Hong Kong firm buys New Zealand vineyards for NZ$46.4m

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New Zealand wine estate Mud House Wines has sold all five of its vineyards to a Hong Kong-based company, marking Asian investors’ growing interest in the New World.

Image © Mud House Wines

QWIL Investments (NZ) Pty Limited, which is a company owned by Hong Kong-based CK Life Sciences, has acquired a ‘freehold interest’ in all 596 hectares of vineyards owned by Mud House. CK Life Sciences is a subsidiary company to billionaire Li Ka-shine’s Cheung Kong Holdings.

The deal values the vineyards at NZ$46.4m ($39.8m), according to New Zealand’s Overseas Investment Office (OIO), which has approved the purchase.

Australia-based Accolade Wines has agreed to lease the vineyards from QWIL Investments.

The move is more evidence that Asian investors are looking beyond Bordeaux chateaux and extending their reach to New World vineyards.

‘Our preference is to purchase vineyards for which there is interest in long-term leases,’ Nick Gill, CEO of QWIL Investments, told DecanterChina.com.

QWIL investments last year bought 158-hectare ‘Northbank’ vineyard in Marlborough from Winestock NZ for NZ$16.2m ($13.9m). It has since rented the property out to Treasury Wine Estates.

For the Mud House deal, Gill said the firm worked alongside Accolade, which is owned by Australia-based Champ Private Equity, to complete the deal.

The five Mud House vineyards include Woolshed Vineyard in Marlborough, Home, Mound and Deans Vineyards in Canterbury and Claim Vineyard in Central Otago.

Accolade announced that they ‘will be retaining the New Zealand team’ and will not change Mud House’s ‘existing distributor relationships’.

According to Michael East, Accolade Wines General Manager Asia Pacific, the company aims to ‘lift the brands' profiles in Asia’ with a stress on varieties other than Sauvignon Blanc.

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