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2/12/2014

Accolade and Grant Burge reach sale agreement

Accolade Wines and Grant Burge Wines have reached an agreement on the acquisition of the Barossa family brand and business, along with the Krondorf Winery.

Rumours of the deal have been circling the industry since late October and the two wineries confirmed they were in “exclusive discussions” in mid-November. No details about staff impacts or the Illaparra winery, located in Tanunda and subject to current plans for a significant upgrade, were made available with the announcement.

Grant Burge Wines sold significant vineyard holdings in recent years, to pay down debt, and has leased them back to secure the grape supply.

The deal brings a significant Barossa brand into the Accolade stable, alongside the likes of existing regional brands like Banrock Station, Riverland; Houghton, Swan Valley; Leasingham, Clare Valley; Brookland Valley, Margaret River; Yarra Burn, Yarra Valley; House of Arras and Bay of Fires, Tasmania; as well as Mud House and Waipara Hills, New Zealand; and Geyser Peak, California.

A statement from Anita Poddar, Accolade’s head of global external affairs – based at Reynella, said the company was “excited by the opportunity to build on the domestic strength of the brands and grow Grant Burge Wines internationally through its distribution network which spans 112 countries”.

Grant and Helen Burge, who founded their winery in 1988 but draw on generations of Barossa winemaking heritage, said they were “looking forward to working closely with Accolade” and seeing their trophy winning portfolio becoming “more widely known and appreciated outside of Australia”.

The agreement is subject to certain third party conditions, which if met would see completion of the acquisition in January 2015. Terms of the agreement will remain confidential.

When the news of the Accolade discussions broke in November, Grant Burge told The Australian he first went hunting for an investor earlier in the year.

“We went to the market to find some equity in the business and it all led on from there,” Burge said.

“Accolade Wines weren’t the only people we spoke to.”

Accolade, which is part owned by New York based Constellation Brands, is the currently the number one wine company by volume and value in the UK and by volume in Australia.

Accolade Wines is headquartered at Reynella, South Australia, and has offices in Guildford, Bristol, Sydney, Brisbane, Perth, Melbourne, Singapore, Stellenbosch, Tokyo, Moscow, Shanghai, Beijing, Warsaw, the Napa Valley, and Marlborough.

The company has more than 1500 employees in Australia, the UK, Europe, North America, Asia, South Africa and New Zealand.

The history of the Burge family and their long association with winemaking in the region can be traced back to March 1855, when noted tailor John Burge immigrated to the Barossa from Hillcot, near Pewsey in Wiltshire, England with his wife Eliza and their two sons. John worked as a winemaker at Hillside Vineyards and his love of viticulture was passed onto his son Meshach, who continued the tradition making his first wine in 1865.

 


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