A group of high-powered wine industry executives including Margaret Lehmann, widow of celebrated winemaker Peter Lehmann, has tipped 34.5 hectares of prime “Grange country” vineyards onto the market in the Barossa Valley with expectations of between $2 and $3 million.
The vineyards, on Schneiders Road in the Ebenezer district near Nuriootpa, were first planted by Peter Lehmann “the baron of the Barossa” in 1999. They comprise 25.8 hectares of the valley’s famous shiraz grapes with the balance being planted to cabernet and merlot.
The late winemaker, who founded Peter Lehmann Wines in 1979 and who helped introduce Barossa Valley shiraz to the wine quaffing world, died in 2013 as Australia’s most famous vintner.
Other investors in the Ebenezer vineyards include Riverland winemaker Christine Caudo of Caudo Wines and Ivan Limb, a former director of wine company Cockatoo Ridge.
The vineyards are being sold by Toby Langley, managing director of Gaetjens Langley wine brokers. “Ebenezer is a highly regarded sub-region of the Barossa Valley, it’s Grange country,” Mr Langley said referencing the famous Penfolds Grange wine made predominantly from shiraz grapes.
STRONG DEMAND FOR VINEYARDS
He said the Barossa remains the most actively traded wine region in Australia with strong demand for its vineyards amid rising fruit prices.
The average price of Barossa shiraz grapes hit a record of $2137 a tonne this year, according to the 2015 SA Winegrape Crush Survey.
“Wine companies are being quite active in securing supply, plus there are also new entrants coming into the region,” Mr Langley said.
These include UK-based Blends Wine Estates, backed by Argentine oil and gas billionaire Alejandro Pedro Bulgheroni, which acquired the 40-hectare Greenock Farm Winery with 12 hectares of vines for $1.95 million from Barossa Valley winemaker John Russell.
Another Barossa vineyard, the Magnolia Vale winery and Artisans of Barossa restaurant with 10 hectares of vines, sold to Calabria Family Wines for $1.9 million at the end of August.
According to the most recent vineyards report by the Australian Bureau of Statistics, there are 9300 hectares of vineyards in the Barossa with 5748 hectares planted to its famous shiraz grapes.
But according to the SA Winegrape Crush Survey (carried out by the Phylloxera and Grape Industry Board of South Australia) there are almost 11400 hectares of vines in the Barossa with almost 6800 hectares planted to shiraz.