Endeavour Drinks adds new wine division ahead of demerger

Woolworths liquor arm Endeavour Drinks has acquired leading McLaren Vale winery Chapel Hill in a bid to strengthen the drinks business ahead of its proposed divestment from the Group in 2020.

The purchase of the winery from Swiss corporation Permafix has prompted the creation of a new wine division as part of Endeavour’s Pinnacle Drinks business.

The newly-formed Paragon Wine Estates will include Chapel Hill and Endeavour’s premium and regional wines, Krondorf from the Barossa Valley, Marlborough’s Isabel Estate and Riddoch from Coonawarra.

The purchase of Chapel Hill, which has been in operation since the 1970s in the northern part of McLaren Vale, includes its famous cellar door, which features an ironstone chapel built in 1865, associated buildings and 40 hectares of vines.

Managing director of Endeavour Drinks, Steve Donohue said the acquisition is an “important step” in enhancing Endeavour’s wine business in preparation for the proposed transition to a stand-alone business after a planned merger with ALH.

“Welcoming Chapel Hill to the group has inspired the creation of Paragon Wine Estates and is an exciting new element of our diverse Pinnacle Drinks business,” Donohue said in a statement on Thursday.

“These great wine producers deserve special attention. Each one has a rich history and unique traditions which form the basis of their wonderful stories. We hope to share those stories with wine lovers the world over.”

Chapel Hill chief winemaker and CEO Michael Fragos said that staff will remain with the business and its relationships with growers will not change.

“Over the past five years we have enjoyed a very close and successful working relationship with Endeavour Drinks. The team at Chapel Hill now enthusiastically look forward to working with the Endeavour team to continue to enhance the wonderful reputation and pedigree that Chapel Hill has garnered since it was established in 1971,” Fragos said.

Pinnacle Drinks partners with growers across Australia and New Zealand, and has winemaking and storage facilities in the Barossa and Marlborough New Zealand, as well as packaging and bottling facilities in Barossa and McLaren Vale.

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