Duckhorn Wine Company Acquired By Private Equity Firm

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. The transaction also includes more than 600 acres of estate vineyards, including the Three Palms Vineyard in California’s Napa Valley.

All employees are being retained, including the winemakers for all six wineries. The company will continue to be led 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,” says Ryan, in a press release. “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.”

Looking back at those decades: In 1978, Dan and Margaret Duckhorn 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, the company says.

Beginning in the late 1980s, the Duckhorns began leading Duckhorn Vineyards through a period of growth. This expanded its estate program and diversified Duckhorn Vineyards’ parent company, Duckhorn Wine Company, to include Paraduxx, a winery focused exclusively on Napa Valley red blends, Goldeneye, a 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 with Ryan. This included rolling out an expanded Decoy lineup. While many wineries consolidated production 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 Red Mountain.

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.

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