Golden Equity Investments, a Colorado-based investment firm owned by members of the Coors brewing family, is hoping to strike gold with wine. The company, which has no association with the brewery, is purchasing Goosecross Cellars, a boutique winery located in the heart of Napa Valley’s wine country. The sale includes the Yountville winery, tasting room and Tudor-style home, and 9 acres of vineyards planted to Bordeaux varieties. The sales price was not disclosed.
The Gorsuch family bought the property in the 1970s and planted grapes. In 1985, Geoff Gorsuch, his wife, Karen, and partners David and Colleen Topper established Goosecross Cellars. Today it makes wines from a variety of grapes, including Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, with the majority of the fruit coming from Napa Valley. Goosecross sells most of its wines through direct-to-consumer sales and its wine club.
Gorsuch and his partners decided to sell because the winery needed financing to grow. “They realized they needed someone else to take the business to the next level,” said Matt Franklin, partner at Zepponi & Company, the wine industry merger and acquisition advisory firm that coordinated the sale.
Golden Equity Investments (GEI) was looking for a small-scale winery with the potential for growth to diversify its portfolio. “We picked this winery because it’s small, because of its location and because of the potential I see in this business, versus wanting to become a big conglomerate in the wine industry,” said Christi Coors Ficeli, manager at GEI. Coors Ficeli, who has 13 years of experience in the beer industry, was interested in Goosecross because of its hands-on business model. Following the sale she is moving her family to Napa to take over the day-to-day operations at the winery.
This is GEI's first foray into the wine industry. Formed in 2011 by members of the Coors family, the Golden, Colo., firm provides financing for midsize manufacturing companies. Besides wine, its other major investment is in the textile company Outlast Technologies.
Coors Ficeli and the rest of GEI's executives plan to update the tasting room in Yountville and are considering how best to grow the brand. Geoff Gorsuch, the winery’s current winemaker, will stay on to help manage vineyards and winery operations while GEI looks for a potential winemaker to take over production. Ficeli said the company doesn’t plan to make any major changes to the current lineup of wines, adding, “the people who enjoy Goosecross today are going to be able to enjoy the same great wines in the future.”