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Cooling the crop for year-round savings

Client: Yealands Winery

Location: Blenheim, New Zealand

Sectors: Food and Beverage

The Challenge

Provide a cost effective temporary cooling system for the harvest

During vintage season, the team at Yealands winery have to harvest 20,000 tonnes of produce in three weeks. Precise temperature control is crucial. If the picked grapes warm up too much, they’ll start to ferment early, which ruins the flavour of the wine. But because this is only an issue for a short time every year, investing in a permanent cooling system wasn’t cost effective. They asked us to design an alternative – a temporary, large-capacity system that would keep the produce in perfect condition during the harvest, which we could then dismantle and take away, saving costs for the rest of the year. 

Fact File Heading

Size of vineyard 1,000Ha
Volume of grapes to harvest 20,000tonne
Lenth of vintage season 3Weeks
Cost of permanent equipment NZD $1 m

The Solution

A carbon-neutral chilling system

We installed a large tank with a 600 kW chiller, and a 30 L/s pump moving glycol around the system. A 500 kVA generator powered the chiller, with a separate fuel cell to make sure the generator could keep going for long periods. This gave the winery the extra capacity it needed during peak harvest time. When the harvest was over, we took the system away – until Yealands needed it again the following year.
It makes good sense to use hire equipment over the vintage period. If I were unable to do that, I would have NZD $1 million tied up in equipment instead of using it to grow our business.

Owner and founder, Yealands Winery

Peter Yealands

The Impact

Freeing up NZD $1 million in capital

Thanks to the new system, the winery can cover peak demand without investing in equipment it doesn’t use at other times of the year. A permanent cooling system would cost around NZD $1 million in capital, which Yealands can now spend on growing the business. Yealands Winery is also carbon neutral and we’re proud to have been part of that achievement.