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Wine Spectator: Constellation Invests In Booker Vineyard

July 16, 2020

Wine Spectator has learned that Constellation Brands has acquired a minority stake in California’s Booker Vineyard, the Paso Robles superstar winery founded by Eric Jensen. The agreement includes an option for Constellation to eventually own a majority of the company, and a plan to distribute Jensen’s Cabernet-focused My Favorite Neighbor brand. Jensen will remain on board as winemaker. No financial details of the arrangement were disclosed.

“The synergy between [Jensen’s] vision for his portfolio and what we’re trying to accomplish with the total business—along with the fact that we just have similar values and think about the opportunities for the future a similar way—is what really made this partnership make sense on both sides,” explained Robert Hanson, executive vice president at Constellation Brands and president of its wine and spirits division.

The partnership adds two different brands to Constellation’s portfolio: Booker, a boutique winery with a strong direct-to-consumer sales model, and My Favorite Neighbor, a line of affordable, region-based wines blended from multiple sources that has potential to grow.

Jensen was a broker in real-estate trust sales and a concert and festival promoter in Newport Beach, California, before moving to Paso Robles in 2000 to set on a new path as a farmer and winemaker. In 2001 he and his wife, Lisa, purchased a rocky, well-drained property on Paso’s west side. He now owns about 100 acres total, 60 under vine, planted to a variety of grapes, including Syrah and Grenache.

In the deal the Jensens will retain about 35 acres, including their home. “That way we’re adjoined, and I’m doing the farming,” said Jensen. Wine Spectator has the full story.—MaryAnn Worobiec

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