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Napas Pine Ridge Winery for Sale


James Laube
Posted: June 29, 2000

If the price is right, Pine Ridge Winery in Napa Valleys Stags Leap District is for sale. On Thursday, winery cofounder Gary Andrus said that Pine Ridge, well regarded for its Cabernet Sauvignons and Merlots, would hire an investment banker to assist in the sale of both Pine Ridge and its sister winery in Oregon, Archery Summit. Andrus said that he expects the sale to be in the $150 million range.

"There have been lots of guys trying to buy us, and the offers have been pretty ridiculous," said Andrus, who founded Pine Ridge with his wife, Nancy, in 1978. "The offers have been so high that we got to the point of thinking about a possible deal."

Andrus, the winerys CEO and winemaker, said that several serious offers had come in recently, causing him to think that the time might be right to sell. He said that this would be a good opportunity for Leucadia International in New York, owner of the two wineries, to make "a lot of money on their investment."

"Well see if the price is right," said Andrus. "If the deals right, were hoping to sell by the end of the year." He said the deal would have to include both wineries: "We dont want to parcel them out."

Andrus said that serious offers to sell had recently come from both a French wine firm in Bordeaux and what he described as a private "dot-com" investor from Californias Silicon Valley. He declined to identify either prospective buyer, but said that interest in the winery extended to several major wine firms, including Beringer Wine Estates, Canandaigua, Chalone Wine Group and Robert Mondavi Corp.

Pine Ridge owns or leases 310 acres in Napa Valley, including vineyards in Carneros, Howell Mountain, Rutherford and Stags Leap. The winery currently produces about 85,000 cases of wine annually, including Cabernet, Merlot, Chardonnay and Chenin Blanc, priced from $15 to $125 a bottle. Annual production is slated to increase to 125,000 cases.

Archery Summit in Willamette Valley is a Pinot Noir specialist, with several different bottlings. It owns or leases 150 acres of vineyards and produces about 10,000 cases a year.

If the winery is sold, said Andrus, 55, he has several options. "I assume Ill be doing the same thing for someone else," he said, referring to his role as CEO and executive winemaker for Pine Ridge and Archery Summit. He and his wife own vineyard land in Napa Valley independent of Pine Ridge, so making wine from their grapes would also be an option. "Most likely Ill be here talking with a new partner."

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