Powerlift Nissan has long been associated with the Hunter Valley where a growing number of wineries rely on Nissan forklifts to manage various roles within their operations.
“I’ve been supplying forklifts to the Hunter Region for many years now,” said Powerlift Nissan Newcastle’s Allan Peacock, “and the first thing that strikes you is the down to earth nature and openness of the people in discussing all things relating to wine. Although there is competition, every winery has its niche and each is happy for their neighbour to succeed, there is a real sense of community. Of course they all talk and compare notes about the equipment they operate including the forklifts, so you have to be very service driven if you want to keep hold of the business.”
Scarborough Wine Co. is a family business and the winery produced its first vintage in 1987.
Jeremy Scarborough is Winemaker and General Manager and has been with the business for seven years, having worked for a number of other wineries after leaving school.
“We are at the big end of small for a Hunter winery, producing between 16,000 to 18,000 cases a year. 80% of our wine is Chardonnay of which we produce three different styles as well as a Shiraz, Pinot Noir and other ranges,” said Scarborough.
“50% of our wines are sold though the cellar door and 50% is wholesale, where we distribute direct to bottle shops and major customers mainly up and down the east coast.
“We’ve been operating a 1998, 2.5 tonne Nissan forklift for about 8 or 9 years now and it’s proved to be a good reliable machine. Initially we rented it for 2 years and then decided to buy.
“For a winery of our size, we work it pretty hard, 7 days a week in vintage and 5 days a week out of vintage. We use it for loading and unloading trucks, lifting and shifting grape bins and also for barrel work. We have 1000 barrels in two racks and each barrel has to be moved every 4 weeks so it gets a fair work out, but we haven’t managed to break it! It’s really reliable and our guys prefer to drive it over our other forklift brand”.
“We also get excellent service and support from the Powerlift Nissan Newcastle guys; they fit in with our schedule. They let us know when the service is due and the fork lift keeps doing its thing. We did have a drama when the gear shift cable broke but the service guy was here with the right part and we were back up and running within two hours, that’s service!,” concluded Scarborough.
Tempus Two Winery’s Winemaker, Liz Jackson, explains that her winery is “one of the medium sized producers on the Hunter, producing about 100,000 cases a year. We produce Semillon Chardonnays, Verdelhos and Shirazes from our own grapes but we also source premium grapes from other regions.
“We’ve been operating a LX series Nissan since November 2007. It’s fitted with non-marking tyres with a fuel injection system and catalytic converter which come as standard. Operating around bins of fruit and wine barrels we are mindful of keeping emissions to an absolute minimum,” she said.
“We also have one of the busiest cellar doors in terms of volume, so consequently our warehouse is very busy. We don’t have a large warehouse so the forklift is expected to work in confined areas. The operators find the controls very precise and it’s very manoeuvrable”.
There’s also a major entertainment facility within the winery complex and Nissan forklifts are sometimes required to help with the logistics relating to the event.
“For a recent event we realised we were going to need a forklift on short term hire and phoned Allan at Powerlift Nissan Newcastle. He had a unit out to us within two hours. We’ve known Allan for a while, we know he’ll do the right thing by us so we stick pretty close to him,” said Jackson.
“This is the only forklift we operate so we have to be sure that it is there for us every time, that’s why we’ve chosen a Nissan,” she concluded.
Tower Estate has been producing wines since 1999. It specialises in premium wines produced from fruit grown on its own vineyard as well as fruit sourced from around the country. Tower Estate crushes 200 to 250 tonnes of fruit a year and produces 10,000 cases.
According to Assistant Winemaker Jeff Byrne, their Nissan is probably the most integral piece of machinery in the winery.
“When you look at our forklift, it’s absolutely integral to the efficient running of this operation. It’s involved in every area of the business from lifting 2 tonne pots of fruit at harvest time, picking and tipping bins, truck loading and unloading and moving pallets of finished product,” said Byrne.
“And when you look at the value of the product it’s carrying, empty barrels cost $1,200 and full barrels contain 300 bottles at $30.00 per bottle, an accident can prove very costly.”
“The forklift was brand new in 1999 and came painted in the Tower Estate livery, (but) it’s had a fair work out since then,” he said. “It’s been a fantastic machine and does the job with the minimum of fuss. It’s reliable and we rarely have any problems with it.
“Being our only forklift we can’t afford any downtime so we rely on the guys from Powerlift Nissan Newcastle to manage the servicing of the forklift which they do with the minimum of disruption to us. Ideally we’d like a brand new Nissan and keep this one as a back up, maybe one day!” he said.
For further information contact:
Powerlift Nissan Newcastle