Sonoma Wine Co. expands in Napa
Published: Monday, March 2, 2009 at 12:27 p.m.
Last Modified: Tuesday, March 3, 2009 at 4:36 p.m.
Sonoma Wine Company, Sonoma County’s largest custom crush wine operation, is expanding into Napa County with the acquisition of the custom crush arm of Greenfield Wine Co. in American Canyon.
The purchase is its first outside Sonoma County. It places the Graton-based wine company closer to its Napa Valley clients and a major transportation hub.
The deal closed Sunday. Terms were not disclosed.
The four owners of Greenfield Wine Co. sold their custom crush division because they weren’t using the entire production facility and wanted to focus on their own wine brands.
“This is way too big for our needs,” said Bob Babbe, Greenfield’s national sales manager.
Greenfield Wine Co. makes about 200,000 cases of its own wine, mostly under its Cartlidge & Browne label, and produces an additional 750,000 cases of wine for others, Babbe said.
It is selling its production equipment and list of custom crush clients to Sonoma Wine Co. It will retain ownership of its brands and its warehouse, which it will lease back to Sonoma Wine Co.
Sonoma Wine Co. produces more than 3 million cases of wine annually, making it the fourth-largest winery in Sonoma County. Production will increase to about 4 million cases after the acquisition.
“Our American Canyon facility will be more convenient and economical for some of our existing customers and allows us to offer our services to a broader base of customers in the Napa Valley area,” said Dennis Carroll, president of Sonoma Wine Co.
Greenfield Wine Co. never maximized the use of the 115,000-square-foot winemaking facility it has owned since 2000, Babbe said. The owners also saw the custom crush operation as a distraction.
“We were spending too much of our energy on the custom crush services side when we should be focusing on our brand,” Babbe said.
Greenfield Wine Co. will lease back a small portion of the warehouse and Cartlidge & Browne wines will continue to be made there, Babbe said.
With additional investment, the winery facility is capable of producing more than 2 million cases per year, Carroll said.
“It’s kind of the sky’s the limit with what you could do there,” Carroll said.
Sonoma Wine Co., owned by Derek Benham, provides custom winemaking services to more than 30 clients, including Purple Wine Company, the maker of Mark West, Avalon, and Rock Rabbit brands. It is headquartered in Graton, and has six facilities in Sonoma County.
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