Restaurateur Ben Lindell describes his love for growing grapes and producing mostly natural and biodynamic wine as nothing more than a passion, albeit one with a steep learning curve.
Moving from Byron Bay to the Apple Isle with wife Haidee in 2010, the couple jumped at the chance to purchase Hoeyfield, a historic property 40 minutes south of Hobart, when it was listed in 2012. On 1.297ha of waterfront land with 0.5ha of vines, it was just what the budding winemaker needed to pursue this passion.
“This was about proximity to the water and the bonus of the vineyard,” Lindell says. “It’s a part- time job for one person, especially if you’re not making wine yourself. When we bought it, it provided me with an opportunity to continue my interest in growing grapes and making wine without having to dedicate my whole life to it.”
Five years on and Lindell’s interest has taken off. On top of managing dining destination Peppermint Bay, he has opened the award-winning Franklin restaurant in Hobart with his business partner, chef Dave Moyle, and purchased a second, larger organic vineyard down the road from Hoeyfield, also on the Channel Highway in Birchs Bay.
It’s this reason he and Haidee have listed Hoeyfield, a former cherry and apple farm with its packing shed and pickers’ quarters still intact, for sale with expectations of $2.1 million.
It’s expected to attract another passionate lifestyle producer, or novice grape grower, who recognises the beauty, and opportunity, of the region.
“If you take it beyond wine into produce there are so many small producers of anything down here; wine, cheese, vegetables. It’s amazing,” Lindell says.
“When you are at Franklin and Peppermint Bay you won’t ever see a big wholesaler pull up.
“It will be people in their station wagons trying to get rid of their excess home grown produce. That was one of the reasons why we were attracted to coming down here. It’s right in the middle of it all and allows you to engage with people doing great stuff on a smaller scale.”
Knight Frank agent Anne Bowman says Hoeyfield, and a second prestige property also on the Channel Highway, with pinot noir vines planted and listed for $2.3m, are attracting inquiries from mainland and Tasmanian buyers.
“These lifestyle properties are less than an hour’s drive from a capital city and that’s very appealing to a lot of people. That’s a big drawcard,” she said. “These properties are manageable in size, they already have vines planted, they have lovely homes and it’s an extremely beautiful part of the world.
“Buyers look at lifestyle properties as a way of potentially generating a bit of income, or for their own enjoyment. A property of between three and five acres means it appeals to people who may be looking at a tree change or those moving off larger properties and want something smaller and more manageable.”
Hobart was Australia’s best performing capital city in March, with its median house price up 2.61 per cent to $330,083, according to CoreLogic RP Data.
But SQM Research managing director Louis Christopher warned that although Tasmania remains Australia’s most affordable state, buyers looking for lifestyle properties, particularly those with income potential, still need to do plenty of homework.
“There have been plenty of Sydney property investors who have bought vineyards because it sounds fantastic and appealing as a lifestyle, but you need to know what you’re doing or you’ll lose money,” he says. “They’re an investment that requires the extra committed and those who are willing to persevere can do well.”
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