The Duckhorn Portfolio Inc. announced that it has reached an agreement to acquire Sonoma-Cutrer Vineyards from the Brown-Forman Corporation, according to a Thursday press release from the brand. The deal closed at a value of approximately $400 million in company stock and cash.
Brown-Forman will be given a 21.5 percent ownership of The Duckhorn Portfolio, a payment of $50 million in cash, and will maintain two seats on The Duckhorn Portfolio’s Board of Directors. Through the purchase, The Duckhorn Portfolio will receive the Sonoma-Cutrer brand trademarks, facilities, and the winery’s six estate vineyards that span 1,121 acres in both the Russian River Valley and Sonoma Coast appellations.
“Sonoma‑Cutrer has a long history of excellence in crafting fine wines and will be an outstanding addition to our portfolio of luxury wines,” Deirdre Mahlan, The Duckhorn Portfolio’s interim president, chief executive officer, and chairperson says in the release. “We will be fortunate to welcome Brown‑Forman, a storied industry leader, as a long-term shareholder and look forward to their representation on our board.”
Sonoma-Cutrer was founded in 1973 and was first acquired by Brown-Forman in 1999. The winery has since grown to become the third-largest luxury Chardonnay brand in the U.S. in retail sales. It is also the fastest growing major brand in the category, according to Circana. The Duckhorn Portfolio is also renowned for its high-quality wines, and has continued to expand its market presence over the past several years with acquisitions in California regions like Alexander Valley as well as in Washington State.
“The Duckhorn Portfolio has a strong reputation for producing and marketing some of the world’s finest wines,” Lawson Whiting, president and chief executive officer of Brown‑Forman Corporation, added in the release. “Their understanding of the wine consumer, combined with a strong and diverse route to market, give Brown‑Forman great confidence that Sonoma‑Cutrer will continue to grow and thrive as part of the larger Duckhorn portfolio.”
While the transaction is still subject to closing adjustments and conditions, the deal is expected to be finalized in the fourth quarter of the 2024 fiscal year.