The wine beneath their wings at Yealands Family Wines

As they gain certification as New Zealand's first Butterfly Friendly Organisation

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James Morrison & Jacqui Knight Monarch Butterfly Release, Yealand Wines

James Morrison & Jacqui Knight Monarch Butterfly Release, Yealand Wines [©Jim Tannock]


Yealands Family Wines has gained certification as New Zealand’s first Butterfly Friendly Organisation, by the Moths and Butterflies Trust of New Zealand (NZMBT).

Nestled into Yealands’ vast Seaview vineyard in Marlborough is ‘Butterfly Gully’which, for several years, has been planted in over 200 swan plants to attract monarch butterflies.

Over the summer months the gully which is sunny and well protected from the wind is aflutter with spectacular orange wings. While swan plants host monarch caterpillars from egg to chrysalis, the bright wild flowers between the rows of vines provide nectar for the adult butterflies.

Further along the gully stinging nettle has been planted to host the caterpillars of multi-coloured red and yellow admiral butterflies.

Head groundsman James Morison has become an enthusiastic lepidopterist and has worked closely with the NZMBT to establish the butterfly friendly garden. 

Peter Yealands, Founder of Yealands Family Wines believes strongly in biodiversity and understands the important role butterflies play in nature.  Peter Yealands’ mantra ‘Think Boldly, Tread Lightly and never say it can’t be done’ fits perfectly with the motivation and goals of the NZMBT, as does his respect for nature.  “There is something joyous about butterflies that makes our vineyard team smile. And when you learn more about them; their diversity, lifecycle and vulnerability, you can get pretty passionate about helping them survive and flourish’ says Yealands. 

Butterfly gully has been incorporated into Yealands’ White Road Tour, which enables visitors to drive through the vast vineyard and learn about wine-making, sustainability and biodiversity. Informational signs describe the metamorphosis of the butterflies and the plants they need.

The Moths and Butterflies of New Zealand Trust Certification is awarded once an organisation has met and sustained a defined list of requirements. James Morrison, Head Gardener at Yealands received the award from Moths and Butterflies of New Zealand Trust founder Jacqui Knight at the


Yealands and Sustainability

Established in 2008, Yealands Family Wines was always destined to be a story of thinking differently.  In 2001, founder Peter Yealands and his wife, Violet, began buying land in the Awatere Valley, Marlborough, at the north-eastern tip of New Zealand’s South Island. With some of the toughest conditions in the region, including steep slopes that many said were impossible for viticulture, strong winds, cool nights and low rainfall, you may wonder why he even bothered.

On 08.08.08, Peter opened the Yealands Estate Winery.  A landmark building, guided throughout by the New Zealand Green Building Code, it was the first in the world to be carboNZeroCertTM from inception. All aspects of the winery were designed to maximise their sustainability features, as well as embracing future growth through in-built capability for expansion.

Cutting-edge SMART green technology ensured that every stage of the winemaking process would be meticulously monitored and carefully controlled. Once under way, Yealands Family Wines quickly became synonymous with bespoke premium quality, within eight vintages, the talented team has won more than 1,000 awards, including being declared the NZ Wine Producer of the Year at the 2014 London International Wine & Spirit Competition and most recently winning Best New World Sauvignon Blanc and Best Wine from New Zealand at the Cathy Pacific Hong Kong International Wine & Spirit Competition 2015.

Today, Yealands continues to think and act differently. New innovations such as recyclable PET bottles, miniature Babydoll sheep, burning of baled vine prunings and playing classical music to the vines, all signal this active sense of vision. Twin aspirational goals of energy self-sufficiency and ‘carbon negative’ status have resulted in New Zealand’s largest solar panel installation across the entire northern side of the Yealands Estate Winery.

Generating a potent 505,000 kilowatt hours per year, this represents the equivalent power usage of 68 Kiwi households. Initiatives in this industry-leading sustainability journey are openly shared with the annual 10,000+ visitors welcomed to the Cellar Door at the Yealands Estate, complemented by a self-guided White Road Tour winding its way around this uniquely scenic vineyard.

Recognised for his visionary tenacity and irrepressible ‘can do’ entrepreneurial innovation, Peter was honoured with a 2016 Kea World Class New Zealand Award, New Zealand’s top individual achievement awards. Further endorsed in 2016 with the LCBO (Liquor Control Board of Ontario) Environmental Commitment Elsie Award.

See more on Yealands Family Wines here

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February 03rd, 2017
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