The US wine group The Duckhorn Portfolio has purchased the Sonoma-Cutrer Vineyards winery, which specialises in Chardonnay, from the spirits group Brown-Forman for 400 million dollars. Brown-Forman, which also owns the Jack Daniels whisky brand, is thus parting with its last wine holding.
Duckhorn was founded in 1976 by Dan and Margaret Duckhorn in St Helena in the Napa Valley. Today, the group owns ten wineries with 440 hectares of vineyards in California and Washington State. Until now, however, a strong Chardonnay brand has been missing from the portfolio. The management expects the integration of Sonoma-Cutrer to result in annual cost savings of five million US dollars.
Observers see the deal as good business, as Sonoma-Cutrer is a strong brand and the trend is towards white wines. The Treasury Wine Estates group recently paid around one billion US dollars for the Cabernet Sauvignon specialist Daou, although Chardonnay is selling better than Cabernet Sauvignon in US supermarkets, according to the industry analysis company Nielsen. Sales of Chardonnay have risen by 15 per cent in the important USD 25 to 50 segment since the beginning of 2022, while Cabernet sales fell by 1 per cent in 2022 and by 11.7 per cent this year to September. Shares in Treasury Wine Estates fell by 11 per cent shortly after the purchase of Daou and by a total of 19 per cent since the beginning of the year.
However, Sonoma-Cutrer stands for a strong style that is less favoured by younger consumers. Duckhorn shares have lost 36 per cent of their value since the beginning of the year. On the day after the announcement of the deal alone, it fell by 4.5 per cent.
(al / Source: Decanter; wine-searcher)