By James Atkinson
Treasury Wine Estates (TWE) has signed an agreement to purchase the White Hills vineyard in Tasmania's Tamar Valley from Brown Brothers.
Brown Brothers CEO Roland Wahlquist told TheShout the company is very happy with the sale negotiated with Treasury for White Hills, which consists of 83 planted hectares of high quality Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling, Pinot Gris and Gewurztraminer grapes.
He said the 400 hectares of Tasmanian vineyards acquired from Gunns in 2010 was much more than Brown Brothers could use for its own wines.
"We've been selling fruit from that vineyard to Treasury all that time… they've been buying grapes from that vineyard even since Gunns owned it," he said.
Wahlquist said the deal provides for Brown Brothers to contract back a small number of blocks of grapes from White Hills for use in its own wines, and also for Brown Brothers to do contract winemaking at its Kayena winery for Treasury.
"It'll be really great to have a company down there of Treasury's calibre and resources able to tell the Tasmanian story and taking Tasmanian wine to the world," he said.
Wahlquist said the sale process continues for Brown Brothers' Whitlands, Victoria vineyard, which was also listed for sale earlier this year. He said the company's overall financial position is "very strong".
"The business reshaping that we announced a few months ago has started to deliver results in terms of improved profitability," he said.
Commenting on TWE's commitment to the region, CEO David Dearie said: "Our commitment to Tasmanian wine is already strong, with the region home to some wonderful brands in our portfolioâ€ÂHeemskerk and Abel's Tempest."
"It is also an increasingly important source of fruit for Penfolds, so I'm particularly excited to be increasing our investment in Tasmania at a time when the region is becoming better known and much sought after around the world."
Dearie said the acquisition of White Hills supported TWE's long term strategy of owning or controlling vineyards that supply grapes for our luxury wine portfolio.
"Over the last 18 months we have invested heavily in premium grape and wine production capacity globally, and this is a logical next step."
The terms of the purchase remain confidential and settlement on the White Hills vineyard purchase is expected later this month.