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Jess Jackson Buys Sonoma's Matanzas Creek

Daniel Sogg
Posted: March 13, 2000

Matanzas Creek Winery, one of Sonoma Valley's outstanding producers of Chardonnay and Merlot, is announcing later today that it has been purchased by Jess Jackson, owner of California's Kendall-Jackson Wine Estates and the Artisans & Estates collection of wineries. Sources indicate that the deal, which includes the winery, inventory and 80 acres of vineyards, will be valued at about $45 million.

"This is a jewel in the Artisans & Estates crown," said Jackson of the transaction, which is expected to close within a few weeks. The Artisan & Estates portfolio of small-production wineries in California includes Cambria, Cardinale, Carmel Road, Hartford Court, Kristone, Lokoya, Stonestreet and a new, unnamed Napa brand to be announced later this year.

Rumors have been circulating over the last few years that the owners of Matanzas, Sandra and Bill MacIver, were seeking a potential buyer. The MacIvers no longer direct daily operations at the winery, having moved recently to a new home in Mendocino. The wines are made by Susan Reed and Bill Parker, who also oversees the estate operations.

Matanzas Creek produces about 35,000 cases a year of Chardonnay, Merlot, Sauvignon Blanc and Syrah, and also sells lavender products made from its extensive gardens. The winery is located in Sonoma's Bennett Valley, across the road from vineyards owned by the Jackson family.

"We knew they [Jackson and his wife, Barbara Banke] would take what we and our team accomplished over the past two decades and provide the resources to make it better," said Sandra MacIver, who will remain involved in Matanzas Creek on a consulting basis.

Production shortfalls in 1998 and 1999 have hampered Matanzas Creek's ability to adequately meet demand. Jackson owns as many as 300 acres of vineyard land in Bennett Valley, of which 90 acres are currently planted to Merlot that may be used to augment the Matanzas wines.

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Check out recent ratings of Matanzas Creek and Kendall-Jackson wines.

Learn more about Matanzas Creek:

  • May 15, 1996
    Journey to Excellence: Sandra and Bill MacIver of Sonoma's Matanzas Creek Winery

    Read past articles on Jess Jackson:

  • Nov. 16, 1999
    Kendall-Jackson Hires Hewlett-Packard Chairman as CEO

  • July 31, 1995
    California's Mystery Vintner: Jess Jackson heads a premium vineyard empire

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