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10.2010

Massachusetts Beverage Business

archivedOnWineReport

FOLEY FAMILY WINES EXPANDS

 Foley Family Wines has a new addition and Chalk Hill Winery, one of Sonoma County’s preeminent wine estates, has a new owner. Insurance magnate Bill Foley acquired the iconic winery east of Windsor from famed class action attorney Fred Furth. The 127O-acre estate includes a 43,OOO-case winery, a pavilion, equestrian center, and several houses, including the main residence – a palatial home where Foley plans to live. “It’s the biggest transaction of the year on the North Coast,” said Mario Zepponi, a partner in Zepponi & Company, which was the advisor and broker to Furth. Estimates for the sale price have ranged between $7O million to near $1OO million. With the purchase of Chalk Hill Winery, Foley gained significant clout for his expanding wine empire. He now has a highly-regarded brand that he expects will make it easier to distribute the lesser-known wine labels owned by his company, Foley Family Wines. In the last 15 years, Foley has amassed a catalogue of wineries and vineyards. He founded Foley Family Wines in 1996, when he bought his first vineyard in Santa Barbara County. Since then, he has added 1O others and is now among the top 3O US wine producers. In 2OO8, he purchased Sebastiani Vineyards and Winery in Sonoma, where his corporate headquarters are currently located. Foley is now on a quest for an iconic winery in Napa County to purchase.

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