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Cheers to many fewer grape harvest spills

Wednesday 24th April 2024

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It’s been a good wine harvest in more ways than one this season in Marlborough.

Spillages from the picked grapes on the way from vineyards to wineries can see the road covered in grape juice which can make for slippery roads, and makes for sticky cars. It doesn’t help the amount of wine being made either.

Late last year a collaborative initiative between Wine Marlborough, wine growers, harvesters, harvest transport operators, infrastructure groups, Police and Transporting New Zealand led to the development of guidelines intended to help cut the number of grape spillages.

Harvest transport operators including Heagney Bros Ltd and Renwick Transport were key in providing their knowledge, experience and technical expertise.

"These results are great to see," says Transporting New Zealand’s interim CEO Dom Kalasih.

"I'd love to say we can take some credit for this but our next step is to keep an open mind and understand the causal and contributing factors in the reduction in spills."

He says current health and safety thinking is that the people closest to a risk are best placed to manage it and that all parties in the system need good engagement.

"This collaborative effort was a great demonstration of that approach."

He says if the Wine Harvest Guidelines for Transporting Grapes is found to be a key factor in reducing spills, that will make an excellent case study and support a similar approach benefiting other issues.

Regardless of the findings, Kalasih says a review the guidelines will now be done to help improve things next harvest.

"Less spillage on the road and more wine in bottles is a great win-win."


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