What will sale of California winery mean to Daou customers?

One of San Luis Obispo County’s most prestigious wineries will soon have a new owner, it was announced this week.

But what will that mean for wine club members and fans who enjoy visiting for a glass of cabernet sauvignon while looking out at the panoramic views from its hilltop perch west of Paso Robles?

Management at Daou Vineyards was clear in its intentions.

It’s determined to keep the local experiences at Daou Mountain the same as always, the company’s senior vice president told The Tribune after news broke that a global wine giant is buying the prestigious Paso Robles brand.

Treasury Wine Estates, an Australian corporation with a wine portfolio that also includes some top Napa Valley brands, announced Monday that it’s buying Daou Vineyards for an upfront consideration of $900 million, describing Daou as the “fastest growing luxury wine brand in the U.S.”

The Australian company’s California purchase will include the panoramic 600-acre Daou Mountain estate, four wineries and 400 acres of vineyards in Paso Robles, plus the oceanview Daou Ocean property in Cambria and the historic downtown Bank of America building in Paso Robles.

The deal also includes an additional earn-out of up to $100 million, bringing the total possible cost to close to $1 billion.

Founders Daniel and Georges Daou, brothers born in Lebanon and raised in France who built a fortune in tech before investing it in a winery dream, expect to be “actively involved” in Daou Vineyards after the sale finalizes.

Daniel Daou would be co-founder and chief winemaker, while Georges Daou would continue as co-founder as well.

Daou Vineyards and Wineryis located on top of a 2,200-foot peak west of Paso Robles. David Middlecamp dmiddlecamp@thetribunenews.com

What will happen to SLO County winery once Daou sale goes through?

Few details have been released about any local impacts from the purchase announced Monday.

However, Maeve Pesquera, a Daou senior vice president, did fill in a few blanks with an emailed response to The Tribune on Wednesday evening.

“What we shared this week was an announcement” about the upcoming sale, she wrote. “TWE does not own the business until close in mid-December. What I can share is keeping the magic of the business and the people are paramount along with maintaining the extraordinary experience at Daou Mountain.

“The intention is for TWE to learn about the business and the opportunity for Daou (to grow) globally, not just Asia, but Europe and Australia also.

“As for Daou members, our goal is that they don’t experience any change and continue to enjoy the wines and the experience as they always have,” Pesquera said. “The Daou people will stay the same as will the Daou wines with Daniel leading the winemaking team.”

Daou Vineyards and Winery offers spectacular views from a hilltop west of Paso Robles. David Middlecamp dmiddlecamp@thetribunenews.com

Who and what is Treasury Wine Estates?

The publicly held global wine producer and distributor, which has about 2,500 employees around the world, is listed on the Australian Securities Exchange.

In its press release Monday about the expected Daou purchase, TWE billed itself as “one of the world’s leading wine companies,” with a “global, multi-regional model that includes world class vineyard and production assets” in Australia, Marlborough in New Zealand, the Napa Valley in the U.S., Bordeaux in France, and Tuscany in Italy.

Earlier this year, Daou bought a 173-acre vineyard in the Val d’Orcia region of southern Tuscany, but that asset is not part of the TWE buy, Pesquera told The Tribune on Monday.

“TWE’s global portfolio is available in more than 70 countries, and includes luxury and premium brands such as Penfolds, 19 Crimes, Pepperjack, Squealing Pig, Wynns, Matua, Beaulieu Vineyard, and Frank Family Vineyards,” the release continued.

The company said it is one of the largest Napa Valley growers, with luxury grape crops in 10 Napa viticultural areas that “supply a strong portfolio that includes Beaulieu Vineyards, Beringer Vineyards, Etude Winery, Frank Family Vineyards, and Stags’ Leap Winery.”

“The U.S. is the world’s largest wine market,” TWE CEO Tim Ford said Monday. “We’re beyond thrilled to add Daou to our portfolio, cementing our position as a global luxury-wine leader. This is a transformative acquisition.”

He called Daou “an award-winning luxury wine business with an outstanding track record for growth,” a record that TWE apparently is counting on to meet the deal’s financial expectations for the additional earn-out of up to $100 million.

Daou Vineyards and Winery offers spectacular views of the hills west of Paso Robles. David Middlecamp dmiddlecamp@thetribunenews.com

This story was originally published November 2, 2023, 5:07 PM.

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Kathe Tanner has been writing about the people and places of SLO County’s North Coast since 1981, first as a columnist and then also as a reporter. Her career has included stints as a bakery owner, public relations director, radio host, trail guide and jewelry designer. She has been a resident of Cambria for more than four decades, and if it’s happening in town, Kathe knows about it.

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