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Historic winery collapses into administration

A historic family owned winery founded in 1921 entered into administration last week.

Simon Wallace-Smith and Salvatore Algeri of Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu were appointed as administrators to Buller Wines, which is based in Rutherglen and Swan Hill in Victoria.

The causes of the winery's collapse are still not clear but Australia's wine industry has been struggling as a result of exports which have been hurt by recession in key export markets and a soaring Australian dollar, which has made wine exports uncompetitive against rising competition from new low-cost wine producers.

At the same time, wineries have had to deal with a total loss of market power to the dominant supermarket giants, changing consumer preferences and a vast oversupply of wine and wine grapes which have forced down prices and forced many producers out of business.

Buller Wines has around 25 employees and is a fourth generation family winery which sells wine in Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Hong Kong, China, Canada, the USA, the UK and Denmark.

Buller's original vineyard and winery was established in Rutherglen by Reginald Langdon Buller in 1921. The business experienced a period of dramatic growth in the late 1970s by focusing on increasing table wine production.

Until the appointment of Deloitte, the business was run by brothers Richard and Andrew Buller, the fourth generation of Bullers.

Simon Rushton, spokesperson for Deloitte, told SmartCompany he was unable to provide any details of the cause of the administration or the major creditors impacted by the collapse until the first meeting of creditors, which will be held at the end of this week.

"It's a matter of business as usual as far as the business is concerned while the administrators review the situation," Rushton says.

A first meeting of creditors will be held on December 21 at Deloitte's offices in Melbourne.

 

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Cara Waters

SmartCompany editor

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Cara Waters is the editor of SmartCompany. Previously, Cara was a senior reporter at the Financial Times website FT Adviser in London and she also worked for The Sunday Times in London.
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