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North Bay Business Journal

Friday, October 4, 2013, 11:17 am

Viansa sold to Vintage Wine Estates

‘Significant investments’ in renovation, expansion planned

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    Viansa Winery & Italian Marketplace villa

    Vintage Wine Estates plans “significant investments” in a renovation and expansion plan approved for Viansa four years ago. (image credit: Viansa)

    SANTA ROSA — Vintage Wine Estates, which has been actively building its portfolio of wineries and brands recently, completed the purchase of Sonoma Valley landmark Viansa Winery & Italian Marketplace.

    The deal and includes the hilltop winery and food marketplace, long a popular site for weddings, private and corporate events, and a first stop for tours from San Francisco to North Coast wine country. Also included a 168-acre vineyard planted to sangiovese, primitivo, vernaccia and pinot grigio varieties and 113 acres of preserved wetlands.

    Rumored to be in the works for the past few months, the sale becomes effective today. Financial terms weren’t disclosed.

    The purchase also comes less than two months after Vintage Wine acquired Clos Pegase in Napa Valley.

    “We are pleased to have Viansa Winery as part of the family and the gateway to our Napa and Sonoma properties,” said Pat Roney, president of Vintage Wine Estates.

    What attracted Santa Rosa-based Vintage Wine to the opportunity was the combination of lifestyle elements: wine, food selections and hospitality opportunities.

    Lloyd Davis

    Lloyd Davis

    Lloyd Davis, who had been a partner in New York-based Laurus Funds that acquired the winery nearly six years ago from a borrower in Bankruptcy Court then came in to reorganize the business, had been trying to acquire the winery from Laurus for about a year.

    “I could not think of a better group to acquire Viansa,” he said in a statement. “Vintage Wine Estates has all the resources to take Viansa to the next level.”

    Beside bringing expenses in line and improving revenue, Mr. Lloyd took on the approval of a renovation and upgrade project for Viansa. The county of Sonoma approved the plan in early 2009:

    • An 18,000-square-foot, 40,000-case-a-year winery with a caretaker apartment
    • A separate 2,300-square-foot, 5,000-case-per-year “boutique” winery integrated with a 5,100-square-foot auxiliary tasting and hospitality room
    • A package sewage-treatment plant
    • 150 annual special events a year with a maximum of 220 people, as previously allowed
    • On-site cooking and sales of foods and retail items to promote local agricultural products

    Vintage Wine said it plans to to make “significant investments” in that renovation plan but will continue to make California- and Italian-style wines made from grapes grown on the estate and in other Sonoma County vineyards.

    Also, the company said it will work with Ducks Unlimited to restore wetlands on the property.

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