The Hess Family Wine Estates has sold its Peter Lehmann Wines label to the Casella family, owners of Yellow Tail, at a significant loss. They are hopeful that the Casella family will be able to market and distribute the wine.
While some stakeholders have remained anonymous in the big sale, an estimated $50 Million USD changed hands, it has been reported that the Casella’s will have 90-100% ownership and thus the controlling shares so decision-making will belong to them exclusively. The selling price was 62% less than the amount Hess Family Wine Estates acquired it for in 2003.
Hess Family Wine Estates operate out of Bern and are moving focus to the Americas, supporting this but saying that the sale was a positive for all parties involved. They are streamlining their operations, investing in marketing and improving sales in the U.S.
Interviews have wine lovers curious as to Casella’s near-future plans as they have made statements to the press that indicate that they are looking to expand their brand portfolio to acquire more existing Australian labels. This is especially interesting considering the legal trouble surrounding the youngest Casella brother, although that has kept a fairly low profile, most likely due to his stepping down and distancing himself from the family.
The Casella’s wine business is truly a homegrown endeavor, started by their father, Filippo, on a small parcel of land and growing to be one of the most commonly purchased grocery store brands in the United States.
Overseers of the deal stated that Lehmann received several bids, which were all unsolicited, and after deliberation went with Casella. The Australian wine community believes that the move will help secure Australian wine futures.