THE Hunter's illustrious Mount Pleasant winery, vineyards and brand is to be bought by the Sydney-based Medich Family Office investment company and the rest of the McWilliam's wine group is being taken over by the Riverina and Barossa Valley winemaker Calabria Family Wines.
Medich directors were in the Hunter Valley on Tuesday and were not available for comment.
Mount Pleasant has a cellar door, an 800-tonne-capacity winery and some of Australia's greatest vineyards like the 32.6 hectares on Marrowbone Road, Pokolbin, and the 31.1 hectares of Lovedale in Wine Country Drive and the 26.9 hectares of Rosehill in Broke Road.
Winegrowing in the Mount Pleasant Marrowbone Road site dates back to 1880, when pioneer settler Charles King planted vines on what is now the treasured Old Hill vineyard.
From 1921 to 1956 Maurice O'Shea, the cultivated 24-year-old French wine-trained lover of fine food, books, music and art, made Mount Pleasant ring in the annals of Australian winemaking.
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The sale of the Riverina-based McWilliam's brands, intellectual property and stock holdings as well as the Hanwood vineyard, winery and cellar door was announced on Tuesday by McWilliam's administrators KPMG and selling agent Colliers International.
The deal is set to be formally completed by the end of the month.
When it went into voluntary administration on January 8, the 144-year-old McWilliam's group had 150 employees and about 300 creditors, owed almost $40 million.
Among its Riverina assets were the 42,000-tonne-capacity wineries at Hanwood, The Barrel cellar door, 420 hectares of owned and leased vineyard, 55 million litres of wine storage and administration, laboratory, bottling and warehousing facilities.
Calabria's general manager Michael Calabria said it was a great honour for the Calabria 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.
Last January Calabria took a great leap forward when it bought the big-selling Deakin Estate, La La Land and Azhara brands from the Wingara arm of the German-controlled Henkell Freixenet Group.
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