The Randall Wine Group – which includes Seppeltsfield Estate – has bought the Penny’s Hill winery in McLaren Vale including the Black Chook brand.
Proprietor Warren Randall says the acquisition is part of a new strategic direction for the company and a pivot away from the Chinese market.
“Australian winemakers invested heavily in the Chinese wine market for 10 years, supported by a free trade agreement with that country,” Warren says.
“The Australian wine industry was an innocent bystander, a casualty in the crossfire of political coercion between China and Australia.
“We did not heed their 14 grievances and they savaged seven Australian industries which were exporting 10 percent or $20 billion of produce to China.
“Beef, barley, coal, cotton, timber, crayfish and wine were hit.
“Twenty-three percent of the total annual value of the entire Australian wine crop was lost overnight.
“In 180 years, the Australian wine industry has never suffered such a setback.
“Following a very high quality vintage in 2021 it was time to reset the company’s strategy and pivot away from the Chinese market.
“Which is a shame because the Chinese wine consumer loves the fruit and taste profile omnipresent in Australian wines.
“China had become Australia’s first ever $1 billion year wine market.”
In its previous 10 year strategy, the Randall Wine Group was in the process of selling 50 percent of its annual wine made to China as both premium bulk and bottled wine.
“The new 10 year strategy is now based around the acquisition of 50,000 to 100,000-dozen brands in Australia’s premium wine growing districts, with a strong export sales focus,” Warren says.
He describes the acquisition of the Penny’s Hill and Black Chook brands as the “first strike”.
“The brands’ exports are 60 percent of total sales,” Warren says.
“The founder, Tony Parkinson, has worked tirelessly to build a strong platform in North America, particularly Canada.
“The Penny’s Hill and Black Chook brands are exported to 15 different countries.”
Mr Parkinson said, “In the face of advancing years and with no clear family succession plan, it was time to find a new custodian for the 1855 estate.
“Warren has a proven track record of acquiring, respecting and injecting enthusiasm and energy into historic 19th century Australian wine estates with provenance.
“I trust that he will carry on my legacy and springboard the brands to greater international success under his leadership.”
Penny’s Hill has won many awards over the past 25 years, most notably the World’s Best Cabernet at the Concours International des Cabernet in 2016 – judged in France by the French.
The Randall Wine Group was established in 1978 and is Australia’s largest private luxury vineyard holder.