Accolade Wines is upping its US presence through the purchase of the three brands from Ascentia

Accolade Wines is upping its US presence through the purchase of the three brands from Ascentia

Ascentia Wine Estates is reportedly embarking on its exit from the wine industry, with Accolade Wines lined up to buy its Geyser Peak, Atlas Peak and XYZin brands in the US.

Accolade, which was formed after the sale of Constellation Brands' Australian and UK wine operations to CHAMP Private Equity last year, announced late yesterday (1 June) that it will acquire the three Californian brands, along with their assets and inventory, for an undisclosed sum. The transaction follows Ascentia's divestment of Ste Chapelle in Idaho to Precept Wine last month.

For Accolade, the buy signals its intentions for the US wine market. “This acquisition will … help us to develop the opportunities we see emerging within the US,” said CEO Troy Christensen. “We see that there is tremendous opportunity within the US to grow these brands, but we also have the capacity to fit them within the portfolio we are now marketing in Europe, the UK and the rapidly-developing Asian markets, especially China.”

According to reports out of the US yesterday, Ascentia is also set to offload its Washington State-based Columbia Winery and Covey Run brands to E&J Gallo Winery. The sales would mark Ascentia's withdrawal from the wine industry. Ascentia, a partnership including Jim Debonis, the former COO of Beam Wine Estates, WJ Deutsch & Sons and private equity firm GESD Capital Partners, came into being in 2008, when it bought eight US wine brands from Constellation.

No-one was immediately available at Ascentia or Gallo to confirm the reports.