Vintage Wine Estates Lays Off 15% Of Staff As It Welcomes New CMO


Vintage Wine Estates -- a leading U.S. producer whose brands include Ace Cider, Layer Cake, and Sonoma Coast Vineyards -- is laying off about 15% of its staff as it prepares to pare down its brand roster and sell off other “non-core” assets as part of a broad restructuring plan.

Vintage Wine Estates is the 11th largest wine producer in the U.S., according to Wine Business Monthly, with an extensive roster of over 30 brands. The company claims the workforce reduction will save it around $7.1 million annually.

In a release announcing the news Seth Kaufman, who joined the company from Moët Hennessy as the company’s new CEO last summer, cited business complexity resulting in “a disproportionately high-cost base,” while alluding to the “very different requirements” across its portfolio.



 “Getting from here to there starts by recognizing where our strengths lie and identifying the areas of the business in which we shouldn’t operate,” along with "building a select portfolio of nationally recognized brands,” he explained.

He cited “some premium pricepoint and below wine brands” as among the assets it is looking to sell, along with “select luxury estates,” “some DTC platforms such as digitally native brands” and “certain production services.”

Kaufman named Layer Cake, Bar Dog, Cherry Pie and Ace Cider as among the company’s priority lifestyle brands; and  Girard, Kunde, BR Cohn, Laetitia, and Firesteed as among its priority “Super Premium+ estate” priority brands.

The company announced this news this week as its new CMO steps into his role. Vintage Wine Estates announced earlier this month that Ryan Watson was joining the company from Boston Consulting Group (BGC), where he was a partner, effective Jan. 16.

The shakeup comes as large wineries are struggling amid category changes and shifting consumer demands. According to a “State of the US Wine Industry” report from Silicon Valley Bank, U.S. consumer demand for the total wine category is in decline, with more consumers turning to “alternatives such as RTDs, spirits, cannabis” or choosing to abstain from drinking alcohol altogether – leading to an “oversupply of planted vineyards given current sales volumes.”&nbsp

Next story loading loading..