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Barossa Valley’s Seppeltsfield buys Chinese base at a lavish new chateau by Tony Love02/05/2017  

Owner Warren Randall at Seppeltsfield. Photo Sam Wundke.

BAROSSA’s Seppeltsfield winery has upped the ante in the Australia-Sino wine trade stakes and bought a major share in a newly built chateau in China’s central east.

Seppeltsfield’s majority owner Warren Randall has taken a 37 per cent stake in a joint venture $75 million Chateau Seppeltsfield Minquan in Henan Province to establish a new sales outpost and two-way tourism platform.

After a three-year build, the new chateau will open on May 13 in partnership with Minquan Jiuding Wine Company whose most prominent wine brand “1958” will lead the Chinese labels sold concurrently with South Australian Seppeltsfield branded wines.

Founded in 1958, Minquan winery was originally a Chinese state-owned wine and spirit business, acting as production facility for China’s largest wine brand, ‘Great Wall’. It was later acquired by Zhenjiang Jiuding Construction Company in 2005.

Minquan Jiuding Wine Company is a subsidiary of the larger construction business.

The joint venture has several levels of co-operation, Mr Randall told The Advertiser.

Seppeltsfield will sell at the chateau its own fortifieds and table wines as well as other brands owned by the company.

The Barossan business also will send bulk wine to China to be bottled at the chateau in a joint brand, and also for separately marketed Minquan Jiuding wines.

The venue will likely become Seppeltsfield’s main Chinese operational centre, as well as its tourism portal, Mr Randall said.

“The chateau will be our platform to attract Chinese tourists to Seppeltsfield and the Barossa,” Mr Randall said.

And being three hours by newly-completed high speed train services from Beijing and Shanghai was a “deal breaker” he believes that will be at the forefront of China’s new inbound wine tourism sector.

“This is also about having some vision and being opportunistic,” Mr Randall said.

The chateau’s huge winery cellar will house American and French oak hogshead barrels which will for starters hold 2015 and 2016 Seppeltsfield-made shiraz and cabernet sauvignon — acting both as a winery and tourism attraction for a Chinese population increasingly interested in wine.

Mr Randall sees the new venture as a stable base to catapult his business even further into China, having already reached 10 per cent of Australia’s bulk wine exports into the burgeoning market.

“I want a presence and I want a location,” he said.

“There’s no doubt China is the revolution and the new shoots for the Australian wine industry.