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The Crossings To Produce First Wines In 2001

The directors of the new $12 million Awatere Valley wine company, The Crossings (Marlborough) Limited announced today that the company has appointed a winemaker and would be producing its first ‘branded’ wines in 2001.

Company chairman Sir Allan Wright today confirmed that The Crossings will definitely proceed, following the commencement of site work preparatory to planting vines on the new property, and the appointment of George Elworthy as winemaker.

The Crossings, launched to capitalise on international demand for premium New Zealand wines, opened a public share offer in late August to raise up to $6 million. The new company brings together two established vineyards, the Medway and Brackenfield vineyards, with a third Awatere Valley property. Together these three vineyards will have 345 acres of planted vineyard and be capable of producing 70,000 cases of wine a year.

Sir Allan said: “The Crossings has been fortunate in securing George Elworthy, a New Zealand trained winemaker with international experience.”

Currently a Consultant Winemaker with International Wine Services, George is working with an Italian wine company in the Veneto with 10 vineyards and producing 1,050,000 litres of wine including Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Merlot, Cabernet Franc and some local varieties. His international experience follows involvement with successful Marlborough wine companies including Seresin Estate, Cloudy Bay, Allan Scott and Vavasour Wines.

George Elworthy will produce the first vintage for the new company in 2001.

The company expects that the majority of its premium Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Noir will be exported through arrangements now being organised by its partner International Wine Associates.

“We are visiting the United States in the first week of December to progress plans with leading global and US companies involved in the wine industry. International Wine Associates have received strong interest in The Crossings opportunity. The scale of the company, 70,000 cases per annum by 2005 and its willingness to form an ongoing relationship, without an accompanying requirement for any capital investment in New Zealand, has buoyed this interest.

”We have every confidence of securing international distribution in the United States by next year.

“Farmers’ Mutual Group has every confidence in the new venture and have agreed, if necessary, to subscribe for shares in The Crossings, thereby ensuring the company is guaranteed the capital necessary to implement its business strategy.

“Having now effectively secured the capital required to realise our vision, our vineyard manager Richard Bowling is able to develop the new property and we can look forward to The Crossings’ first vintage being produced by our own winemaker and under our own brand,” Sir Allan Wright said.

The Crossings public share offer has a minimum subscription of $5,000, to be paid in two instalments: 50 cents on application and 50 cents on 28 February next year. Copies of the Prospectus and Investment Statement can be obtained from any Farmers’ Mutual Office or by calling 0800 366 466.

ENDS


For further information, please contact:
Sir Allan Wright Michael Millar
Chairman
The Crossings (Marlborough) Limited Chief Executive
Farmers’ Mutual Group
Telephone: (03) 318 3763 Telephone (06) 351 8850
(025) 469 453


Issued by Rob McGregor of Shandwick International on behalf of Farmers’ Mutual Group. Telephone: 04 472 4190 or 025 372 676


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