Two More California Wineries Change Hands

Tom Klein of Rodney Strong Vineyards purchases Davis Bynum Winery; Foley Wine Group acquires Firestone Vineyard.


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Both are old and well-known. In Sonoma County, Tom Klein, the owner of Rodney Strong Vineyards, announced he has bought the brand name and inventory of Russian River Valley veteran Davis Bynum Winery, for an undisclosed sum. The physical facility will remain in the hands of the Bynum family. Hampton Bynum, the winemaking son of founder Davis, says his family decided to sell because of a cash crunch. "It's been a matter of working for the bank. All we were doing was treading water." Terms of the deal were not disclosed, but Hampton Bynum says his new brand will be called River Bend Ranch, and will sell wines only through the well-known tasting room, on River Road.

Davis Bynum was founded in 1975, and was a pioneer in Russian River Valley Pinot Noir. Meanwhile, Robert Larsen, a spokesperson for Rodney Strong, says Klein plans to keep Bynum's production level at its current 10,000 cases "for now, with no expectation to go beyond 30,000 cases." Other than that, the Bynum brand will continue to focus on Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.

And in Santa Barbara, the Foley Wine Group continued its streak of purchases by buying the Firestone Vineyard. Perhaps the best known winery in the county, certainly one of its oldest, Firestone was founded in 1972. Terms of that deal were not disclosed either, but the acquisition includes the winery, brand, and 380 acres of vineyards. William P. Foley, proprietor of Foley Estates Vineyard & Winery, said he will continue to produce wines under the Firestone label.

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