Wilson adds Blackstone winery to growing portfolio

SONOMA VALLEY -- The Ken Wilson family wine portfolio now has an eighth facility with the sale of the Blackstone Winery facility to one of his companies, Stonecushion Inc.

The price of sale of Blackwood to Stonecushion Inc. wasn't disclosed, but public records show the sale price was $5.1 million. The sale closed Monday.

A spokeswoman for the seller, Constellation Brands, said the upstate New York--based company early last year moved Blackstone brands to other wineries, including the Blackstone Sonoma Reserve brand, which went to the Ravenswood winery near Sonoma. Constellation then put the Blackstone property on the market in March 2011 as part of an organizational goal to "improve operational effectiveness," said Angie Blackwell.

Ken and Diane Wilson have been building a group of North Coast wineries, called Wilson Artisan Wineries, adding Pezzi King in Dry Creek Valley in March. The portfolio now includes Wilson Winery, Mazzocco-Sonoma and Pezzi King in Dry Creek Valley, Matrix in Russian River Valley, deLorimier and Soda Rock in Alexander Valley, Jaxon Keys in Mendocino County and Blackstone in Sonoma Valley.

Before the Blackstone deal, total case production exceeded 50,000 cases a year, and the family owned 500 acres of mountain vineyards in Sonoma and Mendocino counties.

Robert Nicholson, whose Healdsburg-based International Wine Associates represented Constellation in the Blackstone negotiations, said the property has permitted capacity of a couple hundred thousand gallons a year and a tasting room on the Highway 12 tourist thoroughfare.

His company is working with a handful of larger North Coast wine-related acquisitions. 

"The wine market is strong, money is still reasonably priced and there's good cash flow, allowing people to move ahead with expansion plans," he said.

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