Bonny Doon sells Big House and Cardinal Zin brands to The Wine Group
Santa Cruz | CA
Santa Cruz, Calif. - Randall Grahm, the owner of Bonny Doon
Vineyard, announced today that he has sold two of his leading wine
brands to The Wine Group LLC, a management-owned wine company based in
San Francisco. The Big House and Cardinal Zin brands will be under the
stewardship of The Wine Group's newly formed Underdog Wine Merchants
The sale of Big House and Cardinal Zin to The Wine Group includes the
brand names, inventories, grape supply contracts and key brand icons.
The purchase price was not disclosed.
"I had envisioned a catchy headline like, 'Big House brand escapes
the shackles of the tyranny of terroirism,' but thought better of it,"
commented Grahm. "We have been joking around for so long, it is hard
for people to know when we are in fact serious. I feel like the Boy
Who Cried (Your Cri de Coeur here),"he added enigmatically.
Randall Grahm's iconic Le Cigare Volant, his homage to
Chateauneuf-du-Pape, along with other well-known wines he has created
over the years will continue to be wholly owned, produced and sold by
Bonny Doon. It is planned that the fast-growing Pacific Rim brand
will relocate its production to the state of Washington and will
within a year's time, function as an autonomous entity with a sales
and management organization distinct from that of Bonny Doon Vineyard.
"Underdog Wine Merchants is an excellent fit for both the Big House
and Cardinal Zin brands, the rapid growth of which in the last several
years has stressed our own resources and infrastructure to the max,"
stated Grahm. "This sale allows us to return to our roots, as it
were, and re-focus on the production of unique and distinctive,
biodynamically produced wines, ones that will truly express a sense of
place. I have been raving on long enough about the transcendental
value of terroir; it is now time to translate mere words into deeds.
(We are not so much down-sizing, as doon-sizing, creating a company
that is more congruent with our deepest values.) That being said, it
has been an exhilarating and heady ride to grow the brands as we have
done. I greatly appreciate the contributions and efforts of those
dedicated souls who have helped build these brands with us."
Fritz Lance, President of Underdog Wine Merchants,
commented, "This is a tremendous opportunity to add two truly iconic
brands to our international portfolio of fun and distinctive wines.
Big House and Cardinal Zin will be right at home with our emerging
brands such as Pinot Evil, Tempra Tantrum, Killer Juice and Herding
Cats. We don't envision making any changes to Mr. Grahm's inspired
blends and we hope to build upon his tradition of dynamic and
Launched by Randall Grahm in 1990, Big House, a flavorful blend
of Mediterranean grape varietals, has earned dozens of awards,
medals and accolades, including a 90 point Wine Enthusiast "Best
Buy" selection for the 2003 vintage. Now offered in a red, white
and pink version, Big House has also experienced strong growth
since the launch, and is recognized as being California's first
super premium blended wine. Big House and Cardinal Zin were among
the first super premium California wines to be offered for wide-scale
distribution en Stelvin screw-cap, which began with the 2001 vintage,
and has helped to propel the overall acceptance of screw-cap closures
in the American market. Cardinal Zin, which has redefined irreverence,
has grown into one of the USA's leading names in Zinfandel.
The Wine Group LLC is a privately-held company that produces such well
known brands as Franzia, Concannon, Glen Ellen, Corbett Canyon,
Foxhorn, Fish Eye, Mogen David, Casarsa, and Tribuno. Founded in 1981
by a management buy-out of the wine assets of The Coca-Cola Bottling
Company of New York, The Wine Group is currently the world's third
largest wine producer by volume.
Robert Nicholson of International Wine Associates, Healdsburg,
California initiated this transaction and served as exclusive
strategic and financial advisor to Bonny Doon Vineyard.