High hopes for New Zealand wine industry
Published: 7 October, 2022
On Thursday 29 September 2022, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern officially opened Te Pokapū Wāina o Aotearoa - New Zealand Wine Centre in Blenheim, a testament to the Government’s high hopes for New Zealand’s wine industry.
Funding of $3.79 million for the Marlborough Research Centre to build a national wine centre was announced in 2020, one of the first substantial investments in Marlborough from Kānoa – RDU’s Provincial Growth Fund.
The Government recognises it can be challenging to fund investment into research and development - yet it’s the only way to stay ahead in a competitive industry.
Te Pokapū Wāina o Aotearoa is New Zealand’s answer to similar centres in countries such as France, Australia, South Africa and America.
Although the craft of winemaking is thousands of years old, it is only made better by modern technology. Winemaking is both a craft and a science; and the journey from grape to glass is constantly evolving.
The centre will help develop new products and research trends and issues that will keep New Zealand ahead of the high-end international wine market. Wine is in the top five of New Zealand’s export earners, and the $1.92 billion it brings in every year makes a significant contribution to the economy.
Located in Blenheim as part of the Nelson Marlborough Institute of Technology’s Blenheim campus, the recently opened New Zealand Wine Centre - Te Pokapū Wāina o Aotearoa brings together New Zealand Wine’s Bragato Research Institute, the Plant and Food Research Viticulture and Oenology Group, New Zealand Wine's Sustainability and Biosecurity Group and the Marlborough Research Centre. It provides integrated facilities for these organisations to collaborate, and for viticulture students to rub shoulders with industry.
It is only fitting that the centre should be in Marlborough. The region produces over 75% of New Zealand’s wine and has over 27,000 hectares of vines under the care of local wine producers. Currently the site employs 55 staff. It is expected that an additional 25 full-time jobs will be created over the next ten years.
At the opening, the Government also announced a variation to Marlborough Research Centre’s existing funding agreement with Kānoa – RDU, reallocating $770,000 of the existing $3.79 million investment towards the construction and development of a world-leading Experimental Future Vineyard.
The Experimental Future Vineyard will further help this important industry stay ahead of global trends. It will help studying vineyards above and below the ground to support sustainable growth. It will make use of automation and robotics technologies to help prepare the wine industry for a digital future.