News and Success Stories

Published 09 January 2024

Kiwi agritech Triumphs at Australian Wine Awards

Among the standouts commended at the recent Wine Industry IMPACT Awards were two New Zealand companies that emerged victorious in the AgTech and Digital category.

Christchurch-based farm management app Onside won the category, with Malbourough-based Tātou (who make labour management software) taking home runner-up.

Onside won for their ‘Track & Trace’ pilot project where 90 winegrowers across four NSW wine regions participated in trialling its traceability technology to enhance biosecurity in their community.

The data captured by the Onside app was fed into live dashboards allowing simulated real-time tracing of disease spread, which provides significant resource efficiencies when it comes to preparedness, prevention and response activities.

This acknowledgment underscores our dedication to helping build a more resilient agricultural industry.

– Ryan Higgs, Onside

Runner-up Tātou provides software designed to manage the human side of vineyard and orchard operations.

Tātou helps businesses achieve operational excellence by giving field and office teams the insights they need, with their data supporting businesses to understand and influence workforce productivity, create transparency, and increase efficiency.

James O'Hern, Sales & Partnerships Manager at Tātou, says the recognition is a positive sign for the team, having built out a customer base across Australia in the last couple of seasons.

"The validation for us is that a panel with deep wine industry knowledge voted on the award. Judges that know the industry inside and out recognise the value Tātou adds to growers and their employees," says O'Hern.

For Onside, Higgs says its strong presence in New Zealand's agriculture industry, especially in viticulture, made bringing the software across the Tasman a natural move. 

"We've found our software fits the Australian market well. Having fine-tuned our product over five years with New Zealand customers, we knew it was ready for a larger stage. To adapt to market differences, we took a hands-on approach—building a local team and securing capital, all during the peak of the pandemic when travel was heavily restricted. The timing was spot-on as the agri sector in Australia was rapidly embracing digital tools, spurred by the challenges of the pandemic," says Higgs. 

"Australia wasn't just a market expansion; it showcased our ability to tackle challenges on a larger scale. As a global company, aligning with the agriculture industry's needs worldwide, stepping into Australia was a significant stride for us.”

Cargo Road Wines in Orange, NSW is experiencing firsthand the benefits of Onside’s tech.

"I've always seen Australia as an island and we can protect that island. Our border patrol and border security need to do a very good job, but it's part of my responsibility to help educate the public and protect my property as well as every other property and vineyard in Orange from biosecurity threats. 

Onside makes this very simple. It brings biosecurity front of mind to your visitors whether they are workers, contractors, or salesmen coming to your property. I really would love to see everyone in Australia using Onside get better education and awareness of the biosecurity risks," says James Sweetapple, holistic manager and winemaker at Cargo Road Wines.

For Tātou, the journey into the Australian market was a strategic move from the outset.

"Fortunately, we had New Zealand clients with operations in Australia, making it a relatively smooth process to get up and running. That foundation gave us a platform to understand and implement tweaks to the product to ensure we best serve the Australian market," says O’Hern.

James emphasises the importance of a physical presence in the Australian market, highlighting the disparities between the Australian and New Zealand wine industries. Considerations including geographical differences and workforce structures required careful consideration during expansion.

You can learn about the market through desk research, but there is nothing like getting out there and talking to people, hearing stories, and making connections.

– James O'Hern, Tātou

"That's why we've found Callaghan Innovation's networking sessions before events like Foment and evokeAg so beneficial.”

Sophie Rebbeck, Project Lead of Agritech Science Commercialisation at Callaghan Innovation, congratulates the two companies on this excellent achievement. 

"It's absolutely fantastic to see two New Zealand agritech companies succeeding in the Australian wine industry, and be recognised for it. Their achievements stand as a testament to the power of innovation, even in challenging times for the industry," says Rebbeck.

You may be interested in...