GoFarm Australia snags one of Australia’s largest vineyards

Chris McLennan - The Weekly Times

A GROUP of Melbourne investors has bought one of Australia’s biggest vineyards.

GoFarm Australia also snared one of Victoria’s biggest parcels of water with its purchase of Del Rios for $22-$25 million.

The 900ha vineyard, north of Swan Hill and near the junction of the Murray and Murrumbidgee rivers at Kenley, was sold last month along with its 5476 megalitres of high-sec­urity water.

GoFarm, which has already outlined plans to invest in the lucrative nut trade, has bought several big properties in the Sunraysia region in the past year.

Colliers International’s Tim Altschwager has previously suggested the vines could be replaced with almonds.

“Many parties were interested in the large water entitlement alone,” Mr Altschwager said after the sale was announced.

Del Rios was sold by Belvino Investments, which is majority-owned by Hong Kong company CK Life Sciences International. Belvino also operates a 463ha vineyard at Balranald, and CK Life Sciences owns one of Australia’s biggest salt makers, Cheetham Salt, based at Geelong.

Del Rios was first planted to wine grapes in 1998 by Bruce Chalmers and later leased to McGuigan Wines.

GoFarm Australia last year bought up more than 4200ha in the Swan Hill and Robinvale areas. The company’s chairman is Robert Costa, from the Costa fruit group in Geelong.

GoFarm also bought the 1000ha dryland section of the Lamattina farm at Robinvale.

The next big vineyard likely to change hands is the 902ha Dunvar at Darlington Point near Griffith, which was offered for sale in May.