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Banfi Vintners buys Kenwood Vineyards

New York-based wine business Banfi Vintners has made its first foray into California with the acquisition of Kenwood Vineyards from sparkling wine and brandy producer Korbel.

Banfi’s purchase of Sonoma-based Kenwood follows its acquisition of Pacific Rim in Washington State in 2010 and adds to its Italian wine businesses – Castello Banfi in Montalcino and Vigne Regali Cellars in Strevi, Piedmont.

Kenwood‘s owner Korbel, meanwhile, is to focus on its growing sparkling wine – known as ‘California champagne’ in the US – and brandy businesses.

‘After experiencing the worst recession in 70 years, the California wine business is emerging from this difficult period in good shape, and it seemed an opportune time to explore the sale of Kenwood Vineyards,’ said Korbel president and owner Gary Heck.

Kenwood, founded in 1970, was bought by Korbel in 1999 and produced more than 550,000 cases of wine in 2011.

The deal includes the Kenwood winery and trademarks, bottling facility and Merlot and Zinfandel vineyards at the winery, and is expected to close in June.

Banfi has also been a partner in Bolla Wines with Gruppo Italiano Vini (GIV) since 2009 and formed the Excelsior Wine Company joint venture with Chile’s Concha y Toro last year.

Banfi co-CEO James Mariani said buying a California estate was ‘the next logical step’ for the company.

Written by Richard Woodard

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