Casella Family Brands (CFB) has announced that it has acquired full ownership of Morris Wines from Pernod Ricard Winemakers, with immediate effect.
Pernod Ricard Winemakers sent an earlier media release saying the Morris family had bought it. This is incorrect.
Casella says it's "business as usual" at the winery with David Morris continuing in his role as chief winemaker.
The transaction – completed today – includes purchase of the winery, cellar door, 80 hectares of vineyards, stock and the Morris of Rutherglen brand IP. The financial terms of the sale are commercial in confidence.
"I’m delighted to welcome Morris Wines into the Casella family, particularly due to our longstanding relationship with the Morris family, which goes back 50 years to when my father supplied grapes to their former Griffith winery,” said John Casella.
“Morris Wines is an iconic Australian winery and one of the greatest fortified wineries in the world, with over 150 years of history and winemaking tradition. I believe we are well placed to build on the strength of the brand and cellar door experience to ensure Morris Wines continues its legacy.”
The addition of Morris Wines further enhances CFB’s premium Australian wine offering as the iconic Rutherglen winery will join CFB’s portfolio of premium brands which include Peter Lehmann Wines, Brand’s Laira and Casella.
Acknowledging the reported decline of the fortified category in recent years, John Casella believes there is an opportunity to grow the Morris of Rutherglen brand in the premium price segment.
"I believe the premium fortified category offers growth potential and Casella Family Brands is well placed to invest in developing the Morris of Rutherglen brand. I also recognise the excellent quality of the other wines Morris Wines produces including Durif, Shiraz and Cabernet,” he said.
David Morris, fifth generation and current chief winemaker at Morris Wines said: “I’m delighted that Morris Wines has been returned to family ownership. The Morris family has built Morris of Rutherglen into an iconic Australian brand and John Casella believes in honouring family legacy and winemaking tradition.
"The purchase by Casella Family Brands can only be a positive outcome for the winery, the brand, the region and the industry. We’re looking forward to embarking on the next chapter of our journey under the stewardship of Casella Family Brands.”
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