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Accolade sells House of Arras

Australian wine giant Accolade has sold its sparkling wine brand House of Arras to Handpicked Wines, including 24 hectares of vineyards, and its Bay of Fires winery in Tasmania.

Handpicked is a boutique brand set up by William Dong, with vineyards currently situation in number of areas, including the Yarra Valley in Victoria, as well as in Tasmania and the Barossa Valley.

Accolade made the sale as, according to its chief executive Robert Foye, the House of Arras was a luxury brand that “does not fit neatly” in its portfolio.

But the deal will see Accolade continue to produce and bottle House of Arras brands under contract with the new owners – and also retain its Bay of Fires wine brand, with Handpicked making the wine under contract through a long-term agreement.

Selling the brand for an undisclosed price, the news follows the announcement in May that it was “sounding out interest” in the brand.

Speaking to db at the time, the firm said it said that while the firm was ‘incredibly proud of the international success of the House of Arras’, the company ‘believes it is the right time to consider a divestment of Arras to allow us to focus on other parts of the business with a closer strategic alignment to the rest of our portfolio’.

The brand said in May: “As part of Accolade’s global growth strategy, the company constantly reviews its asset mix to ensure its capital is focused on brands and markets with the greatest potential.”

“The strategic divestment of some of assets, particularly vineyards and production facilities either outright or through sale-and-leaseback arrangements, is in line with this capital-light model and allows the Company to redeploy capital to invest in its brands and growing sales.”

Accolade is the second largest wine producer in Australia, after Treasury Wine Estates. Since 2018, it has been owned by US private equity company, The Carlyle Group, where it was sold for AUS$1billion – around £548 million – which was a trebling in value from its previous purchase price by former owners Champ in 2011. Last year, it sold its 55-hectare Beenack Vineyard in Yarra Valley to TWE for AUD$7 million.

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