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Calabria Family Wines acquires Australia’s McWilliam’s Wines

Riverina and Barossa Valley-based Calabria Family Wines has bought 144-year-old Australian wine producer McWilliam’s after the business went into administration last year.

The deal is set to complete on 30 April and will see Calabria take on McWilliam’s brands, intellectual property and stock holdings, as well as its Hanwood vineyard, winery and cellar door.

A founding member of Australia’s First Families of Wine and the owner of the Mount Pleasant wine brand, McWilliam’s Wines, went into administration at the beginning of 2020 following “decline in business performance”.

Based in Riverina, McWilliam’s was founded in 1877 and has been owned by six generations of the same family. It produces wines under the McWilliam’s label as well as those made at the Mount Pleasant estate in the Hunter Valley, which it acquired in 1941. It also sources grapes from the Canberra, Hilltops and Tumbarumba regions in New South Wales.

Bill Calabria, AM

In February 2020, KPMG appointed Colliers International to sell both the business and assets of McWilliam’s Wines.

Third-generation general manager of Calabria Family Wines, Michael Calabria, said it was a “great honour” to take ownership of the business.

“Despite recent challenges, we know the McWilliam’s name carries a long and prestigious reputation as one of Australia’s oldest wine producers,” he said.

Calabria itself was founded 75 years ago, and continues to be run by the second and third generations of the family. Its brands include Saint Petri, Alternato, Calabria Bros, Okiwi Bay and Pierre d’Amour.

Sales and marketing manager, Andrew Calabria, added: “We have great respect for the McWilliam family and the impact they have had on the Australian wine industry. Dad (Bill Calabria, AM) loves sharing stories about the pioneering family and often spends an afternoon chatting and visiting with Jim McWilliam (96 years). We are committed to honouring the McWilliam’s legacy as we bring their portfolio of outstanding wines into our very own.”

Fifth generation member of the McWilliam family, Greg McWilliam, said: “Local members of the McWilliam family are pleased that the Hanwood winery and the McWilliam’s Wines business will continue under the control of the Calabria family and that their passion for the local region, brands and history of the company will continue under their family ownership. We have had a close and enduring relationship over many years and look forward to working with the Calabria family in the future.”

The financial terms of the deal have not been disclosed.

In November last year, Calabria Family Wines announced its acquisition of three Australian wine brands – Deakin Estate, La La Land and Azahara – which were previously part of the Wingara Wine Group owned by German wine group Henkell Freixenet.

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