After the bid had reached 90% shareholder acceptance it was declared unconditional, triggering the mandatory purchase of the remaining shares.
Berry Bros & Rudd is the UK’s oldest fine wine and spirits merchant, while Symington Family Estates is a leading producer of premium port. The joint venture is split 50:50 between the two family-owned businesses.
Based in Hampshire, Hambledon is England’s oldest commercial vineyard having been established 1952. Currently, it has the capacity to produce more than 500,000 bottles of sparkling wine each year at its 200 acre vineyard.
Exciting time for English sparkling wine
Lizzy Rudd, chair of Berry Bros & Rudd, said the firm was “delighted” to be embarking on this joint venture with Symington Family Estates.
“Together, we are committed to sustainable viticulture and winemaking, and we believe that this business, which was the first commercial English vineyard of the modern era, has the foundations and potential to lead the way in the English sparkling wine category,” Rudd explained.
The two businesses have worked in collaboration for a number of years and Rudd expects that through sharing the same “values and ethos”, the venture can “to bring stability and growth to this business at a very exciting time for English sparkling wine”.
Meanwhile, Johnny Symington, chair of Symington Family Estates, added; “It was going to take something very special for us to make wine in a new country, having produced port and wine in Portugal for five generations. Following lengthy analysis of the English sparkling wine category we are thrilled to be acquiring one of the leading producers in partnership with Berry Bros. & Rudd.
“The quality of the wines is absolutely spectacular and is a reflection of the fantastic Hambledon terroir – with classic Champagne varieties planted exclusively on chalk soils and an extremely favourable microclimate situated in Hampshire close to the English Channel. We believe that these are world-class sparkling wines that will play a leading role in the development of English sparkling into a world-renowned fine wine.”