Investment group buys vineyard with plans to export

Villa Maria will have the lease until 2028.

Villa Maria will have the lease until 2028.

United States buyers have snapped up a Marlborough vineyard, intending to redevelop it when its lease runs out.

The Overseas Investment Office has approved the purchase of 274 hectares of land in Awatere Valley, from Craggy Range Vineyards, for $23 million.

The land is known as Black Birch Vineyard. It is partly leased by Villa Maria, which will take over the whole vineyard by 2019.

The land was bought by Craggy Range in 2013, with the view to expanding and developing its export wine markets.

The purchaser, Teachers Insurance and Annuity Association of America (TIAA), a not-for-profit financial institution, will buy a proportion of Villa Maria's grapes at cost, from next year.

They will then contract a local custom crush facility to make wine and export it to the United States to sell as premium New Zealand wine.

When Villa Maria's lease runs out in 2028, the purchasers intend to redevelop the vineyard.

TIAA runs retirement plans for people in fields including government, academia and medicine.



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