29/03/2021 - 11:00

Plantagenet Wines changes ownership

29/03/2021 - 11:00

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Australia’s second oldest family business, Lionel Samson Sadleirs, has sold its Plantagenet Wine business to Tom Wisdom, a sixth-generation descendant of founder Lionel Samson.

Plantagenet Wines changes ownership
Tom Wisdom and wife Jo Wisdom have taken full ownership of the Plantagenet Wine business. Photo: Jessica Wyld

Australia’s second oldest family business, Lionel Samson Sadleirs, has sold its Plantagenet Wine business to Tom Wisdom, a sixth-generation descendant of founder Lionel Samson.

A former director of Lionel Samson Sadleirs, and most recently general manager of Plantagenet Wines, Mr Wisdom and his wife Jo Wisdom now have full ownership over the Plantagenet brand, stock, the leasehold of the cellar door café and the Wyjup Vineyard.

“The Plantagenet brand is respected and trusted and we intend to continue the great work that the team have initiated to position Plantagenet as one of the preeminent wine producers in Western Australia,” Mr Wisdom said.

“The Samson family have been great supporters of the business over a long period of time and the decision to sell was made with a heavy heart but deemed necessary in order to focus on other areas of the business.

“As the general manager of Plantagenet, and sixth-generation family member in the business, my immediate thought was to try and maintain a sense of family connection and ownership.”

The Plantagenet premium wine brand was founded by Tony Smith, a British migrant who started growing grapes on his private Mount Barker landholding within the Plantagenet Shire in 1968.

The first fruit was picked in 1974 and soon after Mr Smith planted more grape varieties, establishing a premium winery in the Great Southern Region.

In 1992, Lionel Samson & Sons purchased a one-third share in Plantagenet Wines, before taking full ownership in 1999.

Lionel Samson & Sons, now known as the Lionel Samson Sadleirs, is WA’s oldest family business, founded in 1829 by two brothers – Lionel and William Samson - who arrived on the second settlement vessel into Fremantle.

The organisation has four main business divisions: Sadleirs Logistics, Sadleirs Global Logistics, Sadleirs Packaging and Plantagenent Wines.

Mr Wisdom said he and his wife were excited to take over Plantagenet Wines and to continue its legacy.

“Jo and I are both viticulturists, which is how we met many years ago in Margaret River, and growing the finest quality wine grapes is our passion as vignerons,” Mr Wisdom said.

“We know that quality starts in the vineyard and this is where Plantagenet is extremely fortunate to provide fantastically balanced and mature (+50yrs) vineyards from which to select the finest parcels of fruit for our Wyjup Collection and Estate ranges." 

Previously chief commercial officer of Lionel Samson Sadleirs and Sadleirs since 2017, Mr Wisdom has now stepped down from those roles to focus on Plantagenet Wines as managing director. 

Mrs Wisdom has taken on the role of Plantagenet Wines director. 

Plantagenet Wines' Wyjup Vineyard was planted in 1971, yielding Riesling, Cabernet, Shiraz, Malbec and Chardonnay grape varietals across 20 hectares.

"The Wyjup Collection goes to the heart of Plantagenet as a brand – the wines in this collection are the most refined and prestigious we produce each vintage," Mrs Wisdom said. 

"Each wine is a true celebration of our pioneering history as the oldest winery in the Great Southern region and we look forward to building on this well into the future."

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