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NZ companies partner up to expand vineyard space in Marlborough

Cat Creek vineyard Marlborough

Agricultural investment company Craigmore Sustainables has partnered with Babich Wines to manage a new viticultural development site in Marlborough.

The new site is a 418ha property known as Cat Creek, which will have nearly 200ha of Sauvignon Blanc grapes when fully developed, located on the north bank in the Wairau Valley. The food and fibre investment company has existing vineyard holdings in Gisborne and Central Hawke’s Bay, however this is its first viticulture venture in the South Island for Craigmore.

The Babich Marlborough team will be responsible for the management and development of the vineyard, with the grapes produced by the vineyard helping Babich Wines meet the growing demand for its portfolio of premium New Zealand wines across domestic and international markets.

Babich Wines chief executive David Babich said the company is excited about this partnership with Craigmore Sustainables and embarking on the next phase of Babich Wines’ growth.

“It’s rare to have access to such a sizeable vineyard development, and we couldn’t ask for a better partner. There is a lot of common ground between our two businesses, most prominently our shared view that environmental stewardship and long-term, sustainable business success go hand in hand. You can’t have one without the other.”

To support this new initiative, Babich Wines will also be investing additional capital into its Marlborough winery to increase processing capacity to cater for additional grape supply.

Craigmore’s general manager, horticulture, Con Williams says the move to Marlborough provides diversification for the business and an initial footprint into the region that can be expanded in coming years.

“Marlborough is globally recognised as having regional attributes well-suited for viticulture and the Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc story continues to provide strong long-term fundamentals that make further expansion attractive.”

Craigmore will invest $40 million in the development over the next two years. Approximately 3,000 tonnes will be harvested from the vineyard at maturity, which will be processed into premium quality wines with an export value of more than $20 million.

The property was purchased in two separate transactions – the first property was granted approval by the Overseas Investment Office in October 2022 and the second in December 2022. While the capital largely comes from Europe, investments such as Cat Creek are made through a partnership that is governed and managed by the New Zealand-owned Craigmore Sustainables.

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