Washington wineries Columbia and Covey Run are among eight sold Tuesday by Constellation Brands to Ascentia Wine Estates of California.
Constellation Brands said today that it has sold eight wineries, including Columbia Winery of Woodinville and Covey Run of Sunnyside, to Ascentia Wine Estates of Sonoma, Calif.
The others are five wineries in California and Ste. Chapelle in Idaho. Constellation acquired Columbia, Covey Run and Ste. Chapelle in 2001 from what is now Corus Estates & Vineyards.
Constellation is not selling its largest Washington winery, Hogue Cellars. Columbia said in December it would relocate its winemaking operations to Eastern Washington.
New York-based Constellation, which is trying to reduce debt, said the brands represented approximately 1 million cases of wine sold in calendar 2007.
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The sale price is $209 million in cash and an additional $25 million in potential payments depending on performance.
“Sale of these assets will aid in streamlining Constellation’s U.S. wine portfolio by eliminating brand duplication and excess production capacity,” said Rob Sands, Constellation Brands president and chief executive officer. “We feel our customers and consumers are well served by our extensive California wine portfolio and by the Hogue Cellars brand produced at its Prosser, Wash., winery.”
Ascentia is described as a partnership including Jim Debonis, the former chief operating officer of Beam Wine Estates; W.J. Deutsch & Sons, one of the largest marketers of wine in the U.S.; and GESD Capital Partners, a San Francisco-based private equity firm.