Akarua Ltd sells assets to noted French wine brand

The gateway to Akarua’s Cairnmuir Rd vineyard. PHOTO: SUPPLIED
The gateway to Akarua’s Cairnmuir Rd vineyard. PHOTO: SUPPLIED
A Central Otago wine producer has signed a deal to sell part of its operation to a well-known French wine brand.

Akarua Ltd has entered into a conditional deal to sell nearly 52ha of land, in Cairnmuir Rd, Bannockburn, to Marlborough-based Rimapere Vineyards Ltd, which is owned by Edmond de Rothschild Heritage.

The sale included 34.5ha of established vineyards, Akarua’s winery, cellar door, offices and brand.

Akarua, which is owned by The Skeggs Group, was started by former Dunedin mayor Sir Clifford Skeggs in 1996.

The group will retain its five other vineyards in Bannockburn and Pisa and ownership of the Akarua restaurant and cellar door in Arrowtown.

The Skeggs Group managing director David Skeggs said the family recently reviewed its investment portfolio, which resulted in the rationalisation of the vineyard.

The price of the sale was confidential.

"The family remains very committed to the Central Otago wine industry," he said.

He believed the sale was a testament to the hard work of staff and distributors in building the Akarua brand to a position where it had attracted the attention one of the world’s most prestigious wine families, Mr Skeggs said.

Edmond de Rothschild Heritage was started by the Rothschild family in 1868 and has nine vineyards in five countries.

In a statement, chief executive Alexis de La Palme said the acquisition continued its strategy of "building premium world wines from extraordinary terroirs".

"Central Otago has exceptional potential for super-premium pinot noir," he said.

The sale was subject to approval by the Overseas Investment Office.

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