Australian beer and wine group, Lion Nathan, has acquired the New Zealand wine company, Wither Hills, in the Wairau Valley, for NZ$52m, subject to approval from the Overseas Investment Commission.

Wither Hills expects to increase its output of quality wines following its takeover by Lion Nathan, with output expected to rise to 80,000 cases this year. Around 70% of the production will be Sauvignon Blanc, with Chardonnay and Pinot Noir making up the rest. The chief winemaker, Brent Marris, will continue to run the business.

Wither Hills has 150 hectares currently under vine and a further 150 hectares available for planting. Lion Nathan said the winery is a good fit with its premium Australian wine brands and fills a gap in its portfolio because it did not have a premium New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc.