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North Bay Business Journal

Tuesday, November 27, 2012, 6:57 pm

Foley acquires Langtry, Guenoc brands

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    View of the Guenoc Valley vines from Tephra Vineyard

    View of Guenoc Valley vines from Langtry Estate’s Tephra Vineyard

    HEALDSBURG — Foley Family Wines Inc. has added to its growing portfolio for the third time this month, completing the acquisition of the Langtry Estate & Vineyards and Guenoc brands and related assets on the sprawling property straddling Lake and Napa counties.

    The Healdsburg-based wine company today said it purchased a two-thirds stake in the brands from Hawaii-based Malulani Investments, which acquired the property in 1963 and lobbied for the creation of an American Viticultural Area for the 23,000-acre Guenoc Valley property. Production for both brands is 150,000 cases a year.

    The deal included 500 acres of the Guenoc Valley property with 150 acres of vines, the winery and several guest houses. Notable among the lodging is Langtry House, built in 1874 and named after actress Lillie Langtry, who owned the property from 1888 to 1906. Malulani remains majority owner of the balance of the Langtry Farms.

    Other terms of the deal weren’t disclosed.

    Foley Family Wines became the sales and marketing agent for Langtry Estate and Guenoc in August. That was a first step between Bill Foley and Malulani President Easton Munson toward a change in ownership, according to a spokeswoman.

    “Both Bill and Easton had this as the end game, but they wanted to take it slowly to make sure it made sense,” said Andrea Smalling, Foley’s chief marketing officer.

    In addition to the brands themselves, the attractiveness of the acquisition included distribution relationships in place for them and the hospitality element, she said. The Guenoc brand, particularly, has strong representation in national grocery chains, building on existing Foley portfolio relationships.

    For example, the Guenoc California Selection sauvignon blanc wine is the top-selling wine in Safeway stores and is in the top 10 for its price point in the U.S.

    Guenoc’s three tiers – Lake County Wines, North Coast Victorian Claret and California Selection Wines — range in price from $9 to $18 per standard-sized bottle. Langtry Estate wines start at $15 a bottle and go up to $75 each for single-vineyard labels.

    Langtry House at Langtry Estate in Lake County's Guenoc Valley

    Langtry House

    The availability of 17 guest rooms at Langtry Estate provides a northern end for North Coast wine country travelers, who can travel there from stays at the portfolio’s Hotel Les Mars in Healdsburg and at Lancaster Estate in Sonoma County’s Alexander Valley.

    Early this month, Foley Family Wines acquired Lancaster Estate followed by 206 acres of vines at Ramal East Vineyard in Los Carneros appellation.

    Since Mr. Foley entered the wine business with the acquisition of Lincourt Vineyards in the Central Coast, his portfolio has grown to include production of more than 1 million cases of wine annually in the U.S. alone. Other brands in the portfolio are Firestone Vineyard, Foley Estates and EOS also in the Central Coast; Merus, Foley Johnson, Kuleto and Altus in Napa Valley; Chalk Hill, Sebastiani and Lancaster Estate in Sonoma County; Three Rivers Winery in Washington’s Walla Walla Valley appellation; and New Zealand brands Vavasour, Clifford Bay and Te Kairanga.

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