Vintage Wine Estates forms partnership with Jon Sebastiani
Sebastiani, Sonoma Brands assume management of VIANSA Winery
Vintage Wine Estates, Santa Rosa, Calif., announced a new partnership with Jon Sebastiani and Sonoma Brands. Sonoma Brands is a food and beverage products incubator and private equity fund led by Sonoma-based Jon Sebastiani.
Founded in 2008, Vintage Wine Estates owns a collection of iconic wine estates, including VIANSA Sonoma. Under the new partnership, Jon Sebastiani and the Sonoma Brands team will assume management of VIANSA, a winery offering visitors an elevated guest experience through the wine country lifestyle, the company says.
Jon Sebastiani began his career at the family winery, ultimately serving as president. Under his stewardship, VIANSA became an influential brand and a popular tasting and touring destination, it adds. The winery was sold by the family in 2005 and acquired by Vintage Wine Estates in 2013. Jon Sebastiani went on to launch several popular Sonoma-based businesses including KRAVE, Sonoma Brands and SMASHMALLOW.
“This is very much a coming home for me,” said Jon Sebastiani, founder and president of Sonoma Brands, in a statement. “With a heritage deeply rooted in the Sonoma Valley wine region, I’m eager to add our family name back to the voice of this industry and join forces with such a wonderful strategic partner in Vintage Wine Estates. After years of growing amazing consumer brands, primarily focused in the food and non-alcoholic beverage space, I am thrilled to bring that knowledge and playbook back to the wine industry.”
Jon Sebastiani joins Vintage Wine Estates through Sonoma Brands’ participation in the AGR Partners investment in Vintage Wine Estates. In April 2018, AGR Partners, an investment firm dedicated to food and agribusiness, provided growth capital through a minority equity stake in Vintage Wine Estates and under the terms of AGR Partners’ agreement with Sonoma Brands, Jon Sebastiani will become the 4th largest shareholder in Vintage Wine Estates, and member of its Board of Directors, the company says.
Jon Sebastiani’s brother, Christopher Sebastiani, will transition into the general manager leadership role. Long-time winemaker Amy Ludovissy will continue to oversee production and management of the winery’s vineyards under the stylistic direction of Jon, Christopher and their team.
“I am thrilled with the opportunity to bring our family’s heritage back to this iconic winery as the gateway to Sonoma Valley,” said Christopher Sebastiani. “Along with the broader Sonoma Brands team, Jon and I will aim to cast our generation’s personality and focus back to VIANSA, continuing to elevate the property as a destination for food and wine innovation and world class hospitality.”
Pat Roney, chief executive officer of Vintage Wine Estates added: “We are delighted to have found a strategic partner in Sonoma Brands and appreciate the legacy that comes with the team. We know it will help us continue to expand in the right direction. With the support of Sonoma Brands and their expertise in building some of the nation’s most successful food and beverage companies, we will continue to innovate, adding value to our portfolio of brands and growing our leadership role in the industry.”