Chairman Richard England and two independent directors have resigned from the board of Peter Lehmann Wines Ltd. The announcement came at Friday's annual meeting.

Speaking at the meeting, England conceded that the bitter takeover campaign for the Australian winemaker featured "colourful exchanges" between the bidders Hess and Allied Domecq, the company's founder Peter Lehmann, as well as himself. Hess Group AG, who Lehmann preferred to Allied, emerged victorious from the bidding war.

In September Lehmann launched a scathing attack on England and two other directors for supporting Allied's offer. "They have to live with what they have done - I would ignore any of their recommendations," Peter Lehmann said at the time. "I do not anticipate them being associated in that capacity for PLW for very long - I am just disgusted with the three independent directors in the way they have behaved in this manner. The role of the independent director should not be just to get an extra 10-15 cents per share. I would hope they will withdraw with dignity from any of our future deliberations and allow us to carry on."

"The company embarks on a new and exciting era, controlled by the Hess Group, influenced by the founder Peter Lehmann and managed by the existing executive team," England said.

Hess lifted its holding of Lehmann Wines to 79%, as it's A$4-a-share unconditional offer closes on Tuesday. Mr Lehmann intends to hold onto his 10.5% stake.