Former Fetzer president's group buys Parducci Wine Cellars

A group of Mendocino County investors headed by Paul Dolan, former president of Fetzer Vineyards, announced a deal Wednesday to acquire Parducci Wine Cellars, one of Wine Country's oldest wineries.

Dolan will become president of the Ukiah winery and partner Tim Thornhill, co-owner of 150-acre La Ribera Vineyard in southern Ukiah Valley, will be chief operating officer.

Parducci Wine Cellars is the second-largest winery in Mendocino County, with an annual production of about 150,000 cases. It employs 30 year-round workers.

Dolan and Thornhill refused Wednesday to disclose the purchase price for the historic winery, founded by Adolph Parducci in 1932, but according to Wine Market Report, a trade industry newsletter based in Calistoga, the winery sold for $6.75 million.

Dolan, who got his start in the wine business more than three decades ago with members of the Fetzer family, said Wednesday the acquisition was an "emotional decision for me, as much as a new business venture."

"I'm a Mendocino boy. I love the land, the grapes and the wine," said Dolan.

Under its new owners, Parducci will focus on producing wine from grapes grown in Mendocino County, Dolan said.

"I think we all know there is so much more that can be done to produce and market Mendocino wines," Dolan said.

Dolan formed a limited partnership to buy the winery with the Thornhill family, including brothers Tim and Tom Thornhill and their parents, Tom and Ann Thornhill. The investment group, Mendocino Wine Group, will acquire the Parducci production facility and brands from Chicago financier Carl Thoma.

The deal includes 35 acres of prized syrah and old-vine petite sirah grapes surrounding the winery. Dolan said the vineyards will be farmed and certified as organic.

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