Wine Country Group acquires Pacific Union offices

  • Coralee Barkela and Suzanne Drace (right) are now with Wine Country by Better Homes and Gardens after they acquired Pacific Union. Barkela will be an agent and Drace will manage the three local offices for Wine Country. August 29, 2011.

The fast-growing Wine Country Group by Better Homes and Gardens has become one of Sonoma County's largest real estate firms with its recent acquisition of three local Pacific Union offices.

The six-month-old Wine Country Group has absorbed the Santa Rosa and Petaluma Pacific Union offices that had been owned since 2006 by Coralee Barkela and Suzanne Drace.

The change took effect last week. Drace now works as a manager of the three former Pacific Union offices, which have 37 agents, and Barkela is staying on as an agent.

Financial terms were not disclosed.

Dougan Jones, Wine Country Group's managing partner, said the firm now has 219 agents in 11 offices in Sonoma and Napa counties.

Pacific Union has been "historically one of the great companies in Santa Rosa," Jones said. The acquisition shows that Wine Country Group is "attracting the best and brightest agents in our market."

The company was formed in February when it took over the Wine Country offices formerly affiliated with Frank Howard Allen. In June, it gained 30 additional agents who previously had worked for Frank Howard Allen Sebastopol.

Wine Country Group is a part of Pleasanton-based Better Homes and Gardens Mason-McDuffie Real Estate, which has more than 2,000 sales professionals in 40 offices in Northern California and Nevada.

The company could be the largest in Sonoma County in terms of real estate agents working for the same firm, Jones said. He noted there may be national franchises composed of different companies that combined would have more agents.

The real estate industry is suffering through a slump of historic proportions. The value of homes sold last year was $1.92 billion, less than half the amount of 2005 sales.

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