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One of NZ’s largest winemakers set for growth

One of NZ’s largest winemakers set for growth in heart of Marlborough wine country

One of New Zealand’s larger wineries, Rapaura Vintners, will expand its winemaking operations for the 2007 vintage to over 8500 tonnes – up 1000 tonnes on last year, the Marlborough wine company said today.

This is part of a new growth path towards 10,000 tonnes over the medium term.

The introduction of continuous drainers in the grape receival area in 2005 increased productivity in the winemaking area by 50 percent, chief executive Nigel Taylor said.

The 2005 vintage was one of consolidation being just short of the monstrous 2004 vintage and 2006 will be larger again necessitating further investment in larger and faster grape destemming and crushing and must pumping and cooling capacity.

Rapaura’s winemaking activity represents 5 percent of the national tonnage and over eight percent of the Marlborough production which produced 58 percent of NZ wine in 2005.

New Zealand has over 500 wineries. Total sales of New Zealand wine has reached 96 million litres with more than half the wine, 51 million litres, now being exported.

This export component is projected to grow to 124 million litres by 2010 with 72 percent of that volume sauvignon blanc.

This calls for a continuing effort by all in the industry to ensure product quality, marketing and market access, production infrastructure and research are of the highest standard and at an appropriate level to deliver the best possible outcome for the industry.

Rapaura employs over 40 people during the peak vintage period reducing to 25 over the balance of the year. This core workforce remains one of Rapaura Vintners key assets and we continue to train and multi-skill employees to provide a versatile, efficient and professional workforce.

``We’re also expecting a big lift in contract bottling in the 2006 season as improvements to our line and new equipment have lifted daily production significantly enabling us to take on new clients on the existing single shift and provided more flexibility in scheduling.,’’ Taylor said.

This year has seen a continuation of the trend amongst our 20 bottling clients towards use of screwcaps as their preferred wine bottle closure. About 95 percent of all finished bottled wine at Rapaura is bottled under screwcap in preference to cork.

Rapaura is owned equally by Babich Wines, Goldwater Estate and Matua Valley Wines.

The ongoing expansion of their state-of-the-art winery is in response to the growth in winemaking, bottling and storage demands from both its shareholders and many other contract clients.

Rapaura is one of Marlborough's largest wineries either making and/or bottling Marlborough wines for many labels, in addition to the shareholders’ brands - Babich, Goldwater, Shingle Peak and Matua Valley.

Premium New Zealand brands such as Nautilus, Sacred Hill, Clifford Bay, to name but a few, are included in the client list that Rapaura is proud to service.

During the year, Negociants (New Zealand) Ltd, the owner of Nautilus Estate, sold its shares to develop their own winery in Marlborough.

Nautilus continues a close association with Rapaura Vintners as a significant bottling client.

Since the move to the new winery in 2003, Rapaura has grown significantly, outstripping its first five-year development plan by the end of 2004.

Established in 1995, Rapaura was the first contract winery in New Zealand offering a full range of winemaking, bottling and warehousing services.

They re-developed the former Corbans Stoneleigh Winery on Jacksons Road, in the heart of Marlborough’s wine country.

Ends

Copyright 2005 Word of Mouth Media

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