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Coppola buys Geyser Peak Winery facilities, vineyards

  • Geyser Peak Winery in Geyserville, Calif., on March 18, 2013. (Alvin Jornada / The Press Democrat)

Francis Ford Coppola Winery bought the Geyser Peak Winery facility and 32 acres of vineyards on the Geyserville property on Monday.

The deal enables Coppola to expand its winemaking capabilities after a bumper crop that left many wineries scrambling for additional space in wineries, barrels and tanks.

"In a nutshell, we've outgrown our space where we are," said Corey Beck, general manager and director of winemaking at Coppola. "This was an opportunity for us not only to get a historic property, but also to increase our production."

Although Coppola will own the tasting room and buildings, the Geyser Peak wine label and brand were not part of the deal. Accolade Wines, the Australian company that bought Geyser Peak Winery and sister brands Atlas Peak and XYZin in June, will continue to lease the tasting room and make wine on the property.

"We're proceeding the same way," said Tim Matz, managing director of Accolade Wines North America. "Whenever things like this happen, there could be some change, but at this point everything's the same. We obviously still own the trademark and the brand and we continue to build that across the world."

Financial terms were not disclosed. The property was valued at $35.3 million at the end of 2012, public documents show.

The deal marks the latest unloading of assets by EPR Properties, which owned the Geyser Peak facility and most of the buildings and vineyards of the former Ascentia Wine Estates. EPR used to be called Entertainment Properties, but the Kansas City, Mo.-based company changed its name to reflect its broadened investment focus.

During 2011 and 2012, EPR sold four of its vineyard and winery investments for a total of $66.5 million, according to its latest annual report. It recently sold Carneros Custom Crush to Carneros Vintners, which was leasing the property. In the past year it sold Ramal East Vineyard to Foley Family Wines and Ramal West to Jackson Family Wines.

EPR has openly stated its interest in selling its remaining wineries and vineyards, which were worth $55.3 million at the end of 2012, according to its annual report. It still owns Rack & Riddle Custom Crush Facility in Hopland and several other wine-related properties.

Coppola sold about 1.25 million cases of wine in 2012 according to Wine Business Monthly. The company crushed grapes at Geyser Peak last year, Beck said.


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