One of only a small number of emerging organic vineyards in New Zealand is on the market through a receivership sale process.

The Blenheim-based vineyard is a 14hectare site – of which 9.6hecates is productive vines – growing certified conversion organic sauvignon blanc grapes. The vineyard sits at the head of Brancott Valley – an area which has seen substantial investment by New Zealand wine giant Montana since the 1970s.

The vineyard produces more than 100 tonnes of sauvignon blanc grapes annually and is currently in the final stages of being certified under the BioGro organic programme stipulations. The vineyard is currently rated C2 – meaning it is awaiting final certification in March next year, in time for the 2012 vintage.

The harvest has been made into wine off-site, and has been marketed under the Sentinel label. The vineyard’s 2007 vintage won a ‘best in class’ gold medal at the 2007 International Wine and Spirit Competition in London.

The vineyard was planted in 2003/2004 by Neil and Lynette Berry, with the intention of producing a ‘single source’ wine on rich clay hillsides. The partnership operating the vineyard was placed into receivership on March 21.

Buildings on the land include a three-bedroom home, garage/workshop, a tractor shed, and staff amenities. The land and buildings have a combined 2008 rateable value of $2.275million.

The vineyard is now being marketed for sale by auction on June 24 through Bayleys Blenheim. Bayleys viticulture salesman John Hoare said the vineyard’s primary point of difference was its pending organic certification – a comprehensive process which usually took several years to achieve.

The organic grape production – combined with receivers BDO overseeing the sale of the property – had already generated solid interest in the property,” he said.

“We have seen a major re-establishment of per-hectare pricing levels for productive viticulture land in recent years – particularly with vineyards which have come to market through mortgagee or receivership sales,” Mr Hoare said.

“These lower pricing levels, and the obvious lower debt funding required to purchase properties, have certainly rebalanced the profitability of grape growing in the Marlborough region.

“They have also brought back a new buyer pool – that is people who view viticulture as a ‘lifestyle’ income stream. On one hand, the vineyard fits into that category as the offering consists of land, vines and support buildings, but no actual winery. For ‘lifestylers’ the home fulfils all the stereotypical aspirations of owning a dwelling overlooking vast planes of grape vines yet still being only 20 kilometres from Blenheim.

“On the other hand though from the purely commercial aspect, we have already had several expressions of interest from much larger vineyard and winery operation owners in the region who are looking at adding the vineyard’s assets to existing productive land, and utilising the homestead as a managers/worker’s residence.

“From a real estate marketing perspective, that has created two very separate pools of buyers – each looking at this property from totally different dimensions.”

Mr Hoare said production from the vineyard had been enhanced through the installation and operation of two windmill frost-protection machines, while a 10,000 cubic-metre irrigation storage pond had been developed to ensure water supply throughout the dry summer months. The land also had access to the Southern Valleys Irrigation Supply.

The auction for The Wrekin Road vineyard takes place in Bayleys Blenheim office on Friday June 24.

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