Vintage Wine Estates of Santa Rosa has purchased Cameron Hughes Wine Inc. for $15.5 million as part of a court settlement, bringing one of the most innovative wine labels in recent years into its portfolio.

A San Francisco Superior Court judge has signed off on the settlement to allow Union Bank to recover money from loans that Cameron Hughes Wine had defaulted upon. Vintage Wine Estates President and CEO Pat Roney said the deal is expected to close within weeks.

The acquisition gives Vintage, the 17th largest wine company in the United States, a brand that is complementary to many of its other labels, such as its top-selling Middle Sister and local favorite B.R. Cohn, Roney said.

Like Vintage, Cameron Hughes has a strong direct-to-consumer business, with 150,000 wine buyers across the country, he said.

“We think the direct-to-consumer business could easily double to triple,” Roney said. “It creates an opportunity to expose their buyers to our wines and vice versa.”

The company has carved out a marketplace niche with its Lot Series from specific regions, especially for its cabernet sauvignon that can retail for as much as $75 online.

Cameron Hughes made its mark early in the century when it became a négociant and bought up premium wine on the bulk market at discount because of overproduction. It then secured a good relationship for distribution with Costco, the nation’s largest wine seller.

Vintage also does work with Costco through its Kirkland private label, Roney said.

The deal also includes Sales Pro, a business that provides in-store marketing to the beverage industry.

Roney said he is discussing the role that Hughes may play in the San Francisco company, which employs 21 people, going forward.

Vintage is exploring additional acquisition targets for purchase, Roney said, focusing on wineries around the 20,000 case level and with particular interest in the fast-growing areas of Oregon and Washington.

You can reach Staff Writer Bill Swindell at 707-521-5223 or bill.swindell@pressdemocrat.com. On Twitter @BillSwindell.