Britain’s oldest commercial vineyard, Hambledon, is set for a historic wine tie-up after striking a £22.3m deal to sell itself to the country’s oldest wine merchant, the firm announced today.
Sparkling wine specialist Hambledon announced it had agreed on terms to be bought by a consortium led by Berry Bros & Rudd, the UK’s oldest wine and spirits merchant, founded in 1698, and The Symington Group of Portugal, the maker of ports such as Dow’s, Graham’s and Cockburn’s.
The consortium said this morning it saw a “strategic opportunity to diversify” as Hambledon struggled under a period of “sustained financial pressure”.
“We have been working with the Hambledon directors, lawyers, and advisers to prepare this offer to shareholders, which is being recommended by the independent Hambledon board,” said Lizzy Rudd, chair of Berry Bros. & Rudd and Rupert Symington chief of Symington Family Estates, said.
“We believe the offer represents a positive opportunity for shareholders to receive value for their investment against the backdrop of the highly uncertain future the business otherwise faces.
British wines have surged in popularity over the past decade as a warmer climate boosts production.
Both buyers said today snapping up an English winemaker would was an “important mitigation against the risk of climate change to each members’ respective core business models”.
Hambledon vineyard was established in 1952 by Major-General Sir Guy Salisbury-Jones and is one of England’s oldest commercial vineyards.