Bonny Doon owner Randall Grahm has sold Washington state’s Pacific Rim Winemakers to Banfi Vintners' Mariani family of New York.
Banfi intends to continue with Pacific Rim’s executive team in place, running the Riesling-focused winery independent of its other holdings.
Distribution is expected to remain unchanged and, while there are no immediate plans to increase exports, Banfi’s communications director Lars Leicht said ‘any company with stable growth will diversify if able.’
Pacific Rim was started in the 1990s by Grahm and winemaker-general manager Nicolas Quillé, mainly to deal with his imports of Riesling from Washington, and from the Mosel, where he sourced grapes from Johannes Selbach until a few years ago.
It soon became a winery in its own right, with Quillé at the helm, so as to allow Grahm to focus upon his California operations.
It produces around 200,000 cases of high-quality Washington State Rieslings, Chenin Blanc and Gewurztraminer and other bottlings. Production is expected to rise dramatically as new vineyards come into production with the 2011 harvest.
According to Grahm, ‘negotiations went at a rapid pace over the past three months with no traumas to report.’
The sale provides Grahm capital to develop his 113ha San Juan Batista property in Monterey county which he describes as ‘unorthodox in that it will be made for dry-farming, and more a polyculture with plants other than grapevines growing.’
Written by David Furer