In its first expansion into the United States, Chile’s largest and most powerful winery, Concha y Toro, is acquiring California-based Fetzer Vineyards from drinks giant Brown-Forman along with Bonterra, Jekel and three smaller wine brands for $238 million (U.S.). The deal, which is expected to close next month, calls for CyT to acquire a total of six California brands that produced more than 3 million cases of wine in 2010 and generated net sales of $156 million. CyT will also acquire vineyards, wine cellars and a bottling facility.
The lynchpin in the deal is Fetzer, one of America’s 10 largest wine brands with sales of 2.2 million cases annually. Bonterra, a leader in organic wine production since 1987, boasts sales of 300,000 cases annually, while the Jekel, Sanctuary, Five Rivers and Little Black Dress brands account for roughly 600,000 cases among them.
“The Fetzer acquisition is the largest transaction of this type in the company’s history,” said Eduardo Guilisasti, Concha y Toro’s CEO. “We believe that this transaction opens additional growth opportunities globally, as well as in the American market.”
Brown-Forman’s CEO Paul C. Varga called Fetzer and Bonterra “wonderful brands for Brown-Forman over the years…Concha y Toro will continue the legacy of success these brands have enjoyed over the last several decades.”