AUSTRALIA: Mildara Blass shores up Hunter Valley operations
The appointment is seen as an attempt to stabilize Rothbury's operations which have been marked in recent years by a succession of management and winemaker changes.
The Foster's Brewing Group subsidiary plans to invest $A5m in production facilities at the 105,000-case winery which was founded in 1968 by industry identities Len Evans and Murray Tyrrell and which it took over in 1996.
Mildara Blass has also bought McGuigan's 50% interest in the 32,000-case boutique winery, Briar Ridge, as part of a package to enable him to take the Rothbury helm.
The Hunter Valley, the closest wine region to Australia's major domestic and tourist market, Sydney, is seen as a the prime shop-window for the industry although Mildara Blass managing director, Terry Davis, said that while other major Australian wine producers had reduced their Hunter operations to little more than shop-fronts, "...we are investing in talent, energy and capital to build world-class infrastructure to further develop our Hunter heritage brands."
Aggressive export growth plans would be pursued to build on 1999/2000's 50% expansion which saw exports reach 30% of total production which, in turn, was 21.5% greater.
McGuigan is a former winemaker and group production director at Wyndham Estate and, in 1992, established the McGuigan Brothers label with siblings Brian and Ross.
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