It was by pure chance that I came across Peter Yealands and Yealands Family Wines. My father was touring around New Zealand’s South Island a few years back visiting the local vinyards when one winery, and in particular, one Wine Maker really stood out. Not only that, but by all reports he made the best wine too. Dad described him as “a really great bloke”, this bloke of course was Pete Yealands. Since then Yealands Family Wines have been on our table plenty of times, and were the obvious choice at our recent Owners Collective Mastermind party. We choose them for flavour of course, but equally for the Yealands commitment and dedication to producing sustainably. ‘Tread lightly’ forms a big part of the philosophy. It was a real privilege to get to know a little more about the Founder of Yealands Family Wines, Pete Yealands, what makes him tick, and why essentially he still primarily views himself as a farmer…
OC: WHERE ARE YOU + WHAT’S THE TIME?
PY: Its Tuesday morning 7.44am and I am in my office at the winery.
OC: TELL US A BIT ABOUT WHAT YOU DO
PY: I am more of a farmer than anything, I love the land. I love working the land. We have a great location here and a great team and a great future. We make excellent wine and I love the acknowledgements that that brings. I try and get the best from my staff and others we are involved with.
OC: WHAT DO YOU LOVE ABOUT WHAT YOU DO?
PY: Everything. I’m in a good spot at the moment. Good wine starts from good land. If you have good country, that will grow good grapes, then the winemakers can do the final tuning. That all happens here on our site in Seaview. The Awatere Valley is a very special place, and I believe the best place in Marlborough to grow grapes. We are right by the sea, terrific terroir, no frost, heaps of sun, enough wind to make the grapes know they are in a tough environment, produce the thick skins and the lovely flavours our wines are now known for.
OC: WHAT SACRIFICES HAVE YOU HAD TO MAKE TO BE A SUCCESSFUL ENTREPRENEUR?
PY: Not as much time with my family as I would like.
OC: WHAT MAKES YOU HAPPY?
PY: Being here and alive, working the land. Coming up with new and innovative ideas that help us put more back into the land that we take out.
OC: TELL US ABOUT A HIGH POINT IN YOUR CAREER
PY: Getting married with $100 in the bank! From a business point of view winning the NZ Wine Producer of the Year at the International Wine and Spirit Competition. This was a brilliant result; a milestone award which endorses our entire range of world class wines. It was very humbling to see the company go from strength to strength. As everything we do is linked to our sustainability program other accolades I was very proud to win was Green Company of the Year” by the UK’s leading drinks publisher, Drinks Business followed soon after by the overall World Champion title from the International Green Apple Environment awards.
OC: NOW TELL US ABOUT A LOW POINT
PY: There is not any low points. While there might be a few things I might have done differently if I did them today, I don’t tend to look backwards.
OC: WHAT DID YOU NEED TO KNOW TO GET OUT OF THERE?
PY: The sense not to get into a low point to start with.
OC: WHAT’S YOUR COFFEE ORDER?
PY: I don’t drink coffee, more of a juice person.
OC: WHAT KICK ASS DAILY HABITS DO YOU HAVE IN PLACE?
PY: Waking up early, you get a huge amount done in a day.
OC: HOW DO YOU GENERATE NEW IDEA’S?
PY: Unfortunately I seem to be inundated with ideas, must be in my genetics. Our mantra is think boldly, tread lightly and never say it can’t be done. I think all ideas are good ideas and encourage the team to give everything a go. Not everything will work but we have had some great successes by applying this philosophy.
OC: IF YOU HAD THE CHANCE TO START YOUR CAREER OVER AGAIN, WHAT WOULD YOU DO DIFFERENTLY?
PY: There is nothing I would change, unless I could maybe start a bit earlier. I did a lot of different things along my career which have all ultimately led me here to where I am today.
OC: IF YOU COULD SHARE ONE PIECE OF BUSINESS ADVICE WITH OTHERS WHAT WOULD IT BE?
PY: Delegate. It’s taken me a long time to learn this and I now have the right team around me and attribute the success we have had to them. Surround yourself with people who are experts in their area and let them make the decisions accordingly.
OC: WHAT DO THE NEXT FEW MONTHS HOLD?
PY: Lots of excitement. We are currently looking to grow our business globally. The demand for our wines is there and we need to ensure we have the grape supply and infrastructure to meet the demand.
OC: GIVE US THE 3 WORDS OTHER PEOLE WOULD USE TO DESCRIBE YOU
PY: ‘A good bloke’ has been used in the past.