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NorCal Wine Blog
Breaking News: Ken & Diane Wilson Buy Pezzi King
- General Interest
- Written by Fred Swan
- Wednesday, 14 March 2012 06:19
Ken Wilson and his wife Diane Wilson have purchased Pezzi King Winery of Dry Creek Valley. With this deal, effective today, Tuesday, March 13, but not formally announced, the Wilsons gain control the entire Pezzi King operation. That includes the vineyard land, on-site winery and house, inventory, brand and the company’s leased office space at Roma Station.
Ken Wilson declined to disclose the deal’s terms. The seller, James Rowe Sr. has been unavailable for immediate comment but his son, James Rowe Jr., confirmed the purchase for me. Sotheby’s International Realty had the real estate listed for $11,250,000. A Press Democrat article from February, 2010 indicates the winery had been on the block since the Summer of 2009. Rowe is in his late 70s and ready to retire.
The Pezzi King vineyard and winery of Dry Creek Valley
Rowe founded Pezzi King in 1993 with his Jane (deceased, 2001). The winery was named for their mothers’ maiden names. The vineyard sits on 137 acres of benchland on West Dry Creek Road in rural Healdsburg. 65 acres are under vine. The majority of those vines are split evenly between Cabernet Sauvignon and Zinfandel with most of the rest planted to Sauvignon Blanc. It is farmed without chemicals, using what Pezzi King calls “all-natural farming techniques.”
Now, Pezzi King is one of seven wineries owned by Ken and Diane Wilson. Their first was the eponymous Wilson Winery, a luxury Zinfandel specialist located on Dry Creek Road. Originally the Chris Fredson Winery, they purchased it in 1993 and Diane Wilson took over as winemaker. The Wilsons’ investment in Dry Creek Valley vineyards began even earlier though, with the purchase of 220 acres in 1982. They added vines to that property in 1988.
Other wineries in the Wilson Artisan Wineries portfolio include:
- de Lorimier (Alexander Valley) which emphasizes vineyard-designate Cabernet Sauvignon
- Jaxon Keys (Hopland, Mendocino County) producing a range of varietal wines plus alambic brandy
- Matrix Winery (Russian River Valley) offering primarily single-vineyard Pinot Noir
- Mazzocco Sonoma (upper Dry Creek Valley) with a huge array of Zinfandel and Petite Sirah
- Soda Rock (Alexander Valley) featuring Cabernet Sauvignon, Zinfandel and Sauvignon Blanc
I asked Ken Wilson what spurred him to make today’s purchase. “It’s really getting a great brand and the vineyards,” he replied, displaying remnants of an accent from his native Ontario, Canada. “The vineyards are spectacular and the fruit they produce is really the key to the whole project.” Wilson doesn’t anticipate big adjustments in the vineyard either. “It’s an older vineyard so there’s always replacement of an acre or two here or there, or vine replacement, but I think it’s been kept up very well.” Nor does he see much opportunity to increase acreage under vine within the existing Pezzi King parcel. The Wilsons’ total land under vine now exceeds 450 acres.
With regard to the Pezzi King operations overall, he added, “It’s a fairly good match for the style of business that we’re in in that they depend on personal relationships with their clientele as we do.” Both companies are predominantly direct-to-consumer, relying on tasting room and wine club sales rather than wholesale.
I asked if there were plans to increase Pezzi-King’s 8,000 case annual production, or make other adjustments “Everybody’s staying put,” Ken Wilson told me. “Everything is operating and we’re not changing it to fix anything.” As to the likelihood of other acquisitions in the near term, Wilson said, “I’m quite happy with where we are and am not too interested in doing too much more for a little bit.”
Wilson Artisan Wineries slowly becoming a winery powerhouse – Soda Rock Opens by Joe Becerra, WineCountryGetaways.com
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This article is original to NorCalWine.com. Copyright 2012 NorCal Wine. Photos and logo property of Wilson Artisan Wineries. All rights reserved.