This is an opportunity to acquire an established and fully operational commercial vineyard boasting numerous strategic development options now and in to the future, only 2 hours west of Melbourne Victoria.
The shareholders of Mt Sugarloaf are proposing to sell the business of /or shares in the corporate entity and are offering for sale all associated assets of /or shares in Mt Sugarloaf (as the case may be) to select potential investors. At this time, the shareholders of Mt Sugarloaf have no fixed timeframe for execution of the sale, however indicatively seek to have a transaction completed within 6 months.
Location and size
Mt Sugarloaf is located 225km west of Melbourne, near the Victorian township of Great Western. It is located in the heart of one of the major grape growing areas in Victoria, 2km south of two of Victoria’s most recognised wineries:
- Seppelts’ 140 year old vineyard and winery, and
- Bests Great Western one of the oldest family owned wineries in Australia (founded 1866).
Both wineries are award winning, with Bests winning Australia’s most coveted wine award, the Jimmy Watson Trophy, in 2011 (Best Dry Red in Australia). Bests also won the “Best Shiraz” class in the same year. Seppelt’s 2008 St Peter’s Shiraz won the Wine Estate magazine ‘Best Shiraz in the World’ competition.
The total property area is approximately 1,000 acres held over 9 titles. 283 acres of the property are established as a mature vineyard.
Cab Sauv – 76 Acres Approximately, Shiraz-202 Acres and Merlot-5 Acres.
Current harvest plantings by grape variety are as follows:
Infrastructure/Capital on hand Since acquisition, significant capital expenditure has been undertaken to install/repair trellising, shedding, roads and irrigation systems. A comprehensive list of capital machinery items held is outline vineyard blocks, soil monitoring sites, roads and buildings. Capital items also include:
- Trellis system utilised comprises treated pine posts and strainers, single cordon wire, foliage wires and drip line;
- 2 x Steel framed, colourbond machinery shed/workshop with concrete floor and sliding doors;
- Red brick cottage converted to site office (bathroom/kitchen amenities);
- Steel framed, colour- bond irrigation shed with concrete floor;
- Tractors x 3;
- Spray units;
- Operational equipment;
- 25 year supply of recycled water (10 years remaining), stored in a 224 ML lined dam at front of property (owned by Grampians Regional Water Authority). Class C Waste Water supplied, and
- 2 separate dams throughout property (1 at front, 1 central).
What is Mt Sugarloaf?
Mt Sugarloaf owns and operates the Mount Sugarloaf vineyard to produce premium grapes for wine making in one of the best grape growing regions of Victoria. Mount Sugarloaf grows grapes for on-sale and crushing as part of the winemaking process (exclusively to wineries and wine-makers).
Unlike wineries where operations are undertaken on less than 10 hectares, Mt Sugarloaf recognises that such minor scale planting is too small to achieve economies of scale.
Mount Sugarloaf was originally established in 1998 as Cathcart Ridge Great Western Vineyard and has operated under various trading names since. The vineyard operations ceased for the two harvest cycles from 2010 – 2011 upon the previous owner, Great Southern Limited, being placed into receivership and foregoing ownership in 2009 (held by Great Southern Vineyard Holdings Pty Ltd). Great Southern Limited owned and operated a diverse group of assets including Mount Sugarloaf. During this period the vineyard was left unmaintained. Mt Sugarloaf acquired the vineyard on 29 June 2011 and has made significant investment over the past 18 months to bring the vineyard back to a productive state. This significant investment over the past 18 months has restored the vineyard to an operational commercial situation which should enable it to produce historical yields within two years.
The aspect and gradient of Mt Sugarloaf’s property is suitable for the growth of most premium grade grape varieties. The vineyard has reasonable slopes allowing for natural air flow which reduces the risk of frost. Planting of permanent winter-growing grass swards planted during 2004-2006 further assists stabilisation of the soil, prevents erosion during winter rainfall and holds the soil moisture and nutrients in the root zone to reduce runoff and excess drainage.
The region in which Mt Sugarloaf is situated is known for its ability to produce the major grape varieties such as Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot.
The above factors present a site perfect for viticultural purposes, where the soil accommodates excellent growth of grape vines. Under the current ownership, it is believed that the location in a traditional growing area has been critical in the yielding of quality disease resistant crops.
Great Western Wine
Great Western, where Mt Sugarloaf is situated, is a sub region of the Grampians wine region. The region has long been the traditional wine-producing centre of the Grampians, and was granted its own independent GI (Geographical Indication) in April 2007, which is protected under Australian Wine Laws.
The original Great Western is a village at the Northern end of this sub-region, which is home to not only Mt Sugarloaf Vineyards but two award winning wineries; Seppelts’ Great Western Winery to the South and Bests Great Western Winery to the North. Over a number of decades a dispute between these two key wineries ran on how the Great Western name could be utilised on wine labels. The subsequent appellation laws do not in any way affect winemaking or viticultural techniques or producers, but focus on font and colours used in labelling wine.
Great Western lies at an altitude between 800ft and 1800ft (245m to 550m) above sea level. The wines are dominated by Riesling, Pinot Noir, Cabernet Sauvignon and Shiraz. Great Western produces some of Australia’s finer cool climate wine styles, with the reds proving more floral, earthy and spicy than their warmer climate equivalents. The whites on the other hand show crisp acidity and delicate body.
Identified Strategies and Opportunities
A key opportunity exists to capitalise on Australia’s Wine Industry. The president of the Winemakers Federation of Australia, Tony D’Aloisio, noted at their annual conference on October 23 2012:
- Supply-wise, grape shortages are being experienced overseas and land under vines domestically in Australia has reduced from around 166,000 ha in 2008 to 145,000 ha;
- National average grape price for vintage 2012 was up 11%, reversing a decade long downward trend;
- A Merrill Lynch study indicates the industry may find itself in a position where it may not be able to produce sufficient fruit to meet future demand; and
- Australian Bureau of Statistics show total vineyard area in Australia fell by 9% across 12 months, removing surplus grapes that have fuelled a glut in cheap cleanskin wine that generate little, if any return to winemakers.
Mount Sugarloaf is perfectly positioned to take advantage of this recovery and its management has also identified a number of potential strategies for utilisation and ongoing operation of the current vineyard and surrounding land.
One of the key barriers for prospective new entrants into the Vineyard industry is the time lag between entry and production (and therefore revenue flows). Mt Sugarloaf is offering the opportunity to acquire 283 acres of mature fruit producing vines.
Capital costs associated with irrigation (including difficulty in obtaining irrigation permits) are also a significant barrier to ongoing sustainability. Mt Sugarloaf has a 25 year water supply, significantly capping this cost and providing security and comfort into the future.
Export Opportunities into China
With a population of over 1.3 billion, China is currently Asia’s second largest food and beverage market by value after Japan. Processed food and beverage exports from Australia to China have doubled in value in the last five years from $794 million to $1.511 billion. As China’s economy grows and appetite for sophisticated consumer products develops, there may be opportunities for Australian food and beverage companies to enter the China market.
Australian Wine exports to China have risen significantly and China has surpassed Japan, becoming the largest export market in Asia for the Australian wine industry since 2007. Australia is ranked the second largest overall supplier of bottled wine into China. Statistics released by Wine Australia show that bottled wine exports to China increased by 26% to more than 30 million litres by December 2011.
Other Identified Strategies
Mt Sugarloaf’s current growth strategy is centred on vineyard expansion through growth. In support of this focus, Mt Sugarloaf has identified the following potential target areas for growth:
- Approximately 1,000 acre property established across 9 separate land titles;
- Mature Vineyard (283 acres under vine);
- Rural City of Ararat zoning – Farming Zone;
Mt Sugarloaf has been established as a commercial vineyard since the issue of a prospectus in 1998, and has since operated under various trading names. Prior to the current owners, the vineyard was one of a diverse group of investments owned by Great Southern Limited and operated under the name of “Grampian View Vineyard”. Great Southern Limited was placed into receivership in May 2009 and the vineyard lay dormant for a period.
The Vineyard was acquired by the current owners on 29 June 2011 in a state whereby production had ceased for approximately two harvest cycles. Since acquisition, strategy has been in place to re-invigorate the vineyard through viticulture expenditure to restore the vineyard to its historical production levels. Whilst Mount Sugarloaf’s primary objective is to generate cash flows and profits, along with sustained growth from harvest and sale of grapes to wine producers both domestically and internationally, historical trading performance has not been made available by previous owners prior to the current financial year, and as such, is not available as part of this opportunity statement.
- Massey Ferguson 6470 tractor (2900hrs use)
- Massey Ferguson 5445 tractor (1500 hrs use)
- Kubota 5700 tractor (2500 hrs use)
- Croplands Quantum mist 3000lt 2 row fungicide sprayer 2008
- Silvan 2000lt 2 row fungicide sprayer (inop)
- Croplands 2000lt 2 row herbicide sprayer (requires $ for recommissioning of terrace capability)
- Atomik 2012 700cc UTV (65 hrs use)
- Rapid spray 400lt tow behind spot sprayer
- Pellenc barrel pruner
- Whitco Canopy trimmer
- Ben Wye 7 ft slashers x2 (one requires replacement soon)
- Agware 2 tonne lowline spreader, with undervine banding and midrow broadcasting
- 2000lt water cart
- Rapid spray 1000lt transfer tank with Honda pump
- Yoemans 5 tyne deep ripper
- Grizzly disc
- Puller set
- Extension chords 10 & 15amp
- Basic tool boards with spanners, sockets, hammers, screw drivers etc
- Petrol peerless air compressor
295 Sugarloaf Road, Great Western, Victoria, Australia