Marlborough wineries in receivership

  • Tuesday 13 July 2010

Several wineries based in New Zealand’s Marlborough have gone into receivership, with indications that more may follow.

Earlier this month, Cape Campbell Wines and its affiliate companies, Brown Sorensen Vineyards and the Brown Family Trust, went into voluntary receivership, owing creditors millions of dollars.

Cape Campbell Wines was owned by the Brown family, part of the Marlborough wine industry for 30 years.

John Fisk of PricewaterhouseCoopers, which has been appointed to manage Cape Campbell's assets, said the three entities had liabilities totaling between $10m and $12m. He said he was unsure whether the company would continue to trade or be liquidated.

Last month, Awatere Vineyard Estates, a large contract grower owned by Auckland-based Barry Sutton, was put into receivership in addition to the Marlborough wine company Gravitas.

David Cox, European director of the New Zealand Wine Growers Association, said that growers had been hit hardest by the strong New Zealand dollar.

‘There is little doubt that many of New Zealand’s wineries which export to overseas markets have been experiencing some fairly severe margin pressures for their exports this year due to the unfavourable foreign exchange rate for the NZ$.’

‘For some (not all) of those wineries who are exporting Sauvignon Blanc, this has been compounded by the over-supply of Sauvignon Blanc from the large 2008 and 2009 vintages which has had an adverse effect on some export prices’, he added.

Ending on a cautious note of optimism, he told decanter.com, ‘The 2010 vintage has come in at a reduced tonnage (263,000 tonnes versus 285,000 tonnes in 2009) and yields were down.

'As a result, export prices have already started to rise to more profitable levels and the requirement to deplete excess stock is diminishing quickly.’

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