The vineyard of prominent merchant banker and coal seam gas objector, the late David Clarke, is set to be sold to AGL, the company whose exploration he opposed.
Clarke provided financial support to the Hunter Valley Protection Alliance’s campaign against AGL, and also supported the Hunter Wine Industry Association’s move to have vineyards removed from AGL’s exploration areas.
The Newcastle Herald reported today that the executors of Clarke’s estate had signed the contracts to hand over the Poole’s Rock vineyard.
Clarke trustee Ian Ferrier confirmed the sale and said it was made for benefit of the estate.
“As a trustee you act to benefit the estate,” he said.
Last year Clarke said AGL was not addressing the community’s concerns and gas production in the area would lead to the “death of tourism in the Hunter”.
Clarke’s son Angus said the sale was out of the family’s hands and was a sensitive issue.
He said the executors had made the decision based on the troubles the wine industry was facing, and AGL had been “decent to deal with”.
AGL said it was currently in confidential negotiations with numerous landholders in the Hunter and could not publicly comment on any dealings.