EJ Gallo Continues Expansion
182-acre purchase increases Gallo empire.
By Steve Heimoff
E&J Gallo continues its expansion into Napa Valley with a deal to buy 182 acres of vineyards in the Chiles Valley region. That's in addition to vineyards Gallo picked up in Napa when it purchased Louis M. Martini Winery, in 2002.
The vineyards had been on the market, and were offered to at least one other buyer, who declined, before Gallo decided to buy.
Gallo spokesperson Susan Hensley did not disclose the price, and phone calls to the seller, California Wine Company, were not returned.
The vineyards grow mainly Cabernet Sauvignon and other red Bordeaux varieties. Hensley said some of the grapes will go into Martini wines as well as into a new brand, Ghost Pines, slated to launch this Fall. In the past, Martini had Chiles Valley-appellated wines with a Ghost Pines vineyard designation. It's not known what price point the Ghost Pines wines will sell at.
A portion of the grapes, Hensley added, are contracted to outside wineries.
Following their acquisition of Martini, Gallo officials vowed to upgrade quality at the veteran winery, which was founded in St. Helena in 1922. Hensley would not say what specific Martini wines the grapes will go into, or by how much production of those wines will increase.
California Wine Company is a grapegrowing and wine management company owned by a British investment banker, Paul Croft. He also owns Stonegate Winery.
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