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Wine group shelves its Internet and retail plans

WINE services group 1Auswines.com has shelved its Internet and retail plans for an outlet at the West Perth site of the Perth Ice Works to concentrate on its bottling and storage plans.

After failing to raise the $10 million it wanted, the company went back to seed capitalists for $3.5 million needed to buy industrial land in Jandakot and build a new wine bottling facility.

Further fund raising is a possibility, with the wine-linked group considering a limited prospectus.

The move comes at a time of unprecedented activity from the WA wine sector, with Xanadu confirming it was in talks with South Australian producer Normans.

But the activity also coincides with further warnings about the sector’s immediate future, with BIS Shrapnel reporting that Australian producers were being too optimistic with their export expectations.

BIS liquor industry specialist Sandro Mangosi echoed earlier warnings that big plantings will create an oversupply and prompt Australian companies

to concentrate more on the domestic market.

1Auswines chief Mick Stroud said his company was close to signing off on a $2 million bottling plant from Italy after spending $1.5 million buying 3 hectares of Jandakot land and establishing a 6000sqm storage facility there.

Mr Stroud said there already were more than 2000 barrels of wine stored in the temperature-controlled premises.

“We always knew the business was the industrial side, that was the driver,” he said.

The plan is to complete the bottling plant by September, using components from a number of different bottling operations Mr Stroud visited in Italy.

Mr Stroud said he had been forced to fund a lot of the initiative through debt after failing to get the float away, raising $3.5 million with another $4 million promised before it was decided to withdraw and return the money to investors.

He said a form of prospectus which could remain open for 13-months was being considered to fund the project’s next stages and reduce debt.

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