Treasury Wine Estates sells Auckland winery to dairy producer Sutton Group
A Kiwi dairy producer and infant formula manufacturer has bought an Auckland winery following news of its closure and the loss of up to 50 jobs.
Australian-owned Treasury Wine Estates sold its 31.68 hectare site, including a winery, distribution plant and 6 hectare vineyard, in Waimauku to Sutton Group Holdings for an undisclosed sum.
The sale also includes the former fine dining restaurant and function room, The Hunting Lodge, which was built in 1868 as the property's original farm homestead.
It was converted into a visitor centre and cellar door retail outlet in 2011.
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Sutton Group is a family-operated business founded by Brent and Denise Sutton, who have an estimated net worth of $55 million.
The group produces dairy products for export.
Family spokesman James Shortall said they planned to expand the site's production operations, as well as "explore future employment opportunities" for existing Matua Auckland employees.
Sutton Group also wanted to "reinvigorate the winery into a destination for locals and visitors", he said.
The family were excited about the take over, as the deal was "a sentimental one" for them, Shortall said.
"As friends of the original owners, the Spence and Margan families, the Sutton's have many great memories of the winery and its famous Hunting Lodge Restaurant.
"The winery is rich in history and full of potential."
The site was the original home of its wine brand Matua.
The vineyard was founded by brothers Bill and Ross Spence who claim to have planted New Zealand's first Sauvignon Blanc vines.
The brothers sold in 2001 and it has been owned by Treasury Wine Estates (TWE) since 2011.
Last year, TWE announced it was closing its Auckland winery, as well as the Matua packaging and cellar door site in Waimauku.
The call came after the company said it was moving forward with plans to shift all production to Marlborough.
The wine giant produces wine in New Zealand under four brands - Matua, Secret Stone, Angle Cove and Squealing Pig.
TWE New Zealand general manager Richard Gardner said they were looking forward to passing the site on to the Sutton Group.
"Treasury Wine Estate welcomes the sale and is pleased that the new custodians have an affinity with the site and exciting plans for its future operations."
The deal was brokered by Paul Dixon, Mike Peterson and Andre Seigert, of Bayleys.