One of Australia’s top 20 wine producers by volume has entered into administration 

February 29, 2024
By Cody Profaca

Salena Estate Wines, one of the top 20 largest wine producers in Australia, has been forced into administration, citing the ongoing China wine tariffs as a primary catalyst.

The Riverland winery, which owns brands such as Twisted Sticks, The Timekeeper, and BFR, produces over 10,000 tonnes annually. While a large portion of this is made for export markets such as Asia, North America and Europe, its products are also sold in both Liquorland and Dan Murphys.

The administration process will be handled by Administrators Tim Mableson and Ryan Eagle from KPMG.

“Our initial focus will be to stabilise the business as it continues to trade normally,” said Mableson to the Daily Mail.

“At this stage we will be seeking a restructure or a sale of the business and will work with all stakeholders, including employees, suppliers and customers to maximise the outcome for all parties.”

The Riverland wine growing region made news last week after grape growers met with state government to discuss the urgent need for short-term financial assistance. Worryingly, the causes of Riverland’s problems are the same as the national causes of Australia’s currently gloomy wine forecast, being the low grape prices and the cancelled contracts that have resulted from both a domestic and national oversupply of wine. Reduced consumption and the ongoing China wine tariffs have also contributed to the issue. 

Wineries have reportedly been offering Riverland grape growers rates as low as $120 per tonne, less than half the cost of production.

“The situation is desperate and there were some growers last night saying it was difficult putting food on the table, let alone pick grapes and try and sell them for a price which will cost them money, not earn them a cent,” said Lyndall Rowe, Executive Officer at Riverland Wine.

“It was clear they need support, while medium and longer-term strategies to raise the region’s profile, allow for succession planning and to reach new markets are helpful, they need immediate help.”

Tim Mableson added that, in the case of Salena Estate, recent climatic events have also contributed to the problem.

“Their location was affected by floods as well so it was a bit of a perfect storm. It’s just the industry: they’re not the only ones finding it tough at the moment,” he said.

The first meeting of creditors is scheduled to be held next Tuesday at the Berri Hotel. The administrators have said that it is currently too early to provide an estimate of debts owed by the company. 

Salena Estate is currently hosting a sale titled Save Salena on its website, offering 50% off wines, 30% of spirits, and 20% of cellos.

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