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Black Tower owner buys 16% stake in North South Wines

Published:  26 February, 2020

German winery Reh Kendermann, the producer of Black Tower, has acquired a 16% stake in North South Wines (NSW).

As part of the deal, NSW will manage all of Reh Kendermann’s UK business in the wholesale, convenience, discount, independent wine specialist and on-trade channels, effective from 1 April 2020.

Northern Ireland and the UK supermarket channel will continue to be managed directly by Reh Kendermann – one of Germany’s largest wineries.

The 16% shareholding purchased by Reh Kendermann had been held by North South Wines since 2017, when the Bolitho family, one of NSW founding winery members, decided to sell the family business, Waimea Estates, to the New Zealand investment company Booster Tahi.

The deal, which means NSW is now 52% owned by the UK based management team with each of The Wine People SRL, De Bortoli Wines PTY and Reh Kendermann holding a 16% share each, marked a “very exciting” time for North South Wines.

“We have been working with Reh Kendermann for the past couple of years and there are some great synergies with our two businesses, so when the opportunity came up for another winery to invest, they were the obvious choice,” said MD Kim Wilson.

NWS was seeing increased demand for premium German wines, and had the “relationships and routes to market that will allow us to continue to grow the Reh Kendermann business in the UK”, she added.

“There is a brand refresh of Black Tower coming in 2020, so we are thrilled at the prospect of being able to take this out to customers.”

Alex Rittlinger, joint MD at Reh Kendermann, said: “With this new partnership and the investment into NSW we continue to strengthen our position in the UK market as well as our Black Tower brand.”

Although there were “many challenges” at the moment, the business strongly believed in the UK market and in the NSW team, he added.

“We look forward to this new investment being beneficial for all parties for future growth. As a leading German wine producer, together with NWS we will better overcome the challenges of the UK market in terms of German wine growth. In this way we can give the right signal to the changing UK retail market,” he said.

The Reh Kendermann brand-name wines joining NWS’s portfolio from April comprises, along with any future line extensions to those brands, Black Tower, Kendermanns and Terroir.