Berry Bros. & Rudd initiates takeover bid for Hambledon Vineyard in £22.3m deal
A consortium led by Berry Bros. & Rudd, the UK’s oldest wine merchant, has initiated a takeover bid for English winery Hambledon Vineyard for £22.3 million.
Established in 1952 by Major-General Sir Guy Salisbury-Jones, Hambledon is England’s oldest commercial vineyard.
The sparkling wine producer announced it had agreed on terms to be bought by the consortium, also led by The Symington Group of Portugal, the maker of Ports such as Dow’s, Graham’s and Cockburn’s.
Lizzy Rudd, chair of Berry Bros. & Rudd, and Rupert Symington, chief of Symington Family Estates, said of the sale this morning: “We believe the offer represents a positive opportunity for shareholders to receive value for their investment against the backdrop of the highly uncertain future the business otherwise faces.”
Hambledon has struggled under “sustained financial pressure”, the consortium said, and offered a “strategic opportunity to diversify” for the group’s members.
Rudd and Symington added: “We have been working with the Hambledon directors, lawyers, and advisers to prepare this offer to shareholders, which is being recommended by the independent Hambledon board.”
Buying into English wine is strategic move to future proof each member’s core business model against climate change, the consortium said today.
Recognition of English wines continues to grow, but sales figures were down in 2022. WineGB, the national association for the English and Welsh wine industry, reported £9.3 million bottles sold in 2021, down to just 8 million in 2022.
Last week the drinks business reported that Bride Valley Vineyard, the Dorset wine estate founded by the late wine expert and Judgement of Paris organiser Steven Spurrier in 2009, has been sold to local entrepreneurs Alasdair Warren and Mark Banham. Read more on that story here.