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Sustainability for Marlborough Wine Industry By-Products

Value Creation and Environmental Sustainability for Marlborough Wine Industry By-Products

Marlborough’s wine producers have come together with the Marlborough District Council in a new collaborative approach to the management of grape marc disposal, to generate a new, commercially viable and environmentally sustainable product from grape waste.

Facilitated by the District Council, participating wine companies have formed the “Marlborough Grape Marc (MGM) group” to advance a proposal for an environmentally sustainable use of the wine industry’s waste streams.

The MGM group is chaired by Eric Hughes of Pernod Ricard Winemakers with representatives from Cloudy Bay, Constellation Brands, Delegat’s, Giesen, Indevin, Matua, Mount Riley, NZ Wineries, Pernod Ricard Winemakers, Saint Clair and Villa Maria. The group members generate approximately 80% of the wine production in Marlborough. MGM is an open collective, it is hoped that further companies will join and support this industry wide initiative.

MGM has selected the Australian-based Tarac Technologies Pty Ltd (Tarac) proposal submitted for consideration.

Tarac proposes to use all grape marc and residuals produced in the Marlborough region, extracting alcohol from the by-products and converting the spent marc (or steam distilled grape marc), into compost and stock feed, thus returning the nutrients to the land.

Tarac was established in 1930 by ex-CSIRO scientist Alfred Allen in the heartland of the Australian Wine Industry – the Barossa Valley, South Australia. Tarac services the Australian wine industry through the processing of winery residuals, as well as supplying valued products and advice. At present Tarac processes approximately 125,000 tonnes of grape marc, over 40 million litres of liquid waste and about 7,000 tonnes of solid waste for the Australian industry.

By comparison, the Marlborough industry generates approximately 35,000 to 45,000 tonnes of grape marc annually.

Chief Executive, Jeremy Blanks says he is “impressed with the collaborative approach taken by the industry and Marlborough District Council to seek solutions which create value and enhance the image of the New Zealand Wine Industry”.

Jeremy was especially complimentary of the Marlborough District Council and Marlborough Research Centre and the coordination and assistance they have provided.

“The Food and Beverage Innovation cluster is a leading example of how to facilitate regional economic development through collaboration,” he said.

“Without the facilitation and assistance provided it is doubtful we would have looked to expand into Marlborough.”

MGM Chairman Eric Hughes said he is pleased with the outcome achieved by the collective and believes further collaborative opportunities exist which will provide similar mutual benefit.

“The Marlborough District Council and the Marlborough Research Centre deserve a lot of credit for the facilitation role they have played.”

Marlborough Research Centre CEO Gerald Hope says this was exactly the sort of outcome the Food and Beverage Innovation cluster was formed to achieve. The cluster is a partnership between Massey University, Riddet Institute and Marlborough Research Centre to support the food and beverage sector innovate and grow.

“It’s inspiring for everyone to see how collaboration, co-ordination and connection can achieve great regional outcomes.”

The Food and Beverage Innovation cluster, through the support of the ANZ Bank and the Marlborough District Council, has assisted the industry achieve significant environmental and economic outcomes.

Mayor Alistair Sowman said he is looking forward to Tarac establishing in Marlborough and is pleased Council had been able to play a role in facilitating such an excellent outcome for the region.

“This is the sort of innovation Council hoped would flow out of its smart and connected economic development policy and it is heartening to see such a big idea heading toward reality.”


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