The Shout Magazine (New Zealand)

Northland’s largest contract winery up for sale

The largest contract wine-making facility in Northland – delivering vine to bottle services for more than 30 vineyards in the region – has been placed on the market.

Marsden Estate Vineyard and Winery was established in early 1993 when four hectares of vines were planted at the Kerikeri estate.

Founders Rod and Cindy MacIvor chose to plant a range of lesser-known varietals – such as the European-styled Muscat, Tempranillo, and Chambourcin – with the first harvest in 1995.

Under its own label, Marsden Estate now produces a sparkling Rosé, Pinot Gris, Sauvignon Blanc, Fume Blanc, Viognier, Rosé, Chardonnay, Muscat, Tempranillo, Chambourcin, Pinotage, Merlot, Vigot Syrah, and Port.

Over the ensuing decades, Marsden Estate’s viticultural activities have expanded, and it now crushes grapes and produces bottled wine for 32 Northland vineyards and boutique wine labels including The Landing, Omata Estate, Morepork, Ft Pig, Dancing Petrel, Estuary Wine, Te Whai Bay, Paroa Bay, Brooke Lane, and Kainui.

In the current 2022 vintage, Marsden Estate is on track to press some 140-tonnes of contract-supplied grapes. That output is forecast to increase to 276 tonnes by 2026.

Now the freehold vineyard property, winery plant and operations, restaurant and function space, and assets, along with the retail tasting room at 56 Wiroa Road in Kerikeri are being marketed for sale by negotiation through Bayleys Kerikeri.

“Marsden Estate derives the bulk of its income from third-party vineyard processing – thereby mitigating exposure to seasonal harvesting anomalies or changes in retail market buying patterns,” says agent Alan Kerr.

“Concurrently, some 90% of Marsden’s own production is sold at full margin through its own channels – namely the on-site restaurant and function venue, and for casual sales through adjacent retail tasting room.

“Essentially, that business model underpins Marsden Estate’s vertically integrated supply channel – minimising the industry-standard reliance on wine wholesaling agencies.”

Kerr said there was the opportunity for any new owner of the multi-faceted business to look at potentially taking on a shareholding investment from contract growers already supplying Marsden Estate but seeking to increase their ‘skin in the game’ in light of the viticulture sector’s bright future.

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