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'World-leading' national research winery to be built in Blenheim

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a building with a grassy field: WATCH: The wine industry is planning to future-proof the sector for climate change. © Video: Newshub Image: Supplied. WATCH: The wine industry is planning to future-proof the sector for climate change.

Blenheim has been announced as the location for a new national research winery.

Bragato Research Institute (BRI) formerly New Zealand Winegrowers Research Centre said it would be built the Marlborough Research Centre on the Nelson Marlborough Institute of Technology (NMIT) 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, " said Bragato CEO MJ Loza.

He said BRI has been working alongside NMIT and the Marlborough Research Centre to secure the site, and the location would enable further collaboration between the different organisations. 

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 more than 100 research fermenters, Loza said the facility would enable more of the industry's research trials to extend to look at possible impacts on finished wines. 

a building with a grassy field © Provided by MediaWorks NZ Limited The research winery would trial winery equipment and technologies, winemaking processes and sustainable winemaking and winery operations. It would also provide commercial research winemaking services to suppliers and industry.

BRI Establishment Manager Tracy Benge, who is managing the project, said the establishment of a world-leading, sustainable, national research winery in Marlborough would be a  draw-card for the region and the wider New Zealand wine industry.

"It will encourage new research and innovation as well as trialling new technology and modelling sustainability," she said.

"It is a privilege to lead a dedicated and passionate project team of experts that spans industry, research, education and suppliers," said Benge.

Though based in Marlborough, BRI would provide world-leading science, research and development to benefit New Zealand's entire wine industry, and its key stakeholders. The facility will be built as part of a larger development including labs and office space. 

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Construction is expected to commence within the next month with the goal of having the winery operational for vintage 2020.

It has been supported and funded by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) and the Marlborough District Council.

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