Anne Gibson

Property editor of the NZ Herald

Billionaire launches food and wine club at dinner

Bill Foley. Photo / Mark Mitchell
Bill Foley. Photo / Mark Mitchell

Billionaire American Bill Foley and his wife Carol are in New Zealand to expand their business interests.

The couple last week hosted a dinner for nearly 300 people at Princes Wharf restaurant Euro where chef and food judge Simon Gault introduced the menu.

The Foleys, based mainly in the United States, held the event to launch the Wharekauhau Wine Food Society, an exclusive hospitality, wine and food club named after their luxurious Wairarapa lodge.

They visit New Zealand every few months and their interests here are managed by Auckland-based Mark Turnbull.

Last night, the Foleys and Turnbull joined Steve Logan at Logan Brown restaurant in Wellington to host a similar event there.

Foley has big plans to expand his viticulture business in New Zealand, planning to take a controlling stake in NZAX-listed The New Zealand Wine Company.

Last month, a notice was issued showing Foley's intentions.

"NZWC is currently exploring a proposal targeted at merging NZWC with the Foley Family Wines New Zealand wine business," the announcement said.

"In the event that the two-way due diligence process is satisfactorily completed then an extraordinary general meeting of shareholders would be called to formally consider the proposal."

No further notices have been issued.

The society has launched a website with deals, special offers and events for members.

Foley Family Wines owns many Californian vineyards, including Chalk Hill at Healdsburg, Eos Estate at Paso Robles and Foley Estates & Winery in the Santa Rita Hills.

It also owns Merus, Altus and Kuleto Estate in the Napa Valley.

In New Zealand, it has Clifford Bay Estate Winery at Awatea Valley, Vavasour in Marlborough and Bill Foley has Goldwater and Te Kairanga.

- NZ Herald

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