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Banfi’s Deal For Kenwood Falls Through

July 31, 2012

F. Korbel & Bros. said in a statement late yesterday that its agreement to sell Sonoma-based Kenwood Vineyards to Banfi Vintners has been terminated. Shanken News Daily exclusively reported Banfi’s letter of intent to buy Kenwood on March 30. Banfi issued a statement today simply announcing that “the letter of intent between the two parties…has been terminated.” Neither Korbel, which is owned by Gary Heck, nor Banfi, owned by the Mariani family, has given a reason for the deal’s collapse.

Banfi’s proposed acquisition of Kenwood, whose sales rose 5.2% to 617,000 cases last year, was to be the New York-based company’s first foray into California wine. (Banfi made its first domestic acquisition, Washington’s Pacific Rim Winemakers, in late 2010.) Banfi COO Marc Goodrich told Shanken News Daily earlier this year, “We’ve been interested in California for quite a while and had looked at a number of opportunities over the past seven or eight years. We were seeking a brand with sufficient scale. Certainly Kenwood’s on-premise distribution is very strong, and that will fit nicely in our portfolio.”

But for now, at least, Kenwood will remain with Korbel. Its line is comprised of the Kenwood Vintage Wines ($9), which include a Vintage Red and Vintage White; the Sonoma Series varietal line ($12-$18); the Kenwood Vineyards Reserve varietals ($22-$30); the Jack London series ($22-$30); the Yulupa Series, an on-premise brand with a by-the-glass price of $7-$10; and the Artist Series ($70), a Cabernet Sauvignon. Kenwood, founded in 1970, has a 22-acre producing estate in addition to making wines from fruit sourced from throughout Sonoma County. The estate, winery, vineyards and all other assets were to be included in the sale to Banfi.


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