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Pioneering New Zealand winery goes on the market for sale

Tags: Auckland Rural

Pioneering Kiwi vineyard and winery Matua Valley has been placed on the market for sale.

The legendary West Auckland winery is widely credited for taking the New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc experience to the world beginning in the early 1970s.

The vineyard was founded by brothers Bill and Ross Spence who planted New Zealand’s first Sauvignon Blanc vines.  The brothers sold in 2001 and it has been owned by Treasury Wine Estates since 2011.

Treasury Wine Estates is now selling the 31.68 hectare West Auckland vineyards, winery production, and distribution plant. The property is being marketed for sale by Bayleys Real Estate through an international tender process closing on June 16 2016. All rights and goodwill in the Matua brand are being retained by Treasury Wine Estates and are not included in the offering.

Bayleys Auckland salespeople Paul Dixon and Mike Peterson said the Waikoukou Valley operation includes 5.8399 hectares of which three hectares is planted to Sauvignon Blanc and just under a hectare planted to Chardonnay. Last season the plantings yielded a combined crop of 12.785 tonnes of grapes.

Immediately adjacent to the vines is a 7.49 hectare winery, bottling hall and warehousing complex with a production capacity of 2,000 tonnes and storage capacity in tanks and barrels of 3.6 million litres. The $2 million purpose-built warehouse was officially opened in 2004.

Buildings within the winery complex include:

  • A 1,000 square metre winery and bottling hall capable of storing 3.6 million litres of juice in stainless steel vats ranging in size from 1,000 litres to 96,000 litres
  • A 900 square metre climate-controlled barrel hall capable of housing some 2,000 casks. The facility was built in 2007, with the refrigeration condenser units upgraded in 2014.
  • A 1,672 square metre finished goods warehouse facility and dispatch yard capable of stacking up to 2,300 standard-racked pallets.
  • Some 300 square metres of administrative buildings which have housed up to 60 employees.
  • A $1.2 million waste water treatment and filtration plant with irrigation pumps and hosing. The plant is consented to process 18,000 cubic metres of liquid annually.
  • Approximately 326 square metres of vineyard machinery and equipment storage sheds.

Mr Dixon said the bottling facility was equipped to produce 1.1 million cases of screw-capped wine annually. In addition to being a pioneer in the viticulture of Sauvignon Blanc, the winery was one of the first in New Zealand to abandon old cork stoppers and move to the aluminium screw cap format to reduce spoilage in the bottle.

Included in the offering is the accompanying former fine dining restaurant and function room, The Hunting Lodge, which was built in 1868 as the property’s original farm homestead. The Hunting Lodge was converted into a visitor centre and cellar door retail outlet in 2011. The venue has both an on and off license for hosting functions and tastings, and operates with a Grade A food handling certification.

“The cellar door facility is licensed to serve up to 100 guests and is permitted to host three major events annually, with up to 2,500 guests per event. From a vertical integration perspective, this would allow the development of an all-in-one hospitality location – similar to that achieved by Ascension Vineyard in Matakana Valley, just north of Auckland,” Mr Dixon said.

“The Hunting Lodge could also be restored to its former glory when it was once one of Auckland’s best fine dining destination restaurants.”

Mr Peterson said the winery’s biggest potential lay with some 24.61 hectares of rich pasture farm land surrounding the existing plant and vineyard. Waimauku is approximately 35 kilometres west of Auckland and records an average temperature high of 19.1 degrees Celsius, and an average temperature low of 9.6 degrees Celsius. Other vineyards and wineries operating in the immediate vicinity include West Brook and Twin Totara.

“The gently undulating farmland in three separate titles could potentially be developed into new plantings. The pedigree for high quality Sauvignon Blanc production is certainly well documented in the winery’s history, so the terroir has already proven its capabilities,” Mr Peterson said.

“Alternatively, there is the option of increasing the vineyard footprint to increase production as the property has resource consent to draw 11,000 cubic metres of bore water annually for vine irrigation”.

All sites are zoned rural under the proposed Auckland Unitary Plan – allowing for the rural production to be maintained in Waikoukou Valley for the foreseeable future.

“In effect, a new owner will be taking control of a virtual turn-key operation which has a multitude of future opportunities. Within the assets being sold is the grape reception and fruit/stalk separation bin, and the press,” Mr Peterson said.

“A new brand can be stocked by utilising existing crops within the estate. It can be increased organically by planting additional hectares on the adjacent grazed hills. Or additional tonnage could be sourced from contract growers in the immediate Waimauku/Kumeu locale or pressed juice could be sourced from contract growers in Gisborne, Hawke’s Bay, or even Marlborough.”

Treasury Wine Estates intends moving production of its wines to the company’s recently expanded Matua Marlborough operation, where most of the brand’s grapes are harvested and processed.

View the property online here.

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