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Thursday, February 4, 2016

Wineries Changing Hands

The year is still young, but the sale of North Coast wineries hasn't slowed down from the 2015 pace. Within the first few weeks of 2016 several smaller operations have changed owners--I think for the better.

Sitting on the Napa side of Carneros these folks were big into Pinot Noir before Pinot was a big thing. In recent years they languished under the stewardship of Diageo, a drinks conglomerate. Diageo is getting out of the wine business and sold the Acacia label to Treasury (another drinks conglomerate). Recently Diageo sold the property to Peju Winery of Napa Valley, a small family operation (12,000 cases a year). Peju, like everybody else, wants access to Pinot Noir.
Peju buys Acacia

A small Sonoma Valley winery (2,000 cases) run by some of the 3rd generation "kids" of the Benziger Winery family and, oh yeah, that bachelor guy from TV. They sold to a British Columbia wine family who bought Valley of the Moon Winery (now Madrone Winery) a few years ago. This comes on the heels of the 2nd generation selling their Benziger and Imagery wineries. I guess the family is tired of the wine biz.
Canadian vintners buy Envolve

Hop Kiln
The owners of Fiji Water bought this small Russian River Valley winery. They purchased Sonoma Valley's Landmark Winery five years ago. Hop Kiln is a historical property with lots of vineyards and seems like it needs some TLC. Last year the previous owners got permission from the county to expand from 20,000 to 30,000 cases of wine, but were shot down on trying to become a wedding venue.
Landmark Vineyards buys Hop Kiln

Hop Kiln Winery
photo from robert janover

And this is only a little over a month into the year. Let's see what happens next.