Ideal Time To Invest in New Zealand Wine

Investors tempted down under for a share in New Zealand’s wine industry

‘Get a taste for your new life’ was the message at an exclusive wine tasting event held in London this month and led by legendary international wine expert, Oz Clarke.

Hosted by Immigration New Zealand, investors and entrepreneurs were invited to sample premium wines from a number of New Zealand’s top boutique wineries, and to find out more about the business and lifestyle benefits of investing in New Zealand’s booming wine industry.

Economic success story

There is plenty to quench the thirst of the savvy wine investor. New Zealand offers a stable and internationally competitive economy driven by an entrepreneurial ‘can do’ spirit supported by one of the best tax and regulatory systems in the world. Paul Bloxham, HSBC’s Chief Economist for Australia and New Zealand, recently described New Zealand as ‘the rock star economy’ with economic growth powering ahead and likely to outstrip other countries in the OECD.

New Zealand also benefits from a strong commitment to open-market policies that facilitate engagement in global commerce. For example, New Zealand’s free trade agreement with China has enabled it to fulfil China’s growing desire for high quality wine. Over the last five years, exports of New Zealand wine to China have more than quadrupled.

Wither Hills Vineyards
Wither Hills Vineyards


Achieving the perfect balance

On the other side of the world, New Zealanders are busy enjoying a great lifestyle and healthy work-life balance – some say the best in the world. Think spacious outdoor living, infinite leisure opportunities, moderate climate, low crime rates, excellent education, and quality food and wine, and you have a heady mix which is attracting UK and European investors ripe for a new and exciting challenge.

Imagine a place where you can work to the highest professional standards then, in just a short time, be away from it all either relaxing on a beach, walking in the mountains or just relaxing with family and friends in your back garden over a glass of fine New Zealand wine.


Invest in success

According to Philip Gregan, CEO at New Zealand Winegrowers, the national organisation for New Zealand’s grape and wine sector: “Now is the ideal time to invest in New Zealand wine. Around the world, demand for New Zealand wine has never been higher with wine exports valued at their highest ever level of $1.32 billion and the bumper 2014 harvest set to further boost to growing wine exports. The New Zealand wine industry has set its sights on becoming a $2 billion export industry.”


Sileni Estates Ltd
Sileni Estates Ltd

The New Zealand wine industry in figures 


  • 35,733 hectares of wine producing land
  • 833+ growers and 698+ wineries
  • Almost 500,000 tonnes of grapes harvested in 2014
  • Total harvest up 29% on 2013
  • NZ wine exports valued at $1.32 billion, up 9.2%
  • NZ wine exported to more than 90 countries
  • Wine is NZ’s 8th biggest goods export


Matt Hoskin, National Manager for Skills & Investment at Immigration New Zealand explains: “There are some very exciting investment opportunities within the New Zealand viticulture sector today. The New Zealand wine industry is one of New Zealand’s fastest growing exports.”


Take the fast track down under

New Zealand is looking for smart investors – people who have the connections, capabilities and knowledge to help grow the sector and reap the rewards. Its streamlined immigration policies reflect this. The Investment Visa categories are designed for the global investor, making it easier to move to New Zealand permanently or helping to make New Zealand one of a number of bases. For people who wish to run their own business in New Zealand, there is also a range of Entrepreneur Work Visa options.


Key information: Investment Visa requirements

  • NZ$10million (£5million) investment
    • 3 year investment period
    • 44 days to be spent in New Zealand during years 2 and 3
    • Health and character requirements
  • NZ$1.5million (£750k) investment
    • 4 year investment period
    • 144 days to be spent in New Zealand during years 2, 3 and 4
    • 3 years business experience
    • Up to age 65
    • Health and character requirements


Meet the Brits who have taken the plunge into New Zealand wine ….

Christine Kernohan

Managing Director and Chief Winemaker, Gladstone Vineyard, Carterton, New Zealand

When Christine Kernohan, a Glaswegian working in IT, decided to start her own business, she wanted something that would give her that elusive combination – quality of life, opportunities for travel, and the challenge of taking on and growing an international business. She explains: “Wine gave me a mixture of indoor, outdoor, hands on and strategic, in an attractive and growing industry which suited my science background.”

Since acquiring Gladstone Vineyard in the heart of the Wairarapa in 1996, Christine and her husband have grown the business to become a high quality boutique winery with an international reputation for distinctive, high quality wines of finesse and complexity.

Gladstone Vineyard has 13 hectares of vineyards and winemaking facilities, exporting their award-winning wines around the world. Like many owners, they have diversified to include a busy café and self-catering accommodation.

After many years living her dream, Christine is looking for investors to take the business into its next phase of development: “We are looking for another passionate wine lover who wishes to invest in a beautiful place making beautiful wine.”


Gladstone villa across vines
Gladstone villa across vines


Sam and Mandy Weaver

Churton Wines, Blenheim, New Zealand

Having worked in the London Wine Trade for many years and with a number of family members in New Zealand, Sam and Mandy took a ‘working holiday’ in 1988 to experience the New Zealand wine business and have never looked back! Wanting to return to his winemaking grassroots (with a degree in Microbiology), Sam started working in wineries in Marlborough. In 1997, the couple established Churton Wines to make their own mark in the industry. Sam explains: “Choosing to establish our own wine company in New Zealand fulfilled our love of the land, wine and the freedom to try something of our own celebrating our new home with a link to markets in our previous home.”

For Mandy, moving to New Zealand has provided the perfect opportunity to try something they would never have been able to do in Europe: “We have been able to carve a niche for our wines based on our particular site and terroir – something that would have been extremely difficult to do in Europe. Add to that the quality of life. We work hard but on our time off we are within a short distance of boating paradise, local ski slopes and the Pacific Islands are just a two or three hour flight away.”

Churton makes premium quality, biodynamic and organic wines. Over two decades, Churton has grown from a 400-case to a 7,000-case company with plans to grow capacity further to 12,000 cases. The couple are now seeking investors to help them grow the business and to establish an onsite eco-winery within the vineyard.


Sam & Mandy Weaver, Churton
Sam & Mandy Weaver, Churton

Nigel Greening

Proprietor, Felton Road Wines, Bannockburn, New Zealand

Felton Road is one of the most famous of the Central Otago wineries, making highly regarded Pinot Noirs, Riesling and Chardonnay. Nigel’s investment in the wine industry began with the purchase of an 8-hectare apricot orchard at Cornish Point in Bannockburn for NZ$330k in 1999. Within two years he had converted it to vines. But, thirsty for more, in September 2000 he purchased Felton Road Wines in Bannockburn, then just three years into production. The deal, amounting to a $6.3m purchase, marked Nigel’s long-term viticulture and today he runs a small but highly successful winery exporting to 44 markets around the world.


Felton Road - Nigel Greening
Felton Road – Nigel Greening

Useful contacts

For enquiries about the new business visas, please contact Jennifer Andersen, Investment Market Manager (Europe), Migrant Attraction Unit, Immigration New Zealand


Telephone: +44 (0) 20 7208 1140

To find out more about investing in New Zealand:

For further information on wine-related investments, visit New Zealand Trade and Enterprise:

For more information about the New Zealand Wine industry: