Accolade snaps up Oz wine business

Accolade Wine is boosting its portfolio of premium Australian wines with the acquisition of Lion’s fine wine business.

Accolade

The wine giant has bought Fine Wine Partners (FWP) from Lion for an undisclosed sum, although this is rumoured in the Australian press to be worth around AUS $100 million.

Lion is owned by Kirin Holdings Co, having been acquired by the Japanese brewery company in 2009 and owns leading Oz beer brands XXXX, Boags and Tooheys.

The deal includes six wine brands – Petaluma, Croser, St Hallett, Knappstein, Stonier and Tatachilla – along with four Australian wineries which includes the plant and equipment, land and vineyards, inventory and the on- and off-premise distribution network.

The move will add FWP’s facilities in Adelaide Hills Barossa Valley, McLaren Vale and Mornington Peninsular to Accolade’s portfolio.

Lion CEO Stuart Irvine said the company had been unable to prioritise the investment required to grow Fine Wine Partners to a size that “justified its fixed cost base”.

“With the improvement in market conditions we have come to the decision that this is the right time to realise a fair price for the business,” he said.

Accolade Wines deputy chief executive Michael East told the Australian press the acquisition would integrate “seamlessly” into its business model, strategically enhance Accolade Wines’ “product leadership” and complement its brand portfolio.

“These brands, from Australia’s most renowned wine regions, represent a very exciting acquisition for Accolade Wines as we further enhance our premium wine credentials and portfolio,” he said.

“Over the last five years, we have experienced significant growth and expanded our global footprint through the acquisition of Geyser Peak in the United States, Grant Burge Wines in Australia, Mud House in New Zealand and Vina Anakena in Chile.”

“An expanded premium offering responds to a shift in consumer preferences for quality wine, while allowing us to better meet the needs of our customers.”

The divestment of the wine business will allow Lion to concentrate on its core beer and cider business, but it is retaining its New Zealand and US portfolio, which includes Wither Hills and Lindauer, which were not included in the Accolade deal.

In August, Accolade Wines’s private equity owner Champ confirmed rumours it was intending to float the company on the Stock Exchange next year. Accolade boss Paul Schaafsma subsequently announced he would be stepping down from the company next year, ahead of the IPO listing and would not remain in the role at the conclusion of Champ’s ownership of the company.

It is also ramping up its Australian-based bottling after unveiling plans to invest AU$40 million in a new bottling plant and warehouse in Berri, in South Australia’s Riverland region in the south of the country.

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