20 December 2018

A joint venture between New Zealand winemaker Steve Smith and United States investor Brian Sheth has approval to buy a Cromwell vineyard.

The Overseas Investment Office (OIO) has approved Aotearoa New Zealand Fine Wine Estates LP to buy 27-hectare Lowburn Ferry vineyard from Roger and Mary Gibson for about $2.2 million.

New Zealander Steve Smith co-founded Craggy Range vineyard, and Brian Sheth is the co-founder and president of Vista Equity Partners.

The joint venture will establish a premium fine wine brand in New Zealand. 

The Cromwell vineyard will be added to their portfolio of New Zealand vineyards and planted with additional grapes that will be used in their new premium wines.

The applicant’s business plan includes building a winery, tasting room and accommodation facilities on the land, which will in turn create new full-time jobs at the winery. These aspects of the business plan must be completed to meet the OIO conditions.

The investment will also result in increased land productivity and higher export receipts.

Approval to purchase the land was required under the Overseas Investment Act as it is rural land over five hectares.

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