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F. Korbel and Bros. to Sell Kenwood Vineyards to Banfi Vintners
CNBC.com
Founded in 1970, Kenwood has been recognized consistently as a leader dedicated to producing premium wines that capture the best of Sonoma County vineyard character. Included in the sale are the Kenwood winery and trademarks, bottling facility and the ...
Exclusive: Banfi Vintners to Buy Sonoma's Kenwood VineyardsWine Spectator

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In an exclusive interview with Shanken News Daily , F. Korbel & Bros. president and owner Gary Heck and Banfi Vintners COO Marc Goodrich confirmed that Banfi has signed a letter of intent to acquire Sonoma County-based Kenwood Vineyards from Korbel.

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“We have an agreement in principle to purchase Kenwood, subject to getting through the due diligence,” said Goodrich, “with a closing scheduled for June.” Kenwood, founded in 1970, makes wines priced from $9 to $70, from 22 acres of estate vineyards, as well as from other fruit sourced from throughout Sonoma County. Among its best-known wines are its Artist Series Cabernet Sauvignon and its Sauvignon Blanc. The deal would include Kenwood’s estate, winery, vineyards and all other assets. Banfi plans to integrate the Kenwood sales team into the Banfi organization, placing the brand into the same portfolio as Riunite, Castello Banfi, Bolla and the other brands in Banfi’s stable. The purchase price was not disclosed.

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If completed, the acquisition will mark Banfi’s first foray into California, following its entry into the U.S. domestic wine business in December 2010, when Banfi’s owners, the Mariani family, purchased Pacific Rim Winemakers, a Washington state Riesling brand. “We’ve been looking at California for quite some time and have explored a number of opportunities,” Goodrich said. “Kenwood was an ideal fit. It’s at over 500,000 cases, which is significant—certainly for a brand from Sonoma. And it’s always had a great reputation.” F. Korbel & Bros retains a portfolio that includes Korbel sparkling wine and California brandy, as well as Valley of the Moon, Lake Sonoma and other smaller labels. Heck plans to focus his efforts on the Korbel brand. “After its worst recession in 70 years, the California wine industry has emerged in pretty good shape, so I thought this was a good time to explore the sale of Kenwood,” said Heck.

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NAPA, Calif., March 30, 2012 /PRNewswire via COMTEX/ --Senior Vice President National Sales, Mike Jackson, today announced the appointment of Chris Appel and Eric Zadina into the newly created positions of Vice President Sales West and Vice President Sales East.

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Appel and Zadina joined the DFV Wines national sales team in 2008 and immediately demonstrated dedication, commitment and ability to manage, motivate, and develop a dynamic sales team. Case sales and points of distribution grew at double digit rates under their leadership.

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"As a result of our tremendous growth over the past few years, it became clear that additional senior sales managers were needed to strategically manage our future growth as well as develop and train our sales personnel," said Mike Jackson. "Chris and Eric have consistently delivered impressive sales results and I am proud to see them both step up into their new VP roles." As Vice President National Sales West, Appel will oversee the Northwest, Southwest, and North Central Divisions. Appel joined DFV Wines as Regional Sales Manager for the North Central Division and was promoted to Division Sales Manager in 2010. Previously, Appel spent 21 years with Coca Cola Bottling as well as several years with Beam Wine Estates/Allied Domecq Wines.

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GARRETSON, S.D. South Dakota winemaker Dave Greenlee exudes pride as he pours a sample of a 2011 Marquette nearly ready for bottling. Wine connoisseurs who favor vintages from Bordeaux or Napa Valley might not have heard of the grape, but Marquette has been exciting Northern winemakers since a Vermont vintage won best-in-show red at a 2009 cold-climate wine competition.

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While wineries have been popping up throughout the Upper Midwest, their vintages have tended to be sweet and often suffer from harshness. Marquette offers vintners a chance to make a good, dry red. Anne Fennell, a viticulturist at South Dakota State University, said one breeder recently described it as "our first real wine grape." Greenlee and his wife, Sue, fermented their first batch two years ago, and they've been trading tips since then with peers in other cold states as they work to improve the quality of their wine. Now, they'll get help from a $2.5 million U.S. Department of Agriculture grant that has university researchers from a dozen states gathering information about cold-hardy grapes and teaching viticulturists and winemakers how to improve their products and market them to a wider audience.

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Led by Cornell University, the Northern Grapes Project will work with more than 330 wineries and 1,300 growers managing more than 3,000 acres of grapes from the Upper Midwest to New England.

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GARRETSON, S.D. — South Dakota winemaker Dave Greenlee exudes pride as he pours a sample of a 2011 Marquette nearly ready for bottling. Wine connoisseurs who favor vintages from Bordeaux or Napa Valley might not have heard of the grape, but Marquette has been exciting Northern winemakers since a Vermont vintage won best-in-show red at a 2009 cold-climate wine competition.

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While wineries have been popping up throughout the Upper Midwest, their vintages have tended to be sweet and often suffer from harshness. Marquette offers vintners a chance to make a good, dry red. Anne Fennell, a viticulturist at South Dakota State University, said one breeder recently described it as "our first real wine grape." Greenlee and his wife, Sue, fermented their first batch two years ago, and they've been trading tips since then with peers in other cold states as they work to improve the quality of their wine. Now, they'll get help from a $2.5 million U.S. Department of Agriculture grant that has university researchers from a dozen states gathering information about cold-hardy grapes and teaching viticulturists and winemakers how to improve their products and market them to a wider audience.

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