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Accolade jobs loss in deal with Treasury Wine Estates

Accolade Wines in Australia has shed 175 jobs as it moves its bottling operation to Treasury Wine Estates in a historic deal with its major rival.

‘Several million’ Accolade cases will be bottled at TWE’s Wolf Blass

Under the deal, Treasury Wine Estates will cover all Accolade’s bottling and packaging operations in Australia, while Accolade will do the same for TWE in the UK at Accolade Park, in Bristol.

TWE has used several service providers in the UK, including Accolade, but this is the first time operations will be consolidated.

Accolade chief executive Troy Christensen said the move created a new ‘paradigm’ for the industry but came at the price of 175 jobs at the company’s Reynella bottling plant.

‘This is a very significant decision for the Australian wine industry as it creates a new paradigm for the industry… Just as we do not own all our own vineyards, or all our own trucks, we don’t have to own every piece of equipment that helps us get wine to the consumer’s glass.

‘We were faced with the difficult realisation that the best option for our business, and for the Australian industry was to ensure that the most efficient facilities were fully utilised even if they were not our own.’

South Australia Premier Jay Weatherill blamed the high Australian dollar for the job loss. ‘Like many of the industries we’ve seen shedding workers in recent years, there’s a big adjustment going on in our economy. Many enterprises are finding it really tough with the high Australian dollar,’ he said during a visit to Canberra, as reported by Adelaide Now.

Meanwhile TWE told Decanter.com ‘several million new cases’ will be taken on at the Wolf Blass winery in Reynella.

‘It’s good for our business – we’re actually going to be employing extra people,’ a spokeswoman said.

David Dearie, chief executive officer for TWE said, ‘Both businesses compete in the global wine market and these new arrangements will enable us to better capitalise on our resources and state of the art facilities in the regions where we can best leverage the benefits.’

Treasury Wine Estates was created in May 2011 as the result of Foster’s spin-off of its wine division. The portfolio includes Penfolds, Beringer, Wolf Blass, Lindeman’s, Stags’ Leap Winery, Wynn’s Coonawarra, Etude and Chateau St Jean.

Accolade, which employs 1800 people worldwide, is the biggest wine company by volume in the UK and Australia. It was formed in early 2011 when US company Constellation Brands sold a majority stake in its division Constellation Wines Europe and Australia to CHAMP Private Equity. Its brands include Hardys, Kumala, Echo Falls, Stowells, Banrock Station, Fish Hoek and Flagstone, as well as Stone’s Ginger Wine and Babycham.

Written by Adam Lechmere

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