Capital Wines in the Canberra District is up for sale

Four Winds Vineyard owners John and Sarah Collingwood and Sarah's parents Graeme and Suzanne Lunney buy Capital Wines' winery and Kyeema Estate vineyard and wine brand. Photo: supplied
Four Winds Vineyard owners John and Sarah Collingwood and Sarah's parents Graeme and Suzanne Lunney buy Capital Wines' winery and Kyeema Estate vineyard and wine brand. Photo: supplied

One of the Canberra District's award-winning wine brands is up for sale as its winemaker prepares to retire.

Capital Wines' winery and Kyeema Estate wine brand and vineyard have already sold to Four Winds Vineyard.

The Capital Wines brand and cellar door in Hall are now also on the market for the right buyer, said owner and winemaker Andrew McEwin.

Four Winds will transfer its winemaking to the Capital Wines winery, chief executive officer Sarah Collingwood said.

Other brands previously made under contract by Capital Wines have already moved to Four Winds, along with Capital Wines' assistant winemaker Phil Scott, Mr McEwin said.

Four Winds is in discussions with those brands about ongoing contracts, with the winery's capacity set to reduce once Four Winds' winemaking is transferred, Mrs Collingwood said.

She said Four Winds had invested in a new press and new tanks to increase capacity.

Four Winds is also talking to Mr Scott about his ongoing involvement with the company, Mrs Collingwood said.

Kyeema Estate vineyard is four kilometres south of Murumbateman and will give Four Winds access to new grape varieties including tempranillo, chardonnay and viognier.

The vineyard will also provide Four Winds with an old clone of Penfolds shiraz and a reserve merlot.

The first vintage of Four Winds Vineyard branded wines incorporating grapes from Kyeema Estate was released this year.

Kyeema Estate vineyard was Capital Wines' main source of fruit and was purchased by Mr McEwin in 2000, although he had been sourcing fruit from the vineyard for his Kyeema Wines label since 1986.

Mr McEwin is preparing to retire but will only sell the Capital Wines brand to the right buyer.

He will continue to operate the Capital Wines cellar door in Hall, which the business leases, and manage the brand in the meantime.

He said he would likely keep a hand in winemaking even in retirement.

"It's probably time. It also gives my assistant winemaker [Phil Scott] the chance to spread his wings," he said.

"We want the brand to go to the right people. Whether or not it continues, rests with the purchaser."

He hopes the new owner will keep the cellar door open and the casual staff employed.

"We're very keen that continues as it seems very important to the local people," Mr McEwin said.

"Our staff have been with us for a while and are very keen to stay."

Mr McEwin said he had "thoroughly enjoyed" his winemaking career and was ending on a "high point".

"I feel great satisfaction. I've made 13 rieslings; 12 of those have won gold and the one that didn't win gold won silver," he said.

The first time Mr McEwin made wine was when he finished university in 1973.

Born and bred in the Barossa Valley, his involvement with wine began at a young age, although most of his winemaking was from about 1986.

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