Banfi Buys Pacific Rim

The Washington-based winery has been bought by the Mariani family of New York.


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Pacific Rim, the Washington-based winery started by California vintner Randall Grahm in 1992 as a Riesling house, has been bought by the Mariani family of New York—owners of Banfi Vintners.

Banfi announced that they would keep the Pacific Rim executive team in place and that the winery will remain independent of its other holdings. The purchase price was not disclosed.

Grahm, who described Pacific Rim as “reasonably profitable,” said he was “deeply ambivalent” about selling it. “There certainly was great growth potential, which I won’t realize, which is too bad,” he said. “Having said that, you have only one life, with a finite amount of time, and what I want to do now is focus on this project in San Juan Bautista [County], which the sale will help me do.”

Last year, Grahm announced the beginning steps for a “vin de terroir” he will produce, from 280 acres in the Central California county. That project does not yet have a name, but Grahm says it may or may not be under the Bonny Doon brand.

Banfi Vintners is America’s longest running wine importer. The company owns the well-known Tuscan estate, Castello Banfi. In 2007, John F. Mariani, Jr., its head, won Wine Enthusiast’s Wine Star Award for Lifetime Achievement. Pacific Rim’s no-frills Rieslings have also been recognized by Wine Enthusiast Magazine; in fact, their 2009 Columbia Valley Riesling (92 points, $11) was the number two wine on WE’s 2010 Best Buys list.

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