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Foley buys Lancaster winery in Alexander Valley

Foley Family Wines, the growing Healdsburg company that owns Sebastiani and Chalk Hill, has expanded its Wine Country empire again.

The company, led by Bill Foley, completed a deal Tuesday to buy Lancaster Estate, an Alexander Valley winery that produces about 12,000 cases per year.

Financial terms were not disclosed.

The purchase is the latest acquisition for Foley, who has amassed a portfolio of more than a dozen wine brands since he entered the wine business in 1996.

The deal includes the Roth brand, which produces about 35,000 cases per year. Foley also acquired 81 acres of land, which includes 48 acres of hillside vineyards, a 8,000-square-foot winery, 8,800 square feet of caves, and a 5,400-square-foot estate residence that is rented for weddings and events.

"It's one of the most prominent cabernet estates in Sonoma County," said Robert Nicholson, principal at International Wine Associates, the Healdsburg firm that represented Lancaster in the deal.

Ted Simkins, founder of Lancaster Estate, will stay on as a partner, Nicholson said. Simkins is also executive vice president of Young's Market, one of the nation's largest distributors of alcoholic beverages. Wines in the Foley portfolio were already distributed by Young's Market, Nicholson said.

Prices for Lancaster wines range from $30 for a bottle of sauvignon blanc to $115 for a bottle of proprietary red which is currently sold out, according to the winery's website. Roth wines range from $16 to $28 a bottle.

Last spring Foley Family Wines acquired Sawyer Cellars in Napa Valley. Over the summer, the company announced a deal to buy a controlling stake in the New Zealand Wine Co. and entered into a partnership with Langtry Estate and Vineyards, Lake County's largest winery.


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