The north-facing block in the Wairau Valley region of Marlborough sits adjacent to the Wairau River near its intersection with the Wye River and is one of the most westerly wineries in the valley. It is a member of the Sustainable Winegrowing New Zealand organisation.
Known as Weta Estate, the land and dammed reservoir at 4336 State Highway 63 comprise some 207 canopy hectares of sauvignon blanc, pinot gris, and pinot noir vines sitting on five different land titles.
Weta Estate vineyard has two Resources Management Act consents from Marlborough District Council to draw and store up to 14,730 cubic metres of water a day for irrigation, with the water permitted to be stored in the reservoir.
The vineyard is traversed by a network of well-formed and maintained gravel roads to facilitate easy access to all corners of the generally rectangular-shaped property.
The immaculately operated Weta Estate land and dammed reservoir at 4336 State Highway 63 in the Wairau Valley are now being marketed for sale by expressions of interest through Bayleys Marlborough, with the process closing on May 11. Salespeople Mike Poff, Harrison Marton, Kurt Lindsay and Tarin Mason said the vineyard’s immediate vicinity to Wairau River allowed for easy water extraction from the source onto the property.
“With two distinct terraces, the property’s grapes offer subtle flavour variations from the changing soil types,” said Poff.
“Certainty of water supply is an underlying consideration for any potential viticulture operation – and with its consents in place, the dam and reservoir facility at 4336 State Highway 63 certainly delivers that critical assurance of on-going storage and irrigation.”
The vineyard is planted in 166.27-hectares of sauvignon blanc, 21.12-hectares of pinot gris vines, and 20.35-hectares of pinot noir grapes. The vines were planted in 2008 and now number some 537,440 plants across a planted area of 208.4-hectares.
Weta Estate Vineyard has a supply contract to grow grapes for global wine brand Constellation Brands – expiring at the end of the 2023 harvest. Constellation Brands is one of the world’s biggest beer, wine, and spirits suppliers, with more than 1000 brands in its portfolio… including the New Zealand marque Kim Crawford, alongside labels in the United States, Mexico, Italy, and Canada.
Production records show Weta Estate’s harvest have been improving consistently over recent years. In 2017, the vineyard cropped 2,214 tonnes of sauvignon blanc – increasing to 2,415 tonnes in 2021. In 2017, the vineyard cropped 181 tonnes of pinot gris – increasing to 270 tonnes in 2021. And in 2017, the vineyard cropped 146 tonnes of pinot noir – increasing to 177 tonnes in the 2021 harvest.
Building infrastructure on the property comprises a 192-square metre three-bedroom staff dwelling, a five-bay implement shed with staff room, chemical storge shed, and water pump shed. Some 38 frost fans are strategically located throughout the vines on the property.
Poff said plant management and harvesting machinery equipment used at the vineyard were available to purchase by negotiation in addition to the land and buildings.
Wairau Valley is one of three ‘sub-regions’ – along with Awatere Valley, and Southern Valley - within what is the wider Marlborough grape-growing and wine-producing district.
Lindsay said Wairau Valley vineyards were planted in the old, gravelly, riverbed soils which now form the base of the Richmond Range. The humps and hollows are very obvious down vine rows running from north to south, showing where the river has changed its course and flowed over many centuries.
“The soils here are naturally free draining and range from old stony riverbeds to fine, deep, alluvial soils. The Richmond Ranges and Wither Hills protect the Wairau Valley from incoming rain. They create a zone of high sunshine as clouds are buffered by the hills, preventing any rain from spilling over into the main valley,” Lindsay said.