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Published:  23 July, 2008

Lion Nathan has bought Banksia Wines, the Adelaide-based winemaker whose brands include Tatachilla and St Hallett. Lion Nathan, in which the Japanese brewer Kirin has a controlling stake, has moved quickly following its loss of Montana, New Zealand's largest winemaker, to Allied Domecq. The A$87million deal includes A$19million of Banksia's debt. Banksia is regarded as one of Australia's leading second-tier premium winemakers, exporting nearly half of its annual production of approximately 330,000 cases to the UK. "Banksia Wines represents an important first step in gaining exposure to the Australian wine sector," said Lion's chief executive, Gordon Cairns. With sales in the beer sector flat, Lion is following a now well-trodden path into wine, as the branded wine sector grows.