Almonds are Australia’s biggest nut crop accounting for over 60 percent of the sector with Australia the second biggest almond producer in the world behind the USA. The NSW Riverina produces 15 per cent of Australia’s almonds and this number is increasing each year.
Mandolé Orchard is one of the largest family owned almond growing operations in the Riverina covering almost 1200 acres. Around half of their land is in full production while the remaining crops, planted over the past few years, will come into full production by the 2022 season.
From their Lake Wyangan base, Denis and Annette Dinicola together with their son Dean run the operation. Recently, their daughter Jenna and her husband Tom have joined the family business and have been working towards taking Annette’s almond-based recipes, including her almond milk recipe, from the kitchen to the retailer’s shelf.
“Developing our almond milk product has required significant time and research and we needed a strong, trustworthy team with the necessary experience and skills to help us upscale and achieve our goals of developing a fully functioning almond milk production facility," says Jenna.
"The moment we met with the team at I2R Group we were extremely impressed. Not only did they have incredible knowledge, they also recognised it would be a collaboration which really appealed to us."
“The team at I2R Group essentially took the model we had developed and replicated it on a larger scale which requires expertise. Based on their experiences setting up wineries, cereal processing plants and the like, they were able to identify opportunities for even greater efficiencies. These efficiencies will help drive our processes in ways beyond our expectations because of their unparalleled passion and commitment to our project,” explains Tom Stefanovic.
"We’re really excited about the future and it gives us great comfort knowing that the I2R Group are on this journey with us."
The team at I2R Group are equally complimentary of the team at Mandolé Orchard, describing the job as one of the most rewarding they have been involved with since they commenced trading more than five years ago.
“At I2R Group we take a holistic approach to these types of projects,” explains I2R Group Co-Director Donovan Colpo.
“Having come from operational backgrounds we appreciate that detailed engineering and design is only one part of the equation when it comes to building world class factories. Our collaborative approach helps mitigate risk and allows the customer to be truly engaged in the process.
"By guiding the customer through a well-tested project management process, we actually make the task of building or refurbing a production facility an enjoyable and rewarding experience.
"Combining the customer’s deep knowledge of the raw materials, the refining process and the various nuances of production with the engineering, automation and project management expertise of I2R, the result is a cost effective, fit-for-purpose production facility, each and every time.”
Construction and fit out of the new production facility is set to commence in October this year (2018) with trials commencing in the new year and the first products coming off the production line in March next year.