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Jackson Family to invest in Europe/partners with IMW

California-based Jackson Family Wines is looking to buy more properties in Europe and will be the only New World sponsor at this May’s Master of Wine symposium in Italy.

Jackson Family Wines has recently invested heavily in Oregon, but is now turning its attention to Europe

Vice-president of international marketing at the Californian-based company, Gayle Bartscherer, told the drinks business at ProWein last month that the operation was hoping to build both its business and landholding in Europe.

“We are targeting the Nordics, as well as Germany, and the UK,” she said, when asked about future markets for the business, as well as justifying the decision to take a large stand at this year’s ProWein in Dusseldorf.

She also pointed out that the wine business would be “the only New World sponsor” at the IMW’s Symposium in Florence on 15-18 May this year, supporting a lunch on 17 May, where Jackson Family wines will be poured from a range of their flagship estates, including the La Jota Cabernet Sauvignon from Napa’s Howell Mountain.

Highlighting the importance of the tie-up with the IMW, which was agreed this year, Bartscherer told db that Jackson Family president Rick Tigner would be flying over for the lunch in Florence.

“Rick, our president is coming over, because we want to properly announce that we are new supporters of the Institute [of Masters of Wine] and show the synergies between the two organisations,” she commented.

When asked about such synergies, she added, “It is a philosophy of quality and working with integrity within the wine industry.”

Although Jackson Family Wines currently employs no Masters of Wine, Bartscherer said that there were two members of staff on the notoriously demanding educational programme.

“We have seven Master Sommeliers, but no MWs – yet,” she said.

As for the company’s vineyard expansion into Europe, Bartscherer said that Jackson Family CEO Barbara Banke was “looking for land in Europe”.

Suggesting the operation might consider acquiring vineyards in Burgundy, she commented, “We are continuing to grow and we are a ‘Burgundy house’, so we want to acquire more Chardonnay and Pinot Noir vineyards… we have nothing in Burgundy yet, but we are looking around.”

Barbara Banke loves Italy

Currently, Jackson properties in Europe can be found in Bordeaux – where it owns Saint-Emilion’s Chateau Lassegue – and Italy with Villa Arceno, an 2000 acre estate in Chianti Classico.

Speaking about the latter country, Bartscherer said that Banke was “keen on Italy right now, and studying the country at the moment, in particular Piedmont… she loves Italy and spending time at our estate in Tuscany.”

Elsewhere, as previously reported by the drinks business, Jackson Family Wines has invested in Oregon, and has now become California’s largest landowner in Oregon, with around 250 hectares, according to Bartscherer.

“Barbara has been looking at Oregon for a while because she likes the style of Oregon Pinot Noir, and she has snapped up three of the best vineyard sites there in the last 15 months,” reported Bartscherer.

Currently, Pinot Noir from the state is being used to produce an Oregon Pinot variant of California’s La Crema brand – a label bought by the Jackson family over a decade ago.

In the future, Bartscherer said there might be a La Crema Oregon Chardonnay too, as the vineyard acquisitions included white grapes as well as red.

She also confirmed that next year Jackson Family Wines would be launching two “boutique” Oregon Pinot Noir brands: Gran Moraine and Zena Crown – both named after prized vineyards recently acquired by the company.

To produce these wines, Bartscherer told db that Jackson Family Wines were currently constructing two new wineries.

“The vision for Barbara and the family is to build a great company for future generations,” she said, adding, “Every member of the family works in the business in some capacity.”

For more information on the MW symposium in Florence from 15-18 May, or to purchase tickets, contact Alexandra Runciman:

Click here for the full symposium programme. 

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