Accolade to sell Stanley Winery as it restructures production

Accolade Wines is to sell off its Stanley Winery in New South Wales to the Duxton Vineyards Group, but will retain the brand and move production to its Berri Winery following an AU$40 million investment in the site.

Accolade is set to offload the Stanley Winery to Duxton in a deal which is expected to complete in September 2019 pending regulatory approval.

Duxton, which is already a “significant customer” of the Stanley Winery, will continue to use the site for wine production and storage, according to a statement from Accolade. Duxton is a prominent grape grower, producing around 60,000 tonnes of grapes a year equating to around 5% of Australia’s total wine grape harvest. It already owns several major vineyards in the Murray Darling region.

Duxton Vineyards is a subsidiary of asset management firm the Duxton Group, which specialises in advising on agricultural investments with a portfolio of 21 operations spanning 540,000 hectares of farmland.

Duxton Group chairman, Edouard Peter, said: “This transaction cements Duxton’s presence in the region and will hopefully show that Duxton is committed to the long-term prosperity of the Sunraysia region.”

Following news of the sale, Accolade said that it is “committed to ensuring that [Stanley Winery] employees receive appropriate support and are treated respectfully at all times throughout the process”.

Duxton has also stated that it intends to “discuss potential employment opportunities” with existing Stanley Winery staff prior to the completion of the sale.

Accolade Wines executive ehairman, Ari Mervis, said: “The sale of Stanley Winery marks a significant milestone in the restructuring of our Australian operations and, with the expansion of our Berri facility, lays the foundation for efficiently growing sales of our portfolio of brands in domestic and export markets.”

The statement noted that the Stanley wine range would “remain an important brand in the Accolade portfolio”, but that all production and storage would be transferred to Accolade’s Berri Winery in South Australia. Accolade recently invested $40 million in a new bottling plant and storage facilities at the site, with the creation of 40 new jobs.

The sale of Stanley Winery is part of the ongoing restructuring and review of production that Accolade’s new owner, the Carlyle Group, is conducting.

In March this year it put its Knappstein Winery in the Clare Valley on the market, while last month it was reported that Houghton Wines in Swan Valley was to be sold for $15 million.

US private equity firm the Carlyle Group bought Accolade for AU$1 billion (£548 million) last April. Former owners, Australian private equity firm Champ, owned 80% of the business with Constellation Brands also having a 20% stake in the business. Carlyle’s purchase included both Champ and Constellation’s stakes.

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