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NEWS ALERT: Pernod Ricard Makes Major Wine Play With Kenwood Acquisition

April 24, 2014

Pernod Ricard USA, which has made a concerted effort to build its wine business in recent years as other leading U.S. spirits marketers have largely culled their own wine operations, has agreed to acquire Sonoma Valley’s Kenwood Vineyards from F. Korbel & Bros. for an undisclosed price. The acquisition is expected to close before June 30.

With a line of offerings ranging from just under $10 to as much as $70, Kenwood has long been one of the U.S. market’s top-selling premium California wine brands. Its annual sales have surpassed 600,000 cases in recent years.

“Thanks to its long heritage and premium positioning within the well-known Sonoma region, Kenwood offers a unique brand proposition that will strengthen the position of Pernod Ricard’s wine business in the U.S.,” said Pernod Ricard USA CEO Bryan Fry in a statement.

Founded in 1970, Kenwood was acquired by Korbel in 1999. In early 2012, Korbel agreed to sell Kenwood to Banfi Vintners. However, that deal fell through a few months later.

While competitors such as Beam Inc. and Brown-Forman have culled their wine units over the past few years, Pernod Ricard USA has gone in the opposite direction. When asked why they’ve taken this approach, Fry told Shanken News Daily, “As long as you’ve got clarity in your route to market, then there’s no reason why spirits and wine can’t coexist in your portfolio. We have a long investment in wine, and a very good range. Additionally, even as U.S. wine consumption continues to rise steadily, it’s quite under-indexed versus a lot of other wine-consuming countries. So there’s still significant upside in wine, and we’re bullish on it.”

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