The bid has reached 90% shareholder acceptance and has been declared ‘unconditional’, which triggers the mandatory purchase of the English wine producer.
Lizzy Rudd, chair of Berry Bros & Rudd, said: ‘We are delighted to confirm this exciting joint venture with Symington Family Estates. Together, we are committed to sustainable viticulture and winemaking, and we believe that this business, which was the first commercial English vineyard of the modern era, has the foundations and potential to lead the way in the English sparkling wine category.’
Hambledon is England’s oldest commercial vineyard, with the first vines planted in 1952. It now has 81ha under vine in Hampshire, which features the same chalk soils found in the Champagne region.
The estate has the capacity to produce more than 500,000 bottles per year, and it has received many awards for the quality of its sparkling wine.
Johnny Symington, chair of Symington Family Estates – whose brands include Graham’s, Dow’s, Warre’s, and Cockburn’s, plus table wines from the Douro – added: ‘It was going to take something very special for us to make wine in a new country, having produced Port and wine in Portugal for five generations.
‘Following lengthy analysis of the English sparkling wine category, we are thrilled to be acquiring one of the leading producers in partnership with Berry Bros & Rudd.’
Berry Bros & Rudd is the UK’s oldest wine merchant, founded in London back in 1698. Its clients include the Royal Family.
The family-run merchant runs a warehouse store and fine wine storage facility in Hampshire, and it has sold Hambledon wines for several years.
‘We are two family businesses who have worked together and been friends for many years,’ said Lizzy Rudd. ‘We share the same values and ethos and are delighted to be partnering to bring stability and growth to this business at a very exciting time for English sparkling wine.’
Johnny Symington hailed the ‘fantastic Hambledon terroir’ and said that the ‘quality of the wines is absolutely spectacular’.
He added: ‘We believe that these are world-class sparkling wines that will play a leading role in the development of English sparkling into a world-renowned fine wine.’