SOUTH KOREA’S HANWHA GROUP ACQUIRED SEVEN STONES WINERY IN NAPA FOR USD34M
By Siulan Law Mathews DipWSET
Source: Seven Stones Winery
Hanwha Group, a South Korean industrial conglomerate, has recently bought Seven Stones winery in California’s Napa Valley for USD34 million, in a move to enter South Korea’s fast growing premium wine market.
Founded in 1952 as a producer of explosives, Hanwha Group has grown into a large multi-profile business conglomerate, with diversified holdings stretching from their original business, to retail, holiday resorts and financial services.
South Korean media reported that the acquisition of Seven Stones was conducted by the group's chemical unit, Hanwha Solutions, in early December.
Hanwha Solutions holds the group’s resort business, the company hoped that the Seven Stones brand will strengthen the competitiveness of the resort business.
The sale was reported to include a 45-acre plot of land on the outskirts of St. Helena near the Meadowood resort, including 3 acres of planted vineyards, a 6,600-square-foot residence and a winery.
Seven Stones winery was put on the market after its founder, Ronald Wornick, died last year.
When announcing the sale in early December, real estate firm Compass only identified the buyer as an unnamed "multinational corporation with a significant US presence," adding that “the acquisition will form part of a newly established entity for their wine business."
It is not the first time that a South Korean conglomerate has purchased a winery in Napa Valley.
Korean retail giant the Shinsegae Group bought Shafer Vineyards in February this year for USD250m.
Six months later, the Shinsegae-owned Shafer Vineyards acquired 46 hectares of vineyards for USD35million from cult wine maker Screaming Eagle. The acquisition includes the 9-hectare Wildfoote Vineyard in the prestigious Stags Leap District.
South Korea’s wine market has seen rapid growth in recent years. While the entry level and mid-range segments have saturated, major retailers like Shinsegae and Lotte are actively expanding into the premium wine segment.
The already fierce competition looks set to get more intense with the entry of conglomerates from other sectors as well.
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