Why having Kunekune pigs and Babydoll "mow" the lawns is good business for wine maker Yealands

Why having Kunekune pigs and Babydoll "mow" the lawns is good business for wine maker Yealands
Picture is owned by Yealands
What do Kunekune pigs and Babydoll sheep have to do with wine growing and sustainability? Yealands Wine Group, among New Zealand's top winemakers and winner of the International Green Apple Environment Awards, leads the way in growing grapes and running a large enterprise using innovative energy-saving solutions, with the help of sheep and pigs.

The company, which has been in the winery business for the last 20 years competed against 500 other global nominations from a range of industries and took home the Green Apple Awards supreme World Champion 2014 title, as well as the Australasia Gold Award.

Yealands is based in the Marlborough grape growing area, and founder Peter Yealands announced his vision of becoming the world’s most sustainable winery in 2008.

Even so, he says he was “blown away” by winning the top award.

The Green Apple Awards are one of the most highly regarded sustainability awards in the world.  We’re absolutely ecstatic to have claimed the top prize and walk away with a champion title”. 

Yealands says the company concentrated on cutting down on greenhouse gases from the production process, introducing renewable technology and reducing waste.

For example, after searching for ways to reduce fuel consumption from tractors mowing the grass around the vines, the company by introduced minature sheep and Kunekune pigs, which grazed the vine rows, but were too short to nibble on the grapes.

The company also uses smart green technology, including generating all its energy from one of New Zealand’s largest solar panel installations, as well as generating heat from burning its vine prunings, and introducing lighting sensor monitors.

The wine producer has also built the world’s first winery to be certified as carbonNZero.

New Zealand Wine growers CEO Philip Gregan says New Zealand is a world leader in sustainable wine production, and the Green Apple award is an important acknowledgment of the industry’s efforts in the area. 

“Its fantastic to see a New Zealand winery gaining recognition for their sustainability initiatives on the international stage.” 

Yealands says there’s a possibility that the next International Green Apple Environmental Awards could be held in New Zealand in 2015, because of the recent win.

The company was also yesterday (Nov 12) named as New Zealand Wine Producer of the Year at the International Wine and Spirits Competition (IWSC). Yealands collected 37 medals, including a gold medal for the Yealands Estate Winemaker’s Reserve Gibbston Pinot Noir 2013 and 3 silver outstanding medals.   

Prize giving: Yealands team, supreme award winner at the Green Apple Awards