Vintage Wine Estates of Santa Rosa announced Tuesday it has bought three boutique wineries from Napa Valley vintner Jayson Woodbridge: Layer Cake, Cherry Pie and If You See Kay.
The acquisitions are the latest in a string of purchases by Vintage Wine Estates over the past year and will mean the winery has an annual portfolio of 2 million cases. A purchase price was not disclosed.
"We're looking at ways to get bigger and to do it in the most cost efficient manner," said Pat Roney, president and founding partner. He noted that the new labels can be produced at its Ray's Station winery near Hopland, where Vintage Wine Estates is spending $30 million on upgrades to handle more capacity.
The company owns such brands as B.R. Cohn Winery in Glen Ellen and its top-selling Middle Sister label, which is popular with millennial women. It was the 17th largest wine company in the United States last year, according to Wine Business Monthly.
Layer Cake provides Vintage Wine Estates a label that offers nine different varietals at "a popular price point" in the marketplace of between $10 to $15, Roney said.
Meanwhile, Cherry Pie has garnered accolades from critics and wine competitions for its pinot noir wines at a price range starting at $20. "That was an area where we were not in," Roney said. "You see the growth in that segment with Meiomi and others."
Woodbridge will remain in a consultant role for both winemaking and public relations for Layer Cake and Cherry Pie. Deutsch Family Wine & Spirits, a Stamford, Connecticut partner of Vintage Wine, will handle sales and marketing for Layer Cake, the largest of the brands sold.
Vintage Wine Estates in January bought Cameron Hughes Wine Inc., which specializes in direct-to-consumer business, and in June bought its first Oregon fine-wine brand, Firesteed Cellars. Roney said the company expects to buy another winery from Walla Walla, Washington in early 2018.
The drive to increase its production is a result of larger wineries needing to occupy a broader range of price points and different styles within the marketplace to continue growth. Distributors also are increasingly more attracted to wineries that can offer a whole range of products, especially given that wholesalers are under more competition given the consolidation in the industry, Roney said.
"It helps increase your clout with the chains (stores) and has efficiencies associated with it," Roney said of the buying spree this year.