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Jackson Family Wines Buys Sonoma's Copaín

Deal marks second purchase of a notable Pinot Noir producer in a month for the company
Winemaker Wells Guthrie has sold his wine brand Copaín but will remain on staff.

Tim Fish
Posted: May 16, 2016

Jackson Family Wines is continuing its recent Pinot Noir buying spree, acquiring the Sonoma winery Copaín, it announced today. The sale includes the brand and inventory but no winemaking facilities or vineyards. The purchase price was not disclosed.

The deal comes just a month after Jackson Family purchased Oregon's well-regarded Penner-Ash Wine Cellars. It bought another Sonoma Pinot Noir house, Siduri, in 2015. Known best for value brands Kendall-Jackson and La Crema, Jackson Family has focused increasingly on high-end wines selling for $30 and up in recent years.

Copaín, founded by winemaker Wells Guthrie and Kevin McQuown in 1999, built its reputation with Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Syrah, mostly from Mendocino's Anderson Valley. Its vineyard-designated wines proved popular with Pinot enthusiasts, while its value-priced Tous Ensemble wines are widely featured in restaurant by-the-glass programs around the West Coast.

"We think Wells is a tremendous talent," said David Bowman, executive vice president of Jackson's estate wineries. Guthrie will remain on board, continuing to make wine at the Copaín facility outside Healdsburg, where he produces about 30,000 cases annually. Jackson Family will lease the winery with an option to buy. Guthrie and his partners retain ownership of Copaín’s 48 acres in Anderson Valley but will continue to sell Jackson Family the grapes under the agreement.

Guthrie said he was ready for a change. “I have a four-month-old son now and it was really time to slow down a bit,” he told Wine Spectator. Other potential buyers were considered, but Guthrie said Jackson Family was the best fit, particularly in its commitment to maintaining the winery’s continuity.

In return, Copaín will benefit from Jackson Family’s marketing prowess, deep pockets and extensive vineyard holdings in California and Oregon. “It’s exciting for me as a winemaker the resources they have,” Guthrie said.

Before starting Copaín with the help of investors, Guthrie worked winemaking stints with M. Chapoutier in France's Rhône Valley, as well as Turley Wine Cellars and Marcassin in California. The deal is expected to close later this month.

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