Family regain vineyard after Mainzeal failure
A Waiheke Island vineyard sold to Richina Pacific two years ago for $3.89 million is back under management of the founders, the Dunleavy family.
Richina is the parent company of collapsed construction company Mainzeal, which went into receivership on Waitangi Day and then into liquidation.
The Dunleavy family are the major shareholders in the new group that includes the Poland family and other Waiheke Island families, along with master winemaker Sam Harrop.
Paul Dunleavy is resuming the role of managing director, which he relinquished to the wife of former Mainzeal boss Richard Yan just over a year ago.
The sale price for Te Motu vineyard has not been disclosed, but Dunleavy said it was "within cooee" of what he sold it for in 2010, and he thought the market was a lot stronger now.
"This is a hugely significant acquisition. We have a great team of investors who are committed to maximising the potential from this exceptional, world-class vineyard site," he said.
Dunleavy was motivated into buying the brand because "a lot of my reputation is invested in it and we understand how to get value out of it".
The purchase includes neighbouring land and the former airstrip. John Dunleavy continues as vineyard manager and will be helped in the winemaking by Harrop acting as a consultant.
After selling Te Motu, Paul Dunleavy bought 300 hectares of farmland in Marlborough's Awatere Valley and has been growing grapes for Villa Maria.
He said they had a lot of plans for Te Motu, focusing on quality and distribution, which would be revealed in the next few months.
Their initial attention was on the 2013 vintage, their 21st since the inaugural 1993 bottling.
The vineyard and restaurant remained open despite Mainzeal's demise.
Dunleavy said Yan had had a fantastic vision for the wine when he bought into the vineyard as he had planned to sell it through New Zealand House Shanghai, a four-level retail and office building development that Yan had hoped to set up as a hub of Kiwi retail and office space. The project will now not go ahead.
Dunleavy said Yan had told him he wanted to bring in building products from China and needed a product to take the other way, and a quality wine fitted the bill.
However, Mainzeal has since collapsed, with receivers still working out the total amount owed to secured creditors.
Receivers Colin McCloy and David Bridgman, of PricewaterhouseCoopers, said in their first report that first-ranking creditor BNZ was owed almost $11.3m, and it is thought the company could owe more than $100m.
Yan said last week he planned to keep quiet until the liquidators, BDO, had "done their duty", but he had confidence the truth about what went wrong would come out. Fairfax NZ
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