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Last of founding vineyard empire goes on the market for sale

Last of founding vineyard empire goes on the market for sale

A large landholding of what was once the family-owned and operated Nobilo wine empire west of Auckland has been placed on the market for sale.

The 7.49 hectare property bordering the township of Kumeu was once planted in white and red grapes, and was part of the huge landholding created by New Zealand wine legend Nikola ‘Nick’ Nobilo.

Nick Nobilo was born in Croatia and emigrated to New Zealand with his family in 1937 to settle in Kumeu. Nobilo came from a winemaking family which had been producing vintages for some 300 years.

Nick and his brothers planted the first grapes in the Kumeu/Huapai locality in 1943 and were among New Zealand’s wine pioneering families – alongside such iconic names as Corban, Babich, Selak, Delegat and Yukich (which went on to become Montana).

In 1995, Nick Nobilo was awarded an Order of the British Empire for services to the viticulture industry. Several years later the brand and much of the productive land around West Auckland was sold to one of Australia's largest winemakers, BRL Hardy. The wine pioneer died in 2007, at the age of 94.

Now part of the original Nobilo vineyard, as well as a three bedroom home previously used as manager’s premises when the vineyard was at its peak, is being sold off. The offering also includes a workshop and large stables believed to have housed horses used to plough up the land for vine plantings.

Such is Nick Nobilo’s influence in the Kumeu/Huapai region that the property is located in a road named after him.

The Kumeu property and buildings are being sold through Bayleys North West in a tender process closing on April 24. Bayleys North West sales person Terry Jones said the flat contoured land was zoned ‘Future Urban’ under Auckland Council’s current plans. The property has a council valuation of $1.975million.

“The vines have long since gone and Kumeu is now a bustling town compared to when Nick settled there and the ‘shops’ literally consisted of a supply store, a blacksmith’s workshop, a post office, and a garage. Yet there’s no doubting Nick Nobilo’s incredible vision,’ said Mr Jones.

“First he saw that the land was ideal for planting grapes. And now, because of its immediate proximity to town, it is ideal for residential subdivision… although I doubt Nick had planned for that when he bought the land some 70 years ago.”

Mr Jones said that within a decade, as Auckland’s urban limit continued to expand out to the north-west, Kumeu would cease to be a rural service ‘township’ and would eventually be swallowed up as part of the greater city conurbation.

“Auckland city’s growth out toward Kumeu will be a replication of what happened to Albany and Silverdale on the North Shore. A generation ago, those areas where packed with apple orchards and green fields. Now look at them… vast commercial and residential suburbs which are essentially now an extension of the North Shore.”

Mr Jones said that while the Kumeu land would most likely be purchased by an experienced housing developer with expertise in medium-sized residential subdivisions of around 500 square metres, it could also be purchased by someone looking for a large lifestyle block within walking distance of the town’s central amenities.

“The size of the existing block determines that it could quite easily, subject to council consent, be broken down into three or four large sections,” he said.


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