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Jackson Family’s Banke: ‘I’d love to buy in Burgundy’

Jackson Family Wines chairman Barbara Banke is determined to purchase an estate in Burgundy to sit alongside a growing list of properties around the world, she said in an exclusive interview for the latest issue of Decanter magazine.

Barbara Banke (pictured) has embarked on a spending spree since taking the reins at California-based Jackson Family Wines in 2011, following the death of her husband, Jess.

One of her principal moves has been a push into Oregon, where the firm has bought the Zena Crown vineyard and Solena Estate real estate – excluding the Solena Estate brand and some vineyards – as part of a plan to produce ‘world class’ Pinot Noir.

But, Banke still dreams of a foothold in Burgundy, considered by most wine critics to be the spiritual home of Pinot Noir.

‘I would love to buy in Burgundy,’ she told Adam Lechmere for an interview published in the February issue of Decanter magazine.

‘But, it’s a difficult proposition. You really have to be on the inside to get what there is available. Eventually, we’ll get something. We have friends there.’

Burgundy also contains some of the most expensive vneyards in France. A single hectare of grand cru vineyard, if it can be found for sale, costs up to 9.5m euros, according to French agricultural land agency Safer.

While she waits for an opportunity to arise, Banke has the job of consolidating Jackson Family’s recent acquisition of Fijnbosch farm, which includes eight hectares of vines, in South Africa’s Stellenbosch region.

Despite that deal emerging just before Christmas, after Decanter had gone to press, Banke said her acquisition drive has slowed down.

The firm will not seize upon every opportunity that presents itself. ‘I’m trying to be more strategic in terms of what we need,’ she said.

Subscribe to Decanter magazine to read Adam Lechmere’s full interview with Barbara Banke.

Jackson Family Wines’ recent deals:

Written by Chris Mercer

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