BURGEONING NSW Riverina winemaker, Casella, is further diversifying its footprint in South Australia, buying 432 hectares of new vineyard country in the Fleurieu Peninsula from Shaw Family Vintners.
The acquisition includes grape plantings at McLaren Vale and Currency Creek, plus the Shaw winery, wine stocks and trademark.
No transaction price details have been disclosed.
Casella Family Brands (CFB) managing director, John Casella, said the strategic investment in a large quantity of high quality vineyard plantings would supplement the company’s regular grape purchases in this part of SA.
“It supports our ongoing premiumisation strategy and our desire to create regionally distinct wines from premium SA wine regions,” he said.
“We currently buy approximately 40 per cent of the fruit supply from these sites.
“The fruit is well suited to CFB’s portfolio of premium wines characterised by having rich fruit flavours with intense colour.”
Brands already in Casella’s stable include its trademark Yellow Tail, the Peter Lehmann Wines range from SA’s Barossa Valley and Brand’s Laira in the Coonawarra region, plus northern Victoria’s Morris Wines, based at Rutherglen.
The Casella name shot to the forefront of Australian wine exports in 2001 following the success of Yellow Tail in the US.
The 48-year-old company, based at Yenda, near Griffith in the Murrumbidgee Irrigation Area, is now Australia’s largest family wine business, exporting to 50 countries.
Mr Casella said the latest deal would increase Casella’s efficiency and add an extra dimension to its established vineyard portfolio.
Casella’s SA vineyard manager, Peter Bird, said the acquisition made perfect sense for CFB as it increased grape to glass control and quality assurance in the company’s premium wine business.
“Furthermore, it spreads the risk of fruit supply being adversely affected by climatic conditions elsewhere within SA.”
CFB intended to further unlock the potential of these new premium vineyards.
As well as investing in its owned fruit resource, Casella continued to place great value on its relationships with other grapegrowers.
“Our relationship with growers continues to be of paramount importance and they remain integral to all of our brands,” said Mr Casella.
“As our company continues to grow, our grower supply base is also expanding.”
“It’s an exciting time for us as we increase Casella’s SA footprint with our own vineyards and grower-sourced fruit supplies.”