A Bloke For All Seasons

Tuesday 14 February 2012, 2:28PM
By Porter Novelli New Zealand

With a career spanning 50 years, and across multiple industries, Peter Yealands could be described as one of New Zealand’s most successful entrepreneurs. The story of his life and business endeavours has been captured in a new book.

A bloke for all seasons: The Peter Yealands Story is written by first-time Marlborough author Tom Percy and provides an in-depth look into the life of Peter Yealands and his contribution to the New Zealand aquaculture, deer farming, forestry and wine industries.

Described by the author as a ‘true maverick’, Peter Yealands says the book is an honest and frank description of his life to date.

“I met Tom while he was working for the local paper, the Marlborough Express. When he suggested the idea of writing a book it took me by surprise and I wasn’t that keen on the concept, but seeing it now in print I guess it’s fair to say I’ve done a bit in the last fifty years.”

With an entrepreneurial vision and ‘can do’ attitude extending well beyond the wine industry, Peter was a pioneer in the commercial New Zealand Greenshell Mussel industry and in 1975 was issued New Zealand’s first marine farming license. Today marine farming is one of the Marlborough region’s major economic contributors and the industry exports are worth more than $202 million[1] a year.

In the mid-1980s Peter established one of New Zealand’s most successful deer farms, which was recognised with a rural environment award, reflecting his passion and commitment towards sustainable and environmental practice.

In 1998 Peter Yealands began the development of New Zealand’s leading environmentally sustainable winery, Yealands Estate. Established with sustainability at the core of all its processes, Peter Yealands introduced a number of ground breaking advanced green technologies and innovative solutions to the winery, including the use of Babydoll sheep to maintain grass levels between vines, solar reflective cladding, and the development of a purpose-built boiler, providing the winery a renewable source of energy by burning grapevine prunings.

Author Tom Percy, who spent 18 months working on the biography, says Peter Yealands is a man with simple values who accomplishes complex and marvellous things.

Today Peter, who is a regular but reluctant name on New Zealand’s Rich List, devotes the majority of his time to the Yealands Wine Group. The business is one of the largest privately owned wine companies in New Zealand, with a global reach of more than 60 international markets.

A bloke for all seasons: The Peter Yealands Story will be launched at a function on Friday 24 February at the Yealands Estate Winery in Seddon, Marlborough.

The book is available nationwide through Whitcoulls ( and independent retailers, with a recommended retail price of $34.99.

About the Author

Tom Percy was born and lived in Toronto, Canada until shifting to New Zealand in 2003. He has over forty years of writing experience in various disciplines, including song writing, business writing, sub-editing and feature writing. Since moving to Marlborough in 2006, he has written many articles and features for the Marlborough Express in addition to other freelance writing assignments. This is his first book.


[1] Aquaculture New Zealand