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Central Otago Viticulture Market Update

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Viticulture Land Sales Map, Central Otago, November 2021

The underlying industry confidence remains positive

Central Otago is a well-established wine growing region that has built a reputation for producing high quality Pinot Noir. This reputation, combined with strong distribution channels, has consistently allowed Pinot Noir grape prices to be the highest in New Zealand, with growth in demand from local and international markets. The export success has given rise to a heightened level of corporate and investor activity in the market.

The total area of vineyards in the Central Otago region is 2,024 hectares or 5% of the national producing area. The average vineyard size in this region is 9 hectares, and the main grape varieties grown are Pinot Noir and Pinot Gris.

Previous viticulture research:
Marlborough Viticulture Market Update | February 2021
Marlborough and Central Otago Viticulture Market Update | August 2020

There is strong demand for horticultural land in Central Otago with competing interest from growers seeking to develop cherry orchards. While some vineyard development is also occurring, this is at relatively low levels. The increased demand for other horticultural crops is one factor contributing to competition for resources such as water, accommodation, and particularly, labour for many vineyard tasks.

The underlying industry confidence remains positive with strong grower and winery relationships at present. However, the industry continues to face challenges including labour shortages, increased operating expenses, climate change, biosecurity, and uncertainty due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Recent changes to the Overseas Investment Office (OIO) rules have extended the timeframe from three years to ten years before leases to foreign owned entities require OIO approval. This may result in greater demand to lease vineyards and potential increases in rental values.

There have been several vineyard sales throughout Central Otago recently, indicating an active market. Some of these sales are smaller scale vineyards, which are heavily influenced by the activity in Otago's lifestyle property market. These smaller vineyard owners often depend on leasing, which continues to provide a good option for ongoing return without carrying additional risk and the opportunity to bank on capital appreciation later. Leasing is increasingly part of succession planning for many vineyard owners in the region.

We expect grape prices to increase for the coming vintage on the back of a shortage of supply, in line with other regions that are struggling to keep up with demand. Some of the smaller wineries have been impacted by the decline of hospitality and cellar door trade in New Zealand and this is expected to continue with tourist numbers unlikely to recover in the short-term, however, domestic tourism has filled this gap to some extent.

More rural property research from the Rural Valuation team:
Canterbury dairy support and arable market update | September 2021
Southland dairy property market update | August 2021
New Zealand forestry market update | August 2021
Kiwifruit market update | May 2021


Viticulture Land Sales Map, Central Otago 2021

Central Otago Viticulture Market Update

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Related Experts

Tim Gifford

Director | Rural Valuation


Tim has 13 years property valuation experience and is based in our Blenheim office. Prior to joining CAPI in 2006 he worked as a valuer for Quotable Value based in Christchurch..

Since 2006, Tim’s client work has included viticulture, high country tenure review and rental valuations, pastoral valuations, lifestyle, specialised asset valuations and compensation for various infrastructure projects nationwide.

Tim’s viticulture experience includes the valuation of vineyards for financing, sale & purchase and rent setting purposes for a number of clients including Pernod Ricard, Indevin, Wither Hills, Cloudy Bay, Allan Scott Wines, Treasury Wine Estates, plus a number of others. Tim is also frequently engaged to provide valuation advice to most of the major banks. Having grown up and lived most of his life in Marlborough, Tim has in depth local knowledge of the region.

Tim has extensive experience in valuing large pastoral and high country properties throughout the South Island, either on behalf of Linz for tenure review or rent review purposes or for corporate and private landowners. Properties valued include Muller Station, Mt White, Mt Albert, Mt Creighton, Godley Peaks, Hossack, Glen Wye, Glenhope, Forest Range plus many more. Tim is designated as an assessor under Section 23P Crown Pastoral Land Act 1998 to provide rental assessments on Crown Pastoral Lease properties.

Compensation is another key area of expertise and Tim has provided property advice on a number of projects nationwide including Transpowers 400kV transmission line build through the Waikato, Central Plains irrigation scheme through Canterbury, land acquisitions for roading on behalf of the New Zealand Transport Agency as well as new transmission line easement assessments for various network operators throughout New Zealand.

Tim offers our clients excellent technical skills and market knowledge, together with a sound appreciation of both private and public sector imperatives. He plays a key role in our viticulture, pastoral and compensation valuation teams.

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Jack Powell

Registered Valuer | Rural & Agribusiness


Jack has a strong rural background growing up in North Canterbury where he developed a range of skills which have aided him in his valuation career. 

Jack started working for the company in 2015 after graduating from Lincoln University, where he worked alongside our senior valuers gaining valuable experience. During this period Jack was involved in undertaking corporate dairy farm portfolio valuations for financial reporting, planning and potential acquisition purposes throughout Canterbury and the Waikato, as well as assisting in high country station tenure reviews.

In 2018 Jack completed his registration before taking time off to follow a professional rugby career in Russia. After returning in late 2019, Jack returned to the Rural Valuation profession. 

At the start of 2021 Jack relocated to our Blenheim office where he is now working alongside Tim Gifford. Since moving to Blenheim, Jack has been involved in a number of large scale 
vineyard valuations for finance and rental purposes as well as continuing to work within the dairy and pastoral sectors. 

In addition to Jack’s valuation work he is also a high-power user of all sorts of applications helping to create efficiencies within the Company by developing our modelling and database tools.

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