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Duckhorn Wine Company to be Acquired by Private Equity Firm TSG Consumer Partners
Aug 29, 2016
DWC President/CEO Alex Ryan and Leadership Team to Remain in Place to Ensure Continued Success and Exceptional Quality Winemaking
NAPA VALLEY, Calif. – August 29, 2016 – Duckhorn Wine Company (“DWC”) and TSG Consumer Partners (“TSG”), a San Francisco-based strategic equity investor in consumer brands, announced today that TSG will acquire DWC from GI Partners. Financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed.
The transaction includes all six Duckhorn Wine Company wineries: Duckhorn Vineyards, Goldeneye, Paraduxx, Migration, Decoy and Canvasback and their corresponding properties, along with more than 600 acres of estate vineyards, including the legendary Three Palms Vineyard in California’s Napa Valley. All employees are being retained, including the winemakers for all six wineries, and the company will continue to be guided by President and CEO Alex Ryan, who has been with DWC since 1988. Dan and Margaret Duckhorn will also remain involved.
“GI has been an ideal partner and we look forward to working with TSG,” said President and CEO Alex Ryan. “TSG recognizes and values how unique we are in the North American wine industry and is committed to preserving the strong culture that defines us. At the same time, we share an exciting vision for our company’s future. By combining their consumer expertise and global reach with our luxury wine market proficiency and relentless focus on quality, we can ensure that our next 40 years will be as exceptional as our first four decades.”
“Duckhorn Wine Company is one of the most respected wine portfolios in the world,” said TSG President Jamie O’Hara. “Duckhorn boasts six wineries that are all recognized as benchmarks for their regions and categories, and a world-class estate program spanning California’s Napa Valley, Sonoma County, and Anderson Valley, and Washington State’s Red Mountain. We are thrilled by this incredible opportunity to partner with and invest in a company as dynamic and well-run as Duckhorn, a rarity in any industry. Our goal is to support the company’s vision and to use our consumer expertise to bring the Duckhorn portfolio of wines to an even broader global audience.”
Building on the foundation established by Dan and Margaret Duckhorn, Duckhorn Wine Company is one of the wine industry’s great success stories. In 1978, Dan and Margaret changed the face of the U.S. wine industry when they made 800 cases each of their inaugural Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. By championing Merlot as a standalone luxury wine, Duckhorn Vineyards ultimately helped to establish it as one of the New World’s most popular and respected varietal wines.
Beginning in the late 1980s, the Duckhorns began leading Duckhorn Vineyards through a period of careful growth, expanding its estate program and diversifying Duckhorn Vineyards’ parent company, Duckhorn Wine Company, to include Paraduxx, the first winery focused exclusively on Napa Valley red blends, Goldeneye, the first dedicated luxury Pinot Noir producer in California’s Anderson Valley, and Migration, which is devoted to making cool-climate Pinot Noirs and Chardonnays.
When Duckhorn Wine Company was sold to GI Partners in 2007, the Duckhorns stayed on, and worked closely with Alex Ryan to write the next chapter of the winery. This included rolling out an expanded Decoy lineup, which has established Decoy as one of the industry’s top luxury wineries. While many wineries consolidated production and sold assets during the Great Recession, GI Partners invested more than $60 million in the company’s future. It expanded its estate vineyard portfolio by 350 vine acres, built and acquired state-of-the-art winemaking facilities, unveiled several new wines, and established Canvasback, a boutique Cabernet Sauvignon from Washington State’s acclaimed Red Mountain.
As a result of these initiatives and others, Duckhorn Wine Company is thriving, and its wines are more sought after than ever before. Just as important, the company has been widely recognized by the wine press for making many of the finest wines in its history. In fact, with a highly distinctive array of acclaimed wines encompassing several desirable regions, varieties and price points, the Duckhorn portfolio is currently the #1 U.S. luxury wine portfolio, and the company just had its most profitable fiscal year to date.
During the sale process, Credit Suisse Securities (USA) LLC has served as exclusive financial advisor to GI Partners, and Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP has served as its legal counsel. Ropes & Gary LLP served as TSG’s legal counsel. The transaction is expected to close in 45 days.
About Duckhorn Wine Company
Duckhorn Wine Company has helped set the standard for American fine wine for four decades. Founded with the launch of Duckhorn Vineyards in 1976, the Duckhorn portfolio has evolved to include Goldeneye, Paraduxx, Migration, Decoy and Canvasback, each with its own dedicated winemaker. With more than 600 acres of acclaimed estate vineyards, along with grapes from the finest growers, each winery has its own focused winegrowing program from which to make its wines. Duckhorn Wine Company wines are available throughout the United States, on five continents, and in over 50 countries. For more information, visit Duckhorn.com.
About TSG Consumer Partners LLC
TSG Consumer Partners LLC is a leading investment firm with $5 billion of assets under management, focused exclusively on the branded consumer sector. Since its founding in 1987, TSG has been an active investor in the food, beverage, beauty, personal care, household and apparel & accessories, and e-commerce sectors. TSG has been a pioneer of sector-focused investing, helping turn that approach into the widely-sought after strategy it is today. Representative past and present partner companies include vitaminwater, thinkThin, popchips, Muscle Milk, Stumptown, Pabst, Planet Fitness, REVOLVE, PAIGE, Smashbox Cosmetics, Pureology, Sexy Hair, e.l.f. cosmetics and IT Cosmetics.