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Duckhorn sale not ruled out

The Duckhorn Wine Company – one of California's most august wineries – may sell some or all of its brands or the entire company.

Duckhorn is not for sale, the company’s president Alex Ryan told decanter.com, but they are not ruling out the possibility of selling.

‘A sale may be one of the options we are looking at,’ Ryan said. ‘It may be appropriate to bring in some help at this stage. But there is no deal. There is no buyer.’

But, he added, ‘You can’t say Duckhorn isn’t for sale. Neither can you say it is for sale.’

Founded by Dan and Margaret Duckhorn in 1976, the company consists of three major brands: Duckhorn Vineyards, Paraduxx and Goldeneye wines.

A new brand, the Syrah and Grenache-based Canvasback (named after another aquatic fowl) will be released this spring, on the 2004 vintage.

Rumours of a sale were sparked by the company’s retaining Credit Suisse Securities to advise it during a review of its strategic options.

These options could be either ‘being acquired, a full sale or a partial sale’, Ryan said.

Duckhorn, he said, is a winery operating at the peak of its powers. ‘We’re at the top of our game. We have had a wonderful 30 year run and we are at an evolutionary stage.’

Whatever would be done would be in the best interests of the shareholders, he said. He declined to name any investors, and insisted there was ‘no groundswell from shareholders’ that prompted the review.

‘There was no groundswell, no single event that prompted the decision. There is no timetable.’

Ryan laughed off reports that the company’s investors ‘were getting on in years, and are looking to explore their options’, as industry website winesandvines.com put it.

‘Some of them may be a little older than me. Some of them may be in their 70s, but 70 is still young nowadays.’

Written by Adam Lechmere

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