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John Benton extends wine-making reach, adding Pask Winery stake to Jackson Estate

Monday 28th August 2017

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Wellington businessman John Benton has taken a strategic stake in Pask Winery, buying shares from founder Chris Pask and Philippa Radburnd and adding to the Jackson Estate winery he acquired in 2013.

The two wineries will be run as one group, with Jackson Estate's Jeff Hart to be managing director. Benton will be chair of both companies while Chris Pask will remain a founding director of Pask and retain a smaller holding. Benton owns more than 90 percent of Jackson Estate and has a 46 percent interest in Pask, according to Companies Office records, although Hart says not all records have been updated yet.

Hart declined to give financial details of the transaction but confirmed Benton had made an offer to existing Pask shareholders. He said the group has scope to lift output and increase both domestic sales and exports. Its biggest export markets currently are the UK and the US.

The 'merger' almost doubles the size of the business under the stewardship of Wellington-based Benton Family Wine Group, adding Pask's 60 hectares of vineyards in the Hawkes Bay's Gimblett Gravels to Jackson Estate's 70 ha of Marlborough vineyards. 

Jeff Clarke, formerly of Pernod Ricard and Ara Wines, has been named the group's chief winemaker

Hart said production details are still being finalised but the combined wineries would have annual output of about 100,000 cases. Jackson estate had been restructured since being acquired in 2013, lifting distribution and sales and adding a new pinot noir winery on Marlborough's Jackson Road.

“The merger will provide shared benefits through increased size, enhanced product range, and geographical diversity," Hart said. "Following the successful restructuring of Jackson Estate we can now turn our attention to revitalising the Pask brand and fully utilising the considerable Pask assets.”

(BusinessDesk)

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