Hope Wine Group goes into voluntary liquidation following the liquidation of Bulga Coal Management for $ 1.2 million | Newcastle Herald


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HOPE Wine Group went into voluntary liquidation this week, a day before the company went to NSW Supreme Court for more than $ 1.2 million by Bulga Coal Management. The Hunter Valley Vineyard trading company has not been in operation for about a year and has no outside creditors. It is understood that the action means the trial, which was scheduled to begin on Thursday, will be suspended. Cellar owner Michael Hope said this week that the pandemic has forced a restructuring of the family business. “It was the trading company of the winery, it did not own any property or assets,” Hope said. “There are no creditors and the suppliers will not be affected as the company has not negotiated for some time due to restructuring.” Hope Wine Group was sued for more than $ 1.2 million by Bulga Coal Management over a dispute over alleged unpaid rent and damage to a vineyard in Broke. In the mine-against-wine battle, Bulga Coal alleged that Hope Wine honored a rental agreement and failed to leave the vineyard in good condition when it left. Bulga bought the old Hope Wine property in mid-2006 because she wanted to expand her coal mining operations underground and leased the vineyard to the winemaker. The court had previously heard that after the exchange of sales contracts and as Hope Wine negotiated to purchase another property in Hunter Valley, Bulga Coal requested changes to the sale-leaseback agreement. This included changes to the term of the lease, the cost of rent and the notice period for termination. Bulga then claimed he was owed $ 1.284 million in damages due to breaches of the lease. The figure included rent, tariffs, water charges, utilities, property tax and $ 1.18 million claimed for reclamation costs associated with work done on the property after the lease ends. Hope Wine conceded that she did not comply with the lease regarding rent and expenses, saying she was not obligated to do so because it was not enforceable. She denied that she breached the reclamation obligation and that Bulga Coal suffered any harm. The court heard that Hope Wine said the miner had “not applied for rent for eight years.” According to Hope Wine manager Michael Hope, he had a conversation with Bulga’s property manager, Val Istomin, prior to the sale of the property and the signing of the sale-leaseback agreement. Mr Hope said he was told Bulga’s parent company, Swiss mining giant Xstrata now Glencore, would not agree to the lease being rent-free or $ 1 a year. Mr Hope said it was also discussed that the miner knew he was buying another property and needed to settle the sale of Bulga Coal in order to finalize the new purchase. He alleged that the proposed changes to the rental agreement were presented as a “mere formality” to satisfy Xstrata’s board of directors and would not affect the working relationship with Hope Wine and Bulga Coal. Bulga Coal admitted to saying that Xstrata would not accept the lease at the rate of $ 1 per year, but denied making any other statements. During a one-day hearing in November last year, Hope Wine asked the court for a wealth of information and documents from the minor, spanning 16 years, before the case was filed. for trial this month. Judge Julie Ward said Hope believed the depths of Bulga Coal’s computer archives may contain “a smoking gun” as to why she hadn’t billed rent for eight years. Bulga Coal opposed the request on the grounds that it did not have a centralized document management system for part of the time and that the requested documents were stored on employees’ hard drives. The miner said it would take between nine and 12 months to put in place the systems needed to retrieve the relevant documents and could cost more than the $ 1.28 million in damages claimed. Some of the documents requested by Hope Wine related to the mine subsidence on the property. “Hope Wine maintains that the mine subsidence issue will impact both the vines and the condition of the trellises,” Justice Ward said. “Noting that Bulga Coal operates a 7,000 hectare mine with underground veins on and near the vineyard.” But Hope admitted he had not investigated whether the subsidence was linked to poor crops at the site. At the time, Justice Ward denied Hope’s claim and ordered the winemaker to pay the miner’s legal costs. IN THE NEWS: Our reporters work hard to provide local and up-to-date news to the community. Here’s how you can continue to access our trusted content:



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