Wine conglomerate Treasury Wine Estates has announced that it will purchase Frank Family Vineyards for $315 million at the end of the year, allowing the company to expand its luxury chardonnay offerings.
“The acquisition of Frank Family Vineyards represents an outstanding addition to the Treasury Americas brand portfolio and is another important step towards our ambition of becoming the premium wine market leader in the Americas,” said Treasury Wine Estates' Americas President, Ben Dollard.
“Rich, Leslie, and the entire Frank Family Vineyard team have built an outstanding legacy that we are excited to nurture for years to come,” he said. “We are thrilled that Rich and Leslie will continue to be very involved.”
Treasury Wine Estates will obtain the Frank Family’s Calistoga tasting room, Benjamin Vineyard in Rutherford and the S&J Vineyard in Capell Valley in addition to the portfolio of wines. The family will keep the Winston Hill Vineyard in Rutherford and the Lewis Vineyard in Carneros, which will then provide fruit for the Frank Family reserve tier.
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"Leslie and I look forward to continuing to be a part of the next chapter of Frank Family Vineyards, a business we have spent nearly three decades cultivating into a beloved luxury wine brand," said Rich Frank. "We have prided ourselves on creating a family atmosphere among our staff and our guests and know this legacy will carry on."
The couple and their team will also be taking on new leadership roles within the Treasury Wine Estates organization, with Leslie remaining at the helm of the brand's marketing and hospitality.
Many in the industry were surprised by the acquisition, leaving questions unanswered about the existing properties and brands. Winemaker and general manager Todd Graff will remain after closing, and operations will stay the same at least through the year.
Leslie Frank says that the juice will not change -- other than that Treasury Wine Estates assets will allow for more of them, and at a more accessible rate -- and they see this as a way of building their "baby" of a brand.
"We particularly like the management at Treasury, and we think their plans are perfect," said Rich Frank. "For us, we were growing too quickly, and we would have had to do a lot of capital expenditures … They can make this brand what it should be."
More contentiously though, before the sale Frank Family Vineyards company were pursuing a 475,000-gallon-a-year winery on its Benjamin Vineyard property which drew criticism from Keep Rutherford Rural and local vintner Michael Honig. The Napa County Board of Supervisors were supposed to make a decision about the winery this month, but both parties ultimately agreed to delay the hearing until next spring.
According to Leslie Frank, this issue, "really wasn't part of the discussion."
"Their reason for wanting to acquire Frank Family was just to position them within the luxury wine market in the United States," she said.
No announcements have been made about Treasury Wine Estates’ intentions with this Rutherford property.
“The deal doesn’t close until mid-December, so we will continue operating business as usual until the new year,” said Susan Whitman, Corporate Communications Manager for Treasury Wine Estates' Americas division.
“We haven’t yet made a decision on Benjamin Ranch, but we do see lots of potential.”
You can reach Sam Jones at 707-256-2221 and firstname.lastname@example.org.