Chinese investors have acquired more than 300 hectares of vineyard land in Marlborough, according to local reports.
The purchase of the Otuwhero Estate vineyards (pictured), mostly planted to Sauvignon Blanc, comes after the investors, operating as O:Tu Investments, bought the rights to produce, market and sell Otuwhero’s O:Tu brand following the 2011 harvest.
According to a report in the Marlborough Express, investors Min Jia and Xiumei Lin acquired the business from insolvency practitioner Deloitte after Awatere Valley-based Otuwhero Estate Wines went into receivership in September 2010.
The latest deal, which closed on 7 April this year, includes the 256ha Main Block vineyard, of which 170ha is planted to Sauvignon Blanc.
In a separate transaction, O:Tu Investments also bought the as yet unplanted 79ha Donaldson Block, which was not in receivership.
Both deals have now been approved by New Zealand’s Overseas Investment Office.
Otuwhero Estates has been managed by Deloitte partners Grant Jarrold and Shari Carter since it collapsed with debts of NZ$29.93m, although preferential creditors have since received settlements.
Jarrold told the Marlborough Express that the acquisition was ‘a good thing’ for the land and for local jobs.
Earlier this year, New Zealand’s government announced a new collaboration with New Zealand Winegrowers to increase the country’s wine exports to China, which were up 50% in the year to June 2012.
Written by Richard Woodard