fermentations and providing greater validity to results in trials. With most research requiring triplicate fermentations, our tanks have offset the risk of losing statistical strength by incorporating a fourth tank in case of a mishap like a stuck fermentation. Once fermentation is completed, the inserts can be removed and the tank returns to a 200-litre capacity vessel, suitable for another trial, blending or storage of larger volumes if required.
Both the 200-litre tank and the 17-litre tank inserts have been designed to ferment either white or red wine, allowing further adaptability. When the 17-litre tanks are fermenting white wine, they will have an agitator insert in place and when fermenting red wine this will be replaced with a plunger. All tanks have automated brix and temperature probes, maintaining optimal temperature control and real-time data analysis. This new data analysis and control interface system is the latest technology development by VinWizard.
Bragato Research Winery Trials
The Research Winery has an experienced team that understands the needs of commercial wineries. Harvest is the busiest time of year, and often in-house research trials are overlooked or underestimated in terms of time to implement and interpret.
Our experienced staff will take the time to understand the purpose for your research and design a trial that meets your needs and budget. Let us remove the worry for you during vintage, and we’ll deliver your analysis, bottled wines, and full research reports from your trial.
Variables may include how many fermenters may be required and of what size, and any additional services that might benefit your research. Our trials are conducted independently under rigorous conditions in our world-class research winery facility. We provide a grape-to-glass service, including bottling and sensory services.
As a model for sustainable wineries, the Research Winery is the first building in the Marlborough region, and the first winery in New Zealand to receive a 5 Green Star NZ Built rating. 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.
It was planned from the start to meet Green Star building standards, including the following features:
- a rainwater harvesting system that provides water for all the fixtures in the building, relying on the town water supply only as a backup during dry spells
- installation of a 15KW solar panel system to produce up to 30% of the building’s total energy needs
- natural ventilation based on CO2 control maintaining internal air quality (winemaking produces excess CO2 through fermentation).
- optimisation of fermentation temperature control through VinWizard to aid efficient energy use
The establishment of a new research institute and the conception, design and build of our research winery were significant endeavours that demanded substantial funding and a dedicated team drawing on a broad range of expertise and experience. Thank you to all our sponsors who helped make this possible.