14 Jul 2021

Sacred Hill wine group goes into receivership

6:54 pm on 14 July 2021

A renowned New Zealand wine company has gone into receivership, owing nearly $100 million.

grapes, wine generic, grapes generic, vineyard

File photo. Photo: Supplied

Sacred Hill is based in Hawke's Bay with vineyards also in Marlborough.

The company was founded in 1999 and operated a vineyard, winery, processing and distribution business in Hawke's Bay.

Details have come to light in a receivership report released today.

In 2019, the company overstated the amount the stock it had.

Sacred Hill Group decided to restructure and separate its Marlborough and Hawke's Bay operations, with a view to divesting the Hawke's Bay operations to reduce debt.

But an attempt to sell it fell through under a conditional agreement.

Other factors included a poor 2021 vintage, a high NZ and US dollar exchange rate, and poor financial performance.

This meant Sacred Hill Group was reliant on the support of its bank to continue trading.

The company's assets included both bottled and bulk wine, a manufacturing plant and equipment, furnishings, building improvements, motor vehicles, trademarks (various wine brands) and intellectual property.

The receivers, BDO, said they were in the process of selling the business and assets through a formal confidential sales process.

The sole director and majority owner of the company is David Mason.

Mason told RNZ he could not comment, as he was bound by an agreement with the receivers, so unable to talk to media.

New Zealand Wine chairman Clive Jones, of Nautilus Estate in Marlborough, said he would remember the company for a variety of wines.

"Personally I probably knew them for their chardonnay, but they also made some pretty good red wines from Hawke's Bay as well. But I think [in] probably the commercial side of the business, like a lot of other businesses, they saw opportunity for volume play with Sauvignon Blanc from Marlborough."

Jones said it was "disappointing" to see a significant player in the wine industry not being successful.

"While it may look sort of to a lot of people quite a glamorous industry from the outside, in most cases it's actually really hard work. Being in the wine industry and making wine is no guarantee to success in itself. Ultimately it's an agricultural based farming business at its base and it's got to survive."