Tassie vineyard for sale

Written By miftah nugraha on Selasa, 02 April 2013 | 19.55

WINEMAKER Brown Brothers is putting one of its three Tasmanian vineyards on the market as it restructure in the face of dropping sales in Europe.

The White Hills Vineyard in the Tamar Valley is the smallest of Brown Brothers' assets in Tasmania, which it took over from troubled timber company Gunns in 2010.

Pinot noir and chardonnay grapes are grown on the 84ha enterprise.

Brown Brothers also owns Hazards on the East Coast and Kayena in the Tamar Valley.

Brown Brothers chief executive Ronald Wahlquist said the sale was part of a broader restructure and he hoped the six permanent employees at White Hills, which the winemaker took on from Gunns, would retain their jobs under any new owner.

"We have asked the permanent employees to stay on and run the vineyard until it sells," Mr Wahlquist said yesterday.

Until now the vineyards, which were bought as a package from Gunns, had been tied up as part of a managed investment scheme.

But Mr Wahlquist said they were now unencumbered and could be treated as separate businesses.

Mr Wahlquist said the company planned to hold onto its two other Tasmanian operations.

"We are expecting strong interest in White Hills," he said.

"We are still selling grapes from that operation and the vineyard market is sound," Mr Wahlquist said.

The news comes just weeks after Premier Lara Giddings announced the Government would pour $1.2 million in grants into the state's wine industry in a bid to quadruple wine production in the next decade.

The vineyard and orchard expansion program aims to support the planting of an extra 200ha of vines this year to help create 370 full-time jobs and an estimated 100 short-term jobs during the planting season.

Brown Browns has shed 18 jobs from its national workforce of more than 200 since it started its restructure.

The winemaker is also looking to sell its Whitlands vineyard in Victoria.

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