Foley Wines plans to buy vineyard

An NZX-listed Marlborough-based wine company has announced its intention to buy Central Otago’s Zebra Bendigo Flat Vineyard.

Yesterday, Foley Wines Ltd told the market it had entered into a conditional contract to buy the Bendigo property off Zebra Vineyards, subject to Overseas Investment Office approval.

The vineyard has a total area of 55.5ha, of which 30.5ha is used for pinot noir, and there is about 12.5ha of bare land.

Foley Wines owns multiple other vineyards throughout the country, including Mt Difficulty, also in Central Otago.

It would be financing the deal with the Bank of New Zealand.

In a statement to the NZX, Foley Wines chief executive Mark Turnbull said it was delighted to have the opportunity to buy the vineyard.

‘‘Since purchasing Mt Difficulty we have grown the global footprint for the brand across a number of varietals.’’

The company intended to plant the remaining bare land as soon as the deal was approved by the OIO and new vines were secured.

When contacted, Mr Turnbull said buying the vineyard helped with the company’s long-term plan of securing more fruit.

‘‘We really want to shore up our long-term fruit supply for the growth of our brand.

‘‘We sourced fruit from there several years ago and the winemakers were really comfortable with it,’’ he said.

The deal was subject to OIO approval because the company’s major shareholder was Bill Foley, a major investor in the US wine industry, Mr Turnbull said.

The sale price would remain confidential until the OIO had made a decision.

Last year, there was some public backlash in New Zealand against Foley Wines’ brands after media reported Mr Foley had made donations to former US president Donald Trump.

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