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Harry McWatters
 
April 1, 2016 | Harry McWatters

ENCORE Vineyards Announces Sale of Okanagan Assets

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
 
ENCORE Vineyards Announces Sale of Okanagan Assets



ENCORE Vineyards Ltd., home to TIME Estate Winery, McWatters Collection and Evolve Cellars, has reached an agreement with a buyer to sell a portion of its assets in Oliver, British Columbia. The sale has been approved by ENCORE’s board of directors.

This private transaction has been under negotiation for several months, and was completed on April 1, 2016. The transaction includes a 60‐acre vineyard on the Black Sage Bench and a building currently under construction.

“ENCORE Vineyards Ltd. retains all of its other assets, which includes its existing brand names, TIME Estate Winery, McWatters Collection as well as Evolve Cellars winery in Summerland, along with all inventory and winery equipment”, said ENCORE President and Chief Executive Officer Harry McWatters.

“The sale of this vineyard advances our strategy by unlocking the land value in our portfolio, and allows us to focus on the next exciting phase of ENCORE Vineyards.  After closing, ENCORE will have eliminated bank debt, and own all equipment and inventory. We will continue to sell our TIME, McWatters Collection, and Evolve wines, and our winemaker, Lawrence Buhler, will continue to make wines that maintain the great reputation and garnered acclaim these wines enjoy.”

ENCORE Vineyards will share the exciting next steps in the coming weeks.

This financial transaction was subject to normal closing procedures and closed on April 1, 2016, setting the stage for the next business phase for this progressive wine group.

About ENCORE Vineyards Ltd.

ENCORE Vineyards is led by President and Chief Executive Officer Harry McWatters, a 48‐year veteran of the thriving British Columbia wine industry. In 1980 he founded Sumac Ridge Estate Winery, the first estate winery in the province; subsequently, he founded See Ya Later Ranch Estate Winery in 1995.

When Harry sold both operations to Vincor Canada in 2000, he remained President of Sumac Ridge and See Ya Later Ranch and was a Vice President of Vincor Canada until he “retired” in 2008. Since then, Harry and associates have formed ENCORE Vineyards and launched TIME Estate Winery, the McWatters Collection and developed Evolve Cellars.

For more information about Encore Vineyards Ltd, contact: 
Harry McWatters, President and Chief Executive Officer
7 -7519 Prairie Valley Road, 
Summerland, BC, V0H 1Z4,
(250) 494-8828
harry@encorevineyards.ca 



Asset Sale - Frequently Asked Questions

How much did the new owner pay for the vineyard?

ENCORE is bound by a confidentiality agreement and is unable to reveal the purchase price. 

There have been rumors that ENCORE was in financial trouble due to the inconsistency of construction of the building on the vineyard property in Oliver. Was this true?

No. ENCORE has always had a strong equity position, which has allowed it to produce wines of increasing quality for many years. The company debt load was always very small in proportion to its equity and assets. The length of the time of negotiations altered the schedule of construction, which kept pace with the negotiation process.

What will happen to the existing brands, including TIME Estate Winery, McWatters Collection, and Evolve Cellars?

The existing brands will continue to grow and develop with an even greater investment on quality. Additionally, this transaction will allow the group to seek new opportunities and investments in the wine industry.

Why did Harry sell the vineyard that he planted in 1992?

The offer for purchase of the vineyard created an opportunity for Harry to grow his existing brands and develop ENCORE’s business activities within the wine industry. ENCORE will continue to look at other new investments and acquisitions moving forward. 

What is next for Harry McWatters and ENCORE Vineyards?

Stay tuned. Exciting plans for Harry McWatters and ENCORE will be revealed in the coming weeks.

What will happen to the winemaker, vineyard manager and other winery staff?

•    ENCORE’s director of winemaking, Lawrence Buhler, will continue to create wines of increasing quality.
•    The current manager of the Oliver vineyard, Richard ‘Dick’ Cleave, is expected to work with the new owners.
•    Current employee contracts at the vineyard in Oliver ceased on March 31, 2016. The new owners will continue to employ all of the vineyard staff going forward. There will be no change to any hourly or salaried staff at Evolve Cellars in Summerland.
•    ENCORE’s board of directors, management team and administrative staff will remain unchanged.
•    Seasonal employees will continue to be secured as needed.

What will be the grape source for ENCORE’s brands going forward?

Due to ever-changing consumer demands, ENCORE Vineyards now has the flexibility to contract and purchase fruit to meet the needs of the wine- loving public. It is noted that ENCORE has already been in the process of securing fruit from multiple sources. ENCORE has already negotiated access to select fruit at its former vineyard in Oliver.

What will happen to those who invested in ENCORE Vineyards and the new winery facility? Will they receive their expected dividends?

Their investment is still secure and all shareholder agreements will be honoured. This transaction puts preferred shareholders in a better position to realize future dividends.

Where will the wines be made?

Stay tuned – an announcement will be made about the new address. The wines will continue to be made by director of winemaking, Lawrence Buhler, under the direction of Harry McWatters, ensuring consistent and high-quality wines for any occasion.

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