A Gisborne vineyard, partly owned by local Māori investors and founded by industry leader and wine pioneer Nick Nobilo, is up for sale after going into receivership.
Vinoptima Estate, of which Nicholas Thomas Nobilo is the sole director according to Companies Office records, has been in the hands of BDO's Andrew McKay since August and now Bayleys are advertising it for sale in the next few weeks.
Nobilo is a prominent name in the wine sector and a big brand in New Zealand and globally, although the family sold that business to BRL Hardy and subsequently Constellation Brands.
Vinoptima shareholders are major Gisborne landowner Wi Pere Investments, Taupo's Tuaropaki Kaitiaki, Nobilo Trustree, DMG Trustees and Nick Nobilo.
He was reported as realising he had some unfinished business so followed his dream back again to Gisborne to focus on a single variety.
"Gewurztraminer is my passion and Gisborne is where it's at - particularly here at Ormond," he was reported as saying in 2015 when he received a Queen's Birthday honour.
"I will be continuing to pursue the Vinoptima dream - a great single vineyard Estate. There are other things to come, and I haven't stopped yet. You never stop learning in this industry," he said at the time.
BDO's McKay today said there was a "reasonable amount" of wine in bottles and storage tanks on the property. One source claimed up to 100,000 bottles but McKay said he could give no precise numbers.
"There's a sizeable number," McKay said.
As for the reasons for receivership, he said: "Essentially, it just wasn't making enough sales."
Bayley's Damian Campbell and Simon Bousfield say the 11.9ha vineyard in two titles is 20 minutes north of Gisborne and Vinoptima has "a reputation of producing one of the finest Gewurztraminer wines in the world."
The custom-designed amphitheatre layout winery has specifically designed, state-of-the-art equipment and a self-contained flat. An intensive vineyard management programme has ensured the vineyards have been carefully monitored and managed to produce quality grapes, the agents say.
They say the property has the potential to increase bottling capacity and significantly grow the business through broadening into other desirable varieties such as chardonnay and sauvignon blanc.
One source in the area said the wine was aimed at the Chinese market but suffered during the global financial crisis a decade ago. Special netting was placed over the vines to protect them from rain which was an incredible expensive move, he said.
"No expense was spared in creating this venture," the source said, saying the property could fetch millions.
McKay confirmed China was the vineyard's main market.
The auction is on December 6 and the agents say it will not be sold before that.