Aug 30, 2022 / News

Taxation / Wine Industry

Bleasdale Vineyards

Bleasdale Vineyards is a 171 year old winery in Langhorne Creek, South Australia, producing premium red, white and fortified wines.

We spoke to Leigh Warren, General Manager of Bleasdale Vineyards, who shared his personal insights into how he was able to use the challenges presented by COVID-19 to pivot his business to maximise opportunities and minimise the detrimental impacts on cashflow. 

Founded in 1850 by Frank Potts, Bleasdale Vineyards has a  celebrated history of producing some of Australia’s most exciting, consistently impressive premium wines. 

Located in the picturesque wine region of South Australia’s Langhorne Creek, Bleasdale’s philosophy is to capture the essence of what makes the region so attractive – vibrancy, harmony and texture.

Leigh Warren says this simple approach has helped make the brand a success, with the wines being exported around the world.

“We bottle all our products in-house except for our sparkling wines. We get our wine out into the market through direct to winery sales, we have a national distributer, but you can also find some of our wine range at various liquor outlets like Dan Murphy’s, BWS and other prominent liquor chains throughout Australia,” said Leigh.

“Traditionally we sell wine, that’s our core business. Whether it’s red wine, white wine, or bubbles. Our range of wines means we have something for everyone, and a wine that fits every occasion. Whoever it is and whatever they need it for, we’ll have something for them.”

Like the majority of Australian businesses, when the global pandemic and lockdowns hit, they hit hard. For Bleasdale, this meant shutting their cellar door and within only a few days completing pivoting their offering to the market. 

“While we were still able to operate our delivery and takeaway service, our cellar door closed immediately, then once it was allowed to reopen, we then had to follow the square metre rule, and then closed again and opened again which was hard for the team and I to endure,” Leigh said.

“We knew we really had to change the way we were doing things, and this meant using a more disruptive sales model, to counteract a more competitive market, due to the knock-on effects of COVID, and obviously with the China tariff situation on Australian wine.”

According to Leigh, it’s become more challenging to sell wine over the last couple of years, particularly as exports to China have ground to a halt. 

“This is proving to be a significant issue for our industry and there’s no immediate and obvious replacement for the huge market that is China. Wine tanks all around our country are full of juice, some growers are not even bothering to pick their fruit as they have no contracts in place and no home for their fruit to go. There is a lot of wine that would have otherwise gone to China that is now being discounted heavily in Australia, so that’s made everyone assess how they make sales domestically,” said Leigh.

“The traders that were moving wine through to China will move on and do other things, however I do feel sorry for the many growers who are carrying the overheads of running their vineyards and nowhere for their fruit to be purchased.

“For Bleasdale, we decided we needed to think world-class if we want to act on the big stage. We’ve had some really exceptional wins over the last 24 months, in Canada and the US in particular, but there’s a lot of wine being discounted domestically, so we knew we needed to work hard at our relationships and figure out the more non-traditional ways to move our wine out the door without devaluing our brand. 

“Right now, our main focus is on investing in our future to make us more competitive, and to make sure we are spending money in the right places within our budget to make us more competitive.

“The one thing I quickly realised about COVID and survival in our business and industry, is that it’s all about finding incremental sales. These small but steady wins would be integral ensuring the future of our business, so we started trialling and implementing new initiatives like fundraising and partnering with local sporting clubs, schools, kindergartens and other organisations to tap into their markets - something which we wouldn’t have thought so much about prior to the pandemic.” 

When asked about how the Bleasdale has grown to be so successful, Leigh credits the support of his dedicated staff and business partners and suppliers, including Nexia Edwards Marshall who have given invaluable financial advice over many years. 

“Nexia has been a great business partner for many years. They always ensure we’re following our best business practices, and that we’re keeping our ducks in a row,” Leigh said. 

“Over the years, we’ve sent our wine list through to Nexia’s office, and their staff have always been such good supporters. It’s a win for the Nexia staff as they can pay for wine at a lower price, and it’s a win for us as it’s the incremental sales we’ve been looking for.”

“Nexia Edwards Marshall are always there making sure we’re keeping our pencil sharpened, but they also respect our expertise and don’t interfere with our day-to-day operations. They’re helping us out behind the scenes rather than being a roadblock and we couldn’t thank them enough.”

To find out more about Bleasdale and their fantastic selection of premium wines, or to even order your own visit

The material contained in this publication is for general information purposes only and does not constitute professional advice or recommendation from Nexia Edwards Marshall. Regarding any situation or circumstance, specific professional advice should be sought on any particular matter by contacting your Nexia Edwards Marshall Adviser.