Canadian wine giant Vincor International, whose brands include R.H. Phillips of California and Hogue Cellars of Washington, has agreed to buy Goundrey Wines, in Western Australia's Mount Barker area, for A$62.5 million (US$34.2 million).
"We have a beachhead in Australia," Donald Triggs, Vincor's president and CEO, told reporters and financial analysts in a conference call. "Australian wine is the fastest-growing segment in the international wine market."
The winery was established by the Goundrey family in 1971, soon after Mount Barker, which lies 250 miles south of Perth and 30 miles inland from Australia's southern coastline, was identified as a viable grapegrowing region. Perth businessman Jack Bendat bought the estate in late 1995.
Under Bendat's ownership, the winery acquired several vineyard parcels, and its sales have grown from 17,000 cases annually to 260,000 cases expected this year. The Vincor purchase will include almost 800 acres of land, of which more than 500 acres are planted to Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon and Shiraz. Goundrey grows one quarter of the grapes it needs, with contract growers supplying the remainder.
Goundrey made a small splash in the United States in the late 1990s with its value-oriented Unwooded Chardonnays, along with some highly rated Reserve Chardonnays and Cabernets.
But most of the winery's production is sold in the Australian market, with less than 1,000 cases exported. Goundrey brings in annual revenues of A$25 million (US$13.7 million), and Triggs said he plans to double that within five years by focusing on the export market.
"North Americans consumed 12 million cases of Australian wine last year and will drink almost 35 percent more next year," he said. "With our existing North American distribution network, we hope to get a good share of that."
Richard Hanan, formerly vice president of marketing for Hogue Cellars has been appointed president of Goundrey. David Martin will continue as general manager and winemaker.
Check our recent ratings of Goundrey wines.
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