A design straight off the Marlborough vineyards has scooped two European viticulture awards and looks set to make an impact on some of the world's oldest wine markets.
Blenheim-based Klima has developed the Cane Pruner, a world-first machine that cuts, strips and mulches grapevines – jobs that have traditionally carried out by hand.
While spending time tending the vines of Italy or the Barossa may be the pinnacle of romanticism for some, Klima and its partner German vineyard machinery manufacturer, ERO Weinbau, are halving the labour costs for vineyards the world over.
The companies have joined forces to jointly develop and commercialise Klima's technology – first launched in 2010 – around the globe
Klima has made inroads into the New Zealand, Australian, French, Italian, German and Austrian markets, helped by its European alliance.
Not long after it negotiated a licensing arrangement with ERO, the Cane Pruner (known as Viteco in Europe) went on to win the gold award at Sitevei, Europe’s most prestigious viticulture awards, held in Montpellier, France. Shortly afterwards it also won at Italy’s inaugural Enovitis Milano awards.
The win at Montpellier was a first for any New Zealand company, clearly illustrating that the viticulture industry in New Zealand is evolving beyond making world class sauvignon blancs and pinot noirs.
Managing director Marcus Wickham says the Klima pruning system has benefitted from management who have been passionate and experienced grape growers themselves.
“It’s a case of Kiwi No. 8 wire meets German manufacturing perfection to maximise Cane Pruner’s value to customers," he said.
"Our goal is to help our fellow grape growers around the world with products that give them more control over their business."
Klima also wants to move its business beyond its traditional focus on machines and manufacturing, and says it is exploring a range of opportunities to grow its product offering.