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News Briefs for April 5, 2018

April 5, 2018

•The Carlyle Group has acquired Australia-based Accolade Wines from fellow private equity firm CHAMP for A$1 billion ($770m). Accolade’s portfolio, which numbers around 35 million cases globally, includes Hardys, Banrock Station, and others from Australia, as well as California’s Geyser Peak. While the company has a small presence in the U.S., it’s been on the rise in China, where Australian wine has been booming. Australian wine shipments to China leapt 63% to A$848 million ($673m) and 54% to 17 million cases last year, boosted by a 2015 free trade agreement between the two countries. China now accounts for 33% of Australia’s total exports in value terms. CHAMP acquired an 80% interest in Accolade from Constellation in 2011 for A$290 million. Carlyle’s play for Accolade includes the 20% stake that Constellation continued to hold in the business.

•Napa-based Hess Family Wine Estates has named John Grant president and CEO. Grant, who most recently served as Hess Family’s COO, succeeds Timothy Persson, who has transitioned to the role of chairman. In his new role, Grant will oversee the company’s day-to-day commercial and production operations and drive growth for the business, reporting directly to Persson. Hess Family Wine Estates is led by its Hess Select range, which retails at $13-$20 a 750-ml. and accounts for more than 500,000 cases of the group’s roughly 800,000-case volume in the U.S. In recent years, Hess has also expanded at the high end with newer wines like The Lion Tamer red blend ($45) and The Lioness Chardonnay ($60).

•Vinexpo CEO Guillaume Deglise will depart the group at the end of May to pursue new career opportunities. Deglise, who has been CEO of the international wine and spirits trade fair since 2013, is credited with bolstering Vinexpo’s flagship Bordeaux event and its Hong Kong showcase, while also launching new exhibitions in Tokyo in 2014 and New York earlier this year. He will leave the company following the upcoming Hong Kong exhibition, which will run from May 29-31.

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