Yealands Family Wines.
Located in the Awatere Valley, Marlborough, Yealands Family Wines produces award winning New Zealand wines in harmony with the environment.
Established in 2008, Yealands Family Wines was always destined to be a story of thinking differently.
In 2001, founder Peter Yealands and his wife, Violet, began buying land in the Awatere Valley, Marlborough, at the north-eastern tip of New Zealand’s South Island. With some of the toughest conditions in the Marlborough region, including steep slopes that many said were impossible for viticulture, strong winds, cool nights and low rainfall, you may wonder why he even bothered.
However, Peter Yealands has always been a man in love with the land and has a proven track record as an innovative pioneer. Larger than life, his vision was to create Seaview, the world’s first vineyard and winery that would be sustainable at every level. Over the next six years, often working by himself late into the night, Peter led the re-contouring of the land. By filling ravines, smoothing gullies, terracing hills and planting a diverse range of grapes using GPS alignment, he transformed rugged pastoral countryside into a sustainable vineyard area. Stretching from the foothills of the Kaikoura Ranges to undulating downs overlooking the Cook Strait, Seaview is the single largest privately owned vineyard in New Zealand.
On 08.08.08, Peter opened the Seaview Winery. A landmark building, guided throughout by the New Zealand Green Building Code, it was the first in the world to be carboNZero Cert TM from inception. All aspects of the winery were designed to maximise their sustainability features, as well as embracing future growth through in-built capability for expansion.
Once under way, Yealands Family Wines quickly became synonymous with bespoke premium quality, under the expert leadership of Chief Winemaker, Tamra Washington. In the first five vintages, they won more than 500 awards, including the honour of their 2011 Yealands Estate Single Block S1 Sauvignon Blanc being named the best Sauvignon Blanc in the world at the 2012 International Wine Challenge, London.
The Yealands brand is sold worldwide across 50 countries, making Yealands Family Wines the sixth largest wine producer in New Zealand and the fastest growing supplier*.
Today, Yealands continues to think and act differently. New innovations, such as PET bottles, introducing miniature Babydoll sheep, burning baled vine prunings for energy, and playing classical music to the vines, signal this active sense of vision. However, engaging the wider community in the sustainability journey remains at the heart of the Seaview experience. Initiatives are shared with the annual 10,000+ visitors to the Cellar Door, complemented by the self-guided White Road Tour winding its way around this uniquely scenic vineyard.
Sustainable initiatives include:
1. Emission Reduction :
Wine production is an energy intensive business, as the wine needs to be warmed (prior to fermentation and bottling) and cooled (for storage and stabilisation). Our extensive range of energy efficiency initiatives to reduce emissions, include:
- New Zealand’s largest solar panel installation – contributing up to 133,000 kWh per annum – the equivalent of approximately 18 New Zealand households’ annual consumption
- The adoption of SMART technology, such as heat recovery units, variable speed drives, refrigeration economisers, evaporative condensers, lighting sensor monitors and energy saving monitors. In addition, all tanks are housed within a fully insulated building, enabling Yealands Family Wines to become four times more energy efficient than the industry average.
- The utilisation of renewable energy sources, which incorporate solar, wind and grapevine prunings.
- Approximately 10% of the vineyard prunings are harvested, baled and burned at the winery. Each bale weighs around 200kg. At full capacity, our specially installed burners can produce over 500KW of energy (a similar equivalent to that consumed over a three week period in an average NZ household). This process eliminates over 180 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions (CO2) per year. We are the only NZ winery using these burners as an energy source.
- The introduction of Babydoll sheep (an endangered breed of miniature sheep, too small to reach fruit in the vine canopy) and Kunekune pigs to graze our vine rows. These reduce the need to mow with tractors, reducing use of fossil fuels and carbon emissions. Furthermore, we simultaneously benefit from a natural fertiliser. Through our own extensive breeding programme, our goal is to reach 10,000 sheep.
- The installation of hydrogen generator units on a number of tractors, cutting fuel consumption by up to 15% and reducing emissions to almost zero.
- A New Zealand winery first in using bio-diesel, derived from recycled cooking fat, for all vineyard machinery.
- The introduction of PET plastic bottles for our Peter Yealands range, reducing our carbon footprint by 54%. This also means that our customers themselves create less waste.
- Reducing the average glass weight for our bottles. This in-turn has delivered an 11.5% reduction in CO2 respectively, for each of our glass and transport-to-customer emissions.
2. Land Care
Here at Yealands Family Wines, we aim to leave the land better than we found it. Hence, our motto – Think Boldly, Tread Lightly. We achieve this through a wide range of initiatives and on-going projects:
- Over 25 wetlands have been established and developed at the Seaview Vineyard to boost flora and fauna diversity. As a result, Royal Spoonbills, Black Swans, Teal Ducks, White Herons, Banded Dotterels and Pied Stilts all now choose to make our wetlands their home.
- Over 175,000 native shrubs and flaxes have been planted during the past five years. These have successfully attracted the return of Bellbirds and Tuis to Seaview.
- Participation in a breeding programme for the endangered native New Zealand Falcon, the Karearea, and the releasing of chicks onto the vineyard.
- Utilising alternatives to synthetic chemicals.
- Installing solar-powered lighting in the wetlands to attract the grass grub beetles away from the vines means that we are able to reduce our use of chemical pesticide.
- The addition of chickens and miniature Kunekune pigs to provide a natural form of pest control.
- The introduction of a bio char unit to covert vine prunings and grape marc into a high carbon residue that can store greenhouse gases in the ground for centuries. It also lowers the soil’s acidity, facilitating water and nutrient retention. Better soil = better fruit = better wine.
- Production and application of over 40,000 tonnes of compost per annum. Combining landfill waste from other industries, such as bark, mussel shells and seaweed, with Seaview’s own grape marc has not only improved soil fertility and water retention (thereby minimising irrigation), but also reduced the need for other fertilisers.
Yealands Family Wines on-going recycling initiatives include:
- Development of a technique to re-use broken posts, up to 5% of which are replaced annually. Therefore, recycling not only effectively minimises waste, but also offers an economically viable alternative to purchasing new posts.
- Full on-site recycling of the by-products, such as waste water, grape marc and diatomaceous earth.
- Sloping winery roof design to enable rain-water collection into storage.
- Recyclable packaging materials:
- Cartons 93%
- Carton inserts 100%
- Glass 60%
- PET bottles 100%
What or how does your business contribute to a more sustainable NZ?
At Yealands Family Wines, we are very proud to be the first winery in the world to be certified as carboNZero Cert TM from inception. We believe that sustainability has no end point; it is an on-going and evolving process of continual improvement. Therefore, trialing new initiatives remains central to our philosophy. We lead the wine industry in thinking outside the square, and coming up with innovative sustainable solutions to common industry issues. We prove that being sustainable doesn't have to cost more or be a hurdle to success, it can be in fact what sets you apart.
Certifications & sustainability programmes
CarboNZero certified, ISO 14001, BRC, Sustainable Winegrowers of New Zealand
2013 - NZI National Sustainable Business Network Awards. Winner in 2 categories: Energy Management and Renewables Impact awards
2012 & 2013 - Finalist in Kennexa Best Workplaces (NZ)
2011, 2012 & 2013 – International Winner Best of Wine Tourism (Global Wine Network) in the Sustainable Tourism Category
2012 - The Most Sustainable Medium Business category, International Green Awards (UK)
2012 - Green Economy Section, Green Ribbon Awards (NZ)
2012 - Exporter of the Year >$5 million, American Chamber of Commerce
2010 - Emerging & Large Business Award, Sustainable Business Network Awards (NZ)
2009 - SME Business Award, Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority (NZ)
Yealands Family Wines is committed to pursuing dynamic global leadership in sustainable wine production. Its communication strategy focuses on telling the company’s sustainability story and inclusively presenting its passion for giving back.Read more
Yealands Family Wines have collaborated with a number of regional partners to create a composting system to address an industry-wide landfill problem.Read more