Napa-based Huneeus Vintners is poised this week to buy the VML Winery facility in Healdsburg as a result of a judge’s signature on June 19.
Huneeus is scheduled to close on the deal on Wednesday after Sonoma Superior Court Judge Gary Nadler signed off on the sale.
The winery was put into receivership in May after First Republic Bank sued Hambrecht Wine Group, owned by investor Bill Hambrecht, for failing to pay the required payments on a $7.8 million loan for the property, according to court records.
The sale will close a chapter in Sonoma County winemaking circles. Hambrecht in 2011 teamed up with vintner Phil Hurst and winemaker Paul Dolan to form Truett-Hurst Inc., which became a publicly traded company designed to manufacture private and custom labels to large retailers.
But Hambrecht had a falling out with the company and he left the board in 2013, around the same time he was fending off other lawsuits for not paying various employees in other wine ventures.
Last year, the parent company of Truett-Hurst, H.D.D. LLC, filed suit against the Hambrecht Wine Group as it sought to renew the lease on the Westside Road winery and tasting room, where it houses its VML Winery.
Hambrecht later filed a counterclaim against H.D.D.
As a result of the pending sale, that suit has been dismissed, according to court records.
Huneeus Vintners has made an arrangement to allow Truett-Hurst to remain in place in the short term, said Huneeus spokesman Joel Fisher. That also applies to Alysian Wines, which is operated by Woody Hambrecht, Bill’s grandson, and is located on the Westside property as well.
Bill is a partner in that business with his grandson, Woody Hambrecht said.
Phil Hurst said that his company is working “really well together” with Huneeus Vintners and the sale should not cause any major disruption, especially because it also has a facility on Dry Creek Road that can produce 40,000 cases annually.
“We’re looking at a lot of options,” Hurst said.
The Westside Road facility is permitted to produce 150,000 cases annually and hold 11 events per year.
In April, Huneeus, operated by the father-and-son team of Agustin Huneeus and Agustin Francisco Huneeus, sold its Prisoner Wine Co. to Constellation Brands Inc. for $285 million.