Following months of speculation, it was announced that Martinborough’s largest winery operation Te Kairanga was acquired by Bill Foley. Te Kairanga has had a number of years of difficult trading as a result of investment in vineyard expansion and the economic downturn, which resulted in the global financial crisis, this exacerbated by a series of management changes. The purchase of Te Kairanga will no doubt provide stability to move forward.
Bill Foley, a California based vintner has a number of high profile wine properties throughout the state, including the Napa Valley, Santa Ynez, Sta. Rita Hills, Santa Barbara, Sonoma, and also in Walla Walla in Washington state. His New Zealand interests include the Vavasour, Goldwater, Clifford Bay and Dashwood brands. Foley made recent news with the majority ownership of EuroVintage, formed from the takeover by Foley’s distribution company Vintage Wines & Spirits of Eurowine Fine Wines in the middle of last year, giving him a significant stake in the reselling market.
With Te Kairanga in the portfolio, there is now access to good quantities of Pinot Noir, to match Sauvignon Blanc from Marlborough. However, in these tight market conditions, additional lines of wine to an already burgeoning list will require a long-term approach to managing the large array of wines to sell! The proximity of the Foley-owned, luxury Wharekauhau Country Lodge will add to the synergy of the purchase of Te Kairanga, and it is a positive for the Martinborough and greater Wairarapa region..
I had the opportunity of tasting a good selection of the Te Kairanga range last week with winemaker Wendy Potts, as part of the international media visits organised by ‘Wines From Martinborough’. Click here to see my comments on the wines.