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Friday, August 30, 2013

Wineries changing owners

Wineries get bought and sold more often than you may think. Only the "big boys" tend to make the news.

Clos Pegase in Napa Valley was founded by Jan Shrem 30 years ago. He was middle-aged even then. Finally he decided it was time to sell and probably not a moment too soon as the winery has been in a state of benign neglect for awhile. The new owners, a local company called Vintage Wine Estates, came in saying everyone would keep their jobs and then fired several people -- just like other corporations. Vintage Wine Estates owns a handful of wineries in the Sonoma/Napa/Mendocino area. The selling price was not disclosed, but it includes several hundred acres of Napa real estate. Clos Pegase is probably best-known for Shrem's private art collection on display at the winery.

Almost 25 years ago a member of a Sonoma County pioneering wine family, Sam Sebastiani, founded Viansa Winery. He built a "Tuscan marketplace" that's been very popular with first-time tourists to the area. Sam turned it over to the children and they ran into trouble and Viansa was sold. It's for sale again. One rumor has Vintage Wine Estates interested in the property. It's listed at $15m in case you were looking to get into the wine biz. Viansa is probably best-known for tour buses and weddings.

Image from
Update 10/4/13: It's official, Vintage Wine Estates has bought Viansa for an undisclosed sum.