Sweetwater, Pokolbin set to tempt Chinese buyers with price reduction

Sweetwater, Pokolbin set to tempt Chinese buyers with price reduction
Sweetwater, Pokolbin set to tempt Chinese buyers with price reduction

The world class winery Sweetwater, located in the rolling hills of the Hunter Valley, goes under the hammer in three weeks at half the earlier price expectations.

Inspired by southern European vineyard estates, the 48 hectare Pokolbin holding comes with $15 million plus hopes.

Chinese buyers have heard of the repricing which has triggered a spate of recent inspections by international visitors.

Cabernet Sauvignon and Shiraz vines cover a third of the estate which dates back to the colonial 1840s.

"Chinese interest in Hunter Valley vineyards is certainly back up to the levels we saw in late 2011 and early 2012," Jurds listing agent Cain Beckett said.

"It seems the recent Chinese stock market crash and threat of a devalued RMB has created the urgency to get money into safer havens and our falling dollar is why many investors are favouring Australia."

But he cautioned his experience over the last six months was that getting the funds out of China had become increasingly difficult causing lengthy delays with exchange and preventing some sales from completing.

Not just a winery and olive grove, the main residence is a stunning Mediterrean style construction that features private and guest wing accommodations.

Duncan Hardie's Sweetwater Wines purchased the land in 1997 with most of the vineyards dying or being grazed by cattle.

Hunter Valley wine veteran Brian McGuigan provided early advice on the layout and planting, having worked on the vineyard when he was about 18 years old.

It is being marketed by Alan Jurd of Jurds Real Estate as the "most significant country vineyard estate in Australia."

He expects a sale between $14 million and $20 million.

Alan had initially been asked to list it at over $30 million last year.

"We are receiving a lot of enquiry and to date have had several inspections with buyers based in China," he said.

Jurds Real Estate director Cain Beckett suggested the falling Australian dollar was one of the reasons for why the Chinese interest in Hunter Valley vineyards is back.

There was a spurt in Chinese activity in 2011 where The Golden Grape Estate, The Capercaillie and Windsors' Edge were all bought by Chinese investors.

Directors of the Chinese division of the marketing firm Amway bought a vineyard in 2013 for $3.8 million.

Cain said unlike 2011 and 2012 there was now strong competition from the Australian buyer spurred mostly by a strong Sydney property market and strong cattle prices.

He suggested cattle could be grazed supplementary to the vineyard but it would not be the primary use due to the strong reputation of the award-winning Shiraz produce.

Brian McGuigan has recently bought a Hunter Valley cattle farm.

Sweetwater Wines, part of the Hardie Holdings group, purchased the land in 1997 in Belford from Belford Pastoral Company, which was originally granted to the pioneering Richard Jones, a merchant and pastoralist.

In 1829 Jones had received 10,000 acres at Singleton in the Hunter Valley from where he established one of his finest vineyards in the Patrick Plains Shore at Sweetwater Creek off Old North Road. 

In 1844 from Jones’s first plantings, his vineyard produced a total of 2,000 gallons of wine. 

Jonathan Chancellor

Jonathan Chancellor

Jonathan Chancellor is one of our authors. Jonathan has been writing about property since the early 1980s and is editor-at-large of Property Observer.

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Rural Hunter Valley

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