Winery business proves a challenge for potential Chinese buyersLerida Estate at Lake George, ACT. Photo: Supplied

Winery business proves a challenge for potential Chinese buyers

Chinese buyers have been sizing up one of the Canberra region’s most awarded wineries but after more than two years on the market Lerida Estate remains unsold – and its owners aren’t surprised.

The 16-hectare family-run business overlooking Lake George has been listed with Colliers International since September 2013 and inquiries from China have been constant, the agency says.

Meanwhile, vendors Anne Caine and Jim Lumbers remain upbeat about their property’s selling potential which is on the market for $2.5 million plus stock at valuation.

Nets on the vines at Lerida Estate.
Nets on the vines at Lerida Estate. Photo: Supplied

“Australian wine in general and Lerida Estate wines are popular in Asia so owning this winery is an attractive prospect for a Chinese investor, plus it’s close to Sydney which Asian buyers identify with,” Anne says.

“But when they realise a winery is very a complex business to run and that it probably can’t be done from China, the potential buyers ask us to stay on but we want to retire soon after the sale.”

Anne and Jim planted the first vines at the winery in 1997 and over the past decade have earned more than 500 medals, in particular for pinot noir and shiraz viognier wines.

Lerida Estate owner Jim Lumbers tests the new pinot noir. Photo: Anne Caine Lerida Estate owner Jim Lumbers tests the new pinot noir. Photo: Anne Caine

Lerida Estate would be a lucrative investment for a buyer who can run the business on-site and has knowledge of the industry, Anne says.

“Some of the Chinese interest has come from brewery owners but generally they don’t have experience in the Australian wine industry so we think Lerida Estate will eventually sell to a domestic buyer.”

With revenue up almost 20 per cent during the past few years, bumper crops and more awards, Anne says the business is more than pulling its weight.

Colliers International selling agent Tim Altschwager says Lerida Estate’s boutique nature and price point is appealing to buyers.

“This is a highly successful, quality winery and we have seen a large increase in inquiries on it in the last few months, and Chinese interest almost weekly, but typically wineries do take some time to sell,” he says.

The sale of the estate includes its eight-hectare vineyard, cellar door and cafe, barrel store and function space, insulated storage for bottled wine and bulk wine, and the winery, which was designed by architect Glenn Murcutt.

Lerida Estate has won medals from the Melbourne, Sydney, Canberra, Auckland and national wine shows, the London International Wine Challenge and the San Francisco International Wine Competition, and tourism and export awards.

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