Vineyard a drop of Hawke’s Bay history

6:55 PM Friday October 13, 2017 Colin Taylor

The frontage of Ngatarawa estate with its 4000sq m of landscaped gardens and feature English pond. Photo / Supplied

An historic Hawke’s Bay property is for sale in the form of land and buildings which housed the award-winning Ngatarawa winegrowing estate at Bridge Pa near Hastings.

Earlier this year, the Ngatarawa wine brands were sold to the well-known Mission Estate winery and now the 305 Ngatarawa Rd property itself is for sale.

Comprising nearly 30ha of prime viticulture land, the property is being marketed exclusively by tender closing at 2pm on Thursday, November 16, through Louise Wake, rural and agribusiness broker for Colliers International,

Wake says the land was once owned by powerful Maori chieftainess Airini Karauria, who spent time at the royal court of King Edward VII and rallied for her people’s land rights over the course of three decades.

In 1877 Airini, the daughter of Ngati Kahungunu chief Karauria Pupu, married Irishman George Prior Donnelly, who had emigrated to New Zealand in 1862.

Donnelly developed the property’s horse racing stables and expansive homestead in the 1890s and, through astute management, vast tracts of land owned by Airini were turned into a fortune.

Airini died in 1909 and bequeathed her landholdings, including the present-day Ngatarawa Rd estate, to her daughter Maud Perry which she sold by auction in 1911.

The stables then passed through the ownership of several prominent racing figures before being acquired in 1937 by the Glazebrook family which continued to operate a successful racing business there for a further two decades.

Third generation family member Garry Glazebrook established the vineyard in 1981 with winemaker Alwyn Corban – the first vineyard to be established in the Bridge Pa Triangle winegrowing region.

Corban focussed on producing award-winning wines, planting chardonnay, sauvignon blanc, riesling, merlot and cabernet sauvignon grape varieties, while Glazebrook set about redeveloping the property into a substantial winery estate.

The old stables were resurrected as a winery cellar door with staff areas, meeting rooms, offices, a storage loft, a flat for Alwyn, and an attractive tasting and sales area.

True Commercial - Ngatarawa Wines Estate%2c Bridge Pa%2c Hawkes Bay - aerial.jpg

An aerial view of the vineyard which produces about 250 tonnes of grapes a year. Photo / Supplied

Glazebrook also planned the elegant landscaping covering 4000sq m which incorporates a largeEnglish-style pond with a fountain, mature trees, and expansive lawns.

Glazebrooks sold their shareholding in 1998 and Alwyn Corban, with his business partner and cousin Brian Corban, acquired full shareholding of the vineyard in 1999.

Notable awards won by Ngatarawa Vineyard were the Sydney Top 100 trophy for its Glazebrook 1998 Hawkes Bay merlot; the Air New Zealand Sweet Wine trophy for Farmgate Noble Harvest Riesling 2008; Alwyn merlot cabernet 2007 winning gold at the Decanter World Wine awards; and both the Alwyn chardonnay 2007 and 2010 vintages winning International Wine Challenge trophies for Best New Zealand White Wine in London.

In June this year the Corbans sold their portfolio of Ngatarawa wine brands to Mission Estate.

“With the Corban cousins now in their 60s and 70s, they have decided the time is right to pass on the legacy to new custodians,” Wake says.

“This sale represents an opportunity to acquire one of New Zealand’s most storied winegrowing estates. The owners of this landmark Hawke’s Bay property have woven a rich history over successive generations,” she says. “Now’s the chance for a new owner to write its next historic chapter: be it as a winegrowing estate, a passive investment, or a new tourism, hospitality or accommodation venture.”

Wakes says the property is split across two freehold titles of 17.7ha and 11.9ha each and the titles are being offered for sale either separately or together. The total planted area across both titles is 21.5ha

The larger title encompasses a vineyard area planted with chardonnay (1.7ha), merlot (1.7ha), syrah (3.6ha), riesling (1.7ha), pinot gris (1ha), gewürztraminer (1 ha) and cabernet sauvignon (0.7ha).

True Commercial - Ngatarawa Wines Estate%2c Bridge Pa%2c Hawkes Bay - character villa and cottage.jpg

Buildings on the property include a character villa and cottage. Photo / Supplied

Buildings on this larger site are: a 190.4sq m villa, 80.7sq m cottage, 473.2sq m stables, 869.2sq m winery, 32.5sq m garage and 6sq m pump shed. 

The villa comprises a kitchen, dining area, central hallway, three bedrooms, a bathroom and lounge; while the cottage has a lounge, bedroom, kitchen and a laundry/amenities area.

The large, mostly open plan winery of 869.2sq m built in the 1990s, has a 15sq m laboratory, 20sq m internal storage shed, 16.2sq m refrigeration plant room with the remainder dedicated to winemaking and storage.

The separate 473.2sq m U-shaped stables building have a ground floor area of 351.4sq m and first floor of 121.8sq m. The ground floor comprises a cellar door sales room; a cooperage currently used for storage; an office and tasting room; and staff room and amenities. The 70sq m first floor, formerly serving as Alwyn’s one-bedroom flat, has been refurbished into meeting and office areas – along with a storage loft.

The smaller 11.9ha title comprises a 10.1ha vineyard planted with sauvignon blanc (5.5ha), pinot gris (3.8ha) and other varietals (0.8ha); and a 168.2sq m four-bay implement shed.

The two titles for sale produce a combined total of about 250 tonnes of grapes a year, while the winery has capacity to process 650 tonnes a year.

“The vineyard, stables and winery are all leased to Mission Estate, but there is flexibility after the 2018 vintage to continue under lease, farm with a supply agreement, or owner-operate,” Wake says.

“Both titles are fully irrigated with independent bores and have frost protection by way of wind machines,” Wake says.

Wake says the property is 10 minutes’ drive from Hastings and Havelock North, and 25 minutes from Napier.

The Bridge Pa area benefits from a moderate Hawke’s Bay climate with normally hot, dry summers and mild winters.

 True Commercial - Louise Wake%2c Colliers International .jpg (1)

Louise Wake, Colliers International