New Zealand's first vineyard and winery established purely to produce niche gewürztraminer wine remains for sale, eight months after going into receivership.
Andrew McKay, a BDO receiver in charge of Nick Nobilo's pioneering and elite Vinoptima Estate since being appointed last August, said numbers put forward by would-be buyers were too low so no deals were done.
"The offers for the property were not acceptable at the time the tender closed and subsequent have not been fantastic," McKay said today of the upmarket estate at 138 Ngakoroa Rd near Gisborne.
The estate is in two blocks: 5.35ha planted in 10,775 vines in 2007 and 5.11ha planted in 10,455 vines in 2000. The 533sq m winery was built in 2003 and has a crushing plant, sterile air-conditioned bottling room, walk-in chiller, storage and a self-contained manager/wine maker's residence, according to marketing.
Simon Bousfield, a Bayleys agent appointed to market the property and get tenders by December 4, said today: "We had some good activity with the tenders but the receivers or vendors have decided not to sell the property and have withdrawn it from the market."
McKay is confident the property will be sold. He said most of Vinoptima's wine stock had also been retained and was unsold but is also sure that asset will be sold.
McKay and Andrew Bethell yesterday released their second report on the failed business, noting no sale.
"We are still working with an interested party to finalise an agreement," the report said.
On August 20 last year, an unnamed but secured creditor called in the receivers
By October 29, Bayleys said it had been appointed to sell "the first vineyard and winery in New Zealand to be established purely for the production of the niche gewürztraminer grape variety".
Bayleys said: "Many of the winery's storage tanks were custom-built for Vinoptima and are arranged in an 'amphitheatre' configuration within the winery building to enable one person to undertake the entire winemaking process from a central position."
The first receivers' report showed Vinoptima had debts of around $15 million, far short of assets which are listed with a cost value of $9.2m, potentially meaning it will be unable to repay creditors and shareholders.
The business founded by Nick Nobilo as managing director, owes $11.95m to shareholders and those with cross guarantees and a further $3.1m to unsecured creditors, that report said.
The business sold bottles sold for around $75 each.
"The wine produced has received critical acclaim but sales have been slow, particularly as the previous distributor into China stopped operations despite having entered into a multi-year distribution agreement with Vinoptima," the first receivers' report said.
"The result of poor sales affected trading operations and incurred trading losses. The company was reliant on shareholder support to fund ongoing trading. A proposal for a new Chinese agent was negotiated in June. However there remained a lack of confirmed orders," the first report said.
Late last year, Gisborne winemaker James Millton said the future of wine-making in that district remained secure, despite falls in tonnages and the amount of land planted in grapes. Te district had unique primary production qualities, he said.
He was reacting to comments of wine writer Michael Cooper that wine consumption was declining worldwide, and that the industry was under threat.