RESEARCH WINERY

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.

Thank you to our founding sponsors VinWizard and Crown Sheetmetal. We are currently accepting expressions of interest for further sponsorship inside the research winery.

Frequently Asked Questions:
Bragato Research Winery Trials


What’s involved in designing a trial?

At BRI, we have an experienced team who will take the time to understand the purpose for your research and design a trial that meets your needs and budget. We are used to working with both new and repeat clients and are very happy to walk you through trial variables.

Variables include how many fermenters may be required and of what size (we currently have 17L and 200L temperature controlled tanks, and the 200L tanks can be adjusted for smaller amounts), and any additional services that might benefit your research.

Please fill in the enquiry form via our website and a member of our team will contact you promptly to discuss your trial needs.

What are the benefits of running a trial at BRI?

BRI research trials can help you meet changing consumer preferences, improve winemaking processes and outcomes, achieve greater yield and quality, and solve current and emerging challenges.

At our purpose-built research winery, we provide all staff required for trials. This includes staff to complete winemaking and cellar work. We tailor trials to your needs and our scientists conduct rigorous trials free from the variables that may be difficult to minimise in-house. This means your results are reliable. Our Research Winery Manager Tanya Rutan is also on hand to interpret any findings and analysis, helping with your real-world application of results.

How much fruit is required to run a trial?

Red fruit 

  • For a 17L fermenter, a minimum of 25kg whole cluster or 20kg destemmed/machine harvested.
  • For a 200L tank, a minimum of 190kg whole cluster or 170kg destemmed/machine harvested.

Rose or white fruit 

  • For a 17L fermenter, a minimum of 40kg whole cluster or 35kg destemmed/machine harvested.
  • For a 200L tank, a minimum of 300kg whole cluster or 270kg destemmed/machine harvested.

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Do I need to source my own fruit or juice?

If you are a grower or a winery with access to fruit, then ideally you would source your own fruit to meet your trial needs.  If you are a supplier or do not have a direct contact to source fruit, we can assist you. 

We accept unclarified and clarified juice for trials. We require 18-20L per 17L ferment. Containers can be provided if needed however for 200L fermenters, we ask that you organise the transport of the juice to our facility where it will be immediately transferred to a tank.

How do you process and press fruit for a trial?

We process fruit using a commercial sized Pellenc Selectiv Process Winery S de-stemmer and a Pellenc Extractiv 2 Dynamic crusher. We also have a sorting table and a vibrating table available if required.

To press fruit, we use four small-scale Diemme Enologia Membrane Presses that operate using the same software as a large scale.  The performance of the presses has been optimised and deliver extraction rates comparable industry standards.

Do I need to supply my own consumables?

Only if your trial requires special additives.  BRI has a variety of winemaking additives available including a varied selection of yeasts and nutrients.

What lab analysis is provided?

As part of our winemaking service, standard lab analysis is provided, and we are happy to assist with interpretation. 

  • Juice composition includes pH, TA, YAN, L-Malic acid, Lactic acid, Glucose, Fructose, Density, Extract, Glycerol, NTU and °Brix
  • Wine composition includes pH, TA, L-Malic acid, Lactic acid, Glucose, Fructose, Density, Extract, Glycerol, VA, Alcohol, Total sugars, Total and Free SO2
  • The °Brix is monitored and recorded daily.

We offer a variety of additional analytical services to meet trial needs. A price list can be forwarded to you by request via our enquiry form.

Can my wines be filtered?

BRI has a customized filtration system that can include 3.0, 1.2, 0.6 and 0.45 micron filtration.

Do you have oak barrels available for trials?

Currently, BRI does not have oak barrels available, but we are very open minded about discussing trials that may require them. Oak alternatives are also an area we would like to explore. 

Can I access my wine during the trial and take it when the trial is finished?

Yes, you are welcome to come in and check on trial wines by appointment. When the trial is complete, we typically dispatch all wines back to clients.  We are SWNZ accredited and are registered under WSMP. All outputs belong to our clients and that includes intellectual and physical property. 

When do you run trials?

The most popular time for trials is over vintage. However, we encourage people who want to conduct a trial outside of this busy time to discuss our frozen juice options. The same winemaking services are provided, and we can organise the storage of your frozen juice.

Can you provide bottling services and sensory trials for my wines?

We offer in-house filtering and bottling and independent wine sensory evaluation. BRI have several temperature-controlled rooms where wines can be stored once bottled. 

We have an Officine Pesce Bottling System which is ideal for bottling small volume wines.  Wines can be bottled and capped in 750ml or 375mL.  

Our Sensory services use expert panellists and usually include quality assessment, difference test assessment, descriptive analysis, and preference studies. We will work with you to create a sensory trial design that is fit for purpose for your trial’s objectives.

Do you only do trials on wine, or can I use your fermenters to trial other products?

We are keen to discuss thoughts around how our fermenters can be utilised outside of vintage.  Please contact us with your ideas through our enquiry form on the website.

How much does a trial typically cost?

Research is tailored to suit wineries of all sizes. Every trial we run is bespoke with the cost varying depending on what we are investigating and the subsequent requirements and inputs.

The BRI team are available now to talk through what you’re looking to investigate and co-design trials that will get the best research outcomes for your budget. 

How do I book a trial or find out more about BRI winemaking science services?

Please contact us through our enquiry form and the appropriate member of our team will be in touch.

Sustainable Features


As a model for sustainable wineries, we are registered with the New Zealand Green Building Council. As of May 2020, we have a pending application to become Marlborough’s first Green Star-certified building, including the following features:

  • harvested rainwater from the winery roof, where rain water is stored, filtered and UV-treated for use in the winery
  • monitoring of light, heat, energy, water and air quality through a building management system (BMS) to measure and manage resource consumption
  • optimisation of fermentation temperature control through VinWizard to aid efficient energy use
  • installation of a 15KW solar panel system to produce up to 30% of winery power use