Marisco Vineyards is betting on long-term demand for New Zealand wine by announcing a five-year planting plan for its recently acquired Leefield Estate.
Marisco proprietor Brent Marris
Marisco will plant vines on 600ha of Leefield Station, in Marlborough‘s Waihopai Valley, which it acquired at the beginning of this year for an undisclosed fee. A further 900ha of Leefield will be dedicated to farming and also a nursery.
Brent Marris, chief winemaker and proprietor, said the group began planting 85ha of Sauvignon Blanc last month. It will then plant another 100ha annually for the next five years, including Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Gris.
The move represents a long-term bet on consumer demand for New Zealand’s key varietals.
‘This development is significant for Marisco Vineyards as it means we will be able to successfully meet the rising international demand for both The Ned and The King’s Series [wines],’ Marris said.
Marisco is currently producing wine from 300ha of a total 2,265ha of viticultural land that it owns in Waihopai valley.
Marlborough grape prices have risen by around a third to NZ$1,600 per tonne in 2013, said Patrick Materman, chief winemaker for Pernod Ricard-owned Brancott Estate, in an interview with decanter.com published last month.
This has driven demand for plantings. ‘In Marlborough, this is the first year since 2007 and 2008 that new vines have gone in the ground [excluding replantings],’ he said.
In 2012, New Zealand exported NZ$1.18bn-worth of wine, up by 7.6% on 2011.
Written by Chris Mercer