As Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc experienced stellar growth on the world stage through the late 1990’s and early 2000’s, Marlborough-based entrepreneur Duncan McFarlane recognised a looming shortage of winemaking infrastructure in the area to support the obvious growth in grape production. His response was to create ‘Indevin’ — a company providing contract winemaking facilities to a fast-growing industry. Major wine companies who were struggling with expanding grape supply and export markets quickly embraced the concept with many becoming long-term partners.
In late 2003 Indevin began work on its first winery in Marlborough - a feat achieved in a record three months. This was a huge step forward for a small company and showcased the passion and drive that would see us harvest 3,200 tonnes in 2004.
Indevin established its first vineyard on 90 hectares of former sheep farming land at the picturesque coastal Toi Downs site in the Awatere Valley of Marlborough.
By 2006 Indevin was building a solid reputation for achieving big goals and this, coupled with its ambitious plans for the future, led to Impact Capital becoming a major shareholder in Indevin with new equity being used to support future expansion and growth. Impact Capital remains the major shareholder alongside long-standing members of the Senior Management Team and Indevin is extremely proud to still be locally owned and operated today.
After just three years, the Marlborough winery expanded to process an impressive 7,000 tonnes of grapes; Indevin had more than doubled in size in three short years.
In response to the continuing growth and demand from overseas markets for New Zealand wine, Indevin established an export wine supply business in 2007 with the goal of developing long-term supply relationships with the major retailers and distributors. This was a natural evolution for the business which marked a change from pure contract processing for others to becoming a fully integrated wine supply business that supported customers from the vineyard through to the retail shelf.
The success of the Marlborough winery provided the confidence to expand beyond the South Island into New Zealand’s second largest wine region; The Hawke’s Bay. In 2008 we built a new 4,000 tonne winery to make red wine primarily for one of New Zealand’s largest branded wine companies.
Indevin had become a large and sophisticated business by 2009 and this required a new level of maturity and control to be brought to its operating systems. The company made a major investment in creating the innovative ‘Bulls-i’ winery management software platform. Bulls-i is Indevin-owned intellectual property which continues to be developed and supported by a dedicated team of technology specialists. It delivers control and visibility over challenging winery logistical movements and it provides in-depth visibility and traceability for complex business processes. Bulls-i ensures Indevin can successfully support and manage its customers’ growing demand for New Zealand wine with real time visibility and traceability over every litre of product; thus mitigating risk and providing huge confidence in the provenance and safety of every bottle of Indevin produced wine.
A game-changing partnership is established with Lion Nathan New Zealand, the country’s largest alcohol and beverage company. Together, Lion and Indevin jointly purchased wine assets from Pernod Ricard NZ. The acquisition included extensive vineyard holdings in Gisborne and the Hawke’s Bay, wineries in Gisborne, and twelve iconic New Zealand wine brands — including Lindauer; an international award-winning sparkling wine, and Corbans; one of New Zealand’s oldest and most trusted brands.
This significant partnership dramatically doubled the size of Indevin’s total business, with Indevin owning and operating all of the vineyard and winery assets and Lion Nathan owning and distributing the brands. For Indevin, this represented a step-change given that Lion Nathan can date its origins back to 1795, while we were yet to reach our tenth anniversary.
In just over ten years, Indevin has grown to a point where it is proud to be New Zealand’s largest wine producer, owner, and operator of winery infrastructure. Indevin’s owned and managed vineyards in Marlborough, Gisborne, the Hawke’s Bay and Central Otago, along with our contract winemaking clients, currently produce over 50,000 tonnes of grapes annually. This production footprint continues to grow with the acquisition and lease of several new vineyards or plantable sites each year.