Local wine company adds to portfolio with acquisition of two Napa Valley properties
Distinguished Vineyards & Wine Partners of Larkspur said Wednesday it has taken control of St. Helena-based Markham Vineyards — one of the oldest wineries in the Napa Valley — and Textbook Wines of Napa in deals that bolster its portfolio of premium wine companies.
The Markham acquisition includes 350 vineyard acres in Oak Knoll, Yountville and Calistoga, plus its stone winery and tasting room that dates back to 1879 and all of its inventory.
Distinguished is part of a business unit within the Japanese-based Kirin Co., primarily known for its namesake beer but has other holdings in soft drinks, pharmaceuticals and food products. Kirin also owns a minority stake of Brooklyn Brewery.
The company acquired Markham in an internal transaction from another Kirin subsidiary, Mercian Corp., which is Japan’s oldest wine company. Markham adds to a growing portfolio of other Distinguished properties that include MacRostie Winery and Vineyards in Healdsburg, Argyle Winery in Oregon’s Willamette Valley and Wither Hills in New Zealand. The company now owns more than 1,000 vineyard acres that have been certified as sustainable.
As part of the transaction, David Flanary will continue in his role as president at Markham along with Kimberlee Nicholls as winemaker for the winery known for its luxury merlot.
Distinguished also said it bought Textbook Wines, a winery known for its premium cabernet sauvignon, from the Pey family’s Scenic Root Winegrowers. Last year, Textbook’s sales increased by 40 percent from 2017. Jonathan Pey and consulting winemaker Scott Peterson will continue to make the wines. Terms of the sale were not disclosed.
The company intends to focus “on moderate growth and valued growth and not volume” as it adds top Bordeaux-style labels to the brand, Steve Myers, Distinguished’s managing director, said in a statement. He was specially bullish on the merlot offering from Markham given that the varietal is experiencing a comeback since it was disparaged in the 2004 movie “Sideways.”