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Shingleback on market as winemaker brothers look to move on

Business

Family-owned Shingleback Wine is on the market as founding brothers Kym and John Davey look to move on after almost 25 years as one of McLaren Vale’s most celebrated producers.

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The sale includes 112ha of vineyards on a 140ha property in McLaren Vale and the cellar door and is open for expressions of interest until May 6.

The sale is being handled by Adelaide-based consultants Langley & Co Advisors, which is also involved with the sale of fellow McLaren Vale winery Penny’s Hill.

Started by the brothers in 1998, Shingleback has grown its production over the years to more than 100,000 cases annually including its Red Knot brand.

The winery’s numerous accolades include the 2006 Jimmy Watson Trophy and the 2017 Max Schubert Trophy when it beat all-comers at the Royal Adelaide Wine Show with its 2016 Red Knot Grenache Shiraz Mourvedre.

Kym said it was a strategic decision to put the winery on the market at a time when the business was in a strong position.

“We are into our 25th year of business and everything is just going so well but my brother and myself are getting older and the next generation are chasing other dreams,” he told InDaily.

“It’s my aim for the company to have the continued success that it is having and one opportunity for that might be under different ownership.

“To take it to the next level might happen more easily or faster with different ownership.”

About two-thirds of Shingleback’s production is using its own grapes with a small group of long-term local growers contributing the rest.

It exports about 30 per cent of its production with major markets including New Zealand, Canada, US, UK and Asia.

“Ten or 15 years ago it was the other way around with the United States our biggest market before the GFC,” Kym said.

“My guys did an amazing job of refocusing and putting their energy into establishing the domestic market instead of the export market and it’s turned out pretty well.

“We weren’t committed to China – it was an opportunistic market for us that we enjoyed and were quite successful in but it was never something we relied on.”

Shingleback’s wine is produced by its own winemaking team at Serafino Wines in conjunction with its owner Steve Maglieri.

Kym said it would be up to Maglieri and the new owner whether that arrangement continued following the sale.

He said while it was a tough time for the industry as a result of Chinese tariffs imposed on Australian wine in late 2020, it had not been a catalyst for the sale.

“The industry has faced challenges before and five years later has looked back and said ‘what were we on about’ and China could well be one of those cases but it hasn’t really influenced our decision at all,” Kym said.

“We’re in the middle of vintage now and what I’m hearing from the winemakers is that while 2021 was an outstanding vintage, 2022 in our vineyard is simply stunning.

“It’s business as usual, everything is going along nicely and we need to go through the process of seeking expressions of interest.”

Kym suffered a stroke about a year ago which he said was “a bit of a shock to the system after a life of perfect health”.

He said it was time to slow down.

“As a family, we’ll always be farmers and I’ve got a beef farm in the Adelaide Hills that I’m passionate about and I guess I’ll continue that and what I won’t be doing is travelling the world with my distribution partners and pushing along like I have for the past 20 years and some of that is down to having the health challenge.

“The pieces are in place and it’s running so successfully that I think it’s due diligence to look at all options at the moment.”

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