Private Investment Group VITE USA Buys Sullivan Vineyards and More News

Sullivan Vineyards.
Sullivan Vineyards / Photo courtesy of Sullivan Vineyards / Facebook

The private investment group VITE USA bought Sullivan Vineyards and Winery, which filed for bankruptcy in 2017. Terms were not disclosed, but a company spokesman said it was “fair market value and enough to pay all outstanding debts and reward the original equity holders.”

The sale, which is supposed to close this week, follows a long bout of litigation between current and former members of the Sullivan family regarding ownership of the winery that arose as a result of 2015 divorce proceedings, according to the Napa Valley Register.

The U.S. Bankruptcy Court approved VITE’s purchase of the 26-acre Napa Valley winery in Rutherford, California in December.

Included is the winery, vineyards planted primarily to Cabernet Sauvignon and the inventory of estate-produced Napa Valley wines–2016 and 2017 vintages–in barrel and current releases. Sullivan Vineyards’ annual production is about 3,000 cases.

Sullivan Vineyards was founded by Jim and JoAnna Sullivan in 1972. The flagship bottles include their Estate Cabernet Sauvignon and their Bordeaux blend Coeur de Vigne. The small lot “James O’Neil Sullivan” include Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot.

Current winemaker, Jeff Cole, will remain in his role. Winery President Ross Sullivan will take on the role as an adviser.

Huneeus Vintners Buys in Willamette Valley

Napa-based Huneeus Vintners LLC ventured into Oregon by purchasing Benton-Lane Winery in the Willamette Valley.

Huneeus Vintners LLC will add the Pacific Northwest property to their portfolio, which also includes Quintessa estate, founded in 1990 by Agustin and Valeria Huneeus in the Rutherford District of Napa Valley. Their son, Agustin Francisco Huneeus, now also helps manage the Napa estate.

“Our intention is to dramatically expand our vineyard presence throughout the Willamette Valley, which we think is making some of the best Pinot Noir in the world,” said Agustin Francisco Huneeus.

Benton-Lane Winery was founded in 1988 by Steve and Carol Girard. Their wines have received numerous accolades over the years. It produces about 35,000 cases of estate-grown wine annually.

The vineyard’s 140 acres are planted predominantly to Pinot Noir clones, but they also grow Pinot Gris and Pinot Blanc.

“Steve and Carol will continue to farm their land and produce this spectacular fruit,” Huneeus said of the partnership.

The deal is expected to close in the coming weeks.

Published on January 15, 2018
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