Wine industry rut claims another victim

A New South Wales winery has been placed in administration, as the industry continues to suffer poor market conditions including declining sales and increased pressure on margins.

The collapse comes after a century-old wine equipment and services supplier in South Australia was placed in voluntary administration.

Prince Hill Wines announced to the market yesterday that Rob Kirman and Sam Davies of McGrath Nicol were appointed as administrators as of March 26.

The announcement comes after receivers had been appointed to assets of the ASX-listed Coonawarra Australia Property Trust. One of these assets was Prince Hill Wine Services, which manages properties owned by the trust.

Prince Hill Wines was suspended from trading on March 15, the same day the Coonawarra Trust was suspended.

McGrath Nicol was contacted by SmartCompany this morning, but no reply was available prior to publication.

Prince Hill Wines operates a vineyard and sells a number of wines under different brands, sourcing fruit from Mudgee and the surrounding regions including Orange and Hunter.

But the vineyard has been under financial pressure for some time.

According to the latest figures available in the half-year financial report, the Prince Hill Group recorded a loss of $30,986 for the half year to December 31 – a decrease of 152% from the previous corresponding period, when profit was $59,131.

“The current year loss is due to the continued difficult period the wine industry is experiencing and debtor write offs or provisions in relation to management fees of $461,811,” it said.

Total revenue was also down 21%, with wine sales decreasing by $1.2 million, although the company said this was due to a management review of major customers.

Last year the company warned that its ability to continue as a going concern was contingent upon generating profit.

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