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Gallo continues Napa spending spree

Wine giant E&J Gallo Winery has continued its recent spending spree with the acquisition of Napa Valley-based Orin Swift Cellars.

The deal includes the Orin Swift Cellars brand, inventory and the company’s tasting room in St Helena, which will continue to operate following the closure of the acquisition.

Orin Swift Cellars, founded by winemaker Dave Phinney in 1998, has no winery of its own, and covers a number of different bottlings, including Mercury Head, Papillon and Palermo.

Phinney was also responsible for creating The Prisoner high-end red blend, part of a range of brands he sold to Huneeus Vintners, and which were sold on to Constellation Brands in April this year for a total of $285m.

Phinney, who has purchased grapes from Gallo for years, said of the Orin Swift deal: ‘I’ve known and done business with the Gallo family for over a decade and it makes me very proud that a company that I have such a deep respect for will become the steward of the brand that bears my family’s name.’

‘I’m looking forward to a long and productive relationship where together we can propel Orin Swift Cellars to even greater heights.’

Roger Nabedian, general manager of Gallo’s premium wine division, said the acquisition was in line with the company’s growth strategy in luxury wine, adding that Phinney ‘has a long history of creating memorable and bold brands’.

‘His winemaking expertise yields consistent high scores by top publications and we are thrilled that he will continue to provide creative and winemaking direction for these brands in the future.’

The purchase follows Gallo’s acquisition of estate wine specialist Talbott Vineyards last August – one of a series of high-end wine business acquisitions by the company in recent years.

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