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Pioneer vineyard goes on the market

Environmentally-driven pioneer vineyard goes on the market

Environmentally-managed vineyard pioneer Fiddler’s Green is now on the market for sale.

A founding winery label and vineyard behind the ground-breaking Integrated Wine Grape Production Scheme, now the Sustainable Winegrowing New Zealand environmental management organisation, has been placed on the market for sale.
Fiddler’s Green in the Waipara district of North Canterbury was established in 1994 when owners Barry and Jennie Johns planted the first vines.The vineyard now comprises a total planted area of 13.3 hectares in five grape varieties - Riesling, pinot noir, sauvignon blanc, chardonnay, and gewürztraminer – producing 82 tonnes of crop from a total of 35,150 vines, with pinot gris sourced from a neighbouring vineyard.

With an improvement in New Zealand’s viticulture industry post the recession, Fiddler’s Green owners Barry and Jennie Johns are now taking the opportunity to sell up and retire.
Sustainable Winegrowing New Zealand is an environmental management system that encourages the production of high quality wine by employing environmentally-responsible and economically-viable processes in both vineyards and wineries. The organisation now has some 235 members.

Buildings on the Fiddler’s Green land include a 259 square metre Mediterranean-style facility featuring two-bedroom accommodation, a cellar door tasting room, and general storage amenity. The entire ground floor off the building is concrete slab covered by a mix of Italian glazed tiles in the service areas and carpeting in the private dwelling.

The Fiddler’s Green retail facility, vineyard, service infrastructure, reservoir and residence are spread across two titles on flat landscape – one of 19.46 hectares and the other on 9.28 hectares. The property’s two titles have a combined 2010 rateable valuation of $2.1million.

The vineyard is located adjacent to the Waipara River 58 kilometres north of Christchurch, and has a 20million litre capacity reservoir which irrigates the vines through a controlled ‘trickle’ system. A 4500 litre concrete storage tank on town water supply services the residential dwelling and tasting room.

The property is being marketed for sale by Bayleys Canterbury and Bayleys Marlborough, with offers closing on March 15. Bayleys Marlborough wine industry sales specialists John Hoare said Fiddler's Green was planted on old weathered gravels with silt loam and clay loam matrix textures occurring at depths of one to two metres below the surface – allowing for free draining soils of medium fertility.

“The sizeable reservoir within Fiddler’s Green’s boundaries, and the potential to draw water from a gallery adjacent to the Waipara River, are two of the key differentiation points for this property over other similarly sized vineyards in the district. Access to such a substantial water supply contributes to a consistent cropping yield irrespective of climatic influences over the summer months,” Mr Hoare said.

“Right from the outset of developing the vineyard operation, Barry and Jennie Johns were insistent that a reservoir had to be one of the fundamental infrastructure services for the business. The success of the vineyard and Fiddler’s Green label – particularly during the last few years of recession and recovery – is testament to the foresight of that early planning.”

The label’s long-term involvement with the environmental-sustainability producers driving New Zealand’s wine industry were also a strong selling point, he said.

“By embracing the standards set out by Sustainable Winegrowing New Zealand from its inception, Fiddler’s Green has remained at the forefront of viticulture practises in this country. As a result, the vineyard’s wines have remained at a consistently high award-winning quality,” Mr Hoare said.

Bayleys Canterbury salesperson John McPhail said the boutique scale of Fiddler’s Green’s combined output suited the vineyard and retail winery toward a lifestyle business. Grapes harvested from the vineyard could be sold on a supply-only contract basis to other producers – allowing for potential conversion of the cellar door tasting room and adjoining storage area into a larger lifestyle residence.

“The branding rights to the Fiddler’s Green label, along with wine stocks of previous vintages, are being sold separately, with the owners open to negotiations,” he said.

“Similarly, plant and machinery are also being sold separately subject to negotiations. The list of equipment includes a tractor, leaf trimmer, mowers, crop and weed sprayers, trailer, bird scaring equipment, and vine netting.”


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