AUSTRALIA: Southcorp winery sales could net A$14m

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Southcorp, the Australian wine giant, is to sell two of its wineries after a review of the combined Rosemount/Southcorp business, which merged earlier this year. Concluded operations could be carried out at more efficient sites.

Managing director and CEO of Southcorp Keith Lambert announced yesterday that the company would be disposing of its Rouge Homme winery in South Australia's Coonawarra district and the Tulloch winery in the Hunter Valley.

The Rouge Homme brand and business name is not being included in the sale, Lambert said. And, in initial negotiations the brand name and winery-associated vineyards at Tulloch were not part of the Hunter Valley offering.

However, Lambert added that if combining the Tulloch winery, brand name and surrounding vineyards was worth more to a prospective purchaser than to Southcorp then the company would consider the larger option.

Analysts have estimated that a combined sale could net Southcorp in the region of A$14m. Lambert said that the money from the Rouge Homme sale would be used to expand the Wynns Coonawarra Estate winery so it can "handle all our needs in this important viticulture region".

The Tulloch winery has been deemed to be redundant after it was concluded that Rosemount's Denman winery in the same region is a more efficient and lower cost operation.

Lambert said: "Production at these wineries can be handled more efficiently and cost effectively at other wineries Southcorp has in the vicinity of Rouge Homme and Tulloch."

The Rouge Homme winery is located on a total site of nearly 16 hectares adjacent to the village of Coonawarra and includes some 13.5 hectares of vineyards planted with varieties such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Shiraz, Pinot Noir, Merlot and Cabernet Franc.

The operating winery has a capacity to crush between 10,000 and 12,000 tonnes with tank storage capacity of nearly 5.4m litres.

Mr Lambert said Southcorp does not envisage the sale of Rouge Homme will have any adverse impact on local staff numbers or its relationship with contract grape growers.

The Rouge Homme sale, for which tenders close on August 30, is being handled by winery and vineyard brokers Colin Gaetjens & Shaw of Adelaide.

The same brokers are handling the calling of Expressions of Interest for the Tulloch winery. The Tulloch property consists of the winery, capable of crushing between 5,000 and 7,000 tonnes, a 1,200-barrel storage facility, cellar door sales and some 9.6 hectares of vineyard planted to Shiraz.

Wines & Spirits in Australia 2001


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