Freixenet buys Wingara

Freixenet buys Wingara News Wine News
  • Tuesday 17 July 2001

Spanish sparkling wine producer Freixenet has taken control of Australian group Wingara in an US$18 million (£12 million) deal.

At the same time Freixenet is reported to be on the verge of buying a Bordeaux producer – although a company spokeswoman would only say, 'nothing is known at present about such a deal.'

The Wingara purchase carries forward Freixenet's plans to vastly expand its portfolio of still wines. A spokesman for the company said it intended to increase its table wine exports by 50%.

Based in Sant Sadurní d'Anoia, Catalonia, Freixenet is Spain's premier sparkling wine producer, exporting 75% – some 13 million cases – of all Cava produced in the country. In Spain the company produces Cava under Segura Viudas, Castellblanch, Conde de Caralt and other brands, and still wine in Ribera del Duero, Priorat and Rías Baixas. Freixenet also owns Gloria Ferrer Champagne Caves in Sonoma and wineries in France and in Ezequiel Montes in Mexico.

Wingara Wine Group owns Coonawarra's Katnook Estate, Riddoch and Deakin Estates. It sells only about 11% to Europe at the moment, and chief executive David Yunghanns said the acquisition will allow it to put some muscle into building up exports.

'They are one of the world's truly global wine brands and we are complementary in both business and marketing philosophies,' he said.

Freixenet paid just over US$4m (£2.6m) for a 60% stake in the company, and will invest a further US$14m (£9.3m). Under the terms of the deal, Yunghanns and his family keep the remaining 40% of the company.

This deal is only the latest in a series of high-level mergers, acquisitions and joint ventures involving Australian companies. In August last year beer group Fosters took over California's Beringer, in October Robert Mondavi Winery sealed a winemaking deal with Rosemount, which in turn was taken over by Southcorp.

And Aussie giant BRL Hardy – having nearly walked up the aisle with California's Kendall-Jackson – has just sealed a US$100m joint venture with American wine supplier Constellation Brands.

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