27 Nov 2012

Family winery plans expansion

9:35 am on 27 November 2012

A family-owned winery in Marlborough plans to more than double its production base by 2015 to almost 700 hectares of grapes despite a downturn in the industry.

Marisco Vineyards has just bought the historic 2000 hectare Leefield Station in the Waihopai Valley, which was first settled in the 1840s.

Co-owner and chief winemarker Brent Marris says it will allow the company to significantly increase production of its wines, which are currently made from grapes grown on a 268 hectare block in the valley.

"We need more of what we're producing, that is the problem, I need more sauvignon blanc, more chardonnay, more pinot noir, more pinot gris.

"The brands are so strong, literally, if I had 200 hectares of that property planted today, I could be selling that fruit."

Mr Marris says Marisco eventually plans to plant up to 700 hectares of Leefield Station in grapes and use the rest of the property for sheep farming.