Seaview Vineyard, the home of Yealands Wines, was once a rugged, rolling stretch of pastoral land, that was thought to be too wild, windswept, and undulating for growing grapes. Today, Seaview Vineyard is one of the most stunning vineyards in Marlborough.
Being in such a dramatic location comes with its challenges including wild weather and steep terrain so Yealands need a range of equipment to cope in this challenging landscape.
David Sheard joined Yealands at the start of 2019 as Viticulture Manager and oversees “everything outside” which ranges from people management to purchasing equipment. David said: “Machinery definitely gets tested on this land. We have over 1,000 hectares to manage and maintain so our equipment is worked hard and it’s my job to find the equipment that will get the job done and done well.”
David said: “Because of where we are the ground is steep and often uneven so we need sprayers which can cope with this. We like the BA kit because the frames are built strong and sturdy, and the booms have good magnetic breakaways on them, which is useful, because they are tested!
“I like working with BA because they are based in New Zealand and understand our environment. They are also available to talk to about our individual needs. For instance, because we are terraced, we need to ride the terrace as you go to avoid spraying vines, so we worked with BA to develop the front mounted spray boom with contour following heads to enable us to do this and it works great.”
When it comes to leaf removal and vine trimming Collard is the equipment of choice for several reasons. “In an industry where we have seasonal staff, with varying skill levels it’s crucial equipment is simple and safe to operate. With our Collard equipment any new operator can quickly pick up how the equipment works no matter their skill level, because it’s so easy. That’s what we like about Collard. The equipment is also easy to maintain. We have a workshop out the back to fix anything that needs urgent attention because we can’t wait for something to be fixed in a week, or even 24 hours’ time. We need it going there and then and with Collard it’s easy enough to do that.”
The Ellipse Multi-Rotor heads on the pulsed air defoliators are equipped with a system for selecting the air nozzle according to the desired removal intensity. This allows for the defoliators to be used throughout the growing season. David said: “The Collard defoliators are great for our Sauvignon Blanc grapes because we can start early and run late in the season without damaging the grape. I like them so much that I’ve ordered another one.”
The Collard trimmers are robust and have excellent adjustment to suit the height of the vines. “The trimmers make quick work of vine trimming, which is great because we have a lot to trim.”
David continues: “Both the BA and Collard equipment that we use at Yealands is strong, robust, easy to use and suits our requirements. I like that both manufacturers listen to customer feedback and make continuous but incremental improvements to make their equipment better for the end user.”