LVMH Takes Controlling Stake in Wineries in California and Australia

Jan 12, 2001
LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton, the French luxury goods firm that owns Château d'Yquem and numerous other prestigious wine brands, has acquired a majority stake in two New World wineries: Newton Vineyards in Napa Valley, and Mountadam in South Australia. The two deals totaled about $47.6 million.

The purchases were made through LVMH subsidiary Veuve Clicquot Ponsardin, which will distribute the brands worldwide.

LVMH already owns several leading Champagne brands, including Moët & Chandon, Veuve Clicquot, Krug and Pommery. The addition of Newton and Mountadam will strengthen the company's portfolio of still wines, which consists of the famed Sauternes estate Château d'Yquem, Cloudy Bay in New Zealand, Cape Mentelle in Australia and Terrazas de los Andes in Argentina.

"Newton and MountAdam are following the same logic: small and beautiful investments made in exceptional terroirs by talented people," said Philippe Pascal, the chairman and CEO of Moët Hennesy, LVMH's wine and spirits division. "We provide these fine estates with support for selective worldwide distribution, as well as capital for further growth. The creators remain in charge."

Newton produces between 28,000 and 40,000 cases per year of Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay and Merlot from the more than 130 acres of vineyards it owns in Napa Valley. The winery was founded in 1978 by Peter and Su Hua Newton, who will continue to manage the estate and make the wines. Su Hua said that well-known Bordeaux enologist Michel Rolland will continue to consult on Newton's blends, and that no changes are planned at the winery.

Su Hua explained that they sold a stake to LVMH to alleviate some of the pressures of running a winery. "I'm tired of getting in and out of airplanes every other week from mid-January to the middle of August," she said. "Because our philosophy [about marketing, distribution and product positioning] is so similar [to that of LVMH], this is something that is very exciting and will enable us to really concentrate on the winemaking."

Mountadam, a 123-acre estate that focuses on Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon and Pinot Noir, has a strong reputation in Australia, although its wines have not been rated as highly by Wine Spectator. It was founded in 1972 in the rolling hills of Eden Valley, just over the hill from the Barossa Valley, by David Wynn, who had already made a success of Wynns Coonawarra. His son Adam, who makes the wines, will continue to manage the 35,000-case winery.
— Dana Nigro, with additional staff reporting

Check our recent ratings of Newton and Mountadam.

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