The first vineyard and winery in New Zealand to be established purely for the production of the niche gewürztraminer grape variety has been placed on the market for sale through a receivership process.
Vinoptima Estate vineyard and winery at Ormond, some 26 kilometres north-west of Gisborne, was established in 2000 using five gewürztraminer clones planted in soils high in magnesium and boron.
The Vinoptima Estate vineyard now consists of two blocks – one of 5.35 hectares of productive land planted in 2007 and sustaining 10,775 plants, and the other of 5.11 hectares of productive land planted in 2000 and sustaining 10,455 plants, with both blocks producing good yields.
Meanwhile, Vinoptima’s 533 square metre winery was built in 2003, and contains a crushing plant, sterile bottling room with its own air conditioning unit, walk-in chiller, storage facilities, and a self-contained manager/wine maker’s residence.
The Vinoptima freehold land and buildings at 138 Ngakoroa Road, are being marketed for sale in receivership by tender through Bayleys Gisborne, with tenders closing at 4pm on December 6.
Bayleys Gisborne salespeople Simon Bousfield and Damian Campbell said Vinoptima was classified as a ‘self-contained’ viticulture operation – only using grapes grown within its vineyards, and bottling on-site. It also had the potential to expand the operation and introduce other grape varieties.
Many of the winery’s storage tanks were custom-built for Vinoptima and are arranged in an ‘amphitheatre’ configuration within the winery building to enable one person to undertake the entire winemaking process from a central position.
Mr Campbell said there was the distinct potential that the vineyard might be purchased by a bigger competing wine label purely for its gewürztraminer plantings, or alternatively for the land, infrastructure, and winery plant - with the option of planting in a new grape variety to replace the gewürztraminer, broaden the operation, or target new markets.
Gewürztraminer grape plantings currently account for less than 0.5 percent of vine plantings in New Zealand - and 0.1 percent of New Zealand wine exports. Wine production data reveals that the majority of gewürztraminer vines are planted in Marlborough, Gisborne and Hawke’s Bay.
“You could look on that statistic and assume that there is a huge potential for the grape and little competition in the market,” Mr Campbell said.
“For any potential purchaser looking to pursue the operation, as a producer of a ‘boutique’ varietal, has a high degree of customer following and market presence established over 15 years.”
Mr Bousfield said the northern block has been pruned over winter, and was leased for the 2018/19 season. After that it would revert to any new owner.
“The Vinoptima vineyard sits in a virtual topographic ‘bowl’ - protected from the extremes of weather by surrounding low-lying foothills to the south, east and north of the property. The vineyard’s climate is also hotter and drier than the cooler growing climate of the nearby coastal vineyard’s,” Mr Bousfield said.
“The Ormond region has an average temperature of 19.5 degrees Celsius – peaking at around 38 degrees Celsius in summer – with 1,050 millimetres of rain annually, and 2,217 hours of sunshine per year.
“Few countries outside of the Alsace region in France produce Gewürztraminer wine – which requires a balance of the natural chemical compounds known as phenols, along with the alcohol content and residual sugar levels. The grape takes much off its flavour from the skins rather than the pulp inside.
“Vinoptima’s grapes have always been picked by hand to ensure a high degree of quality control so there is room to increase efficiency in this avenue.”