WHEN Neville Bertalli started his search for a farm three decades ago, he had some hard and fast rules.It had to be well located, family friendly and productive. Just an hour and 15 minutes' drive from the city, the 568ha Penbro fitted the bill.
- Property: grazing
- Size: 568ha
- Price: $3.5 million
- Agent: Pat Rice & Hawkins, Melbourne
- Contact: Peter Hawkins on (03)9866 5588
- Auction: Friday May 25, 2pm
"My first consideration was that the property had to be within easy reach of the city as it was going to be a family interest," Neville said.
"It also needed to be productive, with excellent water resources, at least 400ha in size and capable of supporting a viable rural business. After 30 years, Penbro has met all my expectations and, as one of the largest properties within the Yea Valley, I am delighted to be able to pass it on in great condition to the new owner."
Neville bought the property from former Formula One driver Alan Jones, who ran a cattle stud.
It now runs 300 Angus cows (and replacement heifers) with their calves sold at 10 months.
A signature holding in the district, Penbro has three homes including the homestead, three-bedroom manager's residence and a two-bedroom cottage.
Surrounded by magnificent English trees and expansive lawns, the 1980 four-bedroom brick-veneer homestead is primed for a refurbishment.
Views stretch up the Yea Valley to the north and northwest and, although the property has 2km of road frontage, privacy prevails.
Working improvements include covered cattle yards, steel machinery and hay sheds, a former two-stand shearing shed adjoined by a stud shed with pens and an office complex with kitchenette and bathroom. The property is watered by numerous dams (four main storages) linked by natural flow and a poly pipe system. There is also a 100-megalitre surface water licence.
The property's farm manager lives nearby and has expressed a willingness to stay on if required.
Penbro is divided into 20 main paddocks, all-service laneway system for ease of management.
Penbro also has a 40ha vineyard planted to six varieties, principally chardonnay and pinot noir, with an average annual production of about 300 tonnes.
"We normally use about 30 megalitres of water for the vineyard but the past two seasons have been excellent, producing dry-grown grapes," Neville said.
Pat Rice and Hawkins director Peter Hawkins described Penbro as "an opportunity that is all too rare".
"Neville Bertalli is downsizing his business and rural interests and, after 30 years of satisfaction with Penbro, he is able to pass it on to a new owner in prime condition," Mr Hawkins said.
"This is an opportunity to acquire a significant holding in a premier and reliable location where there is scope to continue rural enterprises in cattle breeding, grazing or as a stud property with the additional interest and cash flow that the vineyard provides."