Top-level managers, once glued to their city homes are spreading their wings in search of "life with a twist" within an hour's drive of Sydney's business centre.
Sydney developer Bradman Corporation is watching with keen interest as a steady flow of city-based executives beats a path to its latest venture - Nangarin Vineyard Estate, a rural residential vineyard set in the foothills of Picton. Bradman Corporation managing director Peter Brennan says the unique lifestyle - a home set among 18 hectares of vineyard in picturesque country surrounds - is luring city folk to the hills. "This trend has been emerging over the past couple of years, but we've previously seen a focus primarily on beach-side escapes," he says. "Now buyers are looking for alternatives closer to the city, but with the freedom of being somewhere completely different." Bradman Corporation, an active developer in Sydney's south-west has recently completed its flagship project, the Cascades Lifestyle Estate at Mt Annan. The success of that project - which sold out two years ahead of schedule - presented the three-year-old company with an opportunity to promptly diversify and develop Nangarin, a boutique development with wide appeal to both investors and owner-occupiers.
With rolling green hills from every angle, Nangarin Vineyard Estate seeks to embrace Picton's rich wine heritage and its storybook charm by taking the country locale to a new market. Where inner-city buyers would traditionally have looked to the coast, or inland toward Bowral for a life change, or even just a weekend escape, the focus is shifting to closer options such as Picton. Due for completion in 2002, the M5 Freeway will bring Picton even closer to Sydney's heart. "Bowral has become too busy and populated for people who traditionally sought a weekend escape, and for some people the trip up or down the coast is too long," Brennan says. "Picton is like a cross between what Bowral was 30 years ago, and the Hunter Valley. There's a marvellous atmosphere, and in a sense Picton is slowly waking up." While the project has received wide support within the community, and several buyers from the local area, it is also proving popular with purchasers from Sydney's north shore and to the south in the Wollongong area.
"Not only are they considering this project as a prospective weekender, they are also looking at the logistical side of making it their main residence," he says. In particular, second and third homebuyers have been strongly attracted by the affordability of the country vineyard alternative. Nangarin residents are well positioned to benefit from their future neighbour - a planned tourism and residential complex with a strong leaning to the rural nature of the area, also another Bradman Corporation project. An 18-hole golf course, in addition to a number of recreational facilities will literally be at Nangarin's doorstep. Situated neatly at the gateway to the Southern Highlands, Picton's charm lies mostly in its strong historic heritage and the fact it remains relatively undiscovered. Home of the famed George IV pub, which still brews its own beer, Picton's local economy is blossoming thanks to the modest growth in tourism-related business including bed and breakfast operations and the re-emergence of its rich wine past.
Picton and areas with the Camden district became Australia's first wine-growing area when John Macarthur planted vines at Camden Park, which he had collected when touring through France and Switzerland in 1817. The industry flourished and Britain regularly imported the award-winning colonial vintages. In 1844, cuttings of the established vines were sent to South Australia, creating the State's wine industry. However, by the mid-1800s, the inadvertent importation of an exotic Californian mite devastated the local industry, which only now is being revived for commercial production. In developing the vineyard estate concept, Bradman Corporation consulted leading viticulturists who believed Picton-Wollondilly had the potential to rival regions such as the Hunter and Barossa Valley as a reputable wine-producing district. "It is an extremely exciting venture for us, as it's a departure from our previous Cascades Lifestyle Estate, while still very much in keeping with our commitment to offering lifestyle alternatives," Brennan says.
Internationally renowned vintners, The Evans Wine Company will develop and manage the vineyard on behalf of owners in the community title project. All land parcels of the Torrens Title Nangarin Vineyard Estate are elevated and surround the vineyards, while another 30 hectares of land has been set aside for community-owned natural parkland, wildlife corridors and recreational facilities.
For further information about Nangarin Vineyard Estate, contact Geoff O'Brien on 0413 830 460
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