Endeavour, Warakirri acquire Tasmanian vineyard, business

The Relbia property is a popular wedding venue.
Following the $55 million sale, Josef Chromy, 91, will retire.

The recently listed Endeavour Group has teamed with Warakirri Asset Management to acquire the real estate and business of Tasmanian agricultural manager Josef Chromy Wines, for about $55 million.

As part of the deal, Warakirri will hold the 61 hectare Old Stornoway Vineyard, a winery and restaurant at Relbia, about 12 kilometres south east of Launceston, in its Diversified Agricultural Fund.

Endeavour will lease them on a long-term basis.

Savills’ Nick Butler with Vineyards by Christie’s Adam Morris, the latter in a maiden agency transaction, acted for the 91 year old Josef Chromy, who founded JCW in 1994 and will now retire.

Endeavour grows portfolio

As well as hotel assets, Endeavour controls the BWS and Dan Murphy’s retailers.

The hospitality giant will merge JCW with its Paragon Wine Estates portfolio, which includes, in the Barossa Valley, McLaren Vale and Krondorf Estate, Riddoch Coonawarra Wines near Penola and the c1878 Oakridge, at Victoria’s Yarra Valley.

In New Zealand, the group controls Marlborough’s Isabel Estate.

“The [JCW] acquisition continues our investment in Tasmania, which is currently the top performing Australian region for premium wines in our retail stores throughout the country”, Endeavour Group managing director and chief executive officer, Steve Donoghue, said.

“Josef Chromy Wines is one of the most renowned Tasmanian wineries, having produced exceptional, cool climate wines for almost two decades,” he added.

Endeavour will employ the company’s c510 staff, including from the winery and cellar door, to its operations arm, which services over 40 stores and pubs.

The asset has the capacity to accommodate further vines (story continues below).

Warakirri adds to Farmland fund

The Relbia acquisition comes a month since Warakirri, a Melbourne fund manager which invests on behalf of Australian, Canadian and European pension funds, acquired two assets to seed the Farmland Fund, which has a $500m mandate.

Costing a total of c$34m with a leaseback to WF Montague, that outlay included Cobram’s Moira Orchard Estate and Bilmont, another fruit plantation, in Swan Hill, New South Wales.

“We are always considering how to best deliver value to our shareholders through our growing strategy, and we already have significant experience successfully managing leasehold property assets thanks to our hotel and store networks,” according to Mr Donoghue.

“The partnership with Warakirri Asset Management will enable us to extend this successful model to this winemaking operation,” he said. “We’re confident that we can build on the success of Josef Chromy Wines and expand their appeal by leveraging our brand-building capabilities, extensive store network, digital platforms and our capacity to invest in quality and innovation”.

As part of the purchase, Shaine De Venny, currently JCW general manager, will take over as head of Paragon Wine Estates.

Time to retire: Josef Chromy, 91

In Tasmania, Mr Chromy has also owned and developed Heemskerk, Jansz, the Rochecombe (now Bay of Fires) and Tamar Ridge.

“Josef Chromy Wines…has wonderful potential for growth and I am certain that the expertise and financial strength of the new owners combined with our excellent staff will see unprecedented expansion over coming years,” the veteran said.

“At 91 years of age, I feel it is appropriate that I retire from this business, however,” he added. “I wish Endeavour Group and Warakirri every success for the future…you can all count on me to remain a regular at the venue”.

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Marc Pallisco

A former property analyst and print journalist, Marc is the publisher of realestatesource.com.au.