Jackson Family Wines buys Australian winery Giant Steps near Melbourne

Jackson Family Wines of Santa Rosa announced on Aug. 24 it acquired Giant Steps Winery in Australia’s Yarra Valley just northeast of Melbourne.

Giant Steps, which produces single-vineyard chardonnay and pinot noir, will join Yangarra Estate Vineyard and Hickinbotham Clarendon as part of Jackson’s portfolio of wineries in Australia.

The winery was founded in 1997 by Phil Sexton, who will remain as general manager, and Steve Flamsteed, who will stay as chief winemaker. The acquisition also includes 185 acres of estate vineyards.

“This acquisition reflects our commitment not only to Australia’s exceptional vineyards and wines, but to the global wine industry and the people who share in a long-term vision for the future,” said Rick Tigner, CEO of Jackson Family Wines.

Harrow Cellars acquires Sojourn Cellars

Harrow Cellars, a partnership between Angelina Mondavi and Sonoma’s Best Hospitality Group, has bought Sojourn Cellars, a boutique premium wine brand based in Sonoma.

Under the deal, announced on Friday, the two labels will be based out of the former Ravenswood facility that Harrow bought in January. The Ravenswood transaction also included 12 acres of estate vineyards. The sale price for Sojourn was not disclosed.

Sojourn founders Craig Haserot and Erich Bradley started the label in 2001 and it became known for its well-regarded pinot noir, chardonnay and cabernet sauvignon even while operating out of custom crush facilities. It also has a tasting room in Sonoma that will remain there.

“We work with an incredible set of 16 different vineyards and now we can look forward to a winemaking facility in which we can take quality control to the next level,” Bradley said.

Nicole Carter appointed to lead Diamond Creek Vineyards

Nicole Carter, who was appointed in October as president at Merry Edwards Winery in Sebastopol, also will assume the same position at Diamond Creek Vineyards in Calistoga.

Both wineries are owned by Maison Louis Roederer, the French-based sparkling wine house. Roederer bought Diamond Creek, known for its premium cabernet sauvignon, and its estate vineyards in March.

Graham Wehmeier, who has worked at wineries such as Futo, Cornell and Merryvale, will take over winemaking duties at Diamond Creek from Phil Steinschriber.

Compiled by Bill Swindell. Submit items to

Bill Swindell

Business, Beer and Wine, The Press Democrat  

In the North Coast, we are surrounded by hundreds of wineries along with some of the best breweries, cidermakers and distillers. These industries produce an abundance of drinks as well as good stories – and those are what I’m interested in writing. I also keep my eye on our growing cannabis industry and other agricultural crops, which have provided the backbone for our food-and-wine culture for generations.

UPDATED: Please read and follow our commenting policy:

  • This is a family newspaper, please use a kind and respectful tone.
  • No profanity, hate speech or personal attacks. No off-topic remarks.
  • No disinformation about current events.
  • We will remove any comments — or commenters — that do not follow this commenting policy.
Send a letter to the editor

Our Network

The Press Democrat
Sonoma Index-Tribune
Petaluma Argus Courier
North Bay Business Journal
Sonoma Magazine
Bite Club Eats
La Prensa Sonoma
Sonoma County Gazette