Casella Family Brands has put most of its vineyards in NSW and South Australia on the market following a strategic review of the business.
The review by Australia’s largest privately owned winemaker led to a decision to divert the company’s funds into brand-building rather than running vineyards.
Casella has launched the sale process for 7258ha of vineyards and accompanying property across the Barossa Valley, Clare Valley, Langhorne and Currency Creek, Limestone Coast and the Riverina.
The Australian has described the move as “the biggest single sale of vineyards as one lot in living memory in Australia”, which is anticipated to raise tens of millions of dollars for Casella.
As part of any vineyard sale deal a long-term sale agreement will ensure Casella retains the wine grapes from these vineyards to ensure ongoing supply for its established brands.
John Casella said: “The company is in a sound financial position, having recently experienced global record sales for Yellow Tail during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“While demand has stabilised, we are forecasting future growth due to ongoing investment in our brands supported by a strategic innovation pipeline.
“The intended strategic partnership will allow us to focus on strengthening our brands globally, and therefore deliver positive outcomes for the Australian wine industry.”
The latest financial accounts for Casella show it posted revenue of $518.38million for the 2020 financial year, up from $491.035million in 2019.
Some Casella-owned vineyards located in the Riverina and Barossa are not for sale, as well as its Victorian vineyards, which include Baileys of Glenrowan and Morris of Rutherglen.
The sale is being handled by Colliers’ Tim Altschwager and Nick Dean. Altschwager said he expected there would be a lot of interest in the opportunity to acquire quality vineyards in some of Australia’s most highly regarded wine regions.
The Casella vineyard portfolio is For Sale by Expressions of Interest closing 8 June 2022 at 12pm (ACST). The vineyard portfolio is offered for sale in one line and offers for parts of the portfolio will not be considered.
Plans for new alcoholic beverage brands
The company plans to use the funds to build its growing wine brand portfolio, create new alcoholic beverage brands – in categories such as spirits, beer and seltzer – and expand its whisky distilling business.
Coca-Cola Europacific Partners sold its stake in Australian Beer Co (ABCo), which is located next door to the Casella winery in Yenda, NSW, to Casella Family Brands in January.
Coca-Cola Europacific Partners vice-president and general manager for Australia, Pacific & Indonesia, Peter West said: “Casella Family Brands is a highly respected partner, and when we approached them as part of our strategic review of our beer and cider strategy, John and his team were keen to explore the opportunity to take full ownership of ABCo. We have had a terrific partnership with Casella Family Brands for almost a decade now and exit on good terms. We genuinely wish them
the very best for the future.”
John Casella said: “ABCo is an exciting business led by a state-of-the-art brewery, and we welcomed the opportunity to acquire full ownership. We will endeavor to maintain the excellent relationships the CCEP team has established with customers in the beer and cider category in Australia. We have enjoyed partnering with CCEP to grow ABCo’s business, and we both leave the joint venture arrangement on excellent terms.”.
Casella Family Brands will take over full ownership of the Australian Beer Co on July 1.