Villa Maria currently grows and harvests BioGro-certified organic grapes on selected vineyards in Auckland, Hawkes Bay and Marlborough. The company started its first organic vineyard in Hawkes Bay in 2000 and achieved full certification of the site in 2004. The company currently has four vineyards under organic management and plans to progressively implement organic practices throughout all of its vineyards.
Both Villa Maria wineries are installed with heat recovery systems, which take waste heat from the refrigeration plant and store it for use in the winemaking process.
The recovered heat is used to warm grape juice prior to and during fermentation, and to warm the wine before it is bottled. The heat recovery plant complements gas and electric energy and enables the winery to significantly reduce its total energy consumption.
Night air cooling
Villa Maria's Auckland warehouse features a night air cooling system importing night air into the warehouse where the wine acts as a giant "chilly pack" to maintain optimal temperatures, even during the summer heat.
Villa Maria's wineries are designed to use natural light as a source of daytime illumination. This provides a healthier environment for staff and significant energy savings.
Villa Maria encourages recycling in its wineries. Grape pressings are either recycled as deer and cattle feed or composted as nutrient for the vineyards. The company has an ongoing commitment to separating all plastic, glass and metals waste. In fact, approximately 70 per cent of the packaging used for a bottle of Villa Maria Private Bin wine is made from recycled material.
Hybrid vehicles for sales team
Since 2007 Villa Maria has been progressively changing its sales team fleet to low emission hybrid vehicles.
Hybrid cars use up to half as much petrol as an equivalent non-hybrid car and produce up to 90 percent less noxious emissions. The lifetime carbon footprint of a hybrid is significantly less than an equivalent sized conventional car.
Storm water quality control
Storm water from the Auckland winery's roadways and car parks is filtered using a series of grass swales and underground retention tanks. Sedimentation weirs ensure that only clean water enters the lake in front of the winery before its journey down the Oruarangi Creek to the Manukau Harbour.
In New Zealand, we are fortunate that over 70 per cent of the nation’s electricity is generated using renewable sources.
The use of renewable energy gives Villa Maria and other New Zealand wine growers a competitive edge internationally, particularly in the UK where consumers are becoming increasingly environmentally conscious.