Kerikeri wine and guest businesses

5:00 AM Saturday May 6, 2017 True Commercial

Marsden Estate sits on 6.7 ha of freehold land. Photo / Supplied

Well supported by Kerikeri, Marsden Estate - a Northland premier function venue and one of New Zealand’s northernmost wineries - has been placed for sale with its associated restaurant and function venue.

Just 4km from Kerikeri, Marsden Estate is one of the region’s biggest licensed function venues — more than 85 per cent of production is sold on-premise or through its cellar door retail outlet.

The land, buildings, business and brand are being jointly marketed for sale for $4,250,000 through Bayleys Whangarei and Bayleys Auckland. Northland business sales consultant Vinni Bhula says as a now-mature vineyard, Marsden produces an average of about 5000 cases of wine annually.

Marsden Estate winery was established in the early 1990s by husband and wife entrepreneurs Rod and Cindy MacIvor, says Bhula.

The pair opened the venue’s restaurant in 1996 before quickly branching the beverage operations out into catering for on-site functions and events.

Rod MacIvor now runs the vineyard and winery operations, while Cindy oversees the food service and hospitality arm of the Marsden Estate business.

The 5ha vineyard on flat to gently-rolling topography in Wiroa Rd bottles chardonnay, pinot gris, syrah, chambourcin, tempranillo, pinotage and merlot varieties. In total, the Marsden Estate property sits on 6.7 ha of freehold land. Mature shelterbelts encasing the vineyard’s boundaries are a mix of pinus radiata and bamboo.

Bhula says in addition to crushing its own grapes, Marsden Estate also provides contract winemaking services for 20 other vineyards in the surrounding Northland region.

The winery is fully equipped with presses, a crusher, open top fermenters, closed tanks, a laboratory, and barrel room — all of which are included in the sale. Bottling is undertaken in Auckland under contract.

The winery plant is housed in a high-stud 180sq m commercial premises, with a substantial 226sq m canopy-covered concrete yard immediately adjacent and accessed through high roller doors. The industrial canopy is constructed of steel beam and trussing with long-run metal roofing.

All vine maintenance and cropping machinery and equipment is stored in a separate 128sq m barn, while agri’ chemicals are kept in a separate lockable shed.

Marsden Estate 3.jpg

The winery is fully equipped with presses, a crusher, fermenters, tanks, laboratory, and barrel room. Photo / Supplied

Marsden Estate’s tasting facility and restaurant/function room with al-fresco courtyard are housed in a 170sq m building capable of seating up to 150 guests supported by a full commercial-grade kitchen with hobs, ovens, fryers and walk-in chiller unit. The venue’s restaurant is open daily for lunch service only. Most functions are served during the evenings and on weekends.

Bhula says the business employs 10 full-time staff across its multiple revenue streams — including a viticulturalist/winemaker, head chef and sous chef, and cellar door server/front of house restaurant manager with their duty manager’s liquor licence.

In addition, part-time employees were contracted in during the harvest season, and to cook and serve during functions.

“Marsden Estate is one of Northland’s premier function venues — being centrally located in the middle of the province, and well supported in commercial accommodation options by Kerikeri township just a short distance away,” he says.

“The business benefits from being vertically integrated — with virtually all of its wine sold either through its restaurant function operations, or the associated tasting room. It’s a brilliant business model.

“The vertical integration gives the label direct control of supply and outlet channels — meaning the brand owners can not only set their own retail pricing levels, but also benefit from not having to deal, on the whole, with wine agency wholesalers taking a ‘cut’ to sell into the wholesale market.

“Meanwhile, the restaurant and function venue enjoy majestic views over a landscaped lake with vines running down to the water’s edge — sustaining the whole winery experience and ambience for diners and guests. The surrounding mature hedging enables functions on-site to be totally private from the surrounding citrus and kiwifruit producing orchards.”

Bayleys Auckland salesperson John Greenwood says the property also comes with a 192sq m three-bedroom/two-bathroom owner/manager’s residence overlooking the vineyard plantings.

“There are two obvious growth potentials for the business — purchasing neighbouring landholdings and expanding the viticultural activities, and opening up the restaurant for evening service when functions aren’t booked.”