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Inventor's simple idea works wonders for wine industry workers

Friday 05 Dec 2008 12:00a.m.

Inventor's simple idea works wonders for wine industry workers

Making wine is full of tradition and history, and behind the scenes some backbreaking work goes on.

But one Marlborough inventor has transformed one of the most labour-intensive jobs in growing grapes - bud rubbing - with a simple scrubbing brush on a stick.

Rubbing off unwanted new growth so the vines can flourish and produce a bumper crop of grapes is back-breaking work.

And this year one simple invention has made the job a lot easier.

The 'bud brush' was invented by Martin Thompson, who has lived amongst the vines in Marlborough for six years.

It is basically a stick with hard bristles on the bottom. In fact, his prototype was a piece of wood with a bristled doormat stuck to it.

"It wraps itself around the brush and you can use the outer edge for harder bits at the bottom, and it's so nice and neat in there that it just grabs around the edge of the vine," he says.

The idea came to Mr Thompson when he saw his friends having to bend down so often to do the job.

"For some reason no one has come up specific idea so I looked at it, done a prototype, made sure it worked and now it's come to this."

And those who have tried it already feel the benefits.

"Doing it by hand I get a really sore back," says Calib Hamlin. "With the brush I don't get a sore back at all."

Mr Thompson started selling the brush in August, and it has taken off, selling around the country and overseas.

He now has people in Europe the US and Australia selling the brush – and all this without a second of advertising.

Mr Thompson has an inventor's mind. He has also made another device which makes it easier to get access under floors in commercial buildings.

"There's always got to be an easier way on everything we do," he says. "Just someone's got to come up with that idea."


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