Jackson Family Wines has announced the purchase of Balo Vineyards winery, vineyard and tasting room on Highway 128 in the heart of Anderson Valley in Mendocino County. The purchase includes the 14-acre property, with 6.5 acres planted to organically grown Pinot Noir, a winery with a 7,000-case production capacity, and a tasting room, but not the brand or existing inventory. The purchase price was not disclosed, but the property had originally been listed at $4.6 million by realtor Mark Stevens.
Tim and Michele Mullins founded Balo in 2003. They sold grapes to local vintners and made wine from their estate under the Balo and Avenging Angel brands. The site of a former sheep pasture, the Balo brand takes its name from the Latin term for "bleat like a sheep." The cozy tasting room was a popular spot for visitors who liked to gather around the fireplace in the cabinlike tasting room, or play bocce ball on the court outside. The Mullins were not available for comment.
The Jackson family first invested in Anderson Valley in 1988 when they purchased the Edmeades Estate. The company owns or farms more than 300 acres in the valley today, including Edmeades, Skycrest, Sable and Maggy Hawk. Most of their Anderson Valley vineyards are planted to Pinot Noir, but they have recently expanded their Chardonnay holdings. Today, the entire company produces an estimated 6 million cases per year across 40 brands and five continents.
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"Jess Jackson and Barbara Banke fell in love with Anderson Valley in the late '80s, when only a handful of wineries were in existence in the region at the time," said Rick Tigner, CEO of Jackson Family Wines. "With the purchase of the winery and tasting room we have enhanced our presence in the valley, adding a resource for our small-lot winemaking and the opportunity to host wine lovers in the region."
The Balo vineyards and winery will be used for Jackson Family's core Anderson Valley wines, including bottlings from Copain and Maggy Hawk, as well as other wineries that work with Anderson Valley grapes like Hartford Court, Kendall-Jackson, La Crema and Siduri.
A major factor in the deal is the hospitality center, which will give the family a space for guest experiences and direct-to-consumer sales in the area. Jackson Family plans to upgrade the winery and tasting room over the next year.