Wine: Winery Exchange acquires health-conscious brands

Novato-based Winery Exchange (415-382-6900, continues to expand beyond its roots as a worldwide creator of wine, beer and spirits brands with the acquisition of a portfolio of certified-organic and sulfite-undetectable wine brands, led by Our Daily Red and Orleans Hill, from Nevada County Wine Guild near Grass Valley.

Financial terms of the deal weren't disclosed.

"We do feel like the wine industry has been slow to adopt these kinds of wines, but there is solid growth on the horizon," said Stephanie Grubb, Winery Exchange marketing director. Due diligence found that the rigorous grape sourcing and winemaking methods required for certification and quality control also appeal to health-conscious consumers, she said. Federal regulators allow wines to be called "sulfite-free" when certified labs verify they contain less than the 10 parts-per-million detection threshold for the preservative.

[caption id="attachment_67533" align="alignleft" width="385"] Nevada County Wine Guild founders Donn Berdahl and Tony Norskog will continue to make Our Daily Red and Orleans Hill for Winery Exchange.[/caption]

Brand founders Tony Norskog and Donn Berdahl will continue to make the brands at the winery and be involved in distribution, managing trade accounts and communicating with consumers -- including personally responding to email.

Production of the Our Daily Red blend is about 90,000 standard 9-liter cases a year, and it retails for $8--$9 a bottle. Orleans Hill varietals production totals 25,000 cases, and it retails for about $10. Winery Exchange plans to expand production, but it will be a calculated endeavor to maintain the consumer bonds with the two-person operation, according to Ms. Grubb.

Winery Exchange's National Brands Division will market the new wines and manage existing national distribution. The company's TradePulse inventory-depletion intelligence service also will help manage the shorter shelf-life for sulfite-undetectable wines, Ms. Grubb noted.

Production for wines in the division totals more than 200,000 cases a year and features four main brands. Winery Exchange acquired Echelon in early 2011. An Italian import, Ogio, was added to the division mix recently.

Zepponi & Company of Santa Rosa represented Nevada County Wine Guild in the sale.***

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