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Montana to join Orlando stable

Published:  23 July, 2008

Montana - New Zealand's bestselling wine brand, accounting for more than 50% of the country's production - will be taken under the control of Australia's Orlando Wyndham group following Diageo's decision not to exercise its option to buy the company.

Orlando Wyndham, whose brands include Jacob's Creek and Wyndham Estate, is based in Adelaide and is a wholly owned subsidiary of Pernod Ricard, which recently bought out Montana's former owner Allied Domecq.

Although Pernod had previously announced it would keep Montana following Diageo's decision not to exercise its option - won in return for agreeing not to be involved in a counterbid for Allied - it was unclear if it would remain a separate entity (as it had been under Allied Domecq) or be included under a wider Australasian group.

It's in the plan that Montana and the related producers such as Stoneleigh will sit under the Orlando Wyndham organisation,' said Patrick Venning, head of marketing for wines at Pernod Ricard.

The people who are involved in Montana will be working through the revised organisation.'

Phil Laffer, chief winemaker at Orlando Wyndham, said that he will be involved in the winemaking in New Zealand, although not that much. From what we've seen of Montana so far, we can learn a lot from them, and they can learn stuff from us - it's a very good situation to be in. As with all the wines from Orlando, we have a winemaking group that acts as consultant, and we will do the same with Montana and offer advice and assistance.

What we need to make absolutely certain is that we protect the various styles we have and make sure the styles of their wines and our wines don't get too close together.

It's a good company, and it has basically stood on its own for some time. It's not a question of it needing attention - far from it.'

The integration process will be complete by January 2006.