Beringer Blass Wine Estates has signed an agreement to purchase the Carmenet brand name and current Carmenet inventory from Napa, Calif.—based Chalone Wine Group. No vineyards, winery facilities or employees are included in the deal, which takes effect on Sept. 27.
According to SEC regulations, the transaction price will be released two weeks after the deal closes.
Carmenet becomes the ninth California brand owned by Beringer Blass, the Australia-based wine giant whose portfolio includes Beringer Vineyards, Chateau St. Jean, Meridian Vineyards and Wolf Blass.
"It's been part of our strategy to grow organically by expanding our own brands and through acquisitions," said Mora Cronin, vice president of public relations and corporate affairs at Beringer. "We think we can do a good job with Carmenet with our distribution network."
Carmenet currently produces about 17,000 cases a year, including Sauvignon Blanc, Zinfandel, Merlot and Cabernet, primarily from Sonoma County sites. Beringer expects to gradually expand that production, mostly using grapes from its assorted vineyards in California's North Coast, along with the sites under contract with Carmenet. The company plans to name a winemaker for the brand by the end of the year.
Last December, Chalone Wine Group split Carmenet Vineyard into three distinct labels: Carmenet, Moon Mountain Vineyard (which encompasses the original Carmenet winery and vineyards) and Dynamite Vineyards. That move might have confused some consumers, said CWG president and CEO Tom Selfridge, and the sale of Carmenet will facilitate efforts to develop Moon Mountain and Dynamite.
Selfridge also noted that the extra cash gives the company flexibility in a difficult economy. "Frankly, the sale gave me some additional resources so do some other things," he said. "In this tough market, opportunities come up. We just bought the winery in Napa [for the Provenance brand]."
Check recent ratings of Carmenet wines.
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