The burgeoning wine industry in New Zealand attracts a lot of interest, with many people acquiring property either for serious production purposes or a combination of production and lifestyle.
Since the mid-1970s, the New Zealand wine industry has grown substantially. It is now a $2 billion per year business.
Vineyards have been planted throughout New Zealand, with the northern most being on the Karikari Peninsula in Northland, the southernmost at Alexandra in Central Otago.
Currently there are 39,935 hectares of vineyard in production in New Zealand. Of this, 32,155 ha are in white varieties, with 7,710 ha in red varieties. 70% of the planted area is in Marlborough. The next largest planted area is in Hawke’s Bay with 13%, followed by Central Otago with 5%, then Wairarapa, Nelson and North Canterbury each with 3%.
In the 2020 vintage, 457,000 tonnes of grapes were harvested, an increase of 11% over the previous year. This comprised 404,500 tons of white varieties and 52,500 tonnes of red varieties.
Of this production, 77.7% was produced in Marlborough. Of the white varieties produced, 73.8% was Sauvignon Blanc with the next biggest percentage being Pinot Noir at 7.7% followed by Pinot Gris 6.5% and Chardonnay 6.2%.
The dominance of Marlborough is clear to see. It is based on the uniqueness and popularity of the Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc style of wine. It is not possible to produce the same style anywhere else in the world, including in New Zealand.
The grape plant is a very hardy and versatile plant. It can grow in a wide range of conditions and survive. To optimise the production and flavours of the various varieties, careful selection of site, including consideration of soil type, climate and aspect, determine the outcome and calibre of fruit (grapes) harvested and the resulting wine. In New Zealand, we are now seeing careful site selection to establish varieties suited to that site, and to produce the targeted quality and quantity. This practice is well established and proven in France, where they call the combination of factors that determine the output of style “terroir”.
In recent times, there has been a move towards blending lifestyle with vineyard production. This can result in a number of scenarios, for example, where the vineyard may be leased out, contract managed or operated by someone other than the property owner.
“It is very important to be clear about the financial requirements to establish and operate a vineyard”, says Harcourts Belfast Lifestyle and Rural Specialist, Andy Nurse. “Establishing wine brand end processing facilities also requires significant capital. Careful planning and optimisation of knowledge, skills and capital are crucial elements in the success of any venture or lifestyle development.”
Andy is well versed in vineyard properties and wine industry businesses. With a degree in Agricultural Commerce from Lincoln University, extensive experience in valuation and consulting, and having established and operated two wine ventures in Hawkes Bay, he is uniquely qualified to assist vendors and purchasers alike.
This article is featured in Harcourts' Lifestyle & Rural Property Focus Issue 3 , 2020.