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Accolade, Gallo Confirm Ascentia Acquisitions

June 4, 2012

Accolade Wines and E&J Gallo have confirmed their acquisitions of certain Ascentia Wine Estates brands as reported on Friday by Shanken News Daily. Accolade has acquired premium California wine brands Geyser Peak, XYZin and Atlas Peak for an undisclosed sum, while Gallo has entered Washington state for the first time with the purchase of the Columbia Winery and Covey Run brands and associated production facilities in Woodinville and Sunnyside, also for an undisclosed amount. The deals effectively mark the end of Ascentia’s tumultuous run in the wine business, which began in 2008 when the company was created through the $209 million acquisition of a host of wine brands from Constellation.

For Accolade—which is comprised of the former Constellation Europe and Australia businesses, including brands like Hardys, Banrock Station and Leasingham—the Geyser Peak deal brings around 280,000 cases in annual U.S. sales and a platform from which to expand its U.S. presence. “Initially we see tremendous opportunity within the U.S. to grow these brands, but we also have the capacity to fit them within the portfolio we’re now marketing in Europe, the U.K. and the rapidly developing Asian markets, especially China,” said Accolade CEO Troy Christensen.

Meanwhile, Gallo now gains its first Washington wine brands in Covey Run, which sells around 200,000 cases, down from 310,000 in 2005; and Columbia, which sells around 100,000 cases, down from 180,000 in 2008. Both are positioned in the premium-and-above range. Roger Nabedian, senior vice president and general manager of Gallo’s Premium Wine Division, said, “We’ve been watching the Washington wine industry grow for a number of years and consider these wine brands to be a key part of our premium wine strategy moving forward. This purchase will help us expand our footprint and offer our customers wines from the Columbia Valley and Yakima Valley Appellations.”

 

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