Lang and Stonehill wineries getting new owners
Photo: View over Lang's vineyards
New owners have come forward for several of the properties of the bankrupt Holman Lang Wineries Ltd. group.
Two of the transactions involve new players in the B.C. wine industry.
This Friday, an application goes before the B.C. Supreme Court for the sale of Lang Vineyards Ltd. to an individual named Yong Wang. Through the firm of Sotheby’s International Realty Canada (which had listed many of the Holman Lang assets in 2009), Wang is offering $2,199,000 for the winery.
He had made an earlier offer of $1.5 million which was rejected by Wolrige Mahon Ltd., the receiver.
Documents filed in court show that the receiver has been playing hardball to get the best possible offers for Lang Vineyards, which Holman Lang had purchased in 2005 either for $2.6 million or $3.5 million. Both figures appear in filings by the receiver.
The receiver rejected earlier bids for Lang as well – a lowball offer of $525,000 and a subsequent $945,000 bid for the land and buildings.
Unless a higher bid is placed before the judge on Friday, Yong Wang will be able to take over Lang.
This winery arguably is the most desirable of the seven wineries that have been in receivership since last November. The winery was one of two farmgate wineries that opened in 1990 on the Naramata Bench. Günter Lang, who established Lang Vineyards, sold the winery to Keith Holman, who topped an offer that an American purchaser had floated.
At the time, Holman owned three other wineries, none of which had acquired much of a following for their wines. He needed Lang because it had a good reputation, an established distribution network for its wines and, in winemaker Bernard Schirrmeister, a trained and experienced winemaker. Günter Lang also agreed to stay on as a manager in the Holman Lang group, an arrangement that eventually broke down. Schirrmeister also left the group a year ago.
Wang, who takes over a modest wine inventory, faces a rebuilding job, although consumers still remember the Lang Farm Reserve Riesling as one of the Okanagan’s top Riesling wines.
Earlier this month, the court also approved the sale of the Stonehill Estate Winery for $1.5 million, a last minute bid that topped a $1.3 million offer from Banbury Holdings Ltd. of North Vancouver. This winery was listed in 2009 by Sotheby’s at $3.9 million.
The new owners of Stonehill are Wayne and Margareta Nystrom in partnership with Gavin Miller, the former winemaker at Painted Rock Estate Winery, and his wife, Shana. Nystrom, who has lived in Penticton since 2005, is a former partner in NLK, a pulp and paper consulting company, and a former chief executive of Pacifica Papers Inc.
Stonehill opened in 2001 as Benchland Vineyards, changing its name after Keith Holman took it over in 2004 at the same time as he was developing Mistral Vineyards next door.
No purchase offers have yet been announced for Mistral, along with Soaring Eagle, Zero Balance and K Mountain, the other wineries in receivership.
Two pieces of Holman Lang orchard property have been sold. One of them on Sworder Road, near the La Frenz winery, is being purchased by Michael Dinn and Heidi Noble of JoieFarm, primarily for the development of a private residence.