A portion of California's Sonoma-Cutrer Winery, known for its single-mindeddevotion to Chardonnay, may be up for sale. The winery is looking for new investors as part of a deal to cash out some of its original investors.
"What I'm trying to do is get some of the investors some liquidity," saidwinery president Brice Jones, 58, who founded the vineyard and winery in 1973. "It's been a long haul for some of these guys, and some are now in their 70s and want to get out, so I told them I'd find a way."
Jones did not reveal what percentage of the winery was being offered forsale. But he did state that he intends to remain with the winery and "continue to grow it," and that Sonoma-Cutrer's board of directors would not accept any outside offer that did not include his remaining with the company.
Sonoma-Cutrer is one of California's best known Chardonnay producers, withnearly 1,000 acres in vines, primarily in Sonoma's Russian River Valley. The winery's annual production totals 80,000 cases. It bottles two vineyard-designated wines, Les Pierres and Cutrer Vineyard, producing 5,000 to 10,000 cases a year of each. Another 50,000 cases carry the Sonoma Coast appellation.
The value of Sonoma-Cutrer's vineyards is estimated at $40 million, and thecompany's net worth is said to be between $100 million and $150 million.
Brown-Forman Wine Group, which owns Fetzer Vineyards in Mendocino County,has expressed an interest in Sonoma-Cutrer, according to Jones. However, Brown-Forman would not comment on the matter. The Kentucky-based drinks giant is also reported to be one of the bidders for Sonoma-based Simi Winery, which is currently up for sale. Jones indicated that there are other suitors for Sonoma-Cutrer, but declined to name them.
For more on Sonoma-Cutrer and Russian River Chardonnays:
For more on Brown-Forman and its acquisitions:
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