Author selling Marlborough farm

5:00 AM Wednesday January 25, 2017 True Commercial

Owners of the attractive farm have expanded productive capacity and diversity over the last eight years.

An internationally-renowned author and artist — whose talents range from olive oil and wine-making, writing and painting — is to sell his diverse Marlborough farm.

The 122ha property in Waihopai Valley, is owned by Mike Ponder and his wife Di.

The freehold land, buildings, and business assets are being marketed for sale by negotiation through Bayleys Marlborough.

Viticulture sales specialist John Hoare says the farm — in Tyntesfield Rd — reflects the Ponders’ colourful personalities.

They’ve developed the site for eight years, expanding productive capacity and diversity year-on-year, says Hoare.

“The Ponder name is synonymous with viticulture in Marlborough — renowned from the early 1990s for the manufacture of award-winning wines.

“But that’s far from their only claim to fame. A pioneer in New Zealand’s niche virgin olive oil market, Mike is also a professional artist — best known for his iconic stockman works. He’s a celebrated non-fiction author, well known works on olive oil and art. But perhaps most famously he’s written best-selling novels, The Windsor Conspiracy and Four Kings. (With third novel, to complete the trilogy to be released shortly).”

Varied income

Hoare lists the land’s income streams, as follows:

• 30ha of planted sauvignon blanc and pinot noir vines with a commercial grape supply contract in place

• About 50ha grazed by premium breeding cattle

• Nearly 25ha of mature pine trees primed for harvesting over the coming decade

• 300 olive trees producing

• 70 walnut trees and

• A recently renovated two-bedroom cottage available for visitor and tourism lets.


The homestead is an open plan style three-bedroom/two bathroom residence.

“Occasionally you can find a vineyard for sale which may have a commercial accommodation dwelling on it, a cattle grazing farm with a forestry block to one side, or an olive plantation with an adjoining specialist horticultural activity on the periphery,” says Hoare.

“But I certainly haven’t seen anything that has all of these aspects on one single property. The phrase, ‘multiple revenue streams’ is somewhat of an understatement here.

“There’s so much going on with this property . . . it’s a goldmine opportunity for potential buyers.”

Hoare says the vineyard plantings are split into 28.5ha of sauvignon blanc and 1.5ha of pinot noir. The crops are being sold with a supply contract in place to Matua Wines, with the sauvignon blanc vines annually producing between 400-500 tonnes of fruit.

A shorthorn cattle herd comprises 24 breeding cows and 15 heifers, while stud bulls are brought in for mating purposes.

Wetland area

In the centre of the 122 ha estate is a wetland area containing a natural lake teeming with wildlife, including ducks, swans and exotic royal spoonbills.

The property’s homestead is an open plan style three-bedroom/two bathroom residence with its own sleep-out and internal garage, while additional farm and vineyard infrastructure includes a hay barn, a large farm equipment/implement and general storage shed, and two cattle yards.

The separate two-bedroom/two bathroom cottage on the property was fully renovated four years ago to create an open plan residence with modern appliances and decor.

Hoare says the pine forest plantings are an added bonus; they could be harvested now, or in the short to medium term.

“Mike’s enthusiasm for environmental sustainability is well documented. As a member of the NZ Forestry Council, he consistently championed the cause of the small-scale forest owner,” Hoare says.

He points out that when it came to sustainable land management, “Mike very much lives what he preaches.”