American-based Jackson Family Wines, the family-owned wine company founded in 1982, has bought Giant Steps Winery in the Yarra Valley.
Recognised as a world-class producer of single vineyard Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, Giant Steps joins a growing portfolio for Jackson Family Wines in Australia which includes Yangarra Estate Vineyard and Hickinbotham Clarendon Vineyard in McLaren Vale.
“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 recognised 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 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.”
Jackson adds, “The brightness, complexity, terroir and style of the Giant Steps wines adds a new and compelling dimension to our identity as a family run wine business in Australia.
“We celebrate the Yarra Valley for its world class wine both in Australia and on the international stage.
“Thank you for continuing to welcome us into the Australian winemaking community.”
The acquisition includes purchase of Giant Steps’ Sexton and Applejack vineyards (about 75 total hectares), both monopole vineyards.
Giant Steps will continue to source fruit from Tarraford, Wombat Creek, Primavera and Gruyere Farm vineyards, recognising the long-term relationships and the quality of the fruit produced from these sites.
Phil Sexton will continue his role as founder and general manager, and Steve Flamsteed will remain chief winemaker at Giant Steps.
Since their first release in 2003, Giant Steps wines have collectively been awarded 34 trophies and over 100 gold medals at major international and domestic wine shows, and the winery has been named one of the Top 100 Wineries in the World by Wine & Spirits Magazine for each of the last six years.
Jackson Family Wines is a family-owned, vineyard-based company “with a penchant for exploration”. Founder Jess Jackson placed his faith in farming and a meticulous expression of wine with his first landscape-changing vintage in 1982, an ethos that chairman Barbara Banke and the Jackson family continue to uphold to this day.
The Jackson family’s collection of 40 wineries spans significant winegrowing regions, from California, Oregon, France and Italy in the northern hemisphere, to Australia, Chile and South Africa in the southern half of the globe.
Vineyard ownership and sustainable practices remain key to consistent quality and artisan winemaking is built to scale, underscoring a steadfast commitment to making wines of character and integrity.