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.

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