Sustainable award-winning wine in partnership with nature

Sustainability is at the core of everything we do and it's something that we work at every day. We're always trialing new sustainability initiatives at Yealands both in the vineyard and at the winery, but we already have plenty in place. Take a look below to see what we are doing.

RENEWABLE ENERGY

Harnessing the power of nature

We look to nature to find cleaner, renewable energy to help run our winery operations, and use the sun, wind and even our own vines to create power. Marlborough has the highest sunshine hours in New Zealand, making solar power a natural choice for us; not only does the sun help ripen our grapes, it helps us power our winery too. What's more, our coastal location means strong offshore winds that are not only beneficial in keeping our vineyard disease and frost free, they are also harnessed and converted into energy by wind turbines located on our estate, generating extra power for use in the winery. We also have a very handy source of power in the form of vine prunings taken from the vineyard at the end of each harvest; these are baled and burned in boilers to heat our water and glycol in the winery. Combined, solar, wind and vines create 25% of our annual energy requirements. Scroll down for more information on how we use our natural resources to keep everything running.

Solar data

solar power

Harnessing the sun

The sun doesn't only boost the flavour development in our grapes, it gives us power too. The northern side of our winery roof in the Awatere Valley is home to over 1,300 solar panels, one of the largest solar panel installations in New Zealand, capturing the plentiful Marlborough sunshine and transforming it into renewable energy to help run our winery operations. We have also introduced an EV charging station to the winery, powered by the solar panels on our roof, for use by staff and visitors.

Energy generated

1446
now
kw

The solar array on our winery roof provides 15% of the power needed to run our winery. It is capable of generating almost half a million kW hours per year - enough to power 70 average New Zealand households - and offsets 82 tonnes of CO2 annually.

Vine Energy

Specially designed burners

Vine Prunings

Every year after harvest our vines are pruned to get them ready for the following growing season. Up to 10% of our vine prunings are baled like hay and dried, then burnt in specially built burners to create energy for heating water and glycol in the winery. Each bale weights approximately 100 kgs and produces the equivalent heat of approximately 30 kg of LPG. We currently have two burners which are capable of offsetting 161 tonnes of CO2 per year; as a result we displace up to 54,300 kg of LPG. The vine prunings that are not baled are mulched in the vineyard and remain in the vine rows with the aim of helping improve soil structure, retain moisture and sequester carbon. Increased soil carbon, (as soil organic matter) can be thought of as the “glue” that sticks soil particles together, creating and maintaining soil structure. If soil organic matter declines, soil quality declines.

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Wind Turbines

The power of our offshore winds

Coastal Breezes

Our coastal position provides us with an additional natural energy resource in the form of wind power. Not only do the coastal breezes help keep us disease and frost free, they are also useful in providing additional renewable energy. We have three wind turbines on Yealands Estate, including a single blade prototype. When running at full capacity these turbines provide a little extra energy to help run our winery.

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Energy Efficiency

Part of maintaining our carbon neutral certification and reducing our emissions year on year is ensuring that we are as energy efficient as possible.

Cover crops
We utilise inter-row planting and sow cover crops and wildflowers amongst endophytic grass in every second row. Endophytic grass is used to deter grass grubs, which can damage the vine roots in larvae form and the vine leaves when they become beetles. The cover crops help improve soil structure, natural drainage and prevent erosion, while also increasing soil carbon. We plant a seed mix of 60% oats, 20% peas, and 20% beans, and in every tenth row a wildflower mix containing buckwheat and Lacy phacelia. The wildflowers attract beneficial insects that help keep pests away from our vines.
Sheep
We graze a large flock of Merino sheep in the vineyard between May and August, along with a small flock of Babydoll sheep which we own and manage. The sheep eat the grass and weeds and help keep the vine rows tidy reducing the number of passes we have to make with a tractor.

Environmental Enhancement

We work almost as hard on the areas surrounding our vineyard blocks as we do on the vines themselves. Improving biodiversity, water and soil health are important for maintaining a healthy ecosystem.

Wetlands
New Zealand has lost a devastating 90% of its natural wetlands, so in the areas of our vineyard that are unsuitable for grape growing we are restoring vegetation and developing our twenty-five wetlands by planting native shrubs and flaxes. By restoring these habitats we are helping to preserve biodiversity and balance the ecosystem. The wetlands have multiple benefits; they provide a home for native and local birds, attract beneficial insects, absorb floodwaters, sequester carbon, filter nutrients and runoff, prevent erosion and much more.
Butterflies
Sheltered from the harsh coastal winds is an area known as Butterfly Gully where we’ve planted over 200 New Zealand native swan plants to attract the monarch butterfly and create a safe haven for this large and beautiful species of butterfly to thrive. This protected area adds diversity to our environment and the presence of butterflies can indicate a healthy ecosystem. Butterfly Gully saw us being named as New Zealand’s first Butterfly Friendly Organisation by the Moths and Butterflies Trust of New Zealand.

Waste Minimisation

Grape Marc Facility

Homemade Compost

Our purpose built composting facility was built in time for the 2019 harvest and designed to hold 6,000 tonnes of compost and meet the demands of our winery running at full production capacity. The building is fully roofed to keep the rain off the compost and has drains and storage tanks to collect any runoff, also known as compost tea, which is re-circulated over the top of the compost via sprinklers. These features ensure full control over the composting process before the compost is then spread onto the estate vineyards.

Along with our own grape marc waste, green waste from a local tomato producer and sawdust from a local mill are added to the mix. Our homemade compost is high in organic matter which helps improve soil quality. This benefits soil organisms, vine nutrition, retention of soil moisture and inhibits under vine growth.

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Wooden, Steel or Recycled Plastic

Vineyard Post Trials

Every year up to 5% of our vineyard posts are replaced due to breakage. Looking for a more sustainable option we are trialing steel posts and 100% recycled plastic posts in the vineyard with the aim of phasing out treated wooden posts.

Both the metal and the recycled plastic posts are produced in New Zealand. The steel posts are lightweight and fully recyclable and the plastic posts are made from 100% waste plastics, addressing the global plastic waste problem.

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yealands estate

Sustainability awards

Independent sustainability awards give us the opportunity to see how our sustainability practices stack up internationally, and keeps our ongoing mission to be the most sustainable winery in the world at the forefront of everything we do.

Yealands Sustainability Initiative

The Yealands Wines Marlborough Sustainability Initiative will make available $100,000 every year for local environmental projects.

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Do you have a Green Idea?

If you have an idea for a new sustainability initiative we’d love to hear from you.

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OUR WINERY

Discover the Yealands Estate

Our winery systems work together to ensure we operate at the highest levels of efficiency and sustainability.

Vineyard

For years, the rolling Awatere Valley foothills were regarded as unsuitable for grape growing. Falling in love with the land, we thought differently.

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WineMakers

Without this passionate bunch of beautiful people, our wines wouldn't be much more than grapes on vines

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Our Story

When we opened our winery doors on 08.08.08 our vision was to become one of the world’s most sustainable wine producers, determined that the only way to craft truly beautiful wines was in partnership with nature.

Our story
Come Visit

Take the White Road tour that winds through our breath-taking coastal vineyard, and discover our award-winning wine range with a complimentary tasting in our Cellar Door.

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