Tamsyn Parker

Money Editor for NZ Herald

New buyer for winery found

Ascension Winery features a restaurant and function centre as well as 4ha of vines. Photo / Carolyn Robertson
Ascension Winery features a restaurant and function centre as well as 4ha of vines. Photo / Carolyn Robertson

A new buyer has been found for the Ascension Wine Estate after a previous deal fell through when the bidder failed to get approval from the Overseas Investment Office.

Receiver Andrew McKay of Corporate Finance said it had entered into a unconditional deal to sell the 7.6ha Matakana property and business to the owners of the Portofino restaurant group and the Sipka Group.

The Portofino group is owned by brothers Gino and Kiro Gurshin and has nine restaurants in its chain spanning from Auckland to Wellington.

The Sipka Group invests in and manages commercial and residential properties in New Zealand. Its directors are Alex and Mick Sipka.

McKay said it was a joint purchase between the two parties.

A prior arrangement to sell the winery to a syndicate of Chinese buyers for $4 million fell through last month after one syndicate member, a permanent resident who lived here from 2003 to 2010, had not lived in New Zealand in the last 12 months.

McKay said he could not comment on how much the new buyers would pay and would not say how it compared to the previous offer.

The deal is due to settle on December 20.

McKay said the new owners intended to rebrand Ascension's restaurant to serve Italian food. The purchasers would be honouring all function commitments.

Ascension was established by Darryl and Bridget Soljan in 1994.

It was placed into receivership and put up for sale in May.

The estate includes 4ha of vines, a winemaker's cottage, a restaurant licensed for 120 guests and a function venue for 300 people.

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