While grapes are the essence of Marisco Vineyards, it’s shipping containers that form the operational and social heart of the leading New Zealand winery.
The staff at the Marlborough vineyard call the semi-permanent structure that they work out of “Container City”.
“It’s not really a city, but that’s what we call it,” laughs Viticulturist Anton Rasmussen.
Rasmussen says following a period of growth and development at the vineyard, which is located in the Waihopai Valley near Blenheim, it created the container structure to accommodate its 25 full time employees and up to 40 extra seasonal staff during grape growing season.
“The beauty of shipping containers is that they are highly portable,” he says. “It means we are able to set up something like ‘Container City’ when we need it and to help meet demand at certain times of the year.
“They allow us to create a space that caters for the day to day running of a vineyard.”
Marisco Vineyards has used temporary buildings in the past but Rasmussen says containers are ideal because they are strong and hardy but also homely and comfortable.
“Containers make excellent quality buildings for our staff to work in. We want to look after them and make sure they have the best possible facilities and containers provide that,” he says.
Marisco Vineyards has 12 Royal Wolf containers on site – made up of six offices, three Dangerous Goods (DG) containers, and three standard storage containers. The storage containers are located 4.5m apart, with roofs built between them, to create extra under cover storage and space for vehicles.
“Shipping containers are so versatile and Royal Wolf take it to the next level with its range because they gave me everything I needed – from offices and smoko rooms through to storage containers and the specially modified DG containers,” says Rasmussen.
“The great thing about the containers is that they’re ready to go with power, IT connectivity, fridges, hot water zips, and air conditioning. They’re a one stop shop with everything preset – so you plug in the power and it’s operational and ready to go.”
Paul Creighton, Royal Wolf Executive General Manager NZ, says Marisco is one of a number of vineyards in New Zealand using containers for a range of traditional and innovative solutions.
He says containers are also being used increasingly for temporary and permanent storage right across the horticulture and agriculture sectors in both New Zealand and Australia.
The uses range from a 10-foot storage container holding tools and equipment, through to larger dry storage containers, and Dangerous Goods containers for the safe stowing of sprays and other hazardous materials.
“Containers are ideal for use in the rural sector and winery industry to provide extra storage alongside the main site buildings, or in Marisco’s case, to help solve a number of storage and space solutions.
“They’re also safe and secure meaning everything from sprays and power tools through to extra product can be locked away safely.”