Foley Family Wines pays growers early for record 2016 vintage

Foley Family Wines chief executive Mark Turnbull
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Foley Family Wines [NZAX: FFW], the NZAX-listed company majority owned by US businessman Bill Foley, will bring forward the final payment to its grape growers for its 2016 vintage, reflecting the strength of its balance sheet.

The winemaker will pay growers the final instalment in May instead of July as it benefits from a 31% increase in the 2016 grape harvest to a record 6954 tonnes, it said in a statement. The Blenheim-based company's Marlborough harvest rose 42% while its Martinborough harvest jumped 106% due to a strong growing season and improved viticulture practices.

"Growers are integral to the success of our business and this year we wanted them to share in the results we are achieving," chief executive Mark Turnbull said. "The amount brought forward is approximately $2.3 million, so we are sure that our growers will have appreciated the payment a few months early."

Foley Family Wines is in the last month of its 2016 financial year which ends June 30. In its first half, profit jumped to $1.6 million from $400,000 a year earlier as sales rose 12% to $17.4 million.

The company has appointed Blair Robinson as its Australasian sales and marketing director. He is currently market manager New Zealand and Asia for Villa Maria Estate and starts the new role next month.

The winemaker also detailed new distribution arrangements for its wines in the UK and Australia. Negociants UK will distribute its Marlborough Vineyards, Grove Mill and Frog Haven brands in the UK while Samuel Smith & Son was appointed the exclusive distributor for Martinborough Vineyards from August. Both distributors are owned by Yalumba Wine Group.

Shares in Foley Family Wines slipped 1.9% to $1.57 and have gained 10% in the last year.


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