Pernod Ricard Lean Management

August 2015

Sustainable use of resources at Pernod Ricard wins a wine industry innovation award

Pernod Ricard Winemakers Marlborough was judged Wine Industry Innovation category winner in the 2015 Cawthron Marlborough Environment Awards. The company follows an integrated lean management programme aimed at sustainable and efficient use of resources across its winery, vineyards, visitor experiences and bottling plant in Auckland.

Marlborough grows 76.7% of New Zealand’s wine grapes with 22,903 producing hectares and 329,572 tonnes harvested in 2014.

Making wine produces wastewater which is mostly used for cleaning floors, fermentation tanks, barrels and equipment. Grape marc is the solid waste left behind when grapes are pressed for juice – seeds, stems, skins and pulp.

About 50,000 tonnes of waste were produced by Marlborough wineries in 2014. Only six of 36 wineries surveyed by the Marlborough District Council were fully compliant with all conditions of waste rules.

Pernod Ricard operates under a sustainable development charter of reconciling economic efficiency with social fairness while protecting the environment, under a process of continuous improvement.

Marlborough’s first sauvignon blanc grapes were planted at Brancott Estate Vineyard in 1973 by New Zealand wine pioneer, Frank Yukich. Today, it grows 2000 hectares of grapes, made into wine sold under the Brancott Estate brand.

Pernod Ricard Winemakers NZ holds ISO certifications for environmental management, quality management, food safety, and health and safety as well as Biogro certification for 148 hectares of organic vineyards. Its Brancott Estate Heritage Centre is Qualmark EnviroGold certified.

Cawthron Marlborough Environment Awards judges said Pernod Ricard Marlborough set an excellent example of continuous improvement and compliance being adopted as a team effort.

The lean management system at Pernod Ricard Winemakers New Zealand Marlborough has proved good for the environment, good for staff and good for the company’s bottom line. Since the system was introduced in 2010, Pernod Ricard Marlborough has achieved a 40% decrease in energy used in the winery, an 85% decrease in winery waste to landfill, a 15% decrease in winery water consumption and a 28% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions.

Operations director, Jo-Anna Partridge says lean management is making efficient use of all inputs and doing everything possible to eliminate waste. This involves step-by-step monitoring then making changes, in a process of continuous improvement.

Jo-Anna quotes the way cellar staff nutted out a better system for barrel cleaning, as an example. The result was steam cleaning to conserve water, double the number of barrels cleaned each day and increased productivity.

Ongoing improvements in the winery will future-proof the company as it increases processing capacity.

The company reduced processing waste in 2013 by replacing diatomaceous earth filters – using materials that were difficult to handle and dispose of – with new wine filtration technology costing $900,000. In 3-4 months the new filters paid for themselves through improved wine quality, reduced water use and savings from no longer buying filter materials.

Pernod Ricard winery development manager, Eric Hughes, chairs the Marlborough Grape Marc group which aims to convert all of the region’s marc into value-added products including compost and stock feed.

Computer monitoring of soil moisture determines how much vineyard rows are irrigated based on grape variety, soil moisture and soil type, rather than just setting a timer. This saves irrigation water and energy through reduced pumping and gives the viticulture team better control over flavour development as grapes ripen.

Use of herbicide and pesticide sprays has been scaled back and in some cases stopped, exceeding Sustainable Winegrowing New Zealand guidelines.

Organic practices such as growing beneficial plants between rows, cultivation to improve water penetration and mulching with compost made from grape marc are being applied in a targeted way across Pernod Ricard vineyards in Marlborough.

Twenty five per cent of available land owned by Pernod Ricard is planted in natives including a wetland and the company aims to increase the area each year. The 148ha of organically managed grapes are made into Living Land wines with $1 from each bottle going to the Marlborough Falcon Trust.

Approximately 2000 Romney-Corriedale sheep carry out the labour and machinery-intensive task of leaf plucking, exposing developing fruit to sunlight to increase grape flavour and colour.

The Brancott Estate Heritage Centre holds the Qualmark Enviro-Gold standard recognising sustainable tourism practices.

Water is collected off the centre’s roof to irrigate massed native plantings. Natural ventilation is used rather than air conditioning and fencing is made from recycled grape posts.

Since 2010, Brancott Estate has donated $500,000 to the Marlborough Falcon Trust, which promotes the recovery of this endangered native species through work including building a breeding and rehabilitation aviary. Visitors can see falcons in full-flight as part of the Brancott Estate Falcon Encounter and can visit a second falcon aviary on a self-guided walk.  A guided cycle tour visits the working Brancott Estate vineyard, weaving through vines and native plantings and introducing sustainable vineyard practices.