McWilliams Wine Group

McWilliams Wines enters voluntary administration

January 8, 2020
By Alana House

McWilliams Wines Group has gone into voluntary administration and is seeking a capital injection or a buyer.

KPMG partners Gayle Dickerson, Tim Mableson and Ryan Eagle were appointed on Wednesday.

“We are seeking expressions of interest to recapitalise or acquire the Group to take this heritage brand forward in the future both locally and globally,” said Dickerson.

“The company will continue to operate as normal and we are working with the McWilliams’ family with the support of its employees while we work hard to try to preserve one of Australia’s oldest winemakers.

“There are significant wine assets in the Riverina district and the Hunter Valley, long-established distribution channels and relationships with global international distributor brands.”

The decision comes 12 months after McWilliams Wines successfully completed a recapitalisation with its strategic partner, Margaret River Wine Production (MRWP).

MRWP, together with an Australian agricultural fund manager Laguna Bay, provided McWilliam’s with $15.8 million of capital, which was expected to primarily fund working capital.

At the time, McWilliam’s Chief Executive David Pitt told The Australian Financial Review that he intended to cut up to $10 million in costs from McWilliam’s operations and wanted the winemaker to have a stronger focus on high-quality wines.

“We have not made the decision to enter into Voluntary Administration lightly,” Jim Brayne, chairman of McWilliams Wine, said on Wednesday.

“A number of factors have contributed to a decline in business performance, including evolving structural market dynamics and capital constraints.”

McWilliam’s Wines Group has been in operation for more than 141 years across six generations of family ownership.

Its range includes the McWilliam’s and Mount Pleasant wine brands, as well as Australian distribution rights for Champagne Taittinger, Mateus, Henkell and Mionetto.

NSW Wine Awards Mount Pleasant; McWilliams Wines

Adrian Sparks moving into the role of Chief Winemaker at Mount Pleasant in 2018 and has scooped an armload of trophies for the winery since then.

The NSW Governor’s Trophy for Best in Show at the 2019 ICC Sydney NSW Wine Awards was won by Mount Pleasant Wines 2018 Mountain D Shiraz.

A meeting of the creditors of McWilliams Wines is scheduled for Monday, January 20.

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