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Oct 10, 2012

Cable Bay Vineyard and Restaurant on Waiheke Island has been sold to its founder and a construction boss.

Winemaker Neill Culley, who planted the first vines there in 1998, said he and Canam Construction managing director Loukas Petrou bought the property on Friday.

But he refused to disclose the price.

QV lists the property as being worth $5.5 million, made up of buildings worth $3.5 million and $2 million of land.

Mr Culley said he had a small shareholding previously but in his new role, he hoped to promote the brand in Australia, Singapore, Japan, the United States and elsewhere.

David Irving, a Cable Bay Vineyards director, said the first shareholders had enjoyed their experience and were delighted for the new owners.

General manager Nathalie Hinds said Mr Petrou had worked at the property for some years.

"Loukas was involved from 2006 with designing and building the restaurant and winery which opened in 2007," she said.

Mr Culley said the 4.5ha Church Bay property above Matiatia Bay was well known for the chardonnay and Syrah grown at the vineyard.

Sauvignon Blanc and pinot grapes were brought from the South Island and processed on the Waiheke property at Nick Johnstone Drive near Oneroa.

The business employs 27 people. The restaurant seats 120 people and about 25 weddings are held there annually.

Robyn Jones, co-owner of the nearby Mudbrick Vineyard and Restaurant, said she and her husband Nick considered buying Cable Bay but ruled it out because it did not stack up financially.

"We thought we were better off just looking after Mudbrick," she said. "It's a big commitment."