Three wine-related bills await signature from Newsom

One measure would expand the opportunity to open more off-site tasting rooms.|

The California Legislature has passed three bills this session that would benefit the state’s wine industry and are poised to be signed by Gov. Gavin Newsom.

The measures are supported by the Wine Institute, the state’s main trade group for the industry.

The bills include SB 19, sponsored by state Sen. Steve Glazer, D-Orinda, which would allow wineries to open an additional off-site tasting room. State law limits wineries to one off-site tasting room besides one at their production facility.

Another measure, AB 1267, would allow wineries and breweries to advertise and promote donations made to nonprofit groups from proceeds of the sale of an alcohol beverage. Assemblyman Jordan Cunningham, R-San Luis Obispo, sponsored that legislation.

The final piece would allow winery customers to bring their bottles to be refilled at a participating winery’s off-site tasting room. State law now only allows such refilling at a winery’s production facility. Assemblymember Carlos Villapudua, D-Stockton, sponsored the bill.

Jesse Katz stands in the Farrow Ranch vineyard in Alexander Valley on Oct. 16, 2014. (courtesy of Aperture Cellars)
Jesse Katz stands in the Farrow Ranch vineyard in Alexander Valley on Oct. 16, 2014. (courtesy of Aperture Cellars)

Aperture Cellars buys Farrow Ranch

Aperture Cellars has bought the Farrow Ranch vineyards in Alexander Valley as the Healdsburg winery grows its portfolio. The deal closed Sept. 2, and the purchase price was undisclosed.

Carol Farrow had owned the property for more than three decades as the Bordeaux-varietal fruit from the 75-acre vineyard has become more prized by vintners, including Aperture’s Jesse Katz.

The acquisition will now bring Aperture’s land holdings to 120 acres. The winery will keep the services of Munselle Vineyard Management, which has been farming the hillside for the past seven years. It intends to make a single-vineyard cabernet sauvignon for its label from the site.

“The first 100-point vineyard in Alexander Valley history, Farrow Ranch is considered a classic source of some of California’s finest fruit — simply put, the grapes grown here are some of the best in the world. I’ve been working with Farrow Ranch fruit since 2010 with my critically acclaimed Devil Proof Malbecs, and I’m excited to officially bring this unique site into Aperture’s estate holdings,” Katz said in a statement.

Banshee Wines debuts a sparkling wine

Banshee Wines of Healdsburg, which cultivated a loyal following with its pinot noir, has now ventured into offering a sparkling wine.

The winery will have a limited release this fall of its Ten of Cups sparkling wine made with a blend of chardonnay, pinot noir and pinot meunier. National expansion will start in 2022, and bottles will be priced at $28.

Founded in 2009, Banshee developed a loyal following of younger consumers with its pinot noir wines at affordable prices. Foley Family Wines of Santa Rosa bought the brand in 2018 and has helped with its expansion. Alicia Sylvester joined Banshee as its winemaker earlier this year.

“We set our intentions to blend a sparkling wine that is true to Sonoma County through Banshee’s strong relationships with high-quality vineyards in the region,” Sylvester said in a statement. “Ten of Cups is an exciting new addition to the Banshee portfolio; bright, vibrant, and deliciously drinkable.”

Compiled by Bill Swindell. Submit items to

Bill Swindell

Business, Beer and Wine, The Press Democrat  

In the North Coast, we are surrounded by hundreds of wineries along with some of the best breweries, cidermakers and distillers. These industries produce an abundance of drinks as well as good stories – and those are what I’m interested in writing. I also keep my eye on our growing cannabis industry and other agricultural crops, which have provided the backbone for our food-and-wine culture for generations.

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