Premier wine group The Duckhorn Portfolio has acquired Sonoma-Cutrer Vineyards from Brown-Forman, with Brown-Forman receiving UD$50m and 21.5 per cent ownership in The Duckhorn Portfolio.
Lawson Whiting, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Brown-Forman Corporation, is confident that the deal will be beneficial to all involved parties.
“The Duckhorn Portfolio has a strong reputation for producing and marketing some of the world’s finest wines. Their understanding of the wine consumer, combined with a strong and diverse route to market, give Brown-Forman great confidence that Sonoma-Cutrer will continue to grow and thrive as part of the larger Duckhorn portfolio,” Whiting said.
“Adding Sonoma-Cutrer to the Duckhorn portfolio will enhance one of the most respected wine portfolios in the industry. Moreover, we believe an equity stake in The Duckhorn Portfolio will be a valuable investment for Brown-Forman, allowing us to maintain a presence in the wine category while focusing resources on building our premium and super-premium spirits brands,” Whiting added.
Under the terms of the agreement, The Duckhorn Portfolio will take ownership of the Sonoma-Cutrer brand trademarks, facilities, and six vineyards. The deal is expected to close in the final quarter of FY24, at which time Brown-Forman will receive two seats on The Duckhorn Portfolio’s Board of Directors.
Deirdre Mahlan, The Duckhorn Portfolio’s Interim President, Chief Executive Officer and Chairperson, is also pleased with the deal.
“Sonoma-Cutrer has a long history of excellence in crafting fine wines and will be an outstanding addition to our portfolio of luxury wines. We will be fortunate to welcome Brown-Forman, a storied industry leader, as a long-term shareholder and look forward to their representation on our board,” said Mahlan.
Since its 1981 start in the winemaking world, Sonoma-Cutrer has established itself as one of California’s best-known Chardonnay brands. Brown-Forman purchased the brand and associated vineyards in 1999, and Sonoma-Cutrer is now the third-largest luxury Chardonnay brand in the U.S.