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Australian Wine Company to Buy Premium Oregon Winery

Jacob Gaffney
Posted: July 18, 2000

Petaluma, an Australian wine company, announced plans to buy Oregon's Argyle winery -- a top Willamette Valley producer of sparkling wine, Chardonnay and Pinot Noir -- for $10.5 million in cash and stock. The final decision now lies in the hands of Petaluma shareholders, who will vote on the purchase in mid-August.

Petaluma is purchasing the 35,000-case winery from the Dundee Wine Co., a partnership that includes Petaluma executive chairman Brian Croser and Oregon grapegrowing pioneer Cal Knudsen, who founded Argyle in 1985.

Under the direction of president and winemaker Rollin Soles, Argyle has consistently produced top-rated wines; its 1998 and 1997 Willamette Valley Chardonnays scored higher than any other Oregon Chardonnay in those vintages. Despite the change in ownership, Soles will continue as winemaker for Argyle and will run the operation with very little change, according to a spokeswoman for the winery.

"One of Petaluma's cornerstone strategies is to develop a strong and growing presence in the U.S. wine market," said Croser. "It is appropriate that the quality achievements and commercial success of Argyle in the U.S. market be linked to Petaluma at this moment, as it will increase the profile of Petaluma among U.S. wine critics, trade and consumers."

Petaluma -- which holds several Australian wineries and brands, including Mitchelton -- recently teamed up with Stimson Lane Vineyards and Estates, the Washington wine group that owns Chateau Ste. Michelle and Columbia Crest, to launch the Bridgewater Mill brand of Australian wine in the United States. Petaluma is in discussions with Stimson Lane about its potential involvement as a shareholder in Argyle.

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Check out ratings of Argyle, Petaluma and Mitchelton wines.

Read more about the Petaluma and Stimson Lane partnership:

  • Dec. 23, 1999
    Stimson Lane Expands Global Reach With Australian Venture

    Learn more about Argyle:

  • Feb. 23, 2000
    Oregon's Argyle Winery Declassifies Its 1997 Pinot Noir Reserve

  • May 15, 1999

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