Vidal Estate Winery, one of New Zealand's first wineries, is set to end its century-long stay in Hastings after the property was today put up for sale.
One hundred and thirteen years ago Spanish migrant Anthony Joseph Vidal first planted grapes and established the pioneering Vidal Estate vineyard in Hastings. Vidal Estate Winery restaurant became New Zealand's first winery restaurant 39 years ago.
Parent company Villa Maria today put the St Aubyn's St winery up for sale as it moves production of the Vidal brand to the Te Awa Winery and Restaurant on State Highway 50.
"With the challenges of being nestled in a residential area as well as having outgrown this facility, we have decided to put the Vidal restaurant, event space and winery up for tender," Villa Maria founder and owner Sir George Fistonich said.
"It was a difficult decision as Vidal was not only our first restaurant, but it was the first winery restaurant in New Zealand, so it holds a lot of history for us and the wider wine industry."
The Vidal restaurant would remain operational until the end of June 2018. All event bookings at Vidal will have the option to be transferred to Te Awa.
The new winery would provide a wine making facility featuring state-of-the-art machinery.
It would also include a cellar door where people could buy and taste wines from each of the brands under Villa Maria Estate - including the Vidal brand, which would stay with Villa Maria Estate.
"The new winery location will benefit the quality of our wines by processing the grapes within the local region as opposed to transporting them.
"We will also see efficiency improvements in our harvesting and winemaking.
"The new winery will combine tried and true winemaking techniques in a state-of-the-art facility, including open-top concrete tanks, temperature controlled barrel rooms, and fruit sorting equipment specially designed for super premium hand-picked grapes.
"Combining traditional winemaking techniques with the very best modern technology offers the opportunity to gain efficiencies without compromising the historical integrity that characterises what makes these wines so special."
Hugh Crichton, winemaker at Vidal Estate, said it was "exciting times" to be moving the company's winemaking base out to the Gimblett Gravels for the 2018 vintage.
"While it's been immensely satisfying to ferment and age our wines in our historic cellars in Hastings there's no denying there have been challenges.
"Being closer to our vineyards and working within a winery designed for quality will without a doubt further push us into the premium market".
The Vidal Estate Hastings winery comprising a 8592sq m freehold property, with a fully-working winery and 200 person capacity restaurant, along with a further 1872sq m of land holding five houses, is for sale by tender through Bayleys Hawke's Bay.
"The most obvious use going forward is to continue both the winery and restaurant/function room operations," Bayleys Hawke's Bay salesperson Paul Garland said.
"Alternatively, a new joint-ownership model could see a winery label utilising the winery amenities, and a separate hospitality entity running the restaurant and function venue – with both reliant on each other as marketing points of difference and sales channels.
"Or the entire portfolio could be secured by an entrepreneur/investor who could purchase the location and assets then lease out the two revenue streams to specialists."
Vidal Estate's winery has historically produced 1200 tonnes of wine per season – equivalent to 96,000 cases.
Mr Garland said the equipment and infrastructure being sold in the Vidal Estate Winery portfolio would enable the successful buyer to operate from a 500-600 tonne boutique winery.
"All they will need is a new brand name."
Tenders close on March 7.