French luxury goods company LVMH Group, whose brands include Louis Vuitton and Dom Perignon, has made another play in Napa Valley fine wine with the acquisition of a majority stake in Colgin Cellars.
Ann Colgin and her husband, Joe Wender, sold 60 percent equity in the St. Helena winery she started in 1992, Paris-based LVMH announced Nov. 21. The couple will keep 40 percent ownership and retain leadership of the operation. Chief Operating Officer Paul Roberts and winemaker Allison Tauziet also will remain in place.
“After a social introduction to Mr. Arnault several months ago and discussions with the LVMH team, I realized that I could not find a better partner for Colgin Cellars to preserve our founding spirit and our exquisitely handcrafted red wines, into the future,” Colgin said in a statement, referring to LVMH Chairman and CEO Bernard Arnault. “We are happy to join the LVMH Group to continue to offer our loyal customers the unique and high-end experiences we’ve been creating for them, for over a quarter of a century.”
LVMH made a point to note that the winery, located at the north end of the IX Estate vineyard property in the Pritchard Hill area of the valley, wasn’t touched by the massive October wildfires.
Colgin Cellars’s four wines are Tychson Hill cabernet sauvignon, Cariad Napa Valley red wine, IX Estate Napa Valley red wine and IX Estate syrah. They are sold by mailing list to consumers and distributed to high-end restaurants and retailers in the U.S. and more than 30 other countries.
“We share with Colgin Cellars the same desire to offer the very best quality products,” Arnault said in a statement. “I am therefore delighted to welcome Colgin’s unique heritage into LVMH, reaffirming our strategy of selective acquisition of the best existing terroirs, and enriching our collection of iconic wines such as Château Cheval Blanc, Château d’Yquem or Domaine du Clos des Lambrays.”
LVMH Group formed with the merger of Moët Hennessy and Louis Vuitton. Its 70 brands span hundreds of years of production, from Le Clos des Lambrays started in 1365 to Edun, a fashion brand started in 2005 and acquired in 2009. Revenue in 2016 was 37.6 billion euros, up 5 percent from 2015.
Wine & Spirits business unit revenue was 4.84 billion euros last year, up 5 percent.
Colgin is the latest LVMH venture in Napa Valley. In 1973, Domaine Chandon opened in Yountville. It was the first sparkling-wine house in the U.S. by a French producer, Moët & Chandon.
Peter and Su Hua Newton started Newton Vineyard near St. Helena in 1977 and sold a majority stake to LVMH in 2001.