Kiwi innovation flies to the USA, Chile and Argentina


In many ways these regions are brothers-in-arms and all share a common bond arising from living, working, and making great wine in some of the world’s most active seismic regions. Wineries from these regions all share and face common challenges, particularly when it comes to mitigating seismic risk.

Chile’s 2010 Challenge:

Much of the damage in the wine industry came when big storage tanks – stainless steel vats 5m high – toppled over. Wine stored in barrels was also lost as they rolled off the racks, cracked open or popped their seals, flooding bodegas with merlots, carmeneres and cabernet sauvignon.

“These big stainless steel tanks crashed to the ground. Wine was on the floor, it was very hard to look at,” said Pablo Morande Jr, of Morande wines. An estimated 2.5m litres of wine was lost, representing 10% of production, he said.

Initial estimates put the quantity of lost wine at 100m bottles, or roughly a sixth of the country’s annual export. Antonio Larrain, general manager of the Chilean Wine Corporation, estimated that 20% of Chile’s stored wine may have been lost. He calculated the value at $300m, which did not include the widespread damage to infrastructure ranging from underground irrigation tubing to warehouses. Source: The Guardian 2010

And Chile is not alone:

This isn’t the first time a wine region has seen devastation caused by an earthquake. In fact, there are records of several of them, including the 1977 Caucete Earthquake (7.4 magnitude: San Juan province, Argentina), the 1980 Greenville Earthquake (5.8 magnitude: California, USA), the 1984 Morgan Hill Earthquake (6.2 magnitude: California, USA), the 1985 Valparaiso Earthquake (7.5 magnitude: Chile), the 1989 Loma Prieta Earthquake (7.1 magnitude: California, USA), the 2003 San Simeon Earthquake (6.5 magnitude: California, USA), the 2007 Pisco Earthquake (7.9 magnitude: Ica province, Peru), and the 2010 Maule Earthquake (8.8 magnitude: central Chile).

Source: The Academic Wino 2014

And of course, more recently Napa shook in 2014 (6.0 magnitude) with damages conservatively estimated at $100m and Marlborough shook the year before. The repairs from the 2013 seismic sequence (6.6 magnitude and 5.5 magnitude) are still being addressed two years later. The actual damage bill is estimated at $100m. The real cost including business interruption costs is anybody’s guess.

ONGUARD Technical Director, Will Lomax, and Commercialization Manager, Jim Wilkes, are shortly heading for the wine regions of California and Oregon in the United States to follow up with wineries, manufacturers, contractors, insurers and structural engineering firms. To date there has been strong interest in ONGUARD. The company is scheduled to commence exports to the United States early in 2016.

ONGUARD’s investment in R & D has led to a technological breakthrough and a global patent pending. The company is now looking to scale its operation and build export markets. ONGUARD is another ingenious and inspired New Zealand innovation and it proves Kiwis can, in actual fact…fly.