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Big wine merger withers on the vine

Manufacturing News

A shuffle of ownership of wine businesses which could have seen one of Australia’s three biggest wine producers return to Australian control has withered on the vine.

Australian Vintage which manufactures Nepenthe and Barossa Valley Wine Company products had been in discussions about a possible merger with private equity owned Accolade Wines, the maker of numerous brands including Petaluma, Berri Estates and Hardy’s.

Now the merger which would have seen Australian Vintage take control of one of Australia’s big three wine companies is off, according to Adelaide media In Daily reports.

Accolade apparently walked away from a deal with Australian Vintage following the failure of its efforts to consolidate production of grapes in South Australia’s Riverland which is the home of Berri Estates, Australia’s largest single winery.

Accolade’s ownership has been unstable in recent times with the talks four months after Accolade accepted an offer from investment firm Australian Wine Holdco to take ownership of the company as part of a recapitalisation plan that would reduce debt.

AWL comprises funds backed by Bain Capital Special Situations, Intermediate Capital Group, Capital Four, Sona Asset Management and Samuel Terry Asset Management.

Accolade Wines had been owned by Carlyle since its sale in 2018 for $1 billion.

Accolade’s future remains uncertain while Australian Vintage’s shares were suspended from sale on the ASX pending a capital raise and debt refinancing plan.

Australian Vintage said it was ‘not in a position to make the announcement’ yet.

Picture: Accolade Wines/production

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