Powell buys back Torbreck

  • Wednesday 3 September 2008

Barossa Valley winemaker David Powell has regained control of his ultra-premium winery, Torbreck.

The highly-regarded winery, maker of Run Rig, Descendant and The Factor, went into receivership in 2003 after the catastrophic collapse of Powell’s marriage.

Now he and Atlanta-based Pete Kight, owner of Sonoma’s Dry Creek, have paid AUS$25.3m for the business.

They have bought it from Jack Cowin, owner of Competitive Foods and a director of Beijing’s ASC Wines, China’s largest distributor.

Cowin paid AUS$6.5m for Torbreck in 2003 and retained Powell as managing director and chief winemaker as well as a minor shareholder with an option to re-purchase.

Since then Powell has boosted production from 43,000 to about 70,000 cases a year, and AUS$8m has been spent in the past year on a new 1500-tonne winery, bottling line and administration centre.

‘We would have been pleased to stay in but he wanted to own the business,’ Cowin said. ‘The reality was the Torbreck and Dave Powell are indelibly linked and him buying back made sense to me.’

Cowin added that he would be interested in buying other winery assets ‘if the right one presented itself’.

David and Christine Powell founded Torbreck in 1994. During their marriage breakdown they were ‘at each other’s throats’ and couldn’t reach a settlement, Powell said at the time.

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