By: SWE On: March 28, 2024 In: Awards

We are so unbelievably proud to announce our recognition as a finalist for a prestigious NZ Hi Tech Award for our groundbreaking, fully-automated spray shed, SmartSpray, which has revolutionised Pernod Ricard Winemakers’ vineyard operations and enhanced the health and safety of employees. The finalists were unveiled at an event hosted simultaneously in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch this week.


We’re thrilled to have been recognised as one of only five finalists from around New Zealand in the “Most Innovative Hi-Tech Agritech Solution” category. In a year when the organisers “witnessed an unprecedented number of entries” this is a particularly notable achievement.

NZ Hi Tech Awards 2024


We collaborated with Pernod Ricard Winemakers to develop this SmartSpray solution, which has been installed at their Brancott Vineyard here in Marlborough. The innovative technology automates the vineyard spray mixing process by using an automated pumping and injection system with advanced programming that ensures tractor spraying units receive the exact right quantity, composition and dilution of solution, tailored to each specific job. This reduces safety risks by minimising manual and chemical handling.

“This project stemmed from our desire to upgrade our existing Brancott Vineyard spray shed to bring it into the future to be safer, smarter and more adaptable. It’s been incredibly rewarding to witness SWE bring it to life,” said Lesley Boon, Viticulture Manager – South Island Operations at Pernod Ricard Winemakers.

“The SmartSpray Solution represents a significant advancement in viticultural technology. It not only benefits vineyard operators but also contributes to environmental sustainability, while enhancing productivity, accuracy, and traceability within the viticulture industry, setting new standards for operational excellence. The collaboration with SWE exemplifies our commitment to innovation and sustainability, and we are honoured to have the project named as a finalist for the NZ Hi Tech Award.”


Stephen Leitch, explains the new process allows vineyard operators to complete spray mixing in just 25% of the time previously required.

“The previous standard practice for spraying in the vineyard required operators to dress in PPE, put gloves on, mix up the chemical solution, put it into the spray unit and then take all the PPE gear off and hang it up before they’re able to complete the cycle of spraying. Then they’d have to come back and do it all again for the next cycle.”

With the new process, vineyard operators no longer need to wear extensive PPE gear due to the enclosed and automated system, leading to a safer and faster refill experience.

“Operators can now simply connect a hose and push a couple of buttons to start the automated filling process, then they are good to go!” Leitch said. “So, we’re seeing the eradication of thousands of manual lifting events every year, reduced chemical handling, and up to 75% time saving per fill. That’s pretty incredible when you multiply that across big vineyards and across the year.”

“We have been thrilled to collaborate with Pernod Ricard Winemakers to create what we understand to be the first automated spray shed solution globally. This is a cutting-edge application of technology and the whole project team have been very proud of what we have been able to accomplish to make viticultural processes smarter, faster, and safer.”


The NZ Hi Tech Award nomination highlights the transformative potential of the SmartSpray solution and acknowledges the dedication and expertise of the teams at SWE and Pernod Ricard Winemakers. As industry leaders, we continue to drive innovation and excellence, shaping the future of viticulture.


For any enquiries about SmartSpray, please feel free to reach out to our Managing Director, Ross Sinclair:

ross.sinclair@swe.co.nz  | 03 579 3420

Hi-Tech Awards Finalist 2024