Purpose / Values

Forrest Wines is founded on continuous innovation to get the best quality wine – today and tomorrow. It’s about working with nature, not against it.

We approach everything so that the next generation can continue to enjoy the abundance of our land, the wellbeing of our people and the quality of our wine in the same way we do, or better. Our sustainability strategy helps ensure these core values are embedded in the businesses.

Our path to sustainability

I’m proud to present our first sustainability report, but I’m also aware of the responsibility it brings. The report is not an endpoint. Instead, it’s meant to be a signpost within a bigger journey.

We began by asking what ‘sustainably produced’ means to us. The answer is clear. To us, sustainably produced means everything we do must leave the planet in a better condition than when we found it, so future generations can have the same privileges from nature as we do.

As custodians for the children of the future and in my role as General Manager, I am in a great position. I’m able to ensure our business is sustainable and that our progress in caring for the planet is relentless, focused and whenever possible, fun. This attitude is the norm at Forrest.  

When we come up against a problem, we do what it takes to address it. For instance, we got sick of good wine going bad because of cork taint. So we banded together with other industry folks to revolutionise the whole industry by setting a new standard for screwcap wine. Now Aotearoa is leading the world in change.

We got sick of the alcohol in wine slowing us down. So, we developed the world's first full-flavoured, naturally produced lower alcohol Pinot Noir. Now, we have a whole range of varieties under The Doctors’ label, and there’s a new segment blossoming.

Finally, we’re tired of our industry putting too much pressure on the planet, and wishy-washy talk that doesn’t change much. So, we’re finding a way to do the best for the land. We're ready for the challenges that bring. In the same way we always do, we’re going to let sound research, brave innovation and our clear vision for a better future be our guide.

Thank you for joining us and cheers to you.

The Challenge

We’d like our industry to see this report as a rallying cry. We call on our peers to join us in trying to better understand the environmental limit for our land. Together, our industry needs to reduce its waste, water and spray. At Forrest, we intend to do more than simply improving on our own past performance. Instead, we want to set new benchmarks so everyone can aspire to do better for the planet and live more lightly.




Our People

Forrest Wines is a 100% Kiwi owned family business. We planted our first grapes in 1988 in Renwick, Blenheim, and over the last 31 years have lived in the community. We’ve grown both our business and family here. We now have three more vineyards in Bannockburn and the Waitaki Valley.

The wellbeing of our workforce is a priority because; people and family are at the heart of what we do. It means we’re diligent about safety and we nurture people. It makes sense to treat our people well. That’s why over a third of our staff has been with us for more than ten years, and over half have been with us for more than five years.

All our full-time permanent staff are on Living Wage. We have flexible working hours for staff, and family hours for those staff who want them.

Our workplace revolves around collaboration, inclusivity and honesty. To be fair, with our staff often bringing their dogs to work, anything else would be sniffed out pretty quickly.


The success of our year rests on doing much of our work quickly and effectively. We need a huge number of workers at harvest time. We outsource this work through an industry specialist and have recently swapped to one that offers more transparency in the way it treats its workers. We require a report of how much each contractor is paid, so we can audit it for fairness.

Positive Social Impact with a Local Focus

We focus our company’s giving on the community where our team lives, plays and raises their families. We offer a range of support and donations to groups, sports clubs and schools in Blenheim and Marlborough. In particular, we back projects that equip and inspire people to discover their own potential.

Some examples of our support include

  • Funding of The Forrest Wines Marlborough Tennis Centre
  • Support for rural schools with things like tents and marquees for events, product to raise money and for events
  • Academic prize for science at Queen Charlotte College
  • Support of community sports: Marlborough Tennis, Masters Volleyball, Junior Yachting
  • Established and hosted The Graperide cycle event since 2005.
  • Support for the Marlborough Hospice through the medical expertise of our Doctor Brigid Forrest
  • Key leadership and contribution to the Whale Trail cycleway from Picton to Kaikoura


Case Studies

The Forrest Graperide

The Forrest Graperide

Our Product

Health and wellness

As innovators, we’re constantly looking at ways for our industry and products to improve. This is what started our pursuit for a full-flavoured, naturally lower-alcohol wine.

It took John seven years of trials and tribulations to perfect the canopy management system which slows the grapes ability to make sugar, while retaining its ability for flavour. The result of this journey is our award-winning label, The Doctor’s Wines. Now, three-quarters of our Forrest Estate production in this segment.

We believe so strongly in the importance of naturally lower alcohol wine that we’ve shared everything we’ve learned about the process with the New Zealand industry. Wine’s about sharing, after all.

"f we’re going to combat the environmental issues we face, we need to work together.” Lighter wines are good for people and the planet…”

John Forrest

A pair of dedicated Doctors, John and Bridget Forrest, had a yearning to find a way to make health and wine sustain people's lives in a positive way. Their curiosity led them to the traditions of winemaking and the idea that, just maybe, wine's future lay in mixing the old ways with something new. They have created and perfected delicious full-flavoured wines by slowing the grape plant's ability to make sugar but not its ability to make flavour. And it's all done sustainably, in the vineyard. No chemistry tricks or genetic engineering wizardry here. Just sustainably grown, naturally produced lower alcohol wine.

The Doctor's Wines are judged alongside standard 40% alcohol peers. With only 9.5% the Doctor's Rose 2019 won the champion rosé trophy at Marlborough Wine Awards, while the Doctor’s Pinot, a challenging lower alcohol varietal to produce – was awarded a gold at the 2019 Melbourne International Wine Show.


We use OI Glass for all of our product (Since 2020) because they can ensure our bottles are at least 80% recycled glass. By 2021, we’ll use OI Glass for our entire vintage so we can maintain this level of recycled glass across every bottle we use.  


We have chosen Wineworks New Zealand as our bottler of choice. Wineworks meet both ISO 141000 standards for environmental management and British Retail Consortium standards. We’ve committed to encouraging our bottler in their own sustainability journey. Helping in this way will lift the standard for wineries far beyond our own.

Bottle caps

We donate all our bottle tops to Lions NZ Kidney Kids charity.

Ingredients and additives

We’re careful about where we source our additives. We need excellent products to maintain the quality of our wine. Once quality is assured, we choose the option that is the best for the planet and we’re transparent about this when we change supplier.

For products like yeast and other agents, our suppliers use TetraPacs or vacuum packs to ensure no wastage. We are continuing to ask them for solutions that can be more easily recycled.

We audit the country of origin on any chemicals we use. This enables us to source from countries where labour laws are robust.

Our eggs are free-range and sourced locally. We use non-animal proteins wherever possible in the winemaking process as we move all our wines towards a vegan-friendly future.



We source our barrels from France and Germany due to the premium quality of oak production. Their lifespan in winemaking is 5 – 15 years, and then they can be repurposed. We donate used barrels to local charities (who) turn them into furniture, as well as sending some of them to the local garden centre for resale. All our pallets are international standard so that they too can be reused around the globe.

Cellar door and sampling

We have a cellar door on our Estate in Renwick, but we’ve changed the way we do tastings around the rest of the country to reduce our environmental impact. We now choose a distributor in key places to cut down our internal travel and transport of samples to events like market days and trade shows.

Case Studies