Sam Bronfman completed his two-year stint at Diageo in 2004, after the wine and spirits behemoth acquired Seagram, the business his grandfather founded and his family had run for three generations.
He set out to find a winery or wineries to buy, to return to the industry where he had spent his professional life. This turned out to be far more difficult than he had expected. Bronfman recruited his lifelong friend Peter Kaufman and Kaufman’s business partner, Henry Owsley of Gordian Group, to act as his investment bankers, but whenever they found a winery to pursue, they got outbid. “We realized we wouldn’t win auctions,” Bronfman said. “It was just too tough to win.”