US: Constellation quiet on winery sale reports
Constellation has declined to comment on reports that it is close to selling off three of its four Sonoma County wineries.
A report in California's Press Democrat late last week said that the wine giant is planning to sell the Gary Farrell, Geyser Peak, and Buena Vista Carneros wineries it acquired in December when it bought Beam Wine Estates for US$885m.
Negotiations have been ongoing for several weeks and the deal could close any day, according to sources familiar with the transaction.
The negotiates include the Geyser Peak Winery in Geyserville, Gary Farrell in Healdsburg and Buena Vista Carneros in the Sonoma Valley to a group that includes at least one former Beam Wine executive, the reports claimed.
Constellation spokesman Mike Martin declined to comment when contacted by just-drinks today (9 June).
Industry insiders say the company signalled its willingness to part with the three properties when it reorganised its US wine business in January.
Constellation moved management of Clos Du Bois, the largest winery in the Beam Wine Estates portfolio, to its San Francisco-based Vintas wine division. Management of the Wild Horse Winery in Paso Robles, meanwhile, was shifted to the Icon Estates division in St. Helena.
The remaining three Sonoma County wineries were kept together as a separate division within Vintas, a sign to some that they weren't central to Constellation's plans.
Details of the sale and the group acquiring the wineries remained hazy last week and is also believed to include several other smaller brands or wineries in Napa and the Pacific Northwest have been mentioned as possible parts of the package, sources said.
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