Gallo buys William Hill, Canyon Road

Hill move seen as strengthening Gallo's Napa profile.

In a sweeping deal that broke on Monday afternoon, E&J Gallo announced it is buying William Hill Estate and Canyon Road Winery from Beam Wine Estates.

In looking overall at what we need in the North Coast, we saw more opportunity in Napa Valley," said Gallo spokesman Michael Heintz, in explaining the William Hill acquisition. That purchase includes both the brand and a well-regarded 145-acre vineyard off the Silverado Trail. The winery specializes in Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay.

Canyon Road, based in Alexander Valley, produces a range of inexpensive varietal wines, bearing a California appellation and generally selling for under $10. The wines have frequently earned Best Buy status from Wine Enthusiast.

Heintz said Gallo officials approached Beam management last year to broach the deal, "and the discussions that resulted showed there were benefits to both of us."

He added that Gallo plans to maintain both brand names. The purchase price was not disclosed.

Mary Burnham, Beam's PR director, explained that both William Hill and Canyon Road no longer fit into Beam's "strategic fit." "We made a decision that, to succeed in our longterm goals, we would focus on the [California] brands that enhance our longterm success: Atlas Peak and Buena Vista."


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