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Jackson Family Wines buys another Oregon winery

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This story originally appeared in The Press Democrat on April 18.

Jackson Family Wines continued its push into Oregon, purchasing the Penner-Ash Wine Cellars, a well-regarded pinot noir producer in the Willamette Valley.

Under the terms of the deal announced April 18, Santa Rosa-based Jackson Family Wines will acquire “substantially all” of Penner-Ash’s business assets, including its winery and about 15 acres of sustainably farmed vineyards.

Lynn Penner-Ash will continue in her role as winemaker and also have control of overall winemaking decisions, including grape sourcing.

Lynn and her husband, Ron Penner-Ash, started the winery in 1998 with 125 cases of pinot noir. In 2015, it produced 16,000 cases of pinot noir, syrah, viognier and riesling. The sale price was not disclosed.

Lynn Penner-Ash said in an interview she felt comfortable with the sale as trust had been built up over the past few years between her winery and Jackson Family Wines.

For instance, Penner-Ash was able to continue to source grapes from the Zena Crown vineyard in the Eola-Amity Hills wine region that Jackson Family Wines bought a few years ago. In other cases, out-of-state vintners have bought Oregon property and then voided the contracts with local winemakers.

The sale will allow Penner-Ash to concentrate on winemaking and not the other more mundane aspects of running a winery, from issuing W-2 forms to learning the rules on shipping wine to other states. The deal also is another example of the growing reputation of the wine region, especially its pinot noirs.

“Oregon has been making world-class wines for years. It was hard to have people take us seriously,” she said.

In January, Jackson Family Wines paid $4.6 million for a large facility and land in McMinnville, Oregon, to be able to handle its increasing portfolio in the Beaver State. It is focusing on the luxury market for wines retailing around $20 to $40 a bottle.

“We are not interested in playing in the lower end of Willamette,” said David Bowman, executive vice president of estates for Jackson Family Wines.

The company now owns more than 450 acres of planted vineyards (out of a total of 1,300) in the state, which is attractive for its cheaper land prices and less stringent regulation than in the North Coast.

Besides the Zena Crown property, Jackson Family Wines also owns the Gran Moraine vineyards in the Yamhill-Carlton region. Both of those vineyards have been or are being turned into their own brands.

In addition, the company’s La Crema and Siduri brands both source grapes from its Oregon properties, Bowman said.

This story originally appeared in The Press Democrat on April 18.

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