The Shout Magazine (New Zealand)

Bragato Research Institute announces location of new research winery

Architect’s rendering of BRI Research Winery

Bragato Research Institute (BRI) has announced its national Research Winery will be built at the Marlborough Research Centre on the Nelson Marlborough Institute of Technology (NMIT) Marlborough campus in Blenheim.

“We’re delighted to be able to announce our location at the Marlborough Research Centre on the NMIT campus alongside Plant and Food Research, New Zealand Winegrowers and Wine Marlborough. The Marlborough Research Centre has been a key supporter of our establishment from day one and I’m pleased the vision – to be co-located with key research and industry organisations – will become reality.” said MJ Loza, CEO of Bragato Research Institute.

BRI (formerly New Zealand Winegrowers Research Centre) has been working alongside NMIT and the Marlborough Research Centre to secure the site, and the location will enable further collaboration between the different organisations. “The trial to assess the effectiveness of our research winery fermenters that took place over vintage is a good example of the collaboration already happening.” said Mr Loza. “The trial of BRI tanks was carried out by Plant and Food Research, based in the NMIT teaching winery, with NMIT students working on the trial. It was a real team effort, and our location here supports and encourages that”.

The Research Winery was designed with input from a broad project team including winemakers, suppliers, expert consultants and researchers with experience operating other research winery facilities.  With capacity for over 100 research fermenters, the facility will enable more of the industry’s research trials to extend to look at possible impacts on finished wines. The Research Winery will trial winery equipment and technologies, winemaking processes and sustainable winemaking and winery operations. It will also provide commercial research winemaking services to suppliers and industry.

“The establishment of a world-leading, sustainable, national Research Winery in Marlborough will be a real draw-card for the region and the NZ wine industry as a whole. It will encourage new research and innovation as well as trialling new technology and modelling sustainability” said BRI Establishment Manager, Tracy Benge, who is managing the project. “It is a privilege to lead a dedicated and passionate project team of experts that spans industry, research, education and suppliers”.

The Research Winery is a key part of the capability that BRI will deliver to the NZ wine industry, and enables the industry to take research trials through to finished wines under tightly managed experimental conditions. Though based in Marlborough, BRI will provide world-leading science, research and development to benefit New Zealand’s entire wine industry, and its key stakeholders. With wine industry exports valued at $1.8b, BRI’s activities will support the ongoing sustainable growth of the industry through research and innovation.

The Research Winery will be built as part of a larger development including labs and office space. Construction is expected to commence within the next month with the goal of having the winery operational for vintage 2020.

“This would not have been possible without the support and funding from the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) under the Regional Research Institutes initiative, which BRI and the industry is extremely grateful for.” said Mr Loza. “Marlborough District Council’s support and funding was an important element in our securing the MBIE funding in the first place, and their ongoing support reflects and enables the benefits BRI will deliver to the region.  The funding is delivering additional research capability for the industry, and an important piece of research infrastructure, aligned with industry needs.”