Buyers are clamouring for a stake in an award-winning New Zealand vineyard which produces some of the country's most acclaimed red wines.

Stonyridge Vineyard, a 10ha estate comprising vineyard, winery, restaurant and olive grove situated on idyllic Waiheke Island – a 30minute ferryride from downtown Auckland on the North Island – is attracting wide interest from private investors and international wine companies.

Ninety per cent of Stonyridge’s production – currently in excess of 16000 cases a year – is sold to private buyers en primeur.

Manager Jeremy Burn told decanter.com that Stonyridge’s owner and founder, former round-the-world yachtsman Stephen White, is selling in order to pursue other interests.

‘Stephen’s achieved all of his goals at Stonyridge, and is now looking forward to getting back to some sailing,’ he said.

White hopes to be involved in the ongoing management of the company. He will certainly keep a shareholding, and stay on as executive winemaker and director, Burn added.

White recognised the potential of the Waiheke site for Bordeaux-style reds when he planted Stonyridge’s first vines in 1982.

The first vintage was produced in 1985 but it was the 1987 Larose – a blend of cabernet sauvignon, merlot, cabernet franc, malbec and petit verdot – which attracted worldwide acclaim.

Although not prepared to disclose the estimated value of the business the company said that interested parties should contact KPMG in Auckland who have been appointed to handle the sale.

Written by Tracey Barker6 March 2003