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And this just in…

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A few days ago I blogged that Constellation was selling Geyser Peak, Buena Vista and Gary Farrell to an unknown buyer, just 7 months after buying them. Well, today we know who the buyer is: a new player named Ascentia Wine Estates. The purchase price is a reported $209 million; it includes Atlas Peak and, from up in Washington State and Idaho, Covey Run, Columbia Winery and Ste. Chapelle. According to Reuters, Ascentia was formed by a group of investors including Jim DeBonis, former chief operating officer of Beam Wine Estates (which was sold to Constellation last November); William and Peter Deutsch, who run wine importer W.J. Deutsch & Sons Ltd (they bring in yellow tail among many other brands); and GESD Capital Partners, a San Francisco-based venture capital firm. GESD’s major holdings up until now have been in bakeries and restaurants, as well as a family entertainment center in Austin, Texas. GESD’s head, Lou Giraudo, is also the chairman of Pabst Brewing Co.

This is a bigtime deal and you can expect Ascentia to be on the prowl for further acquisitions. Granted, the company (with GESD’s backing) doesn’t have the financial clout of a Constellation or Diageo. According to online reports, it has “only” $150 million in investment funds. Still, that’s a lot of dough floating around, and Deutsch’s marketing and distribution clout is not to be underestimated. Anyone care to speculate on what winery or wineries will be Ascentia’s next buy?

  1. Rusty Eddy says:

    So Ascentia is an automatic one million case brand, which is about what it seems to take to compete on a wholesale level these days. Glad I work for a small, family-owned marketing company.

    How about Fetzer as a possible target?

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