Business Rural Spring 2021

| 85 Thriving vineyards is the ultimate goal Sue Russell I t’s a cracker day down here,” is how Bradley Greer, from Marlborough based Greer Vineyard Services, described the day Rural South got in touch to talk about the company. He’s proud too of the history of the family-owned business and its contribution to the flourishing viticulture sector in the province. “The company was established in 1994 and over time, we have honed into specialising for the most part in vineyard machinery contracting.” Based in Rapaura, near Blenheim, Brad and the team operate their equipment all over Marlborough and with a team of seven on board, it means Greer Vineyard Services machinery can be seen all over the area. “We all do a bit of everything and are skilled in all aspects of machinery operation. We offer clients, many of whom we’ve been supplying vineyard services too for a very long time, the full range of services, from vineyard establishment, yearly cycli- cal maintenance, and removal.” From May the team’s busy with replacement posts and barrel pruning which helps the manual labour to strip the vine. “Following pruning vines are mulched. This work runs through to September where work begins to shift into the spraying season with a 10 day cycle running through to February. Early December brings leaf removal to open up the canopies, using two collard defoliaters. Along with this vine trim- ming helps keep canopies open and assisting better chemical coverage.” By mid February bird control measures get underway and the grapes are inspected to ensure they are free of disease. “Harvesting comes and goes quickly and even though we don’t have harvest machines we are busy with post vintage spraying, seeding for ground covers. With eight John Deere tractors to help run all our implements there is always cleaning, repairs and maintenance.” New vineyards are being planted and those established up to 30 years ago are being removed and replanted. Marlborough is world-renowned for the quality of its Sauvignon Blanc and Brad says it’s a wonderful region to be working in. “We experience for the most part an excellent climate and the team enjoys being out and about helping vineyard owners attain the very best they can from their land.” Today, as General Manager, Brad oversees all aspects of the company’s activities and he says RURAL SERVICES » Greer Vineyard Services he’s fortunate to have a team of highly skilled machinery operators. He’s been responsible for the day to day running of the business for seven years now, following in the footsteps of his father who got involved in the industry 40 years ago. Recent purchases include a Duncan seeder, which Brad says is great for inter-row cover crops, redressing headlands and new vineyards and a new transportable roller. A new Yamar 5.5 tonne digger with vibrating head places in steel or plastic intermediate posts. “More people are starting to lean towards using as an alternative to the wooden post. We also have a grapple that can pull out posts and plants then pick them up and place into our 5 tonne tip trailer which is towed behind a tractor.” Asked what he sees as the business’s strengths Brad feels that the relatively small size of the com- pany means that everything they do ‘really matters’. “Given our size we are quite nimble in reacting to and managing the unexpected.” Covid brought huge stresses to the wine- producing sector, with substantial reductions in the number of people undertaking seasonal pruning and Brad says this situation has not corrected itself. Generally the team are on the machines for the standard working week, keeping weekends free over the winter period. “Once spring hits we can be working six or seven days a week so it’s important for our operators to have down-time to balance this.” Greer Vineyard Services has a core customer base of 35 clients as well as outside work such as seeding redevolpment. “We have worked for some of our clients since Day One. It’s really satisfying to have these long- term relationships and to see vineyards thriving, contributing to the prosperity of this region.” Total Hydraulic & Fluid Power Hose & Fitting Specialists 100% Family owned business proudly supporting Greer Vineyard Services 03 572 8670 24 HRS Bruce Cooke Mob 027 432 5713 | Richard Cooke Mob 027 497 5395 F: 03 572 9461 • Tyrone Park, Jacks Rd, Renwick • E: HYDRAULICS ROSCO LTD Viticultural/Agricultural Machinery Repairs & Maintenance Servicing the Awatere Valley and wider Marlborough region Proudly supporting Greer Vineyard Services 1 Goulter St, Seddon (021) 025 08511 45 Queen Street, Blenheim Supplying Rubber seals bushes and mounts, Teng Tools and Penrite Oils for over 30 years 31 High St Renwick, Marlborough Ph 03 572 8880 www.basisnz BAS S Steve Louch, Brad Greer, Jim Greer, Noel Greer, Aaron Cameron, Paul Arand and Paul Henley.