Eling Forest, Sutton Forest vineyard sold to Chinese interests

Eling Forest, Sutton Forest vineyard sold to Chinese interests
Eling Forest, Sutton Forest vineyard sold to Chinese interests

Eling Forest Vineyard, the Southern Highlands of NSW boutique winery, has been sold.

Located just west of Sutton Forest village, the 73 hectare property has been bought by the Wang family for $5.8 million.

It had been listed by interests associated with Warwick Wainberg through Andrew Hearn at the Berrima based Andrew Hearn Real Estate.

The buyers were Wei Guo Wang, Wei Min Wang, Chen Yang Wang and Pei Hong Cao.

It last traded in 2005 at $600,000.

It highlights the Southern Highlands stature as one of Australia's most exciting new wine regions, though still not a patch on the Hunter Valley which has been attracting strong Chinese buying interest in recent years.

The Southern Highlands' first wine producer in recent times was Kim Mogine at Joadja in 1983. There were about 50 vineyards in the region by 2000 that spanned 145 hectares within Australia's newest wine region better known for its tulips.

Cool climate vineyards were first planted at Joadja Creek in the 1870s, supplying Sydney with table grapes.

Established in 1990, Eling Forest was the second modern winery to be established in the cool climate area, with its first wines produced in 1993. 

Its first vines were planted by Leslie Fritz, who was then 80, and came from a long line of winemakers in Hungary. The then 157 hectare holding had cost $1.9 million in 1989.

The grapes are handpicked and vines hand pruned in the traditional manner at the Hume Highway property, with the wine fermented in stainless steel vats, then aged in American and French oak barrels.

About 120,000 bottles are currently produced plus "Apple Thief" ciders.

The cool climate vineyard produces white and red wine varieties and blends sold through is cellar door which is open seven days a week.

There is an 1840 colonial homestead - restored in 2005 during the ownership of Ron Fryer - and other living quarters that provides accommodation in picturesque gardens tendered to at one point by Clause Crowe. 

It comes with function centre that caters for up to 200.

The former boxer Fortunato "Lucky" Gattellari and his brother Frank briefly bought into Eling Forest Winery, initially securing a small stake around 2003. Their venture, which soon soured, attracted international media interest.

Other major vineyards in the highlands include the Centennial Vineyards at Bowral, established by the co-founders of Cellarmasters, John Piven Large and his partner, Mark Dowling.

Jonathan Chancellor

Jonathan Chancellor

Jonathan Chancellor is one of Australia's most respected property journalists, having been at the top of the game since the early 1980s. Jonathan co-founded the property industry website Property Observer and has written for national and international publications.

Foreign Buyers Commercial New South Wales Rural China

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