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Ascentia, Southern Align Across 23 States In Multi-Year Deal

December 7, 2011

Ascentia Wine Estates has aligned with Southern Wine & Spirits across a total of 23 open and control states and Washington, D.C. in a multi-year distribution deal, effective immediately. The deal will see Southern exclusively handle the Ascentia portfolio—including Geyser Peak, Atlas Peak, Covey Run, Ste. Chapelle and Columbia Winery—in Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Florida, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Maryland, Minnesota, Mississippi, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, South Carolina, Utah, Washington and Wyoming.

The agreement with Southern looks to be a vote of confidence for Ascentia, whose future appeared in doubt after investor and former sales and marketing partner W.J. Deutsch & Sons sued the company last year, asserting that Ascentia was insolvent and had misled investors with inflated sales projections. This past April, seeking to reduce debt, Ascentia sold off two brands—Buena Vista Carneros to Boisset Family Estates, and Gary Farrell to Vincraft. In August, just seven months after naming industry veteran Mike Kenton as CEO, Ascentia announced that former CEO Jim DeBonis had returned to that role, at least on an interim basis.

Ascentia says it sold roughly 700,000 cases across its portfolio last year (including Buena Vista and Gary Farrell, which combined for about 60,000 cases). Geyser Peak accounts for around one-third of company volume.

 

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