Peter’s trademark “can do” attitude is the stuff of legend. Happiest working the land at the controls of a bulldozer or digger, Peter has a proven track record of making ambitious pioneering and innovative plans come to fruition. His many and varied successes have been recently chronicled in a book – A Bloke For All Seasons.
Peter has developed seven of his own vineyard sites in Marlborough, plus several others under contract for other companies. Whilst the majority of the vineyard developments were planted with New Zealand’s world-renowned Sauvignon Blanc vines, Peter was one of the first in Marlborough to plant alternative varietals like Grüner Veltliner, Tempranillo and Viognier.
However, his entrepreneurial vision extends well beyond grapes. Early on, Peter recognised the potential to farm Greenshell Mussels commercially and, in 1975, was issued with New Zealand’s first marine farming license. Thanks to his efforts in designing innovative technologies and helping establish aquaculture in the region, marine farming now contributes $160 million a year to New Zealand’s export earnings. In the mid 1980’s, Peter established one of the country’s most successful deer farms, specialising in stud animals and pioneered embryo transplants in deer. This beautiful 2,000 hectare property in Kaiuma Bay, the Marlborough Sounds, won a rural environment award in 2003.
Peter, wife Violet, son Aaron and daughter Danielle now focus their energies on building Yealands Family Wines into a premium global brand. Whilst spending much of his time travelling, Peter remains deeply personally involved in every initiative, rolling up his sleeves and pitching in with the team to get the job done in the most sustainable, practical manner. Peter’s highly innovative thinking has led to a number of world firsts in sustainable wine-growing and his goal and achievement of being the most sustainable wine-grower in the world will ensure that there are plenty of new initiatives to come!