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New research winery officially opens in Marlborough

Nine months after getting the go ahead, Bragato Research Institute has officially opened.

SCOTT HAMMOND/STUFF

Nine months after getting the go ahead, Bragato Research Institute has officially opened.

It was a tight deadline, but nine months after getting the go ahead Bragato Research Institute have officially opened their new research winery. 

Located in Marlborough, the research winery will enable Bragato Research Institute (BRI) to trial new technology and innovation, ensuring the New Zealand wine industry is at the cutting edge of “modern grape growing and winemaking”. 

BRI chief executive MJ Loza said the team had achieved a fairly “aggressive” milestone. 

The research winery is based at the Blenheim campus of Nelson Marlborough Institute of Technology.

SCOTT HAMMOND/STUFF

The research winery is based at the Blenheim campus of Nelson Marlborough Institute of Technology.

The winery, based at the Blenheim campus of Nelson Marlborough Institute of Technology, was officially opened on Thursday afternoon by Marlborough Mayor John Leggett. 

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BRI establishment manager Tracy Atkin said leading the team had been an “honour and a privilege”. 

“To deliver this research facility as well as the technology that comes with it, on time, in a time frame many assumed wasn’t achievable and under budget was a testament to the calibre of this team,” she said. 

Te Pā Wānanga waiting to perform at the opening ceremony.

SCOTT HAMMOND/STUFF

Te Pā Wānanga waiting to perform at the opening ceremony.

The institute was also planning that its research winery would provide a sustainability benchmark for the industry at large, targeting a 5 Green Star certified Built rating.

If awarded, it would be the first NZ Green Building Council certified building in Marlborough. 

Chief executive MJ Loza speaks to the crowd at the official opening ceremony. He said the institute's next step was to finish commissioning the winery and test all of the equipment before this year's vintage.

SCOTT HAMMOND/STUFF

Chief executive MJ Loza speaks to the crowd at the official opening ceremony. He said the institute’s next step was to finish commissioning the winery and test all of the equipment before this year’s vintage.

“In some areas, we have built this winery to an even higher standard,” Atkin said. 

“Harvesting rain water from the roof, filtering it and UV treating it for use in our winery, we have our solar installation. 

“Our building management system, that will track our water and energy use and allow us to develop a continuous programme.” 

Finishing on time and under budget "was a testament to the calibre of the team" said BRI establishment manager Tracy Atkin.

SCOTT HAMMOND/STUFF

Finishing on time and under budget “was a testament to the calibre of the team” said BRI establishment manager Tracy Atkin.

The new facility would trial winemaking equipment, technologies and processes as well as sustainable winery operations. 

It would also provide commercial research winemaking services to suppliers and the industry. 

BRI trialled six “world-first” fermentation tanks during last year’s vintage. 

BRI assistant winemaker Jacqui Wood.

SCOTT HAMMOND/STUFF

BRI assistant winemaker Jacqui Wood.

The tanks were designed for a “dual purpose” as they could hold 200 litres of wine for a”single fermentation or have four smaller 17-litre tanks for individual fermentations.

This allowed fermentation to be controlled under the same conditions.

Trials of the world-first prototype tanks proved successful when compared to commercial tanks.

Jacqui Wood, left, and Tracy Atkin pictured last year with one of the "world-first" fermentation tanks.

SCOTT HAMMOND/STUFF

Jacqui Wood, left, and Tracy Atkin pictured last year with one of the “world-first” fermentation tanks.

Following the official opening, Loza said the institute’s next step was to finish commissioning the winery and test all of the equipment – in time for this year’s vintage. 

BRI was established in 2017 with MBIE funding under the Regional Research Institute Initiative.

It is also supported financially by the Marlborough District Council and its owner, New Zealand Winegrowers. 

BRI board chairman Mark Gilbert.

SCOTT HAMMOND/STUFF

BRI board chairman Mark Gilbert.

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