Legendary label buys Marlborough vineyard

Last updated 05:00 29/09/2012
LOCAL FORAY: A Marlborough vineyard has been snapped up by Rothschild, one of the world's most famous wine names.

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A Marlborough vineyard has been snapped up by Rothschild, one of the world's most famous wine names, for $3.7 million, in what is believed to be the company's first foray into the local wine industry.

The 26.4-hectare Paul Family Vineyard in Raparua Rd, known locally as the Golden Mile of vineyards, was bought by Compagnie Vinicole Baron Edmond de Rothschild Winemakers.

It is planted in sauvignon blanc, with 4ha of pinot noir, and its grapes have always been grown on contract.

The French-based company recently gained consent for the purchase from the Overseas Investment Office. It said Rothschild wished to establish an “ultra-premium” single estate wine brand.

The transaction satisfied the necessary criteria and would bring “substantial and identifiable benefit to New Zealand", the decision said. It cites the creation of jobs, increased export receipts and additional investment for development purposes.

Rothschild bought the vineyard from Ursula Paul, who has run it on her own for the past seven years and said she could no longer look after it.

She and her late husband, Alan, bought the vineyard 10 years ago, aged in their late 50s.

Alan Paul was an architect from a dairy farming family in south Waikato, who had planned to semi-retire on the property. “Unfortunately, like many New Zealand families, the children have gone overseas to seek their fortunes in more profitable areas,” Paul said. She will be leaving after the next harvest, with hand-over set for May 1.

French-born financier Baron Edmond de Rothschild died in 1997 aged 71. His wine interests included a share in Domaines Barons Rothschild, owner of Chateau Lafite-Rothschild, one of the trophy names in wine.

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- BusinessDay.co.nz

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