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North Bay Business Journal

Monday, March 31, 2014, 7:11 pm

Foley ventures into Oregon wine for first time

Part of wave of investment from North Coast, elsewhere

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    Black Family Vineyard in Oregon

    Foley Family Wines acquired these 54 acres of vines in the Black Family Vineyard in Oregon as part of the purchase of The Four Graces brand.

    HEALDSBURG — Bill Foley has expanded his international portfolio of wine and hospitality ventures with his first acquisition in the fast-growing Oregon wine business.

    Mr. Foley’s Healdsburg-based Foley Family Wines (707-657-4837, foleyfamilywines.com) purchased The Four Graces brand of pinot noir, pinot gris and pinot blanc wines from the pinot noir–focused Dundee Hills subappellation of the Willamette Valley winegrowing region. Also acquired from Steve and Paula Black were the winery tasting room and 54 acres of vines in Black Family Estate Vineyard in Dundee Hills and 41 acres of vines in Doe Ridge Estate Vineyard in the hillside-dominated Yamill-Carlton subappellation of Willamette Valley.

    Terms of the deal weren’t disclosed.

    “I’ve had my eye on Oregon for a long time,” Mr. Foley said in a statement. “I’m a big fan of pinot noir, and the Dundee, Oregon, region produces some of the best. The Four Graces’ incredible estate-grown wines are an exciting addition to the Foley family of wines.”

    Mr. Foley is the latest North Coast vintner to be interested in Willamette Valley vineyards. Last year, Santa Rosa-based Jackson Family Wines acquired about 1,300 acres of land in Willamette Valley, including about 300 acres with vines and suitable for them. The global wine company also bought the former Solena Winery facility in Yamhill, Ore.

    Also last year, Bacchus Capital Management, whose portfolio includes Sbragia in Sonoma County’s Dry Creek Valley as well as Madrigal and Andretti in Napa Valley, acquired Panther Creek Cellars. Bacchus Capital purchased Wines By Joe in 2011.

    Other newcomers to Yamhill-Carlton are Washington-based Precept Wines and Maison Louis Jadot of the French Burgundy region.

    With the addition of The Four Graces, Foley Family Wines now has about a dozen and half wine estates in the United States and New Zealand, producing more than four dozen brands. Mr. Foley is chairman of the board of Fidelity National Financial and executive board chairman for Fidelity National Information Services, both publicly owned. He also has built restaurant and cattle-ranching businesses in Montana.

    In 1996 he got into the wine business with the acquisition of Central Coast wineries. In recent years, Mr. Foley has been blending hospitality options to the wine business mix, acquiring Hotel Les Mars in Healdsburg, Langtry Estate with its Lake County golf course and accommodations, a tourism media company and an Australian cottage resort.

    The Blacks started The Four Graces, named after their four daughters, in 2003 with the purchase of the Dundee Hills property. The Four Graces has been featured a number of times in the Wine & Spirits annual Restaurant Poll as one of America’s most popular restaurant wines.

    International Wine Associates of Healdsburg advised and represented The Four Graces in the sale.

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