Developer sells Sunraysia vineyards for $20mBellevue Farms, near Mildura, supplies grapes to Qualia Wines.

Developer sells Sunraysia vineyards for $20m

Wentworth property developer John Kelly has sold a large vineyard in the NSW border town for $20.2 million amid strong demand for horticulture assets in the Sunraysia “food bowl” region.

Bellevue Farms, a 637.4-hectare vineyard on Pooncarie Road, about an hour north of Mildura, was bought by a wine producer from outside the area but will continue to supply grapes to well-known Mildura winemaker Qualia Wines.

Mr Kelly, who headed a consortium that acquired the Wentworth Services Club after it collapsed in 2014, is also a director of Qualia Wines.

He and his wife Margaret and sons Todd and Rick Kelly (the retired racing car champion) owned Bellevue Farms in a family partnership.

Mildura Professional principal Tony Roccisano, who negotiated the sale, said Bellevue Farms was one of the best developed horticulture properties in the Sunraysia region.

He declined to identify either the vendor or buyer, citing a confidentiality agreement.

“We sold Bellevue Farms to a wine producer from a different area, an outside buyer. The vendor was a private family,” Mr Roccisano told The Australian Financial Review.

“There was quite a bit of interest in this property and a lot of interest generally in the region because of its great weather, high yields and growth rates as well as water security from the Murray Darling Basin.

“This is the food bowl of Australia. There are lots of corporates and hedge funds buying big farms, including those growing table grapes and almonds.”

Sales in the Sunraysia region this year include Fifth Street Vineyard, a 117-hectare property at Merbein in Victoria’s Sunraysia region, which was acquired by Manta Farms for $5.5 million in January.

Herron Todd White valuer Graeme Whyte said there had been a number of sales of table grape vineyards in the Robinvale district south of Mildura during the first half of 2021.

“All involved local family growers seeking to expand and all have shown firm values, in line with what was observed during 2020,” Mr Whyte said.

Farm demand still strong

In other agricultural sectors, demand remains strong for well-located, mixed-use farming properties such as 4185-hectare Avoca on Bears Lagoon Road, Moura, in Central Queensland.

The property, offered as part of the winding up of a deceased estate, sold at auction for $8.9 million to Corey and Amy Howell from Rockhampton, Australia’s beef capital, about two hours north of Moura.

Selling agent Richard Brosnan, Ray White Rural Rockhampton principal, said there were 15 inspections made of the property before auction. Eight parties registered to bid, and six competed for Avoca on the day.

Mr Brosnan said most of the demand in Central Queensland was coming from local farmers looking to expand.

“The cattle market is very strong, but there may not be room left for much more upside [in property values],” he said.

Further north, in the Mount Christian district near Koumala, Mirador, a 716-hectare cropping and fattening property sold under the hammer for $6 million to Ron and Chree Reseck. Mr Reseck opened Mackay’s first McDonald’s in 1990.

Mirador was marketed on behalf of Mark and Patsy Wheeler by Robert Murolo from Elders.

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