The Business Journal's 2013 Wine Industry Conference in April will feature the general manager of Fetzer Vineyards and the architect of its acquisition by a large Chilean wine company as well as insights on North Coast wine-related mergers and acquisitions from two of the largest players in the market recently.

The keynote presentation by Giancarlo Bianchetti, general manager of Fetzer Vineyards, will be part of the Thursday morning conference on April 18 in Santa Rosa. The focus of the conference is wine industry mergers and acquisitions as well as strategies and experiences with wine pricing in an environment of rising grape prices and tepid consumer spending patterns.

Mr. Bianchetti directed the 2011 acquisition of Fetzer by Chile-based Viña Concha y Toro from Brown-Forman Corp. for $238 million. The purchase gave the company a brand with more than 3.1 million cases in sales and vineyard holdings in Mendocino County and Paso Robles that it could leverage into its global portfolio.

Sales the previous year for the Fetzer portfolio -- also including the Bonterra, Five Rivers, Jekel, Sanctuary and Little Black Dress wine brands -- were $156 million, and production totaled 3.1 million.

Also part of the deal were 1,060 acres of owned and leased vineyards in Mendocino County, warehouses and production capacity for 9.5 million gallons, a bottling plant at the main facility in Hopland as well as 1.6 million gallons of capacity in Paso Robles.

Lined up so far for the panel discussion on mergers and acquisitions are Rick Tigner, president of Jackson Family Wines, and Bill Foley, president and chief executive officer of Foley Family Wines. They have been among the most active purchasers of North Coast vineyards in the past year.

Also part of the conference will be a wine-pricing panel.

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