Many grape growers who expected to
sell grapes to McGuigan Simeon in vintage 2006 are now without a contract. Most
will be wondering if they can hang on in there, as they know there is an
oversupply of grapes and the alternatives are sparse. Some are facing imminent
financial hardship. Brian McGuigan has agreed to meetings but says oversupply is
a problem for all the industry. There’s also the strength of the dollar and a
heap of other excuses. If that’s not bad enough, investors in McGuigan-Simeon
watched the share price in 2005 go from over $6 to just over $3 last Friday

Of course Big Mac has secured his
share price by shrewdly placing put-options on them. It was somewhat surprising
to read in The Australian last
Friday: “Leading wine producer
Brian McGuigan is in the US scouring for buyers for 1.3
million bottles of premium wine held by receivers of the collapsed investment
scheme Heritage Fine Wines.”

It has been reported that there is a
group of “notable wine people” who are concerned that if these 1.3 million
bottles hit the Australian market it will upset the secondary market and prices
will plummet. It’s a pity they didn’t pitch in when Evans & Tate dumped 10.2
million litres on the market for 35 cents a litre.

But that’s not the
point; unlike these bottles, the 10 million litres of E&T didn’t belong to
wealthy. Bought with little concern for the content, but mainly for their
potential increase in value, these purchasers were conned into believing they
would provide a return. So why is Big Mac out there helping those who fell for a
con driven by greed? What about McGuigan Simeon’s growers? Ah well, when they
start planting thousands of acres of grapes in the wealthier parts of Sydney, perhaps help will
be more forthcoming.