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Sacred Hill Completes Purchase In Marlborough

News Release marlborough - 1 August 21, 2001

Sacred Hill completes purchase of Marlborough vineyard

Premium Hawke's Bay vineyard Sacred Hill Wines has bought the Marlborough-based operations of Cairnbrae Wines for an undisclosed sum.

The purchase includes all vineyards, the winery and stock of the Blenheim-based business.

Cairnbrae specialises in premium estate varietal wines such as sauvignon blanc, chardonnay, riesling and pinot noir.

Sacred Hill managing director David Mason said the expansion into Marlborough was a strategic move to enhance the company's portfolio and ensure a supply of quality wines to strengthen the family-owned company's export growth.

"Cairnbrae is a perfect match for Sacred Hill in that it produces some wonderful premium Marlborough varietals that are important for us in our export markets in the UK, United States, Hong Kong and Europe.

"As a region, Marlborough is extremely well known internationally, especially for its sauvignon blanc and pinot noir varieties. It's important for Sacred Hill to be able to provide these varieties in our range," Mr Mason said.

"Our aim is to strengthen and grow our export sales by continuing to make the best wines grown from the best regions of New Zealand."

Sacred Hill began exporting in 1995 and export revenue exceeded NZ$1 million last year, six times the level of the vineyard's first-year exports.

Mr Mason said Cairnbrae wines had consistently achieved outstanding competitive success with two gold medals for its sauvignon blanc, a Cuisine Magazine Top Wine award for riesling, several industry accolades for its chardonnay and a gold medal at the NZ Wine Society Royal Easter Show for Noble Riesling.

"It is a brand that has had the same pride and drive for quality that we strive for at Sacred Hill."

Cairnbrae Wines is based on Jackson's Road in Blenheim, one of Marlborough's more prestigious areas. Former owners Murray and Daphne Brown established the winery in 1982.

Mr Mason said the Browns would be moving on to new challenges in Marlborough and would continue their involvement in wine production at Marlborough Valley Cellars in which they have a shareholding.

The Browns would be concentrating on sauvignon blanc and pinot noir under their new Cape Campbell label, primarily for export.

Sacred Hill winemaker Tony Bish said he was relishing the opportunity of working with pinot noir again after his involvement in the mid 1980s with a start-up pinot vineyard in Central Otago.

He said Sacred Hill would be supplementing its grape supply from other vineyards in Marlborough, matching varieties to soil types to achieve the highest possible quality.

Mr Mason said the popular 'Gibbs at Cairnbrae' vineyard restaurant would continue to be operated by Chris and Heidi Gibb.

ends

Issued for Sacred Hill Wines Ltd by Pead PR

David Mason Deborah Pead
Managing Director Pead PR
Sacred Hill Wines Ltd 0-9-918 5550
Tel: 0-6-879 8760


Backgrounder sacred – 1

August 21, 2001

Sacred Hill Wines Ltd

PREMIUM WINE PRODUCER

Sacred Hill Wines Ltd is a premium Hawke's Bay producer that specialises in chardonnay, merlot, and sauvignon blanc wines. The business is owned and operated by the Mason Family and produced its first vintage in 1986.

In 1984, Ian Mason planted a river terrace with Sauvignon Blanc. The grapes produced were made in to fumé blanc by Ian's sons David and Mark and Tony Bish, and proved a sell out. Sacred Hill was born.

THE WINES

Special Selection Range

Handmade estate grown wine. 'Sauvage' Sauvignon Blanc, 'Riflemans' Chardonnay, 'Brokenstone' Merlot, 'Helmsman' Cabernet and HALO Botrytis Semillon (very limited production).

Reserve

Barrel Fermented Sauvignon Blanc, Barrel Fermented Chardonnay, Basket Press Merlot Cabernet and XS Noble Selection Riesling (Limited production).

Whitecliff Vineyards Range

Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay and Merlot.

GRAPES

Sacred Hill Wines sources grapes from only the premium wine growing areas of Hawke's Bay including the renowned Dartmoor Valley and Gimblett Gravels regions.

THE VINEYARDS

Estate Vineyards

Dartmoor Vineyard, Gimblett Gravels, Rifleman's and Swamp Road Vineyards.

Cairnbrae Wines – Marlborough

Acquired August 2001 to secure supply of premium sauvignon blanc, chardonnay and pinot noir grapes from Marlborough to meet export market objectives.

THE WINEMAKER

Tony Bish began his career in winemaking in 1981 at Corbans, and has worked with a wide range of vineyards and grape varietals in both the North and South Islands. He has winemaking qualifications from Charles Sturt University in Australia. He first worked with the Masons in 1985 and returned in 1994 as the Winemaker.

EXPORTS

Sacred Hill is now one of New Zealand's top 18 wineries in terms of export turnover. The winery was recently recognised by the industry in winning the 2001 Port of Napier Export Award in recognition of its outstanding contribution to the Hawke's Bay wine industry. Exports from Sacred Hill have grown 600 per cent (on first year export sales) since the winery began exporting five years ago.

THE NAME

The name Sacred Hill comes from the local village closest to the farm, Puketapu. "Puke" being the Maori word for hill and "Tapu", sacred.

ends

Issued for Sacred Hill Wines Ltd by Pead PR

Contacts:
David Mason Deborah Pead
Managing Director Pead PR
Sacred Hill Wines Ltd 0-9-918 5550
Tel: 0-6-879 8760

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