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One of Waiheke's oldest vineyards is up for sale - with the price expected to top $6 million.

Doug Hamilton transformed 40,000sq m of farmland into the award-winning Peninsula Estate after attending a horticulture course with fellow island winemaker Jeanette Goldwater.

"By the time the course was over, we realised that grapes were about the only thing that would grow up there," he said.

Peninsula was Waiheke's third vineyard after Goldwater and Stonyridge when Hamilton bought the land near Oneroa in 1984. Home to cabernet sauvignon, cabernet franc, malbec and merlot grapes, it had its first vintage in 1989.

Since then, Hamilton and his wife Anne's wines have won awards in New Zealand and overseas, with their 1993 vintage a particular hit.

"Between the three vineyards we got a lot of acclaim," said Hamilton. "We were only the 72nd vineyard registered in New Zealand, it was a great time."

The property includes a 700-vine Bordeaux-style vineyard, four-bedroom home, staff quarters, a winery/barrel room and a stable.

It also boasts a small observation deck with a spectacular view across Oneroa Bay, built by Hamilton when he "got sick of dragging ladders out for photographers to climb up on the tank to take pictures".

Bayleys real estate agent Pat Regan said the clifftop estate was a "landmark property" familiar to any regular visitor to Waiheke.

"It's the end of an era," said Regan.

Hamilton, a former fishing co-operative member, and his wife moved to a lifestyle block in Warkworth around 18 months ago because he was getting worn out and they wanted to pursue other interests.

He learned viticulture from scratch and has a cellar full of wine but will still be sad to sell the site.

"It was a pretty special place, but you can't have everything," said Hamilton.

Nestled among several boutique vineyards, Regan said Peninsula was expected to fetch $6 million or more.

"The properties along there are almost all clifftop homes, in a kind of millionaire's row," Regan explained.

There had already been plenty of interest expressed by regular buyers of Waiheke land and others who knew the vineyard.

An auction will be held on February 16.