In the red: Rutherglen winery in administration

RUTHERGLEN’s Buller Wines has gone into voluntary administration, with local winemakers saying it’s a hit for the industry.

Sydney-based financial advisers Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu were appointed administrators to the fourth generation family-owned winery on Thursday.

Deloitte spokesman Simon Rushton would not reveal the reasons Buller Wines had gone into administration.

He said more details could come to light after a creditors meeting in Melbourne on Friday.

“It’s very early days as far as pro­cesses are concerned.”

He said it was “business as usual” at the winery while Deloitte investigated the company’s financial position.

Buller Wines would not comment.

It’s uncertain if Buller Wines’ Rock in the Vines at Easter, featuring the Hoodoo Gurus, will go ahead. 

The Winemakers of Rutherglen chairman Damien Cofield said Buller Wines had gone into administration because of oversupply and the high dollar affecting exports.

He said the decision was felt by all of the 20 wineries in the Winemakers of Rutherglen group.

“The Winemakers of Rutherglen is a tight-knit community and will support the Buller family during this time,” Mr Cofield said.

Chris Pfeiffer, of Pfeiffer Wines, said the news that Buller Wines was in administration was “upsetting”.

“Rutherglen is a small community so we know everybody well and you don’t want to see anyone in difficulty.

“It’s indicative that the economy is not travelling as well as we might expect.”

Trading conditions had been “difficult”, affected by the Australian dollar, smoke contamination from bushfires, and wet weather in the past two years bringing disease, Mr Pfeiffer said.

“We want next year to be a great year because we deserve it.”Hopes are being pinned on a big vintage crop from February to April.

“We’re all in dire need of a nice vintage coming up in the next couple of months — a bumper crop that will help ease a few of the stresses,” Mr Cofield said.

“I think there are some early signs of some wheels turning to give some optimism to what is currently a tough time in the industry.”

Buller Wines, based in Rutherglen and Swan Hill with its head office in Melbourne, employs about 25 people.

It was established in Rutherglen in 1921 by Reginald Langdon Buller and now exports to South East Asia, Europe and North America.

It built its reputation on 100-point scores from Robert Parker for its famous fortified wines, and most recently a reputation for the iconic RL Buller & Son Calliope Shiraz.

Buller Wines has been run by fourth-generation Buller brothers Andrew and Richard.

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