Wine Talk

Snooth User: dmcker

Concha y Toro in Chile eats Fetzer in Hopland

Posted by dmcker, Mar 1, 2011.
Edited Mar 1, 2011

Just saw that the owners of Fetzer (Brown-Forman out of Louisville), that 'earth-friendly' (organic, sustainable), according to their PR, winery up in Mendocino, are in closing talks with Concha y Toro regarding the sale of the winery to the Chilean operation.

Wonder how winemaking will change up there, and why CyT would choose that winery. Also included in the sale are a facility in Paso Robles, as well as these brands: Bonterra, Little Black Dress, Jekel, Five Rivers, Bel Arbor, Coldwater Creek, and Sanctuary.

I can understand the motives of B-F (the people who bring us Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Whiskey, Southern Comfort, Finlandia, Jack Daniel’s & Cola, Canadian Mist, Fetzer, Korbel, Gentleman Jack, el Jimador, Tequila Herradura, Sonoma-Cutrer, Chambord, New Mix, Tuaca, Woodford Reserve, and Bonterra). When they bought the winery from the Fetzer family back in the early '90s they quickly jacked up production levels 50% and implemented a number of other changes to enhance commercial profitablity. Assume they were looking at poor returns in this economy and decided to divest their suffering wine arm. Not sure about how things will be locally in NoCal, though, and am curious about CyT's future plans. Who knows, might even be better for Fetzer than under B-F.

Am also curious why Korbel wasn't included in the sale. Am assuming pricing issues....


Reply by napagirl68, Mar 2, 2011.

WOW.  Interesting...  And IMO, Korbel needs to be sold!!  sounds like a fire sale?  The perfect time to get in on the CA wine scene, I would think.  Hopefully, with the brands you mentioned, they can only get better. 

Reminds me of the Japanese buying up Pebble Beach back in the 90's..  Didn't turn out too well for them...

Reply by dmcker, Mar 2, 2011.

Don't forget the Rockefeller Center, the Montecito Country Club, and half of the skyscrapers in LA. Etc., etc.. Worked out well for the original sellers, and the scavengers in a later round who scooped the properties up for a song from the original too-flush buyers.

Anyway, I don't think the Chileans have the pockets of the Japanese then, or the Chinese now. Concha y Toro does have wine expertise, so maybe they're looking at the vineyards in Hopland as an easy way into NoCal. Should be easy enough to improve the Fetzer wines, and they'll already have scored at that point.

Agree with you that Korbel really needs something, that's for sure...

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