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Wine Spectator: The Wine Group Buys Sonoma’s Benziger Winery

June 9, 2015

The Wine Group, a beverage giant known for supermarket wine brands such as Almaden and Cupcake, has acquired Benziger Family Winery, one of California’s highest-profile practitioners of organic and biodynamic grapegrowing and winemaking, the companies announced Monday.

Included in the sale were the Benziger and Imagery brands, the family’s 85-acre Glen Ellen ranch, two winemaking facilities in Sonoma Valley, current inventory and roughly 160 acres of vines. The sale price was not disclosed, but industry insiders said it was between $70 million to $80 million. The Wine Group told Shanken News Daily that Benziger’s nationally distributed volume—mostly priced from $12-$25—is around 150,000 cases currently, while its direct-to-consumer business ranges from $25-$80 and accounts for about 35,000 cases.

The sale might not be the clash of corporate cultures it appears. While The Wine Group is one of the world’s largest producers of value wines and the family-owned Benziger built its reputation on careful cultivation of all things green, the two companies have a history. The Glen Ellen brand, which the Benziger family launched to huge success in 1981 before selling in 1993, has been owned by The Wine Group since 2002. “They’re committed to protecting all the work we’ve done and to protecting the legacy,” said general manager Mike Benziger of the new owners. Based in Livermore, California, The Wine Group is expanding its business in the super-premium category and saw Benziger as a logical step. Wine Spectator has the full story.

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