Also new since the last email edition of Wine Industry Insight:
Aussie Crush Continues Amid Bush Fires; No Full Assessment Yet
Foster’s Closing Templeton Winery, Shopping 5 Vineyards; Reorganizing Beringer & Taz Production
This is the featured article right now at Wine Industry Insight.
Foster’s Group Ltd. is selling five California vineyards, closing its Templeton, CA custom-crush facility and reorganizing winemaking operations for its Taz and Beringer brands.
The California vineyard sales and winemaking shuffle are the most visible U.S. results of a review of operations begun in 2008. According to the Foster’s wine review report, the review was prompted “as a result of unsatisfactory performance following the acquisitions of Beringer and Southcorp, a period which had seen quality of earnings deteriorate, competitive positions weaken and Foster’s failing to achieve required returns from its investment in wine.”
TAZ WINEMAKING RELOCATED; TEMPLETON TO BE CLOSED
Winemaking for Taz Vineyards — which sells wine in the $15 to $35 per bottle category — will be moved to Meridian Vineyards in Paso Robles according to Foster’s spokeswoman Allison Simpson.
Simpson said that the Taz facility in Templeton — which had also been used for custom crush — will be closed and all of the production equipment moved to Meridian. The winemaking staff as well as grape sourcing will stay the same, she said.
BERINGER’S ST. HELENA FACILITY TO BE DEVOTED TO LUXURY WINES
Simpson told Wine Industry Insight that Beringer’s historic St. Helena facility will be devoted exclusively to the production of luxury wines such as Beringer Private Reserve which list for $35 for the Chardonnay and $115 for the Cabernet Sauvignon.
“Beringer Founder’s Estate and other premium wines will be moved to the Asti facility,” Simpson said. She said that this will allow the luxury winemaking team to avoid distractions and to concentrate on utilizing small fermenters and tanks most suitable for that brand.
NON-STRATEGIC, CENTRAL COAST VINEYARDS ON THE BLOCK
According to Foster’s wine review, the company is selling 36 non-core vineyards and noted that the company, overall, has a production footprint that is “well-configured, utilised and outsourced except for overweight position in lower quality vineyards mainly in Australia and California’s Central Coast.”
“We’re selling five non-strategic vineyards in California,” said Simpson. Some of these are on the block because they represent excess capacity, but that the company would contract for some of the fruit as needed.
“In a couple of cases, the quality is not appropriate to our brand strategy,” she said.
Simpson declined to identify the vineyards currently on the market.
Posted by lperdue on Feb 18th, 2009
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