Sileni Vineyard, Hawkes Bay wine Book

A tough ride in the Australian market almost spelled disaster for iconic wine brand Sileni Estates, but a new partnership and an injection of capital will help them navigate across the Tasman. Financial services company Booster has purchased Sileni’s Hawkes Bay business to enable to continued supply of wine.

“This is a bittersweet day, but we are pleased to have reached a solution to the financial challenges we have been facing,” said Sileni Estates chief executive Nigel Avery. “We have experienced severe headwinds in our Australian market in recent years. Management and strategy changes in our primary Australian distribution partners has reduced our access to that market. The result has been a significant reduction in sales, which has led to overcapacity in our New Zealand production operation.”

He also confirmed that the Avery family would continue to be involved in the day-to-day operation of the business, and that a large number of staff have been retained. The financial details of the agreement are confidential.

Booster chairman Paul Foley said that the company saw a chance to boost the Sileni brand internationally.

“With its strong presence in Hawkes Bay and its production of quality Marlborough sourced wines, Sileni products will complement the wine businesses with which Booster already partners.”

Booster currently has investments in Bannock Brae in Central Otago, Waimea Estate in Nelson and The Awatere River Wine Company.

Nigel Avery will serve at chief executive of Sileni Wines Limited Partnership, also acting as director alongside Sileni founder Sir Graeme Avery and Booster’s Allan Yeo and Paul Foley. Staff numbers will take a slight hit due to Booster’s existing wine business.