Home > News

Looking to Relocate?

More info

Business Parks

More info

Wine pioneer enters new phase with confidence

Article Index
Kate de Lautour

Pask Winery has come a long way since the family-owned company’s first vintage in 1985, made up of one barrel of Cabernet Sauvignon from Gimblett Road grapes. Now Pask produces up to 55,000 cases of a range of wines with 85 percent exported around the world and the equivalent of 12 fulltime staff. Earlier this year, the Winery sold 25 hectares of Gimblett Road vineyards, allowing a fresh business direction. It’s been an opportune time for Pask staff to enter the High Performance Work Initiative and after five months in the productivity building project the company is revitalised says managing director and award winning winemaker Kate Radburnd.

There’s no doubt the team at Pask know about growing excellent grapes and making world-class wines, consistently winning awards at prestigious competitions at home and abroad. However operating an efficient production based business requires processes behind the scenes to be updated, as a business grows and changes. Growth at Pask has been dramatic. In recent years, the company has made a concerted effort to become self-sufficient. Investment has been made in a state of the art Selectiv’ Process machine harvester, with warehousing and bottling facilities introduced to complement the winemaking facility.

The Winery is downsizing production this year with the aim of focussing on key varietals at key price points, with what the prized Gimblett Gravels vineyards grow best. The new size and model allows for contracting of the winemaking and bottling facilities and has allowed Pask to consolidate into a vibrant, medium sized wine company with fresh opportunities in export markets.

These changes have brought new skill requirements, with new staff, and a need to streamline communication channels with all staff in all areas of the business.

Improvement Specialist Trevor Hall from Smarter, Better, Faster has been working with Kate and the team in the vineyard, winery and bottling plants for the past five months and says “Pask are a great bunch of people who are all extremely hardworking and passionate about producing the highest quality wines, however pre the HPWI they had some tired systems” – a description Kate admits is fair.

 “We have had sustainable growth for many years but now it’s a focus on getting things right and this isn’t rocket science, but it’s just a logical approach to business with a fresh set of eyes to help guide us.”

Working with Trevor, they identified a need for help in sales and marketing and following strategy sessions with specialist consultant Peter Wogan there is now a certainty about the direction for the business.

A sales and marketing manager has been appointed, allowing Kate to focus on winemaking – her area of expertise.

“In the past I have been away a lot. Having good distributors means working with them in partnership and that has required considerable international and domestic travel, together with the industry roles I have held.

“I have extremely capable staff but it’s important to me that I can maintain the role I always wanted to do.”

Changes have been implemented to HR processes with a current staff member adopting the management of staff reviews, again freeing up more time for Kate and further streamlining processes.

Other improvements include tool box meetings for all staff twice a week and a system is being planned for all staff to be able to make recommendations on the way the business could be more efficient, an initiative Kate says they are really looking forward to.

Health and safety procedures and manuals have been updated with staff refocused on the importance of this part of the business.

Customer experience programmes have also offered a chance to reconnect with internal and external customer needs, with results being tracked over coming months.

The changes are ongoing and the bottom-line results won’t be known immediately but at this stage they have provided a “breath of fresh air.”

 “We’re  a tight number of staff and we work really hard and when you work like that for a long period of time, things do wear down a bit and we have all benefitted from the revitalisation.

“The process with both Trev and Peter has given clarity to our new thinking and provided good disciplines to implement our new structure with a determined confidence. “