Founded in 1981, Alderbrook currently makes about 32,000 cases a year from its 63 acres of estate vineyards, as well as from purchased grapes. The winery works with 11 varieties, but under Terlato's direction, it will now focus on Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Zinfandel.
"A presence in Sonoma was something that interested us. And we interested them," said William Terlato, president of Terlato Wine Group. With the Alderbrook acquisition, Terlato now has 12 independently operated wine-industry ventures, including Paterno Imports, distributor Pacific Wine & Spirits and 50 percent ownership of Chimney Rock Winery in Napa's Stags Leap District.
Alderbrook's previous majority owners, the Central Valley agricultural company California Family Foods, bought the winery in 1999 and will retain 40 percent ownership. Despite familiarity with the production and distribution of rice, wheat and cotton, the five-man partnership recognized that they needed more wine-industry expertise.
"They're smart guys, and they said, 'We know a whole lot about what we're doing, and we need to find someone who knows a whole lot about what they're doing [in the wine industry],'" said Paul Crutchfield, a business adviser to California Family Foods.
Terlato plans to invest at least $5 million building a new barrel room, upgrading winemaking equipment and purchasing grapes from new sources.
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