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Northland’s biggest contract winery is placed on the market for sale

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 rose, pinot gris, sauvignon blanc, fume blanc, viognier, rose, chardonnay, muscat, tempranillo, chambourcin, pinotage, merlot, vigot syrah, and port.

The estate’s wines have won numerous medals at such competitions as the International Wine Show, the Royal Easter Show, the International Chardonnay Challenge, the Bragato Wine Awards, and the Siegelau International Wine Competition.

Over the ensuing decades, Marsden Estate’s viticultural activities have subsequently expanded, and it now crushes grapes and produces bottled wine for 32 Northland vineyards and boutique wine labels.

As a result, the winery has won medals for its contract-produced labels such as The Landing, Omata Estate, Morepork, Ft Pig, Dancing Petrel, Estuary Wine, Te Whai Bay, Paroa Bay, Brooke Lane, and Kainui.

The Kerikeri venue also operates a well-established lunch-only seven-days-a-week licensed restaurant which also trades as a function venue capable of catering to weddings and corporate events. Next door to the hospitality area - with its al-fresco options overlooking a parklike lake and gardens - is Marsden Estate’s cellar door sales outlet.

Balancing its own grape production volume in synch’ with its high margin distribution localised channels, Marsden Estate limits annual production to 28-tonnes from its now 3.2-hectares of vines.

In addition, sauvignon blanc and viognier grapes are purchased for the Marsden Estate label as needed. The winery is forecasting its externally sourced supply to increase to 20-tonnes by 2026.

Concurrently, 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. Salespeople Alan Kerr and Irene Bremner said the business was a truly diversified viticultural entity – deriving income from multiple complementary operational channels, anchored by its substantial contracting winemaking activities.

“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,” Kerr said.

“Concurrently, some 90 percent 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.”

Marsden Estate’s contract production services, and food and beverage operations, run complimentary to the core function of making its own wine. The forecast growth in contract winemaking is high – due to production growth from supplying vineyards whose own growth has been driven by the successes of their individual labels. Meanwhile, Marsden Estate’s winery restaurant and function room is on track to run over more than $1million from lunch sales in the 2021/22 financial year.

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.

Building infrastructure on the Wiroa Road property consists of 1,200-square metres of winery, hospitality, retail, staff amenities, and administrative space.

Under the umbrella of Marsden Estate’s multiple revenue streams, the business employs three staff in the vineyard, three personnel in wine-making activities, six staff in its kitchen and front-of-house hospitality operations, and six staff in the retail outlet.

Click here for more information on the listing.

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