Casella buys Brand’s Laira from McWilliam’s

Australia’s Casella Family Brands, the producer behind Yellow Tail, has confirmed its purchase of Brand’s Laira from McWilliam’s Wine Group as it continues to focus on its bolstering its premium portfolio of wines.

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John Casella, managing director of Casella Family Brands

The deal includes the Brand’s Laira Winery, Cellar Door and IP brand and builds upon Casella’s efforts to move away from entry-level wines to focus on the premium end of the market.

Last year Casella bought Peter Lehmann Wines for US$49.5million from Hess Group for US$49.5 million, significantly less than the $103m Hess paid for the brand in 2003.

Casella managing director John Casella said its purchase of Brand’s Laira would add to its growing portfolio of premium wines.

“The acquisition perfectly complements our premium range of wines, extending our portfolio to include a reputable brand that represents the regional excellence of the Coonawarra”, he said.

“I believe we are well positioned to build on the investment McWilliam’s Wines has made in Brand’s Laira in the domestic and international markets, in particular by showcasing the excellent Cabernet Sauvignon wines for which the region and the brand are famous.”

The Brand’s Laira winery is based in the “terra rossa” strip of the Coonawarra region in South Australia and boasts old vine vineyards dating back to 1893.

Casella told Fairfax Media on Tuesday that its aimed to increase the total case sales of the brand to about 250,000 cases, from its current 70,000, over the next decade.

McWilliam’s is independently owned and produces about two million cases of wine each year, with its brands including McWilliam’s, Evans & Tate and Mount Pleasant.

The producer’s chief executive Rob Blackwell said deciding to sell its Brand’s Laira was “very difficult”, but that it was “consistent with our objective of focusing resources on growing our core stable of brands namely McWilliam’s, Evans & Tate and Mount Pleasant.”

The sale followed a strategic review of its portfolio by McWilliams, which identified a need to streamline the number of brands in its portfolio.

Financial details of the deal were not disclosed.

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The Brand’s Laira winery is based in the “terra rossa” strip of the Coonawarra region in South Australia

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