Accolade Wines purchases Katnook Estate

Accolade Wines has acquired the historic Katnook Estate in Coonawarra from Wingara Wine Group.

Australia’s second largest wine producer will take control of 160 hectares of vineyards, the winery, a cellar door operation and the Katnook Estate brand.

Katnook has been in operation since 1896. It produces high-end Coonawarra Cabernet alongside Merlot, Chardonnay, Shiraz, Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc and other varietal wines.

It is the first acquisition since Robert Foye took over as chief executive. He said it will “accelerate the expansion and premiumisation” of the Accolade portfolio.

The firm is known for producing large volume brands like Hardys, but Katnook Estate now sits alongside the likes of Petaluma, Grant Burge and St Hallett in a premium portfolio.

Foye said: “As we modernise these brands’ marketing and packaging, innovate into new higher-value product tiers and expand the distribution of these brands globally, we need access to more premium wine,”

“In terms of the premium winegrowing areas of Australia where Accolade is investigating opportunities to expand its presence and sourcing, Coonawarra is definitely at the top of the list.

“Not only is the area a well-known premium wine region inside and outside of Australia, it also produces the kind of rich and balanced red and white varietals that the rest of the world, including China, are thirsting for.

“Katnook Estate’s single varietal red and white wines are crafted with an uncompromising commitment to the finest quality and the regional integrity of the Coonawarra – Australia’s number three region for bottled red wine. The wines have twice won Australia’s most prestigious trophy, the Jimmy Watson, as well as a number of international awards.”

Wingara Wine Group is part of Henkell Freixenet, the world’s largest sparkling wine producer, and it said the decision to sell Katnook Estate followed a strategic review of its operations.

Sean Shortt, executive director for sales and marketing at Wingara Wine Group, said: “We’re pleased to have been able to reach agreement with Accolade Wines and believe Katnook Estate will be able to reach its full potential under a new owner.

“Henkell Freixenet considers Australia an important market with great potential and is committed to further developing its sparkling wine and wine sales here.”