Napa winemaker Gary Andrus has bought a vineyard and two other plots in New Zealand's most southerly wine producing region, Central Otago.

The millionaire viticulturist is reported to be paying NZ$1.2m (€580,000) for the 5.2ha property on the outskirts of Queenstown, which previously supplied grapes to local winery Gibbston Valley, and to boutique wine label Valli. The vineyard is planted to Pinot Noir and Pinot Gris – Andrus intends to replace the latter with Pinot Noir later this year.

The two other plots will also be planted to Pinot Noir. One of them is adjacent to the highly-rated winery Felton Road.

Andrus, co-founder of Pine Ridge Winery in Napa Valley’s Stags Leap District and Archery Summit in Oregon, retired as CEO of the US wineries last autumn.

The announcement follows last month’s news that Lyndsey Harrison, winemaker and founder of Harrison Vineyards in Napa Valley, entered into negotiations to purchase 74ha in Central Otago with a view to planting Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Pinot Gris, Riesling And Shiraz.

Harrison, a native of New Zealand, said she viewed the region as being ‘on the cutting edge in both viticulture and winemaking.’

Written by Tracey Barker16 July 2002