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Fetzer Vineyards, a major California winery, was sold to a major Chilean wine company for $238 million in March 2011.  The buyer, Viña Concha y Toro, a 128-year-old company that focuses exclusively on wine, made the large-scale winery purchase by acquiring Fetzer Vineyards.
This transaction was the largest by a Chilean company in the United States.  Concha y Toro is progressing in its growth strategy by taking over a productive winery business in the US.  Fetzer Vineyards is one of the top 10 American wineries.
Fetzer Vineyards which is the largest winery in Mendocino County was sold to the Chilean wine business as part of its expansion plans for the United States.  Net sales from the assets sold were $156 million in 2010.
Brown-Forman Corp., the Kentucky liquor conglomerate that owns the Jack Daniels whiskey brand, sold Fetzer and related brands to Viña Concha y Toro S.A.  Brown-Forman had purchased the winery in Hopland in 1992 from the Fetzer family and increased its production by sourcing grapes from other California regions.  
Brown-Forman had managed the Fetzer well for almost 20 years.  On the other hand, several other liquor companies have had difficulties with wine brands they had acquired.
The transaction included the Fetzer winery, its bottling facility, and vineyards in the Hopland area. The winery employed 240 workers in the area.  Also included was a wine facility in Paso Robles and more than a several affiliated brands, including Bel Arbor, Bonterra, Jekel, Five Rivers, Little Black Dress, Sanctuary and Coldwater Creek.
However, the transaction did not include Sonoma-Cutrer, Brown-Forman’s chardonnay production in Sonoma County, or the company’s distribution arrangement with Korbel California Champagnes located in Guerneville.
Viña Concha y Toro S.A., established in 1883, is the leading producer of wine in Latin America. It owns 23,500 acres of vineyards and exports its wines to 135 countries.  Its brands are marketed at a variety of price levels, with Don Melchor and Almaviva at the top price levels and its star brand, Casillero del Diablo.
The Fetzer purchase constitutes the largest winery transaction in the company’s history.  As a result of the acquisition, Concha y Toro will double its U.S. wine sales to 6 million cases per year.  The transaction unlocks additional growth opportunities globally, as well as in the American market, with its main brands Fetzer and Bonterra.
Fetzer is one of the 10 largest wine brands by volume in the United States, selling more than 3 million cases annually. It had $156 million in sales last year.  Fetzer was a leader in developing sustainable farming practices.  The Bonterra line is the largest premium organic wine brand in the U.S., with annual sales over 300,000 cases.
Wine sales are improving in Fetzer’s price range, i.e. under $15 per bottle, because consumers are seeking value wines. 
In December, Brown-Forman indicated its intentions to enter strategic alternatives for its California wine assets, including a possible sale.  Brown-Forman is seeking strong growth opportunities and improved returns on capital..  


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