Korbel sells two Sonoma Valley wine brands

F. Korbel & Bros. has sold two of its three Sonoma Valley-based wine brands, the latest sign the Guerneville sparkling wine giant is downsizing its still-wine business.

West Coast Wine Partners, which has roots in the North Coast and Canada, said Tuesday it has purchased Valley of the Moon Winery and Lake Sonoma Winery, a sister brand made at the Glen Ellen winery.

The deal included brands, inventory, wine production facilities and 40 acres of estate vineyards on a 60-acre property. Together, the two brands produce about 45,000 cases per year.

Financial terms were not disclosed.

Korbel owner Gary Heck was traveling Tuesday and unavailable for comment, spokeswoman Margie Healy said.

Heck bought Lake Sonoma Winery in 1995 as he branched out from sparkling wines to still wines. One year later he acquired a stake in Kenwood Vineyards and Valley of the Moon wineries, purchasing full ownership of the two properties in 1998.

But Heck decided to sell all three wineries this year and focus on Korbel, which shipped 1.35 million cases of sparkling wine last year and is one of the largest wine companies in Sonoma County.

A deal to sell Kenwood to New York-based Banfi Vintners fell apart in July. West Coast Wine Partners did not consider buying Kenwood, partner Tony Stewart said.

"That's much bigger than what we're looking at," Stewart said.

West Coast Wine Partners was founded in 2010 by Stewart, whose family owns Quail's Gate Winery in Canada, and Dan Zepponi, a former executive at Beringer Vineyards with a family history of winemaking in Napa and Sonoma counties.

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