Kosher wine giant buys Sonoma County winery to expand luxury portfolio

One of the world’s largest producers of kosher wine and spirits has made a move further upscale with the acquisition of a Sonoma County winery.

Royal Wine Co., a 75-year-old family company known in the U.S. for the Kedem and Herzog Wine Cellars brands, has acquired the Sonoma-Loeb winery in Alexander Valley. The purchase price wasn’t disclosed.

“The acquisition positions Royal Wine to expand into new markets while adding an established label to their already extensive lineup of wines,” the Southern California-based company announced Sept. 6.

The five Sonoma-Loeb labels, ranging in price from Sonoma County chardonnay ($30 a bottle) to vineyard-designate Dutton Ranch Russian River Valley pinot noir ($45). They’re sold directly from the winery through retailer Total Wine & More’s website.

By comparison, Oxnard-based Herzog Wine Cellars has a Special Reserve line of wines that retail for $42-$60 and include grapes from Russian River Valley and Sonoma County. That winery also has its own restaurant, Tierra Sur.

Royal is producing a certified kosher version of Sonoma-Loeb pinot noir, chardonnay and cabernet sauvignon wines called Dignitary. It’s named after John Loeb Jr., a former U.S. ambassador to Denmark who started the winery in 1981 with the help of Napa Valley vintners Don and Molley Chappellet and their winemaker, Philip Titus, who has been Sonoma-Loeb’s consulting winemaker.

Loeb is descended from the families behind Wall Street financiers Lehman Brothers and Loeb Rhoades & Co. (now owned by one of Green Music Center benefactor Sanford I. Weill's subsidiaries). He started buying Sonoma County vineyard land in 1973.

Jeff Quackenbush covers wine, construction and real estate. Reach him at or 707-521-4256.

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