Pernod Ricard USA celebrates the announcement released today by its parent company, Paris-based Pernod Ricard, the global co-leader in spirits and wines, regarding its agreement to purchase a leading Sonoma wine brand – Kenwood – and related assets from F. Korbel & Bros.
Bryan Fry, President and CEO, Pernod Ricard USA, said Kenwood’s premium Sonoma County wines will greatly benefit the company’s Wines and Champagnes division. “We are dedicated to significantly expanding our U.S. business, and the acquisition of a prominent California winery is a great step in that direction,” Fry said. “Consumer trends favoring premium California wines – combined with our powerful route to consumers and our overall commitment to the wine and champagne business – position us well for strong, sustainable performance with Kenwood and the rest of our premium portfolio.” Fry added that Kenwood’s strong presence in chain accounts will further strengthen Pernod Ricard’s presence in that fast growing market segment and enable increased distribution of its other premium wines and spirits.
Gary B. Heck, President and Owner, F. Korbel and Bros., said the sale of Kenwood “will allow us to focus the company’s resources on our leading California champagne and brandy business. We are pleased to hand the stewardship of Kenwood to Pernod Ricard, and expect that they will continue to build upon the brand’s successful legacy.”
Founded in 1970, Kenwood has been recognized consistently for producing premium varietals that reflect the unique characteristics of the world-renowned appellations of Sonoma County. When F. Korbel and Bros. acquired full ownership of Kenwood Vineyards in 1999, the winery was producing less than 300,000 cases; under F. Korbel and Bros.’ management, annual brand sales have increased to more than 500,000 cases.
In addition to further building the Kenwood brand, Fry said Pernod Ricard USA’s growth plans include leveraging the strength of its champagne and sparkling portfolio, which includes Perrier-Jouet and G.H. Mumm Champagnes and Mumm Napa Sparkling; increasing investment in its core brands, particularly Brancott Estate, Graffigna and Campo Viejo; repositioning Jacob’s Creek; continuing to build Deadbolt, a California still wine introduced in 2012; and driving an aggressive innovation agenda. “We see continued growth in the wine and champagne category in the USA, and we are focused on seizing opportunities to help us grow our share ahead of competition,” Fry said. “Consumption is growing, driven by millenials; consumption of premium wines is growing; and consumers are more receptive to innovations. We’re committed to building brands of desire that meet these trends.”
Included in the Kenwood sale are all assets of the Kenwood Vineyards brand including the trademarks, inventory, winery facilities and estate vineyards, as well as additional acreage of Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Sauvignon Blanc, Zinfandel, Syrah, Malbec, Pinot Blanc and Petite Sirah planted throughout Sonoma County.
The Kenwood winery operations will be managed by Pernod Ricard Winemakers, the premium wine division of Pernod Ricard.
The sale is expected to close on or before June 30, 2014.