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A Major Wine Company Goes Public

in Business

SPACs—short for a special purpose acquisition company that is publicly traded and has no other assets other than cash–are fairly new to both the market and the wine industry. Few major wine entities, with the exception of large companies like Pernod Ricard and LVHM, have historically gone public in the wine sector.

The bulk of wineries are still family and privately owned and many trade on the mystique of being small, close-to-the-vest operated and managed businesses. However, that standard is evolving and the use of shell companies to acquire established multi-brand, wine entities is growing.

Case in point is Vintage Wine Estate’s (VWE) upcoming mid-May public offering with the Toronto-based Bespoke Capitol Acquisition. It doesn’t hurt that former Diageo CEO Paul Walsh heads up Bespoke. The deal is presumed to give VWE more leverage to buy brands. “The current investment landscape offered an opportunity to accelerate our growth and we believe others may follow suit. Duckhorn just filed an S-1, announcing its intention to follow us in going public,” shares Terry Wheatley, the president of the Santa Rosa, California-based VWE.

Continue Reading on Forbes

St. Francis, 2018 ‘Old Vines’ Sonoma County Zinfandel

in People

The vintage of 2020 made winemakers humble, aware that firefighters were a part of their winemaking team.

“We are so thankful for the support of the first responders who worked so hard to keep us safe during the Glass fire,” said Katie Madigan, winemaker of Santa Rosa’s St. Francis Winery. “They literally had our backs as the fires came close to the winery. We were extremely fortunate and had little damage to our buildings. We had started picking before the fires, so I’m making some wine. But sadly we had to leave a lot of grapes on the vines this year.”

Madigan is behind our wine of the week winner — the St. Francis, 2018 “Old Vines” Sonoma County Zinfandel, 15.2%, $22. With this zinfandel, generous fruit meets edgy spice. It has aromas and flavors of blackberry, dried cranberry and cracked black pepper, with a hint of cinnamon in the mix. It has nice length, and it’s a steal for the caliber of this zinfandel.

Continue Reading on Press Democrat

Family of Wine — How a Creative Son Keeps the Pisonis’ California Legacy Going

in Business

I love to talk about wine with people who share my passion for it. We open bottles, we trade stories about travel and soil types, terroir and residual sugar, and we talk of taste and food and restaurants. We recommend wines to one another, we drink, and we learn a lot.

In Wine Talk, I introduce you to some of my friends, acquaintances, and people I meet as I make my way around the world, individuals who love wine as much as I do, who live to taste, who farm and make wine. You’ll appreciate their insight, and I hope you’ll learn something from them as well. 

Pisoni is a name that needs no introduction — especially to lovers of wine. First, there’s Gary Pisoni, who, back in the 1980s, convinced his farming family to plant grapes on their land in the Santa Lucia Highlands. Those hallowed 40 acres of vineyards have been producing great fruit — syrah, chardonnay, and, of course, pinot noir — since then.

Continue Reading on Paper City

Meet the New Guard of natural winemakers in Sonoma Valley

in People
Dan Marioni and his team working the harvest on Sonoma Mountain.

Natural wine encapsulates wine made from organically and biodynamically grown grapes – by winemakers working with naturally occurring native yeast – adding and taking away little throughout the winemaking process.

All natural wine begins in the vineyard with sustainably farmed fruit. Some winemakers dogmatically believe in an all-or-nothing approach when it comes to producing wine “naturally,” taking what is known as a zero/zero approach, meaning absolutely nothing is added nor subtracted throughout the winemaking process. Other winemakers are more loosely inspired by the natural wine movement, choosing to cherry pick practices like biodynamic and regenerative farming, spontaneous fermentation instead of inoculation, and very few additions in the cellar besides sulfur.

Over the past decade or so, natural wine has begun to catch on in a big way, with a growing portion of the wine drinking world falling for the liveliness and unique characteristics of natural bottles and new and exciting wine projects popping up throughout California and the rest of the world. Despite a relative dearth of winemakers working in a natural style in Sonoma Valley, this region happens to be home to some of the most renowned and longest-operating natural winemakers in the country.

Continue Reading on Sonoma News

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