Hawke's Bay-based bottler WineWorks recently celebrated its billionth bottle and on Friday opens its multimillion-dollar Auckland bottling plant.

Managing director Tim Nowell-Usticke said it made logistical sense to bottle in Auckland, the source of bottles and destination of the majority of wine.

It has one of the tallest buildings in Onehunga, has its own water bore and is located in the industry's supply-chain "sweet spot".

"Here we have easy access to rail, the port, the airport, industry suppliers and supermarket distribution centres," he said.


"The country's only glassworks is just down the road, and New Zealand's largest wine market is right on our doorstep.

The company also has plants in Hawke's Bay and Marlborough, bottling for half the nation's wineries with a staff of 340 people.

"Marlborough may be the engine room of the New Zealand wine industry, and certainly Marlborough and Hawke's Bay are the great places to grow wine, but Auckland is where New Zealand's wine industry was founded and where the country's biggest wineries are headquartered. We need to be here."

The new plant features next-generation bottling technology, able to bottle enough wine to fill two 6m shipping containers every hour but with low levels of dissolved oxygen, a key criteria for quality bottling.

"We have the latest technology in bottling and in satellite racking storage. As a group we handle over 120 million bottles every year and our warehouses hold more than 60 million bottles of wine at any given time. Our bottling equipment caters for both large runs and also those wineries wanting to bottle smaller parcels of wine."

WineWorks has 14 international certifications thanks to an annual audit for retailer requirements from the likes of Tesco, Walmart and the British Retail Consortium.

Mr Nowell-Usticke started the business 21 years ago, enabling wineries to concentrate on wine-making without the peripheral problems of bottling, storage and distribution.

"I wanted to take a primary product and by processing it, add value to that product. I wanted that increased value to be captured by the region, to enhance regional prosperity. WineWorks was a way to help keep vitality, jobs and wealth in the region where it was produced."

The company has become integral to the infrastructure for the industry and supports cider and soft drinks at its Hawke's Bay plant which also has a charmat facility that makes sparkling wine.

"We offer industrial expertise, commitment, and targeted investment typically unavailable to individual wineries. We work in partnership with them to minimise the investment, effort and worry they need to expend on that part of their supply chain."

He said he had no plans for further expansion.

"We have been through 21 years of growth and change, and with the Auckland plant now operational it's time to concentrate on continuing to provide the levels of service our customers have come to expect over those years. The New Zealand wine industry is going from strength to strength. We have a unique product to sell to the world, and WineWorks will continue to support the industry over the next 21 years and beyond."