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Thursday, January 24, 2013, 3:11 pm

Bill Price buys 138-acre Gap’s Crown Vineyard

Sale price reportedly tops $100,000 an acre

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    William “Bill” Price III, co-founder of private investment company TPG Group and a financier of North Coast wineries such as Kosta Browne, purchased the 138-acre Gap’s Crown pinot noir and chardonnay vineyard in the Sonoma Coast appellation east of Rohnert Park.

    Mr. Price on Dec. 11 purchased two properties from what had been part of the CalPERS vineyard portfolio. The 106 acres of planted pinot noir and 32 acres of chardonnay are located off Roberts Road on the western slopes of Sonoma Mountain east of Rohnert Park.

    The sale price wasn’t disclosed in public records. Mr. Price told Wine Spectator that the purchase price was above $100,000 an acre and a new high value level for Sonoma Coast vines.

    With plantings in 2002 and 2005, Gap’s Crown is a source if grapes for wineries such as Kosta Browne, Paul Hobbs and Patz & Hall. Mr. Price will continue to supply those grape contracts and will purchase fruit for his Three Sticks and Price Chanin brands, he told Wine Spectator.

    Vineyard acquisition as a way to access key grape supply was a main driver in dozens of North Coast property sales in the past year to wineries, including several in the Premier Pacific Vineyards portfolio.

    Mr. Price’s history in the wine business includes the purchase and sale of Beringer Vineyards and, more recently, the formation of a boutique vintner investment group called The Vincraft Group. It’s investments include the Kosta Browne and Gary Farrell brands.

    Zepponi & Company of Santa Rosa advised Menlo Park-based private-equity firm GI Partners, which has been managing the Premier Pacific Vineyards portfolio for CalPERS for the past year. CalPERS in late 2011 said it would end its relationship with Premier Pacific Vineyards, and GI Partners has been marketing vineyards for sale. American AgCredit financed the purchase.

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