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Iconic Hastings Vineyard For Sale

Iconic Ngatarawa Road vineyard property a storied investment

An iconic Hawke’s Bay winegrowing estate for sale at 305 Ngatarawa Road, Hastings, offers buyers a unique chance to write the next chapter in an already richly storied history.

Located on almost 30ha of prime viticulture land in Bridge Pa, the property was once owned by powerful Ngati Kahungunu chieftainess Airini Karauria, who spent time at the royal court of King Edward VII and rallied for her people’s land rights over the course of three decades.

Her husband, Irishman George Prior Donnelly, developed the property’s iconic horse racing stables and expansive homestead in the 1890s.

The stables then passed through the ownership of several prominent racing figures before being acquired in 1937 by the Glazebrook family who continued to operate a successful racing business from the property for a further two decades.

Third generation family member Garry Glazebrook established the vineyard in 1981 with winemaker Alwyn Corban, whose family has played an integral part in pioneering and growing New Zealand’s now formidable wine industry over the last century.

Earlier this year, Corban and his business partner, cousin Brian Corban, sold their portfolio of Ngatarawa wine brands to local Hawke’s Bay company Mission Estate, but still own the Ngatarawa Road property and its iconic stables.

The Corbans have exclusively appointed Colliers International Rural and Agribusiness Broker Louise Wake to market the property for sale by tender closing at 2pm on Thursday, 16 November.

Wake says this is a once in a generation opportunity to acquire one of New Zealand’s most storied winegrowing properties.

“The current and past custodians of this landmark Hawke’s Bay estate have woven a rich history over successive generations,” she says.

“This is a chance for a new owner to write the property’s next historic chapter, be it as a winegrowing estate, a passive investment, or a new tourism, hospitality or accommodation venture.”

The property is split across two titles of 17.7ha and 11.9ha each. The titles are being offered for sale either separately or together.

Wake says the larger property is home to the picturesque racing stables established by the Donnelly family more than 120 years ago.

GP Donnelly emigrated to New Zealand in 1862 and married Airini Karauria, the daughter of the great Ngati Kahungunu chief Karauria Pupu, in 1877.

“Airini was a powerful landowner long before her marriage,” Wake says.

“When she was just 13, after her father was killed fighting Te Kooti at Poverty Bay, Airini inherited a substantial tract of property including the Ngatarawa Road estate.

“For the next three decades, starting from her late teens, she used her strong English skills and deep understanding of iwi history to successfully advocate for her people before the Native Land Courts.”

The Donnelly marriage was formidable, with Airini owning vast tracts of land across the Hawke’s Bay which, through GP Donnelly’s astute management, were turned into a fortune.

In later years the Donnellys purchased Otatara, near the Napier suburb of Taradale, where they lived in style until Airini died in 1909, aged 55.

She bequeathed her vast landholding to her daughter Maud Perry, including the present-day Ngatarawa Road estate which she sold by auction in 1911.

Along with the property’s historic stables, the Donnellys built an extensive homestead that included 11 bedrooms, maids’ quarters and a huge kitchen with a sizable brick oven.

The homestead was later converted into a more modest three-bedroom villa of some 190sq m.

A one-bedroom cottage of about 80sq m, traditionally used to house the racing jockeys, was also built on the property.

The property’s racing legacy ended two years after Garry Glazebrook’s father, Howard, passed away in 1955.

For the next two decades, the two-level, 473.2sq stables were used to store hay, tools and winter feed.

But Garry had bigger plans for the property, teaming up with Alwyn Corban to set up the substantial vineyard estate – the first to be established in the now internationally recognised Bridge Pa Triangle winegrowing region.

They planted varietals including Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon.

Wake says Corban’s skills helped to grow the winery into an award-winning, internationally acclaimed brand.

“Alwyn draws on an unbroken family tradition of winegrowing that stretches back more than four centuries,” she says.

“His great-grandfather, Assid Abraham Corban, emigrated to New Zealand from Lebanon in 1892 to escape the insecurities of life as a Greek Orthodox Christian minority. He then established the family’s first New Zealand winery in Henderson, Auckland, in 1902.

“The winemaker’s role was eventually passed on to his grandson, Alex Corban, who became the first New Zealander to study oenology at Roseworthy College in 1949, and was the inaugural Chairman of the Wine Institute of New Zealand in 1975.

“By the time his son Alwyn was born in 1952, the Corbans were well established as the largest producer of wine in the country.”

Alwyn originally studied mathematics, but later went on to gain his winemaking qualification at the University of California, Davis.

However by the time Alwyn returned to New Zealand, the Corbans had sold their company so he went to work at various Hawke’s Bay wineries before being introduced to Glazebrook.

Together, the business partners considered various properties amongst the Glazebrook family’s substantial farmlands before deciding to establish their new venture at Ngatarawa Road.

While Corban focussed on producing award-winning wines, Glazebrook set about redeveloping the property into a substantial winery estate.

The historic stables were resurrected as a winery cellar door with staff areas, meeting rooms, offices, a storage loft, a flat for Alwyn, and an attractive tasting and sales area.

Glazebrook also planned the elegant landscaping, which includes a generously proportioned English-style pond with a fountain, mature trees, and expansive lawns.

When the Glazebrooks sold their shareholding in 1998, Alwyn called on his cousin Brian to become co-owner and chairman of the business.

With the cousins now in their 60s and 70s, they have decided the time is right to pass on the legacy to new custodians.

Wake says the property offers substantial viticulture improvements, including an 869.2sq m winery, built in the 1990s.

The two titles for sale produce a combined total of about 250 tonnes of grapes a year, while the winery has capacity to process 650 tonnes a year.

“Both titles are fully irrigated with independent bores and have frost protection by way of wind machines,” Wake says.

“The vineyard, stables and winery are all on lease but there is flexibility after the 2018 vintage to continue under lease, farm with a supply agreement, or owner-operate.”

Wake says the property is superbly located in the Bridge Pa area, some 10 minutes’ drive from Hastings and Havelock North, and 25 minutes from Napier.

The Bridge Pa area benefits from a moderate Hawke’s Bay climate with normally hot, dry summers and mild winters.

Wake says Colliers International has prepared an extensive information memorandum with detailed descriptions of both the land and improvements.

“We’re anticipating huge interest from within the New Zealand winegrowing community, so parties are encouraged to express their interest early,” she says.

“Don’t miss this hugely rare opportunity to acquire an outstanding winegrowing property with a storied history and a bright future ahead.”


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