Two new companies win Crushpad assets for $654,866

The assets of custom-crush Sonoma winery Crushpad have been sold, but hundreds of clients still are seeking details about the fate of more than 900 barrels of wine stored at a Sebastiani warehouse.

The assets were sold for $654,866 to Structural Solutions Inc. and Aspect 2 LLC, new companies created by Tiburon-based CastleGate Partners.

The winning, and sole, bid was placed by Aaron Hayos, principal of CastleGate. The sale figure is equal to the amount of Crushpad's debt that CastleGate Partners had acquired when it assumed the company's debt to Silicon Valley Bank.

A half-dozen attorneys representing clients of Crushpad and grape growers who haven't been paid attended the public auction at a San Francisco law firm Tuesday morning, asking which barrels of wine are subject to liens and who owns the title to which assets.

Many clients have been asking how they could obtain their finished products after details about Crushpad's financial problems leaked out.

"No one seems to be really clear on who has title to what, and my question is, how did we go through a sale without knowing that?" one client representative asked.

Bidders interested in acquiring the assets, including Robert Mondavi Jr., had difficulty getting any information about the sale.

There were liens on substantially all Crushpad's assets, said Bennett Young, attorney from Jeffer Mangels Butler & Mitchell, the San Francisco law firm that conducted the sale. The nearly $655,000 represented only part of Crushpad's debt, but the company also owed vendors, grape growers, utilities and others, Young said after the meeting. He did not know the dollar amount of total outstanding debt.

After the sale, the buyers met privately with Crushpad clients and grape growers but did not answer calls or questions from the media.

"Our number one priority at this moment is communicating to our customers and to the members of Aspect," Hayos said in an email.

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