San Francisco Chronicle, August 3, 2006
Big House sold: Randall Grahm, owner of Bonny Doon Vineyard in Santa Cruz, announced this week the sale of two of his leading wine brands -- Big House and Cardinal Zin -- to the Wine Group, a management-owned wine company in San Francisco.
The Wine Group is the nation's third largest wine company by volume, producing brands including Franzia, Concannon Vineyard, Glen Ellen Winery, Corbett Canyon, Fish Eye and Mogen David.
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.
Rapid growth in sales of the Big House and Cardinal Zin brands had been stressing Bonny Doon's resources and infrastructure. The company sold approximately 365,000 cases of wine in 2005, making it the 27th largest winery in the U.S. by volume according to Wine Business Monthly. Bonny Doon's case volume will now be roughly one-eighth of that size.
Grahm said the sale will allow him to refocus on unique, biodynamically produced wines that "truly express a sense of place."
"I had envisioned a catchy headline like 'Big House brand escapes the shackles of the tyranny of terroirism,' but thought better of it," Grahm said. "We have been joking around for so long, it's hard for people to know when we are, in fact, serious."
Le Cigare Volant, Grahm's homage to Chateauneuf-du-Pape, and other wines will continue to be owned, produced and sold by Bonny Doon. In the future, however, Bonny Doon's Pacific Rim brand will operate separately, relocating production to Washington state and administrative offices to Portland, Ore.
"We are not so much down-sizing, as doon-sizing, creating a company that is more congruent with our deepest values," Grahm said.
Big House and Cardinal Zin will complement some of the Wine Group's newest brand launches, including Pinot Evil, Tempra Tantrum, Killer Juice and Herding Cats.
The whole article is here: Wine falls behind beer in U.S. popularity poll