By Andrew Starke

Australian wine companies are increasingly looking to Tasmania for future investment and acquisition as climate change impacts on vineyards in regions previously thought to be drought-proof.

Brown Brothers this week acquired Tamar Ridge Estates vineyard and winery interests from Gunns Ltd for $32.56 million and while it has ruled out further acquisitions in the short-term, environmental considerations are set to make Tasmanian vineyards an attractive target for wine producers.

Chief executive Ross Brown described the deal as a 'significant purchase' for the Victorian family winemaker and told TheShout it would complement its existing vineyards and brands.

“The Brown Brothers Board has been carefully considering how global warming may impact our vineyards through drought and high temperatures and recently adopted a strategy to source grapes from cooler areas,” he said.

Tamar Ridge Estates brands include Tamar Ridge, Pirie, Devil’s Corner and Coombend and the deal gives Brown Brothers vineyards that will allow it to compete in the pinot noir category for the first time.

“This is a very sound business that ticks all our strategic objectives for growth in pinot and sparkling, and at the same time reduces the risk of drought and associated high temperatures and scarcity of water,” said Brown.

The acquisition will be completed on Tuesday August 31, 2010.

Wine Industry Tasmania chief executive, Sheralee Davies, said Brown Brothers had a good record of growing consumer markets and would be a significant addition to the state’s major wine players.

The Foster’s Group, Constellation Wines Australia and McWilliams all have a presence in Tasmania.

According to minister for primary industries and water, Bryan Green, the value of the Tasmania agricultural and seafood sectors has increased by $730 million over the past decade, with wine products showing strong growth.


The Shout Team

The leading online news service for Australia's beer, wine, spirits and hospitality industries.

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