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Sonoma County's Alderbrook Vineyards & Winery Sold


Dana Nigro
Posted: September 21, 1999

After months of rumors about an impending sale, Alderbrook Vineyards & Winery in Sonoma County has been purchased by seven partners affiliated with an agricultural products company called California Family Foods. The purchase price was not disclosed.

Alderbrook, best known for its Zinfandels, also makes Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Gewurztraminer, Merlot, Pinot Noir, Sauvignon Blanc and Viognier. The sale includes the 50,000-case winery and its 63 acres of Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Zinfandel and Merlot in the Dry Creek Valley appellation.

Owners George and Dorothy Gillemot, who bought the Healdsburg-based winery in 1991, had not put Alderbrook up for sale but had nonetheless received many offers for it. "The winery was always an investment for them," said Catherine Eyler, Alderbrook's public relations and marketing director. "I hate to use a cliche, but an offer came in that was too good to refuse."

The new owners -- brothers Bruce and David Myers, brothers Tom and Perry Charter, Court King, Clay Shannon and Alen Darr -- are involved with California Family Foods, a company in Colusa County that produces and processes a range of agricultural products, including rice. They also farm more than 25,000 acres, including 700 acres of wine grapes.

Alderbrook's current winemaker, Kristi Koford, will stay on at the winery. She will be part of the management team along with Eyler and Rob Weinstock, the national sales manager and head of vineyard operations. John McClelland, Alderbrook's former general manager and head of sales and marketing, has resigned.

The new owners, who wanted to diversify their agricultural businesses further, didn't reveal much about their plans for Alderbrook other than to indicate that they want to continue to improve the winery's quality and presence in the retail and restaurant markets. "Our rice-processing facility in Colusa is the Mercedes-Benz of our industry," said partner Bruce Myers. "It is state-of-the-art and second to none. We envision Alderbrook at that level -- second to none and world-class in quality."

For recent ratings of Alderbrook wines, check the Wine Search.

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