Jack Bendat, the US-born investor who sold Goundrey Wines to Vincor for A$62.5m in 2002, has again invested in the Western Australian wine industry by underwriting a A$10.2m rights issue for Frankland River-based Ferngrove Vineyard Estate.

Proceeds from the issue will be used to retire debt and fund expansion of the Ferngrove winery, from 6,000 to 7,000 tonnes, as well as further development of export markets.

Ferngrove chief executive Anthony Wilkes said the issue would enable the company to repay A$6m in interest-bearing debt and reduce gearing to 20%.

Bendat said that he had no desire to get back into winery management but might underwrite other capital raisings for wine companies if they became available.