Silver Oak acquires Sausal Vineyard & Winery

[caption id="attachment_59795" align="alignright" width="358" caption="Silver Oak Cellars' immediate plans for Sausal Vineyard & Winery involve sourcing from 75 acres of Alexander Valley cabernet sauvignon vines on the property. (credit: Sausal)"][/caption]

HEALDSBURG -- Silver Oak Cellars of Oakville has purchased Sausal Vineyard & Winery started nearly four decades ago in Sonoma County's Alexander Valley winegrape region north of Healdsburg.

Effective today, the sale involves the zinfandel-focused Sausal brand, Sausal Ranch with its 113-acre vineyard, 75 acres of which are planted, as well as the winery, tasting room and other buildings, according to David Duncan, president and chief executive officer of Silver Oak. Financial terms weren't disclosed.

Mr. Duncan said the opportunity to acquire one of the greatest vineyards in Alexander Valley was too good to pass up, even if plans for the production facility aren't clear at this point.

"It's all about the dirt," he said.

The third generation of the winemaking Demostene family sought a buyer for a change of pace, according to an Aug. 10 letter to vendors obtained by the Business Journal.

"After nearly 40 years of harvest, crushes and releases, we have decided it is time to relax and enjoy the fruits of our labor," the Demostene family wrote.

Family members could not be immediately reached for comment on the sale. The Demostene family started in Alexander Valley winemaking in the early 20th century, owning Soda Rock Winery at one point and acquiring Sausal Ranch in 1956. The third generation finished the winery in 1973.  Most of the property is planted with zinfandel vines, with certain blocks dating back five, nine and 13 decades.

The purchase of Sausal gives Silver Oak more key grape sourcing for its Alexander Valley cab wines, according to Mr. Duncan. The family purchased the 80-acre cab-focused Miraval Vineyard about a half-mile away from Sausal Ranch on Highway 128.

How the Sausal winery would complement Silver Oak's Geyserville winery isn't clear yet, Mr. Duncan said.

David and Tim Duncan also are managing partners of the brand Twomey Cellars. In 2006 the family acquired the Roshambo winery on Westside Road in Russian River Valley and has replanted the vineyard at Twomey West Winery to sauvignon blanc grapes.

International Wine Associates of Healdsburg represented the Demostene family in the Sausal sale negotiations.

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