Vineyards emerge undamaged

MyFarm has received a number of questions about the effect of earthquakes on the Marlborough region, vineyards and wineries. We are currently promoting the Bartletts Creek Investment Opportunity on the Wairau Plains. We decided to put this question to Sacred Hill Marlborough’s Brian Woods. This is his response.

“We have over 100ha of company and contract vineyards in Seddon. None of these blocks have sustained serious damage from either of the main earthquakes or subsequent aftershocks. There has been no damage to any of the dams in these vineyards. Minor damage such as strainer assemblies uplifting did occur where the assemblies were not constructed correctly.

After the latest quake we pressurised all our irrigation systems and found no damage.”

He then talked about the Bartletts Creek site.

“Bartletts Creek being on the North Bank of the Wairau Plains means that it is from a different geological age. In simple terms the North bank is several million years older than the newer soils of the Awatere and Wairau flood plain. The site will not be affected by a tsunami following an earthquake.

The Bartletts creek development will have a lined dam this will mitigate damage from an earthquake. The site being flat means there is less likely to be ground fracturing. Vineyards that have been damaged in the past have been planted on the rolling downs of the lower Awatere.

Some of the damage to vineyards shown on the news is unfortunate but not unexpected and is quite minor in scale. Filling in waterways and swamps to allow for vineyard development was always going to have negative consequences.

In regards to winery damage it would be fair to say that the wineries that invested more in earthquake technology for fastening tanks suffered less damage. Thicker stainless tanks are stronger so I am sure more lessons have been learned.

From a Sacred Hill perspective our vintage will continue as planned and our winery has the required tank capacity to meet our contracted volumes. Looking at the total industry there will be constraints on volumes harvested due to damaged infrastructure. This said until we have gone through flowering all of this is conjecture.”