Boisset takes Buena Vista Carneros back to Ramal Vineyard EstateGEYSERVILLE -- Ascentia Wine Estates, which formed in June 2008 with the acquisition of eight Sonoma County and Pacific Northwest wine brands, today announced it sold two Sonoma County brands, with Gary Farrell Winery in Russian River Valley going to The Vincraft Group of Sonoma and the recently relocated Buena Vista Carneros brand going to St. Helena-based Boisset Family Estates.
Ascentia will focus more on premium wines, said Chief Executive Officer Mike Kenton in a brief statement Thursday afternoon.
"Selling these brands will allow Ascentia Wine Estates to reinvest and refocus on the core brands in our portfolio led by Geyser Peak Winery in California, Columbia Winery and Covey Run in Washington state and Ste. Chappelle in Idaho," he said.
Ascentia has been undergoing significant restructuring in recent months. In January, Mr. Kenton replaced Jim DeBonis, who had lined up GESD Capital Partners and W.J. Deutsch & Sons to acquire the brands from Constellation Wines U.S. in June 2008. Last month, the company said it was relocating the Buena Vista brand from its vineyards and winery in the Los Carneros winegrowing region of southern Sonoma County to the Geyser Peak winery in Geyserville.
The Vincraft Group, a Sonoma-based wine company focused on building a portfolio of high-end wines, has made its second acquisition with Russian River Valley pinot noir producer Gary Farrell Winery.
Bill Price, Walt Klenz and Pete Scott started Vincraft in 2008 and a year later acquired acclaimed pinot noir maker Kosta Browne Winery in Sebastopol.
Vincraft Chief Executive Officer Pete Scott, speaking earlier today on a panel about wine mergers and acquisitions at the Business Journal's annual Wine Industry Conference, said Vincraft takes a "string of pearls" approach to building a portfolio of high-end brands.
"The Vincraft Group is committed to providing our brands with the resources and support they need to ensure future success," Mr. Scott said in a statement this afternoon. "We welcome the opportunity to include this great brand in our portfolio. Gary Farrell Winery is a top-notch producer with the consummate Russian River heritage. We can’t wait to reconnect with customers and the industry to elevate awareness of all that Gary Farrell Winery has to offer."
The firm expects each winery to operate independently, "preserving the qualities and characteristics that differentiate luxury brands," Mr. Scott said.
Gary Farrell Winery is located on Westside Road in Russian River Valley. It makes pinot noir and chardonnay wines from Sonoma County finest vineyards. Staying in place are winemaker Susan Reed and Gary Archer, operations manager.
Gary Farrell started the winery in 1982, and the winery was later sold to Constellation Brands and then was part of eight brands Constellation sold to Ascentia when it was formed in 2008.
In conjunction with the Buena Vista Carneros acquisition, Boisset Family Estates secured a long-term lease with an affiliate of VinREIT for the nearly 500-acre Ramal Vineyard Estate property from which Ascentia was in the process of moving the brand.