New paths to take at Crossroads

5:03 AM Saturday August 27, 2016 Colin Taylor

Crossroads Spanish-styled winery at 1747 Korokipo Road, Fernhill, Hawke’s Bay.

One of Hawke’s Bay’s best known vertically-integrated wine operations, featuring multiple vineyards, winery plant and cellar door retail sales outlet has been placed on the market.

Run under the Crossroads brand and owned by Yealands Estate Wines, the property and assets for sale encompass three separate vineyards; plant capable of pressing more than 700 tonnes of grapes and storing the resulting juice in 59 tanks; and a cellar door retail premises that attracts more than 5000 visitors annually.

Crossroads’ intimate wine tasting facility is at the front of the small winery on the property’s Home Block in Fernhill, 20 minutes from both Taradale and Hastings on State Highway 50.

“Yealands Estate Wines is selling the Hawke’s Bay vineyards, winery buildings, and plant to consolidate winemaking operations at its Marlborough winery,” says Glyn Rees-Jones, Bayleys Hawke’s Bay viticulture manager, who is marketing the entire winery operation including vineyards, administration offices and retail outlet, along with all the production and storage plant and equipment, through a tender process closing on September 29.

“The Crossroads brand, business and stock in bottles, barrels, and tanks, are not part of the sale,” says Rees-Jones. “Existing grape growing contracts with Hawke’s Bay producers will continue, with the grapes being transported to Marlborough,” he says.

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The 59.1ha Kereru vineyard in Kereru Rd, Maraekakaho, Hastings.

Crossroads was established in Hastings as a privately-owned boutique operation in 1987 and additions were subsequently made over the years to the Fernhill-based winery, offices, barrel hall, tank farm and Spanish-styled public tasting facility.

Yealands Estate Wines Limited acquired Crossroads in 2011.

Rees-Jones says three vineyard blocks within Hawke’s Bay are for sale:

• the 10.98ha Home Block vineyard in Korokipo Rd, Hastings;

• the 59.1ha Kereru vineyard in Kereru Rd, Maraekakaho, Hastings; and

• the 11.83ha 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 800ha Gimblett Gravels Appellation of Hawke’s Bay.

Crossroads’ three individual and generally rectangular-shaped blocks are planted in a configuration of grape varieties – pinot gris, chardonnay, gewürztraminer, sauvignon blanc and merlot.

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The Crossroads winery cellar door in Korokipo Rd, Fernhill

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,” says Rees-Jones. “These include water-pumping stations, equipment and machinery storage sheds, fencing and three-phase power connections - along with multiple water extraction and waste discharge permits.”

He says 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. About 14 hectares of the Kereru Rd block is unplanted and currently leased for cattle wintering activities – allowing for expansion of grape growing land use.

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,” he says.

“Numerous wine awards, trophies and accolades from these Hawke’s Bay vineyards, testify to 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.”

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A wide view of the Home Block property including main building and storage tanks. 

He says the concrete and steel frame Crossroads winery, administration hub, and cellar door venue are all housed within a 716sq m 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.

Rees-Jones says the quality of the grapes grown by Crossroads is underpinned by multiple factors – such as the excellent soils, the strategic orientation of the vineyards, access to plentiful bore water for irrigation, a detailed history of vine management, high sunshine hours and cool night time temperatures.