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Watch Out For Moving Grapes

The annual grape harvest is beginning in Marlborough and that means drivers taking a little more care on the roads as grapes are picked and transported to the various wineries.

Wine Marlborough Ltd, the regional winegrower association, along with many infrastructure partners in the region, has created a booklet about safely transporting grapes which is free to download.

It lists the areas of responsibility and the best practice guidelines for the many people taking part in the harvest, from truck drivers to machinery operators and everyone else who works to bring in the grapes between now and April.

Wine Marlborough general manager, Marcus Pickens, says during the harvest 300,000 tonnes of grapes will be picked from the region’s vineyards and transported to wineries. The booklet has been created to make the whole time safer, and easier.

Because it is a busy time on the roads, Wine Marlborough Ltd and Transporting New Zealand, which critiqued the guide, are asking everyone to watch out for heavy machinery such as harvesters and grape trucks operating from Koromiko in the north to Kekerengu in the south and up the Wairau Valley.

Transporting New Zealand sector adviser John Bond says people need to take a bit more care checking their passing distances and to watch out for slow-moving harvesters, tractors with gondolas and the trucks that will be going in and out of vineyards.

He says the guide is the result of a huge amount of consultation from everyone involved in the sector and could become the blueprint for harvest areas all around the country.

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The Wine Harvest Guidelines for Transporting Grapes is available here.

More about the harvest is available at the latest Transporting News e-magazine.

Ia Ara Aotearoa Transporting New Zealand is the peak national membership association representing the road freight transport industry. Our members operate urban, rural and inter- regional commercial freight transport services throughout the country.

Road is the dominant freight mode in New Zealand, transporting 92.8% of the freight task on a tonnage basis, and 75.1% on a tonne-km basis. The road freight transport industry employs over 34,000 people across more than 4,700 businesses, with an annual turnover of $6 billion.

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