Prized Nelson wine brands on the market

7:45 AM Tuesday August 20, 2019 True Commercial

Boutique brand Appleby Vintners has well established domestic and offshore routes to market for its organic wines.

Boutique brand Appleby Vintners has well established domestic and offshore routes to market for its organic wines.

The capital-intensive demands of the wine industry are a deterrent for many young winemakers and viticulturists wanting to stamp their own mark.

Mike Laven, the viticultural specialist at Colliers International, says most do not have sufficient capital to get started, given the large capital outlay required.

“Those who manage to set up their own business usually have to start small and then face all the challenges of establishing their brands and opening up routes to market, as well as the day-to-day operating issues of running a vineyard and making wine.”

Against this backdrop, Colliers International, which has been appointed as sales agents, expects good interest in the leased vineyards and winery/cellar door plus assets and business of Nelson-based Appleby Vintners Ltd.

The boutique brand has well established domestic and offshore routes to market for its fully certified organic wines that are sold under two labels. Te Mānia was established in 1990 and Richmond Plains a year later. Richmond Plains produced New Zealand’s first certified organic sauvignon blanc and pinot noir.

Appleby Vintners leases three organic vineyards on the Waimea Plains with a total of 12.7ha planted in pinot noir, sauvignon blanc and chardonnay with small areas of pinot gris, riesling, merlot, malbec and cabernet franc.

In addition, it leases a cellar door and a 200-tonne building off Appleby Highway, 11km from Nelson airport. The cellar door is particularly well placed for direct-to-consumer sales to the growing Nelson tourism market. “This is a rare opportunity for a young winemaker to hit the ground running, buying an established wine company that leases rather than owns its vineyards and winery,” said Laven.

“For a relatively low entry cost, a young winemaker or viticulturist can buy this business which provides reasonably consistent domestic and export sales of two well-known Nelson organic wine brands. The structure of the current leases means there is a lot of flexibility for a new owner and scope to take the business in new directions.”

According to New Zealand Wine, 10 per cent of New Zealand wineries now hold organic certification.

“The market for organic wines is definitely growing, not just here but throughout the world, as environmentally-conscious consumers are increasingly concerned about personal health and looking after the planet,” Laven says.