30/03/2004 - 22:00

Moss Brothers sets Asian focus

30/03/2004 - 22:00


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MOSS Brothers founder and chief executive Jeff Moss has handed over the reigns to the winery’s accountant, Mark Buck

Moss Brothers sets Asian focus

MOSS Brothers founder and chief executive Jeff Moss has handed over the reigns to the winery’s accountant, Mark Buck. 

But while 73-year-old Mr Moss decided it was time for someone else to take over the day-to-day management, he’ll still be on hand to help grow the business he founded in 1984.

“The plan was to get to 200 tonnes and that would give us a pretty fair income,” Mr Moss says.

“Then we got to 200 tonnes some years down the road and we found that we have to be 500 tonnes, and I guess when you get there you want to be 1,000 tonnes.

“When we set up here we were the 12th vineyard and when we opened the cellar door I think we were the ninth, so today I don’t know where you would get the figures but I would say there are 150 vineyards and more than 90 cellar doors.”

Mr Buck has worked for Mr Moss as the vineyard’s accountant since September 2003.

Now, as the new chief executive officer, he will facilitate growth of the Moss Brothers crush from 300t to 500t, and will target expansion into markets such as China and India.

Mr Buck has had a meteoric rise in the wine business.

“I worked in the UK in financial services. I moved to Australia in 2002,” he says.

The fact that a friend of Mr Buck’s was working at Vasse Felix to some extent influenced the decision to migrate to the West.

“His wife and my wife were good friends so we decided we’d come to Margaret River. From my point of view I’d done a lot of project work and management work and had been working silly hours,” Mr Buck says.

“We’d just had our son and I thought that it was a great time to give up the stress. My friend at Vasse Felix got me a job as a cellar hand.

“I thought it was great because I wanted to get more involved in the wine industry. I did the vintage and I was doing night shifts too. It was mind boggling because it was a complete change. It was a great way to get to know the business. It was never with a view to be a long-term cellar hand, though.”

Mr Buck was offered a two-month stint as an accountant at Vasse Felix and from there moved to Moss Brothers as its full-time accountant.

“We’re going to crush 400 tonnes this year and that is a big increase from last year. We did 300 tonnes last year. The company has always planed to expand to eventually 500 tonnes. This year we have had a bumper crop.”

Mr Buck says he hopes to achieve a 500t crush within two years.

“We’re looking at export markets. China and India have huge potential. We’ve sent our export manager to Vietnam,” Mr Buck says.

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ROY Weston Commercial is in final-stage negotiations with an unnamed person who is prepared to take over the lease of the Sicilian Restaurant in Subiaco. The property was not advertised, however Roy Western Commercial sales consultant Steve Rowe says the potential leasee is aware of the previous owner’s situation and was keen to take over its operation.

Mohammad Rashidi-Khaki closed the doors in January this year and the business is in the hands of administrators.

The Sicilian is located opposite The Oriel Café and Brasserie on Hay Street, which is one of Perth’s busiest restaurant precincts.

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THE Merchant Tea and Coffee Co is in the midst of fitting out its next shop in Fremantle after opening a fifth store, in Applecross, last month.

By the end of this year there will be at least seven Merchant Tea and Coffee Co shops in WA.

The company owned Fremantle store will accommodate a new training school and provide a base for a head office.

Located at the former Old Papa’s restaurant site, the three-storey complex will include the tea house on the street level. A training centre will be located in the basement of the same building and The Merchant Tea and Coffee Co head office will occupy the top floor.

According to The Merchant Tea and Coffee Co managing director, Mitchell Hendersen, the new store and training centre will open in six to eight weeks.

“We’ve been held up with heritage issues but we’ve come to a compromise,” Mr Hendersen says .

“The training school will be for Merchant employees and it will be a full mock-up store.”

Mr Hendersen is also close to signing a deal for a site in Mandurah.

The Applecross Merchant Tea and Coffee Co is on the corner of Kearns and Risely streets.

“We’re having to broaden what we do because what works in Murray Street doesn’t work in other locations. People in Busselton, Kalamunda and Applecross sit longer and have longer for lunch,” Mr Hendersen says.


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