Rosenblum Cellars to Join Diageo Family

Urban California winery to join the worldwide Diageo drinks conglomerate

If the U.S. government approves, Rosenblum Cellars, one of America's most esteemed producers of Zinfandel and Rhône varietals, will join the worldwide Diageo drinks conglomerate by the end of March. The dynamic Rosenblum Cellars, whose gold medals and 90-plus scores have garnered healthy distribution in every U.S. state and 16 countries, will receive an even wider platform for its highly acclaimed Zinfandels and robust Rhône varieties by joining Diageo Chateau & Estate Wines (DC&E), wine arm of the company that distributes spirits, wine and beer brands that include Johnnie Walker, Guinness, Smirnoff, J&B, Baileys, Cuervo and Tanqueray. Diageo will be paying $105 million to acquire its first brand centered on Zinfandel, documented as the fastest growing major varietal over the last six months in both volume and value.

As part of the agreement, Dr. Kent Rosenblum, the veterinarian cum home winemaker who started the cellar in 1978 with his wife Kathy, will continue his winemaking duties and play a key advisory role in strategic direction of the brand. Rosenblum creates his distinctive vintages by seeking out a diverse palette of fruit from vineyards he deems the best in California, a wide ranging group of 80 growers from Sonoma, Napa, Santa Barbara, Paso Robles and beyond. He selects specific yeasts for each of the 120 lots from more than 30 strains gathered from around the world, ferments in small batches, punches down by hand and uses barrels from 55 different coopers in the United States, France, Hungary, Australia and Russia, a labor intensive process designed to celebrate the distinctive terroir of each vineyard. The Alameda, California based company now creates a portfolio of more than 40 wines including such stellar vintages as 2004 Rosenblum Rockpile Road Petite Sirah, the 2004 Rosenblum Monte Rosso Zinfandel from Sonoma, and the 2001 Rosenblum Holbrook Mitchell Trio Bordeaux Blend from Napa.

Part of the proceeds from the cellar's Rhône-inspired, fruit-forward Château La Paws, "made to honor the animals that give us so much joy," maintains Rosenblum, benefits Paws With A Cause, a charity that trains assistance dogs for people with disabilities.

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