Barossa Valley Estate Limited – a cooperative owned by local grapegrowers – has gone into administration. Receivers McGrathNicol says it took control of the assets and affairs of the company upon its appointment on Tuesday.
The business is continuing to trade. The Commonwealth Bank is believed to be the bank involved.
Many local growers are supposedly still owed money for 2012 winegrapes.
WBM understands that an 11th-hour deal with another large wine business fell through.
“I would not like to be a grapegrower who is owed money for their 2012 fruit as I don’t believe they are going to get paid,” a local source told WBM this morning.
Another local contact said: “It’s very sad for Brand Barossa; hopefully the rights to the name ‘Ebenezer’ can now go back to its rightful owners – the growers of the Barossa Valley.”
Another grower said BVE was in the hands of administrators “but shareholders are yet to be notified”.
BVE was formed in 1984 by local grapegrowers. In March 2011 Constellation Wines sold its 50 percent equity stake in the business to Barossa Growers Holdings, making it 100 percent grower-owned.
It’s been an unsettling week for the Barossa with Sam Holmes, CEO of the Barossa Grape and Wine Association, announcing his resignation on Tuesday.
WBM phoned BVE CEO Christine Hahn, but she hasn’t yet returned our call.
Here is the full statement from McGrathNicol …
Sam Davies and Rob Kirman of independent restructuring and corporate advisory firm McGrathNicol, today announced they have been appointed Joint and Several Receivers and Managers (‘Receivers’) to Barossa Valley Estate Limited (‘BVE’).
Mr Sam Davies, Partner at McGrathNicol, said that the Receivers took control of the assets and affairs of BVE upon their appointment on 15 January 2013, and were continuing the company’s operations as normal whilst an urgent assessment was undertaken of the requirements for the upcoming vintage, including existing contract processing arrangements.
Mr Davies said he would be working closely with the contract growers and BVE management over the next two weeks to determine and settle the 2013 grape supply requirements, including reviewing existing domestic and export distribution arrangements.
Mr Davies said that it was too early to fully determine all the reasons for BVE’s failure, but noted the company was under-capitalised.
Mr Davies, who assisted in the successful restructuring and sale of Barossa Vines Limited and Prince Hill Wines Limited said it would soon be taken to market for a sale on a going-concern basis.
Mr Davies confirmed that upcoming functions booked through the cellar door and function facility at BVE would be honoured as part of the business as normal operation.
BVE is a Barossa Valley based winery, with origins dating back to the 1980s, comprising a winery with a 3,000 to 4,000 tonne annual crushing capacity, a 41 hectare vineyard planted to Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Grenache and Chardonnay, with a cellar door, restaurant and function venue.
BVE sources grapes from third parties (under contract) and its own vineyards for production into its export and domestic brands, which include the iconic label E&E Black Pepper Shiraz and super premium label Ebenzer.