T’Gallant restaurant, winery for sale

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THE popular T’Gallant restaurant in Main Ridge is for sale as part of owner Treasury Wine Estates’ cost-cutting plan.

Up for grabs is the restaurant and the T’Gallant’s winery interests.

About eight hectares of grapes are grown at the 16-hectare Mornington-Flinders Rd property but wine is no longer made there. Grapes from all over southeastern Australia are marketed under the T’Gallant label.

The vineyard–restaurant has had a chequered career over the past decade or so, having been fined for permit breaches when owned by Foster’s Brewing Group. Mornington Peninsula Shire never collected the fine after Foster’s challenged it. The shire ignored further complaints about regular breaches including having more patrons than permitted.

Foster’s then applied to the shire to expand the restaurant from 60 seats to more than 300 but was refused. It appealed to VCAT but lost. A second appeal, as Treasury Wine Estates, was successful. But Treasury, now independent of Foster’s, has not gone ahead with the approved expansion. Meantime, Foster’s was sold to South African brewing interests.

It appears T’Gallant has been a drag on Treasury’s profits. Fairfax Media reported that Treasury was selling its peninsula winery plus the Bailey’s and Ryecroft wineries in Australia as well as California’s Asti winery in the first stage of a cost-cutting overhaul of winery infrastructure.

Treasury CEO Mike Clarke was reported as saying the savings would help fund more advertising and marketing, and would play a part in “embedding a cost-conscious culture” at Treasury.

Fairfax reported that Treasury has 83 wine brands. The new strategy focuses on the top end of the market, led by the flagship Penfolds label.

The US has been a particular trouble spot, according to Fairfax. Two years ago it outlined plans to destroy six million bottles of cheaper wine after problems flared under previous management.

Less than half the wine was destroyed after ways were found to offload stock.

Treasury wines have also been discounted in China.

Whoever buys T’Gallant will inherit the expansion approval, to 190 patrons and vastly expanded parking, along with a requirement to upgrade the wastewater system to Class A to protect groundwater and Manton Creek, which runs through the property.

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