Marlborough block on the market for first time in five generations

2:34 PM Friday October 25, 2019 True Commercial

The Hillocks Rd property backs on to the Wairau River. Photo / Supplied

For the first time in five generations, land surrounded by vineyards harvested by some of New Zealand’s leading wine producers is for sale.
The 73ha “Dunsandle Shades” property is on Hillocks Rd, Wairau Plains, and backs on to the Wairau River. It is being offered for sale by Bayleys Marlborough salesperson Andy Poswillo in a tender process closing 10am Tuesday,  November 12.
The opportunities it presents are testament to the strength of the region’s wine sector, an industry that was non-existent when the property was first bought  by Robert Hillock  in 1866 for  £300.  
Dunsandle Shades has most recently being run as a dairy farm.
Poswillo says with land use changes in the region and strong vineyard returns, the property is  one of the few remaining bare pastoral blocks on the Wairau Plains.
“Having been farmed as a dairy unit the property comes with a generous 2950 cubic metres per day irrigation consent across the entire 73ha. This is more than enough to serve a viticultural operation,” he says.
The property has a mix of Grovetown silt loam, Spring Creek and Gibson loams. The natural fertility of these soils has been enhanced with several generations worth of careful fertiliser application, with pH levels ranging from 5.8 to 6.4, and Olsen P phosphate levels from 17-54.
The relatively uncluttered layout and flat contour make conversion to grapes an easy, cost-effective move.
“And we have a property that is sitting among esteemed company in terms of vineyards. It offers the opportunity for a  buyer to start from scratch with t vineyard layout and varietals, or for investors who may want to develop it and lease it back to a wine company.”
Neighbouring vineyards are returning consistently high grape yields of 18-20 tonnes a hectare for sauvignon blanc, by far the region’s most popular grape variety. However, the potential to mix  varietal plantings exists, with pinot gris and chardonnay also showing good yields.
The property comprises three titles and expectations are that they will be sold together with planting plans already completed.
The property also comes with  capital improvements including a manager’s house, a three-bedroom cottage and assorted sheds.
Poswillo expects strong interest, given the appeal vineyard leasing holds in today’s low interest environment.
Vineyard leases can offer potential returns of 6-7 per cent on sauvignon blanc grape plantings, with varietals returning 4.5-5.5 per cent.
Prospects for New Zealand’s wine sector are buoyant. “What we have here is the opportunity to participate in a sector delivering sustainable, solid returns to its participants, on a property that represents one of the few remaining bare land areas in the Marlborough region,” says Poswillo. “It’s  rare for one like this to come to the market.”