One of Hawke’s Bay’s best known vertically-integrated wine operations – featuring multiple vineyards, the winery plant and cellar door retail sales outlet – has been placed on the market for sale.
The assets are run under the Crossroads brand – owned by Yealands Estate Wines. The Crossroad’s vineyard and operations being sold encompass three separate vineyards in the bay, along with a plant capable of pressing more than 700 tonnes of grapes and storing the resulting juice in 59 tanks, and a cellar door retail premises which attracts more than 5000 visitors annually.
The Crossroads brand, business and existing stock in bottles, barrels, and tanks, are not part of the sale.
Yealands Estate Wines is selling the Hawke’s Bay vineyards, winery buildings, and plant to consolidate winemaking operations at its Marlborough winery. Existing grape growing contracts with Hawke’s Bay producers will continue, with the grapes being transported to Marlborough.
Initially established in Hastings as a privately-owned boutique operation in 1987, with the Fernhill-based winery, offices, barrel hall, tank farm, Spanish-style public tasting facility, and offices added over the subsequent years. Yealands Estate Wines Limited acquired Crossroads in 2011.
Three vineyard blocks within Hawke’s Bay are for sale:
The 10.98 hectare Home Block vineyard in Korokipo Road, Hastings
The 59.1 hectare Kereru vineyard in Kereru Road, Maraekakaho, Hastings
The 11.83 hectare Gimblett Gravels vineyard on Omahu and Mere Roads near Hastings. The plantings are a member of the Gimblett Gravels Winegrowers Association whose membership is exclusively confined to vineyards within the 800 hectare Gimblett Gravels Appellation of Hawke’s Bay.
The three individual generally rectangular-shaped blocks are planted in a configuration of grape varieties – featuring pinot gris, chardonnay, gewürztraminer, sauvignon blanc and merlot, while Gimblett Gravels title in separate blocks produces syrah, cabernet franc, cabernet sauvignon and chardonnay varietals.
All of the blocks are well-served by established infrastructure services - including water-pumping stations, equipment and machinery storage sheds, fencing, and three-phase power connections – and have multiple water extraction and waste discharge permits.
All three vineyards are fully accredited under the Sustainable Winegrowing New Zealand programme initiated in 1987 to promote best practice activities through water usage, energy consumption, waste management and biodiversity. Some 14 hectares of the Kereru Road block is unplanted and currently leased for cattle wintering activities – allowing for expansion of grape growing land use.
The entire winery operation involving the vineyards, administration offices and retail outlet, along with all the production and storage plant and equipment are being marketed for sale by Bayleys Hawke’s Bay viticulture manager Glyn Rees-Jones through a tender process closing on September 29.
Mr Rees-Jones says that while Yealands Estate Wines Limited prefers to sell the entire asset catalogue as one unit, the vendor will entertain selling the blocks individually – thereby creating multiple sales permutations.
“If the scenario arose where the vineyards were purchased separately, Yealands Estate Wines Limited is open to negotiating ongoing grape supply contracts with any of the vineyards’ new owners,” Mr Rees-Jones said.
“The number of wine awards, trophies and accolades from these Hawke’s Bay vineyards is an indication of the quality of grapes produced from all three properties.
“Should the land, building and equipment offering be purchased as a whole, there is some capacity within the existing winery plant for the press tonnage to be increased, or alternatively there is bare land available to extend the tank and barrel room facilities.”
The concrete and steel frame Crossroads winery, administration hub, and cellar door venue are housed within a 716 square metre complex built in 1991 and substantially renovated and modernised in 2009.
Within the complex is an ambient temperature barrel hall capable of housing 400 barrels, a five metre stud main cellar area with fermenting tanks, a 120 barrel refrigerated cool store, offices and staffroom amenities, a laboratory, pressing and filtration units, and tank farm.
Mr Rees-Jones said the quality of the grapes were underpinned by multiple factors – such as excellent soils, the orientation of the vineyards, access to plentiful bore irrigation, a detailed history of vine management, high sunshine hours and cool night time temperatures.