Australian beer and wine combine Foster's Group is reported to be close to completing the sale of two wineries, Jamieson's Run and Rothbury Estate.
 
The sell-off, expected to yield around A$20m (US$15m), is part of a winery rationalisation programme following the acquisition of Southcorp, the Australian Financial Review said today (15 May).

Further asset sales are expected as a review of the group's wine operations comes to a conclusion. The company acquired 16 wineries in the takeover and is looking to cut costs at its Southcorp operations.
 
Jamieson's Run, in the Coonawarra region of South Australia, and Rothbury Estate, which is in the Hunter Valley in New South Wales, were originally put up for sale last August.

The Jamieson's Run winery has the capacity to crush 12,000 tonnes of grapes, while the Rothbury winery has a crushing capacity of around 4,000 tonnes. However, while it is selling the wineries, Foster's is reportedly intending to retain the rights to the brands.
 
At present, it is not clear who the buyers for the two facilities are. It had been reported that a consortium, including James Yates who operates the Chardonnay Lodge resort in Coonawarra, had tabled a bid of A$10m for Jamieson's Run but no further details have emerged.
 
Hunter Valley winery Arrowfield was in negotiations to buy Rothbury Estate but talks were thought to have stalled a couple of months ago.
 
Foster's is also looking to slash the number of warehouses and distribution centres it operates, from 41 to 14, according to the report.