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Vintage Wine Estates buys another Napa wine brand

  • Pat Roney, president of Vintage Wine Estates, sits in Grove Street Winery's barrel room in Healdsburg in this 2008 file photo. The company acquired Cartlidge & Browne this week and will move production from American Canyon to Healdsburg. (CHARLIE GESELL/Press Democrat)

Vintage Wine Estates has acquired another wine brand, adding Cartlidge & Browne to its expanding portfolio.

The Santa Rosa wine company plans to move production of the 100,000-case Cartlidge & Browne brand from American Canyon to its Healdsburg facility.

In late December, Vintage Wine Estates purchased the bankrupt Cosentino Winery near Yountville. It is still looking to acquire wineries on the North Coast, said Pat Roney, president of the company.

“We're still in growth mode,” Roney said Friday. “We're going to look for another couple acquisitions.”

The company already needs additional office space in Santa Rosa after adding about 20 employees this year — a combination of new hires and acquired employees, Roney said.

Vintage Wine Estates paid between $4 million to $6 million for Cartlidge & Browne, according to a source close to the deal. Tony Cartlidge, who founded the wine brand in 1980, will join Vintage Wine Estates.

Vintage Wine Estates is owned by a small group of investors who are bucking the trend of the down market, when many wineries are downsizing or looking to sell assets due to weakened demand for high-end wines.

Cartlidge & Browne becomes the company's ninth wine brand, joining Sonoma Coast Vineyards, Stonefly Vineyards and Windsor Vineyards. It has winemaking facilities at Girard Winery and Cosentino Winery in Yountville and Grove Street Winery in Healdsburg.

The company plans to build a fourth winery, Windsor Sonoma Winery, on Westside Road next year.

Vintage Wine Estates specializes in direct-to-consumer wine sales and buys most of its grapes from growers to produce its estimated 500,000 cases annually — now 600,000 cases with its latest acquisition.

Vintage Wine Estates was formed in January 2009 by Roney, Leslie Rudd, Michael Stewart and Chuck Sweeney.

Rudd is an alcohol-distribution veteran who also co-founded Lonestar Steakhouse in the 1980s and bought the high-end grocery Dean & Deluca in 1996.

Stewart bought a Napa vineyard in 2000 after moving from Texas, where he had founded and operated a tech company, Texas Micro, for 25 years.

Sweeney is a hotel industry pioneer, founding Embassy Suites Hotels and several resorts in Hawaii. He also owns Vine Cliff Winery in Napa Valley.

Marty Peterson will be the new winemaker for Cartlidge & Browne. Peterson joined Vintage Wine Estates last year and oversees Grove Street Winery. He was previously a winemaker at Treasury Wine Estates and Francis Ford Coppola Winery.

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