Review of the Industry

The Top 30  U.S. Wine Companies – Precept #21

Founded in 2003 by Andrew Browne and a team of industry veterans, Precept Brands is the fastest growing wine company in Washington. Browne was president and chief executive of Corus Brands, until 2001, when Canandaigua Wine Company (Constellation Brands) acquired most of the Corus portfolio (Alice White, Covey Run, Columbia Winery, Paul Thomas and Ste. Chapelle).

Precept has grown through acquisitions and organically, and operates as a brand incubator with few production assets but a knack for effective sales and marketing. The company has launched several domestic and joint venture import brands since its inception.

Brands sourced from Washington include: Avery Lane, Barrelstone, Big Sky, Grizz, Pine and Post, Pavin and Riley, Washington Hills, Sol Duc, Sweet Pea and more. Brands imported in joint ventures from Australia include: Shingleback, The Gate, Red Knot, Screwed, Sinplicity and Outback Chase. Another brand, Fauna, is from New Zealand. European brands include: Bloom and Struktur from Germany, Ciao Bella from Italy, El Paseo and Solo from Spain, as well as Red Beret Ce´te du Rhe´ne from France.

Precept also has a joint venture with Allen Shoup called “Pendulum,” a 2003 Columbia Valley red wine that made its debut in 2005.

In 2006, Precept Brands and The Magnificent Wine Co. of Walla Walla, Washington formed a new partnership, with Precept providing marketing, sales and administrative duties. Charles Smith, of K Vintners and The Magnificent Wine Co., is working with Precept’s team to grow Magnificent’s wine brands, particularly House Wine red and white blends from Columbia Valley. Precept also purchased Waterbrook Winery of Walla Walla, Washington in a deal that included the brand, inventory and tasting room in downtown Walla Walla, but not Waterbrook’s production facility or vineyards. One big change for Precept in 2007, though, was new investments in vineyards and facilities in Washington State. The company is building a winery in Walla Walla, Washington, a 250,000-case facility that should be operational for the 2008 harvest.

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