Banfi Owners Buy Pacific Rim Winemakers

Mariani family acquires Randall Grahm’s Washington Riesling specialist; plan to keep team in place
Jan 5, 2011

The Mariani family, owners of Banfi Vintners, an importer and distributor in Long Island, N.Y., and the Tuscan estate Castello Banfi, has bought Pacific Rim Winemakers, a Riesling specialist in Washington state. James Mariani and his cousin Cristina Mariani-May, co-CEOs of Banfi, purchased Pacific Rim from its founder, Randall Grahm, owner of Bonny Doon Vineyards in Santa Cruz, Calif., Banfi announced Tuesday. Grahm, who started Pacific Rim in 1992 as a California Riesling label, spun it off as a separate enterprise and moved it to Washington in 2007. Terms of the sale were not announced.

Pacific Rim produced 196,000 cases in 2010 and expects to make 271,000 cases this year. Almost all of its wines are Riesling at various sweetness levels, some from single vineyards. It also produces a small amount of Gewürztraminer and framboise liqueur.

The new owners intend to retain winemaker Nicolas Quillé and co-founder and marketing director Shawn Bevaresco, who make and sell wines from the dramatic Wallula Vineyard and other sites in the Columbia and Yakima valleys. Banfi has no plans to distribute the wines themselves or change the winery philosophy.

"One thing Cristina and I learned from our fathers was that from time to time you get a chance to partner with people who are specialists and extraordinarily dedicated, and they are at the right timing to deliver to consumer," said James Mariani. "Something like this is a rare investment for the family. The wines are extraordinary and the consumer is very happy. That's something the family is dedicated to."

"We love the family aspect," said Quillé, who was born in Lyon, France, and has degrees from the University of Dijon in Burgundy, the University of Reims in Champagne and the University of Washington. "We would hate it if this were a corporate takeover, but it's an acquisition by a winemaking family. "

"I think they recognized that we have had a lot of success at a time when a lot of wineries have been struggling," said Bevaresco. "And we have the freedom to keep doing the things we've been doing."

Winery Purchases and Sales United States Washington News

You Might Also Like

Bordeaux's Château du Tertre Sold

Bordeaux's Château du Tertre Sold

The Albada Jelgersma family will focus on Château Giscours and its Tuscan winery; the …

Jan 21, 2021
Wine Spectator Scholarship Foundation Donates $100,000 to Support Diversity in Wine Education

Wine Spectator Scholarship Foundation Donates $100,000 to Support Diversity in Wine Education

The contribution to the Glancy Wine Education Foundation will provide financial aid to …

Jan 21, 2021
Why Can't You Smell? Doctors and Scientists Are Working to Understand COVID-19's Impact on Our Senses

Why Can't You Smell? Doctors and Scientists Are Working to Understand COVID-19's Impact on Our Senses

One of the telltale symptoms of coronavirus infection is a nightmare for wine lovers: loss …

Jan 20, 2021
Wine After War in Bosnia and Herzegovina

Wine After War in Bosnia and Herzegovina

Josip Brkić began building his family's wine brand during the bloodshed of the Bosnian War; …

Jan 19, 2021
Instagram Live Chats: View Wine Spectator's Upcoming Schedule

Instagram Live Chats: View Wine Spectator's Upcoming Schedule

And catch up on past episodes on the magazine's IGTV channel

Jan 24, 2021
Williams Selyem Owners Sell Stake in Winery to Burgundy's Faiveley Family

Williams Selyem Owners Sell Stake in Winery to Burgundy's Faiveley Family

Faiveley family’s minority stake positions them to potentially take over one of Sonoma's …

Jan 15, 2021