American wine group Jackson Family Wines has announced the purchase of Australian winery Giant Steps Winery in Victoria’s Yarra Valley, known for its single vineyard Chardonnay and Pinot Noir.
This would expand Jackson Family Estates’ foothold in Australia on top of its two other wineries, namely Yangarra Estate Vineyard and Hickinbotham Clarendon Vineyard, both in McLaren Vale.
The acquisition includes purchase of Giant Steps’ Sexton and Applejack vineyards (75 total ha). Giant Steps will continue to source fruit from Tarraford, Wombat Creek, Primavera, and Gruyere Farm vineyards, recognizing the long-term relationships and quality of the fruit produced from these sites.
Phil Sexton will continue his role as Founder and General Manager of Giant Steps, and Steve Flamsteed will remain Chief Winemaker, according to the company’s press release.
“Our family is excited to be a part of the Yarra Valley community and to help build upon the incredible legacy of Phil Sexton and Steve Flamsteed,” says Christopher Jackson, second-generation proprietor of Jackson Family Wines. “Our discussion with Phil started before the COVID-19 pandemic. While the global wine market has changed dramatically, it has not dampened our family’s enthusiasm towards Giant Steps.”
Giant Steps was established in 1997, when owner Phil Sexton arrived in the Yarra Valley in search of ideal sites to produce Chardonnay and Pinot Noir of purity and finesse.
With the help of Chief Winemaker Steve Flamsteed, who joined the winery in 2003, the two set to create a single vineyard range of wines that personifies each site. Today, the winery is regarded as one of the most progressive in Australia and is recognized globally for its pursuit of site expression. Giant Steps’ single vineyard wines are among the most anticipated releases from Australia and considered benchmarks for the Yarra Valley.
“This is a remarkable new chapter for Giant Steps,” says Phil Sexton. “The Jackson family has demonstrated an invaluable commitment to the Australian wine community over the last two decades, and we feel confident in our shared vision for the winery’s future. The recognition of the diversity of the Yarra Valley, and the development of ‘great dirt as vineyards’ is what brought the Jackson family and Giant Steps initially together and will continue to be our key goal.”
Founded in 1982, Jackson Family Wines has 40 wineries spanning significant winegrowing regions, from California, Oregon, France, and Italy in the northern hemisphere, to Australia, Chile, and South Africa.