Products & Services


Marlborough innovation vineyard update


The Innovation Vineyard Project (IVP) is a collaboration between Farmlands Co-operative and the Marlborough Group Grape Growers Co-operative that commenced in 2017. The project aims to implement and ground truth current “best practice” management systems. In addition, blue-sky technologies are overlaid to demonstrate process and outcomes to Farmlands Co-operative and Marlborough Grape Grower Co-op shareholders. Dissemination of information is managed through field days and on the Innovation Vineyard website:


 Current projects:

  1. Simonit & Sirch Pruning Concepts
    Following the pruning workshop in August 2019 an area of vines was pruned at the Innovation Vineyard using Simonit & Sirch principles and subsequently shoot thinned. The aim is to observe possible improvements in the vine’s vascular system, thereby reducing trunk disease pressure.
  2. “Tandem” Block Development:
    (The block named in recognition of the two co-operatives involved). Hi-Stem® and Ultra vines from Ormond Nurseries were planted in the winter of 2020 in combination with conventional vines to monitor and compare performance.

    Recycled plastic Future-Posts™, Steel Eco-Posts® and timber SuperPost® have been installed to provide trellising support systems. Individual features and benefits will be monitored over time.

    The Tandem block has underground irrigation installed (as opposed to above ground on wire) to improve water use efficiency, improve the vine’s root system and minimise under vine weed growth. These aspects will be monitored and compared.
  3. AgVita Analytical Nutrient
    Uptake Test Plant available nutrients are being monitored through analysis of sap extracted from petiole samples during the growing season. The testing regime is proving invaluable for monitoring immediate nutrient availability in the plant. This allows the fine tuning of nutrient requirements long before visible symptoms appear in the grapevine canopy.
  4. Imagery Using
    Crop imagery is being captured using a tractor mounted camera to ascertain cane and bud numbers. This information is being used to make informed decisions regarding vine management and yield. This tool is under continuous development to provide data during critical phenological stages throughout the growing season.
  5. Looking After the NumberOne Priority - The Soil
       Several projects are in place:
    · Soil improvement through use of compost products.
    · Introduction of regenerative farming principles.
    · Under-vine mulching.
    · Inter-row cropping e.g. legumes.
    · Biological activators.


Further updates on these projects are being provided at field days throughout the season and on the
Innovation Vineyard website.

Article provided by Mart Verstappen, Technical Leader – Viticulture, Farmlands Co-operative.