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Wine Spectator: Duckhorn Buys Central Coast Pinot Noir Pioneer Calera

August 16, 2017

Napa Valley–based Merlot specialist Duckhorn Wine Company has purchased Calera, one of the Central Coast’s best-known Pinot Noir producers, from founder Josh Jensen. The deal includes the winery, its tasting room and 85 acres of estate vineyards planted in the Mount Harlan appellation. The sale price was not disclosed. As part of the deal Jensen will join Duckhorn’s board of directors and will consult for Calera for the next four years. The winery’s current staff, including winemaker Mike Waller, will remain on board.

Duckhorn’s principals say they weren’t looking to buy a winery. But president and CEO Alex Ryan says the opportunity to acquire Calera was too good to pass up, noting that the iconic winery will give the company a strong presence in the Central Coast. Known for its six single-vineyard Pinot Noirs and regional blends of Pinot, Chardonnay and Viognier from the Central Coast, Calera’s production hovers around 35,000 cases annually. Duckhorn’s executives are considering the next steps for Calera. They don’t plan to expand production of the estate wines but may grow the Central Coast line.

Calera joins Duckhorn’s already sizeable portfolio of Pinot Noirs. Founded by Dan and Margaret Duckhorn, the wine company now has six wineries, including Migration and Goldeneye, which focus on Pinot and Chardonnay from Sonoma and Anderson Valley, respectively. The deal comes nearly a year to the date after San Francisco–based private-equity investment firm TSG Consumer Partners purchased Duckhorn from its former majority investors, GI Partners. Total production for its six current brands is approximately 900,000 cases annually. Wine Spectator has more.

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