Calabria family buys iconic McWilliam's Wines brands and winery

Historic McWilliam's Wines finally sold in a deal which splits the company in two

Agribusiness
PROUD FATHER: Bill Calabria is proud his family's expansion-minded wine company has bought McWilliam's Wines iconic winery and vineyard at Hanwood near Griffith.

PROUD FATHER: Bill Calabria is proud his family's expansion-minded wine company has bought McWilliam's Wines iconic winery and vineyard at Hanwood near Griffith.

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The Riverina-based Calabria family and a Sydney-based investment company have each bought a stake in the iconic McWilliam's Wines.

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The 144-year-old McWilliam's Wines business has been split in two in a deal believed to be worth more than $40 million.

Riverina and Barossa Valley winemaker Calabria Family Wines will buy the McWilliam's brands, intellectual property and stock holdings as well as the Hanwood vineyard, winery and cellar door near Griffith.

And McWilliam's famed Mount Pleasant winery, vineyards and brand in the NSW Hunter Valley has been acquired by Medich Family Office, a Sydney-based investment company.

Mount Pleasant has a cellar door, an 800-tonne-capacity winery and some of Hunter's best vineyards.

The Calabria family's purchase, announced by KPMG and selling agent Colliers International, is set for completion by April 30.

McWilliam's went into voluntary administration early last year and attempts to resurrect the company failed along with an offer by a private equity company to buy the whole business for around $46 million.

Calabria's general manager Michael Calabria said it was a great honour for his family to become "the proud custodians of Australian winemaking history in the ownership of McWilliam's".

"Despite recent challenges, we know the McWilliam's name carries a long and prestigious reputation as one of Australia's oldest wine producers," he said.

STILL LOCALLY OWNED: McWilliam's Wines famous Hanwood winery and vineyard have been bought by the local Calabria family.

STILL LOCALLY OWNED: McWilliam's Wines famous Hanwood winery and vineyard have been bought by the local Calabria family.

"We have great respect for the McWilliam family and the impact they have had on the Australian wine industry.

"Dad (Bill Calabria) loves sharing stories about the pioneering family and often spends an afternoon chatting and visiting with (96-years-old) Jim McWilliam," Mr Calabria said.

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Late last year Calabria bought the big-selling Deakin Estate, La La Land and Azhara brands from the Wingara arm of the German-controlled Henkell Freixenet Group.

The Medich Family Office has interests across beef cattle, property development and hotels.

Calabria Wines sales and marketing manager Andrew Calabria said local members of the McWilliam family were pleased the Hanwood winery and the McWilliam's Wines business would continue under the control of his family.

"We have had a close and enduring relationship over many years and look forward to working with the Calabria family in the future," Greg McWilliam said.

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